Tomorrow is a very important day. It is my first attempt at retaining the Golden Wheatear Chalice. Although other residents of Chateau L would rather the trophy departed these walls, I would very much like it to stay. As with every year the choice of dates is a sweepstake, with names being drawn out of hat. Each person then chooses two dates. This year I came third, so only four of the choicest dates had already been allocated. I went for the 20th, which is a Saturday and which in theory at least should mean more people are out looking, and for the 16th, my winning date last year.
In truth I expect to be completely alone out on Wanstead Flats tomorrow. It is just the way of things - if you really want that trophy you have to put in the work yourself. I have been out of course, including both days at the weekend, but I wasn't really looking, or at least not very hard. I just wanted to have a chat really, see some people who are not my immediate family.
For me last Friday marked a full year of working from home. I last went to my office on 13th March 2020. That's when I last saw any of my colleagues. When it first started I felt I could handle it, that it would be easy. The comfort of home, the ability to potter around, to water plants, to have the windows open and enjoy it. That seems a far cry from the reality of it a year later. There are things I don't miss of course. The Central Line. A shattering commute after a shattering day. The shattering days still happen of course but at least I am already home when they finish. I think the concept of working from home is OK, the work can get done, and whilst it is harder to work collaboratively and we don't experience the same level of innovation and connected thinking that being around each other would promote, the basics are at least covered. The problem is being trapped at home, as for me a year working from home is actually a year stuck at home. I've not been abroad for a year. I've hardly been anywhere other than here, within the four walls of Chateau L. Weekends blend into weekdays, weekdays into weekends. Home life is work life and work life is home life. There is no distinction, no separation, no balance.
Hopefully this will start to change, the signs are there, but I still think there is a long way to go before we can put this behind us and return to any sort of normality. The kids are back at school at least. It is not ideal, and you can only think that the R rate is going to increase again as a result, but they needed to go back to the classroom for their own sanity. And I think that office types like me need that too.