John Telfer (Alan Franks)
First of all an apology - a few weeks ago I congratulated Izzy on getting her degree and, of course it was Amy, the vicar's daughter. Sorry Amy!
The week began with Pip playing Phil's favourite hymn at the church service. Most of the Archer clan (even Kenton!) turned up and vicar Alan, ever the diplomat, said to Pat "to what do we owe this pleasure?"
Diplomacy was also lacking when Tony came home and saw Kathy. "Are you here again?" he asked, with all the tact of a brick through a window. Pat got her own back by inviting Kathy and Jamie for Sunday lunch.
Nigel is panicking about getting everything done for "Deck the Halls" – he still has 2,000 lights to put up. Give Tom a call, Nige; he's the expert when it comes to lights. So worried is Nigel that he is seriously considering pulling out of the panto, thus risking a painful death at the hands of Lynda.
The panto seems to be taking over, with people rapidly turning into luvvies – even Fallon and Harry kept banging on about their "motivation" for a scene and foolhardily criticised Lynda's script. Harry then began making up rhyming couplets on the spot (is there nothing this man cannot do?) and Lynda had a hissy fit, brought on when Harry naively suggested that the panto should be fun.
Amy (who is now a midwife) paid a call on Helen and tried to put her mind at rest. "My body is telling me to 'exercise, exercise' " says Helen. Pity is isn't 'emigrate, emigrate' says I. It seems everyone is rallying round Helen, as Ian takes her for lunch and offers to paint the nursery. Helen asks why can't her dad have the same attitude towards the baby as Ian – could it be that Ian isn't a miserable, moaning, narrow-minded dinosaur, perhaps?
The scriptwriters are obviously not in the Christmas spirit – on Wednesday Kate confided to Brian that Phoebe thinks that she (Kate) is only going to be away for two weeks at Christmas "and I haven't the heart to tell her." All over the world, spirits rose spontaneously – did this mean that Kate wasn't coming back? Please? Those same spirits were cruelly dashed the following night, when Kate revealed that she was actually going for four weeks.
Will is aghast to learn that Brian has bought a knocked-off Christmas tree from Eddie. "It's a good tree at a reasonable price. Where did he get it from, do you know?" Brian muses. Will was just hoping it didn't have a 'property of Home Farm' sticker on it and went round to tell Eddie that he'd grass him up if any more trees vanished from the estate.
Jolene is contemplating leaving the area and Kenton tries to talk her out of it, giving her the benefit of his experience, which basically consisted of enumerating a list of cock-ups and failures, going back to his childhood.
Over at Brookfield, Pip is keen to get involved "to understand the process" and thinks that she should go and see the steer (558kg, thank you for asking) selected for this Christmas's beef orders being slaughtered. Well, everybody needs a hobby, I suppose. If she asks nicely, they might even let her pull the trigger.
The week ends on a sour note when David and Ruth return from an NFU dinner to find that someone has had it away with their stockpile of hay. "How did the thieves know that we wouldn't be at home today?" asks a puzzled Ruth. Far be it for me to cast aspersions, but is that I sign I can see saying "Eddie Grundy – Holly, Mistletoe, Christmas Trees & Forage"?