Monday, 23 July 2012

Family Fortunes

Emerald O'Hanrahan (Emma Grundy)

When it comes to cementing familial ties, there were mixed results for a number of families in Ambridge last week. First of all, in the Horrobin/Carter clan, we had Emma ringing Crimestoppers and grassing up uncle Keith regarding the Brookfield barn blaze. An indignant Tracy bursts in on Emma and Susan to tell them that the police have taken Keith in for questioning. Susan is also indignant, saying that it is "just because his name is Horrobin." I must say that, if I were the police, then for any crime my default search for the criminal would start with the letter H.

Susan's attitude is interesting, as, when talking to Emma earlier, she had said "I'd lock them up and throw away the key." Anyway, Keith is released and the family start wondering who grassed him up. Later on in the week, Keith is arrested and, under intensive questioning from her mum (along the lines of 'was it you who did it?') Emma admits to being the stool pigeon. I've said it before and I'll say it again – is there no-one in Ambridge who is capable of maintaining a simple lie for longer than five minutes?

Tracy comes, bearing the news that Keith has been released again (make your minds up, lads) and there is a full and frank discussion about the rights and wrongs of informing on your family. It becomes heated and Emma orders Tracy from her house. It looks as though Tracy will never speak to Emma again, so it's not all bad news, Emma.

There was more positive news from the Archer household, when Elizabeth turns up and actually has a conversation with brother David. Even better, the words 'husband-killer", "roof" and "you've ruined our lives" do not pass her lips, neither does she say that she wishes David had been inside the barn when it was torched. Lizzie even offers to have the boys to stay at Lower Loxley but David, who was genuinely touched by the offer, declines gracefully, saying he'd like them where he can see them. OK, Elizabeth didn't throw her arms round David's neck and say how horrible she's been, but at least she spoke to him for the first time in many months.

Earlier in the week, David waxes philosophical; when talking to Adam, he says that he remembers Phil saying "It's family farms that make a nation strong". David adds: "That's worth fighting for, isn't it?"

No doubt Adam recalled those words towards the end of the week when another mega-dairy crisis reared its head. Brian has been boasting to Annabelle how he's got everything about the mega-dairy sewn up and how the BL board had better fall into line, when he learns that one of the farmers who was down to supply feed for the dairy has had to pull out of the project. This is bad news, as not only is the project under threat, but, even worse, it might make Brian look silly in the eyes of the board. It's too late to find another supplier, but Brian has the solution – use Home Farm's arable land to grow the feed. Jennifer points out that this is the total opposite to what he has already promised Adam, who will not be impressed when he finds out. Brian, however, dismisses her fears, saying: "He's family – you know families, when the chips are down, they stick together."

Jennifer is not convinced by this naïve optimism and begs Brian to take things slowly and calmly and not upset Adam. This is Brian Aldridge we're talking about here woman! Sure enough, Brian tells Adam what's going to happen and Adam goes ballistic, muttering about 'betrayal' and 'it's not going to happen'. Brian points out that Debbie agrees with him that this is the only way and it is going to happen pal, so get used to it. Strangely enough, this super-diplomatic approach does nothing to soothe Adam's feelings and I fear we are in for another week or more of sulks and self-pity.

All is not well elsewhere with the Aldridges, either, as Ruari (who at last seems to have lost most of that Irish accent) falls in love with one of Eddie Grundy's models of a dog, saying that it reminded him of Fly, his recently-deceased dog. Ruari decides he must have it, but Jennifer (who thinks it's horrible) says that he will have to earn the money, hoping he'll forget all about it. However, sister Lilian learns of this and, sensing the chance to put Jennifer's nose slightly out of joint, mischievously proceeds to pay Ruari way over the top for some gardening work.

So much does she pay that Ruari is able to buy the dog, and Lilian insists that Eddie and Joe cement it on a plinth in Jennifer's garden. Thoughtfully (or so they think), they site it where it can be easily seen from the house and Jennie is mortified – the only thing that could have upset her more is if it had been a statue of Chris and Alice copulating.

There was a nice cameo when Jamie's boasting about 'lambs to the slaughter' blew up in his face when the cricket team was thrashed by St. Mag's girls' school. Serves you right Jamie. Not so pleasant was the discussion between Vicky and Lynda about Vicky going through the Change. The talk turned to what Lynda called 'relations' and she urged Vicky not to worry, confiding: "We still have our moments, Robert and I." Aaargh! Much too much information, Lynda – I still wake up screaming a week later!

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