Colin Skipp (Tony Archer)
Only a short summary this week, I'm afraid, as holidays got in the way. Still, it was nice to go somewhere warm, even if I can't quite afford the Maldives, like Brian and Jennifer.
That's assuming they go, of course, as the dummy run for the opening of the new market didn't go according to plan when the electrics failed. This was much to Joe's delight, as he had been wittering on about how farming wasn't like this in his day, with all this technology. Let's face it, Joe was probably around when the first plough was invented.
As it happened, the market opening went smoothly, although Brian was agitated when he heard buzzing from the electrics. Not such good news for David, whose steer didn't win anything in the accompanying show. He wanted a win to boost meat sales, but optimist Ben reckons they'll sell loads of beef anyway. I hope so – David's miserable enough about low milk yields, so if the freezer is full of unsold beef, he'll top himself.
Lynda's Christmas extravaganza is growing all the time – Alan's mother-in-law Muriel has said she will read a traditional Jamaican Christmas story. Lynda tried to enlist Susan into her cooking team, but Neil said "definitely not". Ian had the idea of a traditional Provence course of 13 desserts to represent Christ and the 12 disciples. Foe Heaven's sake! The man is a chef and we are a few days away from Christmas – shouldn't he be busy composing menus, or sourcing ingredients or something?
Of course, the big story is that of Rich; Sharon's son, who Pat believes might have been fathered by her late son John. She is rapidly becoming obsessed with the idea and Tony catches her looking on Kylie's (Sharon's daughter) Facebook page for a photo of Rich. She finds one and she and Tony are shocked to see the resemblance to John – proof to Pat's mind that they have a grandson they never knew about.
Pat wants to contact Sharon, but Tony advises caution, pointing out that Sharon might not want all this raked up after so many years. "But we've missed out on so much – he's missed out on so much." Oh yeah? Like what? An organics-mad granny and a miserable granddad? A chance to catch e.coli perhaps? Tony puts his finger on it when he said "It's all about you – what about Tom and Helen?" and Pat reluctantly agrees that they should be told and consulted and they'll do it tomorrow.
When she breaks the news to them, they are not best pleased. Helen, who was very close to John and who hero-worshipped him, was appalled and fled the room. Tom rushes after her to offer support, after telling his mother that he is angry with her. Pat obviously isn't in listening mode and, while she doesn't actually say "well, that could have gone better", does say that she still wants to talk to Sharon. Tony says they will have to face it as a family.
The ripples continue to widen when Tom tells Brenda. He is worried about Helen, as all her problems (remember the anorexia – I'm still trying to forget it?) stemmed from John's death and he feels that this could bring them all back (dear God, no!). Tom also worries that Rich could be replacing Henry in Pat's deranged mind. For her part, Brenda is worried of what the affect might be on Tom, who feels he has spent his life in John's shadow to some extent.
Helen discloses her fears and how she felt when John died to Ian (still not busy) and he advises her to concentrate on Henry and look to the future, not the past. Meanwhile, Tony tells Pat to concentrate on their living children and she promises not to ring Sharon – yet. Tom also has a go and tells his mother to forget the whole idea of ringing Sharon as it is all getting too much for Helen. Forget it and move on is his advice. What do you reckon are the chances of that happening? Yeah, me too.