Charlotte Martin (Susan Carter)
Sometimes it’s a pity that the Archers doesn’t come with pictures and last week was one such occasion, when Susan had her hair done at a very posh hairdresser’s. The stylists’s name was Jjeanette or Jjanine, or similar - it had two ‘Js’ in it anyway. Susan surprised Neil when he was engrossed with the pigs and, when he caught sight of her, you could hear his jaw drop. However, Neil has been married long enough to know when to keep his mouth shut and he made all the right noises, spoiling it slightly when he said: “That colour - it will wash out eventually, won’t it?”
Susan didn’t latch on to the note of doubt, telling Mike and Vicky that “Neil’s very taken with it.” I think the word ‘aback’ is missing from that sentence. Mike and Vicky also made diplomatic comments, but when Susan had gone into the dairy, Mike said: “Blimey - don’t they have mirrors in those places?” and made Vicky promise never to go near that hairdressers.
At the party to celebrate Jennifer’s new kitchen, as many people were talking about Susan’s hair as about the kitchen. Jen in fact was mightily put out, as she told Carol Tregorran and Peggy that Sabrina Thwaite hadn’t paid attention to her lecture on magnetic induction, as she was staring at Susan’s hair. Carol said she thought it was terrific and well done Susan for taking a risk. She is definitely in a minority of one (or two, if you count Susan), as other comments were less complimentary; Peggy said that Matt reckons she had it done for a bet, while Matt himself described the style as “Lady Gaga with her fingers in the socket.”
Apart from Susan’s hair, the kitchen soiree was as pretentious as we all knew it would be, with exotic-sounding canapés, which Jennifer kept forcing on people and Brian, resplendent in jazzy waistcoat, mixing cocktails. Matt wasn’t impressed, telling Robert Snell that he was looking around “trying to find something drinkable.” Jennifer thought the whole evening was a runaway success, telling Peggy that people just couldn’t keep out of the kitchen. “That’s because you keep ushering them back in” Peggy replied, though the sarcasm was wasted on her daughter, who was revelling in her role of grand hostess.
Away from the party, there was a bit of a shock for Mike, who is working all hours. He told Vicky that he was considering retirement - only considering, mind - but she then outlined her plans for not wanting Bethany to be the first Downs baby at the local school and she will need specialist help when she starts school, so why doesn’t Mike retire, Vicky can go back to work full time and why don’t they move to somewhere bigger, with better facilities, like Birmingham? The tone of Mike‘s one-word response (“Birmingham?”) indicated that he wasn’t keen on the idea.
The open day to view the anaerobic digester didn’t quite go according to Charlie Thomas’s plans when Jim and Pat raised awkward questions about traffic density and the viability of the digestate as a fertiliser. Afterwards, an angry Rob accused Jim of laying traps for him, saying: “Why did you bother coming if you were only going to cause trouble?” Er, I rather think that was the object of the exercise, Rob.
Things aren’t going smoothly over at Lower Loxley - Roy is contacted by the Echo about his reaction to the accusations of girlfriend-beating made against the lead singer of Quaintance Smith. Roy’s attempt to say that nothing has yet been proven and the singer hasn’t been charged anyway are represented as complacency on behalf of the Loxfest organisers and he is distraught at the damage this could do to the festival. As it is, an all-female group has pulled out of the line-up.
As if Roy hasn’t got enough to worry about, he caught Ben and Freddie (who, at 14, seems suddenly to have morphed into stroppy Kevin the teenager) smoking. The boys are terrified that he will tell their parents and Roy says he won’t, but only because they have enough on their plates. He sent Ben to help Reg at the Rare Breeds as a punishment and then tears Freddie off a strip (again), telling him to act more responsibly and think about his mother a bit more.
There are hints that all is not well between Shula and Alistair, as she keeps going on about how he’s rarely there for meals etc and she’s spending a lot of time alone. We await developments. I hope he’s not started gambling again - does he still go to Gamblers Anonymous?
Moving on, what is your image of Cupid - an arrow-wielding cherub with wings, perhaps? Or how about a Glaswegian milkman with a can of lager? Early in the week, PC Burns and Jazzer talk and PCB tells him that he has decided to give up on Fallon, as he can’t seem to reach her. Jazz seemed interested and I thought ‘he’s going to make his move on Fallon, the poor girl’. Midweek, Jazz enlists PCB’s reluctant help in moving some furniture and insists that he owes PCB a pint. Even more reluctantly, PCB agrees to meet Jazz on Friday in the Black Pike for a drink. When PCB gets there, there’s no sign of Jazzer, but Fallon is there, also due to meet Jazz. He doesn’t appear and both Fallon and PCB (who have been having a deep heart-to heart) get a text from Jazz, saying he can’t make it and “enjoy yourselves”. PCB suggests that he and Fallon make a proper night of it, as they seem to be getting on OK, so well done Jazzer, you noble old softie you.
Finally, another ‘well done’ to Carol Tregorran, who persuaded Peggy to ignore Witch Hazel’s ideas for Jack’s headstone and to replace her trite rhyme with the verse from St. Matthew that Peggy wanted. Showing a flash of the old spirit that we thought had been extinguished, Peggy agreed. So that’s one in the eye for Hazel, a pat on the back for Carol and welcome back to the old Peggy.