Ian Pepperell (Roy Tucker)
At Grey Gables, Roy gently reprimands Lynda for running off the Borsetshire Am Dram group’s play list on the photocopier. Even worse, she ignores a customer (Charlie) while she does it. Lynda confesses to Roy that she is having a crisis of confidence - having persuaded Elizabeth to let her stage her Christmas show at Lower Loxley, she cannot think of what form it should take.
Roy rapidly moved up in my estimation when he said to Lynda “Why not give yourself a year off; you always get so stressed?” Give that man a house point! Although I would have preferred ‘decade’ in place of ‘year’. With bated breath, we waited for Lynda’s answer, but, predictably, she says that she couldn’t possibly, especially as people are actually volunteering this year. Who are these people? How did they escape from the mental asylum where they so obviously belong?
Roy then blows it by remarking that everyone is pulling together to overcome the disaster of the flood. Lynda then appears to have an orgasm, yelling “Yes!” and calling Roy a genius. We are not let in on what she has in mind and, speaking personally, you couldn’t pay me enough to care.
Later on in the week, Roy is taking Phoebe on a driving lesson and, when she arrives, he is on the phone to Elizabeth. It is purely business and she phoned him, but when Phoebe learns who it is, she is not impressed. During the lesson, Phoebe reveals that she is having self-doubts about applying to Oxford - what if she isn’t good enough? Her father tells her to keep her eyes on the road and points out that, if she doesn’t apply, she’ll never know if she’s good enough and anyway, even if she doesn’t get in, he loves her and will back her whatever she decides. Phoebe is touched and even apologises for being ‘scratchy’ about Elizabeth’s phone call.
On Sunday, we learn from Eddie that Autumn is his favourite time of year. He and Joe are out blocking off boltholes on the rabbit warren, preparatory to a day’s ferreting on the morrow and it will soon be cider-making time - never mind mists and mellow fruitfulness, for Eddie Autumn means rabbit pie and scrumpy. Joe isn’t full of the same spirit and moans at Eddie for referring to ‘the Community Orchard’, saying “It was our orchard”. Too right, but the operative word there is ‘was’ and, as Eddie points out, they do very nicely with the apples. I should think they do, as Oliver lets them make cider for nothing. Mind you, I’d expect no other attitude from Joe, the miserable ingrate.
Eddie’s feeling of wellbeing takes a bit of a knock when Rob Titchener rides up, dressed in full hunting kit (he’s out to get permission from landowners to let the Hunt use their land). Eddie tries to persuade him to order a turkey for Christmas, but Rob says that he and Helen are going to try goose this year, adding that so is Peggy. Eddie is incensed and it is lucky for the Fairbrother lads that they are not around. “If they think they are going to have it easy, they had better watch out.” Eddie snarls.
Sales of turkeys aren’t going well and Eddie goes on a sales campaign. He takes Elizabeth a couple of rabbits as a present (beware Grundys bearing gifts, I say) and happens to bring up the subject of Lower Loxley’s Christmas menu and would she like to buy some turkeys? Liz says that they have already ordered all the turkeys they want, but she will have a few, as presents for clients. Eddie perseveres, telling her that she could describe them as ‘locally-produced’ on the menu. Elizabeth then thrusts a dagger into Eddie’s heart when she says that they already have locally-produced geese on the menu. Eddie is stricken and, when he learns that they are Fairbrother geese, he has another rant, describing the brothers as “locusts, gobbling up every scrap of Christmas business in Borsetshire. And where does that leave the rest of us? You tell me that.” I suppose Elizabeth should think herself lucky that he didn’t ask for the rabbits back.
Eddie featured heavily last week and on Friday, he and Joe are at the cider shack, awaiting Will’s arrival to help take parts of it out, so that it can be cleaned. But Will is late. Joe’s solution? Just clean the bits that show - remind me not to have a pint of Grundy cider, unless there’s a supply of antibiotics handy. Eddie passes the time railing against the Fairbrothers (earlier in the week, we learn from Jazzer that Eddie was down at The Bull, bad mouthing Rex and Toby). Another reason that Eddie isn’t happy is that he took Rob a rabbit earlier in the day, in an attempt to get him to change his mind about having a turkey. Rob confirmed that he and Helen were having goose, but took the rabbit anyway, much to Joe’s disgust.
The reason for Will’s tardiness is that brother Ed has called him. Ed is in his car and spots a gang of - presumably - poachers with lurchers and lamps, carrying what looks like a deer. Do they have guns will asks? Ed cannot see and Will tells him to stay there - he’s on his way. When he gets there, the poachers have left and the brothers set off to see if they can find them. They can’t, and eventually end up at the cider shack, where Eddie is very worried, as Nic had rung him, telling him what Will was up to. Nic also rang the police, but they didn’t come out. Joe wonders whether or not the poachers might have been scared off permanently, but Will lays the foundations for more poacher-related stories when he says “Once poachers have found a good place, they always come back.”
Will thanks Ed, telling everyone that his brother has done him a great favour. Am I the only one to find this new-found bonhomie between the Grundy brothers a trifle unnerving? I keep expecting them to go back to their old, bickering ways, but I suppose the new attitude makes a change - it must make Clarrie happy, anyway.
Earlier on, we had Lynda and Phoebe suffering pangs of self-doubt and it seems to be contagious. Pip and Adam have a deep conversation, in which she wonders whether her parents really appreciate what she’s doing and should she have gone travelling, instead of coming back to Brookfield? Make your mind up girl! Adam reassures her that she’s doing a great job and that she’s taking care of the farm for them while they are occupied with Heather’s funeral.
Adam goes on to reveal that he nearly left Ambridge when he had his disagreement with Brian and, although he loves being in charge, he has doubts that he’s doing the right thing and expects something to go wrong. Also, he is conscious that Brian is taking a forensic interest in the financial side of the business. Says Adam: “So next time you have your little panic, Pip, don’t forget that you’re not the only one in Ambridge with an awful lot to prove.”
Elsewhere, Neil tells Charlie that the Village Hall committee has decided not to accept Justin Eliot’s offer to fund rebuilding and they will do the work themselves. He asks whether Justin might still like to make a discreet, or anonymous contribution? I wouldn’t hold your breath, Neil.
Rooooth breaks down when sorting through her late mother’s things and, in floods of tears, tells David to “get rid of this bloody bed”, as it reminds her of how badly she let her mother down. Amid all this self-doubt and self-blame sloshing around Ambridge this week, it is nice to report that at least two people seem happy, as Fallon (whose business is taking off nicely) and PC Burns look round Woodbine cottage. They are really looking forward to moving in together, but some of Christine’s prints and colour schemes will have to go.
Rob accompanies Helen to the clinic, where her pregnancy is confirmed. They tell Pat, but Helen begs her not to tell anyone other than Tony and Tom. Rob also reveals that he is going to complete a step-parental responsibility agreement for Henry. He’s all over Helen like a cheap suit, saying that he wants to share every part of the pregnancy experience. When giving birth, Helen, I suggest you grab and viciously twist his goolies, so that he can share your pain.