Michael Lumsden (Alistair Lloyd)
There is concern over at the stables, where Shula is distraught that the man who bought Topper (Nigel's horse) can no longer afford the livery. Freddie will be mortified if he is sold and moved away, she wails and comes up with the half-baked idea to buy Topper herself.
Alistair puts his foot down, saying that they can't afford such a sentimental gesture and it's not just the purchase price, but the on-going costs of upkeep. "It has to be a business decision" he says, loftily. While Alistair is probably right, he'd do well to remember exactly why everything is mortgaged to the hilt and they can't afford it - if he doesn't get off his high horse, I hope Shula just whispers the words "Texas Hold 'Em" into his ear. Failing that, beating him over the head with a poker would give him a reminder.
However, I have a solution – after all, Freddie is Elizabeth's son, so why doesn't she buy Topper? Not likely though, as she was the one who sold him in the first place.
Just when you hoped that the whole Rich business had been kicked into the long grass, bloody Kylie goes and writes to Pat and Tony, saying that she knows that they had sought Rich out and saying "thank you" for a kind gesture. This time it's Tony who goes all maudlin and is found by Helen, reading Kylie's letter. The fact that Rich is good at cricket makes him even more John's son, says Tony.
Tom, showing the compassion and tenderness that we have come to expect from him, is all for writing to Kylie, pointing out the grief and trouble she's caused but Helen is more sympathetic, reminding Tom that it was Tony who found John's body and he seems so lonely. Tom says "I'll try and be there for him, but he's got to be there for us." And this from the man who keeps making appointments when he should be doing his turn at the milking. Mind you, he has got a point – Tony is so busy (as he keeps reminding everyone) that he shouldn't have the time to be sad.
Someone else who shouldn't have much spare time is Rooooth, although she manages to write some anti-mega-dairy propaganda, start up an online petition and wander round the village putting up posters. Sensibly, Jolene won't let her put one up in the pub.
The battle lines over the dairy are really being drawn now, with Jennifer putting a pro-dairy article on the village website and Pat and Rooooth retaliating. Pat is so energised and throwing herself into the campaign that she forgets to do anything for Tony's lunch when he comes in frozen and starved after a morning doing weird things to vegetables. This might well be the shape of things to come, Tony, but at least it will give you something else to be miserable about.
Things look set to hot up, when Lynda and Neil agree that, as Parish Councillors, they should set up a public meeting to discuss the whole subject of the dairy. Furthermore, Neil says it should be within the next couple of weeks. The BL board think that this is too soon, but as Brian says "What can I do?" I'd bring your hard hat, Brian.
Jennifer was pleased with her efforts to support the dairy (it was she who wrote the pro-dairy article on the website, complete with link to BL's own site) but she is aghast when, talking to Susan in the village shop, Susan says "I don't know what I'll do when Alice and Christopher want to start a family." The thought of her little girl actually breeding with someone descended from the Horrobins is obviously something that strikes a chill into her heart. Mind you, she shouldn't be that surprised – God knows they seem to be practising hard enough.
There's much debate about the size of the allocation of the cider to the workers who have helped in its making. Jim and Joe negotiate how much the Grundys should keep back. Jim's initial offer of 10% falls somewhat short of Joe's estimate of 90%. Be careful Joe, you might be doing it all by yourself next year if you don't see the workers all right. It's all very well having the knowledge and experience (his criteria for wanting 90%) but at the end of the day, you need people to pick the apples and cart them around.
Finally, I cannot wait for the promises auction – Alice and Tracy are the latest ones to say that they might bid for Harry. Poor Jazzer cannot understand why there's so much interest and is teased unmercifully by Fallon, who tells him that she might enter a bid. "You haven't even got a garden!" he explodes, to which she replies "I'd better put a window box in my bedroom then." A whole new meaning to 'planting seeds' perhaps? I wouldn't be surprised if, on the day, Jazzer doesn't try to buy Harry out of spite, just to make sure that no female gets to enjoy him. Personally, if I were Harry, having seen the reaction of the women of Ambridge, I'd knock this milk round lark on the head and start up on my own as a gigolo.