Louiza Patikas (Helen Archer)
Rob wanted to take Helen to the Felpersham Film Festival. But who will look after Henry? Rob is confident that Pat will jump at the chance but, when Helen rings her, she says that she's too busy. Pat tells Tony that it's inconsiderate of Helen to expect her to baby sit at such short notice, but it doesn't take her long to blame Rob, saying that he'll have to get used to living with a small child. Tony warns her not to cut off her nose to spite her face.
And what is it that is keeping Pat busy? She and Tony go out to look at the cows and she starts moaning about why Tony never consulted her over buying them. Tony says it wasn't her that he was keeping the secret from, rather it was Tom. Tom proves he has inherited the Pat moaning gene when he bangs on to Kirsty about how insane the idea is. He does talk briefly to his dad – did I say 'talk'? I meant 'lecture' – with such phrases as "I don't know how we can work together if you don't consult me" and "I thought we were a team." Yes, and we know who Tom thinks is Captain, don't we?
They do talk again later in the week, largely at the prompting of Kirsty, who must be regretting the day she said 'yes' to Tom's proposal. This time it's more of a proper conversation, with Tony saying "cows are in my blood", which explains a lot, and accusing Tom of thinking that everything he (Tony) does is based on sentiment, rather than on sound business grounds. Tom is still miffed, as he had to cancel an order of weaners, but at least they have cleared the air.
Meanwhile, the plot surrounding Rob thickens; on Tuesday he has just assembled Henry's new bed and, when Helen takes Henry away, we hear Rob on the phone, saying "Jess, it's Rob. Ring me – we need to talk soon." On Wednesday he rings again and we learn that he wants to talk about getting a divorce. She hangs up, but eventually comes round and, on Friday, we learn that she has agreed to a civilised divorce and Rob tells Helen, who thinks it's fantastic and she cannot wait to tell her mum.
So, Helen rings Pat and tells her the good news. Pat's reaction is like someone finding a dead skunk in their freezer and, when Helen says "You are pleased for me, aren't you mum?" Pat replies in leaden tones "If you are happy." Helen doesn't seem to notice the total lack of warmth and enthusiasm and rings off. Tony says "At least it shows Rob's intentions are honourable" and "I've always wanted a father for Henry." Pat's reaction is that she doesn't want Rob to be the father and, as far as she's concerned, it seems that even if Rob were to disembowel himself in public, she would say that he had it easy because the knife was sharp. Helen and Rob are out walking and Helen tells him that both Kirsty and Pat are happy for them both. "So I've won over my two greatest critics? It's a day of miracles!" Rob says. Sorry Rob, but you haven't and it isn't. However, for those among you who delight in Pat's discomfort, stay tuned, as at the end of the week, Rob asks Helen to marry him. I can't wait to hear Pat's reaction when she receives that bit of news.
At Brookfield, Jill is in Wonder Woman mode, lighting the Aga, cooking, cleaning (including the cooker, which is probably a first for it). She takes David a bacon butty for breakfast in the lambing shed and on the way back, retiles the roof of the farmhouse and builds a new barn. So effective is her cleaning binge that, when Emma turns up to do the cleaning, there's nothing for her to do and she isn't a happy bunny. Her attitude is not lost on Jill, who says to Lynda when Emma leaves the room, "I put my foot in it there, didn't I?" Lynda's reply is that "Emma can be a bit over-sensitive at times!" Ha! For 'over-sensitive', read 'moody', 'morose' and 'miserable'.
However, Emma is one of the legions of females who attend the W.I. lecture at the Village Hall, many of who are from the younger generation. The reason? Jill has persuaded P.C. Burns to come along to talk about home security and he is confronted by a sea of panting females, with tongues lolling out of their mouths and all entertaining fantasies about getting P.C. Burns in a locked room with his handcuffs. At least they didn't throw their underwear on to the stage, so I suppose we should be grateful.
Jim and Alan share a lunch and the pair talk about the new stained glass window (in memory of Jack) and what the subject of said window should be. Jim suggests a competition among local schools etc. and we are reminded that Lent is approaching. What demented scheme will the mad vicar come up with this year? We aren't told, except that he says he would like "to start Lent off with a bang." Sounds promising.
Every so often, I ask what has happened to a character who we haven't heard from for some weeks. There is a long list of people who have apparently gone awol – Christine has vanished back into limbo, Adam and Ian appear to be hibernating, Caroline and Oliver must be working 24/7 at Great Gables and heaven alone knows what has happened to Kathy and Jamie. Personally, I think it's time Tom joined the list.