With Boris Johnson's recent announcement of a further easing of lockdown, enabling groups of up to six to now mingle in gardens, it seemed that people could not wait to renew contact with family and friends - that is until McDonald's reopened its doors and they shot off to join the queues instead.

And now non-essential shops are set to follow suit and many other people will be poised to snap up some summer bargains as soon as those shutters come up.

But there are surely others who are more keen to drag their heels when it comes to our making a return to our normal sociable selves.

While the gradual release from lockdown is, of course, just what our local businesses need - we all get that - here's betting that some are feeling just that bit sorry that we're no longer being told we absolutely must stay at home, where quite frankly we’re probably at our happiest.

The stay home rule was a simple and straightforward one - and we stuck to it. It became the accepted reason why we could not arrange that big get-together or party at home - it just isn't allowed, what a shame - when secretly we are relieved we don't have to go to the effort.

It's like the - pre-lockdown relief - of hearing a big night out on the town had been cancelled before you'd gone to the effort of putting on the make-up and digging out the heels. Even better was the fact you hadn't been the one to bail first.

But now there looms on the horizon a return to those days of making an effort with our appearance, getting back out there and, in a post-lockdown future, having to re-acclimatise to a party night out.

So, with that prospect in sight, here we suggest are things we'll miss - however much we want to see our family and friends again.

Food deliveries and the takeaway excuse

How exciting is it getting deliveries to the door? It hardly even matters what you've ordered, the whole process of scouting about online, treating yourself - because after all you're not spending money in the pub - is about the most fun we can have in lockdown.

And you won't miss the parcel arrival because you're working from home.

Even better, the likes of a beer box or food takeaway have become a way of supporting local business at a time of need. And there's none of that awkward doorstep chat or guilt over whether to tip because we're all social distancing and nobody's handling money. Perfect.

Ditching the heels and hanging up the tie

Heels, ties, who remembers them? One of the utter blessings of lockdown is that you've been able to consign those instruments of torture to the back of the wardrobe, along with most of your collection of work clothes because what's the point in wearing anything other than casuals when you can be seen only from the waist-up during those Zoom meetings.

And if you can't be bothered to change out of your dressing gown then you can always 'accidentally' forget to click on the camera. Whether your colleagues are taken in, or even notice, doesn't matter. Your house, your rules. Everyone else is too busy trying to angle their screen away from their grey roots or breakfast dishes anyway.

All of that is going to be a huge miss. The prospect of struggling around town after learning how to walk in heels again is not a happy one.

Birdsong

Being able to hear birds instead of traffic has been one of the unexpected highlights of lockdown.

As the weeks have gone on, a quiet has descended upon our streets unlike any we've known and the silence - especially in the evening without the constant hum of cars and distant clamour of pub-goers - has been broken only by the song and chatter of birds and, until recently, the Thursday night pot-banging of Clap for Carers.

But prepare for nature - and ourselves - getting a rude awakening as the cars, buses and lorries give short shrift to any nesting ducks at railway stations and lingering deer in the Bigg Market.

Getting to know your neighbours

Not just getting to know them - when you've only ever shared a nod across the street before - but actually getting to quite like them.

The all-in-this-together mood back in March was the start of it, with neighbours being far more friendly and the likes of past parking spats soon forgotten when no-one's taking their car out anyway.

Then the communal Thursday clapping sealed the deal - woe betide any neighbour below pensionable age who did not join in - and by VE Day the jolly war-time spirit was in full flow.

But now, just as BBQ invitations seemed a very real future possibility, normal life has started creeping back.

Getty generic image of Happy couple watching tv / film online in a laptop and eating popcorn lying on a comfortable sofa at home
Lockdown has opened up all kinds of virtual escapes to enjoy from the comfort of home

House holidays

Ok, we may have lost out on our planned trips to Tenerife and the sparkling Greek islands but we're saving a small fortune - and that's just on the new holiday clobber we would have bought to impress in the sun.

But then came a new novelty: a holiday at home, when that week you'd booked off work now meant an enforced lock-in which actually turned out to be fun.

With odd jobs and household tasks firmly ruled out, spending time getting reacquainted with your home - which had become little more than a stop-gap between work and nights out - reminded you what you'd liked about it when you first moved in.

And there was nothing to stop you recreating those holiday cocktails and long tapas lunches. Or, for those who had intended spending their week off in the Lakes, pitching a tent in the garden and getting the fire pit going was the next best thing - and if it rained then you really felt you were on holiday.

Working from home

Work from home if you can became the Government mantra and all of a sudden it seemed that so many people could it made you wonder what the point had been in ever going to the office.

Even those who had never wanted, or tried, working from their kitchen table or unused box room became quickly used to it - save for the occasional interruption from bored kids, a bored dog or cold calls inisting that your internet provider was about to cut you off.

And then we got to really like it - being able to pop the kettle on whenever you wanted; stepping into the garden for a five-minute breather, being there when the postman came and getting to know your street's daytime routines from the window were all pluses.

We will mourn their loss when we're back at our desks.

Learning new skills

Judging by social media, lockdown families are filling their days with all manner of new experiences guaranteed to make them more accomplished and altogether better people.

With so many online possibilities, including free courses and classes, on offer, there are some set to emerge from lockdown with a whole new CV of achievements.

Some have already learned a new language - really? - while others have tried their hand at painting; learned the yoga Lotus Pose; perhaps tried a tentative toe at ballet and inevitably 'upcycled' a piece of furniture.

The great fear post-lockdown - especially when the freebies are gone - will be of reverting to our normal uninspired technophobic selves.

Surprise guests

Everyone knows the moment: you're just about to sit down to tea or you've just put on your not-to-be-seen-outdoors shorts and are laid out flat in the garden, when a visitor arrives, which has you scrambling and cursing.

Lockdown has afforded us an escape, albeit a temporary one, from the unexpected intrusion of an aunt you haven't seen in yonks or a friend who was just passing by and fancies a three-hour chat.

If you're feeling less than sociable, then knowing that the doorbell won't be making you start - unless it's that delivery man with a parcel and he's forgiven - has been a big relief.

But that peace won't last.

Ditching the make-up

After a first few days of anxiety over abandoning our protective covers of foundation and lipstick, the new bare-face look has felt utterly liberating.

While we might make an effort for a Saturday night Houseparty, no-one misses the faff of make-up and everyone has noticed how much money they've saved. The same goes for not being able to visit the hairdressers. Every cloud.

Spurred on, we might have followed up by digging out our old glasses so we can take a break from contact lenses too.

But, if we're ever to be recognisable again to our colleagues and friends, the post-lockdown beauty regime is going to mean lots of pruning and preening.

Nicer people

Everyone seems just that bit nicer in lockdown. Even social media, especially at the start, saw lots of people rise to the challenge of finding new ways to cheer, support and entertain others and it's proved heart-warming stuff.

Volunteers in the community put notes through the doors of the elderly and vulnerable, offering to buy some essentials, walk a dog or collect a prescription. That they've had to make special mention in their message that the offer is without charge perhaps shows how unused we've become to free offers of help.

Shops are doing their bit, with the vulnerable given priority and even banks and car insurance companies have been cutting people a bit of slack in our troubled times.

And it's all been so welcome. In the emotional early stages of lockdown, a smile from a passing stranger in the street could bring a tear to the eye but now - with lockdown easing and nerves more fraught over who's properly social distancing - the scowls are coming back.

Houseparty and Zoom calls

The video platforms still will be there post-lockdown of course but we won't feel the same need for the essential catch-ups with mates that we eagerly look forward to each week.

Now a firm part of our new routine, the arrival of the scheduled hour generates such excitement that we've poured and downed our first drink as we wait to be admitted to that all-important gathering.

And it's a guarantee that no-one's cancelled - like you can never be sure they won't for a proper night out - because everyone feels the same. Even if you've only got the free 40 minute-limit Zoom call, it's amazing what you can all squeeze in and what a boost you get from the chat.

Pets and kids

It might have been fair to mention each on its own but whether you've one or the other, or both, extra time with these loved ones has become a valued treat.

Yes, parents may have frayed nerves and extra stress over home-school responsibilites - and they no doubt have run out of ideas of how to keep young ones occupied well before the official start of the summer school holidays - but on the whole the whole family has been benefitting from spending more time together just enjoying everyday stuff like cooking and talking.

As for pets, dogs have been almost sick with excitement at having their owners home all day, with reports of one needing veterinary treatment for an overwagged tail. And even if your dog has made a nuisance of itself by interrupting work or bringing you a ball when you've just sat down, you're going to miss having your furry friend - who's been stuck to your side 24 hours a day - once you've gone back to the office.

And your devoted pal is going to miss you too. Cats couldn't care less either way.