I HAVE a new-found appreciation for our special part of the world.

We live in an area that is surrounded by the sea and we have some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain, along with the breathtaking and dramatic moors.

There is even beauty in many of our towns and cities. I was in my old home city of Truro last week and for a change I took some time to appreciate its pretty Georgian streets and the Cathedral.

It struck me how well it has stood the test of time and how so much has survived unchanged from its original design, or has been sympathetically restored.

For instance, the clock tower above the old City Hall has just been renovated.

It is once again providing a gentle ring to keep the people of Truro on time.

I hosted a charity concert in St Martin’s Church in Liskeard at the weekend. I had never been inside before. It is a beautiful building.

We may not like everything about our towns and cities, but there are gems in all of them.

I am not looking at it all through rose tinted glasses though.

I realise every part of Devon and Cornwall has areas that are rundown. Sadly we have too many high streets with empty shops and boarded up windows covered in graffiti.

Our roads could be much better. I hit a pothole the other day and had to spend £70 on a new tyre.

And the less said about our overcrowded hospitals and inconsistent rail services the better.

So why do I have a new-found appreciation for where we live despite its many faults?

One simple reason: the destruction and violence going on elsewhere in the world.

This year has seen one heartbreaking wave after another of tragedy, terrorism and natural disaster.

I used to think I was pretty hardened to it all. I was in the thick of it reporting on disasters of one kind or another for 30 years.

But, in the last few months, I have found it almost too much to bear.

There have been times when I have switched off the news or avoided it altogether. And I am not ashamed to say there have been times I have shed a tear.

The scale of the loss of life in places such as Ukraine and now Israel and Gaza is incomprehensible.

Along with seeing the painful and raw grief of the families being played out on television and social media, there are also the horrific descriptions of how those people have died.

The scale of savagery is beyond belief. It is truly impossible to understand the level of cruelty and hurt being inflicted by humans against fellow humans.

But it’s not just war. Countless lives have been lost this year alone through flooding, earthquakes and wildfires.

Which is why it is so hard to understand why people want to inflict so much suffering on others.

We have enough natural disasters to contend with without deliberately causing each other so much pain.

Alongside the human cost, which is impossible to put a price on, I have been struggling to watch the scale of destruction of entire towns and cities.

As if the grief isn’t enough to cope with, many families in these war-torn countries have no home.

In fact, they have nothing: no home, no community, no sanitation, no water, no warmth.

Whole neighbourhoods have been bombed to smithereens. How long did it take to build those homes? How long will it take to rebuild them? Will they ever be rebuilt?

It seems we have learned nothing from previous conflicts.

Successive world leaders have failed to find solutions. Old wounds remain open. Bitter enemies remain bitter enemies.

It is a truly sorry state of affairs, which is why I think I have been counting my blessings more than usual recently.

Our little corner of the world in Devon and Cornwall is far from perfect. We have our share of problems: crime, homelessness and poverty.

I don’t for one moment underestimate how hard life is for many families here. We are too often let down by our political leaders in this country.

But, as I watch in despair the destruction being wrought in so many parts of the world, I remain more thankful than ever that I live here.

Simple things such as going for a walk, breathing in fresh sea air, or being able to pop into a supermarket and buy food, have all taken on a new meaning for me recently.

Understandably we take it all for granted. We have lived in relative peace for decades. We don’t live under the threat of a bomb falling on our home.

I watch the suffering in other parts of the world and now think how much those people would love to be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of peace and safety.

I am sure I will slip back into taking it for granted, but for now I am very grateful that fate decided I would be born in Cornwall and I have been lucky enough to live and work here ever since.

I am now going to walk the dog and take in the autumn colours, even though it’s pouring with rain.

It might seem mundane, but at the moment it feels extra special.

Bye for now!