THIS week sees the end of Scottish Parliament recess, and next week the Scottish Government will present its programme for the parliamentary year ahead.

However, recess never actually happened – Parliament has continued to meet throughout the summer to deal with Covid-19 and related issues.

It is a moment to pause and reflect, though. Over the summer, we have seen lockdown partially eased but that is not proving easy.

Cases are rising again. The Government has had to slow down its ‘route map’ to opening society up, and that has led to what seem like contradictions.

Pubs and restaurants open, but gyms and swimming pools closed; young adults wearing face coverings in supermarkets but not in schools; a list of ‘quarantine’ countries which changes almost daily.

If this is the ‘new normal’, then in some ways it is proving harder than everyone being locked down. We all applauded the NHS as it coped so well with the virus peak, but many constituents are becoming frustrated at how long it is taking to open up for their routine treatments or operations.

Only weeks ago we were hailing Scotland as doing so much better than England.

It turns out the pandemic numbers were just being counted differently, and local lockdowns around Manchester were followed by Annan and Aberdeen. Scottish people have proven just as likely to flock to the beach or ill-advised house parties as anyone else.

Everyone’s patience is being tested now. We can do this, though. Remember the community spirit which saw resilience groups form in all of our towns and villages? Remember clapping for the NHS and social care workers? Remember looking out for vulnerable neighbours and friends? It is time to rediscover that solidarity and keep on looking out for, and looking after, each other.