Sunday, 10 February 2013

A Couple Of Jackaroos

Ryan Kelly Jack 'Jazzer' McCreary

First of all a note of celebration – by my reckoning, this is the 150th edition of this blog, so crack open the bubbly, light the candles and get stuck into the cake.

For those who don't know, a Jackaroo is a trainee on a sheep shearing station in Australia, while the answer I gave in a quiz – Buckaroo – is a children's game. The two Jackaroos in our title are Ed and Jazzer – Ed eventually took everybody's advice and applied to train as a sheep shearer and then David suggested that Jazzer apply as well. And why not?

After all, he only has to fit it into a schedule that includes an early morning milk round, helping Tom with the pigs and chasing anything in a skirt. Does this mean that Jazzer's affections will turn from 'my girls' to fluffier, woollier livestock? The two lads might even turn into Australians – certainly Jazzer is no stranger to the lager bottle – watch out for hats with corks around Ambridge.

It was interesting when Jazzer had a heart to heart with Rhys, telling the latter how lucky he was and he'd better treat her right. I'm sorry? This is the man whose idea of post-coital affection is to throw the girl the door keys so she can let herself out, so he can hardly lecture Rhys on how to treat women.

Lizzie's plans to expand Lower Loxley hit a snag when the bank – who I thought were being encouraged to lend us all money – told her that they would lend her some, if she could find the first £300,000. Lizzie is at her wit's end, no doubt thinking that if she had that sort of money she wouldn't need to approach the bank. Shula suggests that she sells an asset or two (Freddie and Lily spring to mind) but Lizzie worries that she won't be able to convince the Trustees.

Lewis remarks that she looks wiped out and she admits it's all getting to her. Give it up and get a Council House, Lizzie. As she is recovering from the re-naming ceremony of the Shire's Rare Breed Centre, the phone rings and it's Iftikar, telling her he'll be late for Freddie's lesson. He senses that Lizzie is busy and asks if he should call back? Lizzie proceeds to spend about 10 minutes telling him how busy she is and the talk turns to Nigel, Julia and Ifty's grandmother. After about 13 hours, Ifty apologises for the intrusion but Lizzie says "I've enjoyed our chat – in fact I always do." Are we being softened up for a romance, I ask myself? Should Ifty become Freddie and Lily's stepfather, then presumably Lizzie wouldn't have to pay for Freddie's maths tuition, so it could make sense.

Will's 30th birthday is coming up and Nic is determined that there is going to be a party with all the family sitting round a table, even if she has to drag him there, kicking and screaming. Whining and snivelling, more like. Nic confronts Ed (who doesn't want to go – even more so when Emma says they will have to buy Will a present) and says that he has to come along, for Clarrie's sake if nothing else. Ed gives in with bad grace.

Nic then has to tell Will that his brother will be coming and his reaction is predictable, saying that he doesn't want to look at Ed's ugly mug over dinner. Nic gets really (for her) angry, calling him 'childish' and giving him a right telling off. And good for her! In fact, I wouldn't have minded the rest of the episode being taken up with her slagging him off. "It's a family party and I want you both round the table for your Mum's sake." Sounds like it's going to be a barrel of laughs, lads.

Rob Titchener continues to tour the village, introducing himself to all and sundry. He compliments Ed on the quality of his milk (he had some of the Gold Top on his breakfast) and we learn later that he used to be a bell ringer and missed going out hunting when he was in Canada. In fact, Rob goes out with the hunt on Friday and Shula even entrusts him with Topper, so he must be an OK guy.

Paul and Lilian have trouble making a rendezvous and agree to meet on a station, but his train is late, so there are only a few moments together before he has to go somewhere else. The scriptwriters must have suffered writers' block, as we were transported back to 'Brief Encounter', complete with Lilian getting grit in her eye and an ex-headmistress acting as a gooseberry.

This got me thinking – what other films could the writers plagiarise – sorry, I meant make homage to? Jim and Jazzer could do 'The Odd Couple', while Clive Horrobin could do 'Psycho'. When Susan is behind the counter, we have 'Little Shop of Horrors' and Susan and Vicky could star in 'Jaws'. As for Will, there could be a whole festival: 'The Blob', 'Undead' and 'The Creature from the Black Lagoon' are three that spring to mind. Matt Crawford's transformation into a caring human being recalls 'Invasion of the Bodysnatchers', while Will and ed could star in 'The Brothers Grimm'…

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