Sunday, 28 June 2015

Promises, Promises…

Daisy Badger (Pip Archer)

I recently read a quote from the editor of The Archers along the lines that Pip would be the mainstay of the programme for the next 22 years. That seems a very precise time - surely the plots arent worked out for the next two decades? And why 22 years - Pip is 22 now, so does some terrible fate lie in store for her when shes 44? Whatever, last week was a busy one in Pips young life, so lets start with her this week.

On Tuesday, Pip was out on the lash with her Uni friends and much strong drink was consumed. Pip returns to Brookfield in the early hours and is getting some water in the kitchen, where she comes across Jill doing the same. Jill has also been partaking of strong liquor at the Grey Gables wine tasting (led astray by Carol Tregorran) and is, as Brian described it to Carol A little exuberant. Not quite as exuberant as the newt, but definitely getting there.

Pip and her Gran talk and we learn that an exhausted David has crashed out in the armchair in the lounge. Pip tells Jill that she will do the early morning milking, adding I might not be here for much longer Gran, but while I am, I wont let him down. A noble sentiment! Such a shame then that she oversleeps the next day (despite the alarm going off) and David does the early milking. Poor Pip is distraught and keeps on about it, telling her father off for not waking her up - mind you, if the alarm clock didnt do the job, David probably thought that it would be quicker to do the milking himself than to try and rouse his daughter. He tells her to stop beating herself up and that she has worked hard and is entitled to a bit of fun. Lets hope that Jill doesnt mention Pips promise to him.

Also on Tuesday, Pip ran into Rex Fairbrother in Borchester and he is unhappy, as his and Tobys plans to rent land to set up their poultry business have met with no success. In fact, Toby is thinking of taking a job at a surf shack in Newquay. Maybe Ill join him, says a despondent Rex, adding that they need to get things rolling now if they are to be ready for the Christmas market. I must admit that a surf shack sounds more fun than looking after 100 goslings, but Pip is shocked and tells Rex You cant just give up. Maybe it just wasnt meant to be. he replies, sadly.

But what chance does Fate stand against Pip Archer? Later on in the day that she overslept, Pip tries to convince her Dad that they could let the Fairbrothers rent a parcel of Brookfield land. David is against it - with the uncertainty about the new road, they need all the land they can get and this is no time to be renting  out. Pip keeps on at him and gradually wears him down until he says It would have to be a proper business arrangement. Does that mean yes? Pip asks triumphantly and, with a sigh worthy of Jamie in his pre-forestry, moody teenager years, David says wearily I suppose so. Pip loses no time in telling the boys and they were over the moon, although I think it would have been a better story had they said No thanks, we rather fancy the surf shack.

It seems that Davids concerns about the road may be unfounded, as the week ends with Jennifer showing him the just-published Flood Risk Report - it appears that the Council has been rather slipshod and the report says that the road proposal report was inadequate. This certainly gives us a chance, David says, but a thrilled Jennifer is more upbeat, saying: More than a chance - this could mean the end of Route B! And I, for one, wont be unhappy if it is.

Over at Home Farm, Kate has come up with an idea for her life plan and cant wait to tell Auntie Lilian. Sadly, the idea doesnt involve settling down in the Hindu Kush, but instead she wants to open an alternative therapy retreat. Kate asks Lilian if she has ever tried meditation? Lilian, who probably thinks it is some new kind of cocktail, just laughs, but Kate is obviously persuasive, as later on a shocked Brian tells Jennifer and Roy (who has come over to talk about Phoebes birthday) that he is amazed - he has seen Kate and Lilian sitting on the floor with their eyes shut and not talking.

Roy asks Kate if she has arranged anything for Phoebes birthday (she is 17 on June 28th) and no-one is surprised when the answer is no. Roy proposes a big family BBQ at Home Farm and, rather tactlessly, adds that they could use the swimming pool too. Kate has words with Phoebe and reports back to Roy that Phoebe agrees, but wants it to be held at Roys house. Kate then proceeds to lecture Roy, telling him that he will have to clean the place up properly and, seemingly totally unaware of the irony, tells him to be careful, as the last thing Phoebe wants is for you to embarrass her in front of her friends. Pots and kettles, Kate; pots and kettles.

Pat and Tony return from their holiday and Tony says that, nice as it was to get away “this is where I belong.” Their joy at being back in Ambridge is tempered somewhat when Helen announces that Rob’s Decree Absolute has come through and now they can get married. Mum and Dad congratulate her through slightly-gritted teeth and, while Peggy describes Rob as ‘a wonderful young man’, Pat and Tony have reservations. However, Tony actually shows some common sense when he tells Pat “It’s not really up to us, is it?”

Jill and Carol discuss the fete and Carol says how good it was of Elizabeth to step in and ‘rescue’ it. Jill says Kenton isn’t happy about it but Carol says “he’ll get over it.” But will he? Determined to hold the event in Ambridge, Kenton calls an emergency meeting of the Fete Committee. Only Lynda and Susan turn up (Jill is suffering from her excess of exuberance) and Kenton puts his case. Not very well, it seems, as the girls are unimpressed and say that The Bull, post flood, is too small and the range of drinks is too limited. Lynda goes further, describing it as “a grubby little bar” - don’t worry about Kenton’s feelings, Lynda - and she and Susan leave, saying there’s no point in continuing the discussion.

Kenton, who is rapidly running out of friends as well as family, cannot understand why nobody agrees with him and shows that his paranoia is coming on a treat when he says “The whole village is in thrall to David and Elizabeth and, no matter how hard I try, there’s nothing I can do about it.” Yes there is Kenton - you could always leave the village. As an aside, was I the only one to pick up on a sinister note in this episode? Susan suggested taking donations at the fete in order to raise money for renovating the village hall. “We might even get it ready for the Christmas Show” she says, brightly. Not while I have my strength, you won’t - I’ll be down there with a fire hose before you know it.

And so to Adam, who celebrated his 48th birthday on June 22nd by scoring a century in a thrilling Ambridge win. He wasn’t named Man of the Match; that honour went to Rob for a swashbuckling 87 and five wickets, but is Adam having a midlife crisis? First we had his herbal ley planting and now he suggests to Brian that they abandon the early lambing (which they have been practising for about 30 years). Brian is thunderstruck - early lambs command a better price. Adam accepts this but adds that they also incur extra costs. “All I’m asking you is to look at things in a different way.” Brian’s response? “You seem to be doing a lot of that lately.”

Brian is really worried about what Adam has in mind and consults David about it. “Am I getting past it?” He asks David, adding that Adam seems determined to undo all Brian has done in a lifetime of farming and it is scaring him and really getting to him. David asks if Brian has talked it over with Debbie (he hasn’t). There’s your answer Brian - do what you always do; get Debbie on your side and then tell Adam that he’s been outvoted. After all, that’s what happened when the mega-dairy was first proposed and Adam was against it and he is still at Home Farm, isn’t he?

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