Lesley Saweard (Christine Barford)
I know there have been mutterings in the media about how some of the storylines in the Archers have been getting a bit Eastender-ish lately, but, at the opposite extreme, we have the story about the possible colour clash of flower festival arrangements between Clarrie and Nic on the one hand and Christine on the other.
Talk about over the top! Clarrie rings Nic, saying "we've hit a problem" and, when they meet, Clarrie tells Nic that Christine will be using white lilies in her arrangement, the same as Nic and Clarrie. "It will be a disaster!" wails Clarrie. Get a sense of proportion, woman – a disaster is people dying in an earthquake, not two matching vases. Nic says "why don't we introduce some colour in our display?" and is immediately thrown to the ground and kicked senseless. Doesn't she realise that St Brigid (yes, I'd never heard of her either) is the patron saint of milkmaids, so what other colour could they possibly use?
The already-preposterous story takes another twist when Clarrie enrols Jazzer as her mole to spy on Jennifer and find out details. Sadly, Jazzer is as much use at this as a one-legged man at a bum-kicking party and keeps feeding Clarrie fanciful stories about fairy lights and suchlike, while eating her out of house and home. Be honest, do we really give a toss?
Grace (Paul's daughter) phones Matt to invite him and Lilian to the funeral, presumably with the instruction to get there early, as the queue of those wanting to dance on his grave promises to be a lengthy one. Matt thinks they should go but Lilian says 'no'. Good old Matt overrules her, saying that he's no good at chitchat and besides, she was invited. We learn more details of Paul's death – how he had high blood pressure but wouldn't go to the doctor and how sad it was that he died alone.
Lilian pours her heart out to her new best friend Jolene, who is fast becoming a virtual stranger in her bar, so much time is she spending mopping Lilian's tears. Lilian reveals that Celia saw her with Paul once and asked if she were the new girlfriend? "It's all going to come out – maybe that's my punishment, to lose them both" sobs Lil. Earlier in the week, Lilian was on the phone to Jolene and wondered whether or not it was the stress of her relationship with Paul (which was going through a sticky patch) that contributed towards his heart attack. Then again, it could have been the physical pressure of constant shagging, I suppose.
Jolene to the rescue! She comes up with a plan, whereby Lilian should go to the crematorium and, at the last minute, to tell Matt that she cannot go in "because I feel like an intruder." "I know it's not great…" says Jolene. Not great? Not great? It's the worst plan since Napoleon said "Come on lads, we can take Moscow and be home for Christmas." It's a plan that even Baldrick would have been ashamed to claim for his own. Can't you just see Matt saying "OK Pusscat – you go and have a walk and I'll come and find you when it's all over"? No, me neither.
At Brookfield, Open Farm Sunday came and went with young tycoon Josh making £102.50 by selling cakes (with the help of Jill, who undoubtedly made them), plus Ambridge's youngest Capitalist sold 14 boxes of eggs.
Elsewhere there was a rapprochement between Jim and Jennifer, with her even giving him a scone. Brian is amazed at their new-found friendship, to which Jen replies "You can't hold a grudge forever." Ha! That's not what you were saying last week, woman! Emma found something else to moan about, because George is really getting into the God-bothering lark, saying his prayers and going to Junior Church. "Nic's trying to show me up" says a sulky Emma – no need love; you do that just fine by yourself. Ed says that it will probably do him good and it's better than when he was going around wanting to be a burglar. He also tells Emma to stop whingeing and do something about it if she's that bothered. Well said Ed, trouble is you are about ten years too late in saying it. Anyway, Emma asks Clarrie if she can help her with the flower arranging. Clarrie agrees, telling Emma that Nic will be there too. Oh good.
An intriguing storyline was that of Rob Titchener, who wandered into Ambridge Organics to source ingredients for the meal that he was throwing for Adam and Ian. He gets talking to Helen and impulsively invites her to join them for the meal. They get on well and, when Helen is left alone with Adam, she admits that Rob is very attractive. "I thought so" says Adam, leaving us wondering whether that was "I thought you were attracted to him" or "I thought he was attractive as well". I assume it was the former interpretation, although having an affair with the head of the mega-dairy would be a notch up from a night of sleaze with a fruit picker. As for Helen and Rob – will there be developments? Helen has already passed the first test – a whole evening together and she never once mentioned Greg's suicide or the fact that Henry's father came from (came in?) a bottle.