Carole Boyd (Lynda Snell)
Isn’t it wonderful when someone you don’t particularly like gets exactly what’s coming to them? It makes you think ‘there is a God, after all’ and restores your faith in Natural Justice. I refer, of course, to the battle of the pub name, which escalated last week. Those against the change of name (who want to be known as ‘The ReBulls’ - how do they think of these names, he asked, sarcastically?) want to hit the pub where it hurts - in their profit margins. But how?
Fast forward to Wednesday, when Lynda and Lilian (plus dogs) run
into each other. Lilian says that Ed came into the pub yesterday - perhaps the ReBulls’ resistance is crumbling (Lilian didn’t mention that Ed didn’t buy anything)? Lynda says au contraire - she heard from a reliable source that some people had stomach troubles after eating there on Valentine’s Night. Lilian says yes, how is Tracy Horrobin (who was acting as a double agent)? She adds that, if Tracy and Roman had upset stomachs, that was due to the fact that they gorged themselves to excess. Lynda’s reply is along the lines of ‘more fool you for offering them free food and drink.’
Later that same day, we learn what Lynda’s latest strategy entails - she has chained herself to the pub’s signpost. Jolene comes out to see what the fuss is all about - Lynda assures her that it’s nothing personal, but she intends to stay there as long as it takes; and she’s got her copy of War & Peace to keep her occupied. Jolene says that they’ll see what happened when it gets dark and the frost comes down and she’ll give it two hours at most. Don’t be silly, Jolene - you can’t read War & Peace in two hours.
Lilian comes out to wish Lynda a goodnight and says that she’s going back in for a hot toddy and a warm bath. Lynda bids her goodnight and says she’s looking forward to seeing her bright and early in the morning.
Friday dawns and Lynda is still in situ. Jolene is impressed and offers Lynda a cooked breakfast. “Of course, you’ll have to come inside to eat it” she adds, a tad maliciously. Lynda tries to talk prospective customers out of entering the pub, but nobody takes any notice. Lilian mocks her, saying that she has added another attraction to the pub and they are thinking of setting up a coffee stall outside. A smug Lynda replies that, that reminds her; she has been in contact with a reporter from The Echo, who wants to interview her tomorrow afternoon, with a photographer - won’t that be wonderful publicity when it is splashed all over the local papers?
Late in the evening, Jolene and Lilian take some tea and sausage rolls out to Lynda, who is hidden under piles of blankets. The pair get worried when there is no movement from Lynda, and they debate whether to call an ambulance. Jolene starts removing the blankets and it turns out that Lynda isn’t there - there is a dummy (the waxwork from Ghost stories in the Attic) and the two are not happy. Jolene says that Lynda must be home in bed, laughing at them. An angry Lilian snarls “She won’t be laughing by the time I’ve finished with her.”
Friday’s episode opens with Robert Snell driving Lynda to the pub first thing in the morning and skulking around so that they will not be noticed by anybody. Lynda resumes her position, and is surprised when Lilian comes out with refreshments for the chief ReBull. Lynda asks why is she doing this, and wonders if the drink has been doctored? Lilian laughs and says “this isn’t Shakespeare” but she does observe that Lynda’s padlock looks old and rusty and Lil has bought her a shiny new one, which she proceeds to fix to Lynda’s chain. Oh yes; Lilian pockets the key, just to be safe.
Lilian then tells Lynda about her and Jolene’s nocturnal excursion the previous night - oh, and by the way, she took some photographs last night and Lynda came out very well. Remind her, what time is the Echo reporter due? And if there is anything that Lynda would like to talk about, just let her know.
Robert tells his wife that he has seen the photographs and they are crystal clear - the dummy is obvious. Lynda asks to see Lilian and says, after reflection, she has decided not to do the interview with The Echo. Lilian tells her to cancel it now, which Robert does. Lynda wants Lilian to undo the padlock and Lil agrees, as long as Lynda says she will delete the photos from her phone. Robert confirms that this has been done, and comes back from his call to The Echo and tells Lilian that it’s sneaky of her to use blackmail. An outraged Lilian says “I’m not the one claiming I spent all night out here.”
Lilian has one more twist of the knife - she wants Lynda to call off the whole ReBull business. Lynda is indignant and says “You may have won the battle, but you have not won the war - the fight goes on and I will continue to lead it!” Lilian then plays her trump card, which is that Jolene also took a batch of photos last night and Lilian will “happily send them to the other ReBulls, so that they can see what a fraud their leader really is.” She adds that, if the ReBulls saw the photos, they would never trust Lynda again. “It’s monstrous!” Lynda wails, but agrees that, if Lilian deletes all photos from all devices, Lynda would stand down forthwith as leader of the ReBulls, will that suit Lilian? “Perfectly” replies a (deservedly) smug Lilian.
I’m sorry that half this week’s blog has dealt with Lynda’s discomfort, but I have never believed that schadenfreude is that bad (especially when it comes to Lynda). While we are kicking Lynda, let’s mention her suspicion that Freddie is back to his old drug-dealing habits. Tracy asks Lynda why did she bang on about drugs at the Grey Gables staff meeting? Who does she suspect? Lynda says that she couldn’t possibly say, but later on in the week she tells Tracy that she has her suspicions about Freddie, but she’s not to tell anyone. Sorry? Not tell anyone? This is Tracy we are talking about - if Freddie does anything suspicious (like whistling for no apparent reason, for example) she’ll whisk him off to the cops.
Freddie is concerned at Johnny’s attitude and bangs on his door and won’t go away. Johnny eventually lets him in and, after much prevarication (including after Freddie saying that Lynda - yes, her again) is on the verge of grassing him up for dealing. Johnny reveals that the tablets he has been taking were not, as Freddie believes, steroids, but were, in fact, to prevent hair loss. Please, someone give this lad a slap and drag him back to reality.
Let us return to the theme of people getting what they deserve. Ben Archer puts the bite on brother Josh, accusing him of making all the Archer family’s lives a misery - Ben is getting stick at college because of Josh’s involvement with the Police and David was the subject of mutterings at the latest NFU meeting. Josh says that this is not helping him, and what can he do to help? Quick as a flash, Ben suggests that Josh could lend him his car to ferry his mates around, to compensate for the aggro he has caused.
Josh agrees, and quickly regrets it when he finds his car dirty and with half-eaten burgers stuffed down the seat. Ben laughs it off and says that his mates were hungry. On Friday, Ben approaches his brother and says that he needs the car tonight, as he’s taking a couple of mates out. Josh says that he’s sorry, but Ben is too late as he (Josh) has sold the car. He realises that he has had a negative effect on the other family members, and he needs to start putting things right.
Josh will begin this process by using the money he got from the car sale to pay Rex back for the money Josh owes for the stolen trailer that he sold to him. This does not appear to be the sort of reparation that brother Ben was talking about, and an annoyed Ben storms out, bad-mouthing his brother for letting him down by not being able to let him give his friends a lift. As the door angrily slams, an amused Josh gleefully exhorts his brother to have a good day.
This week we have enjoyed Lynda’s discomfiture and (hopefully) Lilian and Jolene’s triumph. Speaking personally. I couldn’t give a flying fig if the pub was named ‘TheB@Ambridge‘, or ‘The Bull’ (admittedly, the latter would be easier to type) or even ‘The B’ (even easier).
However, it can’t always be good news. Ed makes a visit to The Bull (choose your preferred name from the above list) in order to check on whether the action of the ReBulls will affect Emma’s job there, only to find her talking to Gavin and apparently having a good time, on what Ed presumes is a date, with much laughter. Meeting Jazzer later (Jazz has a hidey-hole amongst the fish tanks at Home Farm - does this boy know how to live, or what?) Ed confides that he felt bad when he saw Emma and Gavin together and, while he wants to wish Emma well in her future life, he really can’t. There is much introspection and ‘I am a complete failure’ from Ed, while Jazzer’s advice is to have another beer.
And now we have something which is very hard for me to write - Kate comes back early from her course (no. that’s not the difficult bit) and visits Jakob at the surgery. The two exchange hellos and Jakob soon lets it be known that he knows that Kate is pregnant. “How clever of you to guess” she trills, to which Jakob confesses that it was Chris who told him. Kate is angry - she wanted to tell Jakob face to face.
Later on, Jakob asks how advanced is the pregnancy? Kate replies that she hasn’t taken a pregnancy test, but that she’s had three children and that she knows how her body feels when she’s pregnant. Jakob is slightly appalled and says that “We need empirical evidence” and goes out to buy some pregnancy test kits. Kate is dismissive - whose body is it, anyway? - but agrees to take a test. Next thing we hear is Kate weeping in the bathroom and Jakob asking “Is everything all right?” Go on, have a guess.
Kate says the test is negative and rushes out in tears. Jakob tries to console her, saying that they are still the same couple, with or without the baby and he tries to persuade her to stay, but she insists on going back to The Lodge. This causes Lilian to tell Shula (next day) that it seems that Jakob had thrown Kate out of his flat, as she turned up at The Lodge last night, very distressed. Now, dear reader, if you tell anyone about this, I will have to kill you, but at this stage I came this close - this close - to feeling a pang of sympathy towards Kate, but also I did feel that Jakob had had a lucky escape and he should make sure to be more careful in the future.