Monday, 15 July 2019
Monday, 8 July 2019
Monday, 1 July 2019
Tuesday, 25 June 2019
Let's start with the Master of Misery, the Premier Purveyor of Pessimism, aka Tony Archer. On Sunday morning he is trying to persuade sisters Lilian and Jennifer to back him up in his efforts to get Peggy to give up her crazy scheme, or failing that, to give their mother a good kicking until she sees sense. "She's not thinking straight"Tony tells his siblings, but if he expects the girls to break out the pitchforks and flaming torches and march behind him, he is in for a disappointment. Jennifer's mind is firmly on her Father's Day lunch (lamb shanks, in case you were wondering) and she is lamenting the loss of her super-duper, high-tech, multi-oven kitchen at Home Farm.
Jennifer points out that Peggy can do what she likes with her own money and, when Adam turns up singing his Gran's praises (he calls her "a true visionary"), Tony's despondency plumbs new depths and he decides it's time to go. Lilian, who hasn't been invited to lunch, asks him if he fancies a pint in The Bull and he agrees. Personally, I can't think of a worse drinking companion, but I suppose Lilian could drink herself into insensibility, although that would certainly take some doing.
Tony continues to bang on, bringing up the story about Peggy's Will again (the one that never was) and he tells Lilian that he isn't going to let this go: "I'm going to do whatever it takes to change Mum's mind." If it comes to a battle of wills between Peggy and Tony, I know who my money's on and, at the end of the day, Jennifer's point about it being Peggy's money and Peggy's choice is a valid one.
On Monday, Tony is still at it; this time it is Tom's ear that is being bent. Tom and Natasha have had a great idea for a pitch for the money – plant fruit trees on every bit of spare land in Ambridge and turn it into an orchard village. Tony thinks this is a wonderful idea and pledges his support for the project – and if you believe that, then you haven't been giving this blog your attention. What actually happens is that Tony dismisses it as pie-in-the-sky and accuses his son of being starry-eyed like his Gran. One might observe that, if she's got £500,000 to put up as a prize, then Peggy hasn't done too badly for herself. Tony, however, accuses Tom of disloyalty and being selfish, while Tom suggests that Tony lacks ambition and the conversation becomes heated. When Tom reports back to Natasha, she says that they really need to get Tony onside, as a family rift won't impress Peggy (but I'm sure she will know who to blame) so Tom needs to talk to Tony again. Good luck with that, Tom. She points out that they both know that the idea has legs "and we can't just let that go, can we?"
Lilian calls round at Bridge Farm – she has been invited to The Lodge for tea and assumes that so has Tony. Except that he hasn't, which shows that Peggy still has all her senses intact. Tony reveals that he has left numerous messages for his mother, but she hasn't replied to any of them (see above about senses). Lilian wonders why she has been invited – surely Peggy doesn't expect her to put in a bid? Of course, she'd love to save the planet – "I always take a spare bag to Underwoods when I remember", she says, but she doesn't really think that this merits a £500,000 handout.
Tony says that he's sure Peggy will be in touch when she's ready "but she probably won't like what I've got to say." No matter, Tony; Peggy probably won't listen anyway. On her way out, Lilian runs into Tom and tells him that his dad is very unhappy (default mode, I reckon) and Tom should look after him and not let him get too frazzled.
This obviously has affected Tom and he asks Tony for a chat, saying that if he (Tom) doesn't enter a bid, then the money could go to Home Farm, or Brookfield. Once again Tony calls the scheme 'divisive' and says that the family doesn't need any more strife. Moreover, it could entail a lot of work that eventually comes to nothing and ends in disappointment. Tom says that he is convinced the Orchard Village is a good scheme, but he won't enter a bid for the money and he and Natasha will have to raise the capital some other way. I can just imagine how thrilled Natasha is going to be when he tells her they are turning their backs on a possible £500k.
Lilian meanwhile is having tea and cakes with Peggy, who tells her that she realises that she (Peggy) should have invited Lilian to the initial meeting (Peggy didn't think she'd be interested – I think if my mother revealed plans to give away half a million quid, I'd rather hear it from her than later from one of my siblings). Lilian admits she was hurt, but the two patch things up and Lilian begs her mother to talk to Tony as well. "I will dear," Peggy replies. "When he's ready to listen." That won't be any time soon, then.
Actually, it happened on Thursday when the pair meet at The Lodge. Tony begins by saying what an awful idea it is and that Bridge Farm won't be entering a bid. Why ever not? Because they all agree that it will only cause trouble in the family – she's pitting people against each other. He also tells his mother that she hasn't considered all the consequences. "I beg to differ" Peggy replies, sharply. He asks her to reconsider, but Peggy accuses him of being negative – nobody else has objected. He's being short-sighted, maybe selfish and, when Tony says that the £500,000 is family money anyway, Peggy says that, if he's that bothered, one way to make sure that it stays in the family is to put his thinking cap on and come up with the best bid. Meanwhile all Tony can do is bleat about how he and Pat have been pioneering sustainable farming for 30 years. Certainly Brookfield and Home Farm are entering into the spirit of Peggy's competition, as we learn when Pip and Alice are getting rat-arsed at Tom and Natasha's Cuban-themed housewarming party on Friday, but neither girl is giving away any secrets.
Actually, the party was one of the only times that Tony's glass was more than half empty - he didn't want to go (yes, you could have knocked me down with a feather too) plus he had toothpaste on his shirt (how did he manage to miss his gob?) but, as the evening progressed, he was heard lauding the daiquiris made by the bartender Pepe. I suppose the fact that the drinks were free helped.
I know that readers paying attention will be screaming 'but the title of the blog mentions Pat's half-empty glass and we've heard nothing from her.' Patience dear readers, we will get there eventually, but first let's look at other stories.
Jazzer was interviewed by Adam for the job of looking after the aquaponics operation and it was obvious that Adam was desperate to employ somebody - anybody - as Jazzer's interview technique is (to put it charitably) extremely basic. There is a back story here - the latest episode in the increasingly-baffling and tedious story about the bucket list challenge is for Ian and Adam to overcome a fear. It turns out that Ian is an arachnopobe and, during the interview, Jazzer learns this and says that he can bring Webster, his tarantula, for Ian to look at. Jazz misunderstands Adam's response and turns up with said spider later.
Ian is in the shower and is petrified when Jazzer shows him Webster, in her travel case. Ian's arachnophobia is so intense that he cannot even bear to look at a photograph of a money spider and he knocks the case to the ground, whereupon Webster disappears, throwing Ian into a major panic, screaming to Jazzer to get Adam home - now! Eventually Webster is tracked down by Jazzer, and the arachnid is no doubt traumatised by the sight of an Irish chef standing on a chair and screaming. There is an upside to this, as Ian thinks he can now bear to risk looking at a photo of a money spider. It is at this moment that Adam informs a despondent Jazzer (who thinks he has blown his aquaponics chances) that he has actually got the job - see earlier comments about Adam being desperate. At least this will give Adam the opportunity to prepare a bid for Peggy's legacy - the aversion to risk-taking was the phobia that Adam has to master, although Jennifer says he is morbidly afraid of clowns.
At the party, Alice and Pip are snooping through Natasha's make-up cabinet and they appear to come across derma fillers - perhaps Natasha's stunning appearance is not just due to natural products and make-up. Nosey little minxes!
Bad news for Shula, as she gets a phone call from son Dan - his girlfriend Dorothy has dumped him and he's in bits. Shula tells Alistair and asks him to give Dan a call. He does so, and even calls Dorothy, who tells him that the spark has gone from the relationship as far as she is concerned. Alistair remarks to Shula that this took him back to when Shula told him that she didn't love him any longer. Jazzer's advice for Dan? "Get back in the saddle as quickly as possible." Don't you wish you had a daughter so that you could forbid her to marry Jazzer?
And so to Pat's half-empty glass. This happens after Tom and Natasha's party, when Tony says that he's pleased that Tom has found someone who makes him happy, but then notices that Pat looks concerned (the daiquiris must have addled his brain). What's up? Pat replies that Peggy's announcement has got her thinking - what happens if things don't work out between Tom and Natasha, after all, she left him once soon after the marriage? Tom has a stake in the business (as do they all) and it's up to them to protect that. Pat thinks Tom and Natasha should draw up a post-nuptial agreement so that the farm cannot be split up and sold in the event of a divorce.
Tony says (and it's not often that I agree with him) that they will be stirring up a hornets' nest, but Pat replies "I'm convinced a post-nup agreement is the best way forward for all of us."I wonder what Natasha - and indeed Tom - might have to say about the subject? And Tony doesn't want strife in the family - I predict trouble ahead, plus strife in the more immediate family. How do you tell your daughter-in-law that, while you love her to bits, would she please mind signing this get-out agreement and promise not to sue?