Column: Relishing the simple things in life

John Griff
John Griff

Our columnist John Griff reflects on some of life’s simple pleasures in his column this week...

Have you noticed anything different about day-to-day life this week compared to a week ago? Anything which has made life easier?

Perhaps arriving at work a little earlier and in a better mood?

It is one of those times of the year when, as well as the schools having a brief holiday, so, too, do the nation’s commuters. It’s been really welcome to see fewer lorries on the road, shorter queues of cars and less white van racing going on too.

It’s as though in some way the hands of the clock have been briefly turned back to a time when there was significantly less traffic on the road and we could all get about rather more easily. Enjoy it while it lasts!

The relatively quiet time on the road this week has allowed me to take in rather more of my surroundings during my own commute than is normally the case.

I have noted the lengthening of the day with dawn arriving rather more early than during the past few months and dusk rolling in rather later. With the longer days and the simple pleasure of watching not only the sun rise but also the moon set, my mood improves substantially.

On Tuesday morning of this week, there were wonderful examples of both.

Leaving home early and in darkness, I was struck by the very bright full moon which, illuminated by an as- yet unrisen sun, cast a glow across the Northamptonshire countryside.

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of man’s first footprints on the moon’s face and there will be plenty of opportunity to talk about this particular milestone. For now, as well as the sight of it, I was struck by the knowledge that on the unseen far side, China’s robotic lunar experiments are continuing.

Simultaneous to the setting of the moon was the rising of the sun and, as it happened, I became aware of about a dozen, golden lit comet-like trails from unseen airliners streaking across the sky, while canal boats sat quietly at their moorings while I drove over a nearby bridge.

There were also the dark silhouettes of tens of thousands of trees which I drive past every day and otherwise constantly fail to note; in places there was also a wonderful low-lying mist hugging the ground.

I have a tendency to see things in a photographic way. I cannot draw or paint for the life of me, but I can see a photograph before it is taken.

I was once told by the late local artist John Luce Lockett that there is a reason for this. I’m left handed, but right-eye dominant, so I see things from a particular perspective.

Tuesday provided a world of opportunity, albeit from behind the steering wheel of my car as I drove past each potential shot. Each image in my mind added to a growing sense of well-being at the sharp end of my working day. But only because I was sufficiently able to appreciate it.

Thinking back, there was something else that I had taken a break from.

Normally I listen to the news of the day on my journey to work. On Tuesday I didn’t do so, preferring instead to listen to music. I think that accompaniment, rather than the latest doom-laden headlines, had really made a difference.

Sometimes it pays to take a break in order to be able to see what really matters.