Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Vicky Spits Her Dummy

Ryan Kelly (Jazzer McCreary)

The row over the bull calves turned ugly when Vicky suggested that they could be used for breeding as no-one wants them for veal. Ed (finally) put his foot down and said they've got to go, whereupon Vicky said it was all his fault and, had they only had some guarantee of continuity of supply, she could have sold hundreds.

She continued throwing her toys out of the pram by telling Ed he didn't know how to run a farm and she wanted a detailed invoice of costs. Fat chance – there isn't a fag packet big enough. In the end it was all sorted fairly amicably and Vicky turned up to see her boys carted off to slaughter. "I don't want to see another calf" she said, tearfully. In that case, sod off back to Birmingham, why don't you?

Elsewhere, brotherly love was in short supply when news of Emma's pregnancy got out. Will ("a chip on each shoulder") Grundy stormed round to Clarrie and Eddie and demanded "why wasn't I told?" I can think of two reasons – one, because they knew that Will would react in this way and two, it's sod-all to do with him anyway. Clarrie demonstrated why she was never accepted for the Diplomatic Corps when she asked Will "aren't you pleased for them?" to which he snarled "Ed's not fit to be a father". So we'll put that down as a 'no' then, shall we?

Helen bored the pants off Pat and Kathy over dinner about the dietary requirements of pregnant women (Pat is worried that she isn't stuffing her face). When Kathy said "you're eating for two now", Helen immediately told her that this was a myth and launched into a detailed lecture on nutrition. I swear you could almost hear the turning of the flip chart pages.

One curious thing about this dinner was that they started without Tony, who was swotting up on his cricket umpiring in another room. "He knows it's ready" said Pat when Helen asks if she should remind him again. But here's the funny thing – he never featured in the episode at all and, as far as we know, he never made it to the table. Personally, I reckon he was approaching the dining room, heard Helen pontificating and thought "sod that, I'm off down the Bull".

Helen was also waxing lyrical about the importance of exercise and how she misses her usual routine down at the gym. When Pat suggests swimming, Helen says "I need a proper workout, Mum." Good idea – I know a couple of blokes with baseball bats.

Kenton was easing his way back into everybody's good books by being caring and concerned, but this was derailed when Holly turned up and practically raped him in Jaxx's in front of Jamie, who flounced off. Well done – that's given Jamie something else to be miserable about, although there may not be enough hours in the day.

Harry continues on the path towards sainthood by putting up with Jazzer. Has Harry gone mad – after all, the flat has off-white carpets for God's sake? Jazzer proves he is a stranger to the washing up bowl, puts his pig-soiled overalls into the bath to soak, berates Harry for throwing out his chips left over from the previous night while all the time moaning about how small the place is and how the pictures of Tour de France riders will have to go. Actually, I did wonder whether we are being subtly prepared for another gay outing? Harry, take some advice: this arrangement is never going to work, so get rid of Jazzer before he starts moving the pigs in.

Nailbiting stuff in the ploughing championship stakes, as it is revealed that Bert is lying second in the County Championship with only two events left. Talk about ratcheting up the tension! By contrast, earlier in the week, there was a release of tension when it was revealed that this year's pantomime will be Dick Whittington. From the enthusiastic praise coming from Holly, I reckon Kenton should go for the part of Dick.

Finally, when Kenton was first told about the panto, he said: "I can't believe it's that time of the year again." You and me both, Kenton, you and me both.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

We Love The Bulls (Not)

Rachel Atkins (Vicky Tucker)

I reckon that the Borsetshire Echo will soon fold, giving up in the face of the new competition that is Vicky Tucker – if you want a piece of news to get around, then Vicky's your girl. Of course, if you really want mega-fast, super saturation coverage, then tell Susan Carter as well.

Last week Vicky told Lynda about Jamie gatecrashing the Barn Dance ("strictly between us" – ha!) and, with the speed of light, Lynda was off to see Kathy, bearing a gift of apples. Remember the story of Snow White, Kathy! It's not often that I have a good word for Kathy, but I was impressed by the way that she headed Lynda's do-gooding intentions off at the pass; while Kathy didn't actually tell Lynda to sod off, the message certainly got across. And Kathy got to keep the apples.

Meanwhile, Jamie's behaviour continues to be – well, like that of most teenagers, if we're honest. Kathy isn't going to let him throw his future away and reveals plans to take him to school every day and pick him up, thus destroying whatever street cred he may have had.

I have great hopes for the storyline where Kate appears to be suffering pangs of remorse about leaving her children back in Johannesburg, as evidenced by the way she snapped at Hayley. Keep on at her, folks and perhaps the tugging at her heartstrings (in the unlikely event of her having such an organ) will see Kate pack in her course and go back home (please). Mind you, Brian buying her a laptop hasn't helped.

Will showed why a gamekeeper needs an extensive knowledge of bird life; when Nic casually mentioned the Peregrine Falcons' nest, he said "Nest? What do you mean?"

Harry continues to be too good to be true – not only did he initiate the "we love the Bull" campaign, but he also thought up the 'teaching wrinklies to use a computer' strategy to get people into the pub, offering to teach them in his free time. On top of all this, he offers his spare room to Jazzer after Brenda's ultimatum and, when Jazzer is less than thrilled, Harry even knocks £10 a month off the rent. I cannot believe that anyone – saint or not – would want Jazzer living with them. As Brenda said to him "I don't want your love life all over my settee", which conjures up images that are both disturbing and unpleasant.

But back to the "I love the Bull", or rather "I love the bulls" – yes folks, the veal saga has raised its ugly head once again, with Ed suggesting to Vicky that she gets rid of the bull calves before they die of old age. Vicky's attempts at shifting the livestock are meeting with limited (ie no) success, but Mike the optimist isn't downhearted, saying: "At least you've had no firm noes." Not only is his glass half full, but he probably thinks it is vintage champagne.

Vicky is not so convinced and says "I've failed – what am I going to say to Ed now?" How about "sorry I've been a complete prat about the calves Ed – here's two grand for the feed and another two for all the aggravation"?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Way To Go Peggy!

June Spencer OBE (Peggy Woolley)

Let's hear it for Peggy Woolley, who seems to be the only person who can make Kate shut up and realise what a self-centred, deeply shallow person she is at heart.

Nowhere was this better illustrated than in the story about Kate taking Phoebe for an unauthorised day out of school. When Hayley and Roy received an admonishing letter from the school, they were not happy, to put it mildly. Hayley in fact was spitting feathers and gave Kate a piece of her mind. The words "water off a duck's back" sprang to mind as Kate said "I won't do it again" in her 'whatever' voice.

Later on, however, Peggy rang Kate and gave her an earful. Kate tried to justify herself, saying: "I am her real mother", to which Peggy replied, cuttingly: "Only when it suits you, dear." We knew she had touched a nerve when Kate said "that really hurt, Gran." Did Peggy relent? No way Pedro, as she commented "the truth often does, dear." That's my girl Peggy! Stick the knife in and then twist it – that'll teach the jumped up, selfish madam. Let's have more please, if Kate is going to continue to inflict herself on us and Ambridge.

Congratulations are in order for Jill, who turned 80 and whose tetchy complaining while her children tried to get her to the venue of her surprise party was completely un-Jill-like. She broke down when they revealed themselves and I have to say that, if I were her and had gone away for a nice break in Bath and then found out that the family had joined me, I would probably have cried too.

Well done too to Izzy, who got a 2:1 degree and who seems set to make up for time lost studying, as she practically tripped over her tongue, which was hanging out and drooling over Matthew at the barn dance.

At said dance, gatecrasher Jamie continued to hurtle off the rails and exhibit all the survival skills of a moth in a blast furnace when he had a sniff of the barmaid's apron and then got bolshie with Matthew, who from all accounts is built like a brick outhouse. Sadly, instead of letting Matthew take him apart, Pip went and got David, who took him back to Kathy, lucky her.

Mind you, it had been a hard week for Jamie, as he not only had to help Robert repair the hide, but had to go shopping with him for the materials and pay for them too. This was obviously an ordeal for him as his sighing moved into turbo mode and the assistants at the DIY store could be forgiven for thinking that Darth Vader had dropped in to pick up some 4x2.

Finally, we have an "if only…" moment, when Adam said to Kate "funny how you and I both got the Africa bug." Just think, it could have been Dengue Fever, or Sleeping Sickness… 

Sunday, 3 October 2010

I Can't Stand A Year Of This

Kellie Bright (Kate Madikane)

I refer (and not for the first time) to Kate's proposed year living at Home Farm and studying locally. I mean, the woman has only been back a week and, bulldozer-like she has upset Roy and Hayley by taking Phoebe out of school to celebrate her (Kate's) birthday, annoyed Jennifer by disrupting Ruari's routine and turned Phoebe into a spoiled brat by buying her a pair of £100 trainers, among other things. The chances of Kate not getting killed over the next 12 months are diminishing daily.

Phoebe hasn't ever had much of a speaking part before and her longest sentence ever on Friday was addressed to Roy and Hayley when she said: "Why are you being so mean? I had a brilliant day yesterday. I'm sorry I came back – I should have stayed at Home Farm." Too right – if you're going to take that attitude, then sod off now. And take that bloody vuvuzela with you.

We also had the romantic (?) story of Nigel's efforts to make his and Lizzie's 16th Wedding Anniversary memorable and the rather convoluted and farcical actions of Kenton in trying to distract her so that Nigel could spring his surprise. Of course, good old Nigel nearly mucked it up by getting the measurements wrong. Measurements for what, for God's sake? Was he trying to recreate the O2 stage for the harpist?

Elizabeth was duly overcome and we had the sick-making protestations of undying love on both sides. Amid all the slush, was I the only one to notice that Elizabeth didn't seem to have bothered to get Nigel anything for what was, after all, his anniversary too?

Jazzer appears to be homeless and his suggestion that he moves into the Bull was met with total indifference by Fallon and Jolene. Harry was taking his life in his hands when he said to Jazzer "you can always come and stay with me." What a nice man! And he produced the "I love the Bull" T-shirts – just too late for the summer, but the thought was there.

Patrick seems to be getting his feet nicely under Kirsty's table and she certainly can't complain about lack of excitement as what was intended to be a quiet night owl-watching ended in her and Patrick disturbing the gang of bird hide-trashers and extinguishing the fire they had lit inside the hide.

Kirsty recognised Jamie and told Kathy, who threatened him with the police if he didn't apologise, turning his initial defiance into craven compliance. Kathy also wanted to know the identities of Jamie's fellow miscreants but he showed a bit more backbone, saying that he had no intentions of dobbing on his mates. Take him down the cop shop Kathy, then we'll see how tough he is. Better still, tie him to the church tower and let the Peregrine Falcons sort him out.