Monday, 23 September 2013

Darrell The Parrot

Dan Hagley (Darrell Makepeace)

A quickie to kick off this week – have you noticed that Darrell repeats everything that he hears? Consider the conversations he had with Shula – she invited him to lunch at Jaxx and he replied, "lunch?" She told him that she had seen Rosa at the Flower & Produce Show and his response was "Rosa?" Finally, when she tracked him down to the bus shelter that was chez Darrell, she asked "Do you mind if I sit down?" to which he said, "sit?" in the same, mystified voice. He's either slow on the uptake, hard of hearing or lacking in vocabulary, but I hope he soon takes advantage of Shula's offer of a roof over his head (altogether now, "Roof?") as I don't like the sound of that cough.

Rooooth is the latest to be hit by the curse of the F&P Show as she goes to pick her roses, only to find that Josh's pals appear to have used the rose bed as a race course or a car park and the flowers are now sporting an attractive, tyre tread pattern as they lie squashed in the mud. There is drama at the F&P as Pat, who entered Helen's necklace without telling her, is delighted that it won first prize. However, Helen spots Lynda approaching, wearing an identical necklace, but catastrophe is averted when Rob, emulating Captain Oates, takes one for the team by feigning an interest in llamas and allows himself to be led off to Ambridge Hall to meet Constanza and Saglieri and no doubt be bored witless by llama facts. Noble man!

Helen overhears Rob on the phone to wife Jess and he is stressed out, as she wants him to sort something out with their landlord. The stress leads Helen to suggest that they defer lunch till another day, which was lucky as Alan was in the other bar, and she returns to Ambridge Organics. Kirsty wonders out loud whether Rob is trying to have his cake and eat it and Helen complains as she isn't feeling very supported by her friend.

Actually, Kirsty has her own problems. Delivering produce to Ambridge Organics, Tony notices that she seems a bit down. A bit down? Let's be honest, for someone as insensitive and unaware of other people's feelings as Tony to notice, I can only assume that Kirsty was standing on a chair with a rope round her neck, or a pistol against her temple. Anyway, Tony mentions it to Tom (I did think that her evening with Tom might have been the cause of her depression) and he cheers her up by feeding her a huge slice of cheesecake (what? Not a Ready Meal?) and tells her she's looking great. Things are getting worryingly friendly, then Mr Romantic says "I've got to be back with the pigs soon." I suppose we should be grateful that he didn't say 'the other pigs'.

And so we move to the big story of the week. Brian and Matt are meeting at Grey Gables and they see Ray talking to Suzy Shen, the so-called travel writer. Ray has his hand on her knee and Brian says "There's a couple that's playing away if ever I've seen one." Seen one? Seen one? Brian has more experience of playing away than the England football team when Wembley was being renovated, so he should know.

Sure enough, Harriet (Ray's wife) arrives at Reception, demanding to see her husband. Lynda procrastinates, but Ray's laugh is heard and Harriet confronts him and Suzy. There is a scene and Harriet says she wants Suzy out now, as she has been chasing her husband halfway round the world for years. Ray retires to his room in a foul temper, answering Lynda's query about food with a "do what you like – I don't give a damn!" The following day we learn that Ray and Suzy departed during the night and Lynda rings Oliver to tell him.

Oliver suggests not telling Caroline and, in answer to Lynda's question about who will be in charge for the two days till Oliver and Caroline returns, he tentatively asks if she would mind shouldering the onerous burden. Lynda graciously agrees (yes, you could have knocked me down with a feather too) and goes out to replace the 'Grey Gables' sign with one saying 'Snell's Hotel'.

Sadly, it is too late to cancel the Mexican night, although Lynda does cancel the 'best moustache' competition. Joe and Eddie are there, celebrating Joe's 92nd birthday and David is celebrating his 54th. Josh and Ben bought him the ticket – they must really hate him. Joe loses no time entering into the spirit (or, more accurately, spirits) of the occasion, alternating pints with Margaritas, once he overcame his suspicion of the salt round the rim of the glass. Well refreshed, Joe goes to the Gents and David goes to look for him. Coming out, Joe trips over some badly-fitted carpet and falls, breaking his wrist and hitting his head, which was lucky. Lynda calls an ambulance and Joe is carted off to A&E.

The following day, Eddie is still incensed, saying that all the fight has gone out of Joe and you know who's responsible. "It were an accident" Clarrie replies, but Eddie won't listen, saying "He's 92 and not the man he was – he might never be the same again." If that's true, surely he should be composing a letter of grateful thanks to Grey Gables and the carpet fitters? Instead he storms off to Grey Gables and a slanging match ensues. Caroline and Oliver choose this moment to return and are greeted by Eddie shouting "It's your fault and I'm going to sue this place for every penny you've got!"

Tell you what, Caroline, I reckon you could do with a holiday to take your mind off all this.

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