Monday, 10 April 2017

Things Are Falling Apart – Everywhere

Angus Imrie (Josh Archer)

Let’s start with the latest candidate for ‘Mr Nasty Businessman’ - of course, we are talking about Josh Archer. Josh gets a phone call from a dissatisfied customer and he (Josh) is mega-upset because brother Ben is playing his music loud and Josh tells Rooooth that it sounds unprofessional. His mother says that Ben is revising and he’s entitled to have some enjoyment. Josh, however, can’t see this and storms out, looking for somewhere to conduct his business in peace.

Later on, Ed comes across Josh working from a bus shelter - this boy is obviously determined to start from the bottom up - and Josh is unhappy with Rex for, as Josh sees it, screwing up a possible sale. What has Rex done? Josh goes round to see him and tells him that a crop sprayer (or whatever) on their site has been sold. Great news! Er, no, as the buyer contacted the seller direct after seeing the name of the selling farm on a sign, pictured on the photo of the machine on the Ambridge Farm Machinery website, taken by Rex. So, no commission for Josh and Rex.

Eddie turns up as the two are arguing, with Josh saying that he’s a good mind to take the loss out of Rex’s next commission. Rex asks Eddie what he would charge for being messed around for half a day. Eddie’s response is to warn Josh that he is underpaying Rex and, if he’s not careful, he might find that there’s nobody prepared to work for him. In fact, Eddie goes further and tells David that Josh is seriously underpaying Rex and this leads to a blazing row (which we only hear about later) between David and Josh about the latter’s inability to run a business.

Arguments were breaking out all over the village – David decides to go to The Bull for a pint to show that he’s got nothing to be ashamed of regarding the IBR outbreak. Adam and Joe are there and, astoundingly, Joe refuses David’s offer of a pint, which is a first. Joe goes further and rakes up historical examples of what he says are diseases spread by the Archers and how they always got away with it. An incensed David warns Joe that he could be facing an action for slander if he keeps on in this vein and he storms out of the pub, saying “what the hell was I thinking, coming here?”

People in the village are pointing the finger at Brookfield as being the source of the outbreak and Ed has a quiet word with Pip – has she told David yet about the Brookfield cattle escaping the other day? She hasn’t, and she tells Ed that there are many ways that IBR could be spread and she doesn’t think the escaping cows incident is relevant. “If you say so” Ed says dubiously.

Pip is worried – she’d forgotten that Ed knew about the cattle. What if he starts telling people? Pip feels that she cannot oversee the mob grazing this year – how can she take money from Home Farm when her negligence might be the cause of their ills? Toby urges her not to be hasty – mob grazing proved to be a nice little earner last year. And he should know, as Pip gave him her profits. Despite Toby’s advice, Pip tells Adam that she doesn’t want to do it this year and he is devastated – who can he get to step in at such short notice? He begs her to reconsider but, as Adam tells David later on, she said her mind was made up. Adam insinuates that perhaps David and Rooooth aren’t being very supportive, which is a tad unfair, as this is the first David has heard of Pip’s decision.

On Thursday, Rooooth and Helen meet at Grange Farm when they are both delivering birthday presents for George and Keira. Rooooth wonders if she should go and see Tony and Helen says that that would be a very bad idea, as he is devastated over his Anguses. “You brought this disease into Ambridge and that’s that” Helen tells her. Rooooth protests that there’s no proof of that and a full-scale row blows up on the Grundy’s doorstep. Rooooth reminds Helen that it wasn’t so long ago that Bridge Farm had an outbreak of e.coli “and a child nearly died”, so Helen is in no position to cast aspersions. Ed comes out to stop the argument – Clarrie is inside and has heard every word; it brought it all back to her (she was the source of the e.coli) and, Ed says angrily, she is currently crying her eyes out.

Rooooth is distraught and goes off to see Usha, in tears herself. Meanwhile, Ed goes to see Pip and tells her what’s happened. “You’ve got to ‘fess up” he tells her. Pip realizes that he is right and, when her mother returns, Pip tries to broach the subject. Rooooth, however, doesn’t listen and keeps banging on about how everybody seems to hate her. “It’s a comfort that we can rely on you 100%” she tells her daughter, after which Pip puts the confession on hold. No doubt it will all come out at some time – the only question would seem to be whether there will be any cows left alive.

When Rooooth turned up, wailing, at the vicarage, Usha was talking to Harrison Burns, who had gone there to apologise for any perceived slight on the, shall we say, more mature female residents that wanted to play cricket. Usha does not give him an easy time and, when Rooooth arrives, she leaves him on the doorstep. The boycott is still on-going and, while Usha concedes that her ball skills may be lacking, what about her life experience? PCB is nonplussed and tells her that ball skills are fundamental – cricket is about catching a ball, throwing a ball, hitting a ball. “Everything to do with cricket is balls.” He tells her. “You said it” Usha replies.

Poor Harrison; the day before he went to the shop, where Susan laid into him for not asking her – or many other, older women - if she wanted to play cricket. Susan flounces out into the stockroom and PCB makes his escape. Outside, he runs into Ed and advises him not to go in, as it’s a hornets’ nest. “I’ve just been verbally steamrollered” PCB tells Ed. “Welcome to my life – the mother-in-law from Hell” Ed mutters.

On Tuesday, Lilian is due to take Peggy to the chiropodist, but is stranded in Felpersham with a flat tyre. Justin steps into the breach and is given the rough edge of Peggy’s tongue when she accuses him of casting off his marriage when it became inconvenient. Instead of throwing her out of the car, Justin tries to win Peggy over by explaining how he feels. He says that he has everything he needs in life, except the most important thing – the right person to share it with. Peggy seems to have been won over and tells Justin that Lilian is very fragile and he mustn’t mess her about – either stay with her or leave her alone now. “I’ve made my choice Peggy – now it’s up to her” Justin tells her.

There is one extremely large and unexpected fly in the ointment, however. On Friday, Justin and Lilian have been out for the day and they return to the Dower House. Lilian (who else?) suggests a G&T and goes into the next room. We hear a gasp from her and then an indignant Justin says “Who the bloody hell are you?” and the last words we hear are seemingly voiced by a very bad Matt Crawford impersonator, who says “Hello pusscat – have you missed me?” The plot, as they say, thickens.

The mention of gin brings us round to Toby’s latest batch, which included the gathered-by-moonlight fresh marshmallow leaves. Toby is on his uppers – Pip’s money has been spent and he doesn’t have enough to finance another batch, so this is make or break. He tries to interest Lilian and/or Justin into backing him, but they just have eyes for each other. The ironic thing is that the latest batch isn’t half bad, with various people paying Toby compliments. On Friday, he is in the cellar of The Bull with Kenton, changing barrels, when the latter asks how much would it cost to set up the gin business again? Toby’s response is “several grand” and Kenton reveals that he and Jolene would like to back his gin enterprise.

Toby is delighted and ready to promise Kenton anything. Well, make that almost anything as Kenton mentions, almost in passing, that they would like to make a change to the name. Instead of ‘Fairbrother’s Gin’ it would be called ‘Archer’s Gin’. This is too much for Toby to take and he says that he has worked too hard to give up the name. “Well, that’s the deal, mate” Kenton tells him, to which an irate Toby answers “It’s no deal, mate; you’ve gone way too far” and he stalks out. Well done Toby – you were that close to getting your business up and running and being able to pay Pip back and now you are back to square one and I wouldn’t be surprised if Kenton gave you the push from bar work. Pip will be pleased when you tell her.

As the title of this week’s blog suggests, there was conflict and argument in all parts of Ambridge last week. Someone who definitely wasn’t happy was Emma, which will come as a surprise to nobody. However, this wasn’t the usual, miserable, day-to-day moaning, but something much deeper. While cleaning for Peggy, Emma manages to break an ornament and is very upset. Peggy asks why is she taking it so badly? We should also mention that Peggy says not to worry about paying for the ornament, as she’d never liked it anyway. This is a bit rich, as the ornament was one of Christine’s, but we’ll let that pass.

Emma replies that she has been taking stock of her life and those of the other Grundys and, while she loves Clarrie to bits, she doesn’t want to end up like her, always just scraping by. Emma hates it that her children are doomed to disappointment all the time and that she cannot give them the nicer things of life. Peggy gives her a pep talk, saying that she is a very capable young woman and she (Peggy) is sure that Emma will find a way.

And indeed she does, as, when Ed comes in from work on Wednesday, Emma tells him that she has bought a joint present for George and Keira – a nice, new trampoline, plus she has arranged a party for Keira on Saturday. Ed goes ballistic – how much did she pay? The answer (around £200) does nothing to improve his mood and he says “are you crazy? We can’t afford it.” Emma tells him that she put it on the credit card and she will pay it off by taking a night job at the chicken factory. Ed is still foaming at the mouth and tells her to cancel the trampoline and the party, to which her response is to tell him to get the trampoline assembled, so the kids can see it in the morning.

Ed is far from happy and Eddie asks him what’s the problem? Ed feels that Emma thinks he cannot provide for his family (spot on there), but Eddie says that Emma just wants to do her bit – look at Clarrie as an example. But Ed is adamant; he’s putting his foot down and tells his dad “She’s made the wrong decision. I’m not having it. It’s not going to happen – no chance!” Emma starts on Monday, if you are interested.

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