George Mackay Brown called Thurso "small grey town by the sea" but there always has been colour if you know where to look.
It has been a strange year. Many have rushed to help. Compassion and love of colour is hard-wired into society. Although we never will be able to rub out the memories of Corona, we can bring back colour and become happy again albeit in different ways.
As we approach whatever normal now is going to be, welcoming visitors back will further gladden the hearts of all the citizenry.
Thurso always has had beautiful flowers provided by Highland Council tended by dedicated gardeners and voluntary groups. We are blessed still to have the colourful Sir John's Square which welcomes all to Thurso as they arrive by the A9, but other petalwork has dwindled over recent years partially because of lack of funding, partially because of lack of volunteers.
Last summer you may have seen Alexander Glasgow pruning the roses throughout Thurso. He has been helped by his gnome and other little friends - as well as humans - which has delighted children of all ages.
These are long-standing beds which gladdened the hearts of the citizenry and visitors alike. One reason they were blown away was because the beds are four feet above the pavement, thus giving a heavenly scent right at nostril level.
But some were becoming old and tired. He was very fortunate to have had a personal offer to replenish them, and subsequently planted 100 Margaret Merril, Peace, Queen Elizabeth, and Wendy Coussen roses.
We are investigating establishing a group, Thurso in Colour which should like to help create more greenspaces in Thurso and the Parish of Thurso. This is especially important given the loss of many of our beautiful cordyline palm trees during the February big-freeze.
This fundraiser is intended to give it a head-start. Any amount or any size will help provide more plants.
All across Caithness and the Far North, visitors bring money into our communities. They stay in our hotels and B&Bs. They eat in our restaurants which serve wonderful food from both the salt and the glaur. They buy from our local shops.
They take home wonderful memories.
Much of our local economy is related directly to tourism, in one way or another.
If the sight which greets you as you arrive in an area are beautiful tubs, sumptuous beds, and verdant hanging baskets on buildings, car parks, and along the pavement, then you know you are somewhere which is well cared for, where the citizenry are happy, and what matters really matters.
It lifts their spirits and gives a feeling of wellbeing and happiness. The citizenry feels comfortable and safe and this in turn makes them want to stay and retain their seedcorn for future years.
Thurso is the second largest town on the NC500, and the largest north of Inverness. This gives tourists an opportunity to see the wonderful sights all across northern Scotland. But just as we should not be just a stop off point for Orkney, we should not be a turning point for the rest of the NC500.
We are blessed to live in a beautiful town and fantastic county, with fresh air, amazing brochs and cairns, fascinating history, open muirland, and rugged coastal walks.
Long white nights in summer. The dancing colours of the Northern Lights in winter.
Before Corona, this brought visitors to us in their droves. If we want them to return and stay here and to return year after year, we need to provide that little bit of additionality to make Thurso more appealing than anywhere they visit.
This is a little bit extra which increases the joy of living in a community.
It is not just about our visitors, making Thurso look amazing is great for everyone who lives here too. The floral displays really lift the spirits and make all of us smile.
That only can be a good thing, can it not?
These displays need to be continued and if possible returned to the scale of years gone by. Highland Council remains committed to a core provision but with community donations, so much more can be achieved.
All funds will be ringfenced, and remain local. Our first priority will be to source from local suppliers. We shall consult with the relevant agencies. Copies of receipts could be shown to relevant community groups, and photographs published on social media.
Please can you help us make our wonderful town and parish pulsate with colour and good cheer as we emerge from the pall of Corona?