Hi Mum 
I’m currently sitting on the floor surrounded by piles of boxes. Maya has just popped down to Peckham to say goodbye to her mum (Sanaa says hi by the way), so I’ve put the kettle on and thought I’d send you quick message. 

Can’t quite believe we are coming home. It might surprise you, but it really does feel like that (for me at least). To be honest, I think my heart never left, just the rest of me that ran away when I couldn’t work out where I fitted.

Ever since we found out about the baby though, I’ve been thinking a lot more about this stuff – feeling you belong somewhere, that you’re part of something. I know Mamgu finds it through nature and you and Dad from the land, but I realise I need people mum, beyond just family. I need to feel seen, like I matter, like I have a part to play and that people care. London gave us that for a while, but it’s so big and unwieldy. We just want to be somewhere we can trace our connection and contribution, where change is tangible.

God – just watching the horrible news about that poor family. The whole thing has brought back some tough memories for Maya. She still has the same nightmare you know, endless queues of sunstroke patients, air condition broken, hospital falling in around her. It’s been over 10 years you know. It will be good for her to get a few months working at the new health centre before she goes on maternity. She had her first meeting with Dr Hughes by the way, and you’re right, he seems like a gem.

It was pretty grim back then, wasn’t it? Was speaking to Scott about the migration ban, how even after it was lifted there was still this atmosphere – an uneasiness about new faces, especially those of colour. Scott actually said a few things back then to Maya that were pretty upsetting. He says the whole period is a blur now. Described it as a grim dream he was sleepwalking through; says he was made callous by the hardship and hopelessness of the time. What’s hilarious, is that he’s now working on the decentralisation initiative you were talking about and was enthusiastically extoling the virtues of pluralism over coffee. He said diversity was “a key ingredient for local resilience, where different skills, experiences and perspectives allow a place to quickly adapt and evolve”. I couldn’t stop laughing, to think this is the same guy that used to give me wedgies!

Funny how things feel so inevitable at the time. It’s only later you realise that nothing is permeant, most things are a choice, and that choices are made by people. It didn’t feel like we had a choice at the time – me so miserable and small and Maya burnt out and fed up. Maybe we should have stayed, been part of the group that finally turned things around? I’m honestly not sure we had it in us.

But now we’re coming home! And we’re not alone either. I bumped into Dan in the pub – Elle’s expecting also. He said he’d been working with you and the energy group on another new project – sounds exciting. Bryony was there too. She moved back last year with her partner. They’ve received a government grant for a new social enterprise, something about wool and building materials (It was very noisy in The Bull, so not 100% sure). Also, you’ll will never guess who we are going to be neighbours with…Jo and Matt! They’re moving into one of the community houses nearby. That reminds me, Jo’s just finished her training and is on the lookout for land to start a market garden. I said she should speak to you guys. Makes sense, no? We’ve got the land; she’s got the skills and appetite – seeing as it clearly won’t be me or Megan taking it on!

It was so good to see so many friendly faces again. It sort of feels infectious, like a chain reaction – positive action and belief, good people and good will. I think it’s always been there to be fair; it just needed a catalyst and a reason for people to come together. Tadcu used to say it was no good tending this beautiful valley if we didn’t nurture and harvest the beautiful people in it as well. Maybe dad can use that for the Eulogy!

Ah, I think that’s Maya coming back, she looks tired so I’ll wrap this up. She’s got to the point where people are offering her seats on the tube now. Think I’ll pop the kettle on again.

Can’t wait to see you and everyone else at the weekend.

All my love


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