I fear that Lee, the karate instructor and physiotherapist is in for a confusing and disturbing time. Last time, we had Helen kissing him and he responded, saying that he’s wanted to do that for some time. ‘Good’, we thought, ‘Helen deserves some luck in love’. However, far from burning brightly, by Monday love’s flame was flickering and stuttering as Helen sought out Kirsty for a heart-to-heart, and tells her about the kiss.
Kirsty says that Lee seems nice, but Helen reveals that she is having second thoughts. The girls’ discussion is punctuated by Kirsty banging on the wall that separates her and Roy’s house from the newly-moved-in Aldridges, as the latter throw a party to jointly celebrate house warming and Jennifer’s birthday (her 64thif my arithmetic is correct) and the noise makes Kirsty increasingly annoyed. Between thumping the wall, Kirsty says that Lee should be let down gently and Helen agrees that he deserves an explanation, although she has no idea what she will tell him.
It is Wednesday before Helen confronts Lee when karate has finished and tells him that she doesn’t want to hurt him, but she got carried away last week and doesn’t feel ready for a relationship. That’s ok, says Lee - they can be friends, but Helen says no; he’s a lovely guy, but she doesn’t think it would work out between them. She tries to tell him about her previous love life, but fails, saying only: “it’s complicated, but I think it’s best if we don’t see each other again” and rushes out.
Lee must be feeling confused - he’s lovely, but she doesn’t want to see him any more - plus he could be forgiven for wondering if his deodorant is doing its job as, just before he spoke with Helen, Shula told him that she doesn’t feel that karate is her thing and she won’t be coming any more. Going back to Helen, she can be forgiven as, to be fair, her experiences with men take some explaining away. Consider; her first fiancé shot himself, then the father of her first child was a sperm donor, then she had an affair with a married man who married her and then became a controlling monster who tried to crush her spirit and alienate her from family and friends, in which he was highly successful. He then raped her and she became pregnant and things came to a head when she attacked him with a knife, leaving him close to death. Subsequently, she had her baby in custody and was put on trial for attempted murder. In a dramatic outcome, she was acquitted and her husband tried to abduct their new-born child, but Helen faced him down and he fled the country for the USA, out of her life forever, hopefully.
Can’t you just imagine Helen relating all this and then asking Lee if he has any questions? My first question would be ‘where’s the exit?’ but if this relationship has any future, he is going to have to know all about Helen’s past. But hey - on Wednesday, the relationship is a non-starter, according to Helen. But that was Wednesday, and on Thursday, Helen is helping Johnny clear out a shed ahead of the arrival of the new dairy herd from France. She told him that she has to pop out for a while and goes to the Laurels, where Lee is seeing a physio patient.
Helen’s pretext is to return a book that she borrowed from him (a surprising statement, as Lee is the first to admit that the worlds of literature and drama are strangers to him - one assumes the book was about karate). The pair talk and Lee asks if she has to rush back. No is the answer and they have a coffee. Helen tells him that she wishes she was more spontaneous and Lee is confused - what is she saying? Helen says that she hasn’t dated for a long time and she was just overwhelmed when she kissed him last week. “So you’re not saying that you don’t like me?” Lee asks. “No, not at all - quite the opposite in fact.” Helen answers him.
Lee is confused, but the lad is a trier, as he rings Helen later and says that he is away on a course next week, but how about a date after he’s back? He suggests laser combat, or bullfighting, or something equally physical, while Helen says that that’s not really her scene and how about the theatre? “What, a play, you mean?” Lee asks and you know that any future relationship will definitely not be a meeting of minds. In the end, they compromise on a walk in the country, but wait! The day they decide on is when the Froggie cows are arriving and she’ll be needed on the farm. “Let’s do it” says the new, spontaneous Helen, throwing caution to the winds.
So, Lee, if you pursue this relationship, you’d better get used to Monday - it’s on; Tuesday - it’s off; Wednesday - it’s back on; Thursday - but you catch my drift. No doubt there will be times when you’ll want to bang your head against a brick wall, but hang on in there.
Changing the subject, we have often said in the past that, in Ambridge, no bad deed goes unpunished for long. I suppose that you could argue that Nic was never brought to account for running over Matt Crawford, but that was largely because she quickly died of sepsis, so you could say that she was punished - and very severely at that. However, last week we had an example of retribution arriving extremely swiftly and it was visited upon Brian Aldridge, which might please many readers.
Earlier we spoke of the simmering ill-feeling between Kirsty and Brian Aldridge, who are not-very-friendly neighbours. Kirsty complained because Brian parked his car where she normally parks hers. Not, you will notice, in her designated space (there is apparently more than ample space for a number of cars) but just where she normally leaves it. Keen to keep the peace, Jennifer goes out and moves Brian’s car.
Brian is ecstatic - it seems that BL Board member Andrew Eagleton was throwing a birthday party at the golf club and Brian and Jenny were omitted from the guest list. However, a day or so later, Brian gleefully tells Jenny that on the evening of the party there was a power cut at the golf club “and the food was cold and the band couldn’t play!” Brian tells her exultantly. Be warned Brian;Schadenfreude is not a becoming trait in a person.
He further blots his copybook when he has an argument with Kirsty over the noise of the Aldridge’s party earlier in the week - she complains and says that he’s not at Home Farm now and have some consideration. He replies that the fact that he and Jenny have had to downsize is none of Kirsty’s business and “you need to get a life, young lady - all this tree hugging and cycling around with your nose in the air.” Kirsty is indignant and says that she is just trying to make a difference, unlike Brian. But Brian has built up a head of steam and says: “these causes and campaigns - you’re just trying to fill a void; you should deal with the emptiness in your own life before you start interfering with other people’s lives.” “That’s a horrible thing to say” Kirsty replies and goes off, tearfully.
Jennifer has arrived and admonishes her husband, saying “what were you thinking of? Have you forgotten she’s just had a miscarriage?” “I didn’t mean…” Brian blusters, but Jenny tells him scathingly “Now look what you’ve done.” But now we come to the retribution, as a chastened Brian opens his mail and he learns that the court date for the prosecution by the Environment Agency has been set for February 5th. “This is it Jenny - it’s really happening” he says, in a quiet voice. ‘And serves you right’ might be the reaction of many listeners.
Just think; if Brian is found guilty, he could be the latest member of the Ambridge ‘Mailbag Club’, joining such famous names as Matt Crawford and Susan Carter, plus Susan’s numerous brothers, who have all done time for various offences. Susan would be delighted to have something in common with the Aldridges, plus there is the fact that, if Brian can get put away quickly, he might get to share a cell with Freddie before the latter is released.
While Brian hasn’t been very nice to Kirsty, she has been a bit of a miserable cow recently, suffering from New Year blues. She is fed up working at the Health Club, which only well-off people can afford to patronise, and would like to do something to make the world a better place. Take some advice, Kirsty; these well-heeled people pay your wages.
We’ve spent a lot of time on a couple of storylines, so let’s whiz through what’s been happening elsewhere. At Grange Farm, Eddie and Clarrie have their free dinner at Grey Gables, but it’s not all good news - while they are delighted that Ed and Emma will have an affordable house before long, this means that their contribution to the rent will cease. Clarrie is troubled, because they told Joe a fib that they have come to an arrangement with Oliver over the amount. Eddie is all for living for the moment and orders another bottle of wine, regardless of the fact that it is not included in the free offer.
Over at Brookfield, there is concern over rising feed costs. Josh tells his mum and dad to come and look at the silage clamp - you can see the back wall, which means that it’s nearly empty. Silage is too expensive to buy in and David says that straw is very dear as well. They desperately need some money, as their feed costs are outstripping the price they are getting for their milk. David has another idea and goes to see brother Kenton to try and get Kenton to pay back the money that David lent him and Jolene a bit earlier than agreed.
Kenton isn’t listening to his brother, as he only has eyes for his two new record decks that he has purchased to give The Bull a USP - themed vinyl nights. David tries to prise Kenton’s attention away from what he calls Kenton’s ‘record players’ (“decks, David, decks” Kenton corrects him) and David might just as well have stayed at home for all the attention that his brother pays him.