Well, that’s it then ... batten down the hatches for the long dark nights, cold winter winds, lashing rain, sleet and snow. Colds and flu and the winter vomiting bug. Clocks going back. Protracted isolation and restrictive health protection measures required for months to come.

Office workers retreating back to makeshift home offices. Garden and park meetings with a friends and family shortened or abandoned as the temperatures plummet and the chilly damp elements conspire against us. Guising at Hallowe’en binned. Firework displays dampened to nothing more than yet another poor substitute event on our TV screens.

Christmas family gatherings curtailed with the festive feast restricted to a household dinner with turkey shared by only a few... not even a midnight church service to replenish the soul.

And then New Year – a time often for tears and sad reflections rather than high jinks and frivolity for many of us. That may become even more reflective and thoughtful time of all as we remember the losses and sacrifices of 2020 and prepare for more of the same in 2021.

There’s little point trying to avoid the reality of what we’ve gone through and what we are about to endure. The more we have time to read and watch documentaries the more we realise that none of this is a natural coincidence. It should be evident already – or at least beginning to dawn on those yet to realise – that we have self mutilated ourselves and our planet.

We’ve broken the cycle of nature. Allowed species to be wiped out and new viruses to spread and thrive as a result. And as Covid-19 continues to plague us there are persuasive predictions that this is just the first of many such new viral infections coming our way.

In the background forests burn like never before and the ice melts like never before and famine threatens like never before.

I often marvel at how determined the very old and infirm battle on through the pains of aching bones, mental confusion and other horrid conditions in return for so few and fleeting moments of relief or to share a short simple moment of smile or lucidity …. perhaps we are all nearing a similar precarious situation.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this current shock was big enough to make humanity take a very different direction. What more could it possibly take to make us realise there are more important things than materialistic growth and endless consumerism and an addiction to financial wealth?

Ally McLaws is managing director of the McLaws Consultancy, specialist in business marketing and reputation management. All back copies of this column are available at www.mclawsconsultancy.com