Monday, 25 March 2013

From Hero To Zero

Helen Monks (Pip Archer)

The waterlogged paddocks are taking up all David's time and, on Sunday, he tells a hungover Pip that she will have to take responsibility for the ewes and lambs. Pip says that she was hoping to take a break this holiday (a break from what, for heaven's sake?) but reluctantly agrees. Later on, David sees her in the shed with a lamb that she rescued when it got lost and he is impressed. "Good job Pip" he calls out as he leaves.

On Wednesday Pip is in a hurry to get to Spencer's, where they were going to walk the crops (be still my beating heart). Pip assures David that she has checked the sheep and trolls off, so David is not best pleased to say the least when he later finds a dead ewe and her two starved lambs. A furious David is all for phoning her right away (she's at a party) but Rooooth says leave it till tomorrow.

An unsuspecting Pip comes back the next day and is subjected to a barrage of sarcasm from her father before he tells her about the dead sheep. The ewe died of hypomagnesaemia, in case you are interested. It doesn't appear in my dictionary, but I suspect it might also be called staggers. "I'm so disappointed in you" David tells Pip.

Elsewhere there was intrigue when Darrell arrived home at 1am, dishevelled and dirty and wouldn't tell Elona where he had been, making up some story about drinking with unspecified friends. Have you noticed in Archers' stories that, when someone is down, or fallen on hard times, something else always comes along to kick them in the teeth? We had it with Ed and the broken down car and this week, Darrell's cup was well and truly running over when the fridge freezer packed up – another expense for the man with no job. I fear he is being drawn into nefarious activities. In a touching moment, daughter Rosa offered him £60 she had saved up, but he refused, as he still has some pride.

Back at the hospital, Alice tells Chris about the job offer and the one month to think about it. Later, Chris confides to Neil that he feels helpless and not in control of anything any more. He also tells Emma that the accident has made him realise what's important in his life – Alice, friends, family. Could be interesting if Alice wants to go to Canada. Later on a worried Shula turns up – she has been feeling responsible for Chris's accident – but he reassures her that it was entirely his fault and she shouldn't feel guilty, as her actions saved his life and he should be thanking her.

Jim Lloyd's latest article appeared in Borsetshire Life and he is mortified when his ironic article, complete with moronic questions like 'if you were an animal, which one would it be?' appeared in the magazine totally uncut. Even worse for Jim, whose by-line appears on the article, the BL Editor rang him to congratulate him on finally getting the hang of how the series of articles should be written.

Finally, Copernicus was wrong – the Earth doesn't go round the sun, it revolves around Tom Archer. The man has all the tact and finesse of a live hand grenade and the interpersonal skills of Pol Pot on one of his more fractious days.

On Monday, Tom tells Brenda that he is going to talk to (ie lecture) his parents about the economic case for using non-organic pork in the Ready Meals. She says, if they do agree, then he is not to crow about it. He has it all printed out and tells Tony that they can keep the copy he's given them. Tony's sarcastic response – "I'll frame it" – went right over his son's head.

Ambridge's Mr Tactful is soon in full swing, telling his parents that the facts are unanswerable and his business plan is the only way forward. "It's a no-brainer." Pat and Tony are too tired to fight any longer and give in to Tom's demands. As a jubilant Tom leaves, Tony says wearily "He's slowly undoing everything we've built up." Wrong Tony! He's bloody quickly undoing everything you've built up and Tony finds this out on Thursday when Tom reveals his latest piece of blue sky thinking – sell the dairy herd and buy in organic milk.

Tom points out that milking is a chore, especially for Tony since his heart attack, but it also eats up time that Tom could put to better use; presumably drawing up plans to convert Bridge Farm into a housing estate. Pat and Tony are appalled at the very idea but their pompous son says "Sometimes you have to think the unthinkable – it's called vision." No it's not, it's called arrogance, you jumped up little twerp. Honestly, he makes a couple of sausages and puts meat in a ready meal and suddenly he's a master of the universe.

Not only did Tom not tell sister Helen about his boffo wheeze, but he also neglected to mention it to Brenda and, when she finds out from a clearly upset and worried Tony and Pat, she takes Tom to task, accusing him of casually dismantling their lives and saying "if you drive your Dad to another heart attack, I hope you think it's worth it." Tom's answer to this is to storm out, asking "Am I the only one who can see the way forward?" Interestingly, one of the reasons that Tom put forward in support of his plans is to secure the future for his children, when he has them. Keep treating Brenda like you are Tom and that day could be a long way off – she might not even give you the chance to practise if you're not careful.

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