Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Will Neil Ever Get Away?

Brian Hewlett (Neil Carter)

I think it would be easier for Neil to let Bert, idiot Gary, Tracy and her kids have his house and he and Susan can move into number six, as it doesn't look like the poor sod is ever going to be allowed to escape. "When I've finished the landing I'm out of there" he tells David and Tony in the pub. Ha! As if.

A couple of days later, as he is finishing off and dreaming of a Tracy-free home, Bert persuades him to paint the hall, as it looks a bit dingy compared to the great job he's done elsewhere. Neil agrees reluctantly but says "But this is it." Brave words Neil, but I reckon the roof will need re-tiling or something else will crop up – I wouldn't put that toolbox away just yet.

Back at the pub, Tony and David are wallowing in self-pity and moaning about how awful everything is. OK, I accept that this is default mode for Tony, but David hasn't been this miserable since Elizabeth first stopped talking to him.

There could be civil war brewing among the next generation too – on Monday Josh helps Rooooth with the milking and says how he told his friend's father that he wanted to be a dairy farmer when he grows up – just like his dad, grandfather and great granddad, while on Friday (Pip's 19th birthday), she comes in from the lambing shed and says how great it all is and "I have such a brilliant job." David and Rooooth have yet to tell them that the future appears to be cows or lambs, not both. It will all end in tears for someone.

Meanwhile, Rooooth continues with her Mr Micawber impression by telling David that they should go ahead and buy the slurry tank and "it will be all right". David, not unreasonably, points out that saying it will be OK doesn't make it so and, if they have no cows, they won't need a slurry tank. "We need to think of Josh" says Rooooth and David counters this with saying what about Pip? They agree not to argue and spoil Pip's birthday – good idea, wait till the weekend to ruin one of their lives.

It was birthday time this week too for Tony (61) and Helen cooked the family a meal. Tony protests about all the fuss being made when it's not even a significant age (see earlier about default moaning mode) but Tom really gives him something to be unhappy about when he (Tom) suggests that the yard needs tidying up and made to look less tired so they can take photos and make a video ahead of the product launch in a few weeks' time. Great idea, Tom, but he, of course, is too busy to do it and, with his usual lack of finesse, tact or charm, he suggests that Tony does it. This goes down like the Titanic and Pat returns from taking a phone call to find a full and frank discussion going on. She decrees that, as it's Tony's birthday, it should be a business-free evening and would somebody help her gag Tom and tie him to the chair to make sure? OK, that last bit was a lie, I admit. Good old Tom is back to form the next day, when he tells Tony that the farm could really do with being decorated. Are you free at all, Neil?

Pat's phone call was from Adam. All week we had people talking about the forthcoming public meeting about the mega-dairy project and, at Home Farm, Brian wondering whether Adam will turn up and Adam wondering whether or not he should go. In the end he does what everyone else with a problem does – he asks Ian (I'm surprised David hasn't asked him about the cows v sheep problem). Ian says that there's nothing the media likes more than a family row and, if Adam goes, the Antis would want him to speak and all his good arguments would be ignored as the media would concentrate on the rift in the Aldridge family.

In the end, Adam agrees and telephones Pat to tell her he won't be going. "Am I just being a woos?" Adam asks Ian. "Of course you are you cowardly invertebrate" we yelled at the radio, but Ian, bless him, reassures Adam.

At the stables, Daniel is preparing to go out on a hack with Freddie and Topper's owner brings round a potential buyer for the horse. When Daniel comes back, he is full of praise for Freddie and says how fearless he is with Caspar. Perhaps Freddie should take him up on Lower Loxley's roof?

Alistair comes home and Shula tells him that she has bought Topper. "I thought I made it clear we can't afford to keep him?" says Alistair, in full Victorian patriarch mode. To this Shula replies that it's her business, not his, so butt out. To her credit, she still didn't bring up the subject of his past gambling debts – is she really a woman?

It was Valentine's Day last week and Chris and Alice celebrated with a Chinese takeaway and a DVD. Will whisked Nic off for a special meal at a hotel, where, unknown to her, he had arranged to stay the night. It was a great meal and, presumably, the only thing that spoiled a perfect day for Nic was that he hadn't booked two rooms.

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