So, it’s ’goodbye’ to Beverley Drains - taken from us suddenly over the weekend. Poor Jolene should heed the title of this week’s blog, as she finds herself getting deeper and deeper into a mess of lies and fabrication. Beverley, of course, is the mythical girlfriend of Wayne and Kenton is anxious to meet her - so much so that he says he is going to see Wayne and arrange a date for her to come round for dinner. Jolene, panicking more than somewhat, says that he can’t do that. Why not? “Because she’s dead” Jolene replies and, under further questioning from Kenton and Lilian, makes up a story about Beverley having a fatal brain haemorrhage over the weekend.
Kenton is amazed - Wayne hasn’t said a word about his loss and has come into work each day. “Life goes on” says Jolene, uncertainly. Kenton says that he’s amazed how Wayne is keeping it all together and Jolene agrees. Indeed, Kenton tells Jolene that they have to support Wayne at a time like this and he has offered Wayne a permanent contract. “After what he’s been through, it’s the least we could do” Kenton adds. When he leaves the room, Jolene rings Wayne, saying “You jammy beggar Wayne; you always fall on your feet, don’t you?” That’s as maybe, Jolene, but I don’t think Kenton would be very impressed if he found out about the deception - and it’s not over yet; what if Kenton thinks they should go to the funeral, or wonders why there’s no death notice in the local press? Oh what a tangled web, Jolene - you’d better pray that it’s all over.
At Bridge Farm, Pat and Tony are annoyed because Rob is late bringing Henry round and they want to take Henry to the zoo. When Rob does turn up, he tells them how much Henry is looking forward to seeing the Elf Migration and Ursula has made him an elf costume. “I’m sure you wouldn’t want to disappoint him” says the master manipulator then, when Pat and Tony agree to take Henry to see the elves, Rob reveals that he and Ursula will be there too. When Rob leaves, Pat has a rant about how he is taking over their one day with their grandson.
Her anger increases on Wednesday when Rob asks if he can come round for a talk. Henry came home from school in tears: a classmate of his told him that his mother is a murderer and the police have locked her up. Rob told Henry that she isn’t a murderer, but she has done a very bad thing and we will have to wait until a jury decides on her guilt. Pat is amazed that he should talk like that to a five-year old, but Rob says that it was factual and “in the circumstances, I think I was rather restrained. But if you want to feed him a more sugar-coated version, that’s up to you.” Lucky for Rob that there were no knives lying around, or Pat might have finished the job that Helen left uncompleted.
But back to Sunday; the Elf Migration has pulled in the crowds, which seems to indicate the paucity of things to do in Ambridge on a Sunday, and Anna Tregorran is taken aback when Henry, dressed as an elf, rushes over to her and Carol, followed by Pat, who is trying to stop him running off. Anna makes an excuse and leaves, as Pat is a prosecution witness and, as such, Anna should have no contact with her.
The following day, Carol takes Anna for a slap-up lunch and we learn the reason for her moment of self-doubt last week, as she opens up to her mother. Some time ago, Anna was prosecuting a case of abuse and she got deeply and emotionally involved in it, to the extent that she and her partner Max split up afterwards. Despite devoting all her time and energies to the case, Anna lost and the abuser was allowed back into the family home, and the abuse started again. “Only this time he killed her” Anna says, simply. Since then, Anna hasn’t handled a similar case, until taking on Helen’s and she wonders whether she is up to it - perhaps Helen would be better off with someone else?
Later in the week, Helen phones Anna, who suggests that Helen might want another barrister? Alarmed, Helen quickly says “no” and adds “Anna - don’t give up on me.” Anna replies that she never will, but she needs to build up a defence case and she needs Helen to help. In fact, Helen seems to be getting a bit better, and her talks to fellow inmate Kaz prompt memories of Rob’s behaviour - if she continues to improve, Anna might yet have a working defence strategy, but Helen needs to pull her finger out.
Over at Grange Farm, Joe is taking the forthcoming eviction of the Grundy’s very badly - Clarrie tells Pat that he was distraught when the sycamore was felled and now he has discovered a big puddle of water behind the settee in the sitting room. Tony asks if Clarrie thinks that Joe put it there deliberately? “I really hope not Tony, but he really don’t want us to move out.” Clarrie says. Let’s think; is Joe a big enough ingrate to do such a thing? Is that the sort of thing he would do? So, that’s a ‘yes’ and a ‘yes’. Let him stay at Grange Farm, Oliver - bury him where the sycamore stood. Now.
Let us turn to the crisis in the cricket team. Alistair has called an EGM for Thursday and Adam has booked the Flood Bar at the Bull to cope with the expected crowd. Sadly, it dawns on the pair that no-one else is coming, so they descend to the pub downstairs to try to find cricketers propping up the bar. “We’ll make this meeting quorate if it kills us” says Alistair, grimly. It happens that Dr. Richard Locke is talking to Elizabeth and Rex has turned up, expecting to meet Toby and Pip for a drink. Alistair and Adam shanghai them, not listening to their excuses, although Rex seems quite excited. “No-one’s ever tried to kidnap me before” he says, as they drag him and the doctor upstairs.
When the meeting gets under way, Alistair says that he will have to give up the captaincy - he has taken his eye off the ball due to the fact that he had to relocate his business after the flood and, while he would still want to play in the team, he doesn’t think that he could be an effective captain. So who to take his place - Adam? Adam protests that he is as busy as Alistair. OK then - Richard? Dr Locke says that he is only a new boy and couldn’t be a good captain. Rex? He says that he is running two businesses and, besides, he’s a rugby player, really. However, Rex makes a suggestion and we learn later that Harrison Burns’ name has been put forward, even though he is not actually there in person. The word ’railroaded’ springs, unbidden, to mind.
Friday was the much-anticipated (by some) Borsetshire Food & Drink Awards at Grey Gables. Lilian is being given a hard time by some of Miranda’s friends, which is fair enough, as a few days earlier, she had been given a different sort of hard time by Justin at a London hotel, following watching men’s quarter final day at Wimbledon, complete with strawberries and champagne. But there’s something wrong - Lilian drags Miranda off to Miranda’s room and tells her that she has to change her frock. Miranda is not amused and Lilian explains that the Lady Mayoress has only one posh frock, which comes out on all these occasions and it’s the same as Miranda’s. As the Mayor and his lady are the guests of honour, it behoves Miranda to change her outfit. There is an uncomfortable pause, then Miranda says “You’re very good at this, aren’t you?” That’s not all she’s good at, Miranda - just ask Justin.
The awards follow an excellent dinner. The winner of the haute cuisine award goes to Ian, the Grey Gables chef. Through incidental conversation, we learn that Elizabeth didn’t win anything, but she did take Richard along after her Plus One called off. Upper class eggs didn’t win anything (Pat says she’s not surprised, as sales at the farm shop were rubbish and they cancelled their order), neither did Emma and Fallon. Pat is surprised that Toby isn’t at the Awards, but Lilian suggests he has probably got something better to do. Back to the Awards: The Bull won the Family Dining category and then we come to the final award of the night - Best Artisan Product. And the winner is: Helen Titchener’s Borsetshire Blue cheese! Cue manic applause as Pat is urged to go and collect it (at least nobody asked why Helen wasn’t there to pick it up). She says that it will mean so much to Helen and Jennifer says to Lilian that Pat and Tony will have something good to tell Helen “and that hasn’t happened for a very long time.”
Let me take you back to Thursday. Toby has persuaded Pip to look at his totally revamped video promoting Upper Class eggs (and now also the geese) and she has agreed to do the rewritten voice-over. When she views the finished article, she suggests that it is good visually, but the soundtrack would be improved if they added the song of a Blackcap. If they went to Lakey Hill, they might be able to record one, so Toby grabs his equipment (recording equipment) and they go. I suspect that Toby thinks a Blackcap is some kind of contraceptive device but he later admits that the song will make the video better.
Pip suggests that they should go to The Bull and meet Rex, but Toby suggests that they stay there and watch the sunset. What about the beer? Toby says he is always prepared (thank God he was talking about alcohol) and gives Pip one (alcohol again). He then accuses Pip of luring him there and plying him with alcohol “So you could have your wicked way with me.” Pip calls him “arrogant, vain, self-satisfied…” but he stops her by saying “and you’re irresistible” and the episode closes with the sound of kissing.
I’m afraid Pip has gone down severely in my estimation. We don’t know whether she and Toby were together on Friday instead of being at the Awards, but I hope not. For Pip to fall for his nauseating chat-up line makes me feel sick - for heaven’s sake, Pip, this is the man who shagged your father’s cousin and is, as you so rightly pointed out, arrogant, vain and self-satisfied, so what are you doing? I sincerely hope that it is a one-off and Pip hates herself. I suppose there is one thing to be said in Pip’s favour, and that is that she’s pretty resilient. I mean, let’s face it - it certainly hasn’t taken her long to get over Matthew, has it?