Philip Molloy (Will Grundy)
In recent posts, I have suggested that Will is reverting to his erstwhile moaning, whining persona. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I was absolutely right, as was illustrated on Sunday. Will doesn’t turn up for the cricket match and Harrison (or PCB to our readers) manages to get Lily to fill in for him. However, Will does turn up at tea and gathers the team round, as he has something important to tell everyone.
It turns out that he has been talking to the Darrington captain and Will brought up the subject of the proposed takeover of Ambridge by Darrington. PCB read out an e-mail on the subject at the EGM in March, and it was this that convinced people to vote for females joining the team. Will says that the Darrington captain assured him that no such e-mail had been written or sent and the entire story was false. This means that PCB lied to them all, rants Will and he’s not fit to be captain of Ambridge - especially as he’s a policeman. PCB should resign says Will, foaming ever so slightly at the mouth and he shouts down PCB’s protest that he did it to save the team, yelling: “Now you all know the truth - Harrison Burns is a liar!”
No doubt Will is telling the truth, but the question remains, ‘so what?’ We are talking about a village cricket team here, but Will is determined to turn it into a major incident. Rex tries to reason with him, but Will is long past that stage. Rex asks if this isn’t more about Will’s antipathy to women players, rather than some high moral stance, but Will denies this, even when Rex points out that, if they had no women players, there wouldn’t be a team. “He’s got to resign!” yells a demented Will. He then proceeds to roam the village, drumming up support for PCB to be tarred and feathered and dragged through the village.
One person who he tries to persuade is Neil, who is in two minds on the subject. He wrestles with this weighty moral problem for a couple of days before coming down on Will’s side. Come on lads, at the end of the day, does it really matter? Suppose PCB does resign and another EGM votes to ban women players, what then? Who will take over as captain - who would want to captain a team of eight or nine players? Does Will really want to be known as the man who destroyed cricket in Ambridge? Get a sense of perspective everybody - we never had this much fuss over the untruths that preceded the Iraq war and it’s only a bloody cricket team and it’s not as if anybody has died, or been defrauded of thousands of Pounds, is it?
There may be another reason for Will to tread carefully - as he quite rightly pointed put, PCB is a policeman and, should he develop a vindictive streak, Will might find himself being done for speeding four or five times a week, or fined for dropping litter on a regular basis. And who knows what might happen when it comes to the renewal of Will’s shotgun licence?
Let’s move on from Will. Phoebe is home from college and is somewhat strapped for cash. She’d like to go out with her friends and can Roy lend her £20 please? All he has is a fiver, which doesn’t make his daughter very happy. She would like to go away with her friends later in the holiday, but has no money. Roy suggests getting a part-time job and says that he might be able to get her a job at Grey Gables. Phoebe is horrified at the thought of waiting on tables or cleaning rooms, but there may be another solution.
That solution goes by the name of Jennifer, to whom Phoebe tells her woes. Phoebe has a long reading list for the holidays and she has no new clothes. Plus she could do with a new hard drive for her laptop and would like to go away with her friends, if only she had the money. Jennifer takes her granddaughter on a shopping trip and Phoebe ends up with a couple of designer T-shirts and a new hard drive, among other things. Roy asks Phoebe where they came from and Phoebe says that she tried to stop Jennifer, but she got carried away.
Roy drives Phoebe over to Home Farm, where she has been invited for supper and he has a quiet word with Jen. He thanks her for buying the tops etc and tells her about Phoebe’s ambition to go off with her friends. He thinks that Phoebe should get a holiday job to pay for the trip “and not rely on the Bank of Grannie.” In conversation later, Phoebe apologises to Jennifer, who says that she understands Roy’s point of view and the two agree that there will be no more shopping trips. “But I could slip you a cheque every now and then” Jennifer says. To her credit, Phoebe says no - Roy is right; she cannot keep relying on handouts and she will ask Adam for a fruit-picking job. Good for you Phoebe!
Lilian has also been invited for supper and Jennifer asks for her help in moving a load of books, which Lynda has donated to be sold at the Fete. There are a lot of books written by Dorothy L Sayers and Jennifer suddenly realises where she has heard the name Harriet Vane before - she is a character in a Sayers’ novel. Lynda must have read the books, so it follows that she is the Harriet Vane who is plaguing Eddie Grundy with e-mails, asking question after question about the Grange Farm B&B offering. This news delights Lilian, who says, in a pleased voice “Well, well, well - who’d have guessed it?”
And why is Lilian so pleased? She is scheduled to do a Speedwatch stint with Lynda the next day and she knows that Lynda has been trying to find out her age. Lilian is worried that Lynda will tell Justin that she will be 70 in a couple of days (presumably Lilian hasn’t been very honest with him). The Speedwatch isn’t going very well, with the two women making barbed remarks to each other. Eventually, Lilian tells Lynda (“or should I call you Harriet?”) that she knows her secret and that she is an Internet troll. Lilian soon apologises for this and for the hurtful things she said about Lynda not having children when the two began rowing about James and Leone. Eventually peace breaks out and the two agree to keep each other’s secrets.
It was quite a week for Lynda. Fallon airs her concerns to PCB about the lack of progress with the Fete - nothing seems to be happening and Lynda won’t step down from organising it. PCB is more worried about the cricket - should he resign? Fallon says no - he has to man up and fight his corner. PCB thinks that’s a bit rich, coming from someone who is scared to confront Lynda. Fallon is stung into going to see Lynda, who admits that things are behind schedule and it’s all her fault. No, no, says Fallon - Lynda has got a lot on and perhaps this year she should take a step back and let Fallon get more involved? Lynda is pathetically grateful and agrees like a shot, much to Fallon’s (and my) surprise.
Fallon returns home and tells PCB. She has also told him to get his backside into gear about their search for a house and she gets touchy when he says that he has decided to tough out the cricket situation. Fallon asks, angrily, if that’s all he thinks about and what about the house situation? In response, PCB shows her his various bank books, deposit accounts, ISAs and suchlike - he has enough money for a substantial deposit and Fallon is overjoyed. That seems like a fair division of responsibilities to me; Fallon chooses the house and PCB pays for it.
Justin was involved - sometimes only peripherally - in a number of stories last week. As we said, Lilian was desperate that he didn’t learn her real age and, to cheer herself up, she had a full makeover; haircut, hair colour, although she stopped short of further botox. Justin thinks she looks fabulous and so does Matt, who Lilian runs into at The Bull. She’s flattered; even more so when Matt remembers it’s her birthday coming up. “We had some good times” Matt says, before presenting her with a cheque for £20 k; not a birthday present, but the latest instalment of what he owes.
Matt also featured large last week - he confronted Roy at Grey Gables as he (Matt) was organising the Racecourse Investors’ day at G-G and he impresses on Roy the need for total secrecy and privacy. Matt appreciates that Roy can’t keep the fire doors nailed shut, but maybe he could have a trusted member of staff, presumably armed with a Kalashnikov, strategically situated to take out any guest who might accidentally stray into the wrong corridor? Roy promises to check into the security arrangements for the G20 conference in Hamburg to see if he can learn something.
Meanwhile, Justin and Latif Hussain are on the golf course. Justin asks if things are OK on the racecourse deal. Latif is extremely satisfied and intimates that he might even buy into the second phase of the investment. Perhaps Justin would like to come along to the Investors’ Day? Justin says ‘no thanks’, remarking that Matt has been looking very smug recently and is his part in the whole deal as minor as he makes out?
While this is going on, Tom encounters Matt at The Bull and Tom accuses him of making trouble over the land deal. Matt’s response is that he doesn’t need to help Tom screw up his business, as Tom can do that by himself. Tom asks if Matt gets a kick out of doing this and Matt counters by saying that Tom botched the land deal because he was greedy, “so don’t go preaching to me - go home and forget how you lost your family £100 k.” By the way, Tom has (probably wisely and at Pat’s suggestion) turned down Brian’s offer of being Ruairi’s Attorney - he can (probably quite rightly) foresee only strife. Brian isn’t happy, but what can he do?
Tom leaves and Justin enters the bar. Matt approaches him and says that he’d like the two of them to make a fresh start. As Matt leaves, Tom returns and buttonholes Justin and tells him that it was Matt who scuppered their land deal. “He’s a crook with no morals,” Tom says, adding: “if you have dealings with him, be careful.” On Friday, Justin tells Lilian (who has just returned from being complimented by Matt in The Bull) that he knows about Matt’s involvement in the Bridge Farm land deal. What is he going to do? Lil asks. He’s not sure, but says that Matt is a fool to try and play tricks on him. As Lilian goes to the bathroom - yes, it did get finished - Justin rings Anthea, his PA. “I want you to get hold of some names for me” he tells her, adding: “it may take a bit of detective work.”