Felix Scott (Charlie Thomas)
I’m sure I wasn’t the only person cheering on Charlie last week as he confronted Lynda on the Village Green. The story was on Friday, when Emma dashed into Woodbine Cottage, telling Fallon and PCB that she had been ‘ambushed’ by Lynda to sign her petition to raze Berrow Farm to the ground and eviscerate all who work there, and then Charlie had turned up.
Emma’s visit was untimely, as that was the evening of Fallon and PCB’s housewarming party and they were getting frisky on the sofa pre-party. In fact, when Emma rang the doorbell and Fallon went to answer, PCB warned: “Fallon - your top.” Emma said that Charlie and Lynda were having a discussion. Lynda - sniffing as only she knows how - says that the outbreak of whatever it is at Berrow is down to the conditions in which the cows are kept. Charlie replies that this is rubbish and the outbreak could have happened on any farm.
In full eco-zealot mode, Lynda tells Charlie that Berrow is “A giant Petri dish and an incubator of diseases; dangerous, immoral and I’ll do anything I can to shut you down.” Charlie says that he’s got bigger problems, but: “I wish someone would shut you down instead: you really are an ignorant, pious, old - “ And it is that this point that Adam turns up and says “Charlie, that’s enough.” I, and I would hope, the majority of five million listeners, said ‘No; let him go on - he hasn’t mentioned sanctimonious, pretentious, annoying (and another 100 pejorative adjectives)’ However, Charlie says ’sorry’ to Lynda, instead of stuffing her in the anaerobic digester.
Adam tells Charlie that he’s in need of a rest and invites him to the housewarming (pretty generous, as it’s not his party). He also says that Ian is working tonight, so, if Charlie wanted to stay over… I assume that Ian would be coming back at some stage (or is he still at Grey Gables?) he’d be less than chuffed to find Charlie ensconced at Honeysuckle. Earlier, Adam got the local farmers to rally round and donate silage to Berrow Farm and, when he tells a seriously-in-bits Charlie, the latter breaks down and says “You don’t know how much I’ve been wanting to see you - it’s just such a relief to know I have a friend.”
Anyway, Charlie doesn’t go to the party, but turns up at Honeysuckle later with some items of news. Firstly, tests have come back showing signs of botuline (or similar), so they know what the infection is. Secondly, one of the workers found part of a decomposing corpse hanging from one of the feeders. Forensic examination revealed this to be the pelvis and a back leg of a dog. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this turned out to be the remains of Scruff (and how many other missing dogs do you know of?) and Lynda’s errant pet was responsible for the deaths of 80+ cows? I would make her eat her petition if it were to be the case.
At the housewarming, Fallon is surprised that Helen has stepped aside from involvement in the new shop, as she is the retail expert. Helen, who is falling more and more under the Rob influence, says “It’s not as we planned it, but I’m grateful - I never asked Rob to be project manager.” Fallon mentions to Emma that it’s strange that Helen is abdicating responsibility so early, but Emma says that it’s because she’s pregnant - I never realised that pregnancy jellified your brain. Rob has spent the party going round telling people that he’s not surprised about Berrow Farm’s troubles, which is why he got out when he did and he tells Helen that it’s time to go home and she agrees, without a murmur and without saying goodbye.
Helen’s personality is rapidly being subsumed into Rob’s - they went and signed the parental responsibility papers for Henry, making Rob the de facto step-father, and, afterwards, when Rob told Henry that they were now father and son, Henry’s first reaction was to ask if he could go hunting? Rob said it was up to Mummy but it was plain that Mummy had been got at when she said that she supposes he’s old enough.
However, there are inklings that Rob might be heading for a fall over his project managership of the shop, as he gives an electrician a piece of his mind because he can’t make an appointment and this could mean a week‘s delay, as the man doesn’t turn up and the plasterers can’t get on until the wiring is finished. Rob tells the man that he is stressing out his pregnant wife and Helen gets as close as she’s ever likely to to open rebellion when she tells Rob that she just wants to be treated normally. Rob asks her if she realises how oddly she’s been behaving lately? Helen also isn’t best pleased that seemingly everybody appears to know that she’s pregnant, but Rob brushes this aside.
To more happy matters - it’s time for Pip’s Graduation ceremony and David and Rooooth attend, despite the gearbox on the mixer wagon packing up (don’t you just hate it when that happens?). Rooooth gives Pip a package from Granny Heather, which contains a card that, sadly, says that she can’t wait till they can spend more time together, and a silver fountain pen, engraved with the words ‘With love and pride. Granny.’ Tears are shed and throats have lumps.
Elsewhere, the Fairbrother boys (or at least Toby) are trying to expand their empire. You have to blame Pip for a lot of this - she got them the land at Hollowtree and she introduced them to the fact that Adam was looking for a share farm partner to run cattle on his land. Toby attends a ‘Farmwatch’ meeting (prompted by the rustling of Ed’s cattle) and gets totally wasted. He talks to Adam about the possibility of a meeting to discuss this and, the next morning, a very hungover Toby tells brother Rex that Adam is expecting them for a meeting that very morning. Adam’s recollection is different - he thinks that there was the scintilla of the possibility of a chance that there might have been grounds to fix a provisional meeting at an indeterminate future date, but Toby blags it, telling Adam that Rex single-handedly ran a beef ranch in Argentina during his Gap Year (later, we learn that Rex was only there for two weeks - you can tell these guys were bankers, can’t you?). Adam tells them to submit their CV s - I suspect there will be some creative prose involved.
Speaking of creative, we come to the Grundy’s turkey website and Joe’s Lower Loxley Ghost Walks. Regarding the latter, Eddie suggests that a story about Nigel falling from the roof and uttering blood-curdling screams might not be exactly what Elizabeth would like to hear and that the other stories (almost entirely the figment of Joe’s imagination) shouldn’t be told, as they aren’t true. For his part, Joe says that some of Eddie’s copy for the website is stretching the truth. In the end, they agree to compromise and just both lie a little. Talking of the website, Eddie asks Joe where the apostrophe should be in ‘Grundys Turkeys’? Joe says that, as there are a lot of them, it should read ‘Grundys Turkey’s’ Not a wonder educational standards are falling.
Finally, we come to Calendar Girls and I don’t propose to dwell on Lynda’s attempts to get Susan to audition - Susan is worried about showing too much “Not that I’ve got much to show.” Way too much information! Lynda did suggest to Helen that she wouldn’t be too pregnant to appear at Christmas, but what are the chances of Rob (‘The Manipulator’) Titchener letting his wife appear naked on stage? I bet he wouldn’t even let her attend one of the performances.
It occurred to me that we could invite responses from readers - who would you like to see in the play (obviously Sabrina Thwaite is a shoo-in)? But equally, who would you pay good money to keep out of the cast? I await your nominations with interest.