Sunday, 8 November 2015

Just Tell It Like It Is

Carole Boyd (Lynda Snell)

Given that she is mega-annoying, interfering and pompous, how come everyone was walking on eggshells and trying to make sure that Lynda never found out the truth about the dead Scruff poisoning the Berrow Farm cattle? Wednesday evening saw the public meeting about the deaths of cows at Berrow Farm and Lynda was active before it started, exhorting people to attend (“Do we have a choice?” asked a resigned Jim) and also to sign her petition for the closing of Berrow Farm and the hanging, drawing and quartering of Charlie Thomas.

At the meeting, she constantly interrupted Adam and, when he said that the cause was silage, contaminated by a dead animal, she asked “What animal?” What a chance for Adam to say “Well, actually, it was your dead dog, Scruff”, which would have shut her up or, more likely, sent her screaming from the meeting. Instead he waffles on about a dead bird being responsible in an earlier case and heads off her line of questioning. He finishes by saying that no-one was to blame and it was a tragic accident that could have happened on any farm.

Lynda is not convinced and, afterwards, she tells Jim that it all goes to show how immoral it is to keep so many cows crammed together, and sign the damn petition. She then goes off to harass some other poor sod after telling Eddie that she hopes all his turkeys are securely penned in (notice that it doesn’t seem to matter that the turkeys are all crammed together). Eddie confides in Jim that he was playing darts with a worker from Berrow Farm, who said that it was a dead dog that contaminated the silage. Both men realise that it has to be Scruff and Jim says “If Lynda finds out, she’ll be terribly upset”, to which Eddie replies “Yeah, so let’s try and make sure she doesn’t.”

No, no, no! Go round and tell her what really happened, dropping the occasional remark along the lines of ‘Don’t worry that you are - albeit unwittingly - responsible for the deaths of 80+ cows and a financial hit for Berrow Farm of £150 K - it could have happened to anyone who wasn’t looking after their dog properly’.

After the meeting, Adam tells Brian what a good expert witness Alistair was. Digressing slightly, Alistair only arrived at the last moment and left immediately it was over, and Shula has been telling Jim that her husband has been spending a lot of time working. I have speculated that something seems to be brewing between Shula and Alistair (see earlier Instability At The Stables) and I still reckon that there is a story here about to happen.

The Grundys are suffering from a lack of turkey sales and they featured in the week’s ‘most obvious story line’, which began on Monday, when Eddie revealed that the builders had finished in Keeper’s Cottage. He whisked Clarrie off for a sneak preview and she was overcome at the sight of tiled floors, granite worktops and a built-in dishwasher: no expense had been spared. She cannot wait to move in. On Friday, Joe and Eddie are further dispirited by low sales figures, and Joe is in full Cassandra mode, saying that it has been an ’annus horribilis’ for the family and, furthermore, “It’s gonna get worse - there’s gonna be a disaster.” Joe might be a rubbish scallywag and a miserable git, but you have to take your hat off to him as a prophet of doom - no sooner are the words out of his mouth than Clarrie opens a letter and lets out a squeal of alarm. It is from Hazel Woolley’s agents and is giving the Grundys two months’ notice to quit Keeper’s. I, along with practically all listeners, thought on Monday that ’there’s no way Hazel will let the Grundys live in a high-spec residence’, but Clarrie obviously wasn’t suspicious, as she said “Oh Eddie; our home”, adding: “What are we going to do?” Well, they could always move in with the turkeys - if they cannot be sold, they can be used as living blankets.

Rob is becoming more sinister and controlling (and less likeable) than ever. On Sunday he finds Helen out of bed sleepwalking - later on she has no recollection and Rob says her hormones are all over the place and he also suggests that it might have something to do with her accidental meeting with Kirsty. Later on, he reveals his plan for decorating the shop, which appears to involve getting Pat, Tony and Tom to do all the work (and, presumably, Rob wielding the whip). Helen thinks this is a good idea and says that “We have a good team.” “We?” asks Rob in leaden tones and proceeds to tell her that going up ladders and breathing in paint fumes is not a good idea. The sleepwalking, he goes on, is a sign of physical and mental stress and that she should step back. “You should stop feeling that you always have to be in control,” he says, which is a bit rich, coming from him, adding: “Your priority is yourself and our baby - you know that I’m right, don’t you?”

Obviously Helen hasn’t taken this in as, the following day, she and Rob are at the shop, checking that the decorators are still at it. Rob unshackles Pat briefly and the three of them examine Fallon’s proposals for the new cafĂ© at the shop. She wants to call it ‘The Ambridge Tea Room’ but Rob ridicules the name and her branding, saying that “We need to decide what’s best for our business.” Sorry? Our business? Pat says that it’s nothing to do with her, politely refraining to point out that it’s sod-all to do with Rob either and why doesn’t he get a proper job? So what does the Doormat think? Amazingly, we had a spark of the old Helen, when she points out that Fallon is paying rent and she prefers ‘The Ambridge Tea Room’. Rob is not a happy camper and, later, he says that Helen made him look a fool and undermined him in front of Pat. He adds that she shouldn’t be making such decisions and “Is the shop more important than your peace of mind, your health and the health of our baby?” He goes on: “You’re not strong Helen; you seem determined to risk a complete breakdown.” The Doormat apologises, but an angry Rob says he’ll eat out and “Don’t wait up.”

It gets worse on Bonfire Night, when Helen tells Rob (who has been out hunting - it seems that he’s not picking up a paintbrush at the shop) that she has arranged for Susan to take Henry to the fireworks on the Village Green. Rob is incensed that Helen could entrust Henry to Susan and Emma, as they’ll be letting the kids run wild. As it turns out, Susan takes her eye off Henry for a moment and he picks up a hot sparkler and is taken to A&E. Rob and Helen go to the hospital, where he is stern with Susan and says that it should never had happened. Driving home, Rob says that he knew something like this would happen and he tried to warn Helen “But you just wouldn’t listen - you see now how right I was?” Helen admits that she was wrong and Rob rubs it in, saying that she has changed and she’s not in a position to make clear judgements. He adds: “Your priority is our little boy growing inside you - that’s the only thing that matters. Listen to what I tell you.” The Doormat replies “You’re absolutely right”, which is what he’s been telling her. Note that ’our baby’ has changed to ’our little boy’.

The Fairbrothers submitted their CVs and business plan (co-authored by the Brothers Grimm) to Adam regarding the shared farming plan. Their pitch for running a 450-strong herd of cattle seems to hinge on the fact that Rex has seen and touched a cow on one occasion. Adam is not convinced and kicks the lads into touch. However, he realises that Pip could be an ideal partner and runs it past David and then Pip. David says that she will grab his hand off (and she does) and he isn’t even fazed when Adam says that it would involve some financial investment.

On that note, Rooooth went to Prudhoe to sort out Heather’s estate and came back in full moaning mode, as nothing seems to be happening at Brookfield, regarding running the home. She tells David that Heather had a life insurance worth £200 K. David mentions that the house is worth £300 K and Rooooth goes off on one, saying that “It’s only money” and says she has to go out. When she’s gone, David says to himself “Half a million.” David, a few months ago, you could have had 15 times that, so I wouldn’t go on about it to Rooooth.

Meanwhile, Rooooth has gone to Lower Loxley to see Jill. Rooooth reveals that she feels useless as a wife and mother and the house is in a mess. Jill asks if there’s anything she can do and a tearful Rooooth asks if she feels that she could come back to Brookfield? Jill accepts like a shot and Rooooth hastily adds that “It’s not just for the cooking and tidying.” Of course it isn’t - there’s the washing, shopping and cleaning as well.


  1. Sooo enjoyed the last sentence [and a lot more besides too!].

  2. Totally agree about Alistair - there have been less than subtle hints about trouble in that marriage for a considerable time, and given Alistair's frequent absences at weekend 'conferences' one can only assume he is playing away...or something.

    My personal hope is that Alistair is going to come out as transgender, and proceed to transition to become 'Alexandra'.

    Whatever happens, it is most convenient that Shula's old flame The Doctor has recently returned to live in the neighbourhood, ready and waiting for her to throw herself, sobbing, into his arms.

  3. I too think that there is something in the offing chez Lloyds, but I suspect it might have more to do with gambling than playing away. We haven't heard much about it lately, but he had a serious gambling problem and these things don't go away; they can be kept under control but we haven't seen Alistair visit GA for a while. Still, he wouldn't be the first Ambridge character to change personality, so you never know. - Zoe