After three days south of the border last week I have returned to East Gordon uplifted by an experience I enjoyed in Englandshire. And before you say it, no I was not at the Labour Conference in Brighton. No political gathering could ever bring about what I believe was a life-changing three days.
For starters Oxford, my place of residence, is a magnificent place to visit, an historical city, full of character, while quiet enough to enjoy now that the tourists have gone.
The purpose of my visit was to look up a young nephew who tragically lost his wife Catrina to the big C last month, and as I had not been able to go to the funeral, I made the decision to give Chris a belated, morale-boosting visit.
I admit to being a little apprehensive about the visit, as the young man - I say young, he is in fact all of 46, but then that’s a mere spring chicken when compared to me - has not been handed the best of hands in life, having been confined to a wheelchair as the consequence of a motor cycle accident in 1989.
I need not have worried, as far from indulging in any self pity, Chris has adopted a positivity in life, making me more than a little ashamed that I had harboured such negative thoughts prior to my visit.
This, after all, is the young man who not only put his disability behind him, but went on to forge a highly-successful career in one of the top UK hospitals, while marrying his nurse four years after the accident.
My visit turned out to be an opportunity to celebrate the life of Catrina and all she stood for, while being shown round one of the loveliest places right in the middle of rural England, though too close to London for my comfort.
My guide was in fact my nephew who seemed to know every nook and cranny in the city, and so proud of the city’s ability to provide so many good facilities for the disabled, something I will not be able to do for him when he comes to the North-east.
Here in affluent Ellon there is nothing to suggest that we are even remotely near to catering for the disabled.
But there I go harping back to my own negativity, when I should be taking a leaf out of my nephew’s book, and more positively help Aberdeenshire and local traders address some of the issues that face the disabled community.
But for those of you who have admitted to quite liking grumpy Jack, don’t worry he is not likely to go away in a hurry.
Leopards don’t easily change their spots, but inspired by young Chris I might just be a little more positive in columns to come, not that I intend to back off taking on some of the social justices that I come across on my travels in the area.