Andrew Wincott (Adam Macy)
Rob tells Adam that he’s not happy about the state of the wheat and Adam defends his methods, saying that it will take at least two years before the soil shows improvement. Rob says that the Estate cannot be expected to put profit on the back burner. Adam cannot resist having a go at Rob and changes the subject, asking Rob how was his Christmas? “Very good” Rob replies and Adam has another dig when he says “A happy family Christmas time - how nice for you.”
A bit later on, Rob says that he wants a report from Adam about how he plans to get the yields up to scratch, but Adam is determined to keep needling him. “A family Christmas is great, but having small kids around makes it even better. Helen and the boys had a great time.” “I’m sure they did” Rob answers, through gritted teeth. But Adam hasn’t finished and gives the metaphorical knife another twist when he says “Of course, it was Henry’s birthday yesterday. Ian and I got him a new scooter.” Rob’s response to this is to tell Adam that he is going to recommend that the Estate contract is put out to tender and, if Adam has any hope of retaining it, he will have to sharpen up his act - considerably.
There you go Adam; you may have enjoyed winding Rob up, but was it wise? Rob is just vindictive enough to take the contract away out of spite, and can you imagine what Brian would say if Adam’s farming methods were said to be the reason for losing the contract. Bite your tongue next time Adam - alternatively you could run Rob down with the combine.
Things get worse for Rob - as he leaves Adam, he sees the Button girls running away from his car, where they have daubed something insulting on his windscreen in lipstick. We aren’t told what they wrote, but Kirsty, who is passing by, describes it as “accurate”. Rob snarls that it is a libel and people should bring charges against him, so that he can clear his name. “Good luck with that,” Kirsty replies, adding: “and good luck with getting that off your screen - some labels are really hard to get rid of.”
Rob borrows white spirit and rags from Kenton and returns them to The Bull the following day. Elizabeth is there to see Kenton and, when Rob speaks to her, she says “Excuse me” and leaves. “How rude; I would have expected better” Rob says to Kenton, but he is very cool towards Rob.
Going back briefly to Henry’s birthday, Helen is talking to Tom and she reveals that Caitlin, her solicitor, has told her that Rob intends to contest the divorce and he could even make a claim on the farm, although this is unlikely to be successful. However, it will be messy, lengthy and expensive. Looking through the birthday card envelopes, Helen notices one in Rob’s handwriting and tells Pat to put it in the bin, unopened.
We have often mentioned the thickness of Rob’s skin and it can’t be easy to live in a place where everybody loathes you. Mind you, Rob doesn’t do much to help himself, sometimes, does he? On Wednesday evening, he is hammering on the door of the (closed) village shop, demanding to be let in to buy some essentials. Jim tells him to go away, as it’s two minutes past closing time and he’s cashed up. Rob’s anger increases and he says he won’t go away until Jim serves him. He then starts insulting Jim and the other volunteers, calling them “A bunch of petty-minded do-gooders, playing shop so you can gossip with the women and fill in the dreary days until you die - you’re nothing but a little Hitler.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I were trying to be served, then I would try a little humility, mixed with numerous ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’ and lashings of gratitude if I were eventually served. In the end, Susan appears from the back of the shop and tells Jim that he is being too nice and abuse of staff will not be tolerated. She tells Rob that no-one will serve him and he is banned from the shop sine die (no, of course she didn’t use that phrase - Jim is the Latin expert). Rob tries to force his way past Jim and Susan says “Call the police.” At this, Rob leaves, saying that the shop only sells tat and Susan tells him “You’re not wanted here - or anywhere in Ambridge!” God knows I hold no brief for Susan, but I applaud her on this occasion.
On Thursday, Alan is in the pub and Jolene tells him the story about the fracas at the shop. A disturbed Alan phones Rob and, later on, goes to see him. Rob called in sick at work and Alan asks him how is he and mentions the altercation in the shop. “How are things?” the vicar asks. “Pretty ghastly sums it up,” Rob answers, honestly, adding: “Christmas was a disaster without my sons” and he tells Alan that the village is treating him like a pariah, which should come as a surprise to nobody. Alan’s answer is that he cannot go around abusing people and he spells put his advice thus: “If Jack means the world to you, as you say, then you should concentrate on him, rather than having shouting matches.” The vicar adds: “If you cannot move on, then you’re putting yourself beyond help.”
We do not hear Rob’s reply, but the next day we learn from Helen that Caitlin has told her that Rob is not going to contest the divorce after all, which makes Helen’s day. What are we to read into this - has Rob taken Alan’s words to heart and had a Damascene conversion, or is this just a coincidence? If Rob suddenly starts behaving like a decent human being and is tolerant towards everybody, I reckon people will just think that he’s up to something and still not trust him.
If Rob is St. Paul, then Brian was doing a good imitation of Moses last week when he took Jennifer out to have a look at the land that he is thinking of buying. It’s mostly arable, but he points out a little copse of trees, which he says could be their special place. In the future, Adam could walk there (presumably thinking “I wish Brian had never bought this bloody land”) and Alice could bring her children there - this is the legacy that he wants to leave. He doesn’t actually use the phrase ‘flowing with milk and honey’, but it was a close run thing. Whatever, Jennifer falls for it and later she tells her husband that she will support his vision.
Not everybody at Home Farm is happy, as Lilian has not heard from Justin since the night that Miranda left the panto early and Lilian is afraid that Justin’s wife might have sussed that her husband has been playing away. “I think my little adventure might have come to an end,” she tells Jolene, sadly. Your adventure and maybe your corporate credit card and clothing allowance, Lilian - I’d get out there and buy some new frocks while you still can if I were you.
Of course, one of the biggest recent stories is that of Kirsty’s pregnancy and Tom’s reaction to being the father. He’s all over Kirsty like a cheap suit and she is not best pleased when he turns up after midnight on New Year’s Eve. He suggests that she could move into his house - she could have Johnny’s room - so that they could bring up the child together. Whether Johnny knows about this, or would come home one day to find the locks changed and his stuff on the pavement is not revealed. Mind you, I think Tom is getting a tad pissed off with Johnny, as he comes home one evening to find that Johnny forgot to take the oven chips out and they were cremated. The issue of whether Johnny knows or not is academic, as Kirsty turns the idea down, describing the idea as ‘weird’.
Undaunted, Tom has another idea and goes to see Kirsty to tell her. And what is this idea? Simple - he thinks they should get married; after all, they are friends and they did really well together at the panto. That ‘clunk’ you hear is Kirsty’s jaw hitting the floor - she cannot believe it and reminds him how he left her at the church on their wedding day. Getting in even deeper, Tom says that he wants to put things right and it’s all too much for Kirsty, who says “It will never be put right - how on earth do you think I could ever trust you again?”
Tom replies that he could change and Kirsty says that, for a while she didn’t know whether to keep the baby, knowing that Tom would be in the picture when it was born. “How dare you come here and stir up all these horrible memories?” she screams. Tom says that he’s trying to support her, but Kirsty is in full flight now and says “No. You’re trying to make yourself feel better for the vile thing you did to me - it was unforgivable!” She also tells him to back right off and he can forget about coming with her to the scan. “I don’t need you there - I don’t need you at all” she tells him, angrily. I wouldn’t publish the banns yet awhile, Tom.
Let’s discuss matters romantic to end with. Elizabeth talks to Kenton, who is shell-shocked after taking Lily and Freddie out for a driving lesson and he vows never to take them both again. Lizzie says that she thinks it won’t happen with Dr Locke, but it has made her realise that she’s ready to fall in love again.
Perhaps she should rekindle her affair with Roy, but she’ll have to be quick. On New Year’s Eve, Roy goes out of the pub when Tracy arrives (she keeps texting him) and Johnny describes Tracy as “really hot.” Roy tells him that she’s “flighty”, which is a nice way of saying that her middle name is ‘Bakewell’ and he reveals that, about 15 years ago at a wedding, Tracy and the groom were discovered at it in the going away car. As midnight approaches, Tracy homes in on Roy and covers him in passionate kisses.
Later in the week, Susan is in full matchmaking mode, telling Kirsty that Tracy and Roy “were inseparable” on NYE and that Tracy is a very good match. Susan muses on Roy’s infidelity with Elizabeth, but decides that he has been punished enough. Kirsty wryly observes that Tracy is hardly purity personified. Helen comes into the shop and Susan tells her about the pair being inseparable at The Bull. ”Yes,” Helen replies, “Tom told me you’d have needed a crowbar to get her off him.”
Get a grip, Roy - the way things are going, you’re in danger of ending up being married to Tracy and looking after her two kids. And if that prospect isn’t enough to have you reaching for the rat poison, then think on this - you’d also have Susan and the idiot Gary and assorted Horrobins as in-laws.