Alison Steadman (Olwen Thomas)
Pat is working at the Elms hostel and she is concerned that her old activist friend has got a nasty cough. It turns out that Olwen is sleeping in her car and Pat suggests that she tries to get a room at the Elms. Olwen is having none of it - she can’t be bothered with petty regulations and restrictions - and starts to leave, but collapses. Pat to the rescue! Olwen can stay at Bridge Farm and Pat phones Helen to break the news. Helen is less than thrilled and the conversation goes something like this:
Pat: Well she can’t sleep in her car
Hel: Mum -
Pat: She can have Tom’s old room
Hel: Mum -
Pat: I’ve had a word with Tony and he wasn’t keen at first
Hel: Mum -
Pat: I’m so pleased; I knew you’d understand
Hel: Mum -
Pat: I’ve got to persuade Olwen now. Bye!
Hel: Mum. Hello? Mum?
Olwen proves agreeable to the idea and is soon ensconced in Tom’s room. Pat sends her off for a bath and says that she will wash her clothes for her. When Olwen has left, Helen voices her misgivings to her mother - Henry and Jack need security and this is no time to be living with a stranger. Pat replies that Henry gets on well with Olwen (Pat and Henry bumped into her last week and he had a great time, playing on the slide in the park). This is news to Helen, as Pat never told her about this episode.
Pat then uses a little emotional blackmail, telling her daughter that the reason that they both volunteered to work at the Elms in the first place was a result of the women that Helen met in prison and, if it were Kaz on the street, Helen would invite her to stay like a shot. It’s only for a few days until Olwen is feeling better. And then Pat pronounces the (I reckon) famous last words referred to in the title, saying: “What harm could she possibly do?”
I hope that Pat’s optimism is justified - although we learn later in the week that Tom thinks that Olwen doesn’t like him very much - and that her words don’t come back and bite her in the bum, but I feel that we are being prepared for a storyline which will depict Olwen as a cuckoo in the Bridge Farm nest. And as for Pat’s rhetorical question, I would whisper just two words to her; Rob Titchener.
Things at Grange Farm continue to spiral downwards. Emma takes Keira to Bridge Farm, where she will spend the afternoon playing with Henry. Keira is unhappy and Emma reveals that she has been very clingy recently, spending the last couple of nights in Emma and Ed’s bed. A few days later, Emma breaks down in front of Fallon, having found the source of Keira’s anxiety; it appears that Jake, annoyed by Keira being in his (and George’s) room, told her that if she wasn’t good, then Nic would come back and haunt her. Emma, who is constantly being reminded by Clarrie, Ed and Will that the children are suffering badly, feels unable to give Jake a telling off, so keeps quiet.
Speaking personally, Jake sounds to me like a nasty piece of work who deserves a good slapping, never mind a telling off, and my feeling was reinforced on Friday when Jake and George were having a fight over a borrowed laptop and the screen got broken. Ed says that they will have to replace it and this is too much for Emma, who has no doubt calculated how many extra shifts at the chicken factory this will cost. She lets fly (verbally) at Jake, who says: “You’re not my mother - I haven’t got a mother” and storms out. Ed tells Emma to leave Jake be for the moment, but you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to realise that ends of tethers are being rapidly reached.
PC Burns had a traumatic incident last week; a couple were involved in a car crash and the lady died. The couple weren’t married and there was some unpleasantness when the lady’s family claimed that they were her next of kin. This got PCB to thinking that, had they been married, then there would be no arguments about next of kin, inheritance, etc. This affected him deeply and he shared his thoughts with Fallon. Fallon immediately had an attack of the heebie jeebies and confided to Emma (who, as we have seen, has enough on her plate) that she is afraid that Harrison is going to propose marriage. Emma says ‘so what?’ Fallon loves him and they have a lovely house together, so what’s the problem?
One assumes that the problem is that Jolene and Wayne got married and this was not an advert for Love’s Young Dream. Emma, who really can’t be arsed with all this, tells Fallon that, if she really doesn’t want to marry PCB, she’ll have to tell him. Make no mistake - Fallon does love Harrison and likes waking up beside him - it’s just the thought of being Mrs Anybody that frightens her. Fallon becomes more and more distracted and Emma couldn’t really give a toss - no doubt she would willingly exchange he problem for Fallon’s; at least Fallon has got a house of her own.
Things come to a head on Friday, when Fallon is late back from the Tea Room and spots Kenton and Jolene leaving Honeysuckle. Harrison says that he has been thinking and there’s something he’s got to ask Fallon. Thinking that he is going to propose, she stops him in full flow and says “I can’t marry you - I just can’t. Please don’t ask me!” “I wasn’t going to” says Harrison, and explains that he has just made Fallon the sole heir in his Will and Kenton and Jolene came round to witness it. Fallon thanks him and shoots him dead - no, of course she didn’t; she poisoned him.
Sorry about that - back to reality. Alistair has only been living at Jim’s for less than a week and he’s climbing the walls. Jazzer says that it’s great that they are three bachelors living together and it’s time that Alistair got back in the dating market. Indeed, Jazz can set Alistair up with some of the women on his milk round. Alistair is horrified by the very idea (after all, how would Jazzer have found out that they were a) available and b) willing?) and says that he’s not ready to think about other women. Jazzer dismisses this, saying that it’s time Alistair had a fresh start and, showing a level of insensitivity breathtaking even for the Scottish milkman, says that Shula has given him his marching orders “so what else are you going to do?”
Actually, Alistair is undergoing a strange experience, as most of those whom he meets (Brian and Tom for two) commiserate with him and then go on to say what a good job it is that the decision to split up was a mutual one. Fed up with this, he seeks out Shula and demands to know exactly when she stopped loving him - was it because of his gambling, or when Matt came back? Shula says that she doesn’t have a specific date and Alistair becomes agitated, saying that he was always second best. Shula protests, thinking that he is referring to her first husband, Mark, but he is talking about Dr Richard Locke, who asked Shula to go away with him, but she decided to make her life with Alistair.
Shula says the split has nothing to do with anybody - “I just don’t love you any more.” With impeccable timing, we hear another voice - it is Daniel, suddenly (and silently) returned from manoeuvres in Estonia (presumably he didn’t bring the tank home or they would probably have noticed). “So, it’s true then?” Daniel says. “You two really are splitting up?” Ever since the Shula/Alistair split story began, numerous people have wondered who would tell Daniel (and how) but it seems obvious from his comment that someone got in before his mother and stepfather. Good luck explaining it to him guys.
The ‘a mutual decision’ scenario is not the only theory flying round the village, as Brian is busy telling everyone that his decision to stand down from running Home Farm was only because he wanted to let Adam take over the reins before he grew old and grey. This is patently garbage and you can’t help thinking that Brian is up to something - he spent some time in the Home Farm office looking for a specific, but unspecified, file of papers, which he found. He then made a point of driving Ruairi over to Brookfield, where he’s staying overnight.
While there, Brian compliments Rooooth on the appearance of her lambs and, when the talk turns to the voting of Brian off the management of Home Farm, Rooooth says that she only voted the way she did in Ruairi’s best interests. Brian magnanimously says that this is all water under the bridge and one of the advantages of his new-found retirement is that he now has lots more time to spend with Ruairi. “He has his future ahead of him; who knows what it might hold?” Brian tells Rooooth. What do you reckon? Is Brian going to change the name (his) on the deeds to the farm in favour of Ruairi? As I said in the previous paragraph, you can bet that the slippery so-and-so is up to something.
The pigs will be joining Berrow Farm next week and Jazzer has got wind that interviews are being held for workers. Having failed to negotiate a rise from Tom (who, rather patronisingly, told him that management is his business and no, he hasn’t got time to help with the pigs) Jazzer confronts Neil about why wasn’t he consulted about interviews? Neil protests that advertising etc. was handled through an agency and nothing to do with him. Upon hearing this, Jazzer says that, as Unit Manager, Neil should be able to bend the rules and hands him a sheet of grubby paper, covered in an illegible scrawl. “What’s this?” asks Neil. “My CV” replies Jazzer, leaving us to marvel that he managed to spell ‘CV’ correctly.
Finally, we have a mystery developing; Ed tells PCB that, on Wednesday night, he noticed a light on in the new women’s changing rooms at the cricket pavilion. Chris has also witnessed the same phenomenon. Does PCB know what’s going on? I must say that, for a copper, not to mention the captain of the cricket team, Harrison seems totally unconcerned. Something must be up - let’s face it; if the light had been left on at the end of last season, then surely someone would have noticed before now?