GLASGOW'S level three purgatory finally ended on Saturday and with the drop to level two came a return of my three favourite things: cinema, the beach and hugging.

Tomorrow I'm hitting up Troon. I don't care if the weather breaks and a cyclone whirls itself anticlockwise across Ayrshire - my toes are going in the Firth of Clyde.

Had a wee cinema trip on Sunday with more booked in for this week. A seat in the dark with an enforced phone ban and a big, silly story reeling out on a big, shiny screen - glorious.

But in level two I'm mostly here for the hugging. I've been banging on for the past 15 months about wanting to hug my mum again. It's been awful having to keep a strict distance all this time and the anticipation of being able to give her a wee squeeze has been motivation to keep going through all the restrictions.

I've never fancied myself a hug obsessive. On a scale from Jacob Rees-Mogg ("I'm not really a touchy-feely person") to Joanna Lumely, who said she'd hug anything that moved, I'm somewhere in the middle.

After a year of distanced living, I want nothing but full body squeezes, a bit breathless, slightly overly-long. Just some hugs man. I feel so starved of human contact I'm in danger of licking my friends when I see them.

Recently, I was interviewing the CEO of a charity over video call and we were having a wee whine about Zoom fatigue. One thing led to another and we got to talking about what the end of lockdown will mean for single people and the resumption of dating.

According to recent reports, condom sales have been soaring over the past few months. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has joined forced with dating ups to try to boost the uptake of vaccinations in the under-30s by giving those who add their vaccination status to their profile a few, um, extra benefits.

If you're on Tinder, Match, Hinge, Bumble, Badoo, Plenty of Fish, OurTime or Muzmatch - some will be on all of the above - then you'll get "boosts", which promote your profile to potential dates.

Apparently, this is to be the "summer of love".

Early morning swimmers greet each other with hugs on Seaburn beach in Sunderland as covid restrictions are lifted

Early morning swimmers greet each other with hugs on Seaburn beach in Sunderland as covid restrictions are lifted

My desires feel much more innocent in comparison. It will be interesting to see how a year of a lack of contact affects dating. Will people veer away from apps as they crave immediate face-to-face interactions? Will it become common again to be chatted up in person, rather than online?

Over the past year, the importance of human contact has become every more plain. Some hug refuseniks will have felt utter relief as physical distancing meant the end to unwanted touch - no more unwelcome hugs, or pats on backs or arms around shoulders.

But for many others, touch is vital. Apparently hugs activate pressure receptors that help slow down the nervous system and reduce production of stress hormones. They just make us feel... better.

During the pandemic there were heartbreaking images of people holding one another through specially adapted plastic shower curtains, using arm holes and gloves, such was the need for some semblance of touch.

England, Wales and other parts of Scotland have had hugging back on the cards for a wee while now but it seems that people are still, rightly, proceeding with caution. We were, after all, told to embrace "cautious hugging", which presumably means don't lick your pals and try to keep the hug recipients to a minimum.

Will hugging ever return to pre-pandemic levels? There needs to be a whole new etiquette developed to deal with close contact. A way of politely saying yay or nay to hugs and offering an alternative. Or nothing at all. I'm hoping for an end to the elbow bump, personally. It's too politicians-trying-hard for my liking. Anything dubbed the "Boris bump" should not be granted the dignity of longevity.

Cut to Saturday and the big moment was finally here. I drop my bags on the floor, take a step forward and smoosh with abandon. There is a shriek in response, part delight, part horror. I'd say a 70/30 split to the latter.

I step back. "That was a bit much," she says.

Oh well. I'm clearly out of hugging practice but fingers crossed there's plenty of time left to get it right.