Last month I told you all to keep your diaries free for upcoming Executive meetings. Sadly, but predictably, we've been stood up for our first two assignations. Today another meeting is being cancelled, bringing the gap since the last ministerial gathering to 147 days. Elsewhere on the BBC news website I have penned a piece reminding readers of the roots of the problem.
Neither the DUP nor Sinn Fein were interviewed for a companion report going out on tonight's BBC Newsline at 6.30pm. Is that because
a) they are embarrassed talking about it or
b) their secret talks are on the brink of a breakthrough?
Perhaps we will know more after the DUP Executive on Friday night, or after the "behind closed doors" briefing Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are set to give the Assembly Executive and Review Committee on Tuesday. Yesterday the FM and DFM were in London talking to Gordon Brown about devolution and various financial concerns, another sign that a resolution may be on the cards.
Next week the Ulster Unionists have an Assembly motion for debate "requiring" the Executive to meet immediately. So if this is passed, will it have a more binding impact on the Executive than last week's 11 plus vote had on Caitriona Ruane?
I'm told that even though the Assembly may "require" a meeting there's still a contrasting requirement for the FM and DFM to agree to call one. So whilst the legislature can pass laws and hold the Executive to account via committees it cannot instruct ministers to meet. Instead, they only have to be "mindful" of its decisions.
Whilst compiling my Newsline report I visited the Belfast Telegraph to interview its News Editor, Ronan Henry, about its daily reminder of the time which has elapsed since the last Executive meeting. Whilst I was there I asked about the paper's "guess the date of the next Executive" competition. Noone seemed to know much about it, but for those who missed it here's a link.