Darrell tiling the bathroom
Last week we heard from Darrell, Elona's husband and the latest in the ever-lengthening line-up of Ambridge's ex-cons. Mike gave him some work and was impressed with the way he got on with it. Darrell showed what a nice bloke he is when Neil turned up at the Bull in a state of shock, having just seen the results of Joe and Bert's drunken efforts to tile Bert's shower room.
Neil takes Mike and Darrell to have a look at the carnage and Darrell offers to help him put it right, free of charge. Neil is grateful and Mike asks Darrell if his daughter Rosa (who can't get a job) would like to help out in the dairy occasionally. Isn't that nice? If Darrell keeps on being so helpful, we'll have to call him Harry Mark II.
Meanwhile, if I were the original Harry, I'd move away for a while, as the list of wizened old crones who are promising to bid for his services at the promises auction is staring to read like the first scene of 'Macbeth'. The latest harridan to declare an interest is Lilian – go on Harry, get in that milk float and high tail it out of town.
We had the official launch of the Ambridge Organics brand and it almost became 'Ambridge Orgasmics' when Tom learned that celebrity chef Shelly Brazil would be turning up – and bringing a photographer. The launch was a spectacular success, despite Tony's moaning about having to do the milking again. Sorry Tony, but that's what farmers do.
Strangely enough, at the launch nobody made the connection that the new brand is being produced in the same place that the e.coli-stricken Bridge Farm products were. No doubt Tom would claim it as a masterpiece of marketing.
Talking of marketing, Brian's attempts at PR and networking are proving ineffective. Yes, people are willing to take his drinks, but not to listen to his point of view. He even tried to hijack the launch of the Green Burial Ground, with no success. At least Joe got a double whisky out of him at the after-launch party at Jaxx's.
It wasn't really Brian's week – he saw a website that was rubbishing the mega-dairy project and that had all the facts wrong and carried misleading photographs. Brian immediately confronted Pat and accused her of being behind it. She was insulted that he could think that she would produce such a rubbish site, but when Brian had departed, still in high dudgeon, it did give her the idea to produce a factually-correct anti-dairy site of her own.
All the publicity about the mega dairy is bad, concentrating on the family rift, and Brian gets a call from Annabelle – the BL board have heard that Brian has been high handed with people and should talk less and listen more. Brian is amazed at the accusation; "Am I really like that?" he asks Jenny, presumably striking a passing serf with a horse whip to relieve his feelings. "Not all the time" is Jennifer's less-than tactful answer, adding: "But yes, especially with Adam."
There's trouble brewing at Brookfield, when David asks Oliver if they can have a chat about "something I can't talk to Ruth about". Oliver agrees and David turns up with a load of statistics about milk yields and costs. It turns out that he has been investigating the possibility of selling the dairy herd without telling Ruth because she'd go mad if she knew. I can't help thinking that she'd notice if there weren't any cows around any longer, but then I'm not a farmer.
Oliver says he's unable to come down on one side or the other and urges David to talk to Ruth about it. David said he feels bad because he promised Phil that he'd keep Brookfield a mixed farm. Never mind that the place is going to Hell in a handcart – promises must be kept. Perhaps when the farm goes bankrupt and the land is bought by AmSide for property development, they might name the housing estate 'Mixed Farm' in Phil's memory?
Nevertheless, David decides to tell Ruth and they agree to talk at lunchtime. However, Ruth has found evidence on the printer of David's clandestine investigations and is not a happy camper, to put it mildly. She accuses David of giving up on the herd and he points out that, with milk yields falling, they are throwing good money after bad and how else are they going to find the £22 K for the slurry tank?
Ruth suggests a loan, but David tells her to look at the figures and tell him how they can justify keeping the cows? She tells him that she will scrutinise the figures in minute detail "And we are not selling the cows!" Another fine business decision there – Ruth will be dressing them up in clothes and taking them for walks at this rate. What with her love for the herd and David's angst over a promise to his dead father, whatever happened to pragmatism and logic – I thought there was no place for sentiment when it comes to farming?