Rosalind Adams (Clarrie Grundy)
The Grundys were centre stage for most of the past week, with Clarrie finally agreeing to Eddie's and Jazzer's plans to take Nathan Booth to the cleaners over his attempts to fix race night. She overcame her conscience after hearing ex-Marine Des Penwell talk at St. Stephen's.
Unfortunately, her judgement wasn't so sound when Nic revealed that Clarrie had invited all the family round on Christmas Day. "It'll be nice to have all the family together" she and Eddie cooed. No it bloody won't – it will be carnage! Ed and Will spending a day together, swigging Eddie's apple brandy – I suspect goodwill would be in very short supply.
Is anyone else annoyed by the number of worthy storylines that seem to be creeping in? We still have the "get the wrinklies working on computers" propaganda, with Harry patiently talking Peggy through how to open an attachment. Perhaps it's me, but a detailed description along the lines of "…and now you click on the icon like this…" does not exactly make for riveting radio.
Des Penwell's talk at St. Stephen's may have swayed Clarrie, but it sounded a bit like an advert for the British Legion. Still, we mustn't be churlish at this time of year.
From the worthy to the boring. Yes, I'm talking about Tom's TEA, or 'tedious energy audit'. Fortunately, Tony agreed to his suggestions concerning the lighting and the refrigeration unit, so hopefully we will have no more debates about whether sodium lamps, and how many, are what are needed. Please God.
Equally boring was the step-by-step walk through of what Nigel and Lizzie have planned for Lower Loxley in the run-up to Christmas. Nigel told Lizzie "We have two Santas booked," thus ruining Christmas for any young children who may have been listening.
However, for sheer, toe-curling, mind-numbing tediousness, we have Pip and the halter training of the Hereford steer that is going to be shown. Once again, I humbly submit that phrases like "he's got a good top line" or "doesn't he hold his head beautifully?" are not scintillating radio. What was worse, however, was the discussion between Pip and Josh about Pip's future and that of the farm. Pip wonders whether to go to agricultural college so that she can keep abreast of what is happening in farming. In a line that I found chilling, Josh asked her "Are you going to stay here for the rest of your life?" Pip's answer was drowned out by five million listeners screaming "No! No!" at their radios.
The silent but slightly creepy Nathan Booth got his just desserts when Eddie and Jazzer stitched him up on race night, conning him into paying £150 for a horse that came last. In his triumphant celebrations, Eddie seemed to forget that he and Nathan are going to be spending a lot of time together during the panto season. Nice one Eddie.
Helen continues to be a source of worry (as well as annoyance) to everyone, prompting Peggy to say "I wish you weren't going through all this on your own." Ha! She wishes? Not as fervently as most of the listeners, I'll wager, although the words "on your own" are superfluous.
And now I'd like to make a presentation. The trouble is I don't know whether it should be entitled "The unluckiest sod in Ambridge" or the "Engage brain before opening mouth" award. Either way, the winner is Patrick, the bird man of Ambridge, for telling Lynda Snell that he passed his Grade 7 piano exam when younger. "When he said that, his fate was sealed" she said, smugly. I have a vision of the poor beggar chained to a radiator in the Village Hall, existing on bread and water and being forced to learn the score for the panto.
The frightening thing (for him) is that Lynda will probably call on him every year now and he has a job for life, unless he cuts a hand off, or moves far away. No doubt he wishes that he had kept his trap shut but it's too late now and, in an apt phrase for panto season, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle.