Timothy Watson (Rob Titchener)
It seems that we were wrong last week about Stefan not getting any hush money, as Justin Elliott rings Lilian and tells her that he and Stefan came to ‘an amicable arrangement’ and we won’t be seeing him any more. Rob, says Justin, has definitely gone and Justin will come up with an official story for public consumption. Later on, he tells Brian that Rob has left Damara – he got a better offer from an overseas company and has already cleared his desk. Justin feels a bit let down, “but you live and learn” he adds, philosophically. He also tells Brian that he can tell anyone he likes about Rob’s disappearance.
The news quickly spreads, but Helen is uneasy; she tells Pat that she cannot believe that Rob would walk away from Jack. Pat sends Tony to check on Rob’s flat and he reports that it is completely empty and there’s a ‘To Let’ sign outside. Helen still isn’t convinced and, as the week progresses, she becomes more anxious and isn’t going out much. When challenged by Pat about what’s bothering her, Helen replies “I know him mum – he just wouldn’t do that.”
Those are almost the exact words uttered by Ursula, as she confronts Alan in the church and is not convinced that his protestations of ignorance about Rob’s fate are genuine. “There must be something going on” Ursula adds. In the Bridge Farm shop, Pat tells Lilian about Helen’s misgivings and “she’s convinced herself he’s up to something – she can’t accept that he’s gone.”
Lilian decides to take things in hand and meets Helen on her own. Lilian tells her the truth about Rob blocking the culvert, about Stefan and the fact that Rob was sacked and Justin swears he’ll never work again in the agricultural industry. She’s disgusted at Rob’s total disregard for other people’s safety and tells Helen that Rob contributed towards Freda Fry’s death. “I want you to believe it – he’s gone” Lilian says. It seems that Helen is now convinced, as she says “That’s the best thing that’s happened in a long, long time”, which probably means that Rob will turn up next Thursday. Lilian warns Helen not to tell anyone the true story, for Justin’s and Damara’s sakes.
While this is going on, Ursula finds her way to the Bridge Farm shop, where Pat is behind the counter. Ursula demands to know where her son is, adding: “Your wretched family has hounded him out of the village.” The chief offender is Helen, says Ursula, “for everything she put him through – no wonder he couldn’t take it any more.” Pat snaps: “He’s the one who made her life unbearable and you’re the one who’s twisting the truth to match your twisted imagination.” Ursula is scandalised: “How dare you!” she nearly screams at Pat
Pat has obviously never heard the phrase ‘the customer is king’, as she lays into Ursula. “Let me tell you, Ursula; I’ve had more than enough of your scheming, your hypocrisy and your lies. Rob is entirely to blame for the trauma my daughter suffered and you were conniving every step of the way.” Ursula is having none of it, telling Pat: “No, it’s you and your family, lying to the Court and everyone else.” Pat asks what about the verdict? Ursula replies that Helen took everyone in “and I wonder where she learned her scheming habits?”
By this time, Pat has had enough and says, in a calm voice: “You know, Ursula, between you and Bruce, I almost feel sorry for Rob because of the way you must have brought him up in a nasty, vindictive way. Your son is a monster.” “You can’t say that” Ursula protests, but is steamrollered by Pat saying that Titcheners don’t like people answering back, do they? “That’s how Rob operates” she adds. Ursula is bereft “He could be anywhere” she says. If she was looking for sympathy, she is swiftly disappointed, as Pat goes on; “As far as I’m concerned, the further he’s run away, the better.” “I’ve lost my son” Ursula says, in a broken voice. Pat’s response is to give the metaphorical knife one final twist, as she says “Do you know what, Ursula? That’s your problem, not mine.” Pat adds that whatever Rob does, it’s always out of self-interest and, if Ursula isn’t buying anything, would she please leave. Ursula protests that Pat can’t do that, but Pat reminds her that it’s her shop and what she says, goes. “Please leave right now – and never, ever come back” Pat tells her.
So, has Rob gone? I can’t believe he didn’t tell his mother anything and we wait to see if he has gone for good. I suspect not, as the writers would hardly leave a story unfinished – if he has gone abroad, surely we would have been told? Time will tell.
On Sunday, Jill and Peggy are having a heart to heart in church about making mistakes. Jill says that it’s not easy, listening to other people’s good advice “especially when they are right.” Peggy says it’s good to own up when you are in the wrong and, for her part, Jill confesses that, when she looks up at the Grace Archer memorial window in the church, she often has the urge to put a brick through it. “We could,” Peggy replies, adding “Nobody would ever believe we did it, would they?” The two women giggle at the thought.
It appears that Jill has been rethinking her attitude towards Toby, as she seeks him out on Thursday and invites him and Pip to a special dinner that she is cooking that night. Toby says he’s OK, but he cannot speak for Pip. Jill urges him to try and persuade her. The rest of the Brookfield Archer clan wonder what is the special occasion? Jill will only say that it’s to celebrate being on the mend and David tells Rooooth that, in that case, Jill should invite Toby – and the chances of that are zero. They laugh.
As it happens, Toby does manage to get Pip across to Brookfield by telling her that Rooooth wants to talk about mob grazing. Gosh! I’d cancel all my appointments too for a chance like that. The meal is a great success and Jill makes a speech, thanking Toby for looking after her after her fall. Pip and Jill are back on speaking terms and Jill has made Pip and Toby some flapjacks. Later on, Davis tells Rooooth “Long may the peace continue” but he admits that he’s not completely convinced about Toby being one of the family. Rooooth tells him to just let it go. Over at Rickyard, Pip and Toby are eating flapjacks in bed – God, they’ve just had a meal of roast beef and a pudding too, I’m willing to bet – and Pip is in reflective mood, saying that when she and Toby got together, she was convinced that it would be a quick fling. She goes on: “Here we are now, with our own cottage – it feels like we are a real couple, doesn’t it Toby?” Call me a cynic, but I reckon that’s a sure sign that applecarts are about to be upset and I would not be surprised if Brighton came into it somewhere.
We have a new character in Ambridge – Anisha, aka SuperVet. On Sunday, she is riding with the Hunt and a girl called Delia takes a tumble (see what happens when she gets out of the kitchen?). Nobody appears to give a toss about Delia, but there is great concern over the horse. Anisha says that nothing appears to be broken and offers to walk the ominously-named Lazarus back to the Stables. Shula won’t hear of it; spoiling Anisha’s first ride out and she walks the horse back. I think Delia was put out of her misery, but I can’t be sure.
The next day, concern over Lazarus grows, as he has gone lame. Anisha and Alistair find a thorn lodged in the joint. Treatment, under a general anaesthetic in hospital, would cost £2k - £3k. The horse isn’t insured and Anisha says that she could flush out the joint here at the Stables, which would be much cheaper. Anisha manages to get the thorn out and Shula is impressed, saying that Alistair could never have done that on his own. Anisha replies that that’s the beauty of a partnership – they both have different strengths.
Wednesday is Burns Night and Alistair offers to swap shifts with Anisha so that she can go to The Bull (she’s from Glasgow). Jazzer arrives and the two are soon engaged in banter and mild insults. This culminates in a drinking challenge, shot for shot, with Jazzer on whisky and Anisha on vodka. Anisha wins comfortably and she and Rex take a seriously-drunk Jazzer outside for some fresh air (also, outside is less messy if he throws up.) Rex accuses her of cheating – he knows that a lot of her shots were water, not vodka. How did she get away with that in a packed bar, I ask myself? Was nobody else watching?
Anisha says that she wanted to teach Jazzer a lesson and asks Rex “Why didn’t you stop me?” “I wanted to see how far you’d go,” Rex answers, adding “It seems you’ll stop at nothing to win.” “And what’s wrong with that?” Anisha asks. “Nothing, “Rex replies, “as long as nobody gets hurt.”
Ask Jazzer how his head feels in the morning.
It was a good week for Roy, although it started badly when he picked up Tracy at a bus stop in the pouring rain. Why he didn’t drive past her at speed and through a puddle, is a mystery, but he didn’t. Even worse, she is going to Felpersham. The conversation flows like treacle, with Tracy saying that she thought Roy would have had a better car. He protests that the MPG is very good and Tracy changes the subject to holidays, only for Roy to drone on about the currency exchange rates. Tracy wants some music on, but is unimpressed by Roy’s taste. They talk of TV programmes they like and it is soon evident that their tastes are poles apart.
Tracy has made up her mind. “This isn’t working Roy – we’ve got nothing in common,” she says, adding “Don’t take this the wrong way Roy, but to be honest, I find you a bit boring.” She tells him that he’s not the man for her and she gets out of the car, despite the fact that it’s still raining and they are not in Felpersham. And how does Roy take this romantic setback? “Thank God!” he breathes, as Tracy closes the car door.
Roy tells Kirsty that he’s got Tracy off his back, to which she replies that Tracy will now tell everyone how boring he is. Kirsty herself is happy – she and Tom went for the baby scan and everything appears to be fine. They don’t know the sex of the baby, but Kirsty reluctantly agrees that Tom can tell his family the news. This he does and they are delighted, with Pat asking when did they get back together? Tom then reveals that they haven’t and Kirsty is happy to have him around as a father, but not as a partner. Tony and Pat are nonplussed – how will it work? Tom gets shirty and “we’re going to have a baby and that’s it.” Talking later on, Tony and Pat say that it’s never easy, is it? Nevertheless, they are positive that they will love the grandchild very much.
Finally, we have Josh’s latest scheme to make money, which is to advertise used farm machinery on a website. He runs the idea past David and even gets him to put their baler up for sale and buy a new one. Josh is being helped by Rex, who is desperate for work. A kind-hearted Bert feigns a back injury and gives Rex the job he had from Usha; cutting the hedge at Blossom Hill Cottage. Meanwhile, David and Kenton strike a wager – who will get their pupil past the driving test first? David is teaching Freddie (slow and cautious) and Kenton, Lily (speedy and reckless). The winner will get the loser to perform a chore of the winner’s choosing. Expect some intensive tuition in the future, although the fact that Freddie and Lily have the one car between them could make things difficult.