Annabelle Dowler (Kirsty Miller)
Kirsty has decided that if Roy is to get anywhere with Lexi, he needs a gentle shove. To be honest, he needs a massive kick up the backside, but Kirsty doesn’t know about Roy finding Phoebe’s pregnancy test in his bathroom and the fiction made up by Lily that it was left there by Lexi, who is seeing Konstantin, one of the pickers. I hope you followed that, as I will be asking questions.
On Sunday, Adam has organised a cricket knockabout for the pickers, many of whom have never heard of the game and whose interest is zero. Lexi is there with Kirsty and Roy turns up with a very attractive girl on his arm. It turns out that the girl - Kit - spends all her time looking at her phone and, when Roy offers to show her round the village, she makes an excuse and leaves. Actually that’s not quite accurate, as she goes to the loo, then leaves, then texts Roy a rather lame excuse later. Kirsty takes the opportunity to leave Roy and Lexi alone.
So how did things go? Kirsty is keen to know, but Roy says she couldn’t keep her eyes off Konstantin, who was half naked, like a Greek god. On Tuesday, Kirsty is giving Lexi one of her Conversational English sessions at home when Roy walks in. Kirsty invites Lexi to stay for supper, but she replies that she has to go as it is her turn to cook. Kirsty urges Roy to go after her and offer her a lift but he doesn’t. Why not? Kirsty demands and Roy says she’s leaving in a few weeks and besides, she’s got Konstantin to keep her happy.
Time for Plan B. Kirsty persuades Lexi to go with her to a book signing by a popular author of horror books. Roy also turns up, having been invited by Kirsty, who promptly says she’s going home and leaving the two of them together. This is marginally more subtle than handcuffing the two of them together and stuffing a packet of contraceptives in Roy’s pocket, but the time for subtlety is over. Anyway, it appears to work, as the two of them get on well and, when they are queuing up for a book signing, Lexi confesses that there were some parts of the talk that she didn’t understand - what, for instance, is a ‘bonkbuster’?
If Roy were, for the sake of argument, Toby, he would seize the opportunity and say ‘it’s difficult to put into words, but if you come round mine, I can show you’ but he isn’t, and doesn’t. Instead he explains the term. It appears that this relationship is moving at the speed of an arthritic centipede carrying the weekly shopping, then Lexi says that she has enjoyed herself “and I’m just sad that it is finishing so early.” For once in his life, Roy picks up on a cue and says “but it doesn’t have to, does it?” and the next thing we know, the pair are sitting in a wine bar and chatting. Instead of enjoying the moment, Roy says that Lexi would probably be happier spending the time with Konstantin. Lexi is mystified - this is the second time that Roy has mentioned Konstantin; why would she want to be with him? “He’s 25 years old and has the brains of a slug” she tells Roy, “so why would I want to be with him?”
If I may digress here, Lexi’s pronouncement would seem to indicate that Toby would stand no chance with her, and we’re not talking about his age either, but back to the wine bar. Roy tells Lexi the story about finding the pregnancy test (this is the first she’s heard of it) and that Phoebe and Lily told him that Lexi was seeing Konstantin. “They must have got it muddled up somehow” says a confused Roy, but Lexi is quicker on the uptake: “when Phoebe comes back (she’s away for a couple of nights) you need to have a serious talk with her” she says, drily. Come on Roy - Lexi is going home in a few weeks and Phoebe’s away with a friend, this is the ideal opportunity to get to know Lexi better and let Phoebe find a pregnancy test in the bathroom - she can worry for a change.
Elsewhere, Adam is full of angst over seeing Lilian and Matt kiss and embrace and Ian is all for telling Justin what’s going on, saying that it does no good to keep these things secret - look at the damage that Helen’s silence about Adam kissing Charlie did to Adam and Ian’s relationship. Adam is reluctant, hoping that there is some explanation other than that Lilian is playing away with Matt. On Tuesday, he has to endure a BL Board meeting (you will be delighted to know that Home Farm retained the contract to farm the Estate land, although Justin had to beat Martyn Gibson to a pulp) followed by drinks and sandwiches for Justin, Brian and himself at Grey Gables. Throughout lunch, Adam is squirming as Justin expresses his love for Lilian and repeatedly says what a lucky man he is to have found her.
On Thursday Adam confronts Lilian at the Dower House (Justin is away) and tells her what he saw at Grey Gables, with Lilian leaving Matt’s suite and them kissing and hugging. Lilian says that she was intrigued by Matt’s remorse - an emotion that he has never shown before - and the kiss marked the end of something, rather than a continuing affair. She loves Justin and will make him a good wife - Matt is the past (apparently he has checked out of Grey Gables) and Justin is all the future she needs. Adam is uncomfortable, because the whole situation reminds him of the difficulties that he and Ian faced - and indeed, still do. Lilian suggests that he does something really special for Ian to show him how he is feeling.
Adam takes this to heart. So what does he do - book the Orient Express? First Class tickets to some romantic destination? Not quite - Ian rings him up (Adam is getting some end of the day work in on a tractor, or combine or some other piece of agricultural machinery) and Adam tells him not to cook tonight, as he’s ordering a takeaway with all the trimmings from the Star of Mumbai (other Indian restaurants are available). Not only that, but Adam suggests that they eat outside and - the piece de resistance - he has a bottle of New Zealand Riesling chilling in Jennifer’s fridge (always assuming of course that Lilian hasn’t found it on a visit to Home Farm).
I was not convinced that this was a good idea - the nights are drawing in and, here in East Anglia at least, it tends to get a bit parky when the sun goes down. Adam waxes lyrical about the stars, although they don’t give off much heat, and presumably Ian, being a chef, is just pleased to be outside in the fresh air, even if it is dark. Adam asks Ian if he’d help him finish off the wine and Ian says ok, as he hasn’t got to be in work till the afternoon. Come on you lightweight! We are talking one bottle of wine between two and at least 12 hours before you have to be in work; get it down your neck and ask for the dessert wine and digestif trolley.
Adam asks Ian if they are OK and the chef replies that he’s ‘content enough’. Adam is dissatisfied - that sounds like second best; if Ian could make one change to make him happier, what would it be? Ian replies that Adam knows the answer to that - he’d like a child “if I could be sure that I was bringing it into a secure and happy home, loved by both parents” but the week ends with Ian asking whether that is a description of himself and Adam? Same-sex parents - I can hear the Susan Carter gob engaging overdrive already.
As well as getting on my nerves, Susan seems to be annoying Oliver. He goes into the shop to buy some stuff for the Bank Holiday picnic, to which Ed has invited him, but he says that he won’t be going. The tab comes to £24 and Susan, who is as subtle as a dustbin full of lard, offers to put it on the slate for him if he’s short of money. Oliver is getting a bit pissed off with her continued harping on about his supposed poverty and says sharply “I wouldn’t have come in if I didn’t have the money.” This is way too subtle for Susan and she also doesn’t grasp the implied rebuke when Oliver refers to “the misplaced concerns which you have shared with the whole village.” Way too subtle Oliver - if you want Susan to realise that you are upset with her, you’re going to have to tell her that she’s a nosey cow who is too quick to jump to conclusions and why doesn’t she mind her own business and keep her nose out of other people’s business? Mind you, even then Susan would probably put it down to him feeling low, or suffering from a touch of indigestion.
Oliver goes to see Emma to tell her that he won’t be going to the picnic but he is waylaid by Keira who hugs his legs and is obviously pleased to see him. How can he not go now? He enjoys himself and says that this is the first time that he has laughed since Caroline died. He and Emma reminisce about Caroline and this makes him sentimental and he apologises to Emma for getting emotional. Emma replies that you can only be embarrassed in front of strangers “and we’re not strangers; we’re family.” I’d like to report that, upon realising that this makes him kin with, among others, Susan, Eddie, Will, Joe and assorted Horrobins, Oliver dissolved into floods of tears and reached for the cheese knife as the only handy sharp object, but in reality he was quite touched.
Oliver’s inability to decide what he is going to do in the future is exercising the minds of a lot of people. The Grundys seem quite satisfied that their tenure at Grange Farm is assured and, despite what I may have written earlier, there appears to be genuine affection on both sides, with the Grundys caring about Oliver as a friend (or family, if they insist) to be consoled rather than as a landlord to be sucked up to. Someone else who is interested in Oliver’s future is Peggy, who treats him to afternoon tea. Oliver tells her of his indecision - should he stay or go to New York and sell Grey Gables? Peggy remembers when, in the time before she and Jack were married, he was going through a tough time and his work - and especially how owning Grey Gables - put him at the heart of the community and got him through. Oliver asks whether Peggy is saying that he should forget New York? Her reply is that it’s not up to her, but there are many people who consider that Ambridge is where he really belongs. We know what you really think, Peggy.
And now we have a health warning - beware of exploding breakfasts. Last week was the judging day between Clarrie’s and Susan’s recipes for Kefir. Susan was quietly confident that her numerous varieties would win the day. Sadly, she took them out of the fridge and left them and they exploded all over the kitchen. Neil was not happy - the smell of sour milk was making his eyes sting and he was off to the pigs (presumably for some not-so-very-fresh air), leaving her to clear up the mess. In fact, this was a new, dominant Neil who, as he left his wife standing amid a kitchen liberally festooned with a mess of fermenting yoghurt, almost snarled: “And when I get back, Kefir had better be a dim and distant memory.” Steady on Neil; carry on like this and you’ll soon be demanding to be in sole charge of the TV remote control.