Alex Caan (Latif Hussain)
Horse breeder Latif Hussein is having lunch with Matt Crawford and Matt tells him that he is looking at studs close to home, as he and his consortium are looking to establish a first class breeding programme. “Money is no object” Matt tells him airily. When Matt Crawford says things like that, sensible people usually make a run for it, checking that they still have their wallets. Matt tells Latif that Brian Aldridge (“We go back a long way”) gave him Latif’s name as an expert in horse breeding and I’m willing to bet that Brian wouldn’t be pleased for anyone to think that he had any association with Matt.
Latif’s response is that he has heard many things about Matt, including his spell in prison. Matt holds his hands up, but says that he’s a changed man. “Anyone can say that” Latif says, mildly and Matt agrees, adding that, in his case, it’s the truth. Latif says that he has seen the brochure put out by the Costa Rica consortium and it’s impressive. Matt describes the project as “a fantastic investment opportunity”. However, sadly the consortium is not looking to take on any more investors - of course, there might be a possible window later. Be careful, Latif; Matt’s obviously up to something - the question is what?
Following lunch, Matt seeks out Anisha and tells her that he might be doing business with Latif and he (Matt) will try and sound him out about possibly switching vets to Anisha’s and Alistair’s practice. Of course, there would be a quid pro quo, with Anisha carrying out some pre-purchase examinations of stud horses for Matt. Later, Alistair asks what did Matt want? Anisha tells him, saying “this could be our ticket to the big time.” Alistair, however, has serious doubts and asks Shula whether he should have told Anisha about his gambling and how he was deeply in debt to Matt a few years ago. Shula says that he has power to veto any arrangement, but Alistair is still worried and echoes the thoughts of many listeners when he muses “What the heck is Matt doing hanging around Ambridge? It’s got a very bad smell about it.”
Elsewhere, Lynda has been prophesying for ages that there will be a serious accident with all the cars speeding through the village and last week she was proved correct when there was a hit and run incident. The victim was Peggy’s cat Bill, who suffered a fractured pelvis, a dislocated hip and a ruptured bladder. Peggy asks Anisha what are his chances and, when she learns that the answer is ‘very slim’, Peggy agrees that Bill should be put out of his misery. A bit later on, Jennifer and Lilian agree that, whoever left Bill to die cannot possibly have a conscience and Peggy will be so upset. However, Peggy is a tough old bird and, when Jennifer asks her how is she feeling, Peggy replies “all right - a little bit sad.” She goes on to say that Bill was a good age and there’s no point in getting too upset. She is scornful of Christine’s ‘excessive’ reaction, as Chris has retired to her room and is crying continuously, being comforted by Jill. “He wasn’t even her cat” Peggy comments, a tad waspishly.
While everyone else is treating Peggy with kid gloves, she is dragging Lilian round the garden, looking for a suitable spot to bury Bill. Lynda remarks that this shows exactly why they need the Speedwatch initiative and the response to her forthcoming training day has been disappointing, with Robert, Jim and Neil signed up.
Meanwhile, Brian returns in a very bad mood - Justin dropped him in it by getting Brian to present the proposal about the broiler house to the BL board in Justin’s stead. This was at two hours’ notice and Brian makes a hash of it, so he is not happy. Jennifer tells him about Bill and Brian thinks that it could have been he that ran the cat over - he remembers feeling a bump as he drove past The Lodge. “I’ll have to tell Peggy” he says and does so. Peggy calls his driving ’reckless’ and, when Brian asks if there’s anything he can do, Jennifer says yes, there is. As a result, he goes to see Lynda and tells her to put him, Jennifer, Lilian and Kate down for Speedwatch training. Lynda is grateful and remarks in passing that she’d hate to be the person who drove off and left the cat; “their conscience must be weighing heavily” she tells Brian. “Absolutely,” he replies, “it doesn’t bear thinking about.”
The reason that Brian had to do the presentation is because Justin is staying in London, fighting Miranda every step of the way in the divorce negotiations. “She wanted the whole of the London wine cellar!” an outraged Justin tells Lilian. Lilian says he should be less combative and not fight for everything. He tells her it’s not her business and Lilian says “I thought that’s what partners did” she told him. Eventually, Justin apologises and tells her she’s right and he loves her. He will be more conciliatory with Miranda from now on.
Brian has outlined his plan for Home Farm to become a family partnership to the children and they have had little niggles; for example, Kate thinks that operating Spiritual Home should entitle her to an extra share and what about her and Alice’s cottages? She also says that Debbie doesn’t do much on the farm nowadays and Alice asks what would happen if she wanted to be more hands on? An exasperated Brian asks them to approve the plan in principle and he tells Jennifer later that the plan should be OK “as long as the children embrace the spirit of compromise.” Good luck with that, Brian.
Congratulations to Helen, whose decree Absolute was granted - it only seems like yesterday that she was sticking knives in her husband - doesn’t time fly? She wonders whether Rob will try to get in touch for Jack’s birthday? Kirsty replies that he wouldn’t dare and tells Helen “it’s a beautiful spring day and you are a free woman.”
The dawn chorus walk was a great success, with more than 20 people turning up at the crack of sparrows. Kirsty is troubled, though, as the SSSI on Grange Farm is not looking particularly healthy and she describes the photo of it on the Grange Farm website as ’disappointing’, with no wildflowers in evidence. This is hardly surprising, as Eddie turned his pigs out on to the site and they trashed it, as pigs do. There may be a reckoning to come for the Grundys, as Jill also questions Eddie about the lack of flowers. Eddie says it’s too early, but Jill replies that the wildflower meadow at Lower Loxley is a riot of flowers and they took the seed from the Grange Farm SSSI. Floundering badly, Eddie reels off some guff about different soils and micro-climates and tells Jill that it will be better in three or four weeks.
Jill’s mind is taken off the subject, when Eddie reveals that he will be getting no more work from Brookfield, due to the financial situation and Jill realises that things are much more serious than she thought. She confronts David, who says that they didn’t want to worry her unduly. Jill offers him her savings but he refuses, saying they’ll get by.
Rooooth asks Pip where she will stay, now that she has given up Rickyard? Pip has arranged to kip on a friend’s sofa but Rooooth says that they would like her to move back to Brookfield and that Ben and Josh can share a room. Pip says that’s not fair, but later on Rooooth says that the boys agreed to the arrangements. I wonder what threats she used on them to get their agreement? Whatever, Pip is back at Brookfield and Toby is ensconced in the bungalow.
This arrangement is definitely not to Toby’s liking and he arranges for Pip to come round the bungalow on Wednesday evening. Bert is away, playing cribbage and Rex is teasing Toby, saying that he thinks he might spend a quiet night in. Toby has put a lot of thought into the evening, amazing Rex by getting out the vacuum cleaner and by ordering a takeaway. Rex asks how he knows what Pip wants to eat and Toby replies that she always orders the same thing. Pip is late turning up and, when Rex has gone, she tells Toby that she’s not really hungry. They go to bed and Toby fails to perform. He wants to move back into Rickyard, but a distinctly downbeat Pip says that isn’t going to happen. He has been looking at flats in Felpersham, but Pip slaps him down, saying that they will be way too expensive. She decides to return home, with Toby reminding her that they have just arranged to meet at The Bull on Friday and not to forget. As Pip leaves, we hear Toby give vent to a sigh that Rooooth would be proud to claim as her own.
Friday comes round and Toby, Pip, Rex and Anisha are in The Bull. There is some talk of Brexit (yawn) and Rex and Anisha leave to go on a run to the top of Lakey Hill. Pip is definitely irritable and tells Toby to keep his voice down when he says how gorgeous she is and pushes him away when he tries to kiss her. “Not in front of everybody” she says, peevishly. Pip feels she has let her parents down badly and she hates herself. She and Toby have an argument about deceit and the subject of Brighton is brought up. Toby has a plan - a mini break away. Pip cannot believe he is serious - they have no money - and, when it transpires that it was Kenton’s idea, she says that he isn’t a good role model, as he owes David big time.
Pip has obviously been thinking deeply and she says that she and Toby aren’t like other couples - they don’t fit together and bring out the worst in each other. Toby says that this is the first time he’s ever wanted only one person and he can change. Pip, however, is implacable and walks off, telling Toby “I just don’t think that we have a future together.” “You don’t mean that - it can’t be over” he shouts, but Pip has gone.
Toby returns to the bungalow, where Rex and Anisha are contemplating an evening in with a movie. Toby has said that he will be home late, but he turns up, snarling to Rex “you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve just been dumped” and making comments about how the field is now clear for the sensible one. He grabs a bottle and retires to his room to get drunk. Anisha asks what Toby meant and Rex says that he used to fancy Pip, but nothing came of it. However, when Anisha criticises Pip’s bio-security and farming knowledge, Rex gets annoyed and Anisha says that she’ll have to go home. “See you around, Rex” she says. That’s everybody’s evening ruined.
A drunken Toby turns up later at Brookfield, beating on Pip’s door. He won’t accept that it’s over and he can’t live without her. Pip says they should stop it now before it gets worse. Toby begs her, but she closes the door, leaving Toby on the doorstep; a broken “Nooo!” on his lips. It gets worse Toby - don’t forget you still owe Pip £5 k.