Let’s face it, 2020 has been pretty much a write-off for most people.

Holidays cancelled, trips to see family and friends impossible during recent months, even the weather has been dismal since around mid-June - if you had a year planner, you’ve already probably ripped it up and thrown it in a waste bin by now.

But, at last, there are some signs that normality is making a return (I won’t use ‘new normal’, as it is one of those over-used phrases that has suddenly become prevalent and which seems to be thrust upon us at every opportunity).

Shops are beginning to reopen, although many still have limited opening hours.

A lot of pubs and restaurants made a comeback last Saturday – albeit with social distancing measures in place – and holiday parks are also available for those who want to get away from home for a while.

It’s good news although, while Kendal seemed a bit busier than in recent months when I went into town on Saturday morning, the atmosphere still felt rather subdued.

People have been accustomed to not spending very much during the months of lockdown and it is going to take some time for them to get back into the spending habit - particularly as the country faces an extended period of economic uncertainty.

The reopening of the tourism industry is, obviously, hugely important for the Lake District and surrounding area. Tourism is the lifeblood of our local economy and a large chunk of this year’s summer season has been lost.

Many people will be reluctant to risk venturing abroad just yet, so holidays and breaks in this country are likely to be a popular option as people try to salvage something out of the year. This area needs visitors but things are not entirely back to normal yet, so care needs to be taken.

People should follow the social distancing rules and be sensible. And if you arrive somewhere and it looks really busy and you feel uncomfortable, then choose to go somewhere else instead.

If necessary, take the road ‘less travelled by’. The Lake District is a big place and this is an ideal opportunity to discover some of its quieter areas – the Eden Valley, the west coast and lovely spots like Crummock Water, for example.