Stephen Kennedy (Ian Craig)
Ian had a heart to heart with Helen and he confides that he thinks there might be something going on between Adam and Charlie. Helen asks what makes him think that? Ian says he’s never been able to work out what Adam really thinks about Charlie, plus they had lunch together at Grey Gables last week. Helen, who saw Adam and Charlie kissing on New Year’s Eve, says that that doesn’t mean anything, but Ian says that they sometimes look at each other as if they’re more than friends. “Tell me I’m wrong Helen; tell me I’m being paranoid” he pleads.
Helen tries to reassure him (presumably with crossed fingers), saying that all couples - with the exception of her and Rob, of course - have their periods of doubt and Adam has asked Ian to marry him. “Of course he loves you” she says stoutly. Ian agrees, saying: “Of course he does - he’s even coming to watch the football with me and he’s not a fan”. The football in question is on TV at The Bull, so it’s not really that much of a sacrifice, is it?
Adam certainly seems to be spending lots of time with Charlie lately - on Tuesday, Adam, Charlie and Pip visit an exhibition devoted to the use of technology in farming. Adam remains unconvinced and, when he goes to get them some food, Charlie tells Pip “If it’s the last thing I do, I’ll convince Adam that technology is the future of farming”. He also shows Pip a magazine with job adverts (some of which are overseas) and he suggests that the experience would be good for her and why not at least look at the company’s website? “What have you got to lose?” he asks. Good at planting seeds, these farmers.
On Thursday, Charlie phones Adam and invites him over to see a video of a farmer from Ohio who has developed his own grazing system. “You’ll be very impressed” Charlie promises him. In fact, Adam professes himself ‘amazed’ - “sustainable and profitable” he gasps. Over a beer, the two discuss cricket and Charlie reveals that he used to be a bit of an all-rounder, plus he was a stand-in wicket keeper too. No doubt he did a bit of umpiring and was head grounds man and sandwich maker in his spare time as well.
Charlie says that, when his ankle is better, he intends to try out for the Ambridge cricket team, which will make Ian even more unhappy as Adam and Charlie spend even more time together.
Talking about the cricket team, after last season’s unimpressive showing, this year there appears to be an embarrassment of riches. At nets, Johnny shows that he is a more than useful swing bowler and Alistair and Tony talk about Harrison Burns, who apparently used to play some club cricket and is keen to try out for the team. I fully expect Kevin Pietersen to come and live in the village at this rate. And while we’re on the subject of cricket, what has happened to Iftikar?
One person who might not be playing so much in the future is Alistair; he tells Rooooth that he is struggling just to keep his head above water, having lost all his equipment and his premises in the flood. He’s had to start all over again and it is taking it out of him, plus he has no time or energy for a social life.
On Wednesday, he is off early for a meeting in Darrington, snatching a sandwich to eat on the way. Shula has a meeting too - in Felpersham with Richard Locke. The two reminisce - Richard said he was sorry when he learned of Nigel’s death and remembers Nigel’s stag night, where Nigel wore a gorilla suit. When Daniel was a child, he wasn’t well (juvenile arthritis) and Dr. Locke treated him. He’d like to see Dan again, so Shula invites him to lunch - she’ll check when Alistair and Dan are free and give Richard a call. Back at The Stables later, Shula tells Alistair about the invite, but he is exhausted and just says “OK” as he drags his weary body off for a shower.
Rob was back to his manipulative best last week - Helen is quite pleased at the prospect of opening up a farm shop at Bridge Farm, but Rob doesn’t want her working, so he has a quiet word with Tom. Rob asks whether Tom has noticed how tired Helen has been since working at Ambridge Organics? He says “no” and adds that he feels that working seems to be good for her. Rob says that she is stressed inside and anyway, they are trying for a baby. In that case, says Tom, perhaps they can manage with her doing less. “Or maybe without her altogether?” Rob suggests, adding “All I’m asking you is to let her put herself and her family first”. Tom might have pointed out that he, Pat and Tony are Helen’s family too, but he doesn’t.
The following day, Tom and Helen are talking and he lets slip that Rob said they are trying for a baby. She is somewhat annoyed and tells Tom that, for the record, they aren’t trying yet. When Rob comes home, Helen has a go at him, telling him that some things should be kept private. He apologises, saying that running the shop was stressing her and he wants her to have “a secure and safe home life”, so just slip these handcuffs on Helen and hand back your door key. Rob’s tactics appear to be working, as, at the family meeting to discuss the future of the shop, Helen is now lukewarm about the project.
Drama towards the end of the week - Rob arrives home and Helen points out a letter that has arrived. “It looks official” she says. “It’s the test results” Rob says and opens it. “Take a look for yourself - it was a complete waste of everyone’s time. Jess was calling my bluff and she lost. God knows what she was playing at”. Call me suspicious, but I don’t believe it - a reader sent in a comment (obviously he or she couldn’t wait for this week’s posting!) along the lines that Rob had the results letter sent to his place of work and he has produced a doctored replacement. We’ll have to wait and see; going on past experience, if there has been foul play, it’s bound to come out before long.
It was a bad week for Lilian - on Wednesday she took her newly-botoxed self to a wine bar and tried, unsuccessfully, to engage various people in conversation. The only one who spoke to her was the barman and he had no choice, poor sod. Relating the story to Jennifer, Lilian says that she went to the rest room and looked in the mirror, “Where I saw a sad, lonely, desperate old woman”. “Nonsense” says a supportive Jennifer, which is a bit more supportive than “You missed out ‘haggard’ and ‘with a look like a permanently startled faun’ ”.
Just to cheer Lilian up, she gets a visit from Lynda, who is staying at the Dower House and who wants to re-arrange all the furniture in accordance with her feng shui principles. Lilian feels insulted, but tells Jennifer that she is slightly envious of Lynda, who has “always got a project on the go”. True - and don’t we bloody know it!
This week’s ‘I’m glad it’s not TV’ moment was the description of Joe Grundy wearing pink corduroy trousers, courtesy of the charity donations. Not a pretty sight, according to Eddie.
Finally, on Friday, Pip and Daniel are off to some concert, having just had an earnest conversation about how important it is to vote and how people died for the right to…but no doubt you catch my drift. Anyone would think there’s an election in the offing. As she is on the point of leaving, Pip says that, due to the uncertainty about the road etc, they cannot really plan anything for the future and it will be a long time before they need her, so she’s off to see the world and she’s seen this job, where she can come back, armed with knowledge and experience and don’t wait up. Bye. David and Rooooth are stunned as she and Daniel leave. That Charlie Thomas has got a lot to answer for.