Hadley Haugh: it’s all off!
The massive news in Ambridge this week, which came as a complete surprise to the entire village (don’t you mean ‘nobody’? Ed) is that David has had a change of heart, mind and underpants and is now determined to stay at Brookfield.
‘It’s not about the possession, or the obscene amount of money Justin offered,’ he blubbed to his mum, exhausted by emotion, lambing and a race round Grange Spinney in search of his toy farm.
‘It’s bigger than that, deeper than that. It’s almost as if Brookfield made me what I am, who I am. This sounds stupid.. but I’m not sure I’d know who I am without it..’
Jill, of course, knows exactly who David is. ‘You’re not mad; you’re my David and you’re so much your father’s son,’ she purred, delighted that her long game of quiet resistance has paid off.
However, while David navigated his inner turmoil, Ruth has been up to her hocks in parlour designs and paperwork. As far as she knows, they are set to sign contracts and celebrate next week with Heather and pints of Newcastle Brown. But to David and his mum, Ruth is no longer his wife but a ‘huge question’. How will they tell her? And how long before there is more paperwork to be done – of the divorce variety?
Staying at Brookfield: the business case in full
Being an astute and forward-thinking farmer, David is preparing a presentation for Ruth and Pip, explaining why they should turn down £7.5 million and stay on a farm that’s about to have a road run through it. The Ambridge Observer has had an exclusive preview of his compelling reasons for staying:
• the robins in the hedge that Phil and Jethro laid in Cow Pasture need a nesting site
• Lady Rosetta III wishes to give birth to her next calf at Brookfield
• David has discovered a secret code in Dan’s diaries that is the key to Brookfield’s future prosperity
• Phil wrote the ‘Happy birthday’ label on David’s toy farm, proving that Brookfield is his son’s birthright
• The toy farm was miraculously saved by Hilary Noakes declaring it a health and safety hazard
• Phil appeared to David in a waking dream and told him to grow a pair
Two sides to Mr Titchener …
David wasn’t the only Ambridge resident to perform a volte-face this week. Rob, who only a few months ago persuaded Helen to give up work, suddenly went all liberated and reasonable and suggested that she might as well go back to the shop full-time – and why not get Henry stacking shelves while they’re at it? Much to Pat and Tom’s delight, Helen got stuck in and soon had Ambridge Organics looking shipshape again. But another incident with the electric roller-shutter, and a late supper for Rob, proved too much for the Mary Portas of Borchester.
‘Well darling, you could always take the more radical solution and sell up’, said Rob, thinking only of Helen’s welfare and not at all about the cash he’ll need to fund Jess’s maintenance claim. ‘Oh Rob, why couldn’t I see it? It’s obvious!’ simpered Helen, leafing through the latest issue of Gullible Woman’s Weekly.
…. and Shula’s seen the nasty one
It was Ash Wednesday this week, so Shula decided to give up biscuits and to unburden her sin of perjury to Caroline. ‘I lied to PC Burns,’ she confessed, ‘for the sake of the hunt. It was Rob who started it. He tried to grab the sab’s camera and punched him, hard, to the ground.’
Caroline offered to ask Oliver to give Rob a ticking-off, but Shula insisted on confronting him herself. ‘The more I think about it,’ she reported back to Caroline, ‘the more I don’t like it. The way he couldn’t conceive of being in the wrong.. it’s not healthy. I don’t like it. It was horrible. Like someone walking over my grave…’
Will it end there? Or will Rob try to silence Shula and her inconvenient conscience? Time will tell…
Pancake Day didn’t fall flat!
|Did you miss this bargain|
at the SAVE jumble sale?
Only 50p from Hilary Noakes
Jennifer’s reputation as the Boudicca of Borsetshire preceded her to Pancake Day at The Bull, where, to cheering crowds, she made another rousing speech for the SAVE campaign, pledging to protect ‘every field, hedgerow, copse, sheep or cow, rabbit or pheasant..’ (yes, we had all that last week, Ed).
Lynda was miffed at Jennifer’s spell in the limelight, and stomped off to bend the ear of the Westbury Courier, but apart from that it was a happy event. Kenton was in high spirits as he and Jolene pack their bags for Australia (unaware that the promised windfall from David has been cancelled). George Grundy won the children’s race, and Emma was in a good mood as her surprisingly tasteful wedding dress plans are going smoothly. Ed was celebrating the sale of his and Mike’s cows and tried to persuade Mike to stay in Ambridge. ‘We’re too far in to turn back now… it would be like David and Ruth pulling out of their move,’ said Mike, in a spookily prescient way. Perhaps Carol had put something in the cider…
New series: Observer confidential
Welcome to our new series, in which we aim to help readers wrestling with a personal dilemma. This week, ‘Roy’ of Ambridge writes:
‘I had an affair last summer and my wife left me. This week she came to visit. I was so pleased to see her I jumped all over her and told her how lonely I’d been and how she must come back to me, where she belongs. But she said something about being lonely while I was away having it off with my boss, and that she wants a divorce. Where did I go wrong?’
• Our agony aunt replies: You may have tried to move things on too quickly, ‘Roy’. Your wife wants a husband, not a randy, needy, selfish sheepdog living in a midden. It may not be too late for your relationship, but my advice, offered with love and care, is to get a good lawyer.
• Next week: we advise ‘Brian’ , who is living in a ‘house full of hormones’, surrounded by a ‘monstrous regiment’ and struggling to pay ‘extortionate decorator’s bills’. Hang in there, ‘Brian’!
Neighbourhood Watch alert
Residents of Grange Spinney are warned to be on the lookout for two suspicious characters who have been knocking on doors at twilight, possibly attempting to gain entrance on a flimsy pretext. ‘I was just getting the kids’ tea ready when the doorbell rang,’ said Mrs Janice NoName of Maple Crescent. ‘This bloke and an old lady asked me if I’d bought a toy farm at the Ambridge jumble sale. The bloke looked really upset so out of the goodness of my heart I went to fetch it. Then they had the nerve to turn their noses up! Said it wasn’t the right one. I tell you, they’re all mad in this village. I wish we’d never moved from Nuneaton.’