Emerald O'Hanrahan (Emma Grundy)
I’d like to say ‘welcome back’ to Emma. “But she hasn’t been anywhere” I hear you cry - true, but I’m talking about the old, morose, moaning Emma who we all loved to hate and not the recent incarnation over previous months, who was bordering on the human and never had a bad word to say about anybody.
The catalyst for the return of old Emma is Helen and Rob’s wedding; Emma cannot believe that they just went off and got married as she and Fallon were going to be Maids of Honour. Really? Personally, I don’t associate Emma with either of the words ’maid’ or ’honour’. She is even more put out as Helen never told her personally, saying “what they did was a bit rubbish.”
Ed suggests that perhaps they did it to save money and adds that, whatever their reasons, it was their own business. Someone who takes the same view is Tony - Pat says that Helen is looking so very happy “and a lot of that is down to Rob.” Blimey! Praise indeed from the woman who used to be number one Rob-hater! Nevertheless, she still wishes that they hadn’t got married the way they did. Tony is on his daughter’s side, saying “It’s up to them” and adding that it was better for them to do it the way they wanted “rather than have a big ceremony just to keep everyone else happy.” Are you listening, Emma?
Peggy is pleased for Helen and Rob, but expresses a slight regret that she will never see Helen walk down the aisle. She then gives them a cheque for £10,000 - how much would it have been if the wedding had been in church, I wonder? The cheque is made out to ‘Mr & Mrs Titchener’ and Helen says “We haven’t even got a joint bank account yet.” Rob’s response (“we can soon sort that out, can’t we darling?”) makes me think that the joint account will bear the names of ‘Mr Titchener’ and ‘Rob Titchener’.
We can see where Emma gets her miserable side from, as Susan, on learning about the wedding, goes around saying things like “when you get married that quickly, there’s usually a reason” and “there’s no smoke without fire.” She seems to have forgotten that her son Chris and Alice Aldridge tied the knot in Las Vegas five years ago without telling anyone, while supposed to be on holiday.
Not only is Susan snide - some might say poisonous - but she is again suffering from delusions of adequacy when it comes to the shop, calling a meeting of volunteers, which is attended by Jim, Lynda and Jill. At the meeting, Susan reveals that she has tried to contact Witch Hazel about the reopening of the shop, but Hazel has totally ignored her messages. Yup, sounds like Hazel. Never mind! Susan tells the others that, although footfall is good, they can do better. “We need to become more professional” she tells them and reveals her master plan - the volunteers should wear tabards and sport name badges with a message like ‘my name is Susan and I’m happy to help.’ Lynda and Jim are appalled and Jill is pretty non-committal. Jim proposes they have a vote, but is cut off by Susan, voice rising manically and probably frothing at the mouth, saying that the shop needs to be dragged into the 21st century. In a breathtaking display of arrogance and self-delusion, she slaps down the suggestion of a vote, saying “As the professional here, I have to take the lead. If we want the shop to survive, we have to move with the times.”
I could be wrong, but I fear for the shop’s future anyway - from what we know of Hazel, she definitely looks after number one, so, if she allows the shop to continue, you can put money on the fact that the peppercorn rent charged by her father Jack will rise rather dramatically. Secondly, Susan doesn’t know about the plans of Helen, Tom, Pat and Tony to open a shop of their own, selling their own produce, at Bridge Farm. And lastly, Susan should remember that her co-workers are all volunteers and if she has any more stupid ideas about uniforms etc, she could well find herself manning the shop on her own.
But on to happier things - Pip got her results, so congratulations on your 2:1, Pip. David and Rooooth are going to take her out for a posh dinner, but it all goes nads up when Rooooth takes a call from the interim care home where Heather is installed - Heather has gone awol. Rooooth blames herself for not being there - honestly, the woman is always saying that everything is her fault; I’m surprised that she doesn’t wear a hair shirt and regularly thrash herself with nettles. Rooooth is all for driving there on her own, but David points out that, in her present mood, a long drive is not a good idea and he’ll go with her. But that means leaving Pip alone to run the farm and interview the prospective contract milkers the following day. She tells them to go - Granny Heather needs them.
There is more self-flagellation next day when Rooooth rings Pip and tells her that Heather had returned home and had fallen in the kitchen. “She’s terrified of going into care and it’s me that’s doing it to her,” wails Rooooth, no doubt embarking on a fresh programme of self-harming, or banging her head against a convenient wall. Pip tells her that she is doing the right thing, and is probably thinking “stop whining and get off the line woman - I’ve got a farm to run.”
Because David and Rooooth are away, they will miss the big family meal, unsubtly organised by Jill in order to bring David and Kenton back together. Kenton wasn’t going to go, but eventually gave in after Jill, Shula, Elizabeth and Jolene nagged him constantly. That was really the least he could do, as the party is ostensibly to celebrate the birthday of him and his twin Shula. Having made the decision, Kenton is overcome by a mood of - if not optimism - then a feeling that things might not be too bad after all. Wrong! Kenton eagerly opens a letter from the insurers and learns that, ‘due to pre-existing uninsured damage’ the insurers are unable to begin flood-related reinstatement works until the foundations are repaired. Kenton goes on the Net and tells Jolene that it will cost between £30k and £50k - money they don’t have. David’s name is mentioned, but Kenton says that he would rather cut his own throat (and presumably cut off his own nose) than ask his brother. “This could be the end of the road” Kenton tells Jolene, which makes his refusal to seek help from David even more stupid and illogical.
Kate has been working hard on her revised business plan and she is suffering from self doubt and a lack of confidence - something which makes her, if not a more attractive personality, then a little less detestable. She shows it to Lilian, who is impressed. I wouldn’t read too much into this, as Lilian was the one who helped her write the original version, which was rubbished by Brian. Adam enters the room and interrupts the two women meditating. He and Lilian work at boosting Kate’s confidence, with Lil telling her to believe in herself more, as the next person who will have to examine the business plan will be Brian (Debbie is yet to pass her opinion). What does Adam think Asks Kate? “Carpe diem” he says and, before Lilian can ask why he is talking about the fish dish of the day, he adds: “Believe in yourself Kate and others will believe in you too.” Not this other, Adam.
Let’s return to Brookfield, or rather to Hollowtree. A few weeks ago, David was annoyed and alarmed when he saw that the Fairbrother boys had erected a tent. They assured him that it was only temporary and how right they were - while talking to Adam about the harvest, David points to Hollowtree and says “Is that what I think it is?” and we learn that ‘it’ is a caravan. Later, David tells Pip that “It’s a bit naughty of them” and she assures him that it’s only a temporary move. This conversation takes place just before Rooooth rushes in with the news of Heather’s escape from the care home and Pip urges her parents to go and sort Heather out. With David and Rooooth both away, what’s the betting that, when David and Rooooth return, the caravan is moved and the Fairbrothers have built a four-bedroom house at Hollowtree?