Sunny Ormonde (Lilian Bellamy)
The week got off to a bad start for Paul and Lilian with yet another emotion-charged phone call. Matt was really hacked off with Lilian for missing a business meeting while she was supposedly seeing James and the atmosphere between them is strained. Actually, Lilian is lucky that Matt never rang James to see what was keeping his Ma in London – that would have been an interesting conversation.
The constant lying is getting to Lilian and she's feeling guilty (better late than never) and a tearful Paul says "I will have to let you go, won't I?" to which she replies "yes". 'That's good', I thought, 'it's over, let's move on' but I should have known better, as Paul rings up later in the week and says he cannot bear to think he'll never see Lilian again and can they meet up and talk next week? Ah well, he did go five days without contacting her, I suppose.
With her Christmas extravaganza over and done with (don't you just love the sound of those words?) Lynda can return to being her everyday annoying self, as opposed to her Busby Berkeley/Steven Spielberg annoying self. And it doesn't take long – while out on a walk with Jim, they find a badly-injured badger. If I may digress, it seems that whenever Lynda and Jim go for a walk, it turns into an adventure – earlier we had the sighting of the beast of Ambridge and now the badger; it's like something out of an Enid Blyton book. What next? Coming across an international gang of smugglers, perhaps? Finding a cache of stolen jewels?
As they stand there looking at the badger, help arrives in the shape of David. Well, not help exactly, as he says "I'll go and get my gun." To be fair to David, the badger was badly injured, although if it had only had a bad hangnail, he would still have been happy to put it out of its misery. He could have done us all a favour by getting his gun and using one barrel on Brock, saving the other for Lynda. Having got Patrick out to take the badger to an animal rescue centre (wouldn't it have been great if Patrick had said that it should be out of its misery?) Lynda comes up with a half-baked plan to put up badger warning signs up around the village.
Jim is back from his Liverpool jaunt and is distraught to see that his interview with Iftikar in Borsetshire Life has been rewritten to include some 'fluffy questions'. Just think of the money Jim and sod the authorial integrity. Speaking of money and Liverpool, has Joe pulled a crafty one? When talking to Ed about scattering Bob Pullen's ashes, Ed mentions a legacy and Joe comes over all evasive, saying that Bob only had a couple of thousand "which he left to" (long pause) "er – his favourite charity." Now I don't know if there has been a sub-plot which explains this shiftiness, because I don't listen to Ambridge Extra, but I await further revelations.
Rob Titchener continues to be paraded around the village, being introduced to all and sundry. He even attends the Estate Day Shoot at Home Farm and is introduced to Will. They talk of Will's family and we learn that Rob and Jess don't have children. We can assume that he is a good poker player, as he doesn't cry out in alarm or astonishment when he learns that Will has been allowed to breed.
Rob tells Brian how friendly everyone seems to be and Brian warns him that he might not get such a warm welcome from some residents. Despite this, Rob continues to meet and greet residents and even seeks out Tom to congratulate him on his sausages and to discuss his Ready Meals, which Rob says are "the talk of the pub". Presumably that's talk as in "we don't serve Ready Meals – all our dishes are home made, not produced in some industrial unit." Of course, all this is music to egotist Tom's ears and Rob now has a friend for life. Well done Rob – Tom's frail ego and self-belief needed a bit of a boost; it can only be a matter of time before the 'Welcome to Ambridge' sign is replaced by a giant billboard, showing Tom, arms folded, jaw jutting and gazing moodily (yet purposefully) into the distance, with the legend 'Welcome to Tom Archer land – home of Ready Meals.'
If Rob has a friend in Tom, he has blown it with Lynda – she accosts him in the street and, despite his protestations of having to be elsewhere, demands to know where he stands on the subject of culling badgers. She also tells him that she has learned so much about him from Susan – that'll teach him to speak to strange people. Rob begins well (in Lynda's book) by saying that, as all his cows will be indoors, badger-spread TB won't be a problem for him. He then gets himself off the Snell's Christmas card list by adding that, by and large, he feels a cull is a good idea.
Had Rob been properly forewarned about Lynda and her activities, he could have saved himself loads of future grief by saying "what's it got to do with you, you interfering old witch?" and adding "and don't even think of asking me to take part in one of your Christmas productions, you sad old crone." That way she would never speak to him again and, alone among all the others of Ambridge, he would be assured of a peaceful and stress-free run-up to Christmas.