Kellie Bright (Kate Madikane)
Let’s dispense with Kate (dear God, if only) from the outset. On Sunday, she is looking everywhere for Toby, but he isn’t answering his mobile. Kate goes to Brookfield, where Toby is supposed to be helping out, but only brother Rex has turned up. Rex suggests that Kate goes to Berrow Farm, as Toby might have got the two sites confused (and this is a man who was a high flier in the City - no wonder we are in the mess that we are) so Kate gets there just in time to hear Helen’s talk about the proposed solar array.
Kate is sarcastic about the talk, saying that it’s a subsidised industry and they are in it for the money. An angry Adam berates Kate, saying “there’s a time and a place - you’ve not only hurt Helen, but embarrassed me and you can’t keep out of Brian’s way forever and then you’ll need all the friends you can get.” The way things are going, that would be Toby and, as he was the one who jumped into the pool with the raddle powder, I wouldn’t bank on him.
As an aside, what was Toby doing with raddle powder in his boxers? I am assured by Neil that raddle powder is what farmers put in pouches on their rams’ stomachs so that they can check which ewes have been ‘serviced’ by checking if they have a coloured patch on their backs. Perhaps we should check Kate’s back (or front) for purple patches?
And not only Kate, as Toby didn’t go home for one (or maybe two - I lost the will to live) nights and, when he does turn up. Brother Rex says that some girl called Michelle (check for purple patches) has been calling and the photos that appeared in the Echo (Toby in boxers with Kate in underwear) aren’t helping their chances of getting any land. Kate and Toby meet accidentally in the pub and Toby is on his mobile. Kate asks who he’s calling and he says “Rex”, which is a bit embarrassing as Rex walks in about 10 seconds later. They have lost Pear Tree Farm and Rex says that Toby must be seen to be squeaky clean from now on. So no raddle powder then.
Brian finally catches up with Kate and tells her that the purple dye staining the swimming pool surround has got to be cleaned up. Kate whines that a) it was Toby’s fault and b) she is busy studying. Phoebe - who has gone up mega-points in my estimation, due to her attitude towards her mother - generously offers to help. Kate was willing to let her do it all until Brian shamed her into helping at least a bit. Brian had told Kate that he wasn’t prepared to keep her under his roof any longer unless Kate pulled her finger out. Kate retaliated by saying that she was moving out on Friday, into the cottage that was earmarked as hers and which has been done up to her specifications. An interesting demarcation here; she’s moving out from “under Brian’s roof” to “under the roof that Brian bought for her.” A fine distinction, to say the least.
Let’s fast forward to Friday (the day of Kate’s ‘Cottage Cleansing’ to get rid of evil spirits - so goodbye Kate) and ‘Cottage Warming’ party. Going round the cottage with burning brands of cedar and God alone knows what else, Kate not only gets up everyone else’s noses (literally) but she sets off the fire alarms, which the contact agency switched through to Brian, who was having a bath (he‘s the only one, apparently, who knows how to switch the alarm off). Understandably, he is not best pleased - even more so when he asks Kate “is that my Burgundy?” and she admits that she ’borrowed’ some. An angry Brian says he’s going home and Phoebe says she too is ‘going home’ and, furthermore, she never agreed to stay at the cottage and she never will. Way to go Phoebe! Now all we need is to find somewhere far away for Kate to go to.
MIke is in a quandary: Vicky has given him an ultimatum to clear his shed of (to her); rubbish, (to him); treasures of his life. He can’t bear to part with things like chain saw chains, which will be invaluable when they move to Birmingham, but he is saved when Neil and Eddie say that they will take away the stuff that he cannot take with him. The division of spoils seems a bit unfair - Eddie ends up with some electric fence posts and Neil gets a rat trap, custom-designed by Mike, but which only has one design flaw, in that it has never succeeded in catching a rat. Mind you, the way the Grundy’s luck normally goes, I wouldn’t be surprised it the fence posts worked on 110V and blew when they were plugged in.
The scene of the division of spoils was touching and it became quite maudlin, especially after a few jugs of the Cider Club’s best, with Eddie and Neil saying how much they would miss Mike - “the best one-eyed darts player in the team” - which should narrow the choice down a little. Mike says that he doesn’t think that he could have got through his dark days of depression without the support of his friends and, in confirmation that he has obviously had a surfeit of cider, adds that he couldn’t wish for “better, more generous mates” and he’ll miss them. I’m sorry? More generous? Eddie? I think you’ve had more than enough cider, Mike.
Just in case you forgot that The Archers is about farming folk, we had Adam proselytising his view that the entire topsoil of the county (if not the world) would be washed away unless they stopped looking at short term gain and planned for the future. He managed to convince Pip (who might soon be off to Brazil, where the cow herds are in numbers that make the Berrow Farm mega-dairy look like a petting zoo), but not Charlie who, although he might have a sneaking sympathy for Adam’s view and the hots for Adam himself, is aware that Justin (Mega-Dairy King) Eliot pays his wages. Brian too is concerned that Adam wants to take 15 hectares out of pasture and, while he accepts Adam’s concerns about the damage to posterity, his attitude could best be summed up by ‘what has posterity ever done for us?’
We move on to the saga of Christine and her reluctance to move back to Woodbine Cottage when it is refurbished after the flood. Peggy and Jill are convinced that moving into The Laurels cannot possibly be good for her. This is despite Peggy saying that they will have to support her in whatever she decides and, to make sure that she decides the right way, Peggy buys Christine a fuchsia, which Chris decided not to buy as she couldn’t see herself going back to Woodbine. So Christine; they’ll support you in any decision as long as it’s the one they think is right for you.
We will gloss over Open Farm Sunday, as far as Brookfield is concerned - beating them off with sticks, they weren’t - and move on to the committee meeting about the fete. Only Jill, Alice and Lynda turn up for the meeting and Jill has some bad (did I say bad? I meant heartwarming) news - the new flood defence programme means that the Green will be off limits due to roadworks throughout the summer. Could the fete be held elsewhere? Jill suggests that any second-rate, cobbled together fete would be worse than no fete at all and shouldn’t they cancel it? (Yes, yes, yes!) Lynda is initially aghast at the idea, but she eventually accepts the fact that there might be no Ambridge fete this year.
Let’s not get too excited here, people; it’s only June, but let’s be a bit optimistic - the Village Hall is still recovering from the flood, so if we can organise a clandestine team of people to sneak down there and turn the hoses on it during the hours of darkness and slip the council workmen a backhander to keep the roadworks going until the New Year, we might not only have no summer fete, but no Lynda Snell Christmas extravaganza - and who could ask for more?