Joanna van Kampen (Fallon Rogers)
Before beginning this week, I have a confession to make – I will miss the Friday episode and will be away next week, so fingers crossed that nothing significant happens on Friday!
The about time of the title refers of course to Fallon and Rhys finally getting their acts (and bodies) together. It's amazing the aphrodisiac effect that a lousy film can have – they were having a drink after the pictures, then Rhys drove Fallon home. There was some awkward conversation, then Rhys grabbed her in a passionate (and very sloppy, from the sound of it) kiss, asking "Do you want to come back to mine?" Fallon obviously hasn't heard about how to behave on a first date and replied "yes I do – very much." Well, that was a waste of petrol, wasn't it?
When we tune in the next morning, we learn that the couple didn't get much sleep (bloody noisy in the country) and, from the sound of it, both enjoyed the experience. Fallon asks if Rhys has a spare toothbrush and he says no, but I'll get one from the shop and you can leave it here. "Oh, we're going to make a habit of this, are we?" Fallon teases him. It would appear so, as they have an extra hour's lie-in. Good for them, I say.
If Rhys and Fallon are ecstatically happy, the same cannot be said for Lilian and Matt. Lilian finds out, almost in passing, that Arthur has died and Joyce can't bear to live in the house on her own, so she's moved out. An incandescent Lilian asks Matt what the hell he thinks he's playing at by not telling her about Arthur. Matt makes things worse when he says that he's sure he must have mentioned it to her and it must be the strain and worry about James that drove it from her mind.
Lilian points out, not unreasonably, that learning that someone has died isn't something that you tend to forget about and she calls Matt "a smug bastard", adding: "That man's death should be on your conscience!" Matt wanders off, presumably to look up the word 'conscience' in the dictionary. Before she learned of Arthur's demise, Lilian visited the church where Darrell is working and – knock me down with a feather – Paul is there and there is much 'fancy meeting you again' before they sneak off for a pub lunch. If Matt keeps killing off tenants, I fear Lilian will get a tad fed up.
And 'fed up' describes Ed to a T. Not only is he getting decent meals now that Susan and Neil are chipping in with some money and/or food parcels, but he gets fed up in the other sense when he has mega problems with the milk bail and, despite trying to fix it himself, he has to call out an engineer. The good news is that the engineer gets it working in time for afternoon milking, the bad news is that the repairs and necessary upgrade to the electricity supply are going to cost Ed £4,000. It was quite touching on Thursday when he broke down in tears, beating himself up and saying "why did I ever think I could be a farmer?" and "What type of man can't support his family?" I think the answer to that last question is "any Grundy with the initial E", as, let's face it, Eddie doesn't keep Clarrie in the lap of luxury either, does he?
Emma shows that she is a caring wife, albeit one with absolutely no knowledge of economics nor any grasp on reality, when she says "It'll be all right – we'll sort it out. Somehow." Why not sell George to his father Will, or at least rent him out by the hour? Or get his maintenance increased by telling Will that George wants gold-plated trainers? No, on second thoughts, not that, as the Muppet is quite capable of going out and buying him a pair. Oliver didn't help when he said to Ed "chin up" – the way things are going, it will be 'chin up and stick your head in this noose'. I do feel sorry for them – I hope something good happens on Friday.
Another person with worries is Hayley – the long-awaited consultant's report is in and it recommends increased adult learning activities. Hayley, who deals with kids, is afraid that she might get the chop and Roy offers to mention it subtly to Elizabeth. The trouble is that, whenever he tries, something always happens to interrupt – usually a visit from Kenton.
Celebrations at Brookfield as not only do they get the go-ahead to rebuild the barn, but the new paddock system is set to come on stream. Rooooth is really excited about this (honestly, it doesn't take much, does it?) but David says it had better work, as the whole future of the farm is at stake. No pressure then, cows.
We had a lot of talk about Tree Dressing Day, which is apparently now going to be an event that attracts sponsorship. Just as well really, as Oliver was going to put his hand in his pocket and Jim has a 648-page list of requirements. And what the hell is Tree Dressing Day? Where do they get these obscure rural customs from and how come we've never heard of them before? I'm sure they're making them up. While they're at it, they could invent some really popular old customs such as 'Flog a Cripple' day (yes James, I am thinking of you) or 'Shoot a Gamekeeper Sunday' or even, as the Christmas spectacular draws ever closer, 'Lynch a Lynda'.