Joanna van Kampen (Fallon Rogers)
Houses and homes seem to be the theme this week and we start by joining Fallon who is putting her furniture restoration skills to good use by doing up a ‘whatnot’ to fill an empty alcove in the house they’re hoping to buy. She’s still daunted by the financial commitment but then Harrison hears from his parents who have said they’re prepared to re-mortgage the family home so that Harrison and Fallon can buy Woodbine Cottage instead. But can either of them bring themselves to accept this generous offer from the Bank of Mum and Dad?
Later Fallon is at the fete committee and she’s struggling to concentrate on the problems of a broken PA system and should they have a Town Crier instead, when she receives a call from Harrison. He’s at cricket and can’t concentrate either, and has just been called out for a duck. It turns out they’ve both been worrying about nothing, because they both want to stay at Woodbine and accept his parents offer. Someone else who is delighted is Christine when Harrison calls round to tell her that they can now afford to buy it after all.
Emma’s got her eye on one of the seven affordable houses in Justin’s Bridge Farm planning application, but Susan’s worried they’ll attract ‘hard-to-house” families – what, like the Grundys? Lynda’s not in favour either, criticising the design and environmental impact, and says she would get it thrown out if she were still on the parish council. Bearing in mind it’s Emma she’s saying this to in the cafe, she should count herself lucky she didn’t get her camomile tea thrown all over her. Rex later tells her that there will be people speaking against the development at the next parish council meeting, possibly including Harrison, who thinks it will spoil the views.
So it doesn’t sound like it will be an easy process for Justin’s planning application, and there’s more trouble for the Matt/Justin/Lilian triangle when Lilian, after narrowly avoiding Matt outside the village shop, finds him turning up on her doorstep - when Justin’s not there. He tells her that he’s probably going to go back to Costa Rica soon and seems to be testing the water when he asks her if that’s what she wants him to do. She says “yes”, but it’s not going to be that simple.
Justin receives his decree nisi so Lilian makes a special lunch to celebrate. Justin pours the Champagne and they toast each other, but then Lilian drops the bombshell that the house is owned by a Trust which was set up by Matt. Apparently Lillian is the sole beneficiary but it does come as something of a surprise to Justin, who now wants to get them to sell the property – to him! Matt gets wind of this and suggests that Justin and Lilian meet him at Grey Gables. This nearly sends Justin over the edge but they go and see him anyway. Matt agrees to ask the Trust to sell the house and Lilian manages to spin it as a success for Justin.
Not content with making more mischief with Lilian and Justin, Matt reminds Anisha of the conversation they had when they first met about using her services to check his syndicate’s racehorses. He’s arranged for her to see 4 horses – 2 local and 2 near Newmarket – this week! Anisha protests as she’s so busy, but after Matt namedrops Latif Hussain, she agrees to give him 2 days of her time at the end of the week.
Matt disappears just as Alistair returns from the yard, and you can imagine his reaction, as he will have to take on more work to cover, and they argue about doing business with Matt. With Latif’s connections Anisha thinks it will be a good networking opportunity to win more prestigious business. Alistair’s still worked up about it when he gets home, but Shula sees where Anisha’s coming from and tries to talk him round. They’re in the middle of arguing about it, and in particular Alistair’s previous dealings with Matt, when Oliver walks in. Oliver thinks he’s getting in the way and Shula catches him packing, and tries to persuade him to stay. She goes to see Alistair and the arguments continue, coming to a head when she blames him for the atmosphere that she thinks is driving Oliver away. “You need to take a good, hard look at yourself”, she tells him. Oliver has been at a bit of a loose end and we wait to see whether he does move out.
When Matt turns up at the practice again, Alistair is enraged, and provoked further when Matt realises that he’s not told Anisha about his gambling past and therefore she doesn’t realise he’s a “dodgy partner” who could gamble the business away, or worse, that he’s been involved in horse doping. I think the bigger story is that the horses Matt’s been talking about actually exist.
In other news, Lexi pops round to Kirsty for another English lesson (I wish she wouldn’t – the dialogue’s so tedious). Roy comes home, expecting Lexi to be gone, but manages to agree a truce with her over informing the police about the graffiti, but still spectacularly fails to ask her out.
Finally we return to the village fete. Alice has an answer to the problem of the broken PA, and is at Home Farm looking for Brian. She tracks him down while he’s on speed-watch duty, and asks him to be MC for the fete. Alice persuades him by the prospect of meeting the Duxford sisters and getting his photo in Borsetshire Life. Saying she’ll get Kate to do next week’s speed-watch shifts for him seal the deal. What he’ll say when he finds out that not only is there no PA system but there will be limited opportunity to schmooze the Duxfords, awaits to be seen.