Sunny Ormonde (Lilian Bellamy)
Am I the only person who thinks that the saga of Lilian’s ineptitude at knitting as she struggles with a Matinee Jacket for James and Leonie’s imminent offspring (and how my heart sinks as I type those words) is not very good radio? Sister Jennifer is too busy to help - this time not with the kitchen, work on which appears to have ground to a halt, but mobilising the forces of resistance to Route B - although she does seem to turn up every other day or so to examine Lilian’s efforts, tells her how appalling it is, how many stitches she’s dropped and how she’ll have to start over again from scratch.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the shape of Peggy, who examines her daughter’s efforts and, no doubt wondering if Lilian had been listening as a child when Peggy tried to teach her to knit, says that she’ll knit it for her. Lilian pleads for it to be their secret and Peggy replies that she won’t tell Jennifer and Lynda will never know. I submit that there’s no need to tell Jen - she’ll know as soon as she sees the garment that Lilian could never have managed it. On the plus side, removing Lilian from the process means that the new baby will probably get to wear the jacket before he or she starts secondary school.
It was a busy weekend in Ambridge, what with the Single Wicket competition and Open Farm Sunday at both Brookfield and Berrow Farm. The former was won by Daniel (who doesn’t appear to have made Colonel yet) and the trophy, named for his father Mark, was presented to him by his proud mother Shula. Meanwhile, in the background, I’m sure I heard faint comments such as ‘fix!’ and ‘stitch up’.
Daniel only just made it to the cricket as he and step-dad Alistair visited OFS at Berrow Farm. While they were there, a cow went into labour, delighting Charlie. Rob, however, says that things look bad and Alistair is called upon to minister to the beast. He manages to save the cow, but not the calf. Charlie is looking forward to a good write-up in the Echo (who were attending the event at both farms and even sent a photographer) when Rob says “Pity about the calf dying”. “That’s farming” answers Charlie. Is it? I thought farming was raising animals to either maturity or to an age where they can be sold for profit, but what do I know?
Shula had a heart-to-heart with sister Elizabeth about their sons, with Shula saying that she knows she’ll be dreading the knock on the door in the future. For her part, Lizzie says that Freddie is becoming ‘a mystery’ to her and she’s worried that he is trying to live up to Nigel, begging the question “what does she mean ‘up‘?”
At Bridge Farm, the pig angst continues. Tony is conscious that Tom had a contract with Neil to take a regular number of weaners and so he goes to see Neil to ask his advice, as he cannot see how they can run the pig operation without Tom. Neil says that they would be crazy to get out of pigs when they have the infrastructure, the processing unit and Jazzer’s (admittedly part time) expertise. The fact that Neil wouldn’t be left with a load of young pigs may have coloured his judgement somewhat, although to be fair, he did admit to a vested interest.
Returning to Charlie, it wasn’t a particularly good week for him - the Echo article heaped praise on Brookfield and published a photo of the dead calf at Berrow Farm. David runs into Charlie outside the shop and they exchange words, with Charlie describing the Brookfield article as ‘rose-tinted’ and David trying not to crow too much.
On Friday, Rob is trying to sneak out early to pick up Henry as Helen is snowed under and he thinks that Charlie is still away at the Cereals event with Adam. However, he’s come back and isn’t best pleased to know that Rob is - in his eyes - skiving off. The two men talk about the Echo article and Charlie tells Rob that he has already locked horns with David. “Who won?” asks Rob. “It was honours even,” Charlie replies, adding “They’re a formidable clan, The Archers, aren’t they?” Too right they are, and there are an awful lot of them Charlie.
The encounter between Charlie and David was not the former’s first run-in of the week with an Archer, as Jill says that she is going to see Justin Eliot (oh yeah?) or at least Charlie. As it is, Jill did get to see Charlie and she talks eloquently about how Route B would destroy something precious. She also mentions that she has heard that Justin Eliot is buying up land in the area. Charlie is very courteous and says that he will convey her feelings to Justin Eliot. He forbears to say “Like that will do you any good” but does tell her that Justin is a very busy man. Buying up more land, no doubt.
Before meeting Charlie, Jill talked with Peggy, who wonders if they ought to bother about the future, as she tried to think ahead and look where that led. But Jill is made of sterner stuff and tells Peggy: “We need to make it plain that bringing this road through Ambridge will be more trouble than it’s worth.” To me, that echoes the Godfather’s “He made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse”, so I’d check the bed for horses’ heads if I were you, Charlie - or maybe the odd dead calf.