Tom Graham (Tom Archer)
Do you get the impression that Tom is trying to drive his father into an early grave? Not only does he swan off to places like Shrewsbury at the drop of a hat, leaving Tony to pick up the slack on the farm, but he keeps coming up with these bright ideas, most of which involve extra work for his Dad. Tom can't see what all the fuss is about – truly, as the saying goes, nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. An irritated Tony says: "I'm not a lowly farm hand and you're not my gaffer, so just back off, OK?"
And why does Tom have to keep going on these trips in person? How much personal input is needed to demonstrate what a sausage casserole ready meal is like? The latest project for Tony is tidying up the farm and, on Sunday, Tom moans that nothing has happened, to which Tony retorts "I deserve one afternoon off", but Tom cannot see this.
Later on in the week, when delivering veg boxes (yes – he does condescend to do the odd bit of work for the benefit of the farm now and then) Tom moans to Lilian that he wants to include more exotic veg "but Dad is dragging his feet". Lilian tells him to go easy on Tony, but he says "I can't – there's too much at stake".
So, good son that he is, Tom returns to Bridge Farm and immediately tells Tony about his plans to extend the poly tunnels – sorry, that should be his plans for Tony to extend the poly tunnels. Tom gets positively Messianic, declaring "This is a revolutionary time for Ambridge Organics" and presumably climbing on a handy soapbox. Tony reminds him that he owes Lilian £10,000, not to mention the bank and who's going to pay for this expansion? "Just forget it" Tom tells him, caring and gracious to the last, as he storms off. Cut him out of the Will Tony, but don't tell him – that'll teach the miserable little sod.
It's Lent and Alan has been rather restrained – instead of one of his usual crack-brained ideas, he suggests giving up gossip and performing the odd random act of kindness. No doubt Susan and Vicky will be wrapping their gobs in great swathes of duct tape.
Quite a lot happened last week – Jim came up with a spurious, quasi-mathematical formula to demonstrate that the cider should be divided 60% to the Grundys, 40% to everyone else. Let's be honest, it can't be that hard to pull the wool over the eyes of the likes of the Grundys, but Lilian wasn't fooled, asking Jim if he studied at the University of Hokum?
Tuesday was the evening of the long-awaited Promises Auction and everyone went mad for Harry, with Kirsty, Jolene, Rooooth and, much to Alan's surprise, Usha all bidding. Bids went up by £5 a time and the eventual winner was Sabrina Thwaite, with a bid of £85. Mike bid £65 for Eddie to fit a water feature and, blow me down, it turned out that Eddie's offer did not include supplying the feature, only fitting it and Mike will have to fork out £99 to buy it. Well, we never saw that coming, did we? Not much, we didn't.
Neil accompanied Tracy on a trip to get her stuff out of Den's house and there was a moment if tension when Den spotted them. Would he beat Neil to death with Tracy's corpse? No – it turned out later that Den had approached them in order to give Tracy some money for the kids. At least Tracy and the kids have moved out of Susan and Neil's and Bert proves that he really is idiot Gary's father when he tells the visiting Kylie that he's looking forward to the sound of the kids running around. I'll give it three weeks.
Of course, the biggest dust-up came at the public meeting to discuss the mega-dairy. Debbie opened with a talk called "The Big Picture" (and presumably subtitled 'as opposed to the small minds') and, during the open discussion later, Pat is vocal for the opposition, citing health problems for the cows and the dangers facing local businesses. Go home and cook your poor husband a meal, woman (Tony was too tired to attend the meeting). Brian cannot resist a crack, saying that the cows will be the most pampered in Borsetshire and there won't be any Health & Safety slip ups, "such as has happened with other local companies." Oooh! Below the belt, Brian!
We then had a surreal moment when Rooooth asked to speak and suddenly went all mystical and Zen-like, saying that "Cows belong on grass – it's in their genes." She said she wouldn't accuse BL of cruelty, "but we should all be in tune with the natural rhythms of the animals and of the seasons." Ah so Grasshopper – truly you have achieved Enlightenment. You could almost hear the sound of cymbals and chanting. Perhaps somebody should have asked her about being in tune with the bull calves and the natural rhythms of when they are carted off to the knacker's yard?