Santa kicks off Ambridge seasonal fun
Ambridge celebrated the start of the festive season in style this week, with the grand re-opening of The Bull and the traditional ‘Ambridge wave’ of Christmas lights around the village green.
Borchester Silver Band welcomed hundreds of villagers to the event, with Santa’s sleigh and real reindeer making a surprise appearance, courtesy of Kenton Archer, landlord of The Bull.
‘My brother David’s not the only one who knows livestock,’ he said. ‘It’s a shame he didn’t go to New Zealand with Ruth, but you can’t have everything. It’s going to be a fab Christmas for me and Jolene, and 2016 will be the best year ever!’
‘I may have broken my arm, but there are some things I can still do, and patronising my brother Kenton is one of them,’ said Mr Archer. ‘I was determined to remind him how I’d bailed him out, by pretending to tell him how well he’d done with the refurbishment.’
Rob Titchener delighted the crowd with his impromptu performance of ‘For unto us a son is given’ from Handel’s Messiah. ‘Our private scan this week showed I am having a baby boy of my very own, so it seemed appropriate,’ he said. ‘My wife Helen is also involved, up to a point. Isn’t it wonderful?’
The younger generation was also in high spirits. At one point a scuffle broke out under the mistletoe as Toby Fairbrother vied with Matthew Holman, the newly-arrived contract milker at Brookfield, for the attentions of Pip Archer.
‘Matthew was telling me how good I am at keeping cows calm, when Toby butted in.’ said Miss Archer. ‘Silly boy! There’s no way he could compete with a chat-up line like that.’
Blushing beauties in Calendar Girls cover-up
The Ambridge Christmas production of Calendar Girls is set to be the first ever to be performed fully clothed, after bashful cast members staged a mutiny at this week’s rehearsal.
‘Nobody told us the stage crew were mainly men!’ said Susan Carter. ‘My son Christopher is behind the scenes and there’s no way he’s seeing my ‘cheeky chilli cheeks’ as Neil calls them. We’d both be mortified. It’s a body stocking or bathrobe for me!’
Lilian Bellamy said she was horrified by the skimpy nature of the stage props. ‘Those cakes were nowhere near big enough, and putting them on a cake stand was frankly an insult to my assets,’ she said. ‘It wasn’t just my business brain my Tiger was attracted to, if you know what I mean, darling….’
Director Lynda Snell said she was confident she would be able to talk her reluctant cast members round. ‘What the ladies don’t yet understand is there’s a world of difference between ‘naked’ and ‘nude’,’ she said. ‘And frankly, I’m more worried about their atrocious northern accents. I brought young Johnny Phillips in as voice coach, but he took one look at the calendar photos and fainted.’
On the AmMums message boards:
What’s got Ambridge’s mums buzzing online this week? Here’s our pick of the forum:
• Does anyone on here know where to source an alternative, non confectionery-based Advent calendar for my grandson Mungo? I was going to knit my own, with appliquéd Christmas trees, but Calendar Girls is keeping me so busy. I’m sure Cameron Mackintosh doesn’t have this trouble. LeadingLadyLynda
• What’s wrong with a chocolate Advent calendar? We always had one each when the kids were little, and if someone wasn’t sick before breakfast it didn’t feel like Christmas to us! SeasonalSusan
• Can’t help you, Leading Lady Lynda! We stock chocolate ones in our new shop – organic only, of course. At least I think we do. To be honest, I’m so muddleheaded these days. I lost the cheque book this week, but when my husband came home he found it straightaway in the bureau, where I’d already looked! Isn’t that strange? He says it’s these pregnancy hormones… Anyway, must go, Rob says it’s time for my nap… SillyCrybabyMummy.
• I’m still worried about my granddaughter. She’s working so hard for her Oxford interview (did I mention she’s very bright?) that she won’t even take time off for her uncle's wedding next month! And when she’s not studying she has her nose in the Daily Telegraph. Her views on immigration are refreshingly robust for one so young. Should I be concerned? Jenny Humblebrag
• Oh, chill, mum! No child of mine could ever be a Ukipper like Dad! Anyway, why can’t you be happy for me for once, now that my yurts have got planning permission? Not that Dad helped, telling the committee I need a brain transplant and advising them to turn it down! Still, they saw sense. I’m so excited, my chakras are tingling! KarmaKate
Berrow Farm, one of Borsetshire’s largest dairy units, is looking for a new manager, as Charlie Thomas has been ‘redeployed’ to a super new job on a Damara Capital estate in Perthshire. Our visionary chairman, Justin Elliott, was so keen to advance his career that he even packed his suitcase and bought his train ticket! So now we’re hoping to recruit a manager with exceptional skills, able to optimise the business matrix, liaise with key stakeholders and engage the local community. If your name is Rob Titchener, please have a word with Justin at the next Home Farm shoot.
An Ode to Freda’s rose
Thank you to Bert Fry, temporarily living at Brookfield, for sharing this moving ode in tribute to his late wife Freda.
Our home had roses round the door,
But now my Freda is no more,
And the bungalow doesn’t look too clever,
That flood it changed our lives forever.
But today it was the day we chose
To plant Freda’s memorial rose,
‘Tis in the garden of The Bull,
So all can enjoy it to the full.
My old friend and rival Joe,
Helped measure out the hole just so,
Though he’s got troubles of his own,
Having to leave his Ambridge home,
And move into a hostel, so they say,
He was there to support me on the day.
He swore apart from his Susan, on his life,
No man could have a finer wife.
And so we planted the Borsetshire Belle,
A dusky pink, with a lovely smell,
Just like my Freda, she always smelt nice,
Especially when she’d been baking pies.
So the village has come back to life,
the same is not true of my dear wife.
But although I miss her in every way,
I’ll be able to wear her rose one day.