Colin Skipp (Tony Archer)
On Sunday, Bridge farm took another step closer to cowlessness when Jago came up from Cornwall to collect the dairy cattle that will form the foundation of his new herd. Far from being sad, Tony finds that he is feeling elated, as he is pleased that the cows are going to someone with a passion for dairying, rather than any old buyer. By the way, Lonely Cow turned out not to have TB, so can be sold.
"The baton is being passed to a new generation" he tells Tom, which makes the latter a bit uncomfortable, as he is one of the next generation and it was his idea to sell the cows in the first place. Not so much passing on the baton as tossing it carelessly to one side. Tony also said that Jago reminded him of his younger self, which presumably means that Jago was a whining, misanthropic, mean sourpuss. But wait! Strike 'mean' from that list as, when Jago rides off into the sunset with the cows, Tony says to Tom "Let's go to The Bull for a pint – and your Dad's in the chair!" Steady on Tony – the shock might be too much for Tom, not to mention us.
Last week I omitted to congratulate Pip on getting her Desmond (2:2, geddit?) so well done her. It seems that Pip is currently in 'nice daughter' mode as she tries to persuade her Mum and Dad to take a few days off – the Champagne region looks nice. "I can look after the farm" she says, confidently. I don't know, they get a degree and they think they can do anything. It seems that the Archer children have all taken a dose of responsibility syrup, as Josh asks his Dad to drive him to Lower Loxley, as he wants to speak to Hayley.
It turns out that, when Hayley had cancelled the farmers' markets that Josh had booked in an ill-advised rash of enthusiasm, he had been rude to her and he wanted to apologise. This manifestation of maturity so impressed Hayley that she offered to pay half the cancellation costs. It also impressed David when Hayley told him about it later, making him feel proud. "What did I do to deserve such a brilliant family?" David asks when back at Brookfield. You weren't saying that when Pip was going out with Jude, or when she let two lambs die, were you David?
The other reason for Josh going to Lower Loxley is so he can teach Freddie the finer points of halter training a heifer. Freddie has a tendency to be away with the fairies part of the time (that'll be the Nigel gene kicking in) and Josh tries to make him see that he needs to concentrate if he is to show Sorrell at the Borsetshire Show this weekend. And while we are on the subject, what a compelling and edge-of-the-seat bit of radio when we had David talking Freddie through how to fit the halter "…that's right, now the chinstrap…" I was bored to tears and I only kept listening because a) I thought 'it's only a halter, it can't go on much longer' and b) after the build up about how Freddie doesn't concentrate etc, I was sure that Sorrell would break free and trample him. She didn't, but there's always the show on Sunday.
George continues to exhibit a pious tendency, praying every spare moment and, in an attempt to divert his attention, Emma and Neil create his own garden for him. God would probably be glad of the break too. The plan misfires when Neil brings George a pig statue from Granddad Eddie (he probably knocked off 10% for family) and Emma says "What do you say?" George promptly thanks God for giving him the statue and Emma gets stroppy, suggesting that he saves his prayers for bedtime or, even better, for church on Sunday, upon which George says that Emma should come as well. Nice petard you've got there, Emma!
Talking of church, the flower festival made £1,200 and the organ fund now stands at £4,500. Only another £25,500 to go and I fear we will be subjected to hearing how every penny is raised.
Lynda has booked a performance poet for the Highland Games. Not only is he Scottish, but he will be willing to open the event. Jazzer is incensed, saying that he has already booked his clan chief, which is stretching the actualité more than somewhat. However, it doesn't matter, because frankly I don't give a toss what happens.
Helen seems to be developing a predatory side as she asks Pat if Rob can come to dinner one night. Pat is taken aback, but Helen explains that he is super company, very good with Henry and hung like a stallion. Actually, I made that last one up, but you never know – especially if Helen gives Pat and Tony a few quid to go to the pictures and not come home before 1am. Later Pat confides to Tony that she is anti the idea of Rob coming round because of his connections with the mega-dairy. In all these conversations, nobody once mentioned the fact that Rob is already married.
Finally, we come to Brenda, who negotiated what sounded like a good deal for tenants at number three, only to have it rubbished and her head bitten off by Lilian the grouch over the phone from her holiday in Montenegro. Brenda is approaching the end of her tether and complains about her life to father Mike, saying: "I have zero love life, a job I hate and I'm living in my brother's house." Hey Bren, every cloud has a silver lining – at least you've split up with Tom and need never again hear the words 'Ready Meals' fourteen times a day.