Patricia Greene (Jill Archer)
If so, why don’t more people in Ambridge do it? Let’s start off with our self-flagellating, hair-shirt-wearing, nettle-thrashing, mega-sighing, false Geordie, Rooooth. David tells his wife that she needs some time off, but Rooooth says that there is no food in the larder, the washing won’t do itself and who’s going to clean the house? Nevertheless, David says that, if she doesn’t ring Usha and arrange a lunch date, then he will.
Poor Usha is having her ear bent from all sides: on Thursday she is meeting with Elizabeth, who says that Brookfield could probably do with Jill’s help. Usha wonders, if Jill moved back, would Rooooth be upset? Usha then moves on to having lunch with Rooooth (don’t these lawyers have a job to do?) and, you will be gobsmacked to know, Rooooth is feeling guilty - whenever she thinks of her Mum, she thinks of the motorway services where Heather passed away “and I let her die like that.” Anyone would think that Rooooth pressed a pillow over her Mum’s mouth. Oh, and yes, Rooooth is also feeling guilty because she can’t forgive David for changing his mind over the move, without consulting her. She doesn’t say it, but she probably feels guilty because the mixer wagon needs a new gearbox and if she‘d been at Brookfield, she‘d have greased it, or whatever.
Usha (presumably banging her head on the table or trying to cut her own throat with a bread knife) suggests that Rooooth will have to talk to David about how she feels and “you need Jill; would you mind her being back?” Rooooth says that she’d be overjoyed if Jill were to return and Usha says “do you really think that she’d say ’no’?” and urges Rooooth to talk to her. “I can’t risk it” Rooooth replies and Usha (by now presumably beating Rooooth’s head on the table) says “You’ve got to find out sometime.”
Meanwhile, Jill is talking to Carol about how she feels, living at Lower Loxley (not very happy, and Joe’s totally fictitious story about seeing a ghostly dancing girl - supposedly Julia - at Lower Loxley, hasn’t helped her mood any) and Carol suggests that Jill really wants to move back to Brookfield. Jill agrees, but wonders if Rooooth might not want her back. Says Carol: “Unless you have a conversation with her, neither of you is going to find out.” Give that woman a coconut! Please, just talk to each other, as I can’t stand all this ‘What if…but what does she think…who’s going to clean up this mess?’ scenario.
Let’s move on to Calendar Girls, which I remember fondly as a good film. Lynda Snell’s forthcoming production has banished this good feeling. Every year - every bloody year - we have the ‘who can I cast as so-and-so, God, it’s always so difficult’ scenario and, quite frankly, it gets on my chimes. I don’t propose to dwell on the machinations of Lynda’s attempts to ensnare people into her cast, but she persuaded Elizabeth to play Annie, the widow, by telling her that it could be ’cathartic’ and flattering Susan into taking the part of Chris, after Susan had said that she wasn’t interested in being a member of the cast. Susan even says that she is comfortable with getting her kit off. However, maybe Lynda has been hoist by her own petard (yes please, God) as Susan rings her to request a meeting as “I’ve got so many ideas of how to play Chris.” How this will go down with the Director, remains to be seen.
Looking back, Lynda puts all this effort into the Christmas production and it always seems to succeeds despite of, rather than because of, her production. Think back to last year - she had imbued ’Blithe Spirit’ with all sorts of pretentious nuances and it turned out to be a runaway success because Susan’s dress split and she played it like a farce. The year before, Lynda had a smorgasbord of Shakespeare and Bronte (if I’m wrong, I prefer not to know - I try to block these out of my mind) which was destined to fail until Kenton, as the Lord of Misrule, took over proceedings and turned it into a pantomime, which pleased the audience.
Talking of Kenton, it is his and Jolene’s second wedding anniversary, which we are informed is Cotton. Jill and Carol wonder what Kenton can buy her. I don’t know, but given the choice between a lacy doily and some sexy knickers, I know where I’d put my money. Renovation work on The Bull is going ahead and things are looking up for Kenton and Jolene - and thank God too, as nobody does a downer week after week like Kenton.
It’s an exciting week for Rob and Helen, as it’s time for their first scan of the embryo Damien Titchener. Rob is excited and cannot understand why Helen isn’t as keen as him, adding that it’s probably because it’s his first time and her second. The Rob controlling lasso gets ever tighter when he tells her that he’s going to Bridge Farm to talk to the builders and she says that she’d like to go along. He practically forbids her and gives her money to go shopping and buy maternity clothes. After the scan, Rob is overjoyed, saying that he can’t wait to show Pat and Tony the picture. Helen says that she wanted to be there as well, to which Rob says “Don’t be selfish, darling - you showed them Henry’s.” He also tells her that he is going back to the shop to talk to the builders and, after Helen’s token protest that she’d like to tag along, he tells her that he won’t hear of her going - go off and do some more shopping. Earlier, Helen accidentally met with Kirsty and the two girls meet up for a walk after Rob has banished his wife from the new shop. Helen shows Kirsty the scan and mentions that Rob is convinced the baby will be male. Kirsty says that, if it were to be a daughter, it would be a new experience for both Helen and Rob. Helen’s response is “Rob doesn’t see it like that” and, when Kirsty says that Rob would spoil his daughter rotten, Helen replies that “He can be over-protective” and starts sobbing. Kirsty is concerned, but Helen passes it off as relief about the scan and ‘hormones’. Kirsty senses that it’s more than that and tells Helen that she can tell her. Helen insists that she’s fine, adding: “Why wouldn’t I be? Everything’s going to be all right [long pause] Isn’t it?”
At Berrow Farm, cows are still dying. Charlie goes to the Harvest Supper, hoping to tell Lynda that the cause of the botulism outbreak was the dog’s corpse. Jennifer manages to head him off, by telling him it might have been Lynda’s pet and it might be better if she never found out about the dog. Why? It would give her closure over Scruff and perhaps that she was, however inadvertently, indirectly responsible for the deaths of 80 (and counting) bovines, might take her mind off Calendar Girls, or even shock her into abandoning am dram forever - I’d consider that a worthwhile sacrifice, personally.
Charlie and Adam meet and Charlie says that he is going to be blamed for the outbreak. Joe and Eddie (both the worse for strong drink) happen along and abuse Charlie; seemingly blaming him for the disappearance of Ed’s cattle. Adam tells them “If you haven’t got anything sensible to say, I suggest you leave.” He then suggests to Charlie that he should hold a public meeting about the outbreak and he (Adam) would talk on Charlie’s behalf and Alistair could give a Vet’s perspective, plus Brian could chair the meeting. Charlie is touched by this gesture of friendship and says “You’re one of a kind, Adam Macy.”
Moving on finally to Edward, he is on the verge of giving up the Grange Farm tenancy, but Emma talks him out of it - at least for the time being. Ed tells Dad Eddie and Granddad Joe of his plans and Eddie offers him a loan as he has a substantial cheque arriving. Ed says he can’t accept, but thanks anyway. Later on in the week, Ed gets a phone call from Oliver (in Tuscany), who has heard about the cattle theft and is appalled when Ed tells him that he couldn’t afford to insure the beasts. Oliver (who must be a candidate for Sainthood) offers Ed a loan (“Interest free, of course”) and begs him not to do anything rash. Everyone is telling Ed that he’s a first class farmer and not to give up, while Ed says that he lost his dairy cattle and now he’s had his beef cattle stolen, so is he that good? You have to admit that he might well have a point.