Tuesday, 17 March 2015

A blog from 30,000 feet

The weirdest thing happens to me at altitude. Granted it's normally after a couple of glasses of wine at an odd time of day, but even so.

I get emotional.

Having just watched two British films in quick succession, firstly the one with Sherlock playing the Enigma dude. Then the one about Stephen Hawkin, I feel the need to share.

The latter film had me booing on and off throughout.

A love story underpinned by the tale of one of the most intellectual men on the planet I'd imagine.

It obviously got me thinking.

In part how insignificant I am. Which sounds somewhat melancholy so let's move on.

But more importantly reminded me that my own father went to Oxford. Is an eminent professor of chemistry.

Has a sharp wit. A brilliant mind. Yet my own kids only really know him as granda'.

Worse still, if I'm truly honest I only know him as dad.

What of his true passion. His field of chemical catalysis. His discovery of compounds that have reshaped the motor industry or made farming more sustainable.

It made me think, through the tears I might add, that I owe it to him, and to myself, to get to know my father.

The whole man, not just the one who has cared and nurtured me. Who has got me out of trouble. Had my back. And never ceased to be proud of me.


Another tear left my eye then. Hence the dramatic pause, in my head if not yours.

Reflecting like this in the heady world we occupy is so seldom done.

And more than that, forty year old men like me are not usually accustomed to sharing those inner thoughts that bubble up when feeling emotional.


The genius that solved the enigma took his own life. Aged just 42. A gay man persecuted for his sexuality. Shocking really. A war hero only recently honoured.

The man who wrote a brief history of time was struck down in his prime by motor neurone disease. But still to this day is considered one of the most influential thinkers on the planet.

Both stories tragic and uplifting in equal measure.

Historians estimate the enigma breaker helped shorten the war by two years and hence saved 14m lives.

While Hawkin may have explained both the beginning and the end of the universe.

I on the other hand know how to sob at
30,000 feet and drink wine.

I also know I must seize the moment on my return from the US to spend quality time with my dad. To hear his story so I can pass it on in years to come.

But let me also tell you this.

One thought I hold dear, is that I've been lucky enough in my life to discover happiness.

I'm happy.

Not always, not all of the time.

Not ecstatic. But happy enough. Satisfied with my lot.

And that reality in anyone's book is worth more than anything else in the universe.