Normally, when I write these diary entries I do them at the end of the month; but I also have a file that I open when I think of something to write. I make a note of the date and jot down a few words to prompt me to fill in the rest later.

I neglected to do that this month.

So rather than break things down by day I thought I write a summary of the month instead. This month’s theme being, our gradual return to normality.

Or is it? In some ways it’s normality seen through the prism of a parallel reality.

For example: I received a letter from DVLA telling me I needed to renew my driving licence, which you have to do every 10 years. I did this online, paid my £14, used the photo on my passport and about a week or so later the new one arrived. All I have to do now is get around to cutting up the old one and sending it to them.

So I absolutely don’t understand why it’s taking so long for other people, as reported in the news.

My British Library membership renewed, and every year they send (a) new card and (b) yet another travel wallet. I have half a dozen now, none of which I use as a travel wallet (I have a travel wallet for that). Conversely, Cilip no longer sends membership card; you have to download it as a .pdf from their website. CIPR, I’m not sure; if they sent me a new one last year I don’t know where it is. But the details are the same as last year’s anyway, and you can, again, download it from their website. So perhaps they have stopped as well.

Then there’s the swans.

Familiar, but different

For the last couple of years they’ve nested opposite my flat and were doing so again this year. For the last 10 days or so I’ve only seen the one swan. From the river bank you can look across to where they nest, and I did see a white, unmoving shape while the other was on the river, but you’d have thought she (assuming it’s her on t’nest) would have to take to the water at some point, and that I’d have noticed. This leads one to the worrying conclusion that she is ill, or dead.

As for the work front…

The building where I’m temping is now open again. Following the refurbishment there’s several hundred fewer desks; I reckon we used to get close on 400 in there previously, now it’s around 400 bookable for 700-plus staff. Some of those won’t come in to the office any more, such as call centre staff, which will free up space; but some will need permanent areas which reduces space. Personally, I think we could easily fit in a further 50 or so desks by removing the quiet areas at the ends of most floor… they always look like the ‘naughty seat’, and I’ll bet no-one has used them yet. They might be useful for anyone only coming in for a meeting, I guess.

Leeds itself is busy in some places and quiet in others, which is confusing. It’s as if some areas think it’s April 2019 while others think it’s April 2020.

Out out? No, no, no

The CIPR’s Excellence Awards are in person this year – hurrah (though I won’t be going)! The local PRide Awards are virtual though, as is the AGM. And there’s no Fellows’ Lunch planned yet either. So limited opportunities to catch up with all the old faces. I did joke that I would have dust off those old conference plans I was working on and do something… it feels like less of a joke now.

But May looks promising. A virtual course, followed by actual birthday drinks the same day (evening). The evening before I might be at the CIPR Volunteers’ Conference pre-dinner & drinks (which I have to pay for (is the CIPR only doing things it can turn a profit on?)). June as well might bring a trip to London (ironically, around the time of Excellence) to meet up with chums and visit the British library.

This does, of course, assume that railway staff working for the RMT union don’t follow through with their industrial action threat. I mean, it would be typical, wouldn’t it?