Ever since Debbie used the R-word to her stepfather, Brian has been wandering around, wringing his hands and wondering what to do next. “Without the farm, what am I for?” he asked Jennifer, adding that, at 71, he’s too young to retire. Fortunately, she didn’t reply “beats me”.
The trouble is, of course, that he has no great hobbies to fall back on and he is getting on a bit for his most popular extra-curricular activity, which was bonking everything that moved and quite a lot that didn’t. He’s been ousted as Chairman of Borsetshire Land and now Adam is in effective control of Home Farm. In short, there’s nothing for Brian to do. He even went down The Bull the other evening as his entire family were out doing other things and no doubt he could envisage many more evenings of yawning emptiness stretching before him.
The man needs something to occupy his time – he can’t keep going down the pub, as there’s only so many times a man can bear to hear Kenton banging on about how awful it all is before reaching for the sleeping tablets. What can he do? We need to find him a hobby.
He doesn’t play golf – indeed, we rarely hear him say anything much about any sport. He does shoot a little, but that’s hardly a full-time occupation.
If he wants to stay involved with the farm, perhaps Adam could encourage him to become more hands-on. Brian could take over from Adam, spending long nights in the lambing shed – after all, Adam plans to stop March lambing and have the sheep give birth later, so the nights would be a bit warmer for Brian. If lambing doesn’t appeal, Brian could become part of Adam’s team of fruit pickers – inside work (well, in the polytunnels anyway) and he could start learning Polish, or Romanian or whatever. There may even be some female pickers who might give him the chance to resume his favourite hobby, mentioned in paragraph two.
Should Brian wish to re-engage with the world of commerce, then why not become a volunteer in the village shop? After all, Sabrina Thwaite works there sometimes and you never know… Sadly, Susan works there too and thinks she is in overall charge, and I can’t see Brian taking orders off – or even listening to – Susan, can you?
How about yoga? I’m sure Kate would be only too eager to teach him the basics and help him get his Yin and Yang sorted, or whatever it is she does. She probably wouldn’t charge him that much either. The trouble is that Brian can’t stand more than about 10 seconds of his daughter’s company and you can’t do a lot of yoga in 10 seconds.
He could travel – go and see Debbie in Hungary for instance and try to mess up her life, as he feels she has his. Or he could go and see Matt in Costa Rica or to wherever it is the Producer has consigned him. Or he could throw himself into the activities of the Church – no, I can’t see Brian suddenly becoming a God-botherer, either. Not unless there was a lady vicar, of course.
How about amateur detective? Brian could don his deerstalker and try to find out what has happened to Darrell, who has vanished from the face of the Earth
I am running out of options. Can the man paint? Maybe he should write a book – his autobiography would probably make “50 Shades of Grey” seem like “Noddy Goes to Sea”. On second thoughts, maybe not – I think Jennifer is to be admired for taking on Ruairi (although she knows very well which side her bread is buttered) but even she might get a tad upset reading page after page of her husband’s sexual infidelities over the decades.
Any ideas anybody? I am leaning towards one activity and that is cooking. After all, Brian forked out thousands for the new kitchen, so he might as well get some use out of it. And consider; it’s inside, it’s warm and the corkscrew is nice and handy – what more could a man ask for in his twilight years?