The Bull 'struggling with Christmas rush'
Customers at The Bull have complained about poor service, raising concerns that the popular Ambridge pub is not coping at the busiest time of the year.
‘You never know who’s going to be behind the bar,’ said one regular. ‘Apparently there was a bald bloke called Marco, but I never saw him –he was always going off sick.
‘And now Kenton has taken Toby Fairbrother on. He’s brilliant at remembering complicated orders – he’ll whip you up half a dozen Jolene’s Juleps and a couple of Shula Sours, lots of ice and lemon, before you can say bootleg gin. But give him a simple order, like “Take your still and get off my farm” and he just ignores you. It’s weird.’
Jolene Archer, landlady of The Bull, said she was ‘very confident’ that staff would be able to manage the festive rush. ‘Of course, we’re having a busy time, what with Kenton playing the Dame in the panto and polishing the new car we really can’t afford,’ she said. ‘But to apologise for any inconvenience, our chef Wayne Tucson is laying on his special festive brownies as a complimentary bar snack. Nibble one of those and soon you won’t care whether you get served or not.’
Is the Generation Game set to save the panto?
The crisis threatening Lynda Snell’s production of Mother Goose took a new twist this week as two cast members came up with an idea they say will save the show.
‘The script was as heavy as Christine Barford’s scones,’ said Kenton Archer, who is playing the title role. ‘So Toby, who’s playing Priscilla the goose, and I decided to replace the turgid rhymes with brilliant slapstick comedy.
‘Instead of me pleading with Toby for a golden egg, David and Jill Archer take turns to beat him over the head – Jill with her handbag and David with a rolled-up copy of his tenancy agreement,’ said Mr Archer. ‘Jill keeps yelling ‘I hate Toby more than you!’ and David yells back, ‘No mum, I loathe him, yes I do!’ The kids will love it – I can just hear them joining in.’
‘Jill and David each grab one of my wings and there’s a comedy tug of war,’ said Toby Fairbrother. ‘And at the climax of the scene I lay the golden egg (played by Pip Archer) live on stage. It’ll bring the house down.’
Mrs Snell was unavailable when contacted by The Ambridge Observer. A spokesperson said she had been admitted to a private facility to recover from an acute nervous episode and would not be commenting.
Holistic retreat offers tailor-made pampering
Stressed-out festive shoppers can enjoy a relaxing new treatment at Spiritual Home this Christmas – a unique therapy that combines yoga with sewing.
‘I always feel most fulfilled when running up curtains on my mum’s old Singer,’ said Kate Madikane. (Are you sure? Ed) ‘And as I’ve got all these panto costumes to make, I thought, why not share that sense of serenity and purpose with my clients?
‘So I’ve set up a wonderful ‘sewing bower’ in one of my yurts. Clients sit cross-legged on the floor (that’s the yoga part) and are given a panto costume – one of my organic, Fairtrade gluten-free designs – to sew up. They’re not allowed to stop until they’ve finished – that’s the spiritual discipline aspect of the therapy, which is so important.’
Ms Madikane says customers are so keen to try out the new treatment, which costs £120 an hour, that there is a waiting list for places. ‘At this rate, I’ll have kitted out the whole cast, including the goslings’ chorus, by the first dress rehearsal – and cleared a few thousand into the bargain!’ she says. ‘It just shows what you can achieve when you put your faith in the Universe.’
Dear Santa: Ambridge’s Christmas wishes
With the festive season well under way, our reporters have been out and about asking readers what they hope to find under the tree on Christmas morning:
Tracy Horrobin: ‘Ooh, I’d like to find that Roy Tucker under my tree – and you needn’t bother wrapping him up, if you know what I mean! I thought I’d pulled on the 90s night in Felpersham, ‘cos when I asked him to dance and he said ‘Get lost Tracy’ I know he was just playing it cool. But then he disappeared… Don’t suppose you’ve got his number at all?
Richard Thwaite: ‘I’m planning to surprise my wife Sabrina with an unusual gift – a ride-on lawnmower. Sabrina’s always saying she’d love something sturdy and powerful to cut the grass – ever since we watched Poldark. So this seemed like just the thing, and Josh Archer says he’s found me a real bargain. I can’t wait to see her face.’
Henry Archer (aged 5): ‘I want to see my Daddy for Christmas but Mummy says I can’t. My friend Keira says her brother has two Daddies and he sees them both. Granddad Bruce said my real Daddy was a test tube but Grandma Ursula said shut up darling he can hear you and anyway my little brother Jack can see Daddy and I can’t and it’s not fair. I want like a gun like Daddy’s for Christmas.’
Brian Aldridge: ‘I’m fully expecting a lovely big parcel of land, wrapped in a mortgage and tied up forever in inheritance litigation, for Christmas. It’s all for the children of course – not that they’re grateful. Adam thinks I’m a threat to the climate, Debbie thinks I’m mad, Kate’s only worried about her fire pit and Ruairi hasn’t said a word. Only Alice understands about the big data revolution and the evolution of the world of work and… erm, all that kind of thing. Thank goodness I’m not the only member of the family with a vision!’
Rob Titchener: ‘What do you mean, what do I want for Christmas? I want to see Myson Gideon! It’s my right, whatever that dolt of a judge and pathetic psychologist’s report say. But oh no, it’s once a month, in Felpersham, and not until January! How am I supposed to convince Gideon his mother’s evil and I’m a misunderstood victim with some nosy social worker sitting in? And why don’t you get that notebook out of my face, you miserable little…’ (that’s enough vox pop. Ed)
I am holding a ‘Calendar Girls’ Christmas party in two weeks’ time, for all the ladies who were brave enough to bare all for the 2016 Ambridge charity calendar. I was wondering if you would like to send a photographer? It would give your readers the chance to see us ladies dressed up to the nines, not clinging to our modesty with a carefully-placed cottage loaf – or in my case, having to cover my blushes with stick-on silver stars.
It’s no fun spending a whole month on people’s walls, with the likes of Nathan Booth gawping at you from his lazy boy recliner. So a tasteful photo in the Ambridge Observer would help us all put this ‘Year of Shame’ behind us.
Susan Carter, Ambridge View
(Note to subs: plan in a colour supplement of all the calendar pix for next week’s issue. Justin Elliott says he’ll pay for the extra pages. Ed)