Sunday September 2 1997

Dear diary,

Vicky's screaming downstairs, Mum is trying to shut her up and Dad is trying to do some paperwork. Thank goodness I'm not down there. I'm in the peace and quiet of my bedroom with my "KEEP OUT - MY ROOM IS SHOCKING" sign on the door, listening to my Spice Girls tape.

The last 6 weeks have been funkertron. I've been on a camping holiday in France, stayed at my auntie's in the Lake District, been on the Ultimate roller coaster, played football in the back field, taken the dog for long walks up to Daddry Mine or down by the river, fed deer in the wood and been on loads of bike rides.

Yesterday I rode to the top of Cosy - which is my special place. There is a beautiful view from the top - Weardale looks much prettier from higher up, especially when the sun is shining. I sat at the bottom of the sandy-coloured bumpy track wondering if I could make it to the top in one go. Half-way up I was exhausted so I sat in the shade of a large sandstone rock and looked around. I could just see the top of the cement works chimney and, in the distance, I could see a group of people grouse beating. When I finally reached the top I was so tired I virtually fell off my bike but I found enough strength to pick up a stone and put it on top of the cairn. I felt a cold wind blow down the back of my neck, sending a shiver down my spine.

A shiver goes down my spine now and my hands tremble as I write. My tummy is starting to burn up. Tomorrow is going to be a very scary day. It's going to be the first day at secondary school and I feel like a worm that's about to be stood on. Rachel told me that you get called "Sprog" in the first year. What if I have to sit next to a horrible, smoking, swearing 6th former on the bus? What if I get bullied in break-time? What if I get lost and when I find the classroom the lesson is over? What if I can't think of anything to write about in English? What if the teacher tells me off for talking? What if my pen doesn't work? What if I'm shown up in front of the class? I won't know any of the teachers.

I wish I didn't have to leave my great primary school with its superb teachers. I'll miss the smallness and I'll miss my younger friends. BUT I've got to make that big step up to comprehensive school with my Year 6 friends. There will be new teachers and new friends. I'm looking forward to seeing the people I met on Field Study trip and I hope I'll be in a class with some of my friends. I heard that the food is good with a choice of dinners and that you get to try new sports and play in tournaments. At comprehensive you do more English, art and technology, use better computers, learn different languages, get to go abroad, get more responsibility, get more homework AND I'll have to get up earlier. I hope I don't miss the bus.

Although I'm scared there is a part of me that's curious and excited. Today has been murder. I've checked my bag so many times I felt dizzy and sick. Getting my stuff ready reminded me of the last Sports Day at St John's Chapel School. The wet wellie race was mine for the taking... I knew then that I would miss primary school - it has been really good.

This evening I went out to the cow shed. I could see the calves' breath curling up into the air. I heaved the silage up for them and stood and watched while they pushed and shoved each other to get at it. Then I went and stroked the quiet cow. Her number is 118. She is ginger. I felt her nice warm hair. Sometimes the cows kick you - I hoped she wouldn't kick me. Then I heard Dad shouting "tea-time" so I had to come in.