Edward Kelsey (Joe Grundy)
Let’s begin at the end of the week - Ed is giving Joe a ride to Grange Farm in his new, shiny tractor and Joe confides that he has something on his mind. While Joe is delighted that Ed is (belatedly) making an honest woman of Emma, he says that Clarrie is still upset because of the rift between Ed and brother Will and could Ed not find it in his heart to ask Will to be his Best Man?
Ed’s response is that there was a lot of trouble after he was Will’s Best Man and Joe says “That was 10 years ago - it’s water under the bridge and you’re both grown men now”, to which Ed says “Yeah, but Will doesn’t act like he is sometimes”. However, to please his Granddad and his Mum, Ed tells Joe that he’ll think about it “But I’m not making any promises”.
Let’s pause here and reflect on Joe’s request. Ed will be marrying Will’s ex-wife, with whom Ed had a torrid sex-fest a night (or maybe two) before their wedding. This resulted in Will having a paternity test to prove that the baby (allegedly conceived on honeymoon) was, in fact, his. George was indeed Will’s baby, but that didn’t stop Emma leaving him and setting up home with Ed. Since that time, relations between the brothers have hardly been cordial - in fact, the episode when George ran away from home saw them both coming to blows when they met as they were both out looking for him and they only stopped when Eddie caught them and threatened to bang their heads together.
As far as Best Man material goes, I humbly submit that Will isn’t going to make a great one, although we could have an interesting Best Man’s speech as Will recounts how his brother shafted him (and his wife-to-be, come to that). I can envisage food being thrown around at the Reception, while Clarrie thinks how nice it is that the family is all together. Mind you, this is assuming that a) Ed asks Will and b) Will accepts, and this latter eventuality is far from a foregone conclusion. Will is - and I’m being kind here - a nasty, vindictive, whining (100 pejorative adjectives deleted to save space) piece of work, who would probably rather remove his own spleen with a pair of rusty pliers than do his brother a favour. Even if he was coerced into it by his conscience (not that I believe he has such a thing) or respect for his mother, I’m not convinced that it would be a wise decision. Imagine if Will organised the Stag Night - it might be a cocktail evening, with Ed drinking ‘A long, slow strychnine on the beach’ or a ‘Gin and hemlock’. Take George along as a drinks taster, Ed.
It was a busy week for Ed, as he had a meeting with Charlie Thomas about the possibility of transferring his tenancy of the 50 acres of Estate land to the Fairbrother brothers - Rex and Toby - and perhaps be paid for his hedge cutting, which he is currently doing to work off the tenancy payment backlog. Charlie (who has had the plaster removed from his leg) says he has no problem, but he’ll have to run it past the Board. Charlie also asks casually whether Ed is doing any work for Home Farm and, if so, pass on his regards to Adam. Fortunately, Charlie stops short of asking Ed to give Adam a big, sloppy kiss from him and Ed leaves the meeting in buoyant mood. Later on, he says that “Things are finally looking up”, which is a sure indication that something is going to go very pear-shaped, very soon.
In case you hadn’t noticed, there was a General Election last week and we had more ‘people died so that you had the vote’ moralising. Pip was determined to vote (this would be her first time) and she managed to drag Jazzer into the Polling Station en route to the pub - I ask you, how likely is that? It turned out that Jazzer had never voted before; I suspect not because he has no political convictions, but because he cannot make a cross on the ballot paper. As it is, we had a riveting piece of radio with the person manning the Polling Station explaining how you cast your vote. Let’s be honest, it isn’t rocket science, is it? If they want to attract the Jazzers of this world to vote, perhaps they should do what they do in my village and have the Polling Station in the function room of the local pub.
There was more riveting radio when Ed and Jazzer turned up at Brookfield to shear the sheep. Pip had nominated her fellow student Barney as the catcher, but when she learned that Toby Fairbrother was going to be the fleece roller, she told Barney to forget it and she’d do it herself. The day before, she had met Toby and Rex when they came to talk to David about farming and there was an immediate spark between her and Toby. On the day of the shearing, we had more exciting radio as Jazzer explained how you roll up a fleece. Toby wondered if Pip was up to the physical requirements of the job. Pip relied: “I can take any physical challenge that you throw at me”. Be careful, Pip - he might take you up on that.
Last week also saw the Mayday event in Ambridge and it wasn’t going well - the May Queen’s crown had mysteriously disappeared and the Morris Men’s minibus had broken down en route (cue cheering from the assembled multitude). The Button sisters were in the frame for nicking the crown, as Mia Grundy had been chosen as May Queen over them, but fortunately Shula found it thrust into a hedge and Mia was crowned after all. To make everybody’s day, the Morris Men made it after all. Lynda declared the day “A triumph” and said how important it was to “hold on to these precious traditions”. Let’s all go back to drawing water from a well and ban all forms of motorised farm machinery while we’re at it, shall we?
The missing crown wasn’t the only mystery, as Fallon returned to the Green the day after, only to find that her bunting had gone missing. PC Burns started taking the Mick, saying that he’d lock down the area and organise a press conference. Fallon, however, was not amused, as she and Emma had made it by hand and it was a trademark feature of her business. Fortunately PCB caught her mood and started treating it more seriously, including questioning anyone who came into the pub. Honestly, hasn’t he got anything more important to do? Finding out why Darrell hasn’t appeared for months would be a start.
Over at Grey Gables, Ed goes to visit Joe (“Just look for the very bright yellow jacket” Oliver tells him - not with the pink cord trousers, I hope) and Caroline asks what he’d like for a wedding gift. Ed says that they have done so much already and he doesn’t want anything. When Ed goes off, Caroline says how nice it is to see a young person not grasping or greedy, which makes me suspect that Ed isn’t a real Grundy, and why don’t they buy Clarrie a nice frock as their present?
There was another mystery - David had Rachel from the Environment Agency round to talk about reactions to the flood. David asks about the blocked culvert near Berrow Farm - lucky it was blocked, or else Berrow Farm might have been inundated - and Rachel says that it is strange, as that waterway is under control of the EA and should be checked regularly. At David’s prompting, she agrees to check their records on when it was last inspected and she rings up, saying that both culverts were checked in November and were fine. David runs into Rob and, when talk turns to any special measures that Berrow Farm took to avoid flooding, Rob becomes evasive. Has there been foul play at the mega-dairy, we ask?
Finally, we return to the Fairbrother brothers - Jill and Shula find out that their father is Robin Fairbrother, who, as a married man, had an affair with Elizabeth back in the mists of time. Honestly, what with that, her abortion following an ill-starred relationship with low-life Cameron Fraser and then practically raping Roy in his tent at the music festival, you’ve got to admit that the girl is a bit of a goer, to say the least. Who will be next?