I've touched on this before – every so often a character goes awol. In the past we have had prolonged absences from Adam, Christine and Oliver and the latest absentee is Tom. He still features in storylines – recently he took his burger van to the Open Farm Sunday at Home Farm and we were told that the queue was enormous. Pip practically had an orgasm, wondering what the magic ingredient was that made them so good? Er, could it be meat? From Tom however, not a word. If he's not careful, they could do a Marjorie Antrobus on him and we will never hear from him again.
Open Farm Sunday gave Brian the chance to show his misanthropic side, spreading doom and despondency until a busload of punters turned up to swell the attendance. He then switched to caring farmer mode, lecturing the visitors about the need to provide food for a starving world. That's a bit rich, coming from a man who has done his utmost to add to the growing population.
Pip and Spencer talk about holidays, with Pip worried because she hasn't heard back from auntie Liz about working at Lower Loxley and fears that she has joined David on Lizzie's 'persona non grata' list. Spencer has the brilliant suggestion of talking to her about it. Actually, Spencer seems a regular sort of guy, although I noted that he referred to David as 'David' – whatever happened to 'Mr Archer'? Don't get too familiar my lad!
Later on in the week, Ruth finds that she has joined David on Lizzie's hate list, when Lizzie doesn't send her a birthday card. Ruth and Pip are both upset, with Ruth saying "It just seems so petty – not like Elizabeth at all." Sorry Ruth, but this is the new Elizabeth we're talking about and it's exactly like her.
Towards the end of the week, Pip goes to see Lizzie about the job and tells Spencer that she'll ask Liz about not sending Ruth a card. "I'll be tactful" said Pip. In the event, she asked Liz if she didn't send a card on purpose. "This thing with your father goes really deep. I'm sorry" said Liz, to which Pip replied "Mum's sorry too – I thought you should know." Don't be surprised if, when she turns up to work at Lower Loxley, Pip finds that instead of waiting on tables, she's cleaning out pigsties with a teaspoon, or collecting dog dirt. Rule number one Pip; do not piss off the boss, even if she is family.
Earlier I said that Brian was a miserable sod and his mood was not improved when he was outvoted at the meeting to decide whether or not to bring forward completion of the market project. Lilian won the day, aided by Annabelle who did the dirty on Brian by voting against him. Not that Lilian crowed over her victory – not much she didn't. On more than one occasion, Brian mentioned the fact that failure to deliver could involve them in substantial penalties, so we wait to see if it all ends in tears.
Elsewhere, Jamie has had his last exam, so Kathy can stop nagging him about revising, although I'm sure she'll soon find some other topic. Pat and Tony went over for dinner and, as they were thinking of going home, Jamie was getting ready to go out. I would be willing to wager a large sum on some impending disaster involving Jamie/Kathy, as we had Pat telling Kathy "You've done an incredible job with him. You've really turned a corner" and saying to Kirsty "I haven't seen Kathy that relaxed for a long time." A preface to disaster if ever I've heard one.
Oliver is wandering around like a spare part, making Ed think he's spying on him. Give the man something to do for God's sake! How about another Puppy Show? The new, improved, mellow Helen has decided to carry on with maternity leave for the next 20 years or so. Well, six months, anyway.
A storyline that is starting to annoy me is the one about whether or not Phoebe will go to South Africa and, if so, for how long? Who cares? Hayley is adamant ("How long does it take to say 'no'?") but Roy is wavering. He says it's Phoebe's choice – good, we all know what she wants so let her go and move on.
The eternal triangle that is Harry/Jazzer/Zofia grinds on, with both boys going on the pickers' trip to Felpersham Pottery and Harry getting a highly-amused Adam to reserve him the seat next to her on the bus. Harry is irked when Jazzer turns up and asks him "Why are you interested in pottery – you don't even use plates?" The rivalry between the two lads is intense, with Harry even talking to Adam about getting a job in Poland when Zofia goes home. Sadly, Zofia doesn't seem to care much about either of them and sits with her friend Magda, who is feeling poorly.
Zofia is frequently described as a bit of a looker and Brian (who knows a thing or two about women) says "She really has the most mesmerising blue eyes", which leads me to wonder whether Brian is getting old, as he doesn't usually have his mind on the higher things in life…