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.