Monday, 1 May 2017

An Everyday Story of Family Disharmony

Tim Bentinck (David Archer)

There was speculation from our readers last week about Lilian’s banking arrangements and how could Matt have deposited money into her account unless it was the same account he raided when he fled to Costa Rica.

I agree that Lilian’s much too savvy to have kept operating the same account and would have left it dormant whilst Amside traded out of a new business account. I also agree that there’s a whiff of money laundering going on. Will his racecourse interests turn out to be a front for a drugs cartel? Is he trying to recruit Anisha to prepare horses heads to slide under his rivals duvets? Or has the Tiger really changed his stripes (thanks for that one Zoe)?

Back to this week’s everyday story of family disharmony and drug kingpins.

Toby’s lamenting the fact that he doesn’t have a gin business any more and is looking for sympathy from Pip, ignoring her problems which he signally fails to grasp. Rex offers him some brotherly advice to accept Kenton’s offer of funding, but he has ‘principles’ to stick to. Toby? Principles? He does indicate that he’s about to change his mind but needs a few days to think about it. He even manages to thank Rex, and more surprisingly it actually sounds sincere, as he does when he goes on to apologise to Pip.

At cricket one of PCB’s ‘girls’. Lily, is having a great innings and putting the men to shame, all to the soundtrack of Will droning on about women not being up to it. A bash on the elbow from a bouncer only drives her on, and she hits the next one out of the field. Although the team didn’t win, she wipes the smile off Will’s face by scoring more runs than him. Cricket is not Lily’s other talent. No I’m not talking about driving proficiency, but design, as we later hear that Toby’s commissioned her to come up with a label for his gin.

Over at Home Farm Brian is relieved to have seen the back of Lilian, who has finally moved back to the Dower House, not least because he can once again rely on the security of his wine cellar. She catches up with Jennifer and says how she couldn’t be happier – “in my beautiful house with the man I love … he’s not going to let me down”. If that’s not setting us up for disaster I don’t know what is, and sure enough we later hear that Justin’s been having very stressful conversations with his lawers and it doesn’t sound good. Justin’s hopping mad as Miranda has hired the top divorce lawyer in London before he could; “she’s going for the skin off my back and she won’t stop until she gets it”.

Even better news for Brian is when David tells him that they’re accepting full responsibility for the IBR outbreak. Without going into detail, David asks Brian to let him know how much it all cost Home Farm and he’ll match it pound for pound. Brian’s a little surprised, and concerned, as he heard about the problems with the tractor’s gearbox, and says he’d be happy to help out with any farm machinery issues in the future.

David moves on to Tony, and calls him while he’s in the middle of weighing up the options for the future of his herd. He arranges to call in later and offers Tony the same deal as he offered Brian – full and unconditional compensation. Tom however has got other ideas and wants to sue: “we’ve got Brookfield up against the ropes, if we play it right we can name our price”. It turns out that Usha’s thinking the same way, and tells Rooooth that it may not have been a good idea for David to accept liability. Rooooth’s also thinks it’s letting Pip off the hook but David is looking to the long-term future of the farm, and that means Pip, so she agrees that no one individual will take the blame, and it’s the family that will take collective responsibility.

We hear from Lynda this week and it appears that her llamas are now sharing their paddock with 6 mystery ponies that have appeared from nowhere. Alistair gives them a thorough inspection and they’re in terrible condition. One of the ponies has such a bad wound on its leg that Alistair and Shula take it back to the stables for immediate treatment. She’s very thin and is running a temperature and Lynda’s so concerned that I wonder if she’ll keep the other ponies rather than turning them over to a welfare charity.

Brian’s winning streak comes to an end when he runs into Matt at Grey Gables and Matt’s keen to tell him all about his time in Costa Rica, and why he’s come back. He says he’s not trying to get Brian to invest (of course he is) but has got a glossy brochure and everything. Brian’s got his own contact in horse racing, Latif Hussain (who incidentally is a business associate of Justin’s). Matt tries to play Brian further by saying this investment’s not for him; “strictly for the big boys”, but then says they’re offering a 12% return. Brian’s not tempted and says he won’t get involved in any scheme Matt’s a part of – after what he did to Lilian.

Matt proceeds to tell Brian about her affair with his half-brother Paul (before he died, obviously) and cited that as a reason for disappearing to Costa Rica with her money (confirms our speculation that this was the case – see Is The Worm About To Turn from 26th January 2015). This is obviously news to Brian, but he stands up for his sister-in-law and warns Matt off hurting her again, but Matt insists “I’m not here to make trouble for anyone – and that’s the honest truth”.

Thing’s aren’t getting any better for Pip. She’s out on her quad bike in the pouring rain when she gets a flat tyre. This seems to be the final straw and she pours her heart out to Alice, who just happens to be passing by. Alice says she’s Pip’s good fairy tonight as she produces a can of tyre repair foam and a pump, and invites her round that evening for a stew that Chris is cooking (without Toby). Chris (who has gone through one of those mysterious Archers character regenerations and now sounds more Borsetshire) cooked the dinner and prepares Alice’s packed lunch for tomorrow while she’s on a business call. Pip gets a text from Toby to say he’s home, but Pip isn’t keen to go and accepts Chris’s offer to stay the night. This doesn’t go down well with Toby the next morning when she gets home and they argue because it doesn’t look like Toby likes it when the boot’s on the other foot. Toby has a plan to save his business and wanted to run the idea past Pip last night. The plan turns out to be going back to Kenton, apologising, and calling the Gin not Fairbrother’s, not Archer’s, but Scruff. Scruff Gin – after Lynda’s dog and a name originally suggested by Robert. Kenton likes this and also approves of the label design Lily came up with, and they shake on a deal.

Back to Brookfield and David tells Rooooth that Pat’s on her way over to talk about the compensation. Rooooth’s worried that she’ll have a lawyer with her and they’re going to sue. Pat does indeed want to talk about compensation, but she wants more. Tony can’t sell his breeding stock as IBR free any more and will need to restock. David tries to argue that they’re not a key part of Pat and Tony’s business, but Pat fairly argues her case and reassures Rooooth that they won’t sue. You’d think Rooooth would be relived at that, but no. David again agreed to pay whatever it costs and Rooooth starts worrying that they’ve written them a blank cheque and they’ll end up owing more than they can afford. In the middle of all this Pip tries to have it out with her mother again. Rooooth’s still angry and accuses Pip of taking the farm to the brink, and it all ends in tears for Pip.

Finally, I don’t know whether anyone else noticed, but by my reckoning Emma could have set a new world record for making a cappuccino – under 40 seconds. I don’t know what sort of coffee machine is in the farm café, but if she is such an accomplished Barista, what on earth is she doing pulling overnight shifts in the chicken factory? She should get tattoos, Ed should grow a chin curtain and the pair of them should set up Ambridge’s first hipster coffee bar.

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