Garden Lobby, Holyrood, Tuesday: warm handshakes, air kissing, chat, gossip. It's as if they've never been away.
Except that rather a lot has changed in the interim - prompting a few puzzled glances from the wicked media, mustered as ever to glean information.
Now, hold on. Is that a new Labour list MSP?
If it is, are congratulations in order for individual success - or commiserations for collective failure? Bit of both?
Three topics under discussion. Firstly, genuine, cross-party sadness at the death of David Cairns MP.
He was a man of wit, dignity, intellect and integrity - as evidenced by his principled resignation from government and so much more.
My sympathies to his family.
As more than one said to me, such an event contextualises all else. Memento mori.
Before that sad news broke, the chat in the lobby was about a couple of other topics: the election (aftermath) and the election (Presiding Officer).
PO first. Would it be seen as too domineering if the post went to an SNP member, given that they have an overall majority?
No, say Nationalists. They recollect that David Steel was the PO in the first Parliament when his Liberal Democrat party were in coalition.
But doesn't the overall majority change things? (An inquiry, I stress, not an argument.)
One or two Nationalists I spoke to said they could see a bit of a point there - but not enough to make them vote for one of the names in the frame from a rival party, such as Hugh Henry.
They noted, with approbation, that Mr Henry had issued a statement indicating that Alex Salmond was entitled, given his mandate, to choose the timing of his proposed referendum on independence.
However, they also recollected instances of hyper-partisan comments from the said Hugh Henry which tended to turn them in a different direction.
To stress, this is not a group decision, not a matter for a whip. As witness, there are two SNP candidates in the picture already, Tricia Marwick and Christine Grahame. I encountered supporters of both.
The vote tomorrow is iterative: that is, it is repeated with the lowest-ranked candidate dropping out at each ballot until a 50% vote is obtained.
Designed to ensure wide-ranging support for the winner. Bit like that, you know, AV thingy which attracted such resounding enthusiasm last week.
The other topic, of course, is the election. Umpteen opinions, of course. I found the views of Labour MSPs, that diminished band, the most intriguing.
They had caught up with my sundry musings on the topic, on aspiration et alia.
Nothing I could say, one assured me, was as blunt as the comments being delivered internally.
A commonly expressed view was that Labour lost the 2011 election in 2007 - by failing to grasp that defeat then was real and meaningful, not a freak to be overturned by one more heave.
Equally, there was disquiet at the negative tone of the campaign.
One noted the argument that devolution came into its own "now that the Tories are back."
Wrong, said my interlocutor. Labour was supposed to be pro-devolution in all circumstances, not just political adversity at Westminster.
Plus there was grumbling about the anti-independence turn.
Too negative, too easily deflected by promises of a referendum, too little relevance to immediate concerns.
One told me that last-minute leaflets from HQ, warning of impending doom, had been neatly filed in the nearest bin.