Louiza Patikas (Helen Titchener)
In last week’s blog, we suggested that Rob might turn up again on Thursday. Well, we weren’t wrong, as he turned up at Henry’s school, lurking round the playground, dishevelled and unkempt. He whispers to Henry through the railings and urges him to remember their plan for a secret surprise for mummy.
On Thursday, Helen is all set to drive Henry and Jack somewhere, when Henry remembers he’s left his book behind. Helen goes inside the house to get it and, while she is away, Rob appears from nowhere and tells Henry “It’s time for mummy to have her surprise.” He proceeds to undo Jack’s car seat and takes him away. Henry wants to go too, but Rob forbids it, saying “I’m not your real daddy” and that Henry has to stay behind.
Helen returns, to find the car empty. She calls wildly for Henry and he answers – he tried to follow Rob, but couldn’t keep up. Where’s Jack? Helen asks and Henry replies sadly “Daddy came and took him – he’s taking him for a ride.” Helen asks which way did Rob go and bundles Henry into the car as she drives off in pursuit.
I should have mentioned that the weather is absolutely foul and the rain is coming down chair legs. Rob (presumably stifling the urge to block a culvert or two) is having trouble getting Jack’s car seat in place, but he eventually does so, and races off. He nearly hits Josh’s car (Josh is on the phone to Tom) and Josh tells Tom that some maniac has rushed past him “but he won’t get far that way – he’ll have to turn round.” The reason is a fallen branch across the road, we learn.
Sure enough, Rob’s way is blocked. Helen and Henry aren’t far behind and she is just on the verge of calling the police when she spots Rob’s car. She is – understandably - just this side of hysterical when she confronts Rob and demands that he hands Jack over. Rob tells her that it was she that made him take this action – her and her team of crooked lawyers and Jack is his son. Helen warns him. “Why, what will you do?” he sneers “where’s the kitchen knife this time? No, Helen; you’re not going to take him from me now.”
A struggle ensues and, just then, Pat and Kirsty turn up in Kirsty’s car and witness the fracas. Helen is in a state and Rob snarls at Pat and Kirsty to keep away. Pat calls him “a cruel, disgusting, evil man” and says she’ll call the police, but Helen, suddenly very calm, says that there’s no need. Still calm, she asks Rob where was he going to take Jack – has he got anything prepared? Indeed, has he even got a plan, or is it his idea of revenge on her? “You’re a mess – you’re pathetic” Helen spits.
She goes further, telling Rob that she knows why Justin sacked him and she tells the story of the culvert to Pat and Kirsty, who are appalled. Helen continues to lay into Rob, saying: “How can you face Bert Fry? How can you face anyone in the village after what you did?” Rob is stuttering and sobbing and Helen applies the coup de grace, telling her husband in a voice filled with venom: “There’s nothing left for you here – you’re finished.” She tells him that he is going to let her have Jack and he breaks down, sobbing. “Can I say goodbye?” he blubs, but Helen is in ruthless mood. “No,” she snaps, “Go somewhere far away and don’t come back, because if you do, I will destroy you, do you understand? Now go!”
Back at Bridge Farm, the boys have been put to bed and Pat says that Henry will need lots of reassurance. Tom thinks they should call the police, because what Rob did was kidnapping. “He’s a total psycho” Tom adds. Pat and Kirsty agree with Tom, but Helen says Rob has gone and they won’t catch him now. They persist and in the end Helen says “Call them if you want; I don’t care.” Pat reproaches her, but Helen says, in a firm voice: “It’s over, mum – the boys are safe and Rob has gone. He’s out of my life forever.”
Over at Brookfield, Pip is angry and unhappy in equal measure. The reason? The initials TF should give you a clue. Yes, Toby is at it again. On Sunday, he is steam cleaning the distillery shed when his phone rings. Later on, Josh drops by Rickyard to pick up the cleaner, but it’s not there. He tells Pip that Toby’s pickup isn’t there either. Where is he? Pip is frustrated and more than a little annoyed, because Toby had promised to be back for a lunch of meatballs. Her phone rings and it is Toby, on a line that keeps breaking up, telling her that he had to go down to Brighton urgently and he’ll be back some time later.
Pip is really morose the next day and she bares her soul to Rooooth. Pip had tried to get details from Rex about why his brother keeps going to Brighton, but Rex says she’ll have to ask Toby – it’s his business. Pip moans that she cannot trust Toby and shocks her mother when she lets slip that she gave Toby the £5k she got for the cows. “Don’t tell dad” Pip begs. She doesn’t know if she wants him back “but I still love him” she sobs, asking “what if he’s been using me all along?” It seems to me that Pip falls in love pretty easily – first there was Jude, then Matthew (and that took her hardly any time and we thought they were soulmates) then what was going to be a summer fling with Toby turned into love.
Toby comes back the next day and an angry Pip tells him to go away. He begs for the chance to explain and pip agrees. He tells her that it’s true that he has a friend in Brighton who is in trouble; it is Stella, one of his exes, who is a drug addict and who took the break-up with Toby very badly. The message he got was to say that Stella had overdosed (again) and he had to go and see her, as he felt guilty. She was in intensive care and he stayed with her. It was touch and go, but she pulled through and now has friends and family to look after her. Toby apologises to Pip and says that he doesn’t expect to be forgiven, but he hopes she understands. Instead of saying ‘give me my five grand back, you duplicitous, lying git’ Pip does indeed forgive him and tells him that he can stay, but he mustn’t ever lie to her again. As if!
Justin and Lilian are at it again – Miranda is going away for a few days, so there’s the chance of some nookie at the Dower House. The couple are drinking champagne and making lovey dovey noises, when they hear the sound of a car drawing up. It’s Miranda – turns out she has a cold, so didn’t go away – and Lilian has to make herself scarce, scarpering out the back door, wearing a negligee, fur coat and Justin’s wellingtons. Far from being discomfited, Lilian seems to be enjoying herself hugely and there is much giggling as she slips away. I hope Justin remembered to hide or wash up the second champagne flute and that Miranda didn’t suggest a walk in the countryside. Lilian arrives at Home Farm, where Jennifer is puzzled to see her in a fur coat and whose wellingtons are those by the back door? Lilian says that she couldn’t find her dressing gown and the wellingtons are much too big to be hers.
I think that Anisha, Alistair’s new partner in the vet’s practice, will be shaking things up considerably, in both the business and the village. She has already gained cult status by apparently drinking Jazzer under the table on Burns’ Night and has performed well in the field as a vet. Last week, she confronted Alistair with her vision for the future of their practice. Basically, this entails replacing all the equipment and buying some new kit that she feels is vital if they are to progress. Oh, and by the way, the cost of all this is around £250,000. Alistair is taken aback, but I don’t see why, as I seem to recall that, when he was addicted to playing poker, he owed Matt considerably more than this and everything had to be mortgaged up to the hilt to pay off his gambling debts.
He talks it over with Shula, who agrees with him that he should exercise caution. Anisha told Alistair that he should show some faith in her and it’s not just him any longer: “It’s our future.” When Shula is told about this, she remarks drily that £250,000 is an awful lot of faith, but it would appear that Alistair hasn’t entirely lost the gambling urge, as he eventually agrees to Anisha’s ambitious plans.
Still on the subject of Anisha, I wonder if there may be a future romance her and Rex? Rex let her know that he knows that she cheated during the drinkathon with Jazzer, but says that her secret is safe with him and last week, Rex was cutting the hedge at Blossom Hill Cottage – a job that Bert let him have – and there was a definite rapport between the two of them. Rex seems a really OK guy – we know that he is as poor as a church mouse, but when Anisha pays him and offers him a bit extra as a tip for doing a good job, he refuses it, despite her insistence. If Rex can get over Pip and Toby, there may yet be help for him. Assuming he doesn’t overdose of home-made Dhal, that is.
It was Roy’s birthday last week and he wasn’t a happy bunny. Although he was dumped by Tracy for being boring (a cunning ploy by Roy), she told Susan all about it. According to Tracy, Roy was gutted to be dumped by her “after he spent all that time chasing after me. Not that I was leading him on” – an interpretation of events which makes you wonder what colour is the sky on planet Tracy? Be that as it may, Rent-a-Gob Susan proceeds to tell anyone who’ll listen (and a few that won’t) Tracy’s version of the story, with the result that everyone in Ambridge thinks that Roy is Mr. Boring.
Well, not everyone, as Kate and Kirsty go out with him to The Bull to celebrate his birthday. Kate says how delighted she is to learn of Kirsty’s baby and she refuses to let Roy put himself down. She borrows his phone and goes on a dating App, where she finds a couple of nice-looking girls and urges Roy to do something positive. He does so, no doubt musing on how ironic it is to be given – and to take – advice on relationships by Kate.
However, the Rob episode was the standout story of the week. Helen was very impressive and seems convinced that Rob is not a threat any more and that we have seen the last of him. I suppose that, with the threat of telling the police about him, he would be wise to stay away, but we are talking here about a man with an ego the size of the Matterhorn and an ability to suspend belief and twist facts unmatched in the Western world. Would such a person give up? You might say that only a fool would attempt anything after all that is stacked up against him, but when has logic or reality ever mattered to Rob? I really hope that he has gone and no doubt Timothy Watson (who has played Rob brilliantly over the past few years) will be relieved that he can now walk down the street without being spat at, but Rob is still out there somewhere (the Rob of Damocles) and could be brought back any time. If I were Helen, I’d keep a kitchen knife handy in the glove compartment, just in case.