Sunday, 12 July 2015

Whose Land Is It Anyway?

Andrew Wincott (Adam Macy)

Adam is becoming somewhat Messianic in his campaign to save the Home Farm land from being swept away in the next great flood, or, failing the inundation, being slowly eroded year after year. We have had the herbal ley (with the possibility of more on the horizon) and now Adam has turned his attention to the maize crop. Home Farm grows a lot of maize, mainly for Berrow Farm, and Adam tells Charlie that he is thinking of stopping growing maize - maize is a hungry crop and this is the only way to safeguard the future of the farm; should there be another floodetcetc.

Charlie is aghast, as this would mean Adam reneging on the contract, but eco-hero Adam says The whole system is broken and I want to mend it. Charlie suggests that Adam is in danger of putting his ideals ahead of common sense. This was on Tuesday and, by the end of the week, Adam hasnt mentioned his grand vision to Brian. He tries to set up a meeting on Friday, but Brian has to rush off as he has Charlie wanting to talk to him about something or other - must dash; talk to you later.

As it happens, it is sooner rather than later, as Charlie fills Brian in on Adams dream. Whereas Charlie said that Adam is in danger of putting his ideals ahead of common sense, Brian is apoplectic because he is putting his ideals before profit - maize is a nice little earner. Brian returns to Home Farm and hes looking for Adam. The reasoned, calm debate begins with What the hell do you think youre playing at? Charlies very upset and so am I. Adam points out that the long-term future of the farm is more important than short-term gains. As far as Brian is concerned, he might as well be speaking Mandarin and, as to the future of the farm, Brian will be 72 in November, so as long as the farm lasts another 20-odd years, he should worry.

The rational discussion continues with Brian saying Ive had quite enough of this eco-babble. Adam responds by asking why cant Brian see whats happening to the land - the disaster they are facing? Brian plays his trump card: Whose farm is this? Im the one who owns the land and Im not letting you ruin the business - well keep on growing maize until I say we stop. Its always nice to see a well-reasoned, logical argument to back up a point of view. Brian adds that Adam should give it some careful thought. He obviously does, as, later on Friday, Adam seeks out Brian and Jennifer. He agrees that Brian does own the land and fortunately we dont have to suffer a lecture about how much less land there will be, come the next floodetcetc. However, Adams vision means everything to him - more than his job, even, and, if Brian insists on keeping the maize contract, Ill leave Home Farm and find a job somewhere else. Give the man a pram and some toys to throw out of it - just go along with it for a few years, Adam and increase Brians stress levels, or push him down the stairs, and when the farm is yours and Debbies, you can do all the eco-pioneering you like; as long as she agrees with you, of course.

Lets stay at Home Farm. Jen has noticed that something is amiss with Phoebe, which doesnt take much in the way of deduction. On Sunday, Kate camps outside Phoebes bedroom, wanting to talk to her. Phoebe eventually lets her in and Kate promptly puts her foot in it by saying that she wasnt being narrow-minded or judgemental when she threw Alex out of Phoebes bedroom, but was only doing what any good friend would have done. I must say that if a friend had burst in on me during my first time, he or she would have been off the Christmas card list pretty damn quickly.

Kate tells Phoebe that she is so young, so inexperienced and that she should have talked it over with Kate first. Thats what Im here for sweetheart; to give advice Kate adds. The conversation develops thus:
Phoe (incredulous): Me? Take advice from you about my sex life?
Kate: Who else would you go to?
Phoe: Not you - not someone whos happy to shag anything in trousers.

Phoebe reminds Kate about the Toby Fairbrother episode and Kate suggests that Phoebe is not being fair, but Id say shes spot on, myself. Phoebe adds that, if Kate should ever interfere again in one of her relationships, or breathe a word to anybody about what happened last Friday, she will never speak to Kate again. Mind you, Kate has got a point - when it comes to non-marital sex, there aren’t many people around who are better qualified or experienced.

And this brings us back to Jennifer noticing Phoebes unhappiness and her coolness towards her mother. Jennifer keeps on at Kate to tell her what the problem is and her daughter eventually spills the beans. Jen has a heart-to-heart with Phoebe and tells her about how she fell pregnant with Adam after her first time (now we know where Kate gets it from). Phoebe feels better for talking and buy the end of the week, she and Alex are, in Adam’s words “all loved up.” No doubt Kate will again put her size nines in it before long.

David and Pip go to see the Fairbrother boys’ gosling enterprise at Hollowtree and David’s misgivings are increased when he spots a tent in the yard. Rex explains that it’s there in case they have a late finish and an early start the following day and he sends Pip over to stir Toby up. Pip obviously fancies Toby and she invites them both to the NEC livestock show later that week. Rex is keen, but Toby says he has a prior commitment - circuit training for rugby. When David and Pip go, Rex talks to his brother about Pip, telling Toby not to mess her around and that she is not his usual type. Rex also says “be straight and honest with her - no cover ups.” What is Toby’s dark secret? No doubt all will be revealed. For his part, Toby seems to have an ulterior motive, as he tells Rex that he enjoys hanging out with Pip but let’s face it, Brookfield is about 500 acres and “we need land - I could do a lot worse. I do like her and, if it works out, we could all end up winners.” Perhaps David is right to have doubts.

Shula is despatched by Jill to try and talk some sense into Kenton. Fat chance! The chip on his shoulder has grown even larger, if that were possible, and he tells his twin that he and Jolene are very close to bankruptcy, while the rest of the Archers “are sitting smug and pretty.” Shula says that he cannot blame it all on David. Wrong! David, says Kenton, was always Dad’s favourite (possibly because he was the only one who showed any interest in farming) and now he’s Mum’s little boy too. Shula tells him that he’s talking rubbish and Kenton is amazed - why is he the only one who can see David for what he is - “a spoiled, selfish, devious, greedy little brother?” Why is he the only one? Perhaps because he is a paranoid, twisted obsessive, maybe? Anyway, Shula asks how can he say that? “Because it’s the truth,” he replies, “so why don’t you go back and tell that to Mum?” Way to go, Kenton! Another member of the family antagonised - not many left now.

Over at Bridge Farm, Pat is impressed by Tom and Helen’s plans for the new shop. Rob turns up unexpectedly and starts chuntering on about how much work it would mean for Helen and managing such a project is a big job. Pat says that Helen enjoys multi-tasking and Helen herself points out that Henry will be starting school soon, which will give her more time. Not if Rob’s plans to start a family of their own get off the ground, it won’t. I think that Rob embraces the old-fashioned ‘keep ‘em barefoot and pregnant’ school of thinking.

To finish, let’s go back to Kate and Jennifer and a few moments of deep irony. Demonstrating a truly enormous capacity for self-delusion, Kate moans that “no-one thanks you for trying to be a responsible parent” and “I’ll have to keep trying the best I can for her, even if I don’t get any thanks - who’d be a Mum, eh?”  The episode ends, but I bet Jennifer was thinking “who indeed?”

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