Michael Cochrane (Oliver Sterling)
I'm beginning to think that Oliver and Caroline are too nice to run a viable business in this current climate of austerity and competition. They are out picking holly and mistletoe on Grange Farm and Oliver remarks that the Grundys are usually plundering the trees and bushes at this time of year. "We have some bridge-building to do" Caroline says. Why, pray? How often do the Grundys patronise Grey Gables? On the night that Joe tripped, they were only there because it was cheap and they would normally be shown the tradesmen's entrance.
Never mind, Oliver is determined and sets out to see Joe. Prudently, Oliver has taken along a bottle of home-made sloe gin and he butters Joe up further by asking if he could order a small (10 – 12lb) turkey. Joe's principles are easily bought and he invites Oliver in for a cuppa, laced with whisky. Oliver mentions the abundance of holly and mistletoe and asks when the Grundys are going to harvest it? Eddie enters and is bemused to learn that Oliver is now his father's best friend and even more so when Joe says they should get up there now and pick it and would Eddie mind getting Bartleby ready?
Soon the three are loading Bartleby down with foliage and toasting each other with whisky. Joe tells Oliver that he doesn't bear a grudge and the worst thing you can do is fall out with neighbours. Excuse me? Joe doesn't bear a grudge? Let's think – a well-refreshed 92 year old trips over at Grey Gables and breaks his wrist, later getting £3,000 compensation from Caroline and Oliver; Oliver allows Joe and Eddie to oversee the cider production from his apples every year; Oliver comes round with sloe gin and persuades Joe to come and pick his holly and mistletoe (which they will sell); Oliver buys a Grundy turkey. And Joe doesn't bear a grudge? Give him the shirt off your back, Oliver and he might even send you a Christmas card.
Over at the Stables, Alistair attempts to take advantage of Shula's absence at Reg's funeral by bundling Darrell into the car and driving him to a hostel. Sadly, Darrell goes into meltdown and is rescued by Alistair after wandering around in the road, clearly distressed and disorientated. "Come on, let's get you home" Alistair says. It wasn't a good week for Darrell – he started his new job and got the sack on the second day because he screwed up but doesn’t know why. You put the pointy end of the nails on the wood and hit the flat bit on the top with the hammer, Darrell – and that's the sum total of my DIY knowledge, but worth knowing. Alistair, Shula and Daniel look at each other and Alistair goes out to change the sign to "The Stables and Home for Waifs and Strays."
The story of Jill's eyes reached a climax when her eye test revealed that she doesn't need new glasses, but she has got cataracts. Jill is devastated to think that bits of her are wearing out – it's called 'getting old' love and it's why you can't run after buses any longer or take the stairs two at a time. Even worse; it gets worse. On the other hand, Shula (who drove her mum to the appointment) makes light of her condition, saying that it's just a routine operation and you'll be out of there in a few minutes. Ha! Easy to say when it's not your eye that a man is approaching with a sharp scalpel.
You will be delighted to know that the recipe book ('Appetising Ambridge') has been printed (without photographs) and all Lynda and Emma have to do is bind it (plastic spiral) and flog it. The miserable (or as I think of it, the 'Will Grundy') part of me hoped that they had bound it back to front, but I reckon there will be more than enough grief when the contributors find that Lynda has 'improved' lots of their recipes.
Lynda might have troubles of her own, as Rob cries off a rehearsal as he's ill. Rob had an awkward moment the previous day as he and Jess ran into Helen and Henry and Henry obviously wanted to be picked up. Rob visited Helen at Ambridge Organics and he implied it was her fault for not restraining Henry. She's distraught, but confesses to Kirsty later that she still loves him. Fortunately we are spared more details of how good the sex was. Tom ends up reading at rehearsal with Kirsty and I fear that he is doomed and we'll see him in Lincoln green yet.
The atmosphere between the Grundy siblings takes a dive when Ed (out shooting rabbits with dad Eddie – nice to have a hobby) sees a dog running loose and shoots it dead. Unfortunately, it turns out to be Baz, the dog that Will is training – and presumably not very well if it runs off after a hare – and Will is adamant that Ed did it on purpose. They grapple and are separated by Eddie. Will rants "You killed my dog – I shan't forget this, ever!" What? Will bearing a grudge – surely not? It's a pity that Eddie buried Baz, as Ed could have had him stuffed and mounted and given him to Will as a Christmas present and a reminder of the brief, but happy, time they had together…