It doesn’t matter how egalitarian a lab head is, how un-pushy, how understanding, how sympathetic. It doesn’t matter that he would never dare cast aspersions when you come in late or leave early. Never mind that you hardly see him at all when he’s around, and that the amount of email correspondence remains just as steady now that he’s away. And forget that you are entirely self-motivated as a scientist and nobody could possibly put as much pressure on you as you do on yourself.

But when a lab head is away, there is an undeniable festive feel in the air.

He’ll be abroad all week, and the vibe here is positively languid. Time for another cup of tea?