Monday, 21 May 2018
Tuesday, 15 May 2018
Sunday, 13 May 2018
Monday, 7 May 2018
Wednesday, 2 May 2018
First of all an apology for the lateness of this week's episode. This was because both Neil and I arranged to go on holidays at the same time, so what follows is a joint effort. The person referred to in the title is Martyn Gibson who, as will be revealed toward the end, is an even bigger scumbag than we realised…
A new week dawns and the inside of Grange Farm is a scene of 21st Century domestic bliss. Ed's up early so that he can take Emma a cup of tea in bed and Will's putting the washing on. Appearances can be deceptive though, as the brothers are still going over the laptop incident. The argument is hopefully brought to a close by an agreement that the families stick together.
Later on, Will's in Felpersham looking for a new pair of trainers for Jake, when he sees Andrew - but Jake's not with him. Apparently he wants to spend more time at his father's house and, as we surmised last week, less time visiting the burial ground. So Andrew proposes that Jake lives with him and Ellie, and has regular visits to Will instead, but Will doesn't want to give up that easily as he thinks it will be letting Nic down. This seems to give him the kick up the backside that he needed
Later on Will and Eddie return to Greenwood Cottage for the first time since Nic's death and it seems to be a cathartic moment for him. Memories start coming back and he talks about donating Nic's things to a charity shop and tidying the place up so that he can move back with the kids, including Jake. When he returns to Grange Farm he sounds positively cheerful, for Will, as he explains to Clarrie that he'll be moving out. He even has a heart-to-heart with Emma and apologises for shouting at her and goes on to thank her for all her help. I could get to like this new humble Will.
There was a strange moment this week when Tony dragged Brian off to Bridge Farm to show him his restored Fordson tractor – which Brian is already familiar with! Apparently Josh has found a buyer for it, even though it's not for sale, and Tony wanted to seek Brian's opinion on whether to sell it or not. Hang on to it is the answer, and give Josh a slap (I made that last bit up) but did he really need Brian to tell him that?
This takes place just before a family meeting at Bridge Farm where they're discussing how to invest the money from the land sale. Helen thinks they need a new high-spec kitchen for her cheese making classes and new product development, but the classes have not been as popular as she'd hoped. She floats an idea of Ian's to include bed and breakfast at Ambridge Hall for the students but Pat's doubtful and wonders whether they should use the money to help those less fortunate than themselves. Helen smells a rat as it seems that Pat would like Olwen's opinion – if only she knew where she was.
She's not the only one to wonder where Olwen's gone. Clarrie didn't realise she's homeless, living in her car, and thinks that if she doesn't want to be found then Pat's got no chance. Undaunted by the challenge, Pat seeks an off-duty Harrison's advice. He's in the farm shop buying something for dinner (rib-eye steak, fat chips, salad and a bottle of Rioja if you must ask) and suggests she goes down to the station to report Olwen missing.
Apparently Harrison can afford the steak dinner because he's good with finances, but appreciates his banging on about it can be a bit boring for Fallon. At the age of 32 Fallon doesn't see the point in worrying about a pension.
Jennifer's on the receiving end of some sad news from Adam – Lexi's embryo transfer didn't work. She sees Peggy and passes on the news; the family needs some good news and a pregnant Lexi would have lifted everyone's spirits. Peggy's sympathetic to how hard it's been for everyone, especially Brian. Jennifer decides Peggy needs to know the truth about the contaminated land and how Brian knew about it all along. Peggy's lost for words, momentarily, then as soon as she sees him has a right old go.
Earlier, Brian was on his way to a meeting when he was held up by Jazzer and Rex moving Neil's pigs to Hollowtree. It's surprising then that later at The Bull, where Brian has set up office, Brian puts money behind the bar for him. Rex doesn't get a chance to have a drink though, as he's interrupted by an urgent call from Jazzer. Trouble with the pigs?
Alistair's been sleeping on Jim's sofa in an effort to distance himself from Jazzer's snoring. Shula's heard that Alistair's not sleeping very well and takes his special orthopaedic pillow round for him. She wants to drop it off and go but Jim calls Alistair to the door. He's very grateful; apparently it would be his desert island luxury. Really? Mine would be a distillery, but each to their own. His hopes are raised when Shula says she wants him back at The Stables; "are you saying you want us to try again"? Err, no. When Shula says they can make it work, her definition of 'it' is separation and divorce, not the marriage. This is the first time Shula's mentioned the big D.I.V.O.R.C.E, and Alistair's angry "and hurt, and baffled, and just broken to be honest. Until you can acknowledge what you're doing to me, what you've done to us, I'll stay here – and thank you for the pillow"!
For someone who was wondering a few weeks ago whether or not he was cut out to be a farmer, Rex is really getting into being a pigman, showing a devotion only marginally short of that displayed by Jazzer. Pigs in Ambridge ought to be all named 'Houdini', so regularly do they escape (it bodes ill for Berrow Farm, where there will be thousands of the potential porcine escapologists) and Rex's pigs make a break for it. However, they are stopped by the outer perimeter fence and herded back to their quarters. Undaunted, the pigs order a wooden athletics horse and start digging three tunnels.
Jazzer helps Rex secure the camp, sorry, farm and says that a couple of pints should cover the cost of his labour. They are joined by Daniel, who is out on a run, partly to escape the atmosphere at home and Jazzer offers his usual brand of advice – Alistair should get back in the saddle as soon as possible and start dating. Dan dryly remarks that this isn't really his dad's style and adds that he (Dan) is leaving tonight.
Over at the Stables, Alistair has arrived to check out Sintra, a sick horse. Shula thanks him for coming, although presumably, due to their changed circumstances, he will charge her the going rate. Alistair says that Sintra should be sedated "as I don't need another kick in the teeth" then he immediately apologises for the remark. It turns out that Sintra has spasmodic colic, which is less serious than it sounds, and should recover.
Shula says that she isn't sleeping well (unlike Alistair, whose orthopaedic pillow is wonderful) and she apologises twice to him, saying that she knows how much she's hurt him. For his part, Alistair accepts that her feelings won't change and he refuses the offer of a coffee, while Shula remembers their first date, when Alistair was called out in the middle of a meal to attend to a pregnant cow. Shula says that it isn't right; her having all this space and Alistair inhabiting Jim's spare room. Perhaps they should try again – living together without living together, as it were. Later on, Alistair returns, just in time to see Daniel leave, and he has his pillow with him. As Daniel drives off, his mum and dad hope that they can make the new arrangement work.
Will has pressganged Eddie into helping him make Greenwood Cottage into something approaching paradise for Jake on his return, which Will hopes will be soon. Will has also been ordering loads of stuff online and Eddie tells Clarrie privately that Will is doing so much for Jake but he must remember that teenage boys have minds of their own and he won't want to be pushed. Clarrie suggests that Will opens his post, which is sitting on the sideboard. There is the usual assortment of junk mail, bills and a letter from Martyn Gibson, in his capacity as BL Chair, which says words to the effect that 'sorry your wife died but when are you coming back to work full time? If you aren't coming back, you will have to relinquish all your benefits, including living in Greenwood Cottage. Have a nice day.'
To say that Will is upset at the timing, tone and content of this missive is a magnificent understatement and he goes to see Martyn, who apparently told him the same message to his face. Will then goes to see Brian – surely Martyn cannot do this? Afraid he can Will. Can Brian reason with Martyn on Will's behalf? Brian says that that wouldn't be a good idea, but he will try to get Justin and Annabelle to lobby for Will. Why not just cut his dangly bits off – that would teach him a lesson?
Will returns to Grange Farm, where he tells his mum and dad that he has sorted it out with Martyn and that he and the kids can stay at Greenwood as long as they like. He leaves, presumably to add another wing to the cottage, or to build Jake a bowling alley or a race track or similar, and Eddie tells Clarrie that he's proud of his son – he must have been very persuasive.
Brian is telling Jennifer that he will do all he can to help Will, when his phone rings – it's a man called Doug, whom Brian has been trying to contact for days. We only hear Brian's side of the conversation, which goes like this: "Is that your final offer?...it's less than I'd hoped for, but I'm over a barrel…for the good of Home Farm, we'd better proceed." A deep mystery on which to end the week.
There is mystery too, as a strange girl calls at the Stables, looking for a petrol station (they can be so easily confused). Later, in The Bull, Rex tells Jazzer that a drop dead gorgeous blonde is looking at him (Jazzer). She comes over and introduces herself as Hannah and it turns out that she and Jazzer used to work together a decade ago and she said she'd come back to Ambridge someday. Hannah also mentions that she's just been hired as Deputy Unit Manager at Berrow Farm, which suggests that she has done considerably better than Jazzer. Before Hannah introduced herself, Jazzer had been teasing Rex about how he and Anisha are like an old couple and not a free spirit, like Jazzer. Rex's reaction is "Young, free and single sounds good; middle aged, free and single doesn't." Is our Scottish milk/pigman about to be brought to his knees by love, we ask ourselves? And will Hannah have to dress up in a pig suit to do it?
(Written jointly by Neil [Sun – Wed] and Peter [Thur and Fri] and posted 3rd May. Neil and I were both on [separate] holidays.)