Sunday, 26 April 2015

Pre-Wedding Nerves Or Paranoia?

Stephen Kennedy (Ian Craig)

Ian had a heart to heart with Helen and he confides that he thinks there might be something going on between Adam and Charlie. Helen asks what makes him think that? Ian says he’s never been able to work out what Adam really thinks about Charlie, plus they had lunch together at Grey Gables last week. Helen, who saw Adam and Charlie kissing on New Year’s Eve, says that that doesn’t mean anything, but Ian says that they sometimes look at each other as if they’re more than friends. “Tell me I’m wrong Helen; tell me I’m being paranoid” he pleads.

Helen tries to reassure him (presumably with crossed fingers), saying that all couples - with the exception of her and Rob, of course - have their periods of doubt and Adam has asked Ian to marry him. “Of course he loves you” she says stoutly. Ian agrees, saying: “Of course he does - he’s even coming to watch the football with me and he’s not a fan”. The football in question is on TV at The Bull, so it’s not really that much of a sacrifice, is it?

Adam certainly seems to be spending lots of time with Charlie lately - on Tuesday, Adam, Charlie and Pip visit an exhibition devoted to the use of technology in farming. Adam remains unconvinced and, when he goes to get them some food, Charlie tells Pip “If it’s the last thing I do, I’ll convince Adam that technology is the future of farming”. He also shows Pip a magazine with job adverts (some of which are overseas) and he suggests that the experience would be good for her and why not at least look at the company’s website? “What have you got to lose?” he asks. Good at planting seeds, these farmers.

On Thursday, Charlie phones Adam and invites him over to see a video of a farmer from Ohio who has developed his own grazing system. “You’ll be very impressed” Charlie promises him. In fact, Adam professes himself ‘amazed’ - “sustainable and profitable” he gasps. Over a beer, the two discuss cricket and Charlie reveals that he used to be a bit of an all-rounder, plus he was a stand-in wicket keeper too. No doubt he did a bit of umpiring and was head grounds man and sandwich maker in his spare time as well.

Charlie says that, when his ankle is better, he intends to try out for the Ambridge cricket team, which will make Ian even more unhappy as Adam and Charlie spend even more time together.

Talking about the cricket team, after last season’s unimpressive showing, this year there appears to be an embarrassment of riches. At nets, Johnny shows that he is a more than useful swing bowler and Alistair and Tony talk about Harrison Burns, who apparently used to play some club cricket and is keen to try out for the team. I fully expect Kevin Pietersen to come and live in the village at this rate. And while we’re on the subject of cricket, what has happened to Iftikar?

One person who might not be playing so much in the future is Alistair; he tells Rooooth that he is struggling just to keep his head above water, having lost all his equipment and his premises in the flood. He’s had to start all over again and it is taking it out of him, plus he has no time or energy for a social life.

On Wednesday, he is off early for a meeting in Darrington, snatching a sandwich to eat on the way. Shula has a meeting too - in Felpersham with Richard Locke. The two reminisce - Richard said he was sorry when he learned of Nigel’s death and remembers Nigel’s stag night, where Nigel wore a gorilla suit. When Daniel was a child, he wasn’t well (juvenile arthritis) and Dr. Locke treated him. He’d like to see Dan again, so Shula invites him to lunch - she’ll check when Alistair and Dan are free and give Richard a call. Back at The Stables later, Shula tells Alistair about the invite, but he is exhausted and just says “OK” as he drags his weary body off for a shower.

Rob was back to his manipulative best last week - Helen is quite pleased at the prospect of opening up a farm shop at Bridge Farm, but Rob doesn’t want her working, so he has a quiet word with Tom. Rob asks whether Tom has noticed how tired Helen has been since working at Ambridge Organics? He says “no” and adds that he feels that working seems to be good for her. Rob says that she is stressed inside and anyway, they are trying for a baby. In that case, says Tom, perhaps they can manage with her doing less. “Or maybe without her altogether?” Rob suggests, adding “All I’m asking you is to let her put herself and her family first”. Tom might have pointed out that he, Pat and Tony are Helen’s family too, but he doesn’t.

The following day, Tom and Helen are talking and he lets slip that Rob said they are trying for a baby. She is somewhat annoyed and tells Tom that, for the record, they aren’t trying yet. When Rob comes home, Helen has a go at him, telling him that some things should be kept private. He apologises, saying that running the shop was stressing her and he wants her to have “a secure and safe home life”, so just slip these handcuffs on Helen and hand back your door key. Rob’s tactics appear to be working, as, at the family meeting to discuss the future of the shop, Helen is now lukewarm about the project.

Drama towards the end of the week - Rob arrives home and Helen points out a letter that has arrived. “It looks official” she says. “It’s the test results” Rob says and opens it. “Take a look for yourself - it was a complete waste of everyone’s time. Jess was calling my bluff and she lost. God knows what she was playing at”. Call me suspicious, but I don’t believe it - a reader sent in a comment (obviously he or she couldn’t wait for this week’s posting!) along the lines that Rob had the results letter sent to his place of work and he has produced a doctored replacement. We’ll have to wait and see; going on past experience, if there has been foul play, it’s bound to come out before long.

It was a bad week for Lilian - on Wednesday she took her newly-botoxed self to a wine bar and tried, unsuccessfully, to engage various people in conversation. The only one who spoke to her was the barman and he had no choice, poor sod. Relating the story to Jennifer, Lilian says that she went to the rest room and looked in the mirror, “Where I saw a sad, lonely, desperate old woman”. “Nonsense” says a supportive Jennifer, which is a bit more supportive than “You missed out ‘haggard’ and ‘with a look like a permanently startled faun’ ”.

Just to cheer Lilian up, she gets a visit from Lynda, who is staying at the Dower House and who wants to re-arrange all the furniture in accordance with her feng shui principles. Lilian feels insulted, but tells Jennifer that she is slightly envious of Lynda, who has “always got a project on the go”. True - and don’t we bloody know it!

This week’s ‘I’m glad it’s not TV’ moment was the description of Joe Grundy wearing pink corduroy trousers, courtesy of the charity donations. Not a pretty sight, according to Eddie.

Finally, on Friday, Pip and Daniel are off to some concert, having just had an earnest conversation about how important it is to vote and how people died for the right to…but no doubt you catch my drift. Anyone would think there’s an election in the offing. As she is on the point of leaving, Pip says that, due to the uncertainty about the road etc, they cannot really plan anything for the future and it will be a long time before they need her, so she’s off to see the world and she’s seen this job, where she can come back, armed with knowledge and experience and don’t wait up. Bye. David and Rooooth are stunned as she and Daniel leave. That Charlie Thomas has got a lot to answer for.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Fanning The (Old) Flame

Judy Bennett (Shula Hebden Lloyd)

Last week, we speculated whether Alistair might be having an affair (Instability At The Stables) as he’s acting peculiarly, to say the least. This week, it’s Shula’s behaviour that’s under scrutiny, but more of this later.

Last week we also commented on the fact that Ed had spent a lot of money on his new tractor without consulting Emma and she might not be best pleased. Well, she wasn’t, and bends Ed’s ear about how they are supposed to be partners and he could have given her a quick call. A chastened Ed says that, if she isn’t happy, he’ll take the tractor back, but she relents and says “If you’ve done the sums, I’m happy”. What? This is the man who had to sell some of his cows in order to pay his rent arrears - he probably can’t even spell ‘sums’, let alone do them.

Elsewhere, there are signs that Helen is gradually developing a mind of her own, which won’t please Rob. Not only did she work late the other night, but on Monday she tells Rob that she will come with him when he goes to the doctor’s to take the paternity test. He tells her that he doesn’t want her there and he’s very busy and is thinking of postponing the test. Helen counsels against it, saying that there will never be a good time to take the test and she’s coming with him and “no arguments”. Steady on there Helen - you’ll be taking charge of the remote control at this rate.

On the journey to the surgery, Rob is tetchy and morose and, when he talks to the doctor, he makes it clear that he’s only there under protest. The doctor explains that the DNA swab will be sent away and Rob will get a letter within 7-10 days. Who else will get the results? The mother and the Child Maintenance Service, which I reckon will give Rob lots of chances to pull the wool over Helen’s eyes (assuming he is the father, of course). I’d use your embryonic independence to demand that you see the actual letter, Helen - either that or examine his wage slips to see if the CMS are deducting money.

Now let’s discuss a moment of revelatory self-awareness. Susan is working in the temporary shop when Shula and Usha turn up. Rent-a-gob Susan bangs on about how nice it was to see Richard Locke earlier in the week and she suddenly realises that Shula was having an affair with him, while he was supposed to be Usha’s partner. “I should learn to keep my mouth shut” says an embarrassed Susan, but Usha tells her that she spoke to Richard at The Messiah and whatever happened in the past is ancient history.

Apart from the fact that Usha missed out on the chance to really make Susan squirm, let’s talk about Susan’s statement. First of all, she obviously missed out the word ‘big’ and secondly, in the years this blog has been running, I have on more than one occasion suggested that she has the words she uttered tattooed back to front on her forehead and that she walks around carrying a hand mirror. Sometimes it seems that she only opens her mouth to change feet.

Over at Home Farm, Lilian has been absent, having gone down to London to spend time with Leone, James and little Muppet. Lilian was a tad depressed before she made the visit - God alone knows what she must be feeling like after a few days with that trio.

Never mind what she’s feeling like - she certainly looks different when she returns and she tells Jennifer that she has had Botox; James took her to a little place he knows. Be honest, would you trust James’s recommendation on anything at all? He tells his mum that it has taken 20 years off her, but Brian reckons (when Lilian is out of earshot) that it makes her look permanently surprised.

Jennifer begs Brian not to say anything, then Lilian returns, saying that she has been looking in the mirror and she is wondering if she has made a terrible mistake. She wants a man’s opinion - what does Brian think? Jennifer holds her breath, but Brian steps up to the plate and tells Lilian that she looks absolutely stunning, adding “If I wasn’t married to your sister, I’d be right after you”. Lilian is pleased but, when she thinks about it, being pursued by Brian isn’t that much of a compliment, as all you have to be is more or less female and not actually dead.

Clarrie and Eddie are watching Keeper’s Cottage being ripped apart and Eddie is upbeat because the foreman told him that Hazel (who is the owner) told him only to use the highest spec materials in the refurbishment. If Witch Hazel said that, I reckon the Grundys won’t be the tenants for much longer.

As it is, Clarrie is morose, reminding Eddie that they still won’t have any furniture to put in the house. Eddie shows her her sideboard, which has been salvaged and is awaiting restoration. Her mood is not lightened when she sees it, as it is chipped, stained and going rotten. If it were a dog, it would have been put down, but Eddie shows his boundless reserves of optimism, by saying he can fix it. While Eddie is doing his Bob the Builder impression, Clarrie remains far from convinced and I can’t say I blame her.

At the barn dance, everyone seems to be there, including Charlie, Adam and Ian, with the latter unkindly remarking that Charlie won’t be dancing, as he’s on crutches. Almost in passing, we are told that an elegant woman has turned up with her partner and neither Adam nor Ian know who she is and we aren’t told - a story for the future, perhaps? Pip is suffering from dissertation fatigue and gets stuck into the booze at the bar. Things aren’t helped when her ex, Spencer, turns up with a new girlfriend. This seems a mite hard on him as it was Pip who dumped Spencer - what is he supposed to do? Top himself? Emigrate? Become a monk, perhaps?

Let’s talk now about Shula and Alistair. On Monday, Shula visits the temporary village shop at Bridge Farm for some fresh Dill. She’s cooking a special meal for her and Alistair and needs it for her smoked salmon soufflé. The day before, Shula had practically bullied Alistair into having this meal, calling it a new beginning for them, now that Daniel has received his Commission. A clearly-underwhelmed Alistair says that he’ll do his best to be there.

Shula is cooking her soufflé when she hears the front door and calls out, thinking it’s her husband. But no, it’s Jim, looking for his wallet and, in passing, he mentions that he saw Alistair’s car, heading towards Penny Hassett. Shula isn’t very happy and her phone rings. Again, it isn’t Alistair, but ex-lover Richard Locke, who has reappeared on the scene. He says how nice it was to talk to her at the performance of The Messiah the other evening and how about meeting up for a coffee? Shula says she’s cooking and why doesn’t she take his number and ring him back later? She then gets a text and this time it is from Alistair - he’s had an emergency call-out. The soufflé is forgotten, until Jim says “Is that something burning?” Another black mark, Alistair.

Never mind, Alistair has the chance to atone at Friday evening’s Village Meal and barn dance. Shula asks him to dance, but he says he’s absolutely famished and maybe he’ll dance later. Later duly arrives and Shula hunts out Alistair. He tells her that Christine is very tired, so he’s going to drive her home and he is tired as well, so he’ll go home too. An angry Shula says that she’ll find someone else to dance with. And possibly more than dance, as she then rings Richard, apologising for the lateness of the hour and arranging to meet him for coffee on Wednesday afternoon. Meeting up with an old flame could be dangerous - the soufflé might not be the only thing to get burnt.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Instability At The Stables?

Michael Lumsden (Alistair Lloyd)

I wonder if we are being prepared for some significant friction at The Stables between Alistair and Shula? Over recent months, Alistair seems to have been away a lot, at conferences and suchlike. Could he be back on the gambling (we haven’t heard much about his weekly Gamblers Anonymous meetings) or might he be having an affair? A case of ‘poker or poke her’ perhaps? We’ll wait and see what (if anything) happens.

It’s been a turbulent week for Shula, as we had the performance of The Messiah at St. Stephen’s. Afterwards, Shula is congratulated by a member of the audience and it turns out to be Richard Locke, sometime doctor in Ambridge and with whom Shula had a torrid affair back in 1998. Even worse; at the time Shula was being pursued by Alistair and Richard was the partner of Usha. How un-Shula-like is that?

Following the performance, Shula tries to tell her husband that she met Richard, but he is always on the way to somewhere, or prattling on about his new surgery, or musing about the bird-watching competition between his father Jim and Robert Snell. Strangely, when he does actually settle down and asks Shula what was it she wanted to talk to him about, she tells him it doesn’t matter.

Alistair is riddled with self-doubt - should he continue to go it alone and carry on with his search for premises for a new vets surgery, or should he give it up and join a larger practice and take on more locum work?

Both Alistair and Shula stay overnight near Sandhurst in order to attend Daniel’s passing-out ceremony and it affects her deeply. “What’s happened to my little boy?” she asks, wistfully. “He’s a man now” Alistair replies helpfully. He certainly is: 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Hebden-Lloyd of the Tank Regiment, to be precise. Dan introduces Shula and Alistair to his Platoon Commander (touchingly calling Alistair ’my father’) and the Commander says they should be very proud of him.

Alistair excuses himself and leaves - we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s off to the loo, rather than a card game in the Officers’ Mess - and Dan notices that his mother seems upset, so what’s up? Shula tells him that she has met an old friend (without revealing exactly just how friendly they were) and wonders what might have been. Dan suggests that she can still follow her dream (“Perhaps when I was younger” she replies), to which Dan says she’s not that old and “Come on mum, it’s not all over yet, is it?” This is what we are wondering and perhaps we should note that, having been away from the area for some time, Richard is now a doctor in a practice in Felpersham - just down the road, really.

Elsewhere, it was a busy Easter for Kate, as she offered to do the cooking over the holiday. Jennifer later moans at Brian, saying that he could have at least pretended to enjoy it, as Kate was upset because Phoebe was spending time with Hayley (Phoebe’s no fool, obviously). Jen and Brian are watching the Brownies’ Easter Bonnet parade and she is concerned that he doesn’t want one of Fallon’s Hot Cross buns. Kenton, who is organising the catering at the Pop-Up Bull, asks if he wanted any lamb tagine instead “as you couldn’t get enough of it yesterday.” Oops! Jennifer cannot believe that he snuck off to The Bull after Kate’s meal, although from how Brian describes it, the only surprise is that he didn’t stick his fingers down his throat first.

On Tuesday, Kate is helping to plant strawberries in the polytunnels. Has she turned over a new, helpful leaf? Not exactly, as Adam is paying her for it. I bet he wishes that it was piece-work, as the others are planting twice as many as Kate. This is due to the fact that she talks to each plant as she places it lovingly in the earth and stops just short of singing each one a lullaby and tucking it in. If she had lavished half as much attention on Phoebe, Phoebe might not be closer to Hayley than she is to her natural mum.

Adam tells her to pull her finger out and, when Charlie turns up to talk to him, Kate comes out to chat, until Adam tells her to get back in the polytunnel and please try and plant more than two plants an hour. Charlie takes Adam to lunch at Grey Gables, where Adam gets a phone call from an indignant Kate, angry that he didn’t tell her he was going to Grey Gables. Adam’s response is along the lines of “I don’t have to - I’m the boss, now get back on the strawberries” as he ends the call. Dock her wages, Adam.

At Bridge Farm, the local produce section of the temporary village shop is turning over good business and Helen is quite enjoying herself. Not so Rob, who phones her, asking what’s for dinner and when is she coming home? In a rare show of defiance, she tells Rob to look in the fridge and make something from that and give Henry some fish fingers. As it turns out, Rob’s mushroom stroganoff is inedible. He tries to force feed Henry then Helen says she can’t eat hers either. Rob says he’s sorry that it’s so disgusting “but if you’re never going to be here Helen, what do you expect?” Call me cynical, but what’s the betting that Rob deliberately messed up the meal in order to lay a guilt trip on Helen?

Tony has a hospital check-up and the fracture (what, only one? Call that a trampling?) is healing nicely. Tom keeps leaving brochures about bulls all over the place and trying to get his dad to take the decision to buy one, but Tony is, understandably, reluctant to take the plunge. Tom tells Helen that Tony “has to get back on the bike sometime”, but it’s a bit different: when you fall off a bike, it doesn’t jump up and down on you, crush you against a wall and try to gore you to death.

The Grundys featured prominently this week, with Eddie accompanying Ed to look at tractors for the latter’s embryonic contracting business, but more of this later. Eddie gets a frantic call from a panic-stricken Joe, saying that Caroline has called in the pest control people and “they are gonna murder Daphne”. Daphne is the runaway ferret that escaped after Joe brought her to Grey Gables as she was looking peaky. This latest crisis was precipitated when Susan saw “something furry” scuttling along the skirting board and everyone assumed it was a rat.

The situation became farcical, when Joe is convinced that a chambermaid inadvertently scooped Daphne up with some used sheets and dumped them in her trolley. Eddie and Joe are going through the sheets when Roy comes across them and asks what do they think they are playing at? Eddie comes up with some cock and bull story about looking for a pillow (why not ring Reception, Eddie?) and Roy cuts him short by producing Daphne from his pocket. Joe is over the moon, until Roy says that he can’t keep her at the hotel. Joe protests that Daphne would be safe in his room, but Roy points out that this is obviously not true, as she escaped earlier. In the end Roy suggests that he take Daphne home with him and look after her. The man must be mad.

Back to the tractor-hunting. Ed is looking at a well-used machine, but Eddie only has eyes for a newer, bright green monster which is more expensive. In the end, Eddie persuades him, by saying that Ed will need a powerful tractor when his workload builds up and, it might be more expensive, but he should regard it as an investment. Ed is still unconvinced, reminding himself that he and Emma had agreed never to get into debt again. Eddie says that it’s a tractor - the tool of Ed’s trade - and not a pair of curtains and Emma will understand. That’s as maybe, but I think what is worrying Ed is that he is going to have to explain to his wife-to-be that he has sought - and, even worse, followed - financial and business advice from Eddie, whose track record in these fields is - to put it charitably - less than spectacularly successful.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Seek Help Now, Kenton!

Richard Attlee (Kenton Archer)

Is it possible to get Deep Vein Thrombosis of the brain? If so, that would explain Kenton’s increasingly bizarre attitude towards his younger brother, and it could be the case, as Kenton has just completed a long-haul flight back from Australia.

You’d think that he would have enough on his plate with clearing up the mess at The Bull and trying to come up with a viable plan to keep going, but when he learns that David will be chairing a meeting to discuss the future regarding floods, he makes a point of going along and interrupting his brother at every turn, questioning his decisions and undermining his suggestions. Kenton gets his own way about having a committee to look at future flood strategy - and what a committee it is; David, Kenton, Jim, Lynda, Usha, Rob (strangely) and Jennifer. My immediate reaction was “you’ve never got a machine gun handy when you need it, have you?”

After the meeting, David confronts his brother, asking (quite reasonably, I feel) why he came along if he was only going to be obstructive? David adds: “If you’ve got a problem with me, could we sort it out in private?” Kenton says that somebody has to stop David and (voice rising manically) “You’re setting yourself up as the selfless defender of this community - you’ve got a nerve, you really have”. Kenton then leaves, presumably to wipe the foam from his lips and dismember the odd cat with his bare hands.
On Friday, Jolene mentions to Alan that Kenton has staked so much on this weekend (the pop-up Bull and Easter egg hunt) so I can’t help thinking that it makes real sense to alienate a whole section of the family. Rooooth talks to Heather about the rift between the two brothers - and aren’t Jill’s children really good at having these rifts? - and Heather suggests getting Kenton and Jolene over for afternoon tea on Monday. Sounds like a plan.
Over at The Bull, Jolene takes a call from Rooooth, inviting them over and Kenton goes into melt-down mode, saying that there’s no way he would sit down at the same table as David, saying that David “Is totally responsible for our mountain of debt!” Yes, I remember David marching Kenton down to the travel agent and forcing him at gunpoint to book a holiday to Australia with Business Class flights and top-quality accommodation. Then, while Kenton was away, David did a rain dance and deliberately diverted the Am in order to flood The Bull.
Kenton goes even further; equating what David did, with Tom jilting Kirsty at the altar. The difference is that Tom was labelled a pariah and felt compelled to leave the country, while David “Rescued a few people in the flood and now he’s a hero”. Kenton’s final word is “I don’t want to sit down with my smug, double-crossing brother - I don’t want anything to so with him, ever again”. So that’s a ‘no’ to Easter Monday tea then, is it Kenton?
Over at Bridge Farm, the hastily-relocated shop is stocked and opened. The Archer family would like to have a corner devoted to local (i.e. Bridge Farm) products but Pat is worried as a) it’s a Community Shop and they can’t be seen to take it over and b) what is Susan going to say? I would make the observation that a) Bridge Farm is supplying the space, the electricity and the manpower to get the shop set up and b) Susan should keep her capacious mouth shut if she values her job at the dairy, so go ahead and get that cheese and those sausages on show. As it turned out, Susan was so preoccupied with the lack of broadband at the Post Office part of the shop, that she agreed to the Archers’ request without a murmur.
Susan is also worried about Emma’s wedding, telling Rooooth that she hopes Ed will spruce himself up for the occasion. So there you have it Ed - clean the mud (and whatever else) off those wellies and give them a good buffing up so they look good as you walk down the aisle at St. Stephen’s.
The shop is the least of Bridge Farm’s worries, as during the week, they are paid a visit by Mr Wallace of (I think) the Health & Safety Executive. Tony is interviewed under caution - just what you need when you are recovering from being trampled by a bull - and Tony is worried because he can’t remember many details. Obviously Tony should have taken notes as he was being trampled and gored and I wondered why Mr Wallace was there in the first place - did he think that Tony deliberately arranged for the bull to break free and jump up and down on him?
Mr Wallace asks why Ed was driving the bull rather than Eddie, but Tony robustly defends Ed as a stockman and also says that Johnny is “a competent stockman”, which is a bit of an exaggeration, plus Johnny wasn’t in charge of the stock, but of Henry. Mr Wallace then impugns the character of Otto - did the vendor say he had dangerous tendencies? The answer is ‘no’ and, as Otto is now a pile of steaks and pie filling, he can’t give us his side of the story.
Just to add to Tony’s anxiety, Mr Wallace tells him that it could be two months before the results of the investigation and whether there’ll be a prosecution. However, a custodial sentence is unlikely but, as Tony tells Pat, there’s a possibility of a substantial fine and “another stain on the reputation of Bridge Farm”. Welcome home and enjoy your Easter, Tony!
There was a slightly surreal series of cameos when Joe let one of his ferrets (Daphne) escape and she was at large in Grey Gables. Eddie berated his father for being a total prat (which could be a weekly ritual) and we were treated to episodes where Ed was turning up with a fishing net and he, Eddie and Joe were trying to catch the elusive Daphne, stalking the corridors of Grey Gables.
The situation was exacerbated when a couple of guests rang Roy and Lynda at Reception to report ‘a scratching’ behind the skirting boards or from the room next door. Roy catches the Grundys prowling the corridors and there is a farce when Eddie goes into a bathroom and there are sounds of a struggle, after which he emerges, claiming to have killed a Field Mouse and Roy can bugger off and not worry any more. If I were Caroline and Oliver, I would willingly pay for the Grundys to stay at a five star hotel - any other five star hotel.
Over to Home Farm, where Adam is still banging on about the state of the soil. Mind you, as they have lost 10 acres of Winter Wheat, he might have a point. Adam asks Brian whether he wants to pass on a working farm, or a dust bowl? Brian prevaricates while he goes online to see which would give the best return. OK, I lied.
In the kitchen, Kate is talking to Jennifer, who says how much work she has on, what with doing articles for The Echo etc. Kate then suggests that why doesn’t she take some of the load off her mother (alien abduction, obviously) and do the cooking? Jennifer agrees with alacrity, which seems to indicate that she obviously hates her husband. When told, Brian is horrified, telling Jennifer that she would have produced a leg of lamb or venison and what will Kate produce? Tell you what Bri, if you want meat, I’d book into the Bull, assuming that Kenton hasn’t been carried away by the men in white coats. Even if you don’t want meat, it would surely be worth that to get away from Kate?

Later on, Adam talks to Kate (and he’s one of the few who can do so without wanting to throttle her) about his reservations over the state of the land and the cocky bitch says that, when she’s finished her course, she’ll be able to tell them where they have been going wrong. Tell you what Adam, why not improve the organic content of the soil by ploughing Kate’s lifeless and butchered body into the Home Farm fields? That would be the most work she’s done in many a year.