Monday, 14 November 2011

At Least One Person Is Happy…

Eri Shuka (Elona)

It seems to me that Elona and her daughters are the only happy people in Ambridge, as they move into their new home on the Green. Helpfully, Peggy turns up for a chat while Elona is in the middle of unpacking and asks whether or not she should take Jack to the church service on Remembrance Day. Why is she even asking – there's no way that dementia-suffering Jack is going to sit quietly for an hour among a crowd of people, is there?

Peggy's forthcoming 87th birthday big family lunch is causing a certain amount of grief and angst among the Archer clan, as Tony says that, if he has to sit next to Jennifer, he can't be responsible for his actions. Pat has had enough of his whining and snaps back "or you'll do what – throw your soup on the floor?" Well said Pat; Henry's obviously not the only baby in the family. On the subject of family rifts, the fact that, presumably David and Elizabeth will be at the lunch hasn't even been mentioned. Go on – sit them together!

Brian is spitting feathers and says he will not sit next to Lilian at Peggy's lunch. The reason is that he blames Lilian for telling BL board member Andrew Eagleton that Adam is opposed to the mega-dairy scheme. Andrew ambushes Brian at the meeting and says that, if all the partners aren't in agreement, then there's no point in investing in the project and discussions are postponed till January.

Brian is incensed, but not as upset as Debbie, who had flown in specially to give a report to the Board and who has been working on the scheme for months. Brian told her that he had sorted it with Adam – a little economical with the truth there, Brian – and, on the way to the airport, Debbie tells him to sort it out, as without Adam, there will be no project. What with all these trips, popping over from Hungary for the day, I reckon any potential profits from the scheme have been long spent.

Who else isn't happy? The Bridge Farm family meeting does not go smoothly, when Helen refuses point blank to work under the 'Tom Archer' brand name. Tom immediately goes off on one and threatens to move his business away. Good – Hungary sounds a nice place. It is all getting a tad heated when Tony says that the Bridge Farm name will have to go and they have to re-brand, plus they have an established brand already. "Too right!" crows an exultant Tom, but Tony is talking about 'Ambridge Organics' and not 'Tom (megalomaniac) Archer'. The meeting ends with Pat feeling a bit more optimistic, although she says "it's the end of an era".

Later on in the week, the family meet again, this time with Brenda also in attendance in her marketing guru capacity, and everything is sweetness and light. To make matters worse, Tony later tells Jennifer how nice it is to have the whole family pulling together to save the business – something which makes her feel even more upset about the Brian/Debbie/Adam row.

Of course the big event of last week was Ivy Horrobin's funeral, with the cremation and church service followed by a wake down at The Bull. Tony says that having all the Horrobins in a pub with alcohol "will be like sticking a bunch of ferrets in a sack". As predictions go, it wasn't the most difficult to come up with, was it?

One member of the family is Clive's daughter, Kylie, who is staying the night with Susan and Neil. Susan got in touch with Kylie via her mother, Sharon, and Kylie comes down from university especially for the funeral. She seems so nice and normal that you have to question whether or not she is really a Horrobin. Mind you, the fact that Clive hasn't been in touch for 22 years might have helped.

At the wake in the pub, Clive (fuelled in no small part by alcohol) decides that it's time to redress the situation and introduces himself to Kylie, saying that he'd like to become part of her life. Not unnaturally, she asks why now, after having had no contact whatsoever for 22 years? Be fair Kylie – perhaps they didn't want him to have sharp objects like pencils when he was inside.

Clive offers Kylie Ivy's wedding and engagement rings, which he says she left to him. This is the final straw for Susan and a blazing row develops, in which she accuses Clive of stealing the rings and of sending his mum to an early grave. This, on top of Kylie's rejection, sends Clive ballistic and he rants and raves, threatening Susan (and seemingly everybody else) and saying that he doesn't want to see Ambridge or the rest of the Horrobin family ever again. This seems more than OK with everybody else and Clive lurches off, still ranting. The next day, Kylie asks Susan to make it clear to the rest of the family that she never wants to see Clive again. She might have added "or the rest of you" but she seems too nice a girl.

Perhaps Susan might now have time to reflect on whether or not she was wise, accusing her brother of theft and causing Ivy's death. Let's think – Clive has a history of violence, including arson and armed robbery, and is known to be vindictive, as his campaign of revenge against George Barford a few years ago amply illustrated. I can't help thinking that, in the long, dark watches of the night, Susan will be wondering whether or not she really has seen the last of Clive…

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