Alex Salmond admits there have been moments he’s forgotten he’s no longer First Minister and has to stop himself from launching into action when something happens in Scotland.
Every second of his life used to be meticulously planned.
So how is a man who is used to having each and every moment of his day accounted for coping with his new-found freedom?
Mr Salmond begins to laugh as he admits there have been moments he’s reached out to pick up the phone to co-ordinate an emergency response.
But the laughter dies when he remembers it’s not his responsibility any more, and has to bite his tongue.
“It’s only happened once or twice, and the only time it’s happened is when something has occurred, like the weather bomb hitting Scotland,” he said.
“But it’s just for an instance and it’s no more than an instance. Then I think ‘No, no, Nicola is dealing with that’. It’s a habit.”
I ask him if he’s finding it hard to adapt.
“Do I miss it? Yes, of course I loved being First Minister of Scotland,” he said, sadly.
“But I’m quite happy in terms of addressing what is to come.
“I have spent enough time in normal life for it not to be a problem and to be adjusted.”
‘Normal’ life for Mr Salmond centres on the four-bedroom converted mill he shares with Moira on the banks of the River Ugie at Strichen, Aberdeenshire.
He says he cannot see himself living anywhere else and is appreciative of the villagers who support and protect him.
It was in Strichen he celebrated his 60th birthday on Hogmanay.
When asked about the milestone, he’s quick to change the subject admitting he’s in complete denial about the age he’s reached.
“But you’re old enough to pick up your bus pass now? Surely you want to take advantage of that?” I ask.
“I’m not recognising it,” he says seriously. “I don’t even consider myself middle-aged yet.”
In a sort of celebration, Mr Salmond said he shut himself off from the world for a few days much to his wife’s delight and activated his “quiet time policy”.
“For five days I didn’t go beyond the precincts of the house,” he said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever done that.”