You sensed a shift in mood in Catalonia last week. A growing weariness. An impatience with the enduring row over independence.
Not from the over 50% of the population who voted against breaking from Spain in December’s election (independence parties secured the majority of seats in parliament but not the majority of actual votes), but from supporters of independence themselves.
On the day the parliament was due to swear in absent former leader as president again, there were calls for thousands to rally.
The crowd was nothing like expected, nothing close to what was seen in the weeks after the referendum.
Yes, it was a working week day; yes, many may have felt they had done their duty in the weeks before, but was it possible some had just grown weary?
Even some who did turn out expressed their frustration with their political leaders to form a government.
“Surely that was what the October referendum was all about,” one woman told me.
Another said: “I am angry with our leaders. He (Puigdemont) said he would come, but he never came. We are tired.”
To be fair to Mr Puigdemont, returning to the parliament would have been a rather risky business.
Remember, his former vice-president and other independence leaders are in jail in Spain for their role in the referendum and he faces arrest on the same charges if he sets foot on home soil again.
But if he doesn’t go back it seems no-one will get to call him “Mr President” again because – according to the constitutional court – he has to be there to be sworn in.
So here’s the dilemma for those in parliament who back breaking from Spain.
Plough on with no president, no government, with direct rule from Spain – or contemplate what would have been unthinkable a few months ago: saying goodbye to “President Puigdemont”.
Should Puigdemont be sacrificed in order to form a government? Should he now think about sacrificing himself?
The mood music of recent days certainly seems to suggest that many have concluded ‘yes’ to the first question.
The speaker of the parliament, who comes not from Puigdemont’s party but the other main independence bloc – the ERC, “delayed” the session to invest the former leader.
He said he wanted to ensure it went forward in an effective manner, but you didn’t have to search hard that day to find secessionists who privately – if not publicly – said it was time for Puigdemont to go.
It would be hard reality for a man who has spent more than a hundred days in exile to confront
Puigdemont himself was said to be having doubts about pursuing his dream of becoming president again.
It may be hard for the man who has taken the cause of Catalan independence further than any other to accept.
But isn’t it time for him to bow to the inevitable and acknowledge that he cannot be president again? At least while he is facing possible charges of sedition and rebellion. Time to accept that he is a block to a government led by independence parties being formed in Catalonia?
Many in his “Together for Catalonia” platform will find that unacceptable, but talks are said to be under way to chose another candidate whilst appointing Puigdemont to a “symbolic” role of president.
There are rumours of two parallel swearing-in ceremonies.
One for the legally recognised leader in Catalonia, the other for the ousted leader Puigdemont in Brussels.
It would be hard reality for a man who has spent more than a hundred days in exile to confront: the loss of the real presidency at a time when he is also facing the potential loss of his liberty.
But surely it would be better for the independence cause if the parties which won the election were able to take over the functions of government in Catalonia? To show they can run things responsibly and effectively, to allow direct rule from Madrid to be lifted after months of turmoil and acrimony.
They can’t do that with Puigdemont if the Catalan president has to be there to be invested.