EASEDOWN week five and there’s something in the air. It’s becoming more noticeable by the day, a steady intermittent drone. What is that strange noise? Ahhh … that’ll be the planes gradually taking to the skies again.

Living on a flight path has been markedly more peaceful of late. Not that I ever notice them rumbling overhead after all these years. Rather, it was the eery quiet of which I became acutely aware in the early days of lockdown. The silence was almost louder than the distant growl of jet engines.

Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement last week that the quarantine restrictions were being lifted for travellers arriving from Spain raised the spirits of many in Scotland, a nation which has a had a long and passionate holiday romance with the sun-kissed destination.

I wish bon voyage to those heading off abroad; and a safe return. But I’m sorry if I can’t share your enthusiasm, much as I love to travel.

The sheer logistics of social distancing in airports, going through security, on the plane, negotiating passport control … it all seems like too much hassle for a wee blink of sunshine and a sangria or two. Travel insurance is skyrocketing and I’ve heard there’s a mountain of paperwork to complete and all sorts of bureaucratic hoops through which to jump before you can even think of dusting down your sombrero.

Once you actually hit the beach … well, you may well have to book a slot on which to spread your towel and plant your bucket and spade. After a possible lengthy queue. But, hey – you’ll have got used to queuing by the time you’ve eventually negotiated your way as far as the shores of the Med.

And that’s before you’ve even concerned yourself about the risk of actually catching this nasty virus whilst on the move.

So happy holidays … but please stay safe.

There’s another family feeling the pinch of restrictions this year, although it’s not Benidorm that’s their destination of choice.

The Queen’s visit to Balmoral this summer is likely to be very different from the norm.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said arrangements for the visit in early August “will be in line with the relevant guidelines and advice”.

Visitors from two other households will be able to meet her at a time at Balmoral Castle, under current Scottish Government rules, with a recommendation for a maximum of eight people at a time when inside. This is only possible with social distancing and “strict hygiene measures”.

This, I don’t imagine, will be too tricky in the roomy environs of a castle with a squad of housekeepers on hand.

Guidance indicates four other households will be able to meet the Queen at a time when outside – but with no more than 15 people in total in the group. For both indoors and outdoors, a cap of four households a day has been put in place – just those and such as those; an exclusive circle of acquaintances. Nothing new there, one wouldn’t suppose.

In fact, have the royals not been practising social distancing for centuries now?