I’m stuck in Surrey, get me outta here!

After most of Islington moved to Wales, it was foolish of me to think about following. But the need to escape from Surrey becomes ever more pressing by the day, with housing developments, racing cyclists and incompetent dog walkers bearing down on us so hard we cannot bear it much longer. The builder boyfriend has almost finished the renovations, with the top floor insulated and made into a storage area. We can’t afford to do the loft conversion for which we have planning permission, so we have lined and presented the space at the top of the house in all its empty glory so that buyers can see the potential

You need to be a millionaire to move to Wales

We began searching for the farm of our dreams in Wales as we planned our escape from Surrey. The problem was, so did every other dreamer in London and the south-east of England. Since lockdown, the rush to perform ‘lifestyle change’ has sent the price of the valleys sky high. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Welsh farmers must be downsizing to townhouses in Chelsea. We were already quite down. It was sad to be served notice on the land we have been renting to keep our horses. We knew we had to buy our own land this time. We quickly ruled out staying here.

If you haven’t read Louise Erdrich, now’s the time to start: The Night Watchman reviewed

Louise Erdrich’s grandfather, Patrick Gourneau, was tribal chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa when the US Congress imposed House Concurrent Resolution 108 in 1953. This revoked the federally recognised status of many Native American tribes and withdrew legal protection of their territory, culture and religion. Gourneau was also a night watchman. While Erdrich’s latest book is fiction, it clearly draws deeply on what she describes in a prefatory note as ‘my grandfather’s extraordinary life’. Thomas Wazhashk — the surname means muskrat in Chippewa — is the night watchman at the Turtle Mountain Jewel Bearing Plant, a place where the women of the tribe ‘spent their days leaning into