No, not the "new normal" - a vile phrase, therefore I use it not*- but the normality of a Sunday before the plague. Of course there are differences - normal was going to church at the usual time, but there was no singing other than my own and the host tasted strongly of sanitiser; the congregation still looked like bank robbers - but today reminded me of countless Sundays over the years we've lived here because of the way the fear induced by the pandemic receded into the background.
I reflected, however, as we stood outside church afterwards, that there is a tendency to see people we know as being unlikely to infect us with anything - and that is stupid. It is, in fact, just as stupid as the people who flock into pubs or jostle in the street without masks or distancing - they feel at home, safe in these situations, in a way I cannot because they're not my usual milieu. Normal can be dangerous, because it's a perception as much as anything.
But this afternoon I had another walk with my pal and abandoned Mr PB to The Cupboard That Needs Sorting. We met at Ardnadam, but instead of heading to the Neolithic settlement and on from there (the bridge has never been repaired or replaced and I didn't fancy the stepping-stones) we climbed up along the forest track and out onto the hillside where recent felling has opened out grand views. We felt miles from other people (although we did in fact pass a couple), high above Dunoon and then Sandbank, high above the Holy Loch, high above infection and danger and restrictions. We stopped to stare at an immobile slow worm on the track (alive, because not there when we returned.) We walked about 10 kilometres and talked the whole time, except for a short burst of online communication with family who often come and stay with us at this time - they had found a forest in Fife to replicate the Cowal experience!
Blipping the view of Glenkin, as the mists cleared enough to let us see the hills.
*Polonius, in Shakespeare's Hamlet.