Carry on, constable!
Jolene’s week got off to a fine start when she surprised PC Burns in his birthday suit in the bathroom at The Bull, where he and Fallon had stayed because of her dodgy heating. Regular readers will know that Jolene has form when it comes to shower scenes, but fortunately this time decency prevailed, and Harrison fixed the lock smartish. This didn’t stop Jolene recounting the saucy tale to Lilian, who gamely played up to the farce. ‘No wonder you’re in a lather darling; I bet you didn’t know where not to look!’ she snorted, with the laugh that can unblock a drain. ‘Ah well, here’s another old boiler that needs a fix. Same again please darling….’
But it may be a while before Ambridge hears that laugh again, as terrible news awaited Lilian at The Bull’s dance practice night …
David throws his toys out of the pram…
The news at Brookfield is that the Great Move North will be delayed by at least three months, while they build a spiffy new milking parlour to house the robots.
Jill was pleased, because she’s still sorting out the attic, and Ruth reassured the family that her mum Heather, who hasn’t had a cup of tea since Boxing Day, won’t mind a bit not getting one until Whitsun now.
But David, who’s already jittery about the cost of the move, went all twitchy at having to call Justin Elliot to ask if they can stay on for a while after the sale.
And he completely lost it when Lynda confronted him in the lambing sheds over his reluctance to contribute to the SAVE jumble sale.
‘It’s all very well for you; you’ll be safe and happy in your new farm with millions in the bank, while the rest of us are left to stay and fight as best we can to save the village we love so much!’ citizeness Snell thundered, whipping her Britannia headdress and shield out of her handbag. Luckily, Jill arrived just in time to stop David ‘going Otto’ and flattening Lynda against the barn wall. But he’s refused even to look at the box of childhood toys that Jill has carefully preserved. ‘Get rid of them. Do what you like with them’, he snapped at his mum – a worrying sign of inner turmoil.
… and Ed needs a fairy godmother
It was a tough week for Ed Grundy. The Estate has threatened to throw Ambridge’s unluckiest farmer off his grazing land because of rent arrears, and other bills have piled up too, to the tune of about £5,000. It was a shame Ed didn’t think to mention this before he and Emma took on No1 The Green, but at last he saw sense and turned to renowned business guru Eddie Grundy for advice. For once, his dad’s rescue plan didn’t involve garden gnomes, campsites or turkey tableaux; instead he quite sensibly suggested Ed sell four of his cows. As Ed pointed out, this would get him out of the slurry short-term, but means a drop in milk income. So as Borchester Livestock Mart isn’t licensed for magic bean salesmen, it’s looking a bit grim, unless Emma can boost her earnings from Fallon’s second-hand tat business (NB subs: ‘retro lifestyle empire’).
A low blow for Neil from Susan
|Not the man Susan Carter married|
Perhaps it’s the stress of dressmaking; perhaps she was nettled by the profile of über-successful Justin Elliot in the Borchester Echo (‘that Fascist rag’, according to Kate). But something this week made Susan turn on poor Neil, who’s vexed that Tom is undermining his role at the pig unit.
‘Don’t undervalue yourself; you’re a highly skilled and experienced pig man – erm, livestock manager!’ she scolded. ‘If you act like a doormat people will walk all over you!’
Neil was so shocked, he nearly put his mug down without a coaster. ‘I am no doormat!’ he protested. But Susan wasn’t finished.
‘In a few weeks’ time, you’ll be walking your daughter down the aisle. Don’t you want to be able to look her in the eye and say “I’ve done my best for you; no one gets the better of Neil Carter?” ‘
Who knows how Neil will respond to his wife’s tough love (or mean-spirited rant). But if Susan is worried about Neil letting Emma down, what will she think when she finds out her son-in-law is about to be turfed off his land? Will she call off the wedding, even though that means the world will never see her ‘Carter couture’?
‘How could you, mum?’
With one parent wallowing in squalor and self-pity, and the other acting out a mortifying mid-life crisis, Phoebe is having a horrid time. Kate keeps dragging her out to meet her uni friends (‘Jake got a parasite drinking river water in Borneo and had to spend a week in hospital; that’s SO cool!’); her school marks are going down and her friend Rachel is being nasty to her. It was up to Jenny to take on the mothering role, although Kate even managed to spoil this moment, sending a drunken selfie wearing pink pussycat ears to her long-suffering daughter. Let’s hope agony uncle Tom cheers Roy up with some more blokeish cricket banter, and he gets his act together, father-wise.
More bull at Bridge Farm?
Tony’s recovery reached a milestone this week, when Pat at last felt he was strong enough to handle the news of Otto’s demise. ‘It was an emotional decision,’ she sniffed, not mentioning that she had the abattoir on speed-dial even before the ambulance arrived.
But Tony’s near-death experience seems to have taught him nothing about his bull-wrangling skills, and he’s up for another as soon as he gets out of hospital. ‘I’m not giving up. It’s not too late for me to start again, is it?’ he asked the empty air, as Pat ran screaming down the ward….
Meanwhile, Helen’s cold didn’t stop her fretting about Ambridge Organics, where sales are still on the slide. Luckily, Rob stepped in, giving Tina a stern talking-to on the phone and insisting that she call him (not Helen, who is just the owner, after all) if she has any problems. This gave Helen more time to mull over events on New Year’s Eve, and naturally, she told Rob all about Adam and Charlie’s snog in the shrubbery. ‘Don’t say anything darling… Ian would be absolutely devastated if he knew,’ she said, completely unnecessarily as Rob is already several steps ahead of her. Quite how he uses this information to his evil advantage has yet to be seen….
Time to face the music for Lilian
All week, Lilian had been pretending – to Jolene, Harrison, Pat and Jenny – that Matt had just nipped out to buy a paper, even it was rather an expensive paper, requiring the removal of most of their joint assets.
By Friday, she’d almost managed to convince herself, and was having fun at The Bull’s dance practice night, playing Ginger to PC Burns’s Fred. Even Kenton didn’t spoil the mood by asking rather crassly if she would sell her share of the pub to him and Jolene, and when a text arrived she was cock-a-hoop. ‘I know my old Matt, my old Tiger; I know he wouldn’t leave me!’ she beamed. But it seems that she doesn’t know him quite as well as she thought, for Matt has legged it to Costa Rica, leaving only a heartbroken Lilian, a trail of debts and many disappointed Ambridge Observer readers behind him. Ambridge will be very flat without Matt.
And finally... this week's handy tip
Expecting a new arrival in the family, and can’t agree on baby names? All you need is a set of alphabet bricks! Just throw them in the air, see where they land and hey presto: baby has a unique new name everyone will love.
Thanks to Mrs Jill Archer of Brookfield, and her twins Bulrgh and Lojkoz, for this super idea. Keep them coming folks!