There are times when you realise that you may have made a mistake, and this evening is one of them.
I could have been at a birthday party in Clare, a lovely little town on the Suffolk border, with the woman I love (for the avoidance of doubt, that's Ros). Instead, I'm in a perfectly harmless Holiday Inn in suburban York, having eaten a perfectly harmless but lonely dinner. In short, all is not well on Planet Bureaucrat.
And why am I in York (apart from the obvious - it's the Liberal Youth conference, I'm their Returning 0fficer and there are by-elections)? Because I'm a nice person, that's why. It's why I am giving up a large chunk of my weekend, at my expense, without compensation, to show my support for an organisation that could be so valuable in spreading the Liberal Democrat message (and may well be, who knows?).
So, why am I less than ecstatic? Perhaps because I'm going to spend the day surrounded by people who will make me feel old and slow, perhaps because I will then have a long, dark journey back to my home, my wife and my cats or maybe because my journey will have little real purpose. After all, there will be an all-member ballot of Liberal Youth members for a new Executive within two months of the declaration of the result of these by-elections. It does feel a mite futile.
No, I think that it's mostly down to a sense of a lack of achievement. I've been very busy of late but achieved very little. So, weekend survived, I need to focus my energies on getting some things done. It would be nice if tomorrow runs smoothly, but we'll see about that, won't we?...