I’ve lived in Devon for 15 years, nowhere near long enough to have become a local, but enough to understand a little about the Devon way of life.
When I first moved here I found the pace of life very frustrating. Everyone laughs about getting stuck behind a tractor, but when you’re trying to make it to a meeting on time you find yourself willing the driver to “PULL OVER – please, please, please!”
Shops were another frustration. Customers chatting to the cashiers in that lazy Devon accent for what seemed like hours when all I wanted to do was pay for my milk and make a dash for it. Now, I’m afraid, it’s likely to be me holding the queue up as I discuss the weather and potholes. I don’t have that accent though, not even a vague burr. We’ll see what happens with my children, who are real Devon Dumplings. So far they seem to have followed their parents’ pretty bland Hampshire and Oxfordshire accents.
Devon is definitely my home and even when I go on holiday I keep to the South West, this year venturing as far as North Cornwall where I’ll be sure not to go off the road. So I was delighted, as a writer, to discover that our local glossy, Devon Life, was prepared to take an article from me – an incomer.
I wanted to talk about my experiences of returning to riding, which I started in earnest last year at Budleigh Salterton Riding School and which has added a new dimension to my life.
Devon Life published the resulting article this month. I am pleased to report that, even after years of writing and seeing my work in print or hearing it spoken on screen, I still experienced a thrill at seeing something of mine feature in this particular magazine. Buy it now!
I’ve just finished another article for Devon Life for June, which I’m looking forward to seeing in print. Suddenly I feel less Hampshire Hog and more like a Dumpling (although that could be something to do with my waistline rather than my provenance).