Who would be a farmer’s wife?

On the opening page of The Farmer’s Wife, Helen Rebanks quotes George Eliot’s famous passage from Middlemarch. Dorothea adds to ‘the growing good of the world’ through her ‘unhistoric acts’ and by having ‘lived faithfully a hidden life’. With this enchanting, funny, fearless book, Rebanks brings her own ‘unhistoric’ life unequivocally out of hiding. The blood, mud, slog, exhaustion, bureaucracy and financial angst of farming are ever-present She lives with her husband James (a bestselling writer) and their four children in the Lake District on their farm shared with six sheepdogs, two ponies, 20 chickens, 500 sheep and 50 cattle. Writing in the present tense, she describes the rhythm of

Letters: We can’t build our way out of the housing crisis

Excess demand Sir: Liam Halligan (‘The house mafia’, 26 June) treats us to an exposé of the shoddy products of the mass housebuilders. In the course of his article, however, he accepts as given that the solution to the housing crisis is to build more houses. The problem, however, is not one of deficient supply; it is a problem of excess demand, driven by ultra-low interest rates, kept so low for so long that the result has been an out-of-control housing boom. The young are being prevented from buying a house, not because housebuilders hoard land and refuse to build, but because buyers with access to eye-watering amounts of borrowed

The Icelandic version was better – and had better knits: Rams reviewed

Rams is an average film with a better film trying to get out, and you may already have seen that better film. It’s the Icelandic one, of the same name, released in 2015, on which this Australian version is based. That was played as a spare, stark, bitterly dark comedy set amid ice and blizzards and featuring men with unkempt beards, whereas this is sunnier and more kempt and therefore significantly blander. You may even, at various points, feel as though you’ve been trapped in an overlong episode of All Creatures Great and Small (nothing against All Creatures Great and Small, but two hours of it?). The film stars the

Farmers aren’t to blame for climate change

Welsh hill farmers are a hardy lot. Despite the almost mystical and romantic images that come to mind when you think of a Welsh hill farm, the truth is a far soggier affair. People have struggled to eke a living out of what is an extremely difficult terrain for generations, which has, in turn, created the communities and the culture we enjoy in rural Wales today. Such is the case where I live: a small parcel of land stretching from the river Dee and up the slopes of the Berwyn mountains in the north of Wales. My father-in-law is the third generation to farm this land. He and those that