AH well, here we go again. A sniff of freedom followed by being confined to barracks. Can’t see that any of the politicians had much in the way of choice given the truly scary virus statistics.

What we all have in common is the fact that first time round it was a bit of a novelty. We came over all virtuous about the ways in which we contrived to keep ourselves to ourselves.

The hospitality trade found imaginative ways to keep at least part of their show on the road. The medics and carers knocked their collective pans in. Whilst the politicians calculated this was the swiftest way to slay the dragon. All of us thought we were in it for the short haul. And we could cope with that.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 'We must all take action to protect each other and the NHS'

For a while it looked as if we might be right. We damn nearly cleared out Covid this summer.

But there were other factors in play. Folks who couldn’t go on foreign holidays came to Scotland instead – we’re not New Zealand. We can’t just put up the shutters to keep out carriers.

Yet everyone on the front line became a little more savvy in terms of what treatments worked better, and how resources might be more innovatively used.

Even so, looming like very dark clouds on the horizon was the thought of what another wave of Covid might do to the autumn numbers, not to mention the “normal” onset of winter flu.

What few folk, outside the epidemiologists, factored in was the arrival of a variant on the virus we were tackling, one that could transmit more swiftly and more effectively.

READ MORE: 'Stay at home': coronavirus lockdown tightened across Scotland

As the gallows humourist in one of my workplaces used to assure his audience: “When one door shuts, another one slams in your face.”

Even so, this lockdown is not like the ones which punched us all in the guts before.

Provided the vaccines prove as effective with the mark two virus (and its inevitable successors) we are on course to get most of our lives back in the late spring or early summer.

We have a lot of heavy weather to get through first, it’s true. Sometimes literally, and it’s a sight more easy to sit at home when you can get outside in warm sun, rather than brave the horizontal rain in which the west coast so often specialises.

Yet we know so much more now about the ways in which people can be infected. Most of us are pretty scrupulous about mask wearing and handwashing. Now we have to be ever more vigilant about once more putting our social lives on hold.

The pain is short term, but the prize is surely worth it.

Read more news, views and local opinions here