Anita Dobson (Celia Morgan)
Paul has always seemed so nice – provided you overlook little things like bonking his half brother's partner, that is – but we saw another side of him this week. Ex-wife Celia went spare on the phone, accusing him of pestering the children about her forthcoming marriage. Phrases such as "Do you want our children to become as bitter and twisted as you are?" and "Find someone else to inflict yourself on" should leave him in no doubt that his chances of getting a Christmas card from Celia are vanishingly slim.
Celia obviously touched a nerve, as Paul throws a moody and, instead of enjoying an afternoon of passion and delight with Lilian, he is distracted, miserable and touchy – biting Lilian's head off whenever she suggests something to do or to eat. In fact, so frequent and loud were his sighs that I thought for a moment that Jamie had somehow found his way into the love nest.
Paul becomes increasingly irritated and accuses Lilian of trying to organise him. Lilian wonders if she's done something wrong, to which he says there isn't anything wrong and is she too obtuse to see that? Enough is enough and Lilian flounces out. Paul realises that he's gone a bit too far and, later in the week, Lilian turns up at the flat, to find it full of flowers. She's not happy and says that if he ever treats her like that again… Paul apologises abjectly and says the reason he had been so foul was that he had had a phone call from a Council about a problem on a building project and from now on he'll tell her everything. However, still no mention of Celia – I think there will be tears before long.
I wept on Friday, when Nic and William proudly announced that they were expecting a baby. How could she? I mean, I know they are married, but there are limits, surely? Clarrie says that she is so pleased, unlike the rest of us.
Helen has a night out on the lash, going bowling with Jonathan (or 'Jonno' as he is known down at the alley) and it all seems to go OK. In fact, Pat tells Tony that Helen has a new spring in her step and Jonno has invited her for a meal on her birthday (she'll be 34 on April 16th in case you are interested).
As one relationship appears to be blossoming, another is drifting further on to the rocks, albeit in a slow and strange way. I refer of course to Tom and Brenda and the strange bit is that they are still living together and sleeping in the same bed. Not only that, but she keeps saying how much she cares for him. Tom suggests they go away for a few days, but she says that it wouldn't work and they have different dreams – she doesn't know what she wants, but she does know what she doesn't want. Tom says that he can change but, when Brenda says "what, give up the farm and give up having children?" he is unable to answer.
Being Tom, he throws himself into work and he opens up to Maurice, the man who makes his sausages. Maurice tells Tom that he had similar troubles and, in his experience, the worst nearly always happens. "Divorce was the best thing that happened to me" he tells Tom happily, while Tom presumably opens up a vein at this cheery news.
No-one else knows of the Tom/Brenda situation, although there are one or two remarks from Pat and Tony about his lack of triumphalism over getting his own way about selling the cows. People will notice that Brenda isn't wearing her engagement ring, Tom – better to tell everyone now before the rumours start flying around. He still harbours hopes that they can get back together, but these take a knock when Brenda announces that she is moving into the spare room. "You really mean this, don't you?" he says, "You really think we're finished?" Not much gets past the sausage magnate, does it?
For someone who is presumably quite intelligent, Alice commits the schoolgirl error of leaving her laptop open at work, with the letter from the company in Canada in plain view. She gets a message that her boss wants to see her and he demands an explanation. Working on the principle that you might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, she tells him that her job is a dead end and she feels she is just being used. Instead of handing her her P45, he says he is delighted that she is passionate about her work, gives her a pay rise, puts her on the promotion fast track and there is talk about a possible posting to Paris.
I've said it before and I'll say it again – this girl must be really, really good.