A Country Girl

23rd June 2000 at 01:00
By Harriet Daly, age 10, English Speaking School, Dubai,United Arab Emirates

I knew that being a country girl wouldn't be the same as being a town girl. We were moving! After spending the first six years of my life in the busy, noisy, south east of England, we were on our way to the rough green sea, the fields and the glorious landscape of Devon.

Earlier that year my family and I had set off on a holiday to beautiful north Devon. We visited wonderful beaches and went on delightful walks. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to move there. We exchanged our tiny house in a town for a huge rambling farmhouse deep in the countryside. We swapped a tiny square of grass for a field, an orchard and a beautiful garden, all belonging to us. The traffic noise was gone, now we rarely saw more than two cars on the four mile drive to school. I loved living there and I especially loved my Indian painted bedroom with its frieze of elephants, its gold starred ceiling and crooked walls. From the sanctuary of my bedroom I could see the huge flowering cherry tree in the front garden, and in the distance the bleak expanse of Dartmoor.

Winters in Devon were usually wild and windy, but one year I remember particularly well we had snow. I crawled from under my warm duvet in the morning to see a white world, it looked as if someone had laid a giant sheet over the hills. I put on my cosy, warm mittens and my large thick jumper, all set to go outside. The snow fell and the bitter wind pierced my clothing but even though I felt verycold I had the most wonderful time. I made enormous fluffy snowballs and rolled them down the hill towards my brother and his friends. We ran and shouted until our noses were red and our fingers were numb, and then we retreated to the farmhouse kitchen where my mother had set chairs next to the range. As we thawed out we hugged our steaming mugs of hot chocolate and gazed at the winter scene through the window.

During the summer I enjoyed going on long cliff walks. There was a huge feeling of excitement watching the swell of the sea as it crashed against the lighthouse rocks. I remember watching a fishing boat from the top of the towering rock-face as it pitched and rolled in the waves. With my family I trekked for miles, climbing steep hillsides, wandering through fields of wild flowers and finally ending in one of the isolated inns that dotted the coastline for a toasted tuna sandwich. Summers were playing on the beach, messing with your friends, hiding in the treehouse, and visiting the park.

I attended a village school, where I was one of only 85 children. I made close friends and together we got up to all sorts of mischief. We were together through Christmas and Easter, my summer birthday and Harvest Festival, through Halloween and Guy Fawkes, and then my father accepted a job in Dubai.

Our house in Devon still sits there silently waiting for us to return. Every summer we go for a visit and for a short time it is filled with the happy sound of our laughter. One day I will go home for good.

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