Buffy Davis (Jolene Perks)
I used to have a lot of time for Jolene; time and sympathy, for having to put up with Kenton. However, I’m afraid that she is now persona non grata as far as I’m concerned. It all went wrong on Tuesday, which was Shrove Tuesday, and only the second night in
The Bull’s kitchen for new chef Zoe.
Zoe, who Kenton says has experience cooking in Belgium, is getting cheesed off because all she is doing is cooking pancakes. Admittedly the fillings vary, but Zoe feels this is below her and walks out, leaving Jolene in sole charge of the kitchen. Service is suffering and is not helped by Kenton encouraging people to make up their own, bespoke fillings such as panda and passion fruit, or elephant and aubergine (see the ‘sympathy‘ comment in the first line of the preceding paragraph). This is the second time in a fortnight that Jolene has been under pressure in the kitchen and she tells her husband that she’s had enough, what with Valentine’s Day coming up and they desperately need someone.
Kenton says that they will look further afield, but Jolene says “better the devil you know” and she will ring Wayne. Understandably, Kenton isn’t impressed, saying incredulously “You want your ex-husband working in our kitchen?” and Jolene replies “Either we get Wayne in or you can run the kitchen yourself.” And that’s why she’s off my Christmas card list - after all these months of his blessed absence, the thought of the return of whiny Wayne is enough to make you weep. But all is not lost: don’t throw in the towel, Kenton - get yourself a set of whites and an apron and enrol on that express cookery course. Quickly.
Am I the only one who thinks that there could be a synergy between the Fairbrothers and Lynda Snell? Consider; she wants a shepherd’s hut, which is, essentially, a flash hut on wheels, while the Fairbrothers are looking for a mobile hen house (the ‘Eggmobile’) which is, essentially - well - a hut on wheels. Instead of getting Eddie to knock up the former (and, if history is any guide, you know that this will all end in tears) and Bert Fry to build the latter, why can’t there just be one mobile shed? Lynda could look at it during the day and Rex and Toby could lock their hens in it at night. Just a thought.
While talking of Lynda, we learn, with sinking heart, that she is planning some sort of production, celebrating rural life, to mark the re-opening of the Village Hall on Easter Monday. Bert comments “Lynda’s a glutton for punishment, isn’t she?” When it comes to dishing it out to us, she certainly is - I mean we’ve only just had Calendar Girls, for God’s sake
Rex is still carrying a torch for Pip and his sensitive brother gives him advice, telling him to “get in there - what are you waiting for?” Toby says that he has become bored with Pip’s ‘hard to get’ act and reminds Rex that “Pip does come with a farm attached.” Who said romance was dead? Rex isn’t impressed: “You give men a bad name” he tells his brother. The following day, Rex is at Brookfield, looking for Bert to discuss plans for the Eggmobile, and he runs into Pip, who is despondent, as she and Matthew had their first row the other night and she is wondering whether or not a long-distance relationship is viable. Rex invites her for a drink to talk about it and is somewhat surprised when she says OK and how about tonight?
At The Bull, she pours out her heart to Rex and, to his credit, he says that perhaps she should be patient and hang on in there till they can get together. “Like a romantic weekend, maybe?” she replies, brightening up considerably. Rex,” she says, “you’re brilliant; I feel so much better now - you’re such a good mate.” Wasn’t that sweet of Rex? Compare and contrast his attitude with that of Toby, whose reaction to Pip’s situation would have been along the lines of ripping off his clothes and saying “come over here you trollop and get some of this” or something equally sensitive.
Later on in the week, Rooooth thanks Rex for cheering Pip up and tells him that she and Matthew have managed to get the weekend off and will be together for Valentine’s Day. “I’m really pleased for her” says Rex, in a hollow voice. He discusses the situation with Toby, telling him that he feels it’s pointless to pursue Pip now. For Toby, however, glasses are always brimful - never mind that half-full, defeatist rubbish, and he says Pip and Matthew will have a few loved-up days, then Matthew will “go back to Yokelshire.” “Keep her sweet and wait for the Matthew thing to implode” is Toby’s advice.
Now we have to ask ourselves exactly how hard does Lilian work for AmSide? We know that, on Justin’s advice, she is disposing of some properties in Borchester, but that seems to be it, as far as work is concerned. On Thursday, she is waiting for Justin to take her to Felpersham races, where his horse is running. He picks her up at Home Farm, where Brian, somewhat mischievously, says that he and Miranda (Justin’s wife) must come to dinner sometime. It’s worth mentioning that, earlier in the week, Brian was wondering to Jennifer exactly what was going on between Justin and Lilian. “Don’t be a gossip” his wife admonished him.
We do wonder if Brian’s suspicions are correct, though, as, at the races, Justin tells Lilian that he has a proposition for her. Miranda never lets herself go, he says and he is looking for a social secretary-type person to help him network and ease himself into the local community. Does she fancy the job? There would be recompense, of course, in the form of a generous clothing and expenses allowance, plus a Damara corporate credit card. Lilian takes about two nano-seconds to say ‘yes’. Justin said earlier that he admires a spirited filly. Well, one out of two isn’t bad, Justin.
Back at Home Farm, Kate has had an idea to finance her hippy commune, having tried unsuccessfully to tap up Jenny and Peggy for funding - she’ll let out her cottage for holiday lets. But where will she sleep, Adam asks Brian. In sepulchral tones, Brian says that she will move back to Home Farm. Adam offers him a whisky in sympathy. “Make it a large one” Brian replies, despondently.
You may want to stop reading here, as we are now going to discuss the latest antics of Spawn of the Pit Titchener. Helen has ended up in hospital, where anaemia is diagnosed. Kirsty sends her a text, but Rob won’t let her answer, saying that he’ll call Kirsty later, as Helen isn’t well enough. Gosh yes - holding a mobile can really take it out of you, can’t it? He tells her that “you put our baby in real danger; high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia and a stillbirth are all possibilities, darling, because of what you’ve done.” What has Helen done? Basically, not eating - at least not enough for Rob’s liking. And don’t you love the way that he adds the word ‘darling’ to all the horrible things he says to his wife?
Kirsty rings again, but Rob won’t let Helen answer and he is cool towards Kirsty, saying that Helen is much too ill to see anyone - either now in hospital, or when she gets home. You have to admire the way Rob twists everyone’s opinion of him to his own advantage; talking to Peggy, Pat says that Helen has been taking on too much and the baby has to be her priority. “Rob’s absolutely right.” Pat says. A couple of days later, Bert is talking to Shula and he says that Helen has always been highly strung and “she’s lucky she’s got Rob to look after her.”
Meanwhile, Rob continues to rub Tom up the wrong way. Tom is pleased because the black pudding scotch eggs have sold out and mentions this to Rob. Rob’s opinion is that they shouldn’t have been on sale in the first place, as the shop wants to attract up-market clientele. Tom’s view is that they should provide good food to anyone who wants to buy it. “I can see this is something we aren’t going to agree on” Rob tells him. Tom also says that he has noticed that sometimes, the chiller where his sausages are kept is empty and isn’t that a reason for stocking more? Rob tells him in no uncertain terms that he knows best what the customers want and “I’d be obliged if you’d leave the stock control to me.”
Tom goes to see his sister, taking advantage of Rob’s absence, and the pair have a good laugh as he fills her in on what’s happening with Brian and his harem. “I’ve been so out of touch” says Helen, adding: “I haven’t laughed so much for such a long time.” Perhaps you should ask yourself why, Helen. Actually, I foresee trouble ahead, as Helen asks Tom to buy a Valentine’s Day present for Rob and I reckon he’s bound to be angry when he realises that someone else has got in to see his wife, without his permission.
Back home after picking up Henry from school, Rob tells Helen that he and the family have arranged things so that Helen doesn’t have to go to the shop at all, as he will take on her shifts. But wait - next week is half term and Helen is far too ill to look after Henry on her own. That’s OK, Helen says - she’s sure that Pat will help out. But Rob says that they shouldn’t become more obligated to Helen’s family and he has arranged that his mother, Ursula, will come to stay for the week. Helen is mystified and apprehensive, as she has only ever seen Ursula once, when she turned up unannounced and Henry has never ever seen her. Also, when Ursula did turn up, Rob was desperate for her to go, so why is he so keen now, we ask ourselves?
Rob takes Henry upstairs to read him a story, but first tells him that there’s something he needs to say. “Mummy’s been very ill and I need you to be a very good, very quiet boy. You’re going to be a big brother soon and I need you to help me - to do that, you need to be obedient. Do you know what that means?” Henry doesn’t, and the week ends with Rob saying “I see, well let me explain it to you…”
I don’t know about you, but I had this mental image of Rob approaching his stepson with nipple clamps and giving him an electric shock, while showing him a photograph of Helen and muttering in that sinister voice of his “Mummy has been very naughty, hasn’t she Henry? She hasn’t been obedient - what should we do to her?” What, with his creepy manner and the threatened return of Wayne, is it any wonder that my blood runs cold?