Barry Farrimond (Ed Grundy)
Good old Ed Grundy - just when things are at their blackest, he manages to make it worse, and not just for him. On Thursday, Adam tells him that there won’t be any work that evening as Adam has two pickers taken ill and he’s afraid it might be viral. No worries - Ed says he could drive the combine. Adam thinks it’s a bit risky, but Ed assures him that he has practised on a simulator, so Adam gives him the go-ahead after sitting in with him for a few minutes.
Emma joins Ed in the cab and things are going swimmingly until the alarm goes off - Ed has forgotten to adjust the cut for a patch of heavier crop and the combine has seized. “You’d better get out of here” Ed tells Emma.
Next day Adam is working on the blockage when - inevitably - Charlie turns up. He’s not best pleased, to put it mildly and berates Adam for letting Ed operate the combine. His displeasure increases when he learns that, by the time the engineer has cleared the blockage, they will have lost 36 hours of combine time. “Why did you leave a half million pound machine in charge of a small time dairy farmer?” Charlie asks.
God knows I find Charlie arrogant, rude and tactless - and this is on one of his better days - but he has got a point. After all is a few hours’ simulator training really enough? When I was younger, I had a Scalextric set, but I bet Lewis Hamilton wouldn’t let me take his Mercedes for a spin round Silverstone.
It gets worse, as Charlie says that this will have an adverse effect when the Estate contract comes up for renewal and that Justin Eliot will be disappointed at Adam’s lack of professionalism. “Is that some kind of threat?” asks Adam. “Believe me Adam, I don’t make threats - I make promises” is charming Charlie’s response.
Meanwhile, Ed is at home, beating himself up for his carelessness and he tells Emma that Adam probably won’t pay him and should he go over to Home Farm to explain? I wouldn’t if I were you Ed - if Charlie is there he’ll probably present you with a bill, or have you horsewhipped. At any rate, I wouldn’t ask Adam if he’s got any combine work going in the near future.
Meanwhile, Susan is slowly being driven mental by everyone banging on about Jennifer’s forthcoming soiree as she still hasn’t received her invitation. To make matters worse, Eddie and Clarrie have been invited. In the shop, Shula tells Elizabeth that she’ll have to buy a new dress and Susan practically throws her out. Then Lynda comes in and mentions the party, whereupon Susan loses it and says “Why is everybody going on about this party?” Little does Susan know that Ed has had her invitation in his overalls pocket for a few days and Emma goes to wash them and empties the pockets, remarking that “There’s some paper in them” but she doesn’t look at it. If it should happen that the party goes ahead without Susan and she finds out that Ed had the invite, then the trouble he is in over the combine will be as nothing compared to Susan’s wrath.
PC Burns rehearses with Jolene and it’s very good. Jolene asks him how are things going on with Fallon and he says they are good, although he is worried that they are getting into the friends zone and he really wants it to be more. Don’t give up, Harrison; after all, she did let you buy her a coffee at Lower Loxley. Meanwhile, Fallon appears to have metamorphosed into Tom Archer, telling PCB that Alice is building her a website, plus she wants to open an old-fashioned teashop and showroom for her up-cycled products.
For his part, PCB suggests that she should get rid of the camper van and buy something a bit more in keeping with her business image - like a Morris 1000 van for example and he’ll look for one online for her. Fallon says this is very thoughtful and he replies “I’m not just a Plod - underneath this uniform is a beating heart”
And so to the situation between Roy and Elizabeth. Things are still tense and Roy keeps banging on about how much he has to do. Liz thinks she’s got a solution and hires a (temporary) Assistant Manager to ease his (and her) load. Is the miserable sod satisfied? Of course not and, when Liz says that it doesn’t reflect on his performance, he ungraciously says “It’s your decision - I’ll just have to live with it, won’t I?” Yes Roy, you will. Later on Hayley lets it slip that she spoke to Liz about the stress Roy was under, he goes ballistic and tells her “Never do anything like that ever again!”
Great news about Route B - Josh and Phoebe shot a video, showing what would be lost if it were to go ahead. It’s very good and Lynda especially is excited when she sees it. Later in the week, we learn why, as she spotted a very rare Brown Hairstreak butterfly in the film of Starley’s Copse. Bloody hell, the woman must have eyes like a hawk! Anyway, she gets it confirmed and this could scupper the whole project or, as Lynda put it “This could spell the end of the road - for the road.” Don’t count your chickens - Justin Eliot has a lot at stake in Route B being accepted and I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see the shadowy figure of Charlie crawling round Starley’s Copse in the near future, clutching a note from Justin saying “you know what you have to do”, plus a butterfly net and a can of fly spray.