Emerald O'Hanrahan (Emma Grundy)
The title this week refers of course to Ambridge's little ray of sunshine, Emma Grundy. She's looking forward to Susan's 50th birthday party, which sounds like it's going to be the last word – the very last word – in sophistication. She has emptied the Pound shop of its party poppers and Tracy has invited half of Borsetshire's underworld and ex-cons. I don't know if they have been invited, but I suspect that Brian and Jennifer are consulting their book of '100 excuses to avoid socialising with peasants' and rapidly arranging something (anything) else.
Emma tells Ed that Nic is going to take Poppy to see Joe, hoping that Ed will pooh-pooh the idea. However, he thinks it's a brilliant move and will do Joe the world of good. "It won't help his broken wrist" she sulks and, while admitting that Poppy has little experience of orthopaedic surgery, Ed suggests that the visit could raise granddad Joe's spirits.
And indeed it does, with Joe being the most animated since his accident and making a fuss of the new baby. Emma turns up with Keira and George in tow and presents Joe with a card made by Keira ("she's always been advanced"). Sadly, however, stool pigeon George tells everyone that "mummy made it, not Keira." No pudding for you tonight, Georgie boy!
Emma took Nic to task for complaining about the 976 baby-grows (most in lurid shades of pink and carrying twee mottoes) given to her by Vicky. Nic feels ashamed, which probably made Emma's day.
Emma has also tried to spike Nic's plans of a children's calendar for the organ fund by coming up with the idea of a cookbook, with everybody contributing recipes. The trouble is that nobody really gives a toss and Emma has painted herself into a corner – she desperately asks Clarrie to help with the printing and publishing, but Clarrie says she's much too busy looking after Joe. As an example of the quality of recipe we can expect, over at Brookfield, David suggests his secret ragu recipe. Wow! A recipe for a kind of sauce! What else are we to expect – instructions from Jazzer on how to open those little blue bags of salt found in crisp packets?
Emma should lighten up a bit and do something about those rather large chips on her shoulder. You could be forgiven for thinking that she is linked genetically to Joe, who this week plumbed new depths of being miserable and despondent. He won't eat and, when Eddie took him to The Bull, he kept wanting to come home. Eddie is distraught and joins son Ed in saying how old he looks. As I said last week, being 92 could have something to do with it. The only time Joe was less than 100% miserable was when Nic brought Poppy round. Mind you, God knows what the effect was on Poppy. Eddie is even more distraught when he receives the offer of compensation from Grey Gables - £1,500 – as he thinks that isn't enough for all Joe's suffering. Joe doesn't care one way or the other but, with the Grundys' track record of things going wrong, I'd have grabbed their hand off at £1,500.
Debbie is back from Hungary and she and Brian have a gloat while standing in the mega-dairy, or Berrow Farm, as they have disingenuously renamed what Rooooth calls 'the cow factory'.
On the romance front, Rob has to rush back to Hampshire, where his father-in-law has taken a turn for the worst. Helen is upset that he went after one phone call from Jess, but Kirsty reminds her that Jess is still his wife. Talking of Kirsty, Pat seems dead set on telling everyone that Kirsty and Tom are an item once more. Kirsty tells Helen that they spent most of Sunday in bed and Tom brought her breakfast in bed and has been cooking meals for them. What do you reckon – sausages or Ready Meals?
Debbie also confides in Helen that she is having a relationship with a tractor driver/engineer in Hungary, saying that it is good to have some unadulterated fun for a change. Helen forbears to tell her that she is having what might be described as 'adulterated fun' and goes all miserable when Rob sends Debbie a text, saying he's got to stay in Hampshire for a few days.
And now to the 'blow me down, guv, I never saw that coming' moment when Lynda suggests to Caroline that Kathy could be a good temporary manager for the Health Club; especially as she's done it before. For Caroline this is a Damascene moment and you could practically see the light bulb come on. Kathy is interviewed, given the job and put to work the same day, where she immediately introduces some improvements in staffing rotas. The only question mark against Kathy is whether she is insane – consider, when she was out having a meal with Pat (and being given the latest details of Tom and Kirsty's love life) Pat mentions that Tony said how frail and miserable Joe looked when he visited The Bull. "I hope he comes through this" says Pat, to which Kathy replies "Me too – I think the whole village wants Joe Grundy back." Ha! Go on then Kathy; name one, just one, whose surname isn't Grundy.