Sunday, 15 February 2015

It's the Valentine's Ball at The Bull, but who will dance to Rob's tune? A tricky week in Ambridge


We’ll milk again…


Nostalgia was in the air this week in Ambridge. While villagers prepared their Victory Rolls for the Valentine’s Day Ball, David and Pip rummaged through the NFU archives, reminiscing about Dan Archer’s marvellous mechanical mobile milking machine. ‘Great-granddad was a real pioneer,’ agreed Pip. ‘Now can we buy a £100K tractor Dad? That toy one you got me for my first birthday smelt of custard.’ (What this? Ed.)

… but it’s beef for Ed!


Oliver came up trumps for the Grundys this week, suggesting to Ed that he carry on renting his land but swap his dairy cattle for a small beef herd. ‘That’s put me in the mood to dance Bert Fry off the floor,’ crowed Joe, doing a little jig so all the mothballs fell out of his 1947 suit. Oliver also offered Ed and Emma the use of a barn and furniture from Grey Gables for their wedding reception, and even the cows did their bit by passing their TB test. So maybe there will still be Grundys at Grange Farm after all…

Local crime update

Ambridge’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) is investigating an allegation of assault at the meet of the South Borsetshire Hunt this week. Hunt member Mr Rob Titchener is accused of punching an anti-hunt campaigner and trying to grab his camera. The alleged offence occurred after the hunt had accidentally (for the second time this season) killed a fox. The investigation has stalled as the only witness, Mrs Shula Hebden-Lloyd, appeared to be struck by a thunderbolt from Heaven when asked to confirm Mr Titchener’s version of events. He claimed that Mr Murphy had set upon him with a machete, causing him slight bruising to the arm. Enquiries are continuing once PC Burns has celebrated Valentine’s Day with his girlfriend Fallon and their new floral teapot.

Live on air: the Boudicca of Borsetshire


Jennifer delivered a rousing call to arms against Route B on Radio Borsetshire this week, described by one Facebook fan as ‘like Churchill in pearls and a lovely Brora cashmere twinset’.  Goaded by charmless interviewer Rhiannon that she was more Nimby than Occupy, Jennifer found her voice as rural champion. ‘It’s time someone stood up for the unsung heroes, the ones collecting kids from school, juggling a budget, making a meal for four after a long day at work,’ she said. ‘Honestly Rhiannon, you’ve no idea how expensive boarding school fees and vegan sausages are these days!’   (Subs: check transcript. Doesn’t sound right. Ed)
This all made Brian very grumpy. It’s bad enough Kate and Lilian glugging his wine like fizzy pop and leaving their undies all over Home Farm’s many bathrooms, but Jennifer becoming famous is a step too far. ‘These fans of yours – they’re pranksters, bored students, even lunatics!’ he said supportively, before stumping off and refusing to get ‘embroiled in Jenny’s PR machine’ by taking her photo.


A Valentine’s reunion for Kate and Roy?

Kate and Lilian
on their third bottle 
Kate visited Roy this week, picking her way through the debris of pasties and pizza boxes to warn him to stay away from Phoebe. ‘This mess – this havoc that surrounds you – it’s exposing her to your unmanageability,’ she claimed, astonishingly. This was the biggest laugh Roy had had in ages, but their row soon became more unsavoury than his half-eaten lamb bhuna. ‘Yes, Phoebe left me, but I never left her. You’re a terrible mother, and I’ll see my girl whenever she’s ready, whenever I like,’ he yelled. 
But accusing Kate of being nearly 40 was the final straw. ‘I’m not the one who broke her heart, you are!’ she yelled back, prompting Roy to propel her out of the house and straight back to Home Farm. ‘Look mum, the horrid man made me cry and hurt my arm,’ Kate whinged. ‘And can you believe it? He called me SELFISH!’
Jennifer though, still on a high following her radio triumph, had moved from Churchillian rhetoric to Thatcherite tough-love. ‘I can’t see anything on your arm, and you and Roy need to buck up your ideas. How on earth do you think this is helping Phoebe?’ And as Kate went on to drown her sorrows with Lilian and a couple of bottles of Brian’s finest Burgundy, it’s unlikely the war between the Tucker/Aldridges will be over any time soon.

Looking daggers on the dance floor

 
Kenton hired an air raid siren to help the 1940s Valentine’s Ball go with a bang, and there was certainly a whiff of cordite in the air. Helen kept Rob waiting by working late in Ambridge Organics, which manager Tina had deserted earlier on the grounds of stress. But knowing that this would annoy Rob, Helen told him that Henry wouldn’t settle and rushed to get a drink, leaving Rob to do a little mild intimidating of Shula and a spot of light threatening of Adam.  
Not surprisingly, after their chilli-fest earlier in the week (see below) Neil and Susan Carter won the prize for ‘most loved-up couple’ at the ball, and Carol Tregorran won ‘most elegant dancer’ with both her beaux, Bert Fry and Joe Grundy.
And all seemed to be forgiven between Rob and Helen by the last dance, when he took her in his manly, hunt-sab-bashing arms.
‘Oh darling, I do adore you,’ she swooned.  But what will Rob do when he finds out she plans to go back to work full-time? Tin hats all round.

Recipe of the week: chilli à la Carter


Thanks to Mrs Susan Carter of Ambridge View for sharing the secret of her special chilli. ‘I like to have it hot and steaming on the table when my husband Neil gets home after a hard day being assertive in the pig unit,’ she says. Bon appétit!

Serves 2 with plenty of seconds

250g lean, masterful mince
450g tin full of beans
1 big hunk of spicy sausage
450g juicy tomatoes (pommes d’amour)
Chilli oil, as hot as you dare
1 sexy stockman cube
Pinch of cumin get it

Stir all the ingredients together and leave to simmer while you rustle up a Dirty Banana. Serve with nothing but a smile.

Situations wanted


• Experienced office administrator, ruthlessly efficient, specialising in property and covering for bosses when out shopping, golfing and having secret lunchtime liaisons. Competent in Word, ExCel and raising a disapproving eyebrow. References available from Home Farm and Costa Rica. Reply: Anthea, Box 126.

• Enthusiastic retail manager, experienced in organic food but more suited to sectors with lower stock turnover. Currently available after a spell of maternity cover. Qualified to undermine businesses on instructions from the owner’s devious partner. Reply: Tina, c/o R Titchener, Box 248.
  

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