It was weird walking through the grounds of County Hall in Durham again. I hadn’t been back since I stopped working there nearly five years ago. To be honest I was never sure if I would ever get the chance to go back again, as by now it should have been pulled down and everything moved into the centre of the city. Such is the way of politically based decisions, it is still standing and seemingly functioning. There were a lot of lights on.
I was a little apprehensive of bumping into someone that I might know, why I am not sure. It’s not as if I am awkward when talking to people. Us Geminis are able to turn on the charm when required, apparently. County Hall had been such a huge part of my life for the eight years that I worked there with many happy memories and some awkward ones yet there was no one working there now who I wouldn’t have been happy to say hello to.
Walking through the grounds, past the main entrance and up the hill to Aykley Heads I didn’t see anyone. The place seemed unusually quiet, indeed the tiered car park to the north of the building was practically empty. In the good old days per-COVID, if you didn’t get there before 8:30 you would never get a space.
How times have changed. One of my main focuses during my time there was the drive to break the link between where you work and the work you do. As part of a freedom agenda I argued that you should work where you need to be, in the office, in the customer’s or anywhere else that suited best. It seems that the pandemic had achieved in a couple of weeks more than I managed in nearly a decade. It is going to be interesting to see how work settles into a new paradigm.
I was pondering this as I made my way up the bank towards Waterstons when I realised I was wearing the same jacket as when I left all those years ago. Some things change while others stay the same.