Lucy Morris (Phoebe Aldridge)
I think we can add Jill’s name to the list of characters not in favour of Justin’s proposed housing development, as she plans to present him with a book about preserving rural landscapes. Emma overhears this and Jazza also tells her that Pip and Susan – her own Mother – have been heard voicing objections too. Kirsty later makes a point of dropping in on Justin to talk to him about the development. She’s concerned that all the negative feelings will reduce the number of affordable homes available for fear of the development attracting ‘undesireables’ from outside the village. Justin thinks she or Ed should speak up at the parish council meeting, which might encourage people to accept the affordable houses once they realise it’s people like Ed and Emma that will be moving in. I think Emma will end up speaking, as she seems to be getting more militant, exclaiming later “Ed and me, we’re the outsiders – outsiders in our own village”.
It’s the day of the village fete and some genius has put Jazza in charge of organising the Bonny Baby competition (I’ve heard a drop of whisky in the milk does wonders). At least he’s not doing the ferret racing as well, so there won’t be a mix-up there. Brian’s in the Bull in search of the microphone and it’s left to Jazza to break the news that the PA’s broken. He presents him with the Town Crier’s outfit - complete with tricorn hat and hand bell. Any reservations on Brian’s part are overcome when Jazza and Harrison start talking about the Duxford sisters, and how anyone hosting the fete is sure to meet them personally. When he does eventually meet Lulu he wastes no time in asking if she’s married (apparently he wants to know if she’s a Ms. or a Mrs. for the introduction), but she seems a bit irritated and doesn’t take him seriously.
Jill happens across Lulu who is surprised to see her there, after their earlier altercation with the flapjacks. The Echo get a photograph of them shaking hands together and Lulu takes to the stage. Much to Jill’s delight, Lulu announces that her restaurant will be training the unemployed youth of Borsetshire. Quick-thinking Jill capitalises on this and announces to the crowd that any food waste from the Duxford’s new restaurant, Les Soeurs Heureuses, will be donated to the Happy Friends Café. The crowd applause but Lulu is not happy being ambushed like that. When Brian offers to get her a coffee she snaps at him, telling him to get on with his job!
Lulu catches up with Jill at the tombola and is forced to pay £1 for 3 goes for the privilege of remonstrating with her. Outraged by the suggestion that her restaurant will be wasteful, by someone who’s never even eaten in one of their restaurants, Lulu gives Jill a ticket for the gala opening. It’s not just any ticket though, it’s for a VIP table! Brian, still in pursuit of Lulu, who has clearly marked him down as some sort of creep and legged it again, arrives just in time and is most put out to hear this. Having finally completed his duties Brian’s running late for a Rotarian function at Grey Gables so Jazzer gives him a hand to undo the town crier outfit. But there’s a problem – the zip’s seized.
By all accounts the fete’s gone well until there’s a fight at the end between local lads and the fruit pickers. Ed heroically steps in to break it up before Harrison manages to get there. Jazzer then says what we’ve all been saying for a long time: “What the hell’s happening to this village”!
Pheobe’s picking strawberries with Lexi, and seems to be falling for Constantin, one of the other pickers. Lexi seems to be warning her off, and implies that he might have had something to do with the fight after winding up one of the locals. Phoebe seeks out Constantin (the gorgeous one with the eyelashes – apparently) at the BBQ, and asks Lily to cover for her by saying she’s staying over with her.
The next day Lily pops over to see how it went. Great apparently, apart from the fact that Constantin’s just told her there was a problem with the condom they used! Lily gets her in the car to take her to a very discrete pharmacy she knows (really?) for the morning-after pill. When Phoebe returns to strawberry picking Lexi remarks on how ill she looks. Phoebe blames it on Lily’s driving, but Lexi persuades her to let her drive her home. She confesses that it’s the morning-after pill that’s making her feel sick and she’s worried about what her Dad will say if he finds out. Lexi puts 2 and 2 together and works out that it was Constantin, and if she’s been throwing up the pill may not work and should get another. Lexi suggests taking her to a doctor too, as Constantin has ‘been a busy boy this summer’, and off they go to the sexual health clinic. They have a heart-to-heart in the waiting room and seem to be getting along very well, which makes me think Roy and Lexi getting together wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Changing the subject completely, Bert and Joe are on their way to see Oliver at Grey Gables. Bert casually wonders whether Joe will be able to keep growing his vegetables at Grange Farm once Oliver moves back in. This thought seems to take Joe unawares, and later Bert asks Oliver if he’s going to move back to Ambridge. Joe, fortified by 4 lumps of sugar in his tea, plays a masterstroke asking Oliver if he wants to move back in to Grange Farm - and live with him and the other Grundys. Oliver almost chokes and manages, very diplomatically under the circumstances, to decline the offer. Mission accomplished, Joe wants to leave, but Bert doesn’t and in any case, Oliver’s ordered cakes.
Matt is really getting under Alistair’s skin. He’s having to miss a lunch at Grey Gables with Oliver because of a backlog of work caused by Anisha taking time out checking Matt’s racehorses. Everyone’s getting worried about Alistair, including Jill, whom he let down over a promise to donate a raffle prize for the fete. Anisha tries to help when she says that Matt’s away all week so she can catch up with her practice work, then spoils it by saying he’s been paying Anisha on the day while Alistair’s behind with his own invoicing. Saved by the bell, almost, Alistair gets a call from David who’s been expecting him - the cows are all ready but Alistair’s late.
When Alistair gets to Brookfield he sets to work and everything seems fine for a while, but then he’s just about to give an injection of prostaglandin when David notices it’s the wrong cow, and to make matters worse it’s a pregnant one, which the prostaglandin could cause to miscarry. David’s concerned and rings Shula to ask if everything’s ok, and says, cryptically, that we all need to concentrate, just as the feed lorry arrives and David has to go.
Anisha confronts Shula about Alistair’s whereabouts lately, especially when he should have been on call last night but couldn’t be contacted. She also confronts him about his visit to Brookfield and why he’d undercharged David, and he confesses to the mix-up with the injection. He them blames his disappearance last night on a problem with his phone, but Anisha calls him from her mobile, which put’s that explanation to bed. Later, Anisha calls Shula and she goes over the near miss at Brookfield again, and asks if there’s anything wrong. Shula, who’s on her way to meet Oliver for lunch, makes excuses but the tension in her voice is rising.
When Shula returns home, she finds Alistair soothing a scald from an accident with the kettle. She tells him about David and Anisha’s worries, and about whether Oliver should move back in with them while he’s still grieving. Alistair loses his temper saying “if I could bring bloody Caroline back I would”, a comment he instantly regrets making as we hear Shula leave. She’s straight on the phone to her brother; “Kenton, I’m scared he’s starting again. I think it’s all happening again”.
As soon as Kenton gets back from a birthday weekend in London with Jolene, he goes straight over to the stables. Shula thinks that if Alistair’s started gambling again it will mean the end of their marriage as she hasn’t got the strength to go through it all again. Shula seems to have made up her mind up that that’s the reason for his absence, but Kenton’s not so sure and advises her to confront Alistair head-on to find out the truth. We then hear her wandering in on Alistair just as he’s on the phone making arrangements to meet someone that evening. She asks him who it was, and he makes an excuse about it being an old friend. She turns inquisitor and discovers that it was his old Gamblers Anonymous sponsor he was on the phone to, and whom he saw the other night.
To Shula’s relief it turns out that instead of gambling again, he’s seeking help not to. Apparently the trigger was the return of Matt Crawford and his threat to ‘out’ him to Anisha as a gambler and horse doper, which Alistair thinks will finish him and his business. I sensed a renewed strength in Shula then, and I think together, and with the help from other anti-Matt villagers, the tables might have turned.