Exchanging the hills for heels

Meggie Fairclough 15 October 2014

I left home in the rain: the water streaming down the country roads, untrodden and yellow, the trees just starting to shed their summer coat. I left home watching the cows through the window, now sodden with rain and saturated with milk, but stoic and unweathered, sitting in the rain. The hills, my hills were crying their goodbyes to me, but my eyes remained dry.

My eyes remarkably still remained dry as I left the patchwork fields of Derbyshire, now lying naked except for the straw bales littered from the previous months harvest.  They continued unspillt as the snail trails left by tired tractors transformed into the concrete of the M1 and we were hurtling at high speed through pelting rain to ironed, flat Cambridge fenland. I couldn’t help but wonder where all the water went, but could not shed a tear. I was floating and after all this build up, the idea that I am a Cambridge student hadn’t quite sunk in.

I was told it doesn’t rain in the South, so the concept of heading to sunny blue skies was quite appealing. So I left my umbrella at home, firmly believing that umbrellas didn’t flower as often as in the country and it never looked ‘black over Bill’s mothers’ in Cambridge (a phrase from the country with no reference to someone called Bill or his mother!).

Bye-bye country lanes…                                            Credit: Meggie Fairclough

I soon understood that whoever told me that was lying. After lugging all my stuff from the car through the hall and up the stairs (had to be the top floor, right?), myself and my Dad were beyond what could be described as drowned rats, but more like exhausted, fed up, dripping woolly mammoths in need of a rather large pint. (Yes, we turned down the famous Murray Edwards Brunch for beer at the Isaac Newton!)

As all the parents slowly trickled out, retreating to empty roof boxes and bike racks, I still felt quite flat. I felt guilty: should I be a mess, deranged and begging my parents to take me home? Should I be more scared, nervous or worried about being Lindsey Lohan from Mean Girls? Africa is easily as different to Cambridge as where I am from! 

My parents and I hugged. No tears, no fuss. I waved goodbye tightly clutching my Doc Marten heels and Gown for Matriculation. But as I saw my green Wellies lying sleepily in the backseat window, I cried alone and happy. It was then I knew that I wasn’t leaving the country, not really. I’m just changing my hills for heels.