Monday, 21 May 2012

Jubilee Blues

Carole Boyd (Lynda Snell)

While I would be among the first to congratulate Her Majesty on her Diamond Jubilee, there is a downside to the event, which is that it gives Lynda Snell something else to organise. It's bad enough that we have the Christmas extravaganza every year (and the time for that is approaching depressingly quickly), but 2012 gives us the Jubilee Fete, not to mention the Britain in Bloom competition entry, which you-know-who has already monopolised.

Lynda was at her steamrollering best last week, calling on all and sundry with demands that they tidy up their gardens and resorting to emotional blackmail, such as her remark to Tom ("I'm sure you wouldn't want to be the one to spoil it?"). Actually, I felt a pang of sympathy for Tom, who was trying to grab a bite to eat, while his earhole was being bent by Lynda's ceaseless prattling. Instead of smacking her in the mouth (and no jury on earth would have convicted him) he resorted to sarcasm, saying that Lynda might have noticed that his Dad had had a heart attack. That doesn't matter, apparently – as long as he didn't collapse in an untidy heap on the Green.

Illness is no excuse, as Adam found out when Lynda picked on him to tidy the garden. Jennifer had left the two of them alone, which isn't like her and Adam didn't have the strength to throw her out. Lynda, fortified by one of Kenton's experimental cocktails, showed her competitive side when she told Jill "I want to win – there's no point doing it otherwise." Why doesn't everyone else agree and tell her there is no point, then they could all get on with their lives? David put it well when he said "Perhaps every beautiful village requires a Stalinist reign of terror." Lynda would be annoyed to hear that – she probably regards Stalin as a namby-pamby, bleeding heart liberal.

Lynda's megalomania is demonstrated when she suggests getting the Lord Lieutenant to cut the Jubilee cake, although she does concede that Jennifer has a point when she suggests that the LL might be a tad busy with other things on Jubilee Day.

May I make a humble suggestion for a Jubilee celebration, which I am sure would prove popular? My suggestion is for a large Wicker Man, which would be ceremonially burned as an offering to give thanks for the Queen's reign. Of course, it is customary to include a human sacrifice; preferably someone who is prominent and active in the community. Now, who could we pick that fits that bill?

At least Lynda's hare-brained idea for some kind of cultural Olympiad was rejected in favour of sports such as welly-throwing and a human caterpillar race. And a good job too – you just knew that what passes for culture in Ambridge would be Jim and one of his tedious Latin declamations and – horror of horrors – Bert Fry and a specially-composed Jubilee poem. It's enough to turn you republican.

Usha and Alan were drifting further apart, until Usha took the bull by the horns and confronted him in his own church, telling him that he has been really hurtful and that he doesn't even kiss her goodnight any more (What? They're still sleeping together?). Alan doesn't recognise himself from her description at first, then he realises how badly he has been behaving and they make up, with him saying "I promise – we'll sort this out somehow." That might involve having to throw Amy out of the Vicarage.

The mystery of the big cat continues, although the fact that Ed has had his pasture grubbed up twice leads Joe to suggest that it might be a wild boar, or even more than one. On the other hand, it might just be Will being nasty to his brother. Ed laughs off the thought of it being a wild boar, so it's a fair bet that he'll get gored fairly soon.
It's interesting that Will, the gamekeeper, has seen neither hide nor hair of this beast, when seemingly half of Ambridge have either glimpsed the animal itself, or seen evidence of its existence, such as the ruined pasture. Perhaps you should get out more, Will?

Poor Joe was looking forward to being the one to cut the Jubilee Cake, saying that he would bring some 'gravitas' to the occasion. Gravitas? Joe? Gravy stains more like. In the end, 96-year old Mr. Pullen was the chosen one. Will Joe try to nobble him, we wonder?

There are sinister events at Brookfield, when David takes a phone call from a menacing individual who says that "when you are called to be a witness, you say 'no'," adding; "you love your family – if you want them to stay the same way, you'll say 'no'." Lucky this didn't happen when Pip was going through her typical teenager phase when she was involved with Jude, or David might have cheerfully driven her round to the man the next day.

Also at Brookfield, there were what looked like the first stirrings of young love, as we had Josh spending a lot of time on Skype talking to Phoebe, which was a heart-freezing and profoundly depressing reminder that the clock is ticking and it won't be long before Phoebe – and, even worse, presumably the mother from Hell Kate – will once again be back in Ambridge. Perhaps there's room for a couple more in the Wicker Man?

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