On Friday 13th of March 2020, I was having a pint (or two) and a packet of crisps (or possible two) in a packed Blake. It was a worrying time. Earlier that evening, just as I had been about to leave work, t'Boss had called me into his office. It was quite likely, he said, that lectures might be suspended from the following week. Could I please check if any of our teaching sessions were formally timetabled as lectures.
Other than the Death in Venice-evoking posters that were appearing over campus, this was the first real sense that something significant, that might really affect us, might really be happening. Yes, of course I would. First thing Monday. Then I went off up the pub for a prearranged drink with my neighbour from round the corner.
For some reason I took my iPad with me. While Margi was at the bar, I idly checked my emails. At twenty to eight, the VC had sent an email saying that all face to face teaching would be suspended from Monday.
We weren't meant to go into the office on Monday; but that morning - March 16th - we had the first of what must now be thousands of online meetings, and I could see that many perople were in the office. So I walked over - basically, just to do it properly; to say goodbye knowingly. I left a note for myself on my desk, that said the date and 'au revoir'. I don't think it occurred to me that I wouldn't see it again until the October, and then only briefly.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
So last Sunday, exactly two years after my last visit, I popped back into the Blake. It felt good.