There was a lot of looking back fondly last week. Wednesday would have been Nigel's 52nd birthday and Lizzie marked it by going on a day course with Roy, having first put flowers on Nigel's grave. Roy gets her to talk about how she and Nigel first opened up Lower Loxley to the great unwashed, having first clubbed Julia into submission.
Last week was also the first anniversary of Sid's death and his birthday and Jolene "had a bit of a wobble", as she told Kenton when they went out for the day, remembering good old Sid. In Kenton's case, most of the memories were about winding poor Sid up. Jolene said that the fact that she can talk about Sid shows how far she's come in the year since he died.
Someone who had more than a slight wobble was Jamie, who bunked off his Religious Studies exam (that's the end of a possible career in the Church) and was tracked down by Kathy, the human bloodhound, moping around the cricket pavilion. When Kathy found him, he broke down in tears (far be it for me to suggest the two events were connected) saying "He was a great Dad. I still miss him so much". Take a leaf out of your stepmum's book, lad and find yourself a lover. Actually, I may be getting soft in my old age, but it was a moving piece of acting and I came that close to feeling sorry for Jamie. Bravely he assured Kathy that he would be OK to take his maths exam the next day. Kathy said she'd run him to school and, in my current mellow mood, I'm prepared to believe that this was an offer prompted by compassion, rather than her checking up on him.
The Archer family rift continues to widen, although David did have a lighter moment, spraying Josh with the hose. "Dad's gone mad" said Josh to Alistair, who had just removed a grass seed from a cow's cornea. Makes a change from working on the other end of the beast, I suppose. Alistair and David talk about the forthcoming Three Counties Show and again there is much reminiscing – this time about Phil.
The split in the family is getting to Jill, who keeps trying to build bridges, with a conspicuous lack of success. "You haven't forgotten it's Ruth's birthday next week?" Jill phones and asks Liz, whose reply was "I've got to go now" and she rang off, presumably to check that the letter bomb has been nicely wrapped.
As is so often the case, those that weren't reminiscing were arguing, including the normally super-placid Oliver and Caroline. Caroline turned up late for the Hunt Puppy Show (be still, my beating heart) and Oliver wasn't impressed about her excuse that Grey Gables had burned down, or the staff had died en masse or whatever the reason was. "I feel awful" said a contrite Caroline. "So you should" was Oliver's nasty reply. I'd have stuffed a puppy up each of his nostrils, had I been her.
Phoebe is still banging on about going to live in South Africa and tells Roy, who quite reasonably would like to know a few more details, that he's doing her head in. "You're just slapping me down" she accuses him. If only you'd done more of that earlier, Roy, she wouldn't be this spoiled little cow. Mind you, Roy did tell Lizzie that, when he had a talk with Phoebe, "she sounded just like Kate". Quick Roy, let her go now, for God's sake!
Another miserable sod this week was Brian; when he learned that Phoebe will soon be 13, he said "her best years are behind her". Welcome to a future full of misery and disappointment, Phoebe!
The rivalry between Harry and Jazzer for the affections of the fair Zofia took an amusing turn when Harry 'forgot' to tell Jazzer that the outing with the pickers was to an open-air performance of 'Macbeth' and not the trip to the theme park that Jazzer had assumed. Jazz was less than pleased, even though he fell asleep during the play, thus getting some much-needed rest. And he got to sit next to Zofia on the trip home, although she seems totally disinterested in either him or Harry.
Harry, who has in the past uncomplainingly put up with Jazzer's numerous bad habits and slob-like lifestyle, came close to insulting his flatmate. Jazzer was moaning about Shakespeare, saying "if God had meant men to wear tights, he'd have given them the legs to go with them." "That's rich, coming from a man who wears a skirt" riposted Harry. Oh I say!