Sunday, 21 August 2016

A Bit Forward Of You, Shula

Judy Bennett (Shula Hebden Lloyd)

There appears to be the possibility of a love triangle happening, involving Dr Richard Locke and sisters Shula and Elizabeth. Richard tells Elizabeth that his daughter Sasha is staying with him over the Bank Holiday and would Elizabeth like to join them for lunch on Bank Holiday Monday? Sasha, he tells her, thinks that Elizabeth is ‘cool’. Lizzie is flattered, but points out that she will be busy with the arrangements for the opera. However, she would love lunch some other time.

It was shortly after this conversation that Shula joined her sister (they are taking Jill frock-hunting) and she is keen to talk to Richard. He makes an excuse that he is late for surgery and leaves. Shula obviously isn’t happy with this, as Elizabeth asks if she is all right? Testily, Shula replies “Why shouldn’t I be?” and “I’m fine”, before quickly marching off and leaving her sister to follow.

Later the same day, Shula rings Dr Locke to thank him for being so understanding about her dilemma over Rob and adds that she would like to cook him supper next Tuesday. It would just be the two of them, as Alistair and Daniel would be out, she adds. Richard is sorry, but he is on late surgery all next week, so he cannot make it. Undaunted, Shula asks if he would like to join her at the opera on Monday, as she has a spare ticket. He tells her that he will be there anyway, as he has bought tickets for himself and Sasha - anyway, doesn’t Alistair want to go? Shula replies that opera isn’t Alistair’s thing and he suggested that she takes her mother. “An excellent idea - I look forward to seeing you both there” says Richard and he rings off. “Marvellous” says Shula, frustrated.

That was the wrong answer, Richard; here you have a woman who is obviously keen on you and you are brushing her off. True, she’s married, but it seems a bit forward of the God-bothering Shula to ring up and try to arrange a date and let’s not forget that Shula and Richard have form when it comes to romantic entanglements.

Also on the romance front, Toby begs Pip for a lunch date and he is very unhappy when he arrives at Rickyard to find that Pip has in fact served up lunch. Hunger was not the craving that Toby was hoping to satisfy and he makes his displeasure known. This is increased when Pip’s phone rings and she takes the call. It is from Matthew and Toby slags him off, saying to Pip “Well, if you want to waste your time on a loser…” He goes on to ridicule Matthew, calling him a country bumpkin. Angrily, Pip tells him to get out. “With pleasure!” he snarls, slamming the door on his way out.

“Good, that’s got rid of him.” I thought, but I could be counting my chickens, as a couple of days later, Pip is talking to Alice and the latter complains because Pip isn’t paying attention and keeps looking over Alice’s shoulder. Who is she expecting? In vain, Pip denies that she is looking for anyone but, under pressure, the whole story of her relationship with Toby comes out. Alice finds this hilarious and tells Pip that it sounds to her like Toby is jealous and cares for Pip. “You’ve done the impossible - you’ve tamed the bad boy of Borsetshire!” Alice tells Pip. I sincerely hope not and the sooner Toby leaves Ambridge in a sulk, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

Over at Grange Farm, Joe continues to be a miserable old sod and keeps banging on about how the land was stolen from him and the occasional bit of poaching is just the working man getting a little of his own back, plus it’s his God-given right to live and die on the land that he has farmed. Clarrie, who is alarmed that they are talking about poaching in front of George as if it’s an OK thing, points out that poaching is, in fact, theft and Joe’s talk of God-given rights would not cut much ice with a Magistrate.

It was a busy week for Rob; on Sunday, he takes Henry to Bridge Farm for his week’s holiday in Tenby. Waving Henry off, Kirsty remarks on how pleased Henry looked as he drove off with Pat and Tony. “Children often hide their sadness with smiles” Rob says and, later, he demonstrates yet again his capacity for self-delusion when he tells Ursula that Henry was “devastated” to be going. Ursula suggests that she could come to Ambridge for a week and, eventually, Rob agrees. God only knows why, as he doesn’t seem to like her much. She tells him that she and Bruce think that Rob and the boys (when he gets custody) should go down and live with them in Hampshire, as he’s a Hampshire boy at heart.

“I stopped being a Hampshire boy the day you shipped me off to boarding school” he tells her sourly, adding that Ambridge is their home and this is where the three of them will live. The thought appears to galvanise Rob and Ursula finds him updating his CV, as he needs a job so that he can provide his two boys with a proper nanny. He blames Helen for ruining his career and “forcing him to work in their stupid little shop.” See the earlier comment about self-delusion, but Ursula, of course, backs him up.

Rob also gets in touch with one or two former contacts and his phone rings. “That was quick,” he mutters and, picking up the phone, says “Hello Justin.”

Justin says that he’d like to talk to Rob and an appointment is made for Friday. This causes friction between Justin and Lilian, as she isn’t keen on Rob and makes her feelings plain. For his part, Justin says sharply that he is the best judge of what’s right for his business and Lilian realises that she may have overstepped the mark. Later on, as they prepare for supper, she apologises to him but he says ‘sorry’ to her and has brought champagne to make up for their tiff. He agrees that there was something odd about the way Rob left Berrow Farm and says that he will grill him on Friday.

Friday comes and Rob is unsettled by Ursula, who keeps prattling on about nothing in particular, even after Rob tells her he’s not interested. Eventually he snaps, telling her “I’m going to Grey Gables for a coffee - and some peace and quiet.” and he leaves. After the interview, Ursula asks him how did it go? At first, Rob thinks that he did OK, but he then starts to have doubts. Ursula says that she is taking him out to lunch “to celebrate”. While they are out, Rob’s phone rings - it’s Justin. Rob listens, then says “Excellent. I’ll call you next week.”

Ursula is agog and wants to know what is happening. Rob replies that Justin congratulated him on his character judgement (Rob had slagged off Charlie Thomas at the interview) and Justin has offered him the job of running Damara Estates. Rob tells Ursula that he asked for the weekend to think about it. “You mustn’t seem too keen” he tells his mother.

Things certainly seem to be in the ascendancy for Rob and he thinks so too. “This is just the start,” he tells Ursula, “Henry will be back from Wales on Sunday and Gideon will be with us very soon - things are really starting to fall into place.” Let’s hope that his confidence is misplaced; what is it they say about pride coming before a fall? Fingers crossed.

It was an eventful week too for Anna. On Monday, she took a phone call from Max, her estranged husband, and they arrange to meet up on Thursday for dinner. Over the next few days, she is like a cat that has got the cream and, on Thursday, she gets all glammed up. We don’t hear how the date goes, but on Friday, Carol returns home to find her Anna the worse for drink and feeling sorry for herself.

The meeting with Max didn’t go well and, far from seeking a reconciliation, he went on continually about how happy he is with his new girlfriend and the only reason he arranged the dinner date was to ask Anna face to face for a divorce. Anna begged Max for another chance, saying that she could change and not devote so much time to work. All this was in vain and Anna had got glammed up for nothing. To make matters worse, she spent the day talking to Helen and is frustrated because Helen wouldn’t talk about the case, only about her friendship with Kaz and how much Jack has grown. “So, if you’ll excuse us,” she says, with drunken dignity, “my bottle of scotch and me are going upstairs to bed.” In the circumstances, we can forgive her the grammatical slip. Anna adds “I’m a rubbish lover and a rubbish lawyer - certainly no good for Helen Titchener; I can’t see the point of carrying on with her case. The clock’s ticking, time’s running out. I don’t see how I can win this case. If Helen doesn’t give me something more, they’re going to find her guilty.”

Let’s hope that, not only will pride come before a fall for Rob, but in Anna’s case it’s a question of being ‘darkest just before the dawn’ and she gets some sort of breakthrough to save Helen. Maybe Helen will come to her senses before it’s too late.

Thursday was a big day for Josh and Phoebe, as it was A level results day. Phoebe achieved 3 Grade As and one A*, which is more than enough to get into Oxford. Phoebe’s happiness is as nothing compared with Jennifer’s, who is telling everybody who’ll listen, and also those who won’t. When it was time to find out the results, Jen asks if Phoebe wanted her mother there? “Kate won’t be out of bed yet” her granddaughter replied, witheringly. “I must tell Dad - and Hayley” says an excited Phoebe (no mention of Kate, notice). When she told Roy, he burst into tears and even Kate said it was “kinda cool.” Praise indeed. Earlier in the week, Phoebe had discussed with Josh the possibility of putting Oxford off for a year and taking an internship with Debbie in Hungary, but the knowledge that she had passed for Oxford put paid to that.

Josh also got his results, which at 2xB and 1xC, were better than expected. This led to a furious row with his father, who cannot understand Josh’s attitude, which is ‘sod college - I want to be a farmer.’ Josh storms out and David says to Jill  “How did I manage to raise such a spoiled brat?” and says that Josh doesn’t appreciate just how lucky he is - look at the Grundys; with all their troubles, Ed is still cheerful and polite.

Josh seeks out Phoebe and says that he feels he might have to leave Brookfield. Phoebe tells him to act more maturely and Josh goes home. David apologises to his son and says that he and Rooooth love him and will support whatever he decides. Josh then says that he has contacted the college and asked for a year’s deferment, which he would spend at Brookfield, working for no pay.

David says “Your mum and me [bad grammar again] are proud of you” and he asks his son for - and gets - a big hug. Aaah! How sweet; how different from Kate and Phoebe!


  1. Thank you I like you writing and enjoy your blog.

  2. Eddie and Joe are very much in need of an immediate reality check in many areas of their lives - they are just plain annoying now.
    Whilst I understand why the writers don't want to wrap up the Rob/Helen storyline either too quickly or unrealistically, Helen is now just totally and utterly infuriating - 'get on with it, start talking', is hissed at the radio many times over!