For the last few years of my working life I commuted to London five days a week. Given the time at which I travelled, there were only a handful of people on the train in the morning until we got nearer to London when it started to get crowded. I was always able to get a seat and, with only the few regular travellers, we generally sat in the same seats each day. One of my fellow travellers always wanted to sit on the left-hand side of the train because, as he explained one day, he wanted to take in the view as we crossed the Balcombe Viaduct. The views to the west were wonderful, especially shortly after dawn with mist gently rising from the fields.
Despite learning not to take that view for granted, I generally completely ignored other magnificent views on the journey. After leaving London Bridge station, the train travelled on tracks raised well above ground level and passed very close to Southwark Cathedral before crossing the River Thames. As we crossed the river there was a great view downstream to Tower Bridge, with glimpses of HMS Belfast (a WWII cruiser now a museum) and the Tower of London. The Monument stood proud of the buildings in that part of the City and, as though keeping watch over everything, there was the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Nowadays I frequently remind myself not to take things for granted. I did so this morning as I stood on the southern rampart of the Roman Camp, gazing out across the city to the blue sea, the Isle of Wight only just a smudge on the horizon. I thought how lucky I am to live where I do with such magnificent views so close to home. And I thought, too, that I must never take for granted my ability to walk across the fields, to see those glorious views and to hear the wind in the trees.
There are few people as lucky as I, and I am truly thankful.