Felix Scott (Charlie Thomas)
For someone who was universally hated only a few months ago, Charlie might soon be opening the Ambridge branch of his fan club. We had Rooooth telling him that he’s not that bad really and Jennifer putting on a ‘farewell’ soiree for him and last week, Brian was singing his praises.
On Sunday, Charlie was - if not wallowing, then definitely at least paddling - in self-pity, telling Brian that he’s not surprised that Justin has lost faith in him and Brian tells him that he mustn’t blame himself for the failure of Berrow Farm (this is against the background of fleets of trucks taking the cows away to God only knows where) and - in a rare flash of honesty and self-awareness - “you wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve messed up - in every possible way.“ We learn that Brian’s charitable words are born partly from self-interest, as he says that he had hoped that Charlie would stay, as he would perhaps be a restraining influence on Adam and it’s a shame that Charlie won’t be around to keep Adam in check. A morose Charlie agrees, saying sadly: “Yes it is, but some things just aren’t meant to be.”
On Wednesday, Brian tells Adam that he feels guilty about the way Charlie has been treated and “I can’t help feeling sorry for him.” Adam has obviously decided that, as far as he is concerned, Charlie is history, as he tells Brian: “Neither can I Brian, but unfortunately that’s life, isn’t it?”
Charlie spent the rest of the week wandering around like a spare part until, on Friday, he came across Adam, who was looking at a broken gate, or something similar. Charlie helps him get the gate off and offers to stay and help get the gatepost out of the ground. It is a very awkward, stilted conversation and Adam suggests that Charlie must have lots of loose ends to tie up at Berrow and hanging around is not a good idea, for lots of reasons. Proving that he can take a hint, Charlie says ‘goodbye’ to Adam and we hear him drive off. As he goes, Adam breathes a barely audible ‘goodbye’ in a sad voice. Have we heard the last of Charlie, or will he return at some stage in the future to tempt Adam again? Wouldn’t it be ironic if Charlie went to Perthshire and then Ian decided that he couldn’t trust Adam and broke up with him?
If the Charlie/Adam story was a slow burner with a ‘will they, won’t they?’ theme, the romance between Pip and Matthew is more a ‘will they, too damn right they will; every chance they get’ story. Matthew suggests that it might be an idea if someone from Brookfield visited a farm in Dorset where he used to work, and which operates along the same sort of system as the proposed new regime at Brookfield. Pip, the scheming little minx, engineers it so that she and Matthew are the ones to go and visit the Welbys and, as it’s so far to go, they had better stay the night, hadn’t they?
It was a successful visit as, on the journey home, we learn that Pip knocked over the bedside light during the night and she blamed him for hogging the duvet. Oh yes: they did manage to spare some time to look at the cows, milking parlour and healthy profit projections, so it wasn’t totally one big nookie-fest. There is much banter and flirting on the way home, but then Matthew gets a text from the agency - his next mission, should he decide to accept it, is a six-month contract up near Penrith. Matthew says it’s a pity that it’s so far from Ambridge. “Yes, isn’t it?” Pip agrees. Will we have another person leaving Ambridge the week after next, or will Matthew stay at Brookfield? If so, they’ll have to create a job for him and, judging by recent conversations about how tight things are moneywise, this seems unlikely. Matthew describes the Penrith job as “a no brainer”, with good money and great accommodation. That’s as maybe, but does it include the chance of bonking the farmer’s daughter?
The Matthew/Pip situation hasn’t gone down well with Rex - he is cutting up a fallen tree, aided by Josh, and Rooooth tells him that Pip and Matthew are off to Dorset. Rex’s emotions must have shown, as when he and Josh have gone, David and Rooooth fall about laughing, with David saying (rather unkindly) “Did you see his face!” On the plus side, David says that Matthew seems like a nice lad “and I least I don’t want to keep punching him in the face, as I did Jude.” Praise indeed! I reckon you’re in there, Matthew.
Rex’s mood isn’t improved when he casually asks Josh whether Pip is serious about Matthew? “Totally” is his enthusiastic response. And it gets worse - on Friday, Rex tells Toby that, when Matthew and Pip returned from Dorset “they were all over each other this morning.”
Actually, Rex has got the mega-hump with his brother, who has only just returned after a 10-day absence after he fled suddenly to Brighton. Toby won’t answer his brother’s questions about what happened, except to say that “money’s done the job” and there’s no need for him to go back to Brighton any longer. This does nothing to mellow Rex’s mood, as he points out that it was he who had to find the £500 in the first place. Will we ever learn what was going on?
Josh had a substantial speaking part this week - we learned that he has serious reservations about the proposed new regime at Brookfield and lists all the things that could go wrong. David and Rooooth listen carefully, then tell him that it’s going to happen, so get used to it. Josh mentions that he’s going to do a BSc in agriculture, with farm management. “Following in your sister’s footsteps” says David, approvingly. “Yes, except that I’m actually going to use my degree” Josh retorts. Ouch! Saucer of milk for young Mr Archer! He tells Rex (in front of his parents) that he “needs a back-up plan if Mum and Dad’s mad dairy scheme goes pear-shaped.” Thanks for the vote of confidence, Josh! For their part, David and Rooooth have a serious talk, with him saying “this is our children’s future we’re talking about.” Rooooth’s response? “We will make it work David.” So that’s all right then.
I am convinced that Rob Titchener probably spent his childhood pulling the wings off butterflies and burning ants with a magnifying glass - why else would he so obviously get his jollies from upsetting people and generally being such a nasty sod? The latest victim is Tom - Rob found some packs of beef in the chiller and brought up the fact with Tom that they weren’t organic. Tom explains that it was a spur of the moment decision and they are local and high quality and “we have to stay light on our feet and respond to what the customers want.” Rob says sarcastically that it has been very enlightening to learn about the change in strategy.
Later in the week, he brings the subject up at the shop planning meeting (Tom, Rob and Pat). He says that he’d like to know where the new boundaries lie and whether he and Helen will have any say in what is ordered, or is it now all down to Tom? Pat is appalled that Tom never consulted Rob and says he must do so in future. An increasingly-pissed off Tom says curtly “Fine. Apologies all round” to which Rob responds with a chuckle and in a voice dripping with smugness “No apology necessary Tom.” God, I hate him! How will it all end? I reckon that Kirsty will do for him in the end, or else Helen will turn against him when her new baby is revealed to have horns, wings, a tail and cloven hooves.
On Friday, Lilian and Justin are out riding - he is wondering whether or not to buy the two horses (as you do) - and he is very complimentary to her, admiring her horsewomanship. He gives her some advice about which properties to keep and sell and tells her that he wishes that there were more people in Borsetshire with her wisdom and spirit. Do I sense a budding romance? Justin is married, but that hasn’t stopped Lilian in the past. Be warned Justin - the spirit in question is gin and you’ll need all your millions to keep up.
This week’s “if only” moment came when Lynda was telling Lilian that she has been in Ambridge for 30 years and she very nearly left in the early days after a disagreement (I think it was with Eddie). However, Robert talked her out of it and they decided to stay. Robert, be warned - I’m going to hunt you down, pal.