My name is *Hillie Richens I am a small village survivor, a mum, a writer, and this is my blog diary or bliary, I could call it a blournal but that sounds a bit like vomit speak – bleeuugh-nal!
I turned up in Devon (England, that is) in 2010 and moved into a cottage in a small village called Vertonbridge with my husband Ted and our two children Toby (now aged 10) and Lottie (now aged 8). Ted chose Devon so it’s all his fault!
We had done our ten years in London and were looking for the outdoorsy wellie bedecked lifestyle reminiscent of our childhoods, for our own kids to enjoy. We didn’t get the obligatory dog I’m afraid (more on that another time). But we did get a mud-splattered Volvo or mucky vulva as my best-local-friend Anna calls it.
Anyhoo, here we are 7 years on and the settling in is done – hah probably not really, as everybody still refers to our house as the Skinners’ house “Ahh yes, you live in the Skinners’ house,” not even “ahh yes, you live in the Skinners’ old house.” Like we are just house-sitting for them or worse, blatantly squatting in the Skinners’ house, hiding in the cupboard under the stairs and stealing their breakfast cereal. The Skinners did actually move out, by the way, and bought a huge thatched cottage in the hamlet down the road, so now it’s our house – our house I tell you! Actually even we refer to it as the Skinners’ house.
The children, Toby (aged 10) and Lottie (aged 8) are now well ensconced in the village primary school and sometimes I feel cocooned and safe in this cosy villagey nutshell and other times I want to sit on top of All Saints Church Spire and yell expletives and then get on a train and go to a very big town. Any very big town.
Here’s the thing, I’m a writer or at least I’m trying and I want to share with you, village tales, school tales (including stories of the PFA!) All glued together with some updates about my ailing/but I’m sure it’ll take off again soon- writing career. If you want to know how to survive small village life, read on. If you do the school run, read on. If you’re trying to write a book, read on. If you like a human interest story, read on. In fact, just read on because my aim is to try and entertain you.
Vertonbridge: Our village is in a valley surrounded by beautiful rolling hills. The river Ver runs around the village but it’s more of a babbling brook than a river, actually it doesn’t babble at all (trades descriptions act) and is therefore really just a lame stream with a few cursory ducks. There is a small ancient stone bridge that straddles the lame stream on the outskirts of the village, hence the name Vertonbridge. The village boasts (sounding a bit like a pompous estate agent) a church – All Saints, a school- Vertonbridge Village Primary School and a pub – The Huntsman Inn. Lots of pretty houses and cottages line the main road through the village, some thatched, some brick and some solid and stout (if a little damp) and made of cob – like ours. There’s a useful village shop called Vertonbridge Stores and Post Office which rather fancies itself with it’s £3.50 chutney and hides its value custard creams on the bottom shelf. Oh, and it’s twinned with Fonteney le Vert in France. Which is a small picturesque village in the massif Central with an old bridge over a lame stream. They’re good those Twinning Committees!
Behind the scenes! Ok, I’m coming clean……..
*Turning Up In Devon Blog Diary by Hillie Richens is written by Jane Hilary. It is entirely fictional- ish but behind all fiction there are the funniest, awfulest, bizarrest, ridiculousest, saddest and unbelievable-est truths about human behaviour! I like to try and see the funny side! Any coincidences (regarding names or plotlines) are entirely coincidentally coincidental!
A note about the blog content: I’ll be blogging about once a month every post is supposed to be a thing in its own right but if you read the blog posts numerically hopefully you’ll see the bigger picture too. Feel free to comment, be a lover not a Haytor! remembering of course that the blog is entirely, totally, completely, like fictional.
A note about swearing: I’ve decided to try and not do too much effing and blinding in my blog. I’ll probably swap the ugliest ones for slightly lamer ones where possible and delve into the depths of the English language to portray emotions more eloquently…..yeah yeah I know – that’s probably just piffle and bollox but I’ll do my best.
A note about punctuation/grammar/spelling: Right, I’m going to say right here, right now (right here, right now -gotta love Fatboy Slim) that I’ll do my bestest with this. Sometimes I just go off on one and it all goes a bit awry, will try and keep it under control for your ease of reading. Oh yeah, capital letters! Sometimes I over capitalize words because they seem important to me! Hold on tight to the grammar grab rail – you’re riding my blog bus!
A note about Devon: Like the best County – ever! It fills my boots with joy to live here mostly all the time. When I can-I’ll always big it up! It goes in this order – scone, clotted cream, then jam btw (in Cornwall it’s jam then cream) but when I’ve got my face buried in one – It means nothing to me (oh Vienna).
A note about ‘brands’: I may mention the odd ‘real’ brand occasionally in a positive light and do so because it suits me (sir) and what I’m writing about. I am not being paid/getting cool free stuff to do so.
A note about the blog Imagery: I’m qualified (and everything) to do a bit of drawing and colouring in. Could there be more illustrations for adults? I damn well think so!
If you would like to get in touch: I am a freelance writer and illustrator. Contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org