Sunday, 13 September 2015

A Long Way To Come Just To Moan

Felicity Finch (Ruth Archer)

On Sunday, Rooooth phoned from Prudhoe to ask how are things? Pip answers and tells her mum about the new trackway for the cows and the plan to over-winter ewe-hogs on stubble turnip fields - all things about which Rooooth knew nothing. David is over at Lower Loxley, moving in Jill's writing desk with Elizabeth's help. Jill is unhelpful, bordering on the tetchy, as she keeps telling David to be careful and making him move the desk two inches to the left. Jill can't understand why David didn't ask Kenton to help with the moving. Because Kenton cannot bear to be in the same room - or even on the same planet - as David, you stupid woman.

Rooooth does touch base with her husband later, but it's only brief, as David has a dead calf ("stuck inside its mother") to contend with and he rings off when Alistair arrives to sort it out. Having been thwarted on the phone, Rooooth turns up in person on Wednesday and is a bit miffed that neither David nor Pip noticed her car in the yard. The fact that it was 1 a.m., pouring with rain and that they were in the cow shed, ministering to new-born calves might have had something to do with it. Even worse, David hadn't returned her phone calls (his phone battery was flat).

Later on, Jill lets slip that it is Rooooth and David that are putting up the lion's share of Kenton's loan - another thing that was news to Rooooth. It all gets too much for her and she confronts David and Pip, saying how it would have been nice to have been consulted over the trackway, and the ewe-hogs and the money for Kenton - it's the Brookfield/Fairbrother boys situation all over again. David tries to calm her down, but she says that it appears that her opinions of what should happen at Brookfield count for absolutely nothing. Perhaps she should stop to consider that, every time David has a decision to make, he doesn't really have the time to ring Prudhoe for a consultation.

It's poor Usha who gets the full sighing and moaning treatment the following day, when Rooooth tells her that, "when I'm down here, I want to be in Prudhoe and when I'm there, I want to be here." This to-ing and fro-ing must be costing a fortune in petrol and, let's face it, it is a long way to come just to have a moan and make other people's lives miserable - why not get a tablet and then Rooooth can get it off her chest by sending moaning e-mails?

Usha is trying to slit her wrists with a teaspoon when, luckily, she remembers that she has a client appointment and rushes off. As she leaves, Jolene enters the café and makes the mistake of asking "How's your mum?" Rooooth fills her in and, when Jolene manages to get a word in edgeways, she tells Rooooth a story of how one night she found her mother weeping at the kitchen table. When she asked why, her mum replied "It's so hard, mothering my mother." "It's a killer" Rooooth agrees.

Jolene rings Pip later and says she wants to talk about Rooooth. As a result, when Rooooth comes home, Pip is cooking supper, which will be just for the two of them, as David is at a NFU meeting. Rooooth is overcome (it's only tuna pasta bake, for heaven's sake) and suggests that they open a bottle of wine, plus there's a cheesecake in the freezer. "This is lovely, Pip", she says and we assume that that is not just because David is absent. 

The mellow mood continues the next day, when Rooooth is off to Prudhoe again and there is a touching farewell scene with David. While the two girls were getting stuck into the cheesecake last night, they cooked up a scheme to put an end to Pip sleeping in the dining room - Rickyard cottage is empty and has not been put back on the letting list. "How would you feel about me moving out?"Pip asks. A couple of days ago, David would probably have said "OK, as long as you take your mother with you" but the week ends without us knowing whether or not he intends to charge his daughter rent.

At long last, the saga of the loan to Kenton and Jolene reached a climax, although that is a far too exciting word for it. By Thursday, Kenton still hasn't made his mind up and Rex encounters him wandering around Hollowtree. Kenton says he's looking for inspiration, telling Rex "I grew up at Hollowtree." This is patently untrue, as Kenton is still behaving like a petulant two year-old - grown up? I don't think so. Rex gives him a fig roll and coffee and there is much talk about brothers, with Rex saying that, whatever happens, your brother is still your brother.

Jolene brings things to a head on Friday when she tells Kenton that she has invited the Archer family to lunch "to hear your decision over the money". Kenton is aghast, but Jolene twists the emotional knife by saying "think of your mother - she's an old lady and it's tearing her apart, seeing her sons at war." The emotional blackmail works, as Kenton arranges to see David before the others (except Jill) arrive and he says "David, will you shake my hand?" Jill is emotional and, when David is driving her home later, she comes over all tearful, remembering the handshake moment. Cut to The Bull, where Kenton is telling Jolene "It doesn't mean anything. I only did it to please you. The minute I can I'll pay him back - with interest." That's the way loans usually work, Kenton, but whatever his motives, thank God it all seems to be over at long last.

Rob continues to subtly introduce his own ideas about the Bridge Farm shop. Helen draws up a list of suggested lines to stock and, after telling her that it's not his area of expertise, Rob agrees to look at it and he describes it as "too local, too organic and too expensive," He asks where are the national brands and the food supplements and vitamins? Helen wants the shop to have an aura of exclusivity and Rob says this is all very well, but wouldn't it be  a pity if it went belly up? As usual, Helen starts agreeing with him. There appears to be a fundamental difference of opinion about the shop - Tom and (before her talk with Rob) Helen are visualising an establishment like Harvey Nicholls, while Rob is all for Poundland.

Kate was back to her arrogant best last week, telling Brian that she needs a building for her planned rural retreat. He tells her it's Adam's decision and she promptly picks a barn, telling him that he'll have to move his machinery out of it, plus she'll put her yurts near the beech trees, as her guests will be grateful for the shade. What about the sheep, which also use the trees for shade? No problem - Adam can build them 'a lean-to, shelter thingy' and Kate will also want him to dig compost toilets ("it will only take you half a day") and, while he's at it, get the field tidied up, as it looks a mess. I cannot understand how Kate manages to avoid being slapped at least once or twice an hour and if I were Adam, I'd stick her in the compost toilet. God only knows where Phoebe, who is being encouraged to apply to Oxford to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics, got her brains from. 

Susan, who was called 'Mrs Sourpuss' by Clarrie (how very, very true) devoted her efforts towards getting the Village Hall back on its feet. She got Neil, as Chair of the Parish Council, to write to Justin Eliot and he was granted a meeting with Charlie on Friday. As Susan hosed Neil down in the yard and got his suit out of mothballs, she instructed him to ask for a minimum of £5 K. Neil returns from the meeting and says Charlie said that Justin was agreeable to contribute 'a significant sum' but their plans were too modest. He'd like to see a nursery, gym and screening room in addition to the hall and kitchen. No doubt he'd like a heliport, boutique hotel and racetrack as well. How much will he offer? According to Neil, it'"A heck of a lot more than £5 K" but there is a condition - he wants the hall be renamed 'The Justin Eliot Hall'. Susan is ecstatic and Neil says he cannot see that the renaming will be a problem. Well, I suppose 'Justin Eliot' sounds better than 'Bloated Capitalist'.


  1. Yes, I was wondering about the loss of rental income for D&R, especially coming hard on the heels of the hit for the no-longer-needed milker. It would be interesting if they addressed the issue of money little more often - we have issues with milk prices etc referenced and then no mention of how they decide how much to pay family members who come on to the farm permanently (plus casual references to Josh now having his own car - purchase of and insurance = not cheap).
    Also, surely there is now an obvious opportunity for a new village shop to be included in the plans for the JE village hall - if only to thoroughly annoy Rob!

  2. I'm waiting to see if Granny Heather conveniently dies before reaching Ambridge or whether The Archers is planning another "ageing-population crisis" storyline like Jack's dementia. We might soon be listening to dramatic scenes where a highly stressed and guilt-ridden Ruth has to choose between milking the cows or changing her mother's incontinence pads.

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