Sunday, 5 October 2014

All About Timing

Felix Scott (Charlie Thomas)

Charlie Thomas is becoming ever more enigmatic - he turns up to learn from Adam that they are a man down because Jeff can’t make it and there’s no one to do the hauling. “What’s your solution?” demands Charlie and we thought ‘here we go again, getting on Adam’s case’. But no, as Charlie suggests that Ed can continue cleaning mud off the roads and he (Charlie) will do the hauling.

It all goes well; so well in fact that Charlie invites Adam to have a beer, a stock of which he happens to have in the cab. Soon the two are laughing and Charlie is regaling Adam with anecdotes and another beer is opened. Talk turns to the Hunt Ball and Adam asks Charlie if he’s going. Charlie says he probably will and Adam asks if he’s taking anyone. “You mean do I have a ‘Plus One’?” Charlie asks and the two begin some verbal fencing, with Adam saying “The other day you said the best things are worth waiting for - what did you mean?” Charlie replies that “You already know the answer to that Adam” and “It’s all about timing with me.” Play your cards right and you could ensure that you get the Estate contract renewal next year, Adam, although I don’t know what Ian would think.

Perhaps Charlie could give Rooooth some lessons in timing - she drove up to Prudhoe to see her mother Heather, who is recovering from a fall. A few days later, Rooooth returns, full of despondency and sighing so much that I thought she had morphed into the Jamie of a couple of years ago. The reason for the gloom is that Rooooth thinks that Heather will never be her old self and, when it was suggested that Heather move down to Borsetshire, she rejected the idea out of hand, telling her daughter that it would be like pulling herself up by the roots. Rooooth says she is too tired to think about it and David says she needs a good night’s sleep.

It obviously worked, as the following day she tells David that she’s had an idea and, although she says that she knows that this might not be the right time, she goes ahead and tells him anyway. Why is it not the right time? Because the family has gathered at Brookfield to celebrate Jill’s 84th birthday and they are seconds away from the cake cutting ceremony. And what is Rooooth’s plan? Well, she says that they could be fighting a losing battle over Route B and BL’s plans to cover Borsetshire with solar panels, so why not sell Brookfield (for which they’d get a good price, bearing in mind the interest in the proposed new road) and move a bit further north - somewhere near Prudhoe, say - so Rooooth could be nearer Heather (of whose age I am unaware).

David is aghast: “Leave Brookfield? Leave Ambridge?” in the same tone that one might say ‘Murder and eat my children?’ And what about the children? Stuff them, they’ll adapt. Rooooth is more concerned that the dairy herd could be moved north. I kept imagining ‘Rawhide’ (showing my age again) with Clint Eastwood playing Rowdy Yates with a Geordie accent.

David also says “What about Mum? It would break her heart.” This last comment is interesting, as Jill told Rooooth that she quite understands Heather’s reluctance to leave Prudhoe. Presumably Jill wouldn’t be included - and wouldn’t want to be - in any move north. Before Kenton comes out to drag them in for the blowing out of the candles. David says to his wife “Do you still want to do this to her?” Rooooth answers “I can’t think of another way, David.”

Now, I can help you here Rooooth; the obvious solution is for her to move north (Tromso or Vladivostok would be good) and leave the rest of the family in Borsetshire. If necessary, the cows could keep in touch via Skype. Alternatively, all the landline and mobile numbers at Brookfield could be changed and we need never hear from Rooooth again. In my dreams.

Elizabeth goes to see Carol Tregorran to welcome her to Glebe Cottage and breaks down in tears. Carol asks if she wants to talk about it and suggests that she knows it’s something to do with Roy - she had her suspicions at her husband John’s funeral when she saw them together, Carol says that she has had lots of experience at recognising the signs as John was something of a philanderer. Liz begs her not to tell anyone and Carol says “Your secret is safe with me.” A word of advice, Lizzie - never break down in front of Susan or Vicky and beg for their silence, or you’ll have to quit Borsetshire.

Finally, we have an unexpected consequence of the unseasonably warm weather - one forgets how close it is to Christmas, which means Lynda Snell’s annual torture - sorry, I meant ‘festive production’. This year, the Felpersham Light Operatic Society has raised the bar by scheduling Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Seasons Greetings’. How can Lynda top this? Husband Robert says “It’s not a competition”, making me think that he doesn’t really know his wife very well. He suggests ’Sinbad’ but she pours scorn on this, before later coming up with her ‘inspired’ idea - Rumpelstiltskin. Be still, my beating heart and give me two tickets for the Ayckbourn.

The next day, posters appear round the village, ordering people to turn up for auditions and, as Roy begins his minimum wage job at Grey Gables, Lynda says that, as he and Hayley have left Lower Loxley, they will have time to participate in her extravaganza.  Little does Lynda, or Roy, know that Phoebe has told Hayley that she knows that Roy has been having an affair with Elizabeth, so when he gets home he might have more on his mind than treading the boards.

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