Richard Attlee (Kenton Archer)
…Kenton goes to pieces. The week starts badly for him when he wakes up on Sunday, heavily hungover after a late night necking the whisky, much to Jolene’s displeasure. The reason for this excessive drinking is the quote for repairing the foundations, which is £52k. Jolene points out that Lilian will pay half of it, but a despondent Kenton says that still leaves £26k - a sum that they just don’t have. The solution? Kenton goes back to bed and tells Jolene that he is not going to the family lunch at The Stables.
If I might digress here, I wouldn’t pin my hopes on Lilian, as Matt cleaned out their bank accounts, leaving her skint. Mind you, as Kenton says, all she has to do is sell one of her rental properties.
Kenton is not the only absentee at the lunch (Jolene rang Shula and said that Kenton had a tummy bug), as Pip is too busy and Josh is trying to recapture escaped hens. David and Rooooth are up in Prudhoe and Freddie and Lily didn’t make it either. Neither Shula nor Elizabeth believe that Kenton is really ill and Shula is more than a little fed up, as she has cooked mountains of food and loads Elizabeth up with doggie bags. Shula assumes that Kenton’s absence is because of the disagreement with his brother and says “Kenton and David need to grow up and sort this out.” I’m with you there, Shula.
As Sunday wears on, Kenton is still wallowing in self pity and Jolene calls him ‘the most miserable landlord in the county’ and she says that she always tries to expect the best of any situation and can’t he do the same? “I just don’t think I can,” Kenton answers, no doubt reaching for another whisky as he does so.
Jolene keeps on at her husband; especially when his miserable attitude starts getting to the punters. “We can get through anything as a team,” she says, adding: “but not with you in this pit of negativity.” Kenton digs his pit a little deeper when he answers “The only thing that we are going to do as a team is sink.” That’s my boy - always looking on the bright side!
On Thursday, Toby Fairbrother is in the bar, trying to persuade Tony, Ed and Kenton to have a whisky chaser with their pints. Only one accepts - guess who? Toby announces that he is going to Borchester for a night out on the lash and who else is up for it? Again, only one accepts as Kenton says “I’ll get my wallet.” The evening wasn’t what Toby was hoping for - earlier in the day he had tried to persuade Pip to go for a drink, but she was too busy. I suspect that Kenton makes a poor substitute.
But never mind, as Toby and Kenton throw themselves wholeheartedly into getting totally rat-arsed and, so successful are they, that Kenton says he can’t go home and perhaps he ought to run away to sea again. The two of them drink to that (me too).
The week ends as it began, with a drunken, hungover Kenton nursing a headache as his phone rings constantly. He has a beer for breakfast and decides that he had better walk home and face Jolene’s wrath. Toby walks with him and, with each step, Kenton’s despondency increases. “I’m beyond repair,” he tells Toby, adding: “I’m tired of the real world and tired of making mistakes and calling them adventures - I’m ashamed.” His final observation is “I’m sick of life and I’m sick of me.” I must admit, I’m getting a bit cheesed off with him myself - maybe Jolene will put him out of his misery.
Let’s move on to more cheerful things - Susan is excited as the tabards and name badges for the shop assistants have arrived and she summons Lynda for a fashion show. Opinion is divided over the tabards - either they ‘have real class’ (Susan) or are ‘hideous’ and ’an abomination’ (Lynda). All we know is that they are a pink and orange paisley pattern and made from nylon, which gives Lynda an electric shock and makes her hair stand on end. “I looked like a char,“ she tells Robert later. I didn’t know whether to be sorry or pleased that this was radio and not TV. The final straw for Lynda is when her name badge has her name misspelt as ‘Linda’ - Susan was hoping that she wouldn’t notice and says that it doesn’t really matter, does it?
And perhaps Susan is correct, as on Wednesday, Lynda and Robert spy a notice on the door of the shop. They go to investigate and are horrified to discover that it is a Planning Application. As we suggested last week, Witch Hazel wants to turn the shop into apartments and it is all too much for Lynda, who bursts into tears. She had been feeling a bit more upbeat but this latest blow knocks her back. “This damned flood just keeps grabbing at everything we hold dear,” she tells her husband, tearfully. Someone else who isn’t happy at the news is Fallon, who tells Kenton that she loves her flat over the shop, not that Kenton really cares about other people‘s problems.
Over at Berrow Farm, Charlie is really getting on Rob’s nerves, asking to see not only the computer data concerning the farm management programme, but the original forms and job sheets from which the data are collected. “Is all this really necessary?” Rob asks, peevishly. “I don’t know yet” is Charlie’s reply.
Charlie and Rob are interrupted by the arrival of Helen and Henry - they have been baking biscuits and Henry insisted on taking some to Daddy. Rob is not impressed and, back home later, he gets a bit tetchy when Helen asks why is Charlie scrutinising the paperwork? He says he neither knows nor cares, adding: “It’s an interruption; rather like your impromptu and rather pointless visit today.” Rob goes further, saying that having a four-year old deliver biscuits during a working day is hardly professional and, if Helen wants to visit again, she should ring first.
The following day, Rob comes home for lunch and tells Helen to stop fussing over him as she cooks him an omelette. Helen has had brunch with Ian at Grey Gables and dropped Henry off at a friend’s. Rob immediately uses this to pursue his ‘isn’t it time we had a child?’ agenda by saying how he worries about Henry, who seems desperate to have a friend. “What’s it like to hold your own child in your arms for the first time?” and “That’s all that’s missing for me and the picture will be complete” Rob says. Helen says that’s what she wants too, to which Rob replies “What are we waiting for?” Finish your omelette first, man! Helen says that the time has to be right - Henry needs to be settled at school (where he presumably will make lots of friends) and the shop has to be up and running before she can take time out for a baby. Reluctantly, Rob agrees, but you can tell that he doesn’t really believe it.
The saga of what to do with Heather drags on, with Rooooth coming back from Prudhoe, only to get a phone call from her mother, who is now unhappy at the interim care home where she is staying. Rooooth goes off on another guilt trip and wishes she could split herself in two (well, she can always try - Jamie has a chain saw). She has finally come up with a solution; Heather will have to come to live at Brookfield. This is despite the fact that just such an offer was made months ago and Heather turned it down. David points out that Rooooth doesn’t have the expertise to look after her mum and besides, where will she find the time? But Rooooth is having none of it, saying: “We’ve let my Mum down once David - we’re not going to do it again.”
I am evidently not the only one getting fed up with the Rooooth/Heather situation, as a reader has sent in a comment. Mr (or Ms) Anonymous has a radical solution, saying:
“I wish that someone would shoot Rooooth (and her mother) and therefore put us out of our misery. I’m now switching off for two minutes whenever Rooooth starts. Just tooooo much!!!!!