Sunday, 31 May 2015

I Presume That Was A Rhetorical Question, Kenton?

Richard Attlee (Kenton Archer)

Ambridge seems a nice place but, have you noticed that, when things start going against you, it’s just one damn thing after another. Let’s take Kenton and Jolene - having spent money lavishly - money which they didn’t actually have - and seeing The Bull flooded out, they are in a bad way financially and heap the blame on David, whose efforts to assist are turned down flat.

Never mind; at the Single Wicket match, Kenton is commentating and he and Jolene are running the beer tent, which does a roaring trade. Another ray of light on the horizon is the forthcoming FA Cup final, which The Bull will be showing on the big screen TV. If the takings on the earlier semi-final weekend are any thing to go by, it looks certain to be another money-spinner, so what could possibly go wrong?

The answer to that is ‘the big screen TV’ - Jolene gets a call from the pub that it is on the blink, which takes the shine off the day, somewhat. However, it’s an ill wind, as they say, and Shula hatches a plan whereby she, David and Elizabeth will buy a replacement TV as a present. David agrees, as long as he doesn’t have to talk to Kenton directly and it looks as if the Cup Final screening is back on again. “And if it gets you and Kenton talking again, so much the better” Shula adds.

It certainly does that, as a couple of days later Kenton, who has heard about the plan, confronts his brother, saying “What are you doing - just butt out of my life!” He is just the other side of incandescent with rage, telling David that “you can stuff your surprise” and accusing him of getting Elizabeth and Shula involved. David replies that they were just trying to help, to which Kenton says “Let me spell it out for you one more time - we don’t want your help. Get it?” He goes further, saying that he could have sworn that he was the older brother in the family. “Of course you are” David says and Kenton (practically foaming at the mouth by this time) rants “Then why do you keep treating me like a child?”

This is the rhetorical question of this week’s title. Could it be because Kenton is behaving like the biggest kid in the playground, perhaps? Let’s face it - if he had a bat and ball, he’d take it away, whilst spitting out his dummy and throwing toys out of a pram. Give it up, David - you’ve tried your best on more than one occasion and been rudely rebuffed, so I wouldn’t bother if I were you. Just get on with your life and leave your brother sitting in a corner, sucking his thumb.

Kenton is determined that the Cup Final will be shown in The Bull and he tells Tom and Ed that he and Jolene are a pretty good team. “We will overcome” he tells them. His plan was revealed on Friday when he turns up with a new TV, which he bought on credit. Jolene is not wildly impressed, as their credit card is maxxed out since they consolidated all their debts on to one card. Kenton explains that this is the beauty of his plan - he bought the TV on one of the other cards. “Trust me - you won’t regret this” he tells his wife. Oh yeah?
What was that about being treated like a child? I wouldn’t be surprised if Kenton wasn’t one of those people who think it’s ok to keep writing cheques, as long as there are some left in the chequebook.

Going back to the Single Wicket, the final is between Rob Titchener and Toby Fairbrother and, in a close-fought match, Rob wins it off the final ball. Kate took part (she lost to Phoebe, whose comment upon learning that her mother was playing was “I’ll be amazed if she even knows which way to hold the bat”) and Toby said “It could be fun to take her on.” Please Toby, don’t go there - you seem like a nice chap and you could do so much better; one of Brookfield’s sheep, for instance.

Phoebe and Josh are preparing clues for a Young Farmers’ Treasure Hunt and Kate has a brilliant idea - why don’t she and Phoebe enter as a mother and daughter team? Using the patient voice that she saves for Kate’s less sane utterances, Phoebe explains that she is setting the questions and she knows all the answers. “Even better, we’d be guaranteed to win” Kate burbles. “That’s called cheating” her daughter admonishes her, no doubt wondering how the hell she ever qualified for her college course. We are also treated to a load of garbage about how Kate needs to balance the Yin and Yang of hard work and relaxation and she moans that Brian seems to want her to study 24/7. No he doesn’t Kate, he’s like the rest of us and would like to see you go back to South Africa, or anywhere else a long way away from Ambridge.

Open Farm Sunday is looming and David seems to have been caught on the hop (probably all that worry about his brother). As well as Brookfield, Berrow Farm is opening to the public and, as Charlie tells Rob, Justin Eliot is keen that the public is made aware that it is all for the benefit of the local community. A massive PR campaign has flooded the village with posters and there is the chance to win a 4x4 driving day and many other prizes. By contrast, Brookfield has a couple of posters drawn by Rooooth, and their OFS gives punters the chance to look at a cow, or a sheep, or both if they are really lucky.

But wait - all is not lost; they can get Tom in to do one of his famous hog roasts. Or rather, they could have if Charlie had not asked Tom a fortnight ago. Charlie also proves that he has no shame when he asks Adam if he’d like to take his big combine to Berrow Farm on OFS. Adam - who lost the BL arable contract earlier in the year - says “We don’t get paid to do the work but it’s OK for us to provide you with free PR?” Charlie tells him that that’s about the size of it, but Adam would be welcome to sell his strawberries on the day and there will be a party afterwards. Adam says “Well, Brookfield haven’t asked us…” Another opportunity missed, David.

Charlie’s investigations into who, if anybody, blocked the culvert on the night of the flood seem to have hit a dead end. On the day that he is interviewing staff, Rob eventually tells him that Stefan (Berrow Farm’s own stoolpigeon) has returned home - his mother has broken her leg and he is the only one who can look after her. Charlie is not best pleased; even less so when Rob says that he has tried to contact Stefan, but he’s not answering. This raises a number of questions - did Rob sack Stefan and the injured mother story a lie? Or did Rob arrange for her leg to be broken? Or will Stefan’s lifeless body be found - blocking up a culvert, maybe? We wait to see. Rob keeps downplaying the importance of the blocked culvert and Charlie keeps reminding him that he nearly drowned and, to him at least, that makes it pretty damn important.

Lynda and Lilian drive across the county to a pet rescue centre - a dog, resembling the description of Scruff, has been found. Lynda is full of hope (it was her birthday) - surely it must be Fate? As it turned out, her hopes are dashed, as it isn’t Scruff. I thought dogs were supposed to be microchipped nowadays? Never mind, it was a nice day for a drive.

Ed comes back from honeymoon and we learn that, while they were away, Will actually tidied up their garden for them. What’s going on? As a reader of this blog asked, “Are we going to have to start liking Will from now on?” That will take some doing, for me at least.

Shula persuades her aunt Chris to visit Woodbine Cottage for the first time since the flood. Chris, who is living at The Stables with her niece, is not keen and has to psyche herself up. When they get there, the place has been looted and valuables (like her mother’s wedding ring) have been taken. Shula cannot understand how anyone could loot a house left empty after the flood. That’s because it’s easier than looting a house when a family is living in it, dear. Shula says she’ll call the police - as if PC Burns hasn’t got enough on his plate with trying to track down Fallon’s missing bunting.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Fairytale Ending

Philip Molloy, Barry Farrimond, Emerald O'Hanrahan (Will, Ed and Emma Grundy)

So, has one of the longest and bitterest internecine feuds in Ambridge finally been laid to rest? I refer of course to the ill feeling between the Grundy brothers, which has been rumbling on for years - even before Ed stole Will’s wife from him which, let’s face it, wasn’t a very brotherly thing to do.

The ‘will he, won’t he?’ saga of whether or not Will would agree to be his brother’s Best Man occupied much of the airwaves last week, with Will coming under extreme pressure to do the decent thing. Nic was the first to turn the screw on her husband; on Sunday, she asks Will if she should take his best suit (what - he’s got more than one?) to the cleaners. Will is at his truculent best, saying that Ed is getting married on a Friday on purpose, just to annoy Will and that he (Will) is definitely not going to be Best Man; no sir, nohow, no way, end of - is that clear?

Nic takes the children to watch Will play cricket and Ed and Emma are there. Emma too wants Will to be Best Man and, at the match, Ed remarks to Joe that she is working too hard on trying to persuade Will. Ed tells his brother that he played a good innings, which is probably the first kind words to pass between the two for many years. A mournful Joe remarks that it’s a sad day when a brother can’t agree to be the Best Man, while Edward says (to Joe) that Will is being selfish and why can’t he put everything behind him for just one day and what will it take to persuade him?

The answer to that is ‘pressure’. On Monday Joe goes to see Will to tell him that Ed was offering Will an olive branch when he asked him, to which Will retorts that Ed was only asking for Clarrie and Emma’s sakes. “Would that be so bad?” asks Joe, before saying “So there’s no chance then?” It seems not, as Joe tells Emma later and we learn that Emma was unaware that Ed had actually asked Will in person.

Will gets a day free from nagging on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, it is back with a vengeance when Emma goes to see her ex-husband. Will immediately assumes that Ed or Joe sent her, but she says that she’s there on her own account and “it’s one day and it would mean so much to the rest of the family.” Will is still anti, saying “did you think it would be that easy?” and Emma plays the family card, saying that surely Will wouldn’t want to spoil their son George’s day, not to mention that of Clarrie, Eddie and Joe? “If you really feel we’re asking too much, we’ll respect your feelings, but if you did, it would be the icing on the wedding cake” Emma tells him.

On Thursday it’s Nic’s turn again. Will has agreed to be the Best Man (a man can only take so much) but he is still very grudging. Nic says “Your family loves you - that’s why they want you to be part of this day - it’s not a test. They deserve better.” It must have been tempting to add ‘God only knows why’ after the word ‘day’ but Nic was diplomatic. Will says he accepts the bit about the family, but he’s still not sure about Ed, to which Nic reminds him: “Ed’s part of the family too - he’s always going to be; can’t you see, Will?” She then bashed him over the head with a large dictionary, open at the page with the definition of ‘brother’ on it until he begged for mercy. Actually, she didn’t, but she should have.

So let’s cut to the chase - Will turns up at the church and relations between him and his brother are, if not exactly cordial, then at least polite and they shake hands. Ed goes into the church, while Will asks the newly-arrived Emma to take a turn round the churchyard with him. Will says he’s not sorry about what’s happened, as it has brought them all to their current state of happiness and he apologises for being pigheaded and says that he wants them to be friends. At this stage, I did wonder if someone had slipped him some mind-altering substance, but it got even more surreal as, at the Reception, Will gave a speech which had everyone laughing (except Clarrie, who was overcome with emotion). In a break with tradition, Will proposed a toast to the Groom, rather than the Bride and Ed came over and thanked him for doing a great job. If they carry on at this rate, they’ll be entering into a Civil Partnership before long.

So it was a fairytale ending, but there’s more to come. Tom gives Ed something from all at Bridge Farm - it’s a three-day honeymoon in Devon and Will and Nic will look after the kids while they are away. What with a newly-reunited family and a dream wedding, truly Emma and Ed’s cup runneth over.

Before we leave the wedding, there were some complications in the run up - for example, Fallon’s bunting is still missing, despite the efforts of PC Burns and Scotland Yard to find it. Emma has a brilliant solution - why not turn her Hen Night (which was going to be a curry meal out) into a sewing bee? The curry can be ordered in and the girls can sew a fresh load of bunting. Thank God Lilian wasn’t invited - can you imagine her reaction if she were to be given a needle and thread instead of a (very) large G&T? Anyway, those who turned up entered into the spirit of the thing and, in passing, we learned that Susan was a bit of a goer in her day and, when she married Neil, she was expecting Emma. For her part, Emma tells her Mum that she couldn’t have asked for better parents, which shows a marked lack of ambition, if you ask me.

Apart from the wedding, what else happened? The great Bird Race saw Jim’s team and Robert’s team dead heating (but not winning). Both men were obsessive, with Jim abandoning his driver, Kenton (ran out of petrol) and taking a taxi to pick up his Riley so that he could continue, and Will striking a note for sanity when he told Robert “We’re standing here at a sewage works, in the dark - why don’t we call it a day?”

Pip tells Rex Fairbrother about some land to let near Penny Hassett and, at the same time, clumsily enquires about any girlfriend that Toby might have. Rex says that he’s probably got more than one, but Pip is smitten, as Rooooth notices (it was the way she kept drooling and tripping over her tongue that gave it away). Pip admits to liking the lads, but says it’s a pity as she might not be around much longer, as she’s got a second interview for the globe-trotting Technical Manager’s job. Steady Pip - it’s a second interview, not a job offer.

There is intrigue in the village, as Jennifer is contacted by an employee at Berrow Farm, who swears he saw Rob Titchener on the night of the flood deliberately blocking up a culvert to make sure the water didn’t go near the mega-dairy. Jen and David meet the mega-dairy Deep Throat (whose name is Stefan) and listen to his story. He is adamant that it was Rob and has only decided to come forward “because somebody could have died.“ David decides to go and see Charlie, in his capacity as Flood Warden and tells him what Stefan had said (not mentioning either Stefan or Rob’s names). Charlie immediately realises that the unnamed employee must be talking about a senior member of staff, which narrows it down to Raf, Becky and Rob.

Later, Charlie calls Rob in for a chat and tells him what has happened. Rob tries to dismiss the incident (“conspiracy theories abound”) and suggests it’s surely a waste of time. Charlie, however, is of a different mind, telling Rob: “That was the culvert that I nearly drowned in”, which is a bit of a conversation stopper. Charlie says he will conduct an investigation and there’s no need for Rob to get involved and hasn’t he got things to do? Rob is distinctly unhappy and goes home, where Helen asks what’s up? He tells her of the culvert blocking and that he thinks he is in the frame for it. Helen is outraged, saying that to block the culvert was really dangerous and “What kind of person would take such a stupid risk?” Rob must be thinking it’s just one damn thing after another - just as he gets in the clear about Jess’s baby, he’s now practically accused of trying to murder (or at least accidentally kill) his boss - take care; these things don’t look good on the CV, Rob.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Robert’s Got A Big One - And Lynda Is Excited

Graham Blockey (Robert Snell)

Let’s kick off with Robert Snell - not because he’s done anything of significance, but we rarely feature his picture on this blog. As the bird watching contest approaches, tension is mounting between Robert and Jim and, on Wednesday, Carol comes across Jim hiding in a hedge and with his binoculars trained on the Dower House garden.

Robert and Lynda are in the garden and Robert is waxing lyrical about the new telephoto lens that he has just bought for the birdwatch event. Lynda, however, is unimpressed, tartly pointing out that they have about a million more things on which the money could have been better spent. Robert persuades her to look through it and she is impressed with the detail it shows. Suddenly she spots Jim lurking and challenges him. He comes out with some guff about having forgotten that they were still living there, but Carol mischievously suggests that Jim was spying on Robert.

There are sharp words on both sides and, as Jim and Carol leave, he thanks her sarcastically for her tact and, later on in The Bull he says that her intervention “had not been particularly helpful.” For her part, Carol says that she never knew that bird watching was so competitive. Jim protests that he hasn’t got a competitive bone in his body, but spoils this later by saying that the Bull Birders (his team) “have our own secret weapon, should the need arise.”

Back at the Dower House, Lynda is still moaning about the cost of the lens, but Robert comes over all evangelical and animated, saying that Jim has pushed him too far and it’s payback time. Lynda is quite taken with the new, excited, aggressive Robert and says that she is 100% behind him, as she starts breathing heavily - you can almost see the nostrils flaring - and was that the sound of a bodice being ripped?

Moving tactfully away from the Snells, it was a busy week again for Ed. On Sunday he was on his new tractor, putting in fence posts with Rob Titchener. Rob marks Ed’s card, saying that working for the Estate involves a high degree of trust and “if you see something you don’t quite understand, don’t go talking to strangers about it.” Ed replies brightly that Charlie told him much the same thing. “Perhaps the message didn’t sink in?” Rob suggests, leaving Ed perplexed. It appears that Rob is right, as Ed later tells his Granddad about what Rob said (perhaps Rob should have said ‘anybody’ instead of ‘strangers’) and Joe replies that Rob was quite right and Ed has enough to worry about with his forthcoming wedding.

Ed is still procrastinating over asking Will to be his Best Man and he proves again that he is the master of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time when, while discussing the fence posts with Charlie, Ed brings up the subject of the Fairbrother brothers, who wanted to rent Ed’s 50 acres, but who were quoted a prohibitively high price by the Estate. Ed muses out loud on why the Estate put such a high price on the land, to the extent that Charlie is getting a tad annoyed. Belatedly, Ed realises that it isn’t really his business and backs off, apologising for sounding off.

It was Rex who told Ed about the Estate’s offer and Ed asks “what’s it like, working with your brother?” Rex replies that they are different and had their arguments when young “but you grow out of it.” One imagines that this comes as a surprise to Ed and he is presumably even more puzzled when Rex adds that, when he had to give up professional rugby, Toby was there for him at a difficult time. “That’s the point of brothers, isn’t it?” Rex asks Ed. As far as Ed is concerned, the point of having a brother is so you can sleep with his wife, but something obviously sinks in as, on Friday, he bites the bullet, tracks Will down and asks him outright if he’ll be his Best Man.

Unsurprisingly, Will is suspicious (“You’re not serious - this isn’t a wind-up?”) and the two men are edging closer to agreement until Ed lets slip that it would make Clarrie happy. Cue meltdown, as Will says “so you don’t really want me to do it”, to which Ed replies “forget it” before stalking off back to Joe and Eddie. Ed tells his Dad and Granddad that he asked Will. “What did he say?” Eddie asks, all agog. “What do you think?” Ed replies and Joe, for once, comes out with an insightful comment when he says “You boys don’t know when to keep your mouths shut.” But is it all over? The week ends with Eddie asking “do you want him to be your Best Man?” and a confused Ed answering: “No - I don’t know. But he’s my brother, isn’t he?” The Fairbrother effect might just be kicking in.

It appears that the Fairbrother boys are very much the exception when it comes to sibling unity as, in addition to Ed and Will, we have the ill-feeling (on Kenton’s part at least) between Kenton and David. The Bull is slowly dying by degrees, with precious little business and Barry getting on Kenton and Jolene’s nerves by bursting crisp packets - don’t knock it; at least he’s buying crisps - until they tell him to pack it in. Kenton is undergoing a depressing period of introspection and self-flagellation after they have had to let Callum go due to the lack of trade. Kenton also Skyped Meriel and he feels a failure, as he had such plans to set up a fund for her education. “She deserves a proper Dad and not a waste of space like me,” he says, morosely (but possibly rightly).

It gets worse, as he has to grovel to his suppliers for an extra month’s credit extension. Cue a tsunami of self-pity and hand wringing - “I’m 56 years old and still juggling debts like a student. I’m a useless businessman and a useless Dad,” he says in a rare flash of self-awareness, prompting Jolene to say, “What’s happened to your positive attitude?” Ok, maybe he’s positive that he’s a useless businessman and Dad.

Of course, it’s all David’s fault in Kenton’s eyes and, when David goes to see his brother with an offer of help, Kenton throws it back in his face, saying “I know what you’re trying to do David, but there’s no need - I can cope by myself.” As David leaves, Kenton tells him “we can manage, so you’re going to have to find some other way of keeping your lousy conscience quiet.” I’d give up, David - no point keeping on banging your head against a brick wall.

Over at Brookfield, having just got Pip back (new voice and all) she might be off on her travels. The interview for the job of Technical Manager went well (two jobs, 18 applicants) and she is upbeat. She was aided in her preparation by Rob, who gave her his advice on stock management, which can be prĂ©cised as “it’s not the stock, it’s the people - you’ve got to keep your eye on the bastards.” The company has operations in 15 different countries and she will hear in a few days if she has been selected for a second interview.

What else has been happening? Lilian is feeling the pressure of trying to run AmSide single-handedly, so she does the sensible thing and gets her hair restyled. Everybody agrees that both style and colour are wrong, but nobody tells Lilian.

Tony and Johnny are discussing the new bull - Tony is worried that Johnny might be nervous with him, but Johnny says he’s ok. He suggests that they call the bull ‘Cooper’ after the model of Tony’s model car that Peggy bought him as a 50-odd years too late birthday present. “It’s like a new start, isn’t it Granddad?” Johnny asks, refraining to add “and don’t let this one trample all over you.”

Finally, Jazzer is living at Brookfield and he’s grateful but he can’t hack the veggie food. On Thursday, Helen is making a three lentil bake and Jazzer feigns a heavy date and slips off to The Bull. What hot food is on offer? Steak & kidney pie or cheese pasty. “I’ll have both,” says a ravenous Jazzer, adding that his taste buds have forgotten what they are for. Perhaps Kenton could demonstrate his business acumen by getting Helen to cook for the entire village - The Bull will be beating off hungry customers with sticks.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Have You Thought This Through, Joe?

Edward Kelsey (Joe Grundy)

Lets begin at the end of the week - Ed is giving Joe a ride to Grange Farm in his new, shiny tractor and Joe confides that he has something on his mind. While Joe is delighted that Ed is (belatedly) making an honest woman of Emma, he says that Clarrie is still upset because of the rift between Ed and brother Will and could Ed not find it in his heart to ask Will to be his Best Man?

Eds response is that there was a lot of trouble after he was Wills Best Man and Joe says That was 10 years ago - its water under the bridge and youre both grown men now, to which Ed says Yeah, but Will doesnt act like he is sometimes. However, to please his Granddad and his Mum, Ed tells Joe that hell think about it But Im not making any promises.

Lets pause here and reflect on Joes request. Ed will be marrying Wills ex-wife, with whom Ed had a torrid sex-fest a night (or maybe two) before their wedding. This resulted in Will having a paternity test to prove that the baby (allegedly conceived on honeymoon) was, in fact, his. George was indeed Wills baby, but that didnt stop Emma leaving him and setting up home with Ed. Since that time, relations between the brothers have hardly been cordial - in fact, the episode when George ran away from home saw them both coming to blows when they met as they were both out looking for him and they only stopped when Eddie caught them and threatened to bang their heads together.

As far as Best Man material goes, I humbly submit that Will isnt going to make a great one, although we could have an interesting Best Mans speech as Will recounts how his brother shafted him (and his wife-to-be, come to that). I can envisage food being thrown around at the Reception, while Clarrie thinks how nice it is that the family is all together. Mind you, this is assuming that a) Ed asks Will and b) Will accepts, and this latter eventuality is far from a foregone conclusion. Will is - and Im being kind here - a nasty, vindictive, whining (100 pejorative adjectives deleted to save space) piece of work, who would probably rather remove his own spleen with a pair of rusty pliers than do his brother a favour. Even if he was coerced into it by his conscience (not that I believe he has such a thing) or respect for his mother, Im not convinced that it would be a wise decision. Imagine if Will organised the Stag Night - it might be a cocktail evening, with Ed drinking A long, slow strychnine on the beach or a Gin and hemlock. Take George along as a drinks taster, Ed.

It was a busy week for Ed, as he had a meeting with Charlie Thomas about the possibility of transferring his tenancy of the 50 acres of Estate land to the Fairbrother brothers - Rex and Toby - and perhaps be paid for his hedge cutting, which he is currently doing to work off the tenancy payment backlog. Charlie (who has had the plaster removed from his leg) says he has no problem, but hell have to run it past the Board. Charlie also asks casually whether Ed is doing any work for Home Farm and, if so, pass on his regards to Adam. Fortunately, Charlie stops short of asking Ed to give Adam a big, sloppy kiss from him and Ed leaves the meeting in buoyant mood. Later on, he says that Things are finally looking up, which is a sure indication that something is going to go very pear-shaped, very soon.

In case you hadnt noticed, there was a General Election last week and we had more people died so that you had the vote moralising. Pip was determined to vote (this would be her first time) and she managed to drag Jazzer into the Polling Station en route to the pub - I ask you, how likely is that? It turned out that Jazzer had never voted before; I suspect not because he has no political convictions, but because he cannot make a cross on the ballot paper. As it is, we had a riveting piece of radio with the person manning the Polling Station explaining how you cast your vote. Lets be honest, it isnt rocket science, is it? If they want to attract the Jazzers of this world to vote, perhaps they should do what they do in my village and have the Polling Station in the function room of the local pub.

There was more riveting radio when Ed and Jazzer turned up at Brookfield to shear the sheep. Pip had nominated her fellow student Barney as the catcher, but when she learned that Toby Fairbrother was going to be the fleece roller, she told Barney to forget it and shed do it herself. The day before, she had met Toby and Rex when they came to talk to David about farming and there was an immediate spark between her and Toby. On the day of the shearing, we had more exciting radio as Jazzer explained how you roll up a fleece. Toby wondered if Pip was up to the physical requirements of the job. Pip relied: I can take any physical challenge that you throw at me. Be careful, Pip - he might take you up on that.

Last week also saw the Mayday event in Ambridge and it wasnt going well - the May Queens crown had mysteriously disappeared and the Morris Mens minibus had broken down en route (cue cheering from the assembled multitude). The Button sisters were in the frame for nicking the crown, as Mia Grundy had been chosen as May Queen over them, but fortunately Shula found it thrust into a hedge and Mia was crowned after all. To make everybodys day, the Morris Men made it after all. Lynda declared the day A triumph and said how important it was to hold on to these precious traditions. Lets all go back to drawing water from a well and ban all forms of motorised farm machinery while were at it, shall we?

The missing crown wasnt the only mystery, as Fallon returned to the Green the day after, only to find that her bunting had gone missing. PC Burns started taking the Mick, saying that hed lock down the area and organise a press conference. Fallon, however, was not amused, as she and Emma had made it by hand and it was a trademark feature of her business. Fortunately PCB caught her mood and started treating it more seriously, including questioning anyone who came into the pub. Honestly, hasnt he got anything more important to do? Finding out why Darrell hasnt appeared for months would be a start.

Over at Grey Gables, Ed goes to visit Joe (Just look for the very bright yellow jacket Oliver tells him - not with the pink cord trousers, I hope) and Caroline asks what hed like for a wedding gift. Ed says that they have done so much already and he doesnt want anything. When Ed goes off, Caroline says how nice it is to see a young person not grasping or greedy, which makes me suspect that Ed isnt a real Grundy, and why dont they buy Clarrie a nice frock as their present?

There was another mystery - David had Rachel from the Environment Agency round to talk about reactions to the flood. David asks about the blocked culvert near Berrow Farm - lucky it was blocked, or else Berrow Farm might have been inundated - and Rachel says that it is strange, as that waterway is under control of the EA and should be checked regularly. At Davids prompting, she agrees to check their records on when it was last inspected and she rings up, saying that both culverts were checked in November and were fine. David runs into Rob and, when talk turns to any special measures that Berrow Farm took to avoid flooding, Rob becomes evasive. Has there been foul play at the mega-dairy, we ask?

Finally, we return to the Fairbrother brothers - Jill and Shula find out that their father is Robin Fairbrother, who, as a married man, had an affair with Elizabeth back in the mists of time. Honestly, what with that, her abortion following an ill-starred relationship with low-life Cameron Fraser and then practically raping Roy in his tent at the music festival, youve got to admit that the girl is a bit of a goer, to say the least. Who will be next?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

“…In Victory, Unbearable”

So ends the quote from Winston Churchill about Viscount Montgomery, but he could have been talking about Rob Titchener - or rather, he could have if he hadn't died in 1965. I had a comment from a reader called Colin about Rob trying to put Helen off working, along the lines of 'radical thought, but what if Rob is innocent and just wants what's best for his partner?' and, when Rob was proved not to be the father of Jess's child, I had pangs of doubt - had I been too hard on Rob? Was he really quite a nice guy? 


On Wednesday, I breathed a sigh of relief, as the answers to these two questions proved to be 'no and 'no'. Rob rings Jess and taunts her with the news about the baby, saying that she sounds like she's falling apart and accusing her of sleeping around. Jess retaliates by saying that Rob is doing the same with Helen, but Rob says that she cannot compare the loving relationship he has with Helen with Jess's one night stands. Jess protests that they did sleep together one night and she honestly thought he was the father and that he loved her once, to which he responds "To be frank Jess, I really can't remember."


Rob continues to turn the screw, saying that his mother, who has become the doting grandmother, is bound to blame Jess when she finds out and that she won't appreciate being lied to. Knowing her as he does, Rob suggests that his mother will want all the presents back that she's bought for the child. Jess threatens to tell Helen about the night they spent together, but Rob just laughs, saying "She didn't believe you last time and she certainly won't now - nobody will believe the rantings of a mad woman." Rather unkindly, he adds: "Poor Jess; you sound so desperate" and hangs up.


Later the same day, Jess rings him (he is out buying Helen some flowers - a fact which he soon tells Jess) and she tells him that she's not feeling well, and why did he have to be so hurtful? Rob tells her that Ambridge has now become his home and please don't ring any more, his solicitor will be in touch about the divorce and he hangs up again. Later, Rob tells Helen that he has spoken to Jess and she was "Showing remorse" and "We had a reasonably amicable conversation", which is stretching the truth somewhat. A triumphant Rob tells Helen to put on her glad rags (with no restrictions about hemline length or bosom visibility, although he's probably thrown out all unsuitable frocks) as they are going out to celebrate.


On Sunday, Joe and Eddie are in The Bull when a stranger comes over and asks them if they are farmers (I assume Joe wasn't wearing his pink cords) as he - Rex Fairbrother - is thinking of moving into the area with his brother Toby. Rex offers to buy them a drink, thus upgrading swiftly from 'stranger' to 'new best friend'. He buys them another drink and Eddie is ready to adopt him, while warning him that farming isn't an easy game. Rex says that he's looking for 30 - 40 acres of reasonably flat land and Eddie says they will keep a look out for him. Rex then mentions that he and Toby will be farming geese and ducks for the Christmas trade and, while he is at the bar, a dismayed Eddie tells Joe that that will take business away from the Grundy's turkeys. Joe says that depends on whether or not the turkeys can put up with a bit of competition. Expect even more bizarre Christmas marketing plans.


Good news - Kate is moving out! Bad news - it's only to her cottage on Home Farm. She has managed to talk Fallon into letting her help with Fallon's business on an ad hoc arrangement and, to celebrate, Kate has bought an expensive table lamp. Brian thinks it is horrible, but Kate says "Phoebe likes it, don't you darling?" "Not really" is her daughter's laconic reply. Jennifer comes in and asks what is that monstrosity? Kate replies that it is "so on trend". In reply to Jen's questioning, Kate says that she is definitely moving out because she needs her own space and "Phoebe agrees, don't you darling?" Quick as lightning, Phoebe answers "definitely", Kate then says that Phoebe will stay over at the cottage as much as possible and, equally quickly, Phoebe says "I never said that." I love that girl!


Kate has a job with Fallon to go and see Susan that night to discuss the catering for Emma and Ed's wedding. Kate wants Phoebe to come along and, even though Pheebs protests that she has homework to do, she is railroaded into attending. At the meeting, Kate keeps interrupting, saying that they must have gluten-free and Vegan options, while Susan tells her that half the guests would willingly eat raw meat and none of them are Vegans. Kate then talks about how difficult it is to predict the future and how it usually ends in tears - look at her and Lucas; they "went through all this fuss and now our lives are in ruins." She then adds "But Emma's an old hand - she's been round the block, so she totally gets it." A word of advice, Kate - the phrase is 'The customer is king', not 'The customer is a bit of a slapper.'This could be the shortest employment on record.


Shock horror! Lynda texts that the Maypole has gone missing! Don't panic; it is found again and Lynda ropes Fallon in to help paint it. The Button girls give it a final coat, so it will probably be pink when they've finished. Lynda's nose is put out of joint when she learns that Jennifer, who Fallon refers to by her nickname of 'The Boudicca of Borsetshire', will be attending the May Day event and that should ensure that The Echo and Radio Borsetshire turn up on the day. Sniffily, Lynda says that SAVE is a community campaign and there's no place for 'a cult of personality.' When she speaks to an enthusiastic Jennifer later, Lynda says that "Battles are led by generals, but won by the foot soldiers." Quite right Lynda, now smarten up, get those buttons polished and get out there and shake that tin.


Adam has a plan for the 15 hectares that were flooded; a 'herbal ley'. What do you mean you don't know what a herbal ley is? It's sowing grass, with deep-rooted herbs to get the soil back in shape. Kate thinks it's a good idea (which should start alarm bells ringing) and says that she will invite her uni friends there for a picnic. Brian, meanwhile, is troubled - while he can see the sense in the idea, where's the profit and will the land be ready to go back to wheat production next autumn? Adam says again that it's about improving the soil structure and it's not about making money. A mystified Brian goes off to look up the meaning of 'not making money'.


Back to the Grundys. Susan and Fallon worry about Clarrie - apparently Clarrie 'left all her posh frocks in the wardrobe'  and they were ruined in the flood. Sorry? 'All her posh frocks'? Clarrie? That's the first time I've heard 'one' or possibly 'two' referred to as 'all'. Fallon says they will come up with something and Clarrie will look lovely at Emma's wedding.


There were a number of references to the ditches that Ed is clearing; including one where the debris removed was quickly taken away by unknown forces. Apparently, a woman form the Environment Agency is getting involved and David says "Perhaps she can shed some light on it all." Things could get difficult, Ed.


Eddie and Ed talk and Eddie suggests that his son offers Rex Fairbrother the 50 acres that he used to rent off the Estate, assuming the Estate doesn't mind. They show the Fairbrother brothers the land and Eddie tries to put them off the idea of Christmas poultry, talking about "David being crushed by Goliath", which is not only strange, but totally wrong. Never mind, when Eddie and Ed are alone later, Ed says that all he wants is for Emma to have the best day ever. He also confesses that he knows there were times when he could have been a better son (thank God he didn't list them - that would have taken a week) and he would love Eddie to be his Best Man. Eddie accepts, saying: "You've just about made my day." Come on Ed; I'm sure you can do better than that - bloody hell, even Will managed to find one friend to do the honours!