Felicity Finch & Tim Bentinck (Ruth & David Archer)
Roooooth’s not happy with David again when she discovers that he contracted out the artificial insemination for the next 6 weeks to a man who turns out not to be the talkative type. To be honest I’m not sure how much I’d be able to face talking to anyone if I spent all day every day servicing cows. David did this with the best of intentions to help take the pressure off Roooooth at a time when she was still in Prudhoe looking after Heather. But no, she says he made the wrong decision – I swear that woman’s got 20/20 hindsight. Jill’s in Roooooth’s bad books too. The poor woman’s only been back 5 minutes but she’s already made the mistake of inviting Carol to Christmas lunch without consulting Roooooth first and getting it signed off in triplicate. Not only that but she’s rearranged the rest of the kitchen to accommodate her cake tins, got a batch of biscuits in the oven, and moved the mug tree!
This is all too much and Roooooth seeks refuge outside where she offers to help David and Pip, only to find they’ve got it all in hand and what they really need her to do is out the kettle on. However even that menial task is taken away from her when she returns to find Jill putting out the warm biscuits and preparing the tea things. “Thanks Jill”, she says, as only Roooooth can.
Meanwhile, Adam needs Brian’s help with the silage, a task he leaps at as he’s become so bored he’s started reading Phoebe’s copy of the Highway Code. Adam quizzes him on stopping distances from 70mph and what he’d do if a child ran out from behind an ice-cream van. “I hope I wouldn’t be driving at 70mph round an estate”, says Brian. I put it to you that Brian is unlikely to be found driving round an estate, full stop.
We move to talk of Lynda’s latest production, Calendar Girls. It turns out that Neil, PCB and Kenton have got parts. That should please one of our regular correspondents (Zoe) whose wish for a male line-up almost came true. PCB was on her list, but I don’t recall a shirtless Neil Carter being in her top 5 (or, as we hear later, a soaking wet Neil Carter, stripped down to his underpants). Lynda’s search for the rest of the cast continues - no prizes for guessing who’s going to play the part of Marie, “a bit of a busy-body who likes to be in charge”, or a control-freak, as Kirsty helpfully points out. And what do you know, Helen’s turned down the part of Ruth – a woman let down in marriage. She would have been perfect, however Kirsty offers to take it on intrigued by the character’s journey from doormat to powerful woman, “a powerful message for women generally”. Women generally or do you mean specifically? Do you have anyone in mind?
Speaking of Helen, she’s got a fixed penalty speeding ticket and Rob’s not happy about it. He starts the interrogation by asking why she was going so fast. I wish the answer was “to get away from you, you controlling manipulative bastard”, but no, it was just to hurry back. Rob uses it as an excuse to remind her yet again about Henry’s accident on bonfire night and infers that this time Helen put their unborn baby at risk. Thankfully he doesn’t lose it, and “thanks for not getting angry with me” is about all Helen can say.
Rob and Tony go head-to-head over the second hand tables that Tony’s bought on which to display the fruit and veg in the farm shop. Rob inflames the situation by talking about “organic mumbo-jumbo” – a phrase guaranteed to set Tony off on one – but he stands his ground. Sure enough Rob goes back to Helen and complains about being “overruled”, but Helen’s got news to tell him. Greenbury Farm Services want to see him for an interview. Later on Rob seems to have come round and has found a way to make the tables blend in with the rest of the décor. It’s anyone’s guess what this is, but I think he’s put new legs on them, and to complete the look, put new tops on as well.
Clarrie and Eddie are looking at a string of unsuitable flats, and Clarrie is forced to lobby Peggy in a desperate effort to prevent their eviction from Keepers Cottage. Peggy gets right on the phone but Hazel’s busy, torturing kittens probably, and instructs her to phone back at 15:30. As predicted, Hazel has no sympathy for the “feckless Grundys”, and after having spent so much on the refurbishment, doesn’t want them moving back in. Eddie’s blind optimism about finding somewhere is kicked into touch by Clarrie suggesting they might have to put Joe in a home.
It was good to hear Lilian’s laugh again when we caught up with her at rehearsals, where the discussion was around the difference between “naked” and “nude” and how are they going to do the photo-shoot? Neil’s increasing discomfort is obvious, being the only man there, and he has to leave the room when Lilian mentions her dependency on a “well-formed bra”. However, a braver Neil stands up for the ladies when Lynda reveals that she won’t be appearing in the “artistic” calendar herself because her role doesn’t demand it, but expects the others to. They gang-up and Lynda’s pressured into agreeing. Why didn’t you keep your mouth shut Neil?
Charlie’s drowning his sorrows in the Bull while thinking about his future at Berrow Farm and whether he can keep Justin happy, when Adam walks in. They start reminiscing about good times but Adam kills the mood when he tells Charlie that he and Ian are getting married next month. Heart broken, a timely message from Justin on Charlie’s phone gives him an excuse to leave. Rob’s not impressed about the marriage either. In a ‘pot calling the kettle black’ moment Rob say’s that he wouldn’t Trust Adam because of his “roving eye”. Really? And you can’t see the irony there Helen? Rob tops it off by saying he can’t attend the celebration because he’s not a hypocrite!
Later, Helen’s rushing to pick up Henry and phones Pat back at the shop in a panic because she’s crashed the car. Pat’s first thought is for Helen, but when Rob gets on the phone he’s most concerned about Henry. Henry’s still safe at school, which is just as well as Helen’s gone into full headless-chicken mode. Pat picks Henry up then plays right into Rob’s hands by asking whether Helen needs to drive at all. Well done Pat, you’ve just confined you daughter to the house and given Rob even more control over her.
We end the week with more simmering resentment from Roooooth. The incident with the mug tree is one thing, but Roooooth’s harbouring a grudge that Jill and Pip downed a bottle of Champagne between them, beating her and David to the celebrations over Pip’s degree. It’s not made any better when David tells her that Ben and Josh won’t make the hastily arranged dinner that’s been booked for the ‘real’ celebration. David tries to make it better by saying it’s also a celebration of the future, but this prompts Roooooth to make an ominous comment – “whatever it may hold”. Afterwards, Roooooth and David have a heart-to heart and Roooooth explains that she’s reached the conclusion that she needs some time on her own to clear her head and sort herself out.
And where can a frustrated moaning farmer with a personality deficiency be really appreciated? New Zealand.