Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Most Hated Man In Ambridge?

Felix Scott (Charlie Thomas)

This week’s title is the soubriquet that Tom Archer bestowed upon himself when he phoned Rob last week. However, ladies and gentlemen, I submit that there is another contender coming up fast on the inside, with Charlie Thomas seemingly doing his damnedest to make himself unpopular with as many people as possible.

Charlie – whose philosophy appears to be ‘if you only upset one person a day, it’s still worth getting out of bed’ – has already got on Adam’s chimes, although to be fair he did compliment Adam on a job well done and bought him a pint (I can only assume Charlie was feeling unwell that day), and now he’s working his way through the village, offending someone here, upsetting someone else there.

The latest person to be upset is Will Grundy. Charlie says he’s heard good things about Will and the gamekeeper offers to show him around. Mistake Will! It was quite touching how Will explained his special, personal project to increase the number of partridges on the shoot. Charlie thinks this is a good idea and he’d like to offer more shooting days next year. A wary Will asks ‘how many more’ and is horrified when Charlie says he’d like another 10. Will protests that it can’t be done – he’s pushed enough as it is and it would be too much extra work. For all the good it did, he might as well have been talking in Klingon, as Charlie tells him to leave the details to him and isn’t it good that we’ve had this little talk?

Of course, this gives Will something else to moan about and he goes off to complain about Charlie to Brian. Brian weeps a few crocodile tears and then tells Will that it’s nothing to do with him anymore, as Charlie runs the Estate now and he is Will’s boss. You could always appeal to Charlie’s better nature, Will, but I reckon the 10 extra days are a nailed-on certainty and if I were you, I’d carry a picture of George and Poppy around with you, as you might not get home to see them very often.

This week we had the drama of the public meeting to discuss the route for the new road development. There are three possible routes up for discussion and there is uproar and consternation when it turns out that route B would go straight through Brookfield, cutting the farm in two. David and Rooooth are, understandably, a tad concerned over this possibility and David embarks on a campaign to attract as many members of the public to Open Farm Sunday in order to drum up support for a working, family farm.

I’m not saying that Charlie had anything to do with the siting of the route, but he manages to upset David later in the week when David learns that Berrow Farm will also be holding an OFS on the same day and this is competition that Brookfield doesn’t really need. David rings up Rob for an explanation and Rob explains that it was Charlie’s idea, not his and, left to Rob, it wouldn’t have happened. David tells Rooooth that he almost felt sorry for Rob. However, he is feeling sorry for himself and his attitude has changed from the initial “I won’t ever let them build a road over Brookfield” to a “This could be our last OFS – if we lose and the road is built, we might end up with no farm at all.” Let’s just hope that David doesn’t spot Charlie wearing a ‘Support Route B’ badge while he’s carrying his shotgun.

Brian is keeping well out of the argument (he fears new BL owner Justin Eliot might have some vested interest, having possibly bought some of the land). Besides, Brian has his own person to hate, and that’s Buddy, the foreman of the team installing Jennifer’s new kitchen. Firstly they install the wrong sink (“we’ve been playing musical sinks” Brian tells Matt, sourly), then there is a flood, with an inch of water all over the floor, then Jen takes a call from Buddy’s wife, saying that he has fallen off a roof and will be off work for a while. Brian seems convinced that he’s done it on purpose and the completed kitchen seems further off than ever.

Roy manages to talk Elizabeth into camping out at the festival, but it’s not going to be like it was when she was in the Brownies – from what I can gather, this tent will be the canvas equivalent of the Taj Mahal, fully fitted out with all mod cons and a team of staff to supervise everything from cooking to making sure the ass’s milk is the correct temperature for her bath and that the evening turn-down service is as it should be.

Over at Ambridge Hall, Robert’s ‘Mad Hatter’ birthday party for Lynda goes down well, but not for us, as Leonie and James are there. Leonie accepts a llama wool blanket for the baby from Lynda, saying “It will look lovely on his –“ and stops. Lynda says “What do you mean?” thus displaying a staggering level of density, even for her. I agree with Brian’s comment when told about the Mad Hatter theme; “very appropriate”.

Tom continues to cast a long shadow, as Tony calls a family conference to discuss what they are going to do about the pigs. Peggy thinks this is a good idea and is a little taken aback when a newly-power-drunk Tony does his ‘head of the family’ act and tells her that she’s not wanted. He also tells Helen to tell Rob to stay away. And so the scene is set for a cosy, reasonable chat. Ha! As if! The newly-non-organic pigs will have to be sold but the question is whether to re-stock with organic or not? Helen thinks it’s a waste of time and suggests that they listen to Rob’s ideas. Tony gets abusive and says that Rob isn’t even family. Helen then drops her bombshell, telling Tony and Pat that it was Rob who arranged Tom’s interview in Canada and, furthermore, he has proposed to her and she’s accepted. “Aren’t you going to congratulate me?” she asks, rather acidly. You know, Charlie Wilson just might not be the most hated man in some parts of Ambridge.

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