Catching Up

My resolve to post regularly didn’t last long, did it? Well actually, it did but after being away for a few days, I put off posting so that I could edit and upload my photos (still not not done), then as other things happened that I wanted to post about, I put them off as I still hadn’t done anything with the photos. This is how I always end up not posting for a while so, bugger the photos!


Ripple Blanket

Halfway through the ripple blanket

We did have a nice time in Durham and Whitby. The weather behaved, mostly and I spent far too much money on bits and pieces for the house, plus I found a brilliant fabric shop in Whitby and bought some material to make a knitting bag with. The other thing I’ve spent too much money on lately is wool. I am so enjoying crochet and have plans in my head for several more blankets!

v stitch throw

v-stitch throw

I still have the hexagon throw on the go (although I’m realising that I don’t like the constant start/stop of ‘squares’). I’m now half way through the ripple blanket for our bedroom. I love the colours but turning at the end of each row has turned into a bit of a wrestling competition; it’s very heavy already. I did take it to work this week and worked on it through the night, when it was quiet, but it’s got to the stage where it’s no longer really portable. I’ve also started working on a throw for my mum; this will be her Christmas present. I’ve tried to use the colours (some of them!) from her garden. It’s making up really fast and feels nice and squishy as the V’s are made using cluster stitches instead of the usual treble stitch.

Next on the hook will be a coastal ripple blanket that will grace Ewan’s room while I plod on with the hexagons. I already have the wool for it. Then I have to decide between a mixed stitch stripey blanket or a crazy patchwork blanket. I have enough wool to do both, it’s more a question of which to start first! Probably the stripe; I ought to get the hexagons finished before I start on more squares as they don’t seem to be my forte.

So, that’s the bits and pieces out of the way, now for the big news. We were all called to a meeting at work last week to be told that all our work is being moved to other data centres and we are being made redundant at the end of October. This has been hanging over us for the last 6 years, since the company we work for was swallowed up by a bigger corporation. Every quarter has brought yet another round of cuts and, as we’ve escaped each one, there’s been a growing sense of inevitability. Still, hearing it is like being hit in the chest with a hammer.

I was pissed off at the way it was done. Given that we’d been summoned to the meeting and told that there would be someone from HR in attendance, we had a pretty good idea what it was about. Do you think our manager got on with it and gave us the news? Well, no. We had to sit through a 30 minute presentation about what a fantastic company we work for, and all the brilliant things it’s doing and the even more brilliant plans for the future. 30 minutes of corporate bullshit, buzzwords, jargon and acronyms before he finally got to the point. By the time he said it, our eyes had glazed over and we almost missed it.

The woman from HR was pretty useless and couldn’t really tell us anything because, officially, they won’t start the redundancy process until the beginning of October. They’re just giving us the heads up now because they’re so kind and we should be grateful for it. Fuckers! As it turns out, for me, it’s not the disaster it might be. I’ve stayed on my old civil service terms and conditions which means that I get a better package than most. I can also take my pension early, which I hadn’t realised before. I thought I had to be 55, but it’s actually 50 – maybe because part of the redundancy package is to give you extra years on your pension. This will give me about 26.5 years. My pension is also better than the standard terms pension, mainly because it takes into account my shift allowance, which the standard terms pension doesn’t. I’ll also get a decent lump sum which will allow me to pay off most of the things that are eating into my current salary. I won’t be able to afford to give up working completely but I don’t have to find something comparable.

I also get more gardening leave or pay in lieu of notice – 6 months as opposed to the standard 3. After 14 years of working 24×7 shifts, I’m exhausted and the thought of taking a few months off is very appealing. I was initially thinking of taking the gardening leave but after talking about it with David, will probably take the PILON. The leave ties me to them for a further 6 months and if a job came up, I wouldn’t be able to take it. Technically, at any time during that 6 months they could cancel my redundancy and I just don’t trust the bastards. I want to be gone on the 31st of October with no further ties to them. Now that the initial shock has worn off, I am so ready to be gone, I’d leave at the end of the week if they’d let me. Taking the PILON gives me the flexibility to take 2 or 3 months off, then start job hunting. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get my body clock back to something approaching normal.

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