Louiza Patikas (Helen Archer)
Before you complain about this week's headline, I'd like to say that it was suggested by my friend Karen and nothing to do with me. Pre-Henry, I would have heartily agreed with this as a description of Helen, but since having a sprog, the woman has become practically human and you can understand why Rob is showing interest, especially as he hasn't seen his wife (if she exists) for ages.
The bovine lonely cow (potential TB reactor, kept apart from the other cows as a precaution) must be suffering with earache – on Monday Tony catches Tom talking to the cows – probably explaining the marketing strategy for Ready Meals to them - and Tom has some nice things to say about his father's pioneering work in the organic field. He manages to avoid being patronising and tells his Dad that he knows what he's giving up and thank you.
On Tuesday (the day before the sale) Helen tells Tom that the thought of Bridge Farm without the cows has just started to hit her – go and have a conversation with them, love, but you may have to wait in line. After the sale on Wednesday, Tony turns the lonely cow (the four-footed one) out into a field, saying "yes old girl, you'll miss them, won't you? And so will I."
While the other members of the family are sighing and looking back, Tom has no time for such maudlin sentimentality, telling Helen the day before the sale "It's the right decision – let's enjoy tomorrow; it will be a new beginning." Right decision or not, the sale went ahead and was a success, with Tony reckoning that, after commission, they will clear around £140 grand.
Tony and Pat decide to donate the profits from selling teas etc. to the organ fund and Tom also donates the profits from Gourmet Grills. At this rate, St Stephens will be able to afford the organ from the Albert Hall. I can understand Pat wanting to support the church, but quite why Tom (who probably doesn't even know where the church is) is donating is a mystery. Likewise Tony, who is famously tight with money and for whom the saying "the first time I went to church, they threw water over me, the second time it was confetti and next time it will be earth" might have been coined.
On Friday, Pat gets emotional as the last of the milkers are led off, saying "we're not a dairy farm any more." Got it in one, Pat! Selling off the herd might have had something to do with that.
Bethany's christening went off OK and the flower festival story reached its climax, if that isn't too strong a word. Clarrie switched on her arrangement, causing a power spike in the National Grid, all the while wondering why Christine doesn't seem to be panicking and not working on her arrangement. The reason – surprise, surprise – is that Christine's arrangement consists of three white lilies in a vase, lit from above by a single light. Nic says that it looks very classy and Clarrie is mortified at her own efforts. Her mood is not improved when Jolene turns up and says "that arrangement is really over the top", not knowing that it is Clarrie's. "Why didn't you stop me?" Clarrie asks Nic. "We did try" she answered. Thank God that story is over.
Life at Roy and Hayley's becomes fraught, with Phoebe and Abby not enjoying having to share a room and having a shouting match. Brenda picks up on the atmosphere (little signs like being spat at by the girls and having death threats pushed underneath her door) and tells Roy that she will start looking tomorrow for somewhere else to live. It occurred to me that Darrell's house is empty and Bren is being given a hard time by Lilian at not having found a tenant – an ideal opportunity, surely? But then I remembered that Tom lives next door, which could make things awkward.
Things are not all sweetness and light at Caroline and Oliver's, with Caroline working all hours. In conversation with Tom, Oliver says that it's been like this since Roy left. Good God, man, that was two years ago! If Roy was so indispensable, shouldn't they have looked for a replacement by now?
Anyway, Oliver has booked a nice restaurant for their anniversary and a taxi to take them so he can have a drink. He rings Caroline up at Grey Gables to tell her to get a move on and she tells him there has been an emergency – a woman guest, travelling with a baby and a toddler has been taken ill and the paramedics are on their way and she's a bit busy at the moment. Instead of saying "I understand" and quietly withdrawing, Oliver gets all arsey and moans because Caroline never rang him to tell him and he had to ring her. How inconsiderate of you Caroline – the least you could have done was to kick the collapsed guest out of the way and rung home, the paramedics could have waited.
Finally, what has happened to Fallon and Rhys? They suddenly seem to have vanished from the face of the earth - even when there are scenes in the Bull (Bethany's christening for example) Rhys is noticeable by his absence and Jolene hasn't mentioned Fallon for weeks – how quickly they forget!