Perdita Avery (Kate Madikane)
The week started - saints be praised - with Kate definitely awol after flouncing out (Adam’s description, not mine, but I’m with him 100%) after learning that the latest Home Farm Land Fire Sale will mean lorries passing very close to Spiritual Home and, quite frankly, buggering up the Chakra or something equally mystical.
Jennifer is distraught - where can her daughter be? Brian doesn’t give a toss and Adam made the ‘flouncing out’ comment. Jennifer points out that Kate knows the history of the contamination and, if she were to blab, it could be embarrassing, to say the least. Also, Phoebe is coming home this weekend and how will she feel if her mother isn’t there? Far be it for me to second guess Phoebe’s feelings, but I reckon she would be doing handsprings and running around doing fist pumps and shouting “Yes, Yes! Yes!!”
However, we will never know, as Kate returns at the end of the week (do you think that the scriptwriters deliberately try to mess up our weekends?) to be met by Brian saying “So, you’re back” in a bored voice. But wait! Kate has momentous news - she is going to sell her share in the family partnership and move away to the Kent coast to set up a new Spiritual Home. Way to go! Thank you God!
Hardly had I poured the champagne when Brian peed in it (metaphorically) by saying that it’s not as simple as selling her share for cash. Firstly, the other partners have to agree (Kate assumed they would buy her out) and, secondly, any payment would be made over ten years at a very low rate of interest. Oh yes; Kate would also be giving up income from the farm in the interim. Kate doesn’t understand (surely not?) and Brian twists the knife a little by saying that the idea of setting up somewhere else is laughable.
“But that’s not fair” Kate protests, to which Brian says “Not fair? This isn’t nursery darling; haven’t you understood any of this? I thought you were a businesswoman.” Kate replies that there was so much small print, she couldn’t understand it all and her father doesn’t make it any easier when he tells her “That’s what you signed, I’m afraid. I can only suggest that you read contracts more carefully before you make any more ludicrous plans. We all have to make sacrifices in this life Kate, and I’m afraid this is yours.”
While we applaud Brian for stitching up his daughter tighter than a mailbag and seemingly enjoying it as much as I did, there is a downside. Let’s assume that she had sold her share and moved to Kent (or, preferably, Kathmandu) then she would have been gone. Now, however, she will be hanging around, more miserable and chip-on-the-shoulder than ever, plus Jenny was quite right - when it comes to the contamination, she knows where the blame lies. Wouldn’t it have been better to slip her a few quid and a one-way ticket to the Kent coast? If not for Home Farm’s sake, then for the sake of millions of listeners.
But let’s move on to happier topics. Ed is entering his Texel ram into a show on Friday and he is concerned that the name of the beast - Peppa Pig (courtesy of Poppy) will make him a laughing stock. Indeed, this is the case and he is very miserable on the day, telling Emma that the other farmers laughed at the name “and even the officials were grinning.” He vows never to enter the lamb again, but is cheered when he speaks to a Texel breeder afterwards (Peppa Pig came a creditable fourth - he is really a few months too young for this type of contest) and the breeder offers Ed £4,000. Ed didn’t accept, but it definitely bodes well for the future and stuff the stupid name.
Emma has other things to worry about; she and Kirsty have been picked to act as Fallon’s bridesmaids and what should she wear. My experience of being a bridesmaid is minimal - nay, non-existent - but I always thought that the bride decided what colours would be worn by her attendants.
Meanwhile, Fallon is preoccupied with details of the 100% natural, no-plastic-whatsoever wedding (that’s knackered the party poppers for a start) and she runs into Lynda, who is trying valiantly - but unsuccessfully - to control Monty. Fallon says that she has important things on her mind and Lynda agrees - she must be thinking about the fete? There should be an over-arching, unifying theme; this is what sets Ambridge fetes apart from those of other villages (apart from the fact that the other villages enjoy their fetes, I would suggest). This discussion takes place after an encounter between Fallon and Lynda/Monty and Lilian/Ruby, with much barking and snarling. And the dogs weren’t much better behaved either.
Fallon eventually reveals that she has a great idea for the fete - a dog show. Lynda is ecstatic, and even more so when Fallon goes further - not just a dog show, but a talent show for pets - Lynda says that some dog owners get very competitive (“Not me of course”) and we sit back and wait for the probable chaos that will ensue. How many dogs are there in Ambridge?
I return to a wearingly familiar theme throughout the eight years (what? Can it really be that long?) of this blog and that is the inability of anyone in Ambridge to keep their gob shut and not give away a secret. Lizzie is convinced that daughter Lily is involved in a lesbian relationship with the non-existent Meredith and, as far as Liz is concerned she is cool with this - after all, she is Lily’s mother and should support her, whatever her decision. “That’s what mothers are for” Lizzie tells her mother Jill, on a rare visit. Jill has teased (or, some might say, battered) the reason out of her daughter. Lizzie first of all implied that there was some mystery concerning Lily, but she couldn’t possibly say what. Jill then proceeded to beat her over the head until she spilled the beans and it was then that Liz uttered the news that Lily is gay and the ‘that’s what mothers are for’ sentence.
Let’s park that for a moment and examine the relationship between Alistair and Shula. It is their first mediation meeting (Lance is the mediator) and Shula is surprised when Philip turns up to take him to the meeting. She had assumed that they would go together, but Alistair said that he thought it better that they kept these things separate. He didn‘t actually say ‘Don’t you agree, Mrs Hebden-Lloyd?’ but that was the tone.
Alistair seems to have got over the impending divorce better than his wife, but he also seems to have a unique perception of the term ‘mediation’. While Shula bangs on about emotions and feelings and suchlike, Alistair has folders full of financial affairs and how the marriage should be split up, financially. Afterwards, Shula says that you can’t just dismantle a marriage in a few hours, to which Alistair replies “Why not? You ended it in five minutes.” Match point to Mr Lloyd (or is it Hebden Lloyd?) I think.
Jill, prompted no doubt by Elizabeth’s comments about what a mother is for, goes to see Shula and says that she has neglected her. Shula breaks down in tears and tells her how clinical Alistair was at mediation. Alistair, incidentally, has his eye on an executive apartment in Felpersham, so he is taking it all rather well. Jill tells Shula that she will always be her mother and will always support her and the two hug and Shula bursts into tears again.
Let’s tie up a few loose ends; Rooooth’s 50thbirthday is imminent (sorry, it will be over by the time you read this) and David has - rather unwisely - left the organisation in the hands of Jennifer. Delighted to have something other than the contamination to exercise her mind, Jennifer hasn’t held back. While Rooooth would have preferred the disco that someone had at a recent party, Jen has booked a string quintet and, as she tells David, the chandeliers and flower pedestals will be supplied at cost price. Be honest, Rooooth would prefer a packet of crisps and an early night.
Another loose end; has Christine got dementia or not? Peggy feels that she couldn’t cope with that again, after what she suffered with Jack. But hey! Good news! Chris is just suffering with a urinary tract infection, which can be treated, although Chris isn’t too thrilled with the diagnosis. Still, better that than dementia.
Finally, Freddie is delighted as he faces his final exam - history. After this morning he will never have to face another exam, ever. He travels into college with Johnny (being driven by David) and David is the first to notice the police cars outside the college and a sniffer dog. Freddie is loath to enter the building - especially when he sees Ellis being questioned by a couple of PCs (“Serves the scumbag right” says Johnny, still mindful of the brick through the window incident) but it takes a long time before Freddie goes into the building.
Freddie emerges from the exam, all ready to party after his final, ever, exam. Then his phone rings - it’s Adam; can Freddie start work in the poly tunnels tomorrow? Freddie says that he expects to be fairly wrecked in the morning after a night’s celebrations, but he’ll be there when he can. Unexpectedly, Ellis turns up and Freddie expresses surprise that the coppers let him go. Ellis says that the sniffer dog went mad, but Ellis isn’t so stupid as to carry drugs with him, so they had to let him go. He tells Freddie that there are lots of new markets that they can corner, “We’re gonna have the best summer ever. How about it Fred - you’re not gonna let me down, are you?” I am very afraid that Freddie will forget his promise to Noluthando not to deal drugs and, what with that, and Lily’s phantom lesbian affair with the non-existent Meredith, and real affair with Vice Principal Russ, it could prove to be an exceptionally interesting summer for the twins’ mother Elizabeth.