Take the shops and the bars away, the people and the Tube, and what have you got? The countryside. So last month, when I found out I was going on a staycation to the depths of the British countryside in one of Devon’s hidden 'gems', I welcomed an escape from the City and was looking forward to the slow pace of life and a bit of pub grub.
But ambling through the 'high street' I noted fifteen shops that filled the 'town', and that included two supermarkets, a post office and the tourist information. The twelve left? One restaurant (two shut - it was 'out of season'), a pub, two bars (also both closed), a charity shop, and a bric-a-brac store. Not even a bank! Life without an ATM? How oh how could people live here? I was overcome with joy when I spied a chocolate shop, a bookshop and a wi-fi café.
"Wi-fi!" I called to my friend. "We have wi-fi!" I declared it victoriously in much the same way Neil Armstrong would have declared, "We have landed!" when he arrived on the moon.
I’m not sure if there was something eerie or friendly in the way the villagers all seemed to greet each other by name, and of course I’m not sure why I was surprised when the entire town’s population ended up in the same pub with us on the Saturday night. Where else were they going to go?
The fresh air was nice, the pub was traditional, the B&B was homely, though it did confirm one thing: I am a city girl through and through. I love gossiping, shopping and drinking lychee martinis. And whilst sometimes I get Tube rage if some unsuspecting tourist blocks my path, it seems I would in fact choose it over a life less busy. Country life just isn’t for me. You can take the girl out of the city...
After three days of walking through the countryside and sailing across the sea with my friend shouting, “Watch the PB!” I was indeed ready to go home. I am not an aspiring athlete. My PB is my Prada bag. Like I said, city girl through and though.