Sunny Ormonde (Lilian Bellamy)
Everybody in Ambridge it seems has got a secret and some are better at hiding it than others. Take Pip and Rooooth – they are getting ready for the lambing/calving onslaught and Rooooth is unsubtly pumping her daughter for news of Toby. Did she ever find out why he went to Brighton? Pip’s answer was that it was ‘personal stuff’ and she cannot say any more. Not knowing when to leave well alone, Rooooth asks when will he start paying back the £5k that Pip lent him? This annoys Pip and she retorts that she knows Toby and she trusts him.
Two other people with a secret are Lilian and Justin. On Tuesday, they wake up together in the Dower House and, while Justin makes breakfast, Lilian slips out to her car, dressed in fur coat and slippers, to retrieve her phone. Unfortunately for her, Eddie is delivering a load of logs and to say that he is surprised is something of an understatement. He makes one or two innuendoes and an unamused Lilian tells him that she and Justin are having a breakfast meeting. Justin seems to think that Lilian handled the situation very well, but she’s not so sure and says that Eddie’s no fool, but he’s not very discreet and she thinks she ought to have a quiet word with him.
Later on she seeks him out and says she’d like a chat. She hopes Eddie hasn’t been indulging in any lurid speculation? In a very thinly-veiled threat, she reminds Eddie that he – and also son Ed – have done very well out of the Estate. Justin, she tells him, is a fair man, but she’s sure that Eddie realises that false rumours can spring up and backfire on the people who started them. “Do you understand what I’m saying, Eddie? Be careful” she warns. Eddie may be many things, but he knows which side his bread is buttered and replies. “A working breakfast – that’s good enough for me.”
But this is Ambridge and the minute anyone is told a secret, they cannot wait to tell someone else. Eddie obviously tells Clarrie, who later starts to tell Susan about an early visitor to the Dower House, then stops herself, saying that she was sworn to secrecy. In a breathtaking moment of self-unawareness, Susan says “Go on – you know it’s safe to tell me.” Clarrie still refuses, but Susan says that she can guess who the visitor was.
Just how much Susan can be trusted with a secret is illustrated when Anisha tells Alistair that she is worried that she has gained a reputation as a hard-drinking waster; one customer described her as ‘the vet who drank Jazzer under the table.’ Alistair laughs and reckons it was Susan who spread the story. “They don’t call Susan Carter the village radio for nothing” he tells his partner, chuckling.
This gives Anisha an idea and she visits the shop, where Susan says that she has heard a lot about her. Anisha tells her about how she cheated in the drinking contest, adding the magic words “keep it to yourself.” To be fair, Susan does just that – for nearly an hour – then she tells Clarrie while they are at work in the dairy (this is when Clarrie almost mentions Lilian). Susan says that, if it were she who put Jazzer in his place, she’d want everyone to know about it and Susan and Clarrie agree that Anisha has earned their respect. A bit later, Anisha is out running and catches up with Rex (also out running). He is surprised because Bert Fry told him about Anisha’s cheating and he wonders how Bert knew. “News travels fast round here” Alisha remarks, drily.
While Anisha may have gained Susan’s respect, one person who is distinctly not amused is Jazzer. Anisha has to attend to a sick pig and Tom mischievously leaves him alone with her. Jazzer accuses her of breaking the rules and demands a rematch. “Sorry, I don’t do second chances” she laughs, upon which he demands an apology. When Anisha refuses, Jazzer asks her out, in his caveman, knuckle-dragging manner. She turns him down but, as she is leaving, she slips over in the mud and asks Jazzer to help her up. He refuses, until she does apologise, which she does with bad grace. I was going to title this blog ‘Anisha falls for Jazzer’, but I think she deserves better.
Another person sweating on a secret is Tom, who is picking Peggy up from the hairdressers and who worries what she might think about Kirsty’s pregnancy and his part in it (and I use the term advisedly). He needn’t have worried, as Peggy takes it all in her stride, although she does tell Tom that he will have to provide for the baby and give Kirsty as much support as she needs. Tom (who, incidentally, is off to Brazil shortly for a conference under the Nuffield scheme) is much relieved. Not only does Peggy take the news well, but when she meets Kirsty later that day, she gives her a cheque as a present. We don’t know how much for, but it must have been significant, as Kirsty frets to Helen that she doesn’t know if she can accept it. Helen tells her that Peggy would be upset if she didn’t.
Henry continues to be an obnoxious little sod, answering back and hitting baby Jack, calling him smelly and dropping his teddy into the bath. Both Pat and Peggy try to coax the reason for his behaviour from him and it turns out that he feels rejected because Rob didn’t want to take him away as well as Jack. Instead of telling him that he should fall to his knees and give thanks, Pat, Helen and Peggy agree that what Henry needs is buckets of love and reassurance. Spare the rod and spoil the child, I say.
While on the subject of Rob, Harrison Burns swings past Bridge Farm in his official capacity as PC. PCB tells Pat and Helen that they have news of Rob – his passport was traced going through Heathrow and he took a flight to Minneapolis. It was a positive I.D. and, should he return to the UK, he would be flagged up to the police as ‘a person of interest’. “I think it’s safe to say that you don’t have to worry any more about Mr. Rob Titchener.” “No – we don’t” says Helen, quietly.
Let’s return to the Justin/Lilian situation. Kenton is talking to Fallon in the pub – another secret here, as Kenton reveals that Freddie told him that he lied to Elizabeth about passing his maths resit. Kenton then talks to Jennifer and he reveals that there has been some talk in the pub about Lilian and Justin. Jennifer is distraught for her sister and blames Kenton for all the ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ asides that he was making during the pantomime. Lilian and Justin spent the day playing hookey from work and went to Felpersham Races, where much champagne was quaffed.
Justin has some bad news – Miranda is coming down for the weekend and he has the bright idea of taking her to a dinner dance Friday evening. Lilian is philosophical about it and Justin has the even brighter idea of inviting Brian and Jennifer along as well. Brian thinks that Jennifer won’t be up for it, but she regards it as a God-given opportunity to show people their support for Justin and Miranda as a couple and it will send out all the right messages and stop speculation about Justin and Lilian.
Ah, the best-laid plans! On Friday, Lilian tells Jen and Brian that Miranda’s sister has popped in from the Cayman Islands (as you do) and that Miranda wants to spend time with her and therefore cannot attend the dinner dance. It doesn’t matter, however, as Justin has asked Lilian to go instead and won’t they all have a nice time? Jennifer is appalled – now it will look like she and Brian are condoning the affair. On Friday evening, it appears that Justin and Lilian are hell-bent on drawing attention to themselves, whooping and laughing loudly on the dance floor as the champers flows like water.
To make matters worse, Lynda Snell is there and she comes over as Lil and Justin hit the dance floor. Desperately, Jennifer explains that Miranda should be here really, but she couldn’t make it and Lilian took pity on Justin. There are shrieks of laughter from the dance floor and Lynda observes that Justin seems to have got over it and appears to be having a wonderful time. “They’re putting on quite a show” Lynda adds, before taking her leave. Jennifer is beside herself and tells Brian just to look at the two of them. “It’s shameless,” she tells him, adding: “If it carries on like this, my sister is heading for disaster!”