12 February 2020

Published on 12 February 2021 in , , , ,

12 February 2020.

The last time I went to the office. Although I’ve worked from home permanently since 2016, I’d go to the office once or twice a month. For meetings. To say hello to people. To feel connected.

I think it’s important to meet people. You get more out of a face to face meeting than you do with a video call. Bit more small talk. Get to know their body language. If you’ve never worked with someone before, it’s a good opportunity to get to know them. If you have worked with them before, you can catch up. There’s the chance to bump into old colleagues you haven’t seen for years. To be social. Maybe have lunch.

Working from home is hard at times, and it’s nice to meet people face to face. So I always looked forward to my trips to the office. To do something different.

Occasionally it would be a trip to MediaCity to say hello to colleagues there. But mostly it was London where my team were based.

Ah yes, London.

12 February 2020.

The last time I went to London.

I’ve lost most of the train tickets so I can’t tell you what train I got but it was usually the 08:23 from Stockport to London Euston. This particular train starts as the 08:15 from Manchester. This remains something that pleases me.

On the other hand, it may have been the 07:23 instead. There’s a difference. I can tell. If I got the 08:23 I would usually go swimming at Grand Central Pools before hand. And I didn’t do that.

Looking at my calendar, we had a team lunch in Westfield’s food court. And there were some meetings with a third party supplier. It was a Wednesday and alternate Wednesdays were team planning. All good reasons for me going down for the day. As well as saying hello to everyone, of course.

Often I’d do London in a day. This was the case on 12 February 2020. Other times I’d be there for two days and use it as a chance to see London based friends. A chance to relax in the pub, chat, and unwind. It’s been even longer since I saw most of them face to face.

12 February 2020.

The last time I got on a train. Multiple trains in fact. One Pendolino to London Euston. The tube to White City. The tube back to Euston from White City. Another Pendolino back to Stockport. Little did I know on that day that I wouldn’t be getting on a train again for over a year.

I had other journeys booked. I had tickets for a two day trip to the capital in early March for a team hackday. But by that point the London based members of the team were increasingly working from home and the whole thing was cancelled. With non-refundable tickets (paid for by work) I hastily re-booked them for as far in advance as I could. By the time that day in May came along, it was possible to get refunds for Advance train tickets. And that was that.

I also had sleeper train tickets for September. Well, a friend had them for a group of four of us. We were going to walk the Speyside Way. But the Scottish Government’s decision a week before we were due to go, to ban people from more than two households from mixing outdoors, meant that didn’t happen either.

And that was that. I’d have no worries about travelling by train. I’ve been on the bus a few times and felt quite safe. But in the last year I haven’t done any journeys I could do by train. So it’s remained completely off limits.

12 February 2020.

Right now I have no idea when the next time will be that I do any of these things again. There’s talk of the office re-opening to all in the summer, but that’s subject to change.

By then I presume I will be vaccinated. I think my Asthma means I will be in Priority Group 6 in the vaccine queue. Although maybe they’ll decide my asthma isn’t serious enough and I’ll be put lower down. No one’s told me yet. Well, whatever happens will happen.

However 12 February will remain etched in my mind. A day of lasts. The day after, a very long period in my life started. One I can’t wait until it ends.