Sunday, 16 February 2014


It was a proper treat to wake up this morning. The sky was powder blue and the sun was blindingly bright. The air had a softness to it. I didn't mind that the Northern line wasn't running between Archway and Highgate, it meant I had a little longer in the fresh air, which I found balancing, somehow.

I saw the political journalist Andrew Marr being interviewed by Jonathan Ross last night, which I found both chilling and heartwarming. Marr, a self-proclaimed workaholic, had a stroke a couple of years ago, which wrecked the left hand side of his body and left him walking with a stick. The stroke happened after a period of ridiculous hard work, and, slightly more ludicrously, a session on a rowing machine where he pushed himself a little too hard. It seems so innocuous, but it almost killed him; a genuine lesson for us all...

Marr was very philosophical about what had happened and took up painting and drawing as a form of therapy. He can't sharpen pencils or do anything useful with his left hand, but his artwork is simply wonderful, in fact he's just written a book about the joys of painting. What I found most heartwarming however, was his optimism. He never once complained that half of his body didn't work. Instead he spent a lot of time talking about the beauty of nature, the joy of life, and how he simply wants to try and capture as much of it as he can in art.

As I walked through the sleepy Sunday morning streets of North London, I begin to realise that Marr is right. As human beings we've been awarded with many unique attributes. High on this list is the ability to appreciate and interpret great beauty. So I suppose if there's any moral to this story it's that we should make sure we find the time every day to appreciate the inherent beauty around us, because none of us knows how long we have left on this wonderful planet.

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