Tuesday, 10 April 2012

They Also Serve…


Who are we talking about? Why, Benjamin the donkey, of course. Every year Shula drags him along to St. Stephen's for the Palm Sunday service (I'm surprised that Tom doesn't insist on riding him, given his high opinion of himself) and every year he only gets a brief mention. At least this year apparently he tried to eat Pat Fletcher's hat. Ah well, Benjy – another Palm Sunday over and well done for not fouling the churchyard; see you next year.

Exciting times for Alice and Chris, with the signing over of the forge. Alice invites Amy and her boyfriend, Carl, in a thinly-disguised attempt to find out more about him. Amy declines, saying that she doesn't want to ruin things, which isn't much of a compliment to Alice, when you come to think of it.

Never mind, Alice and Chris hold their own christening party a deux.
Chris is making a model of Mjolnir (Thor's Hammer) to hang on the wall where Ronnie's lucky horseshoe used to be and is chiselling the rune for 'eternal love' into it, when Alice tells him that she likes it when he's all hot and sweaty. They are just getting prepared to christen the forge with a good, old-fashioned shagfest, when in walks Jennifer with a bottle of champagne. Unaware that the testosterone level is touching levels usually associated with rutting stags, Jen goes wittering on – and on. Eventually, she compliments Alice on how nice she looks in her blacksmith's apron, before realising that she's wearing nothing else. Well done Jennifer! Close the door quietly on your way out. Leave the champagne.

Earlier in the week, Alice has been moaning about how Jennifer always seems to be around and the reason for this is simple – Brian is whipping himself into a frenzy every time someone mentions, or prints, anything about the mega-dairy which doesn't include the words "fantastic", "best thing since sliced bread", or similar.

His latest apoplexy is brought on when he reads something negative in the Echo and storms off to ring PR guru Rufus. As this happens at supper time, no doubt Rufus will be over the moon. Brian leaves his supper, telling Jennifer "This can't wait". The next day, it seems that Rufus has earned his fee, as there will be positive (ie biased towards the mega-dairy) articles scattered throughout local media, plus Rufus has got the Echo's Editor to promise to print a rebuttal letter from Brian. Let's just hope that some bunny-hugging sub-editor doesn't get at it and it appears under the name of "Brian Aldridge, Prince of Darkness".

Despite the general feeling of antipathy towards Borsetshire Land, some are willing to court the Dark Side when necessary: at the Parish Council meeting, they discuss the "Fields in Trust" scheme, whereby a piece of land is set aside for the villagers to enjoy in perpetuity. A patch of land between the shop and the river is suggested. The only trouble is that this is owned by BL and Jill is against asking them in view of the mega-dairy controversy.

Other Councillors, however, are more pragmatic (or less principled, or more hypocritical; you make your choice) and, while nobody actually says "BL – what a fine bunch of people", the decision is made to ask BL. Adam put it nicely when, on being told by Brian that BL are thinking of donating the land, comments sourly: "So, even the Parish Council has its price."

Brian and Adam have been working together on the deer and, later on, Adam confides to Jennifer that he finds it difficult, as he cannot be himself. Furthermore, his feelings about the mega-dairy haven't changed and he can't help hoping that something will come along to derail the whole thing. And, no doubt, if he had a pram, he'd throw his toys out of it.

Meanwhile, Brian is going slowly mad. There's still two weeks before the Planning Committee meets – Brian will be worn to a frazzle by then, if he's not dead.

Tom is also worn to a frazzle and, in trying to keep his Dad from doing much, is taking on more and more. The words 'guilty' and 'conscience' spring to mind, as Tom belatedly realises just how much office work Tony did before the heart attack. Tom says he enjoys the office work (liar) but Pat tells him that Tony has spent his whole life being needed and is feeling frustrated at the inactivity. Eventually, just before he drowns under a sea of uncompleted paperwork, Tom delegates the administration of the veg boxes to his father. Of course, being Tom, he has totally updated the office software, so that should keep Tony busy for a day or two.

As we approach Easter, we can be happy that Jim will soon stop having to be nice to people and we await the James and Leonie fly-past. Jolene has had the great idea of getting the drinkers at the Bull to stand outside and form a pair of Bull's horns when the helicopter approaches. Personally, I think it would have been better to have two fingers waving, or a giant phallus – now that might even have made the book worth buying…

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