Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Honesty Isn't The Best Policy

Souad Faress (Usha Franks)

Why is it that the inhabitants of Ambridge seem to find it impossible to practice even a teensy-weensy bit of deception, even if it would benefit everybody? First of all we had David unburdening himself to Elizabeth about encouraging Nigel to go up on the roof, with the result that she has cut off all contact with him and Ruth and now we have Usha telling Amy that she knew Carl was married.

Usha's defence when Amy asked why she hadn't told her earlier was that Usha thought Amy might have known that he was married, effectively telling Amy that Usha thought she might be a tart and adulteress – something that every girl likes to be called.

Why, for God's sake? Amy was in bits and her romance was well and truly over, so why not just keep quiet and offer tea and sympathy? As it turned out, Amy turned on her stepmother and fled the house, saying that she never wanted to see her again. Nice one Usha – had you just kept your trap shut, you could have played the consoling parent and everything would have been fine. And let's be honest, it wouldn't have been that gigantic a lie, would it?

Instead, although Usha's conscience remains unsullied, her stepdaughter hates her and even husband Alan is not a happy bunny, leaving home early on Sunday evening "to be alone and to pray for guidance". Something tells me relationships at the Vicarage are going to be a touch on the cool side for a while. Indeed, when Amy does come home, she is barely civil to Usha, when she condescends to speak to her at all, that is. And Alan's not much more communicative.

Meanwhile, Tom is going slowly demented by the pressures of work – while on the burger van (they took over £1,000 in a day, which isn't too shabby) he fields call after call from Tony and Pat about problems on the farm, largely due to Tony's inability to grasp even the rudiments of technology ("No, Dad, you turn the switch down to make the light come on."). So bad does it get that Brenda threatens to walk out if he answers his phone once more.

At last Tom realises that he cannot run the world on his own and tempts Pip into running the burger van in the future. Pip accepts, much to the unease of Ruth, who is afraid this will affect her college work.

Over at Home Farm, Jennifer takes a game pie over to Adam, who reminds her "I do live with a chef, Mum". Honestly, what with taking pies to Adam and casseroles and the like to Alice, Jennifer seems to have food with her every time she leaves the house – I bet her handbag is Tupperware.

Adam is recovering slowly, but is cheered by the news that the police have arrested the men who attacked him, following David identifying them. However, his convalescence will be slow and he won't be back on the farm for at least six weeks. Even worse, he won't be able to play cricket and the team badly needs him. So fraught are things that Rhys – who doesn't know one end of a cricket bat from another – is drafted into the team. The lack of knowledge is no handicap – "You can throw and run" says Alistair. Funny, I always thought there was more to cricket than that. It speaks volumes for the quality of Rhys's existence that he greets the news of his selection with almost orgasmic delight. For God's sake get a life, man!

Fresh from the success with the dairy, Brian is seemingly intent on becoming a property magnate. He and Jennifer are looking at a barn and Jennifer remarks how the swifts come back year after year. "I wish my children lived nearer" she says, wistfully. That's because they're trying to tell you something I reckon Jen. Brian says the barn would make a good conversion for houses "What about the swifts?" asks an alarmed Jennifer. Don't worry Jen, we can have those killed off in no time!

Harking back to the dairy, Hatty (Borsetshire Against Factory Farming) comes to speak to Ruth and Pat about where they go from here. Appealing the planning decision is a possibility, but if they lose, they would have to pay the costs. Hatty suggests boycotting everything produced by Home Farm but the other two point out that most of the products are Adam's and he's against the mega-dairy. Equally, Ruth points out that increased picketing of the Farmers' Market would place David (wearing his NFU hat) in an awkward position. A hugely-disappointed Hatty says "It seems you haven't the stomach for the fight any longer" and she doesn't even bother to tell them of her plans to raze Home Farm to the ground, or give them the 'Make your own Molotov Cocktail' instruction sheet.

Susan's brother Keith visited the village – his daughter Samantha is getting married and wants Chelsea (Tracy's daughter) as a bridesmaid. Obviously Samantha hasn't got many friends. Keith said that he saw "a big animal" running across the road and Susan tells him about the Ambridge big cat. The latest person to see the beast was Jazzer, who described it as "a large, hairy mutant disappearing into the mist." Personally, I reckon it was a mirror.

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