Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Genie Is Almost Out Of The Bottle

Lorraine Coady (Hayley Tucker)

Roy, Hayley and Lizzies attempts to keep a lid on the reasons that Roy (and now Hayley) are no longer working at Lower Loxley seem doomed to failure. Mike and Vicky cannot understand why they have given up their jobs and Mike is a real pain on Friday, saying at least three times that Roy shouldnt have left when he did. Hayley seems to have turned from wronged wife to avenging angel as she says: Elizabeth is going to pay for this - one way or the other.


Roy and Hayley go to see Usha for some legal advice and they realise that she will have to be told the whole, sordid story. Usha makes it plain that she cannot act for them but does say that Elizabeth should have followed the correct procedure for getting rid of somebody and its up to her to make Roy an offer or he could take her to an employment tribunal. Usha also suggests that Roy gets independent legal advice but he says No - Ill go and see her; I want to do this face to face. One might say that doing it face to face was what caused all this trouble in the first place.


Meanwhile, Caroline and Oliver (who I thought had emigrated as we havent heard from them for ages) discuss the fact that Roy rang her up for a job. Caroline says that shed have him back like a shot, but there are no vacancies. However, later in the week, Caroline rings Roy with the offer of the post of temporary receptionist, with the chance of promotion to dogsbody if hes lucky. When do you want me to start? is Roys response - no false pride with this boy.


Caroline goes to see Elizabeth, ostensibly to talk about the Hunt Ball, which was Roys baby and shes surprised hes left. The question of why is left hanging in the air but Elizabeth says it was an amicable decision and she is sorry to lose him. Its Elizabeths day for visitors as Roy turns up to tell her that he wants a substantial settlement, or hell take her to the Tribunal. Lizzie says that Caroline might have a job for him but a bitter Roy reveals its lowly status.


It gets worse; Freddie calls Phoebe and wants to meet. When they do so, Freddie tells her that his Mum and her Dad have been having an affair. A horrified Phoebe doesnt believe it, but Freddie says that it must be still going on, as he saw Roys car turning into Lower Loxley earlier on. Nice one Freddie - a great case of 2+2=5. Cant he be sent away to boarding school, or be bound head to foot in duct tape? Anything to get him to keep his gob shut.


You will be delighted to know - or alternatively, like me you might not give a toss - that Mungos naming ceremony went off OK. It was held in the Dower House and Fallon performed wonders in decorating the place at short notice. Robert gave a speech (which, mercifully, we didnt hear), Lynda read a poem and Lilian also gave a speech, which could be summarised as: I was a rubbish mother, but Ill be a fun Gran, now wheres the gin? Lilian later described the naming ceremony as bizarre, so she must have still been sober.


Leonie said that Fallon really had a talent for this sort of thing and then turned it into a back-handed compliment by saying that she (Leonie) had thought of running her own business but found that there was more joy and fulfilment in nurturing a new life, the pompous cow. Later on, Jill and Carol Tregorran are talking at Glebe Cottage and Carol nearly has hysterics when Jill tells her the babys name is Mungo. Carol rose enormously in my estimation when she described James as Never my favourite Godchild - the pretentious little brat. Well said, that woman!


At Bridge Farm, Johnnys parents give in and allow him to stay with his Grandparents and pursue the agricultural apprenticeship. Tony lets him ride a quad bike and insists that he wears a helmet. Remember what happened to your Dad he adds, somewhat tactlessly. It looks like we are going to hear a lot more from Johnny, unless he realises that he cannot possibly live with Tony for three years or however long the apprenticeship lasts. What would they do if (heaven forfend) Tom came back?


Over at Brookfield, there is a dilemma, as Rooooths Mum Heather is recovering from her fall and Rooooth goes to see her in the frozen north. What to do with Heather next? Sheltered housing? A care home seems out of the question and Jill suggests that Heather could live at Brookfield and she (Jill) could move into Rickyard cottage.


PC Burns goes to see Fallon and says Did you really have to dump me by text - arent I worth a farewell drink? Fallon replies that she didnt want to pick over the entrails andWe dont have a future. PCB is hurt by this and says I thought better of you, Fallon, I really did before leaving. If I were him, Id see if I could arrest Wayne - I bet that would get Fallon talking to him again.


Rob and Helen go hunting, leaving a chickenpox-stricken Henry with Pat, and Helen is smitten with the exhilaration and excitement of it all. In fact, she tells Rob thatI havent enjoyed anything quite so muchwhich I bet did wonders for Robs ego.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

It Never Rains But…

Carole Boyd (Lynda Snell)

According to Radio 4, the first half of September was the driest since records began in 1960. Obviously they didn’t include Ambridge in this, as on Wednesday we had Lynda on the phone to Leonie (who was being a pain, as usual), telling her how lovely the marquee looks for Marmalade’s (or whatever the latest name is) naming ceremony. Fallon has done a wonderful job with the bunting and, with the chairs and tablecloths all set out, it looks a treat; white and pristine.

What could go wrong? Funny you should ask that, as there’s a terrific clap of thunder and a torrential downpour. Tony, Ed and Johnny, who were lifting spuds at Bridge Farm, abandoned their efforts and rush to help Lynda. The rain, however, is of biblical ferocity and Lynda wails that her garden is ruined, with flowers and plants either flattened or washed away. The marquee isn’t looking too hot either, as waves of muddy water flow through it, giving a brown tinge to everything.

Lynda is distraught, which is nothing to what she feels later when she discovers that, in her haste, she ran out from Ambridge Hall and left the front door open, which means that Marmaduke’s naming ceremony cannot be held indoors either. For once Lynda has no plan B and is in tears, saying that “I’ve let Leonie, Robert and Mungo down - Leonie will never forgive me.” Now, while it’s true that Leonie is a first-class whinger with a grip on reality that could charitably be described as ‘tenuous’, surely even she can’t hold her stepmother responsible for a sudden and unprecedented downpour? Anyway, I have a possible solution - given that everywhere is discoloured (Lynda describes the marquee as “looking like a camouflage tent”) why not take advantage of things and change the baby’s name yet again; this time to ‘Mud’?

Two birthday boys on Thursday, with David reaching 55; still a long way behind Joe, who keeps telling people that he’s 93 and expecting them to buy him a drink - he practically has his hand out when he talks to David and David gives him the price of a drink or two. If I were David, I’d say “It’s my birthday too, so let’s call it evens, shall we?” David, however, is more generous and doesn’t complain.

Uncharacteristically, Joe gives Ed some money, telling him to spend it on himself and not the kids. What’s the reason for this out of character generosity? All we know is that Joe tells Tony later “You can right some wrongs with a grandson - or at least you can try.” Ed is reluctant to take the money at first, but Joe persuades him. Ed is never what you could call well off and he was shocked earlier in the week when Tony tells him that, should Johnny take up the agricultural apprenticeship offer, he would take home £100 a week. Mind you, Sharon has yet to give permission for Johnny to stay at Brookfield, so let’s not count chickens just yet, although if she refuses, he’ll probably make her life hell.

There was an opportunity missed when, instead of sending Wayne down for life, the namby-pamby, bleeding heart liberal magistrate gave him 120 hours community service. A photographer takes his picture outside the court and he wants to know who it is. Fallon says it was probably the Echo, adding: “It’s hardly likely to be Rolling Stone, is it?” PC Burns also turns up and Fallon accuses him of coming to gloat. He explains that he is there to give evidence in another case and asks Fallon if she’s free for a drink sometime. Her reply - “Leave us alone” - would suggest not.

A few days later, Fallon is talking to Jolene and it transpires that a photograph of Wayne did appear in the paper, Wayne went on a bender, lost his job at the bakers and his girlfriend threw him out. Wayne blames it all on “your flatfoot boyfriend” and Fallon says that she’s going to text PCB and tell him there’s no future for them. Jolene is upset, saying that PCB is a nice man. Looks like it’s still off, lads and lasses. May I suggest that the doors to every unused room in The Bull are nailed up now - I for one will be very upset if they put Wayne up; if the magistrate had jailed him, he’d have somewhere to stay, wouldn’t he?

Roy confronts Elizabeth about his severance package and is miffed when she tells him that she has already given Geraldine (the recently-hired Deputy General Manager) greater responsibility but he can have an ex-gratia payment. “What am I, a gigolo? Why should I make this easy for you?” asks an incensed Roy. In what sounds like a veiled threat, Liz says that she doesn’t have a marriage to protect, nor her children’s respect to lose (she lost that ages ago). “Do you want to risk that?” She adds, somewhat sinisterly. I’d take the money and run if I were you, Roy.

Jennifer decides to give her children £5 k each from her inheritance from John Tregorran and she tells Adam. Adam is grateful, and informs his mother that Carol Tregorran enjoyed her time in Ambridge so much that she has decided to come back and live there, renting Glebe Cottage. Jennifer says that Carol “goes back a long way” and a lot of people might regret her coming back. “Will we be deafened by the rattling of skeletons in closets? Adam asks. One such skeleton might be if Carol asks Jennifer “can you explain why my husband should leave you £50k?”

Going back to Jennifer’s plan to give her children money, she generously - and some might say inexplicably - includes Ruairi in this. I’d be careful, Jen; if you give £5 k to all Brian’s love children, £50 k won’t be anything like enough.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Mike’s Had Better Weeks

Terry Molloy (Mike Tucker)

Poor Mike - he had the pasteuriser go wrong last week and Vicky is putting the bite on him to move to Birmingham. Just when things can’t get any worse, they do, as Jazzer leaves the milk van unattended for a few moments and it is nicked. Good news: it turns up. Bad news: it’s been burnt out. It seems that Mike thinks that someone is trying to tell him something and he informs Jazzer (who tells Ed) that he is trying to sell the business.

Ed isn’t best pleased that he wasn’t told first hand and even less pleased that he won’t have a market for his milk. He and Jazzer get together in the cider club shed to do some brainstorming about how to make money. Could they buy Mike’s business? What with, lads? Also, Jazz is reluctant to give up his pig work. It looks bleak.

‘Bleak’ is a good word to describe the fortunes of Roy and Hayley; at the beginning of the week, Lizzie has a heart to heart with roy along the lines of “we can’t go on like this.” Roy agrees and says he’ll bite the bullet and leave Hayley for Elizabeth. This, however wasn’t what Liz meant and she tells Roy that he ought to look for a job somewhere else. “You’re sacking me?” he cries, but Liz says that she’d like his leaving to be “by mutual consent.” That sounds better than ‘being tossed aside like a spent match’ but Roy is definitely getting the Big E.

He goes home and is spotted by Hayley looking for jobs on the Internet. In answer to her questioning, he says “It’s time I moved on from Lower Loxley.” Hayley isn’t stupid and later on in the week she confronts Elizabeth about her relationship with Roy and shows her the heart-shaped locket that Liz returned to him. Liz doesn’t deny it and a bitter Hayley says “I thought the world of you - I trusted you.” She also accuses Liz of smashing up their world, adding: “It was a lovely world, Elizabeth.” Liz could have said “Your comments have been noted, now get back to work” but she didn’t.

Hayley returned home and Roy came in to find the children have been farmed out and it’s serious discussion time. On Roy’s part, this consists of phrases such as “I never meant to hurt you” and “I still love you.” Hayley says that she knows she’s nothing compared to Lizzie (well, you are 10 years younger Hayley) and that she’s only with Roy because Kate dumped him and she’s always been second best. She’s really good at laying a guilt trip on her errant husband and I for one say ‘good for you, girl’. She finishes by saying: “The simple matter is that I’m not good enough for you, am I?” and, when an increasingly-distraught Roy asks “Where do we go from here?” her answer is “You tell me Roy, because I’ve got no idea.” I think it will take more than a few flowers to smooth this over, although he does have a heart-shaped locket she can have.

From the dramatic to the farcical - according to Lynda, the latest favourite name for her grandson is ‘Mungo’, which I submit is an improvement on Mowgli or Montezuma. Perhaps you’d like to pick your own stupid name beginning with ‘M’.

Lynda also eeveals to David and Josh that apparently the cost of adopting Route B would be considerably less than for Routes A or C, which doesn’t bode well for any compensation money for Brookfield. “So have we lost already?” asks Josh, who might be thinking that as he’s learning to drive, he’ll have a nice, new dual carriageway to practice on. “We still have the Brown Hairstreak” says Lynda - this is going to be the best looked after butterfly in the world, I reckon.

At Bridge Farm, Johnny (the grandson formerly known as Rich) has been spending a few days getting involved with all aspects of day-to-day farming and enjoying it hugely. He even averted disaster when a speeding Jazzer caused the cattle to stampede (or at least move off quickly) and Johnny persuaded the bull Otto to follow him into a field. Eddie, who was watching, tells Tony “That lad’s a born stockman, isn’t he?”

But all is not well. Pat and Tony hold a family tea at Bridge Farm, with Johnny, Peggy, Rob, Helen and Henry. Pat confides to Peggy how much she has enjoyed having Johnny there but Peggy says that he is supposed to be going home next week to start sixth form college and why doesn’t Pat ring Sharon (his Mum) now to arrange a pick up? Pat does so and, when she tells Johnny that his Mum will pick him up on Sunday, he goes off on one, saying that he doesn’t want to go to college and “I want to stay here and work on the farm, just like my dad.” Could be a long trip back to Yorkshire.

Helen is paranoid that everyone is talking about Jess and her and Rob. She’s probably correct, as Susan tells Clarrie that Jess was pregnant and suggests that Rob could be “Another Brian Aldridge, with babies everywhere.” let’s face it; if Susan knows, then so will everyone within minutes. Actually, Rob exhibits his manipulative side, as he wants Helen and Henry to ride with the hunt and he says what better way to demonstrate that they are a family? Helen is definitely weakening.

Finally, I was going to make up a limerick about the relationship between Roy and Elizabeth, but I had to give it up, as I couldn’t  for the life of me think of a rhyme for ‘Tucker’…

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Who’s The Daddy?

Rina Mahoney (Jess Titchener)

Little doubt about the big drama last week, when a pregnant Jess turned up at Blossom Hill Cottage, much to Helen’s surprise and, when Jess says that Rob is the father, consternation (to put it mildly). Conception apparently happened when Rob went to see Jess in February. Jess slags Rob off and Helen says that, if Rob is so despicable, why did she sleep with him? “Because he’s bloody irresistible” Jess replied, adding that no other man has even come close. I want to know what aftershave that man uses and can you buy it in bulk?

Jess assures Helen that she doesn’t want Rob back, but she wants him to face up to his responsibilities and realise that he has taken her hopes and her future away. She gets the chance when Rob returns home and tells him “I’m carrying your child - our baby. You can’t pretend that I don’t exist.” Rob’s answer is short and succinct: “Get out before I throw you out” and Jess leaves, saying “I’ll be in touch.”

Rob tells Helen that Jess is delusional, adding: “That woman is poison - the worst mistake I ever made.” Helen is, understandably, shocked and confused and rushes outside for air, making retching noises. Rob joins her and she tells him “it’s as if Jess has planted a time bomb in my life.” Rob tries to comfort Helen, saying that Jess “is trying to obliterate everything that we know is good and real” and he offers to take a pre-natal paternity test if that’s what Helen wants. “Nothing has changed between us” he adds; a statement which I submit is patently untrue.

He asks Helen if she trusts him and she replies “I do”. I must admit I’m not sure if I would, even though he says “I’m the person you know, not the character Jess has invented.” Sod trust Helen - get him to take the paternity test; that way you’ll know for sure and you can always apologise afterwards, if necessary.

Trust is also in short supply at chez Tucker. Roy, obviously feeling guilty, says that he has booked a restaurant for him and Hayley and here’s some money, so why not go out and buy a new outfit? Hayley does so, but things don’t go according to plan as, at Lower Loxley, Freddie goes AWOL. Roy says he cannot leave Elizabeth on her own so stays on. When Freddie does come back, he goes berserk when Lizzie asks him where he’s been and why did he run off? “Because my mother’s a lying cow,” he replies and lets it be known that he knows that Liz and Roy have been having sex. When Roy admonishes him, Freddie says “Who are you to tell me what to do? We employ you.” That’s you told then Roy. Roy returns home and tries to explain to Haley what happened (omitting the sex bit). Hayley asks (not unreasonably) why didn’t he call her? Roy says he’ll book the same place for next week, so presumably there’ll be another Freddie-centred disaster to cock it up again.

Over at the bottling plant, Mike isn’t happy because the pasteuriser has packed up and a new one would cost £15 K. He manages to get it repaired but confides to Ed that he wonders if it’s worth bothering to carry on. This is not what Ed wants to hear, as if Mike packs it in, where will Ed sell his milk? Vicky urges Mike to give it up. “What about Ed and Jazzer?” Mike asks, to which Vicky replies “We’re not a charity, besides, we won’t be in Ambridge much longer” which does nothing to cheer Mike up.

Ed isn’t happy because the work from Adam has dried up. In fact, Adam tells Charlie Thomas that he could do with another tractor driver and how about Ed Grundy? “No way” Charlie replies. This is strange, as, two days later, Ed is in The Bull with Jazzer and Ed is bemoaning his lot. Jazzer - trying to stir up a bit of mischief - suggests that Ed sorts things out with Charlie, who is also in the pub. Ed approaches Charlie, who tells him that he was just about to come over to see Ed to apologise for the things he called him. Even better - would Ed like some tractor work on the Estate? I find this sudden conversion unsettling - beware Charlies bearing gifts, Ed.

I think that James will kill Leonie before long, as she has him running around after her and doing all the night feeds. She won’t even let him out to wet the baby’s head, as it’s vital that the baby has constant contact with the father for the first six weeks. There is some good news, or so doting grandmothers Lilian and Lynda think, when Leonie says that, numerologically, ‘Mowgli’ is an inauspicious name. Their delight is tempered, however, when Leonie says “We quite like Montezuma, don’t we?” Will someone please give that woman a slap and stop her reading weird books and pamphlets?

Jolene and Fallon were talking about Loxfest and Jo says that Harrison really came alive on the stage and it was due to Fallon. Jo also asks if PCB arresting Wayne has affected their relationship and Fallon replies “We’re so different - maybe we’re just not meant to be.” Looks like it’s off again, lads. The talk turns to what a silly boy Wayne has been (he’s up before the Magistrate next week - get that black cap washed and ironed) and Jolene says he’s not a bad man, “but you’re better off seeing him in small doses.” Let’s think, I believe that scientists have detected radiation from about 0.00000001 seconds after the Big Bang - I reckon that’s more than long enough to spend in Wayne’s company.