We were in the Cabinet Room. The desk calendar showed that there were just 21 full days left for Tony Blair in Downing Street. Appropriately enough a military band could be heard through the windows playing "Beat the Retreat" as Nick Danziger took pictures for a magazine feature on the Blair Years. The PM insisted he was working harder than ever - his mind focused on today's G8 summit and the EU summit at the end of the month. He impatiently waved away a question about how he felt knowing that he'd watch the next G8 on the telly.
His mind is on securing the goals he pursued at the G8 he chaired at Gleneagles - a deal on climate change and the fulfilment of promises made to Africa. That and issuing a public warning to the man he befriended, lauded and supported in the past - Vladimir Putin. The G8 was an "opportunity for people to have a frank conversation about Russia, with Russia, because people want a good relationship with Russia but it is a relationship that can only prosper if it is clear that we share certain values and principles". Russia, he said, had a choice. He didn't spell out what he meant but the implication was clear - be trusted as an international partner or be regarded as an erratic, unreliable player on the world stage.
On climate change he was, once again, the optimist, the man who regards the glass as half full not half empty. Critics of President Bush's recent speech didn't realise when they were winning, he said. The Americans would not bypass the UN process. They would agree to a long term goal for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Would they do this at the G8 I asked. Of that he could not be certain. This is not one of those summits where the "sherpas" - the officials who do the negotiating before their leaders get involved - have done a deal. There is much work to be done.