Charles Collingwood (Brian Aldridge)
First of all, a celebration – if my arithmetic is correct, then this is the 100th entry on this blog. It would have been nice to have some juicy news, such as Will and Tracy running off together, or Emma going into a convent, but there you go – we can but dream.
Brian is rapidly becoming Billy no-mates, with people hissing at him as he passes. Even his relatives are against the mega-dairy and none more so than Pat, who has a right go at him. "What would have happened if the Echo hadn't found out?" she wondered and Brian, for whom, let's face it, tact has never been a strong suit, snapped back: "You weren't so keen on the Echo when they broke the e.coli story."
On Wednesday, Brian learns that people think he is deliberately lying low, so he resolves to get out more – and where better than the meeting in the Bull about whether or not to vaccinate badgers? Everyone is surprised to see him there and he gets a really hard time from Jim about the mega dairy – or "internment camp", as Jim refers to it. In vain does Brian point out the wonderful living conditions and high levels of care – Jim is one of those who believe that cows belong outside.
Brian buys beers for everyone, but they are too preoccupied with the decision that they made to vaccinate the badgers (and didn't Oliver go into it in tedious detail?) and leave him alone while they discuss the practicalities of the scheme.
As an aside, Jim confides to Jolene that he is worried about the general nature of the promises he is getting for the promises auction, such as an offer of four hours' gardening from Harry. Jolene says that she doesn't think that people will want him for his gardening skills and that Kirsty is saving up already. Fortunately, we were spared double entendres about "ploughing a furrow".
Brian says he's looking forward to seeing Thursday's Echo, as there shouldn't be anything about BL and the dairy in it. Wrong again Bri! There are two columns and a photo of Adam and the tenor of the article is that here we have a family divided and Adam saying that public opinion is mostly against the dairy. Brian is incensed (to be honest, I can't blame him) and asks Adam "Why couldn't you keep your stupid opinions to yourself?" Brian storms off and, when he returns after a walk, he's no happier and tells Jennifer that Adam is a loose cannon and he doesn't know how they can continue working together.
Adam pours out his troubles to Ian, who must have a shoulder the size of a grand piano, so many people confide in him. Ian suggests ringing Debbie. "Can Brian and I work together?" Adam muses – at least they've got something in common there.
When Debbie learns what Adam has done, she is less than sympathetic, saying: "How could you be so stupid? Why did you talk to them?" A miserable Adam tells her that the reporter was an old school friend and Adam thought it was all off the record. Come on Adam, surely the notebook or the recording machine might have given you a clue? Later on, Debbie rings back to apologise for being so hard on him. "I still think you're an idiot," she says, "but you are my brother." This makes Adam a little more cheerful, but he wonders if Brian will ever speak to him again. Keep your fingers crossed Adam – if you're lucky, he might not.
At Bridge Farm, we learned that it was Tony who tipped off the Echo that their vox pop was a member of Brian's family. Nice one Tony; your 30 pieces of silver are in the post. Tom is there on a flying visit to tell his dad that he won't be able to do much of the milking as he's so busy. Serves you right for being nasty to your brother-in-law, Tony – what goes around, comes around.
Over at No. 6, Tracy is filling Neil's skip with the detritus of her past life, including what seems to be a very large collection of Valentine's cards. Some might say that, in her younger days, Tracy must have walked around with a mattress strapped to her back, just in case, but I wouldn't be so cruel. Susan, on the other hand, reveals that she once wrote to the agony aunt at 'Jackie' magazine about her lack of boyfriends. I'm saying nothing.
Pip presented her ideas for marketing Hassett Hills lamb to the co-operative and they went for it, even the celebrity virtual lamb. Presumably Pip didn't tell them that her parents think the ideas are so good that they are seriously considering getting out of sheep altogether?
Susan and Clarrie talk in the shop. There is talk about the metal thieves. "I don't know how they've got the nerve" says Clarrie. That's why they're thieves and not accountants, you numptie. Susan says Keira is a problem, but Clarrie says that she is all right when she's alone with her, but Keira starts crying whenever she sees (or presumably hears) Emma. Such prescience in one so young! We know how you feel, Keira, we know how you feel.