Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Travelling again...

Traın, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

In the middle of France again, on a TGV down to Grenoble, where I hope to pass some work off to someone else who can then carry it forward without me coming down every month. It is a grey day outside as we wind through quite attractive countryside, even more attractive in the spring and summer, I should think. The clouds are a little low so I am not sure there will be many views of the snow-capped mountains to the east. But… I am here for work and I will be returning back to Paris again this evening, before continuing tomorrow onto Antwerp for a meeting in the Belgium office.

As an international controller, I cannot help but have to travel, but at least I can try to do it efficiently and take the train as often as I can. A flight out this morning would have gotr me to the office at about 14.00 which isn’t much good, whilst a flight out yesterday evening would have eaten into my afternoon at work and would have deprived me of an evening as well. Taking the train down to Paris after work and then another this morning down to Grenoble gave me a full day in the office yesterday, a couple of hours in Paris last night for a meal and a drink and now gets me to the office on time for a full day here. It is cheaper, less stressful and has a much smaller carbon footprint.

Before Christmas, my French was improving but now, after a week in Turkey, I feel as if I have lost my confidence with my French again. We will see how it goes in the office today, where my two finance colleagues do not speak much English but where the consultant does… a bit…

The papers here are full of Sarkozy, as ever, now looking forward to what the man can achieve in the coming year.It will be interesting to see how far he can go with his reforms, of which I am sure many are needed. I think that reforming France is a very difficult objective, as the French are very good at protecting their own interests and are not so willing to bow to a government’s will. This is something to admire about the French. It seemed that Sarkozy had the people on his side when he came to power with his rhetoric. However, it remains to be seen how many he can take with him as he tries to make the changes he wants. At least he will give it a try, unlike all his predecessors and unlike Mr Belusconi in Italy who promised to reform that country but spent most of his time in power protecting his own interests and protecting himself from prosecution. As for Mr Brown in the UK, it would seem that he has some good ideas but lacks decisiveness in putting his ideas into action and policies. I think the issue of governing and just maintaining the status quo has become so difficult that it is very hard to implement meaningful reforms.

This is also what I have to bear in mind when looking at my objectives for the coming year… there are so many things to be doing just keeping things ticking over and making small improvements here and there, it is best not to be too ambitious and ry bto change too much but to pick out two or three things and concentrate on them


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