You know you’re never too far away from a crisis when Boris Johnson is in town.
At the Thales missile factory in east Belfast the Prime Minister arrived for a tour.
The weapons are playing a role in the UK effort to aid Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Fresh from his round of talks with political leaders in Hillsborough, the Prime Minister’s sleek black 4X4 was escorted in by police outriders.
There appeared to be more people in his entourage than actually work in the factory itself.
There was going to be a wait before any audience with Mr Johnson was granted.
A grand tour of the substantial factory started to run behind schedule.
The forecasted thunderstorms of the afternoon did not materialise. Instead, we sat and baked for an hour in the room.
Johnson’s media team supplied us with water as the heat mounted, much as it has mounting on the Prime Minister himself.
The few members of the media granted access were instead escorted to, appropriately enough, the Bushmills room.
Echoes of scandals gone by were quickly remarked upon. Would anyone dare broach the subject of alcohol and Partygate?
But Partygate, Covid fines, and the circus that surrounded it were not on the agenda today.
Instead, it was the circus around the protocol and the talks just finished in Hillsborough, which he very quickly admitted had been “robust”.
He was in ebullient form, jumping off his seat as access was granted to the meeting room. His press team hovered around him, but he was pleased to see someone from the Belfast Telegraph.
“I’m joining the team,” he joked. “I used up quite a bit of space this morning. I hope it went down well.”
A former newspaper man himself, he knows how to put someone at ease. He also knows how to answer a question without really telling you anything.
Asked about why anyone here should trust him, he deflected that back to the reason for his visit.
“I want to see the NI Assembly up and running, that’s why I’m here,” he said, maintaining the charm and the “I’m telling you what you want to hear” charisma.
And with him, there was plenty of that.
What was lacking so far was the substance to merit his bravado, his certainty that all five parties he had spoken to know there was a problem that needed fixed and that he’s the man to fix it.
He may well believe that, but whether others agree could be the next crisis on the horizon.
The eyes and ears of our politicians and those with a vested interest in the protocol will be trained on Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to see what the next move of the Prime Minister will be.
Trust in Truss — and trust in Johnson — is lacking. Winning it back with wise sounding words which are in danger of neither being strong enough for one side, nor faithful enough to the Good Friday Agreement for the other, is an almost impossible balance to strike.
Feathers are likely to be as ruffled as Johnson’s famous blond hair no matter what materialises, but by that time he will be in Westminster.
“I’ll be back,” he said in Terminator style as we finished a 10-minute chat, with three questions asked and no one much the wiser following his answers.
If he is true to his word, and is back in Belfast soon, that probably means the protocol crisis will still be far from over.