Spooky tales turn off the tourists
Mr Grundy said he apologised if anyone was distressed by his talks.
‘But it’s all true enough,’ he protested. ‘There was a dozen cattle down at Berrow Farm; Mike Tucker seen ’em. You mark my words, this affliction that’s hit them beasts is a judgment on that Charlie Thomas and his unnatural practices. It’ll be a plague of locusts and frogs by Christmas or I’ll eat Bartleby’s bridle.’
Cops get tough on Ambridge crime wave
Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) called a special press conference this week to draw attention to the spate of crime affecting local businesses.
‘We are of course aware of the poachers targeting the Borchester Land estate, and the recent theft of a herd of bullocks owned by Mr Ed Grundy,’ he said. ‘Our enquiries are ongoing. It was a shame the only witness, Kenton Archer, didn't actually see anything. But on Sunday I had a very good burger from the kebab van on the bypass that I’m sure had a piece of eartag in it. So we have a strong lead there.
‘But my focus this week is on crimes against retail design. My partner Fallon had come up with some lovely plans for her new café at Bridge Farm; it features mismatched furniture and china, fabric screens to create a series of cosy spaces, and a vintage kitchen. Delightful. But project manager Rob Titchener says it’s "a junk shop with added Earl Grey" and told her it’s got to be all clean lines and "branding".
She was so upset. One more step out of line from him, and I’ll be arresting him for harassment. Any questions?’
NEW SERIES: Call the Midwife
Inspired by the popular TV series, we ask local midwife Ellie Richards, of Borchester General, to answer readers’ questions:
Q I’m expecting my second baby – my first with my husband, who is a wonderful stepfather to my four-year-old son. Well, father, once he makes me sign the papers. Things are absolutely fine at home. Really, they are. I’m looking forward to the birth. Honestly. And I’m not anxious about anything. Not at all. And as for being abused: good Lord no. I don’t feel threatened or vulnerable in any way. So everything’s going to be fine, isn’t it? (Sorry, I have to end this email now; my husband will be home soon). Helen T, Ambridge.
A Well Helen, in your situation, there are a couple of issues that might concern me. It’s never easy looking after a small child and a new baby; it’s a lot for a man to take on. But thank you for sending a picture of your husband. I say, he’s a dish, isn’t he? You’ve got nothing to worry about there. I’d have him as my screensaver if I weren’t so professional! So yes, I’d say you were in excellent hands, you lucky girl.
PS Does he have a brother?
The Archer family of Brookfield would like to thank friends and family for their support and kindness following the loss of Ruth’s mother, Heather Pritchard. Thanks go to people who sent wreaths (even though Heather hated spending money on flowers) and to those who gave to her favourite stroke charity, especially the Grundy family who can’t really afford it. Thanks also to Pip, Heather’s granddaughter, who read beautifully at the service, and to the Craven Heifer, Prudhoe, for laying on a lovely spread. It was a fitting way to celebrate the life of a lady who loved a good laugh, even though her last year was full of pain, misery and loneliness (Ed, please cut this bit. My wife Ruth isn’t herself. Time to move on. David Archer.)
Autumn fiction special: The Trials of Phoebe AldridgeAward-winning author Lavinia Catwater continues our new romantic saga. In Chapter Two, our teenaged heroine struggles between ambition and true love:
‘But Phoebe, you’re so lovely and normal. What do you want with all those stuck-up overachievers?’ said Alex, nuzzling her neck in the way that always thrilled her. ‘I’d miss you so much – and you wouldn’t want to disappoint me, would you?’
He gave her the sad-puppy look she found irresistible. The thought he might leave her made her go cold with fear. Oh, why was she following this crazy Oxford dream, when Alex was her whole world? ‘Well, maybe a bit longer…’ she smiled, pulling his Top Gear duvet cover over them both…
Back at Home Farm, Phoebe bit moodily into her chicken sandwich. The memory of Alex’s urgent kisses was still warm. She knew she couldn’t live without him – and hadn’t he told her she wasn’t good enough to get into Oxford, anyway? Wouldn’t it be simplest to apply to Felpersham Uni? But then she remembered the words of her father Roy. ‘If Alex doesn’t support you, he’s not the boy for you!’ he had warned, expertly jamming on the handbrake to stop her hitting a tow-truck on her driving lesson. Oh, why did she have to choose between the people she loved most?
‘Phoebe, Phoebe darling, just the person!’ Her mother Kate burst into the kitchen in a cloud of patchouli scent, shattering her train of thought. ‘How would you like to come and work at my holistic retreat? We could design a job for you – customer service, typing, anything you like! Just put that disgusting sandwich down and talk to me, darling. Sweetheart – where are you going!’
But Phoebe had grabbed her phone and dashed out into the yard. Suddenly, her decision was as clear as one of Kate’s crystals. ‘Hello dad – I’ve put in my application!’ she told a delighted Roy. But even as they laughed together, she couldn’t ignore a nagging fear, deep in her heart. What would Alex say? To be continued….
This Christmas I will be going to Aldi in Felpersham for a four-bird roast and some of their delicious Wensleydale and cranberry cheese.
Gemma Hawkins (Mrs).