For three weeks now the residents and businesses in Londonderry have been staring ahead to a winter of discontent but look hard enough and you can find little pockets of city centre life where hope still springs eternal.
Fears of an economic tragedy of Shakespearean proportions have been staring the city in the face, with Covid infection rates spiralling out of control. It has been among the worst affected areas in Europe.
But for every tragedy, there is a comedy, moments of light relief.
Gone is the city's annual colourful Halloween extravaganza, costing thousands of visitors and millions of pounds. Had the intention been of replacing it with a ghost town, figures shuffling their way silently through the streets as darkness descends, organisers could hardly have done a better job.
But the sense of resilience has been growing.
There will still be a difficult few weeks ahead, but though the streets remain largely deserted, some are still standing strong in the midst of the storm and intend to remain defiant until calmer days return.
Many have felt cut off from the rest of the country, isolated for special treatment to curb the fast rising cases of Covid-19.
But while the sense of frustration and fear is still very much apparent and the rest of Northern Ireland has now joined the Derry and Strabane area in more stringent restrictions, search around the back streets off Shipquay Street and you can find those chinks of light to brighten up the darkest of winter days.
There the wagons have circled and if you take a step inside Craft Village, a hidden treasure, you'll find Maureen McGhee who runs Number 19, one of a number of independent craft stores.
"It's been tough," she said, "of course it has.
"But where there's life there's hope. There's not much footfall, but we'll be staying open. We have to give a little bit of normality for those who want it.
"We're at a stage where every single sale helps," she said. "That goes for all of us in the collective in Craft Village. This city deserves more than the empty streets we're seeing.
"In once respect it's a good sign that the streets are empty. People are taking it seriously this time, being more responsible. But we want to remind them that we're still here if they want us. They don't need to be fearful of coming into the city.
"There's still a real sense that we will prevail."
Like many small shop owners, Maureen has gone further than she was asked to.
"We've been selling online, but what we are offering is a booking system, with slots for people if they want to come in and browse. We want to offer a more personal care. We hope that's appreciated," she said.
Tucked away in a pretty square around the corner The Cottage Craft Gallery and Coffee Shop, housed in a whitewashed thatched cottage which should be a big attraction for tourists, has only one person inside.
Henk Swiegers, originally from South Africa, has been serving the people of Derry for 10 years, but he's never known anything like the past three weeks.
Duck in through the door and all the tables sit perfectly laid out, biding their time for the cafe culture to return. All he can offer right now is a takeaway.
"That's not what we're about at all," he said. "This is a place where people step off the high street, have a chat, socialise. There's none of that going on as you can see."
It's a place that's all about delivering a customer experience, a slice of Irish charm off the well-beaten tracks of the main shopping streets.
"I've never seen anything like this in my life," he said. "It's definitely a different feel in this second wave. People are more fearful, more apprehensive about coming out. The only thing I can do is try to adapt and see this through.
"It will come to an end and for now I do have my loyal customers who go out of their way to come here."
The Halloween crowds would have been a major bonus to help the recovery from the summer lockdown.
"Of course that's a major blow to all the businesses in the city centre. We should have had thousands. We'll have next to nothing. I'm already resigned to the next six weeks being terrible, but I'm positive I'll still be here."
The perfect host, he offers a coffee to go on the house, but I've a lengthy road trip ahead so decline with thanks.
"You see how bad it is, I can't even give the coffee away!" he joked.
One man who you think would have seen it all before is Ken Thatcher, but this is all new, even to him.
For 30 years he's been running an independent book store in the city centre. It's the sort of place that attracts collectors, some even making the journey over from the mainland for much coveted reading material.
Now semi-retired, he sees his Foyle Books store as more of a hobby than a livelihood these days, but still feels the pain of a city suffering around home.
Appropriately enough, the door of his store opens on to Magazine Street, which runs alongside Derry's famous walls.
"I've hardly seen a customer in three weeks," he said.
"Last year we had tourists streaming down the walls. Guided tours went past all day long. People called in to look around. But you have to keep a sense of humour. We're in a ghost town instead.
"There are a lot of nail parlours and hair salons around here but they're shut," he said. "There's no reason for people to be here so there's no-one coming in even to browse. It can be a long, lonely day here on your own. The town centre has been dead for three weeks now and the only real sales I'm seeing are through the online shop.
"But what is good to see is that they're getting work in the street done when it's quiet," he said. "You always have to look in the bright side.
"And I can look back to see what happened after the first lockdown in summer. In July and August business really picked up. I can't remember ever being busier and that gave the business something to lean on for a few weeks.
"The hope is there that if we can stick this out, better times are around the corner for us all."