Monday, 22 August 2011

Pip Makes The Grade(s)

Helen Monks (Pip Archer)

Have you noticed that Ambridge appears to be awash with marketing experts all of a sudden? Early in the week we had Tom and Helen wondering how they could revive the failing Bridge Farm brand. Tom still hasn't got over his disappointment at not being allowed to roast Clarrie over an open fire, having first of all tortured her on the Rack and cut out her heart, but he says he'll think of something.

Anyway, Tom spends the day on the tractor, baling, and, by lunchtime, he has formulated a brand new marketing strategy, which he runs past Helen. The solution? Sell the products further away, where news of the e.coli hasn't yet reached. What a master stroke! No doubt the offer of a scholarship at Harvard Business School is in the post.

Our second marketing expert is Pip, who is ecstatic at having got the B and two Cs she needed to get into Felpersham uni. One B and two Cs? I thought that in the current climate students need at least six A* grades, not to mention a personal fortune. No sooner has Pip learned that she has passed than she is on the phone to Helen, giving her the benefit of her marketing experience (ie none) of using the Internet and social networking. It's Helen's own fault for telling Pip that Adam said she had a great head for business. If that's true, why did Adam totally disagree with her proposals on how to market the lamb?

A market of a different sort proved a problem for Brian, when work on the new market project was halted after the discovery of some bones. Brian started off slightly annoyed, then was getting really worked up when no archaeologist was immediately available to come out to the site. Jennifer takes her life in her hands when she tells Brian that the remains could be Roman and "isn't it exciting?" His answer was along the lines of "no it bloody well isn't" and he became just this side of incandescent with rage when the bones turned out to be animal remains but work on the site still cannot resume as they need to be disposed of properly.

At the Board meeting, Brian lays into Annabelle, reminding her that she voted against him in accepting the early finish date and that the delays could mean they incur costly penalties. Apparently, according to Brian, this is more than just a one-off project; it's his legacy and a chance to leave something behind. Something other than children, then?

Nic took another few steps along the path to sainthood when she gives up her afternoon off to accompany Eddie and William on a leaflet drop to drum up some landscape work. Eddie is chuffed to bits when a woman asks him to cut her grass – not exactly Capability Brown, is it?

Nic and William are having some time off and we were treated to a long list of the attractions available at Lower Loxley. Why? It's not as if we can go there, so do we really need to know in such detail? Later on in the week, Nic suggests taking Clarrie with them when they go on a railway day out. Clarrie tells William that Nic is a treasure, prompting listeners to yell at the radio "So what's she doing living with him?"

Pat and Tony face an uncomfortable interview by the Environmental Health people and their woes are multiplied as more customers shun their products. Shula tells them that Mollie, the girl in hospital with e.coli, has developed a kidney problem. The way things are going, Tom's distance marketing strategy will mean shipping ice cream to Venezuela.

Good news for Chris and Alice – he can have his £40,000 loan to buy Ronnie's business as long as they put Alice's house up as security. Let's hope that all goes well, although judging from recent storylines, I wouldn't be surprised if the farrier trade was wiped out by an epidemic of equine flu, probably caused by Clarrie feeding horses Bridge Farm ice cream while feeling a bit under the weather.

Peggy learns some disturbing news when Elona tells her that she will have to leave The Laurels, as her daughters want a bedroom each and she cannot afford a bigger flat, so she'll have to move away to somewhere cheaper (like back to Eastern Europe?). Peggy confides her fears to Ted while they are making an enamelled dragonfly brooch to celebrate Pip's A-level results. This shows great faith in Pip, as it was the day before the results were released.

Peggy isn't just worried because of the great relationship that Elona has with Jack, but she (Peg) was also hoping that Elona would be able to help her out with jobs like shopping and the laundry "so that I can keep my independence". I would submit that, if you've got someone running round the shops for you and doing the washing, then you have already lost your independence, but surely we aren't seeing the last of Elona? No doubt some cunning solution will be found at the last minute, enabling jack to be looked after by his favourite carer and allowing Peggy to spend even more time in Ted's enamelling workshop.

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