Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Sap Is Rising

Shortbread (Duchy Originals)

Lots of romantic (if indeed that is the word I'm looking for) activity over the past week, as well as a royal visit. However, we must address the issue of product placement, raised by listeners after the unsubtle reference to Duchy Original shortbread a few episodes ago. It has been said that, if references are made to products on the air, or in print or, say, in a blog, then the author might receive unsolicited gifts of said product, but I am not convinced.

So let's start off with Valentine's Day, when David sent Ruth a card and a bouquet of red roses – thank God for Clinton Cards and Interflora, eh David! Ruth was less pleased when David revealed that he would be driving General Custard (Nigel's favourite bull) up to his new home in Scotland – an expansive farm not a million miles from the Glenlivet distillery. This would mean missing part of Pip's 18th birthday and Ruth put her foot down, making David reschedule the trip. "You're not taking the brand new, top of the range Range Rover up to Scotland" she might have said.

Harry and Jazzer go on their double date and Harry's girl turns out to be – how can I put this? – a contender for Cruft's. "You don't look at the mantelpiece when you stoke the fire" is Jazzer's sensitive advice, although he changes his tune when his date makes it plain that she fancies Harry. Jazzer suggests they scarper when the girls are in the loo, but Harry says "we can't just leave". Jazzer can't get his head round this and legs it, leaving Harry to explain that Jazzer has left because he wasn't feeling well.

Later on in the week, Harry is plagued by texts from the girls, begging for a date (I'm starting to hate him) but Jazzer, who is to new-manhood what King Herod was to babysitting, solves the problem by grabbing Harry's phone (probably an iPhone 5) and texting back "not interested". Sometimes you have to be cruel to be – well, cruel, I suppose.

Elsewhere on the romantic front, Kenton and Jolene go out to lunch, ostensibly to compare notes about how they both did business-wise on Valentine's Day. After lunch, Kenton suggests another cup of Douwe Egbert coffee, but Jolene would rather go for a walk, presumably to break in her new Nike trainers. On the walk she goes into raptures about seeing catkins and invites Kenton to a gig on Wednesday. He agrees, but later on in the week, when being teased by Kirsty about going on dates with Jolene, he starts to have second thoughts and is worried that he might seem to be hitting on Jolene with Sid dead barely a year.

And so to Pip's birthday. She is delighted with her present from Mum and Dad. "It's a Ka!" she screams, although it could have been a Rolls Royce, and promptly volunteered to run the boys to school, or at least to the bus stop. Careful Pip – you could be making a rod for your own back. Maybe she should watch out for Elizabeth too – as Pip thanked her aunt for her birthday earrings (and a nodding cow for the car), she expressed misgivings about being so happy when Elizabeth was still grieving, to which Lizzie replied "Enjoy it – enjoy it while you can." I was put in mind of an old film scene, where two thick-set men with bulges under their armpit visit an old man in his shop and say things like "nice shop this, Grandad – shame if anything were to happen to it".

Roy and Hayley are still having trouble with Kate and Phoebe's projected visit to South Africa. Eventually it was decided that Phoebe should leave school a week early and fly out with Kate, returning on her own later. Presumably they will be flying BA – First Class, preferably.

Of course, the main event of the week was the visit to Grey Gables of the Duchess of Cornwall and her chance to be presented to Lynda Snell. As it turned out, it was a chance missed, as Lynda was in the Ladies' when the DofC was ushered into the hotel. Why was Lynda missing? She was sponging off correction fluid (Tippex, no doubt) from her jacket.

Poor Lynda was mortified at not seeing Camilla and her distress was compounded further when she learnt that the DofC had spoken to Susan and Clarrie in the crowd outside. To make matters worse, Ian was presented to Camilla and complimented on his cooking. "All I have to look forward to is a lonely bike ride home (on my brand new Raleigh)" Lynda told husband Robert on the phone. And we don't even know if she had a glass of Moet & Chandon to compensate.

But all was not lost, as her bike chain came off on the way home and, as Lynda stood there, face streaked with (Three-in-One) oil, the DofC's black Daimler car swept past and Camilla gave Lynda a smile and a regal wave. Lynda was overcome, although I would love to know how many fingers were involved…

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