Carolyn Jones (Ursula Titchener)
Well, have we been doing Rob an injustice, accusing him of being devious, manipulative, nasty, interfering and loads of other unflattering adjectives? True, he exhibits all those characteristics, and more, but last week we learned that it might not be his fault - it could be all in his genes.
The writers were cunning - Ursula, Rob’s mother, arrived to look after Helen and Henry during half term and Rob predicts that they will get on like a house on fire. And so they did; Rob returned home to find them enjoying a laugh and he reminded his mother that he was right when he said they would get on. “When are you ever wrong?” Ursula said. On Wednesday, Kirsty rang and Ursula said “Oh yes, you’re Helen’s friend - you should come round.” Helen was having a rest, but Ursula promised that she’d get Helen to call back and set a date for a visit. Utterly gobsmacked, a stunned Kirsty could only stammer “I have got this right - you did say you were Rob’s mother?”
The meeting took place on Friday and Kirsty, Helen and Ursula are getting on well. Indeed, when Ursula departs to take Henry to the child minder, Kirsty remarks that it’s good to have the old Helen back. For her part, Helen says that, since Ursula has arrived, “things just seem normal again.” Kirsty agrees, saying “I like her, I really do.” How can Rob be so different from his mother? But wait! Cut to Ursula, who is on the phone to Rob. She says “I’ve met the famous Kirsty now and you’re absolutely right, Robert - not the kind of friend that Helen needs at all. You’re very wise to want to put a stop to that relationship, and the sooner the better, I’d say.”
How about that for something out of left field? Just when we thought that there was hope for Helen, her saviour turns out to be devious, manipulative (see list of unenviable character traits in paragraph one). Well, at least we now know where Rob gets it from.
Actually, earlier in the week, Ursula was talking to Pat and confided that she had experienced some health difficulties when pregnant with Rob. Personally, I reckon that was the womb’s reaction to the embryonic horns, tail and cloven hooves.
Moving on, I wonder if the writers have got it in for me, or maybe I’m developing paranoia, but it’s as if they read this blog and think ‘what can we do to really annoy him?’ Take last week - my antipathy towards Wayne has often been aired in these entries and he ends up in the kitchen of The Bull on Valentine’s Night. Kenton was jealous, as Jolene seemed to be spending - to Kenton’s way of thinking - an inordinate amount of time with her ex-husband. As the day wears on, Kenton takes over the food orders and spends more time with Wayne. Wayne thanks Kenton for giving him the chance of some work and, in a mega-brown-nosing moment, mentions that it’s nice to see Jolene happy, and that’s down to Kenton. Crawler.
I can live with Wayne making the occasional appearance, but writers be warned - I am watching you. Going back to the paranoia, show me who it was who decided that Lynda should stage E. M. Forster’s only stage play (“Well, more of a pageant, really”) as a celebration of the re-opening of the Village Hall. This is cruel and unusual punishment - it’s only a few weeks since we were subjected to Calendar Girls and, in other years, at least we had a break from the flow of Lynda’s creative juices until the Village Fete, or Mayday, whichever came first, but this year it’s just relentless and it shouldn’t be allowed.
Apart from the goings-on at The Bull, Valentine’s Day was a bit of a non-event for many inhabitants - Kirsty and Roy both got a Valentine’s card each and Kirsty is concerned that hers might have come from Roy and she might have been sending the wrong signals. Bloody well ask him, woman! At least then he’ll know how you feel, although I wouldn’t be astounded if Kirsty and Roy became an item. We learn later in the week that Adam and Ian had a tiff on Valentine’s Day, as Adam received an anonymous card and Ian saw it. We weren’t told whether or not it had a Perthshire postmark.
One person for whom Valentine’s was a roaring success was Pip. Matthew got the weekend off and came down to Brookfield, where he and Pip spent as much time together as possible. We were subjected to the sound of numerous kisses, but at least Matthew is a sensible lad who likes his early nights, as he asks Pip if she’d like to go back to the cottage, as it‘s cold. This was around lunchtime.
On Wednesday, Pip was talking to Rex and she said that she received an anonymous card. “Is that Toby’s writing?” she asks. Rex says definitely not, but when Pip has gone, Rex asks Toby what the hell he’s playing at? Sending the card was part of Toby’s plan “to move things along a bit” between Rex and Pip. Rex points out that Pip is obviously madly in love with Matthew, to which Toby’s reply is “Well, if you’re going to give up at the first minor setback…” Rex’s response? “Just drop this Toby.” Too right - concentrate on the egg business Toby and stop interfering in other people’s lives.
It was an emotional week all round for Pip - not only was there the weekend marathon shagfest, but the cows were shipped off to market on Thursday, although the Archers did keep back three of their favourite animals. Pip, Rooooth, David and Bert were all wiping away a tear as the bovines were loaded into lorries. Even Brian took the time to go to the market and watch the sale - a sale out of which Brookfield did quite nicely, thank you very much. At the end of the day, David finds Rooooth in the newly-empty cowshed and the couple have a meaningful and deep conversation. While they are excited by the prospects for the future, there is a tinge of sadness. Rooooth says “We can take a moment to mourn what we’ve lost.” Well you did sell the damn animals love; it’s not as if they were struck down by disease, or perished in a natural disaster. For his part, David earns mega-brownie points when he says “I’m just glad that what we lost wasn’t each other.”
And now a financial warning - sell your shares in Damara quickly, before the inevitable cash flow crisis engulfs the company. Lilian has her corporate credit card and tells Jennifer about the social functions she has planned for Justin, all of which will require new outfits. And it gets better - she shows Justin round the Dower House and he asks if she would mind if he ‘refreshed the décor a little’? He would, of course, pay for everything and would Lilian mind if he moved his own furniture in? He would, of course, pay for hers to be stored. Would she mind? What do you reckon? Not only that, but Justin would like her to choose the colour scheme, fabrics, etc. “Of course, I’ll pay for everything” he says. Do you think he’d like to look over my car, or maybe I could leave some holiday brochures laying around?
What about Miranda (Justin’s wife)? He confides that she’s not interested in that sort of thing. Later on, Lilian is talking to Jennifer about Valentine’s Day and Lilian says “I’m well out of all that nonsense - I’ve got a handsome man to squire me around with no strings attached - what more could I want?” Call me a cynic, but I reckon she might soon be finding one or two strings making an appearance - Justin is a businessman after all. Imagine if Justin starts making advances; no doubt Lilian would fight tooth and nail to preserve her honour (better late than never), but for how long? About however long it takes to slip out of her latest, paid-for-by-samara outfit, is my guess.
To end, let’s go back to Pip and her romantic weekend experience. She admits to her mother that she is in love with Matthew and, when Pip invites Rex to her birthday drinks do (she was 23 on 17th February) she mentions that it’s sad that Matthew won’t be there. “It must be hard for you” Rex says, sympathetically. “Not so hard after Valentine’s Day” Pip replies, happily. Absolutely no further comment from me.