Sunday, 27 July 2014

Just Get On With Your Job, Roy

Ian Pepperell (Roy Tucker)

I don’t know - one night of drink-fuelled passion with the boss and Roy seems set on becoming the next master of Lower Loxley. Elizabeth, however, takes a more pragmatic view; yes it was a good night and she enjoyed it but it was a one-off and it’s time to move on. As she reminds Roy, he has a wife and family to think about.

The week started badly for Roy, as he finds out that Elizabeth has offered Carol Tregorran the use of Lower Loxley for the wake after John’s funeral. Bad luck Jennifer - the kitchen unveiling will have to wait. Roy confronts Elizabeth and he thinks that she is avoiding being alone with him (and no wonder if he keeps telling her how he feels about her). He also (belatedly) asks for Tuesday afternoon off to go to Abbie’s school play and Liz says it’s a bit short notice. Tempers are getting frayed and sharp words exchanged, just as Hayley comes in. Later on, she goes on about it to Roy and he tells her waspishly to leave it alone.

Of course, Roy doesn’t make it to the play and, at home later, he and Hayley have words. He says he can’t help working long hours and she says “Elizabeth is taking advantage of you” (only the once, Hayley!). Roy’s reply to this is that he doesn’t need an earful when he comes home.

On Wednesday, Hayley has a heart-to-heart with Elizabeth, saying that she doesn’t realise just how much Loxfest is taking out of Roy and “He thinks the world of you - he’d do anything you ask.” Little does she know that he already has. Slightly taken aback, Elizabeth says she’ll try to sort it out somehow. However, things do not go well, as Roy is pressed into serving drinks at the wake on Friday and he isn’t a happy camper (unlike when he was at the festival with Liz). In fact, he tells her he’s had enough of being treated like a skivvy while she swans around and is going off to the office. He adds that she can find someone else to be her plaything.

I can’t help feeling that both he and Hayley appear to have forgotten who is the boss and who pays their wages - don’t expect many glowing remarks when it’s appraisal time, kiddies.

Someone else working hard is Ed. Emma’s 30th birthday is coming up (7th August) and he’d like to take her away (and presumably leave her) but he can’t afford it. Solution! He asks Adam if there’s any work going on the Estate, driving the tractor and Adam says yes, provided he’s prepared to be flexible and work at short notice.
Almost inevitably, Charlie is at the farm when Ed asks Adam, trying to get Adam to produce a paper about the new digester. Adam says he’s got too much on at the moment and Charlie leaves, disappointed. Ed remarks that Charlie seems full of himself and for some reason, the talk turns to the subject of college, with Ed wondering what would have happened if he had gone to college? Well, he’d probably have got into drugs a few years earlier, is my guess.

Ed goes home and the phone rings - it’s Mike, who has put his back out and so he won’t be at work for a few days and could Ed cover for him please? Ed is now worried and tearing his hair because of his promise to Adam but Emma once again demonstrates that sometimes she doesn’t realise what’s going on when she says “At least we’re happy.”

Tony and Pat seem to be warming to Rob as a future son-in-law, actually talking to him and not setting the dogs on him. Rob confesses that he is against the proposed new digester at Home Farm, as it’s not farming because the waste will be trucked in. It’s amazing how having (allegedly) a dysfunctional family can drum up sympathy. Incidentally, it’s Rich’s birthday coming up and Pat says that she’ll slip £50 into his card. That’s probably more than his Mum and Stepdad are going to spend on him. My birthday’s in May, Pat, in case you are interested.

Susan was at her most annoying last week, making constant insinuations about Jennifer and John Tregorran having an affair and she can’t wait for the funeral, when Jen will come face to face with widow Carol. In fact, at the wake, she is on tenterhooks, saying things like “they haven’t spoken yet” and “how much longer can they keep it up?” In fact, when Carol is introduced to Susan, she remembers her as one of the Horrobin family, which must have hurt. Eventually, Carol and Jen do talk and Carol mentions Brian’s roving eye and how forgiving Jen must be to accept Ruairi. Their conversation is interrupted, however, as Susan homes in on them like an Exocet missile, breathless to overhear some scandal. They tell her they were talking about the farm and move away.

I fear - no, that’s not true; I hope - that Susan’s nose is going to be put out of joint soon, as Lynda mentions to her that she will be using the occasion of the gala grand opening of Jennifer’s kitchen to “whisper in a few ears” about the anti-Route B campaign. Susan says that she hasn’t received her invitation yet, but is confident that it’s on its way. The fact that everyone else seems to have had their invite for the best part of a week doesn’t seem to have crossed her mind. I’d like to see her get an invite for the day after the party, with Jennifer explaining that they needed someone to clear up the mess.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Divorce, Suicide Or Murder

Charles Collingwood (Brian Aldridge)

These were the three options that Brian predicted when Jennifer, bronzed and newly energised from her holiday in La Gomera, said that she’d been looking at brochures for a new bathroom, as the old one just doesn’t cut it any more. Consider, Brian - option 1 would probably be more expensive than your new kitchen, option 2 is a bit of a cop out, but option 3 - well, you can count on me for an alibi.

Brian still hasn’t got to grips with the new kitchen - Ian came round and made him home made fishcakes, plus he and Adam sussed that the beeping noise was a low battery fire alarm. Jennifer, however, is over the moon and plans a soiree to christen her triumph, mentioning the Lord Lieutenant and the editor of Borsetshire Life as two of the invitees. For God’s sake! I’ve been to openings of factories and businesses with a less distinguished cast list - it’s a kitchen woman. Even better, when Jen learns that John Tregorran (with whom, if you believe Susan - and who wouldn’t? - Jen once had a fling or two) has died, she envisages holding the wake in her kitchen. Presumably Hello! or at least Borsetshire Life, would be there taking photos?

Divorce, suicide or murder might also be options being considered by Neil, as Susan keeps on and on at him about being a manager of the Bridge Farm pig unit. Actually, Neil, if you are weighing these up, what I said about the alibi for Brian applies to you too.

Giving in to the nagging, Neil mentions to Tony how many hours he’s putting in and Tony calls him to a meeting. “Whatever he says, you’re to say no” Susan tells him, but she forgives him for ignoring her when Neil rings to say that Tony has offered to make him manager of the pig unit. As to money, Neil has been offered a share of the profits, which is his even if (God forbid) Tom comes back.

In fact, if I may digress here, I’m worried, as Peggy doesn’t seem to be too spry or happy at the moment and the one thing that might tempt ex-Sausage King Tom back is if she pops her clogs and he still stands to inherit her estate. Get that lawyer in now and change the Will, Peggy!

Back to the Carters, Susan is over the moon and tells Neil he’ll need some new overalls “to reflect your management position.” I can see Neil as being the only pigman - sorry, Susan, but that’s what he’s doing, not sitting in an office - who goes to work wearing pin-striped overalls and a bowler hat.

Of course, the big mystery of the week was the non-visit of Rob’s parents. Having told Helen that they were coming over on Friday and he’d book them into Grey Gables, Helen went berserk, cleaning, getting a haircut and making sure Henry would be sedated for the evening (only joking, but I bet it occurred to her). She also made Pat and Tony promise, on pain of death, to be there, presumably making Pat promise to superglue Tony’s gob shut. As it happened, it didn’t matter, as Pat and Tony turned up and were treated to drinks on the patio, but no sign of Rob’s Mum and Dad. Helen, who had prepared a three-course meal, suggested Rob ring them, but he said “That’s what they’re like” and why don’t we start eating?

Helen is driving herself into a state and can’t believe that Rob doesn’t care - they could be in hospital, or trapped in a burning car and she’s done a lamb joint big enough for six. Eventually, Rob agrees to phone and goes upstairs, but not before his increasingly-heated exchanges with Helen have been overheard by Pat and Tony. Rob comes down and says that his parents are at home amd couldn’t be bothered to turn out, but he’s not surprised. An embarrassed Tony and Pat go home (without being fed) as Rob suggests they draw a veil over the evening.

When they are gone, Helen starts questioning Rob, saying it is odd just not to turn up and were they definitely coming? Rob becomes defensive, saying “I booked them a hotel room” and proceeds to tell Helen what a bastard his Dad is and how he dominates his mother. “Do you think I‘d not invite them and let you do all this work so that I can look a fool?” he asks, adding that it was because his Dad was such a bastard that he (Rob) went to Canada. Helen comforts him and tells him that she and Henry are his family now. I must say I find the Rob story intriguing and when he describes his father as “A bully, who if he can’t have everything his own way…” I wonder if it’s genetic.

Rooooth is still drooling over the robotic milker, telling David that “It’s the future.” Yes Rooooth, and so is Berrow Farm, but you don’t like that, do you? David is less enthusiastic, pointing out that adopting robotic milking would put Eddie - or as Rooooth is probably re-classifying him, ‘Yesterday’s Man’ out of a job.

Lastly, we have PC Burns and Fallon. PCB gets inveigled into auditioning as a singer for the Midnight Walkers, singing ‘Annie’s Song’. Fallon comes in midway and listens - he’s good. At the end, Jolene tells him he’s got the gig, but he has to go. An impressed Jolene tells Fallon that she thought he was singing the song to her (Fallon) and “You’ve obviously stolen his heart and, after that performance, I reckon he’s stolen yours.” Stolen? Please Jolene, the man is a Police officer, after all.

Monday, 14 July 2014

What Does Charlie Actually Do?

Everyone seems to agree that Charlie is a bit of a whizzkid, but when you get down to it, what does the man actually do? He just seems to turn up at all hours and put peoples backs up, telling them that Justin isnt happy about this or that and why is Adam wasting two or three hours a day sleeping? Hasnt Charlie got a proper job, or an office?

He did it again last week - Adam couldnt get away to accompany Ian to the wedding of a couple of friends (and Ian wasnt best pleased) and even Brian notices that Adam is working all hours, telling him he shouldnt let Charlie bully him. Ian and Helen meet and she says that Adam should stand up to Charlie Like Rob does, Hah!

At the start of the week, Pat is tipped off by District Councillor Martin Sykes that a planning application has been submitted for the second anaerobic digester. She immediately shoots off to Home Farm to confront Brian about it. He is unabashed, asking her why she thinks he ought to have told people and why is she objecting, as it will generate green energy? Presumably he is forgetting the fact that the waste will be trucked in by lorries.

Not everyone dislikes Charlie - Susan is quite taken with him and tells Rooooth in the shop that people should keep an open mind over the proposed new anaerobic digester until the open day (another of Charlies ideas). Rooooth tries to explain that Justin Eliots fingerprints are all over this scheme and he stands to do very well out of it if Route B is chosen. Susan pooh poohs all this and Charlie walks into the shop. Rooooth ignore him and leaves and Susan tells Charlie that she has been trying to put his side, but its an uphill struggle. Charlie says he appreciates having one ally in the village. Things dont look good if Susan is your main supporter.

But the road might not happen, as Lynda has found out that a copse on the proposed route is actually ancient woodland and is protected. How effective this protection would be against a fleet of bulldozers is a moot point, but at least its a bit of good news for the anti-route B campaigners.

As well as supporting Charlie, Susan has been having a go at Neil, because he is working too many hours at Bridge Farm and why doesnt he tell Tony and get something done about it? Neil is indeed knackered and takes refuge in the pub one night, where he nearly falls off a bar stool. At 10 oclock he decides to go home, saying If I walk slowly, with a bit of luck Susan will be asleep. Im surprised she doesnt nag him in her sleep. However, Susan is fed up of Neils supine attitude and has a go at Pat, especially when she learns that Tony is planning to spend £3 K on a new bull. Neil is distraught when he learns what his wife has done, saying How am I ever going to look Tony in the face again?

Peggy continues to be heading downhill - she tells Alice at Jacks grave that Witch Hazel has hijacked the wording for Jacks headstone (apparently Peggys name wont be on it) but she is too tired to fight her and has given in. As Jill says to Pat later, thats not like the old Peggy.

What else has happened? Jaxxs has been sold and Fallon invited to apply for her own job. She makes it plain to Jim that she is not at all happy and methinks the upcycling business venture has moved a step nearer, especially when Kenton suggests a stall at Loxfest.

It looks like Helen is going to meet Robs parents, as he phoned his Mum and invited her and his Dad down next weekend - hell put them up in Grey Gables. Helen immediately starts to panic, planning the menu and saying shell have to take a day off work. She also invites Pat and Tony to the meal, which will probably mean that she will never see Robs parents again if Tony is his usual, cheerless self.

David and Rooooth continue to discuss robotic milking and you will be delighted to know that they are going to look at one in action, which promises to make great radio. Pip has seen one in action and she thinks its great. Pity the only way they could afford one is if Brookfield is cut in half by Route B.

Shula, Elizabeth and Roy meet at the Stables to discuss what the Stables will do at Loxfest and, as they talk, the Strangles-infected horse escapes. Roy heroically captures it, hurting his shoulder in the process. Elizabeth drives Roy back to Lower Loxley, where they learn that they have got a headline act booked. Both are excited and Elizabeth says Its really going to happen, isnt it - Loxfest?Roy says Come here and we assume that they are hugging - or are they kissing? Whatever, they are interrupted by Freddie bursting in unannounced and he immediately goes out again, slamming the door. Elizabeth runs out after him, which should make for an interesting conversation when she catches up with him. Personally, I think she has brought it upon herself - if Freddie had been brought up properly, he would have knocked on the door and waited politely for a come in before entering.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Behind Every Good Man…

Charlotte Martin (Susan Carter)

Theres a pushy woman. I refer of course to Neil and Susan (she with massive delusions of adequacy). Tony is slowly sinking under the weight of work at Bridge Farm and appeals to Neil for help with the pigs. Neil says he could do a few hours and tells Susan, who immediately upgrades the job to that of manager, or maybe pig supremo and tells Neil to make sure that Tony knows that he wants paying as a manager.Youre such a soft touch, she says, scathingly, presumably slapping him round the face at the time.

Neil and Tony meet over darts in the pub and Neil brings up the subject of money, but the word manager is never raised. Back home, Neil admits as much to Susan, who calls him a pushover and that he should have laid the law down. Perhaps she should ask herself why Neil isnt more assertive - not only is he a nice, anything-for-a quiet-life guy, but years of marriage to Susan has probably beaten it out of him. Still, it gives Susan something else to moan about - no wonder Neil likes his pigs so much.

The saga of PC Burns and Fallon has more ups and downs than a rollercoaster - on Sunday, PCB rings Fallon and asks her out. Fallon shows Jolene his Facebook page, which she thinks is weird, but Jolene declares it witty. She also points out that social media shouldnt replace face to face contact. Fallon is won over and agrees to see Harrison again, but it all goes tits up when she gets a text from him, saying he has to work late. Cue explosion as Fallon saysThats it! Hes a player - he gets you interested then leaves. She is not a happy bunny, to say the least and the relationship is off.

Next day, PCB has showered her with flowers and explains why he stood her up - there was an all officers call to find a missing child. Tell me you found him gasps a concerned Fallon. No worries - he turned up fine. PCB tells Fallon that this is the nature of his job and hell understand if Fallon cannot hack it. On the contrary - she is delighted because he really cares about his job and the relationship is back on again. PCB also suggests that Fallon (who is worried about the possible sale of Jaxxs) should make a career out of upcycling old furniture. That will make Kentons day if he has to go back to working at Jaxxs.

The writers are continuing to tease us with hints of strangeness in the relationship between Helen and Rob - at Blossom Hill cottage, Helen takes a phone call from a woman asking for Rob. It turns out to be Robs mother, Ursula and it soon becomes plain that shes never heard of Helen and had no idea that her son was living with another woman. When Rob returns, Helen suggests that perhaps its time that she met Robs family. He isnt keen, telling her that its not a good idea, as his family all thought the world of Jess, which must make Helen feel great.

Peggy is slipping into a slough of despond and Jill is worried, telling Christine that they should look out for her. Christine takes Peggy some scones and engages Peggy in what sounded like the worlds slowest-ever game of Scrabble. It takes Chris about an hour to come up with the word solo and this triggers more gloom from Peggy, who says that since Christmas its all been about losing things - Jack, Tom (surely no reason for depression?) and, recently, Ben the cat. She has always felt she had a role in life - wife, mother, pub owner, but she has nothing now. Would anyone miss me if I were gone?Peggy asks, forlornly.

And so to the latest in the anti Route B campaign. David asks Jennifer to write an article for the Echo and she agrees. On Thursday, David and Rooooth spent the day at an agricultural show at the NEC, with Rooooth nearly having orgasms over the robotic milking display. On the way home, Lynda texts David and sends him a link to the Echo and the episode ends with him telling his wife Youre never going to believe this!

This turns out to be a picture of Ben holding the Justin Eliot effigy. Even worse, Bens name appears. Jennifers article also appears, under her by-line, even though she told the editor it wasnt necessary. Charlie seeks out David and tells him that Justin isnt pleased. David replies that hes sorry for the effigy - it was a silly prank that got out of hand. Charlie isnt mollified and tells David Campaigns like this one youve started can get pretty dirty - are you ready for that? Tempers (and voices) are rising and David makes it plain that, while he apologises for the guy, nothing has changed about what he feels about the road, the farm and the land. Clearly incensed, David says to Charlie You dont get it do you? This is what happens when you come between a farmer and his land - you do it at your peril!

Charlie goes to see Brian, to tell him of Justins disappointment. Jennifer comes in on them, having just read the Riot Act to Kingsley over yet another delay to the kitchen and demanding that he gets it finished. Brian tries to play down her article in front of Chrlie but Jens dander is up and she tells Charlie that she loves the village - its a community and she wont stand by and see it ruined. Its a free country and Im entitled to say what I like she practically spits at him. Well said Jen and spin on that, Charlie!

It looks like the Route B campaign is getting messy. Earlier in the week, David said to Jen:Hearts and minds - thats the way were going to win this fight. By the end of the week the gloves are definitely off and perhaps David is now coming round to the way of thinking of one of the aides of former President Nixon, who reportedly said: When youve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.