Sunday, 8 November 2015

Grundys lose their home, Fairbrothers lose their chance and is Helen losing her mind? A troubling week in Ambridge

Conspiracy claim over Ambridge disease outbreak

The local farming community was rife with claims of ‘shocking misinformation and conspiracy’ this week over the botulism outbreak at Berrow Farm.
‘It’s appalling,’ said one farmer. ‘Everyone knows it was Lynda Snell’s dog Scruff that contaminated the silage. Eddie Grundy heard it in The Fox, so it must be true. But no one has got the guts to tell her.’
‘That story we were given about chickens, foxes or ferrets getting into the feed is rubbish,’ said another, who asked not to be named because his wife is in Calendar Girls and he fears reprisals. ‘Nobody wants to upset Lynda Snell – even though she’s still going round with that blasted petition to shut Berrow Farm down! It’s outrageous.’
But other residents said they were ‘reassured’ by this week’s public meeting, at which silage supplier Adam Macy and vet Alistair Lloyd set out the background to the outbreak. ‘I feel much better now,’ said Berrow Farm’s manager Charlie Thomas. ‘Adam explained it all so well, and he’s got a lovely speaking voice. All I have to worry about is telling Justin Elliott that we’ve lost £150,000 – but if Adam holds my hand I’ll be OK.’
Brian Aldridge of Home Farm, who chaired the meeting, said he was ‘hugely relieved. There’s only one thing worse than botulism – and that’s letting those Fairbrother boys within a mile of your farm. Thank God Adam saw sense and told them where to go with their share farming. Business plan my … ‘ (that’s enough. We get the picture. Ed).

New-look shop prepares to welcome first customers

The new shop and café at Bridge Farm are expected to open soon, after family members pitched in to help with last-minute decorating.
‘It’s shame we haven’t got professionals running the café, instead of a couple of village girls selling vintage tat,’ said project manager Rob Titchener. ‘But you can’t have everything. It will still be my shop selling my products from my farm.’ (Surely ‘my in-laws’ farm’? Ed)
Helen Titchener, who launched the project with her brother Tom, said she was happy to be taking a back seat. ‘I’m having a baby, you know, and Rob says I need to focus on ‘young Master Bump’. Isn’t that sweet? Of course, the baby might be a girl, but I can’t think about that now…
‘Where was I? Oh yes, well, I’ve been feeling a little stressed lately; I even sleep- walked and imagined I’d left a pair of shoes in the garden. It must be my hormones going haywire, like Rob says. He says I might be heading for a breakdown if I’m not careful. And Rob’s always right. I’m beginning to see that now.
'And he’s very reasonable. He didn’t insist on the Bridge Farm Café instead of the Ambridge Tea Room. He respected my opinion, and only gave me the silent treatment for two days for undermining him in front of my mum. So everything’s wonderful, really it is. The shop is in very good hands.’

Officials praise ‘safety first’ Bonfire Night

Ambridge’s Bonfire Night celebrations, which were held on the village green for the first time in many years, passed off without major incident, officials reported this week.
‘One young child, Henry Archer – or Titchener? my notes aren’t clear – was taken to Borchester A & E after suffering a minor burn to his hand,’ said a first responder. ‘He was fine, although his mother was distraught. Kept saying it was her fault and looked terrified. And his father wasn’t best pleased with Susan Carter, the neighbour who’d been looking after the boy.
‘Otherwise, our only concern was a possible child welfare issue. A young boy was seen approaching adults, dressed in a feathered baseball cap and making strange guttural noises. However, it transpired he was a mascot, helping his granddad promote his Christmas turkeys.
‘We had a quick word with Mr Grundy and there was no further trouble.’

Police probe cinema threat

A screening of the classic film noir Gaslight at Ambridge Rural Cinema was cancelled this week after an anonymous poster threatened violence on the cinema’s Facebook page.
‘If you want to show a film about a murderer and thief who lures a young woman into marriage and tries to convince her she is going mad, go ahead – but don’t let your projectionist go home alone,’ said one post.
‘We couldn’t risk the safety of staff, no matter how remote the threat,’ said a cinema spokesperson. ‘After all, Gaslight is fiction: it’s hardly likely to give anyone ideas, is it?’
Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Burns) said he would pursue the case but was not hopeful. ‘I can’t think of anyone who would not want this film to be shown,’ he said. ‘Fallon and I were looking forward to it – we’d be in the back row of course…’ (that’s enough policing again. Ed)

Property to let

Keeper’s Cottage, Ambridge. Delightful home in conservation area, newly renovated to an extremely high standard. Tuscan limestone flooring throughout; handbuilt kitchen, luxury bathrooms. Would suit City family looking for long-term rural getaway in idyllic village. Previous tenants need not apply; that means you, the Grundy woman and your grubby brood. Contact: Hazel Woolley, c/o Hart, Less and Mean Letting Agents, Borchester.

Personal announcements

Hey gorgeous, happy anniversary! Can’t believe it’s two years since you were foolish enough to marry me. Sorry I forgot to clear the drains and insure your pub and nearly ruined the business; sorry I spent a fortune I didn’t have on a holiday and then had a bitter row with my brother; sorry I stayed out all night, drank myself into a self-pitying stupor and was rude to our customers. But everything I do, I do for you, Jolene! Thanks for the monogrammed hankies. And I knew you’d be thrilled with my present to you – my new tattoo! It’s all about you babe. Your ever-lovin’ Kenton.

Ruth Archer: it’s not our anniversary or anything but I just wanted to say how special you are, love. You’ve been through a hard time, but you’re still willing to consider feeding silage straight from the clamp. And when Josh shrunk your best   sweater you didn’t strangle him with it. You’ve even invited my mum back to live with us – which just shows how kind, generous and desperate for a home-cooked meal you are. And now, thanks to your wonderful mum’s legacy, I’ll soon have half a million reasons to love you even more. Big hugs, David.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Madam,

We, the undersigned, are sure we speak for many readers when we say how sorry we are for the Grundys of Ambridge, and particularly Ed. Everyone says he is a born farmer and talented stockman, but he seems to have no luck at all – losing his beef herd to rustlers being the latest blow.
Could we suggest that the Ambridge Observer adopts ‘Some luck for Ed’ as your Christmas Appeal this year? We are sure readers would rally round and donate cash (or cows) to get Ed back on his feet again.

Yours faithfully,
The many friends of Ed.

We sympathise, but unfortunately we can’t take up the cases of individuals for our Christmas Appeal, as it would set a precedent. There are so many hapless, hopeless people in Ambridge. Where would it end? But of course we’ll be delighted to report on the Grundys’ fortunes and hope something turns up for them soon.


  1. In late news: Rob Tichenor has been turned down as a candidate for the 2016 series of The Apprentice. "No, no, I'm not at all disappointed," said Rob through gritted teeth. "I just don't understand why Lord Sugar has seen fit to undermine me and embarrass me in this way particularly in front of my darling wife who is pregnant with the Devil's spawn ... erm ... beloved Master Bump." Rob then made a dignified retreat saying he was off to rip a fox from limb to limb and taking Henry with him.

  2. As I often say to young reporters Paul: 'You're fired!' Honestly, anyone would think we MAKE UP the news here at the Observer ...:-)

  3. "Gaslight " ! It has taken me ages to remember the film !

    1. Yes - I had to look it up. Not quite old enough to remember the original! :-)

  4. I'm sorry there are no recipes in this publication. Surely there is room for a talented contributor to your pages, what with the repeated mentions of turkeys (ugh...) and geese (mmm, geese...)

    I await your call.

    1. Actually, Elizabeth, the Observer does feature recipes: see Kate's vegan halloumi wraps and Susan's chilli from previous issues, below.

      However, your name sounds vaguely familiar in the sphere of cooking so if you have any Christmas recipes (preferably including goose AND turkey, in the interests of editorial balance) send 'em in!

  5. Hi Christine, I just discovered the world of the Ambridge Observer. Excellent stuff - many thanks! I am looking forward to catching up on all the news that I missed. Your objective and not at all cynical style is just right. ;-)

  6. First time of reading and it puts Abridge events into a clear perspective! just wish that Rob would team up with Hazel to become the Ambridge Bonny & Clyde.

  7. Thank you David, Devonmichael and Chris! The Observer is indeed blessed to have such lovely readers.

  8. I've just discovered the Observer and I have been glad to read about Gaslight and other people linking it to the RT storyline. I have been racking my brain for weeks as to which film it was! All I could think of were various Alfred Hitchcock films but none quite right.

  9. The Observer's film critic says the villain is eventually unmasked in Gaslight. Let's hope so for Helen's sake!

  10. Ah so that's what "Gaslighting" means... They've been banging on about gaslighting for months on @dumteedum and I had no idea what they were talking about. Thanks for the clarification. Excellent blog also.

  11. Excellent reporting. Hope the Ambridge Observer keeps up its standards of comments on daily life in the village...!

  12. Thank you Sheila, Bill and Anne - good to hear from you. The Observer hopes to shine light (gas or otherwise) on the murkiest corners of Ambridge!