Timothy Watson (Rob Titchener)
Let's start at the end of the week – the day before Valentine's Day, Rob took Helen to a Michelin-starred restaurant, having persuaded Tony and Pat to let Henry sleep over at Bridge Farm. The following day, Rob has to go and view a machinery demonstration, leaving Helen and Henry alone at Blossom Hill Cottage.
Helen is just settling down to watch TV when the doorbell rings and it is a very surprised Jess, who wasn't expecting Helen. Helen launches into her 'we love each other and we're sorry that you got caught in the middle' speech when Jess interrupts her and says "Good luck; you've no idea what you've taken on." Jess also asks "Where was Rob last Thursday?" to which Helen replies that he was at a feed supplier in Essex. Jess then drops her bombshell, saying that Rob was in fact "With me, in my bed" which stops Helen in her tracks.
Now, is Jess telling the truth? If so, is Rob with some other woman even as Helen and Jess talk? If so, where does he get his energy from? I really, really hope that there is an innocent explanation as, as I said last week, I really don't think that I could bear the inevitable crowing, smugness and 'I told you so' that Pat and Tony are bound to indulge in, with the odd morsel of sympathy for their daughter. Let's keep our fingers crossed, but things don't look good.
Food featured too in the Brookfield household, when Rooooth managed to cremate the pie and chips, before serving it up to a complaining family. "Leave the black bits – eat what you can" she tells her sons and a grumbling David. Why didn't she just do them beans on toast instead? Come to that, if you knew that lambing was going to be a busy time (and previous years would have given you a clue), wouldn't you have made sure that you had some prepared meals in the freezer? Failing that, get some Ready Meals from Tom.
Anyway, the next night Jill is at Brookfield and an exhausted Rooooth comes in from a hard time skinning a dead lamb, wondering what she can possibly burn for the family tonight? Why not lamb – there's a dead one going begging in the lambing shed? Jill rises to the challenge, telling Rooooth to go and have a long bath and she'll see what she can rustle up.
It turns out to be cottage pie, which is fair enough, as Brookfield has beef cattle – there's a fair chance there would have been some mince around the place and not even Rooooth could have completely run out of potatoes. As it is, the Archer family are practically orgasmic when they taste it – I suppose it is because it wasn't black, shrivelled up and welded to the plate and could be eaten without using a chisel. Suffice it to say that they are pathetically grateful and, when Jill offers to wash up and then takes David a flask of coffee in the lambing shed, David won't hear of her walking home on her own (Rooooth has fallen asleep in the armchair) and offers her Pip's room for the night. Jill accepts readily, obviously not realising that David's ulterior motive is to ensure that he gets a decent, cooked breakfast in the morning without sausages that look as if they have burned up on re-entry. In fact, Jill will be lucky if she ever gets home at all, I reckon.
Last week I suggested that Tony couldn't possibly get more miserable without topping himself, but I was wrong. Once again Tom is the catalyst, as he asks Peggy if she can finance the deposit for a house, due to the high cost of the wedding (he tells Roy that it's coming in at around £20 k – and this is without knowing that Kirsty's wedding dress is going to cost close to £3 k). Peggy agrees and tells Tom to come and see her when he's found a place he likes and he goes off to measure up Warwick Castle for carpets.
But back to Tony. He has to take Peggy into Borchester (Jennifer has had a 'disastrous' hair colouring incident and couldn't act as chauffeuse) which he does with extremely bad grace, responding to Peggy's conversational gambits with taciturn monosyllables. Peggy eventually asks him what's wrong, refraining to add 'you miserable git' and the whole story of Peggy leapfrogging Tony and Pat and leaving her money to Tom comes out again.
Tony continues to moan about not being trusted or valued and Peggy demonstrates that she has a streak of cruelty in her (although she can be forgiven after putting up with the constant whining) when she casually says that she has decided to support Tom in his efforts to buy a house. Bullseye! Tony goes back to Bridge Farm and rants at Pat, saying that Peggy obviously thinks he's a failure and "Tom can forget about any contribution to the wedding." There's nothing like a wedding for bringing families together, is there?
Finally, we had depressing news when Susan talked to Clarrie about the misunderstanding about the size of Susan's lottery win. Clarrie was worried that Susan might move away and take the kids with her, but Susan dashed all our hopes when she says: "Ambridge is our home – we'd never move away." Damn!