Anneika Rose (Anisha Jayakody)
Anisha’s working on a Sunday to catch up with paperwork while Rex is at home cooking the dinner. Alistair’s working too, and it’s an opportunity for him and Anisha to get back to something like a normal working relationship, and he agrees to help her with an operation on a horse. But then he asks her to cover his on-call again that evening and she’s not happy; she’d actually been expecting an apology from him for going awol last time and pretending his phone was broken.
The next morning Shula persuades Alistair to take his time on the promise of French Toast and she talks to him about the money Caroline left her, and whether she should give it to charity. He tells her that would go against Caroline’s wish that she spend it on herself and she should stop “channelling Mother Teresa”. He instantly had to apologise for that remark, and for everything else he’s done over the past couple of weeks!
Over their posh eggy bread, Shula tells him to come clean with Anisha and take control of the situation, not leave it to Matt. However when he does see Anisha he tries to disappear on his calls, but Anisha gets in the car beside him and demands to be told. He finally tells her about the gambling, and she’s taken aback by the revelation, even more when he tells her that Matt Crawford was the trigger for him to start wobbling. When this leads on to the bombshell about horse doping she blows a gasket; “maybe Matt’s not the only manipulative snake in this equation … partnerships are based on trust Alistair. How can I trust you now”. Ouch.
Caroline bequeathed Will £1,000 but he’s not happy that Ed got the same amount as she was Will’s godmother not Ed’s. He thinks it’s because she felt she had to, and to emphasise his point he says to Clarrie that Ed’s already Oliver’s favourite charity case. Clarrie reminds him about Aunt Hilda’s will (Will was left about £120,000 in 2007, Ed nothing) and that he should respect Caroline’s wishes – which shuts the ungrateful sod up.
Caroline’s generosity is also the subject of discussion on Clarrie and Susan’s tea break at the dairy. Roy pops over and it turns out that as well as Will and Ed, Caroline left money to him, Ian and Lynda too. Susan’s been totting up the total and so far isn’t impressed and wants to know what she left Roy. Clarrie cuts her short and hurries her back to make more fermented milk products, and we’re treated to the ins and outs of making kefir. Apparently Tom’s left it to them to come up with new flavours. Hopefully they’ll manage to come up with something to disguise the taste – suggestions welcome.
Oliver’s still bereft and is in the village shop with only Euros in cash to pay for it. Never mind, he tries to pay with his debit card but it’s rejected, and so is his credit card. He’s confused and flustered by this, and goes back to Grey Gables for a private moment in the grounds. Lynda finds Oliver and wants to talk to him. She wants to use the money Caroline left her to buy a commemorative bench and wants to know what he thinks. However he isn't interested in chatting and wanders off. Meanwhile Susan starts spreading a rumour by telling Neil that Oliver might be broke, what with his cards being rejected, the relatively small amount Caroline left to those in the village, and one of his shirt buttons being loose; “posh but poor”, she says. And what does Susan think the logical conclusion of this would be? Well, to move the Grundys out of Grange Farm so he could live there.
And now to Phoebe, who is still anxious from last week. She now thinks the second morning-after pill she took might not have worked either because she’s still being sick. She’s off work too, which means she hasn’t had to encounter Constantin, whom she calls him a “scumbag” (look it up – she’s spot-on). Lily brings over a pregnancy test but otherwise isn’t helping at all and seems to be assuming the result will be positive, but then Roy comes home unexpectedly and finds the used pregnancy test in the bathroom (it’s negative by the way). He’s furious and challenges Phoebe for an explanation, but Lily jumps in and says it’s Lexi’s and that she wanted to take the test in privacy away from the campsite. Roy wants to know who Lexi’s with and Lily, continuing to dig a hole that is surely going to collapse and bury her and Phoebe, blurts out that it’s Constantin. After Roy leaves Phoebe shows her anger, as Lexi has been a real friend when she needed it most. Lily tells her to relax as they’re “only pickers” and will be gone soon. But Phoebe says she might still be pregnant as it was probably too early to take the test anyway. As it happens she doesn’t have to wait long to find out as she soon has her period, much to her relief.
She goes back to work the next day and arranges for Roy to pick her up at the end of the day so they can go to an open-air screening of Rosemary’s Baby (!), and has asked Freddie to make sure he doesn’t get near Lexi and learn the truth. Freddie fails, of course, as soon as Sonia (a picker he has his eye on) walks past and distracts him. It’s therefore inevitable that Roy gets to talk to Lexi, but at least Phoebe finds them in time, and also manages to persuade him not to invite her to the film.
Now let’s drop in on the parish council meeting where Justin’s planning application is going to be discussed. We hear Lynda describing the Bridge Farm development as “a boil planned for the very cheek of Ambridge” but Justin’s description is rather more prosaic - a “celebration of the landscape”. He is given a hard time over the affordable housing within the scheme and Jennifer speaks up in her inimitable way. While saying she has “every sympathy” for young people trying to make a start in life, she infers that they would be coming in from outside the village and what sort of people would the affordable housing ‘entice’? Emma snaps at this last remark, and as I predicted last week, decides that it’s time to speak out and challenges Jennifer to elaborate. Which she does, and explains that she means people of “limited means” and “unsavoury habits”.
Emma stands up; “I’m of limited means Jennifer, are you talking about me”? (Actually it was the unsavoury habits I was hoping to hear about Emma, but moving on). Jennifer flusters and says that of course she doesn’t mean Emma. But Emma goes on to make a forceful and heartfelt speech, which at first is received with murmurs from the room, but is eventually heard in respectful silence. Good on you Em - we hear later that the development was approved. However Emma can’t let her anger at Jennifer go, and takes it out on her brother Chris, who she sees as benefitting financially from his marriage to Jennifer’s daughter, Alice. They argue and she ends up calling him an ‘arrogant git’, and in temper finds a scrapbook she’s been putting together to visualise the kind of future she wants, and starts tearing it up.
Someone else wondering about their future is Anisha, who is unloading on Rex over dinner. Earlier she had pulled up in front of a dead deer in the road. Jennifer was passing and stopped to see if she needed any help. She did actually, and could Jennifer just help her move the carcass off the road? No, she couldn’t. She’s late for the parish council meeting and is wearing the wrong shoes. Anisha suggests that the maggot-infested deer corpse is some kind of allegory for life in Ambridge, and conversation turns to Alistair. Rex advises her to talk to him straight and then listen to what he has to say. It’s now late, Anisha’s feeling down and is worried about sleeping, so Rex takes her for a run up Lakey Hill to cheer her up. This works and with renewed energy comments that she’s still in control.
In the morning Alistair’s pleased, and probably more than a little surprised, to see her. He apologises and pours his heart out, telling her that he was wrong not to tell her everything, and says that he’s still committed to their partnership. She doesn’t respond, and we end where we came in, with the pair of them operating on a horse. During the operation Anisha struggles to grip a bone with a rongeur and needs more time so Alistair administers more ketamine (to the horse, thankfully).
He patiently guides her to use a lighter hand on the instrument and she succeeds, demonstrating how well they work together. This, I hope, proves to be the turning point.