Monday, 16 July 2018
Monday, 9 July 2018
Monday, 2 July 2018
Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Sunday was the night of Rooooth's 50th birthday party (it was also Usha's birthday, but nobody seemed to care much about that). Everybody agreed that Jennifer had done a wonderful job of organising the event, with the floral columns and a jazz quintet playing in the background. Personally, I thought that the Red Arrows' fly-past, the marching band of the Grenadier Guards and personal appearances from Prince Harry and Meghan were a bit over the top, but what do I know?
Something that everyone agreed was a big hit was Kenton's surprise to liven things up. What was it? A bouncy castle for grown-ups, which was enthusiastically tried out by David and Kate, amongst others. In fact, as we shall see later, Kate gave it a really thorough test.
Kenton was a tad annoyed, as it turned out that someone had made a hole in the castle, which it will cost him to put right. Never mind; Monday night is England's first game in the World Cup and Kenton has a packed bar, all waiting for the match to be screened. Except the big TV refuses to work and nobody can put it right. PCB suggests that they all come over to his (I bet Fallon was thrilled) and the bar empties, leaving a disconsolate Kenton alone, muttering "This day is going from bad to worse." Cheer up Kenton – at least England won.
On the night of the party, Toby has volunteered to drive Jill home, but he has disappeared. On Wednesday, Rex finds him on the phone, apologising to Pip for forgetting. He also says that he is too busy to see her right now. Rex asks why is he avoiding Pip and Toby is evasive. Rex, who obviously knows his brother very well, says "OK, what have you done?" Toby says he will tell him, but he must promise to keep shtum. Annoyingly, the action switches to somewhere else and we don't learn the secret.
At least, not until later, when there is a crowd of people in the pub. They are discussing Eddie's idea of holding a sweepstake to guess the name of Pip and Toby's baby and Kate is there, telling everyone how important it is to choose the right name and explaining the significance of Phoebe's Christian names (I thought she said the middle names were Moondancer Fairydust, but I admit my attention was wandering). Anyway, Kate also tells everybody that keeping secrets is poisonousand that is why she'd like it to be known that she and Toby had sex together the night of the party and, in addition, it was they who caused the deflation of the bouncy castle. Kate airily explains that it meant nothing ("Thanks" Toby mutters) and she hopes Pip doesn't mind. Pip says that Toby is a free agent. "Good" says Kate and goes off to tell Kenton about the bouncy castle.
Pip then demonstrates that, despite what she said, she does mind. "How dare you?" she yells at Toby. He says he's sorry; it was stupid and selfish but he's put all that behind him and now he is a changed man. Pip is all set to give him a piece of her mind, but she is interrupted by Kate returning, at a loss to understand why Kenton is so livid about her confession about damaging the castle (Kate had been wearing killer heels the night of the party). Light dawns on Pip: "Is that when you…? How is that even possible…?" Kate begins to tell her, but Pip says "No – I don't want to know!"
I'm sorry, but I cannot believe that someone of the age of forty could be so insensitive to other people's feelings; not even Kate. She leaves the pub and returns to Home Farm, where she has a moan to Alice about how her business at Spiritual Home has been decimated and Alice tells her that Brian has intimated that there could be a job for Alice at Home Farm in the future (assuming there's anything left of it by then). This is exactly what Kate doesn't want to hear – "no-one has offered me a job" (are you surprised?) and "once again I've been left out – nobody takes me seriously." It's all that shagging on a large inflatable, wearing six-inch heels, I reckon. If Kate is expecting sympathy, she is disappointed, as Alice becomes the latest to have a go at her, suggesting that Kate takes a long, hard look at herself. "You need to grow up," Alice tells her sister, adding: "otherwise you are going to find yourself very sad and very alone."
Someone who does seem to care about Kate is Phoebe, who, when her mother pours out her woes to her, saying that her business is dying and there's nothing she can do, tries to be positive, saying that Kate has so many good ideas and has so much to offer (I'll say – just ask Toby). Phoebe tells her mother to "stop sulking and start fighting".
Later on, Phoebe confides in Jennifer how worried she is about Kate – she seems so unhappy. Jenny is more worried about the effect all this is having on Phoebe, but her granddaughter says that Jenny ought to be concerned about Kate, not her. Eventually, Jenny says that it would be a pity if Spiritual Home folded, as it's one of Kate's major achievements. Sorry? 'One of?' Go on, name me another that isn't Phoebe. Jennifer is now completely onside with operation cheer-Kate-up, saying "It won't be easy, but if anyone can pull Kate out of this spiral, it's got to be us."
However, help is at hand – Usha has been given a voucher for hot stones treatment at Spiritual Home and turns up on Friday. Kate launches into a monologue about how everyone is against her and how they want to destroy her business, to the extent that she forgets what she is doing and is interrupted by Usha's cries of pain because the stones are way too hot or when Kate absent-mindedly knots Usha's legs behind her head. Kate apologises and offers Usha a complimentary head massage. Usha decides to risk it and, halfway through she tells Kate that she may have a point; it's not Usha's area of expertise, but the family partnership sounds odd to her and she suggests that Kate has a word with one of her colleagues. The thought that she might have a legal case puts new life into Kate and she is elated. "I'm damned if I'm giving up Spiritual Home without a fight – the family have been banking on it, but there's no way I'm going to let them destroy me!" Upon which, she triumphantly rips Usha's remaining hair from her head.
But enough about Kate. The 'pets talent contest' theme of the Fete is getting on my nerves already, with Lynda telling Lilian that she is going to teach Monty to count up to ten. Lynda is disparaging about Ruby's lack of talent, to the extent that Lilian is stung into saying that she will enter Ruby – it's just a question of which of her many talents to showcase. I suggest reading Proust in the original French. We learn that others are going to enter too – Nathan Booth is having a ventriloquism act with his bearded dragon, while Joe is having a hard time doing something – thankfully unspecified – with Daphne the ferret. Don't tell anyone, but I am entering my pet as an impressionist – Twiggy the stick insect does a blinding impression of a bit of wood.
Over at St Stephen's, Neil is worried. Apparently there is a nationwide bell ringing extravaganza planned for Armistice Day to mark the 100thanniversary of the end of World War I and Neil is short of ringers. He butters up son Chris (who is a ringer too) to try and get some young blood on to the team and Chris muses about how is he supposed to make bell ringing sound cool or sexy? Well, I've been looking at a glossary of ringing terms (the things I do for you and this blog) and I came across 'Handstroke – a cycle of movement that's started by pulling on the sally' and the 'tail end, which is pulled at the backstroke.' Surely any red-blooded youngster would find these intriguing enough to investigate further?
Chris is approached by PCB, who wants to make sure that he can stay at Chris's on the eve of the wedding. Chris says 'of course' and PCB asks what can he do to thank him? Funny you should ask, Harrison, as Chris ropes him in for bell ringing. "How hard can it be?" asks PCB. The answer to this is 'bloody hard' as Neil lets it be known that there will be no larking about in his tower and Harrison had better listen to what he's told and concentrate on what he's doing and not to touch anything without permission. Neil's still telling PCB what to do when the ringers go to the pub afterwards to celebrate Chris's 30th birthday, preparatory to hitting the clubs of Felpersham (isn't 30 a bit old to go clubbing?). Harrison takes Chris to one side and tells him that he has been racking his brains over his choice of Best Man "and all this time, the answer's been staring me in the face." Chris proves that he's not the quickest on the uptake when he says "your brother?" upon which PCB gets down on one knee and asks Chris to be his Best Man. The penny drops and Chris agrees. Good lad.
Will is being driven mad by Martyn Gibson's micro-managing of him, wanting to know how everything is done and in the minutest detail. Will is still pursuing his claim for custody of the children and has an appointment with a solicitor. Disaster! Jenny rings up – a number of birds have got loose and are wandering around the lanes. Will has to go and catch them and, as a result, he misses the solicitor's appointment (don't worry Will, they'll probably still charge you for it). Eddie is secretly pleased, as he thinks that the custody claim will just result in bad blood between Will and Andrew. Hopefully this will give Will time to come to his senses. Want to bet?
Let's end this week with Rex. Anisha has been away and, at Rooooth's party, there was a girl (called Xanthi, which made me wonder if she had been named by Kate. However, I reckon she was conceived in northern Greece. Either that or her parents were big fans of the enzyme xanthine oxidoreductase) who was all over Rex like a rash. Josh teases Rex about it and tells him that Pip thinks Xanthi is in love with him and has he told Anisha about what happened? Rex says that nothing happened – he told Xanthi he was spoken for. As it happens, he hasn't told Nish, but he will, later. In passing, Josh says that he thought Rex had a thing about Pip. This touches a nerve and Rex quickly says that they are just mates.
True to his word, Rex mentions the Xanthi incident (or, rather, the lack of it) to Anisha and she is completely unfazed. In fact, she couldn't really give a toss, but she can understand it, as Rex isn't bad looking. You might think that this would be a weight off Rex's mind and he should be flattered that Anisha trusts him so completely, but perverse are the ways of men – he keeps asking her if she's sure she's OK with it and, when Anisha replies that she cannot take it seriously, Rex seems disappointed that she isn't even the tiniest bit jealous. Count your blessings, Rex and don't do anything stupid – you're not Toby, after all.