Sunday, 29 January 2017

Rob disappears, Ursula reappears and Anisha makes her mark: an action-packed week in Ambridge

Exclusive: ‘Infamy, infamy’ claims Titchener


Rob Titchener, who has not been seen since leaving his job at Damara Capital last week, has contacted the Ambridge Observer to break his silence and hit back at the critics he claims have ‘hounded him out’ of his home in the village.
Speaking from an undisclosed location, Mr Titchener told the Observer: ‘It’s a total lie to say I was sacked from Damara. I was the best manager Berrow Farm ever had. That’s a fact. Those guys who said I blocked the culvert and diverted the water into Ambridge – so dishonest. Sad, just sad. And that so-called flood? It never happened, people. Those losers at the Environment Agency? They faked those photos to show the water four feet deep on the village green, just to destroy me and trash my reputation. Desperate. And you know what? The bad hombres at Bridge Farm, they left their taps on, just to make it look worse. Pathetic.     
‘Let me tell you guys, I love this village. No one is a bigger lover of this village than me. And don’t forget folks, I was the hero of the flood! In fact without me, there wouldn’t have been any flood! Um, wait, no, I mean…’
At this point, the line went dead and further attempts to contact Mr Titchener failed.   

Recipe of the Week


Thanks to Jill Archer of Brookfield for sending us her recipe for Special Celebratory Flapjacks. ‘I made these as a gift for my granddaughter and her boyfriend Toby, with whom I haven’t always seen eye to eye,’ writes Mrs Archer. ‘I believe in cooking from the heart, and I like to think this recipe will bring us together.’ You said it, Jill!

1 old prune
250g Toby-gets-his oats
250g self-centred flour (Fairbrother’s)
4 tbsp nuts, crushed if possible
250g artificial sweetener
3 eggs (reserve the shells for treading on)
250g butter-wouldn’t melt-in-that-man’s-mouth
1 tbsp olive-branch oil
A large pinch of salt  

Meddle (surely ‘muddle’? Ed) all the ingredients together round a dinner table until you have a stiff, awkward mix. Smooth over any cracks with a thick coating of sugar, and sprinkle with hundreds and thousands (the ones Toby is stealing from Pip, you mark my words).

Remember to say Grace before serving.

Coffee break with…. Anisha Jayacoady


In our series of interviews with readers who have interesting jobs, we catch up with a new arrival in Ambridge – a superstar vet and proud Scot.

Q We hear you were able to save a valuable horse recently?

A Aye, Lazarus were giein’ it lalldie oer a muckle hedge an’ had a cowp. Oh – listen to me! I’m afraid I do slip into my native Glaswegian when I’m excited! Yes, Lazarus was going flat out over a hedge when he had a fall. A couple of days later we found his leg was infected, but fortunately I was able to remove the infection and flush his knee joint without sending him to equine hospital. His owner was delighted. She were up to high doe, ye ken – I mean, she was very anxious.   

Q We understand you’re a horsewoman yourself?

A Aye right enough, I’ve a bonnie braw meir I’m sae prood o’ – oh, I’m terribly sorry, did I tell you I’m Glaswegian? I mean I have a beautiful mare I’m very proud of; she’s won prizes. Being able to stable her in Ambridge is a real bonus.

Q Are you concerned about living in Blossom Hill Cottage, which has had a troubled history?

A Oh no! If Rob Titchener turned up, I’d just say: Git oot! Away an’ raffle yersel if y’dinnae want some rock salt in yer gabardines! He’d soon get the message. (Are you sure? Ed)  

Q Did you enjoy Burns Night this year?

A Aye, the hale jing-bang, once I’d skelped that wee skellum Jazzer McCreary at the drinkin’.
He thought I buttoned up the back but he’s nae callin’ me a Fanny Toosh, ye ken? Oh dear, I’m such a passionate Scot! Let me translate… I really enjoyed Burns Night once I’d beaten Jazzer in a drinking competition. I couldn’t let him think I’m a naïve, posh Glaswegian girl. So I cheated ever so slightly by drinking water instead of vodka. But you won’t tell, will you?      

Q Thank you, Anisha! Welcome to Ambridge!

A Aye, right enough. Mynd yersel on yer way oot hen. Oops, there I go again!

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENT


Got a tired tractor, a rusty roller or a baler on the blink? Need to trade it up or sell it on?
Then you need www.ambridgefarmachinery.com! Post your pix on our site and we’ll do the rest – match you up with a buyer or seller, help you find the right price and even deliver the kit! All for a competitive commission of just 60 per cent. Plus a box of free-range eggs for every deal over £1,000! Email Josh Archer or Rex Fairbrother today! info@ambridgefarmmachinery.com

WINTER FICTION SPECIAL: The Trials of Pat Archer


In the latest chapter of our passionate family saga, by award-winning novelist Lavinia Catwater, our heroine aims to lay the ghosts of the past and has a bittersweet glimpse of the future….

‘Helen, a penny for them, love…’ Pat was worried by her daughter’s distracted air as she stacked up parsnips in strict rows like soldiers. ‘Don’t be silly mother; they’re £1.25 each. We’re an organic shop, or had you forgotten?’ Helen snapped. Then suddenly she seemed to crumple onto the rough-hewn, rustic counter-top. ‘Oh, I’m sorry mum. It’s Rob. I just can’t believe he’s really gone. Why would he, when he’s fought so hard to stay in touch with Jack? It makes no sense.’
‘I know, love. But it might be true! Justin might really have made him an offer he can’t refuse.’ But Helen still looked troubled. Pat decided to change the subject. ‘By the way, where’s Tom today?’ To her surprise, another shadow crossed Helen’s face. ‘Oh, don’t fuss mum, he’s not a baby! Oops – I mean, he’s just gone somewhere.’ And with that she rushed off into the stockroom, calling to Anya. Pat sighed. Would this family ever be free of secrets? But maybe there was something she could do… After selecting a packet of no-soak lentils and some misshapen parsnips for the evening meal, she took out her phone and called Tony…

*

‘So the good news is love, Rob’s really gone!’ Tony beamed at them all across the steaming pile of lentil bake. ‘I went to his flat and it’s completely empty! No sign of him.’ Pat smiled back and picked up her ladle. ‘Excellent. So that’s settled. Now, who’s for more? And by the way Tom, where did you get to today?” Tom blushed to the roots of his hair. What was going on? But before he could answer, Helen stood up, wrinkling her nose. ‘Oh, sorry everyone, I thought it was the lentils. But Jack’s nappy needs changing. Come and help me, Tom?’
‘No, it’s OK Helen… the thing is mum and dad…’ Tom crumbled his stoneground wholemeal roll, then looked up with a shy smile. ‘The thing is, Kirsty and me, we’re having a baby! That’s where I was today, at the hospital for her scan.’ Pat dropped the ladle, not caring about the brown spatters on the tablecloth. ‘Oh, Tom, how wonderful! When did you and Kirsty get back together?’
‘Well that’s just it mum; we’re not. We’re going to be a modern family. Not living together and that. Any more bake going?’ Pat served her son, once more struggling with conflicting emotions. Would anything about the Bridge Farm Archers ever be normal again?

*

The next day, Pat was her strong, confident self. She and Tony were going to be grandparents again, and would love Tom and Kirsty’s baby just as much as Johnny, Henry and Jack, whose circumstances were so much less complicated… Well, anyway. It was wonderful news. When the farm shop door opened, she went to the counter with a broad smile, ready for a day of successful retailing.
‘What have you done with him?’ A woman had burst in and stood on the organic coir matting, dripping rain from her billowing black Pac-a-mac. She looked like the wicked witch of the west, thought Pat. Then she ripped off her hood. ‘Ursula!’ she gasped. ‘Yes, it’s me,’ snarled Mrs Titchener. ‘Where is my son?’
Pat drew herself up to her full height. ‘I have no idea Ursula, and I care even less. Why should I?’
‘Because you and your evil family have hounded him out of his home, twisting and manipulating the truth, making out everything was his fault…’
‘How dare you? What about all the reports, the evidence, the court verdict – you’re the twisted one. Your son put Helen through hell and you connived with him at every step!’
‘Please, Pat.’ Ursula began to snivel. ‘Please, he’s my baby. I’ve lost my son!’ For a moment, Pat felt a twinge of sympathy from one mother to another. But she swallowed it down like half-digested lentil bake. ‘That is your problem Ursula. Not mine. Now get out of my shop, and stay out.’ Pat pushed past the sodden, sobbing bundle and opened the door wide, heedless of the driving rain that swept in. Slowly, Ursula shuffled out. Pat shut the door smartly behind her and double-locked it.
To be continued…  

     

25 comments:

  1. Shula referred to Lazarus' "Right front knee" - now, people who know about horses would refer to a horses "off fore", but Shula didn't, which must mean, as the SWs are always right, that Lazarus wasn't a horse, which only has 2 knees,but an elephant, which has 4.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well that's a remarkable insight Claire, and hard to argue with. Hope Shula has given him an extra-large loose box!

      Delete
    2. You really made me laugh!

      Delete
    3. Shula doesn't really run a riding stables; she has too much time off, she "goes for a gallop on Heydon Barrow", she has numerous "girls" who work for her, (surely since the minimum wage, she can't get away with paying peanuts anymore). And the thing that really convinces me that she's a fake, is that she says "easy, boy," while slapping her horse on the neck like she's trying to kill a burglar. Also she grunts every time she leans down to do up a girth (she can't be that unfit in her job). I suspect the silent Joanne really runs it all but is hidden away by her boss in case she gets any credit. Ooh, you'd never guess I used to work as a groom, would you?

      Delete
  2. ++ Remember to say Grace before serving. ++
    Inspired, absolutely inspired. Love it. I don't tell you often enough how much I enjoy reading The Ambridge Observer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's really lovely - thank you! I will treat the reporters to an extra jelly baby each...

      Delete
  3. Lovely - thanks!
    Just a slightly confusing typo - ‘That is my problem Ursula. Not yours.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite right - corrected now. Got a bit carried away! Thanks for pointing it out.

      Delete
  4. Excellent work as usual - I'm sure Rob and Donald will get on like a house on fire!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! Unfortunately Bruce and Ursula were stationed in Baghdad when Robert was born so joining the Trump team may be tricky...

      Delete
  5. Anisha is from Glasgow? Who knew?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad she keeps reminding us. You'd never know otherwise, would you?

      Delete
  6. Very clever and also very funny, brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Eddie, very kind. Personally I am still missing ElfWorld... could you revive it?

      Delete
  7. An absolute treat, I laugh out loud reading the Ambridge observer every week, this week's edition is priceless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Paula, much appreciated - priceless and indeed, free!! You're very welcome.

      Delete
  8. Fabulous news roundup, as usual. Who needs John Craven?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John Craven is actually our special 'village rituals' correspondent, being an expert on wassailing, Stir Up Sunday and the like. All that Countryfile training comes in very handy.

      Delete
  9. Wonderful edition! Had me chuckling out loud, when I hadn't been in a chuckling mood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear, always happy to provide a chuckle! Thank you!

      Delete
  10. I tried the flapjack recipe but everything's gone limp and flabby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear, I'm sorry to hear that. But Jill wouldn't be surprised; she knew it all along and told you so several times.

      Delete
  11. As a listener from the Untied States, I have to say, "Ouch."
    And also, "Well played!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you kindly! I'm sure we all hope Rob has not disappeared to Minnesota, as threatened. No one deserves that.

      Delete
  12. Loved the Rob piece; brilliant! All we need now is for Alex Baldwin to make an appearance :-)

    ReplyDelete