Leading Ambridge family in split over ‘Fete gate’
The fate of the Ambridge summer fete hangs in the balance this week as a bitter row threatens to quite literally tear the Archer family apart. (Steady on, Ed.)
Having missed the committee meeting where it was decided to cancel the fete, Kenton came up with a wizard plan to put it on in The Bull car park, with a fresh, funky range of events including:
• Dunk David in green gunge
• Pin the tail on Donkey David
• Guess the weight of Pig David
• Race Eddie’s ferrets up David’s trousers (OK, we get it. Ed).
But his treacherous sister Lizzie came up with an even more wizard plan to host the fete at Lower Loxley, since for some strange reason she isn’t holding another LoxFest this year.
‘It’ll be fine, darling; you can run the beer tent there instead!’ breezed Jill. ‘No, I can’t; we don’t have the staff!’ seethed Kenton. ‘Thanks a bunch, mum. If The Bull goes up the swanny it will be all your fault!’
Heaven knows they’re miserable now
Poor Kate and Roy! This week saw them plunge to new lows of despair, for which they have only themselves to blame (although that doesn’t stop them trying to blame everyone else).
Kate had to 'fess up to Brian and Jenny (though she tried to get Lilian to do it for her) that she’d left her university course after ‘a clash of vision’ with her tutor: his vision was for her to do some work, hers was to start a new social life. Brian, still smouldering after last week’s ‘borrowed’ burgundy incident, let rip. ‘You’re pushing 40! Time to get a grip, not behave like an overgrown teenager. What sort of an example are you setting for Phoebe? No wonder the poor girl wants nothing more to do with you!’
Kate turned to her mother for comfort, but found none. ‘We cushioned every blow for you but you have to take responsibility for your own life darling,’ said Jenny, glugging the secret stash of Chardonnay she keeps for a crisis.
Only Lilian was sympathetic. ‘You and me, we’re no good at plodding down the conventional path,’ she told Kate. ‘With a bit of help from your Aunty Lilian we’ll come up with a plan that will amaze them all!’
Meanwhile, Roy was unburdening his soul to Brenda, who’d returned to Ambridge for Mike and Vicky’s leaving party. ‘I had the perfect life and didn’t know it; I threw it all away,’ he reflected, hiding a plate of Susan’s avocado, Roquefort and Marmite canapés under a hedge. ‘Phoebe will be off to uni and I’ll lose her; Hayley, Abby, Mike and Vicky have all gone. I’ll be the only one left.’
But of course, Roy’s not alone, as Mike helpfully reminded him. He has his mum Betty’s ashes and special tree to keep him company at Willow Farm…
Will Lilian and Kate take off round Borsetshire on madcap adventures – like Thelma and Louise meets Rosemary and Thyme? Will Roy reduce his dependence on takeaways and build a new life away from reception at Grey Gables? Only time, the great healer (along with gin, according to Lilian) will tell…
‘Favourite prof’ retirement shock rocks college
Students and faculty staff have expressed sadness this week at the early retirement of Dr Colin Matthewson, much-loved and respected lecturer in international development at Felpersham University. Dr Matthewson said ‘student pressures’ were partly responsible for his decision.
‘In 30 years of teaching I have never had such a difficult experience,’ he said. ‘One female student in particular seemed determined to undermine my classes and authority. She cut up graphs and pie charts to make ‘dream catchers’, coloured in diagrams, refused to hand in coursework and, when I challenged her, said: “Chill, Daddio, and do something about that revolting comb-over.”
‘Now if you’ll excuse me I have an appointment with my trauma counsellor.’
• Hey babe! Happy Buthday. 30 today! Bet you’re surprised to see this in the Ambridge Observer! And I know you hate surprises. But little ladies like you often say one thing and mean another, don’t they? So howsabout I take you into custody and take down your particulars? Your ever-lovin’ PC Burns.
• Happy birthday Fallon! Don’t tell everyone you’re 30 – don’t want folk guessin’ how old I am! Can’t believe you’re all grown up now (and if you ever get tired of that gorgeous hunk of policeman, you just let your old mum know!)
• Many happy returns Fallon – financial ones, that is. Congrats on your crowdfunding. Don’t suppose you could send a few quid my way? (Only joking!) All the best, Kenton (the only Archer who cares a flying fig about family loyalty).
Letter to the Editor
Mrs Jill Archer of Brookfield writes:
I’d just like to remind any of your readers who keep bees to be aware of ‘The June Gap’ in the flowering plant season, when bees may go short of nectar. To help fellow beekeepers I’ve asked my son David to record a short message: ‘Mind the June Gap’, which you can download to your phone or laptop as a reminder to give your colony a top-up of syrup. Happy hives everyone!
Ask the doctor
Q Thank you so much for your advice on my ‘fuchsia’ last week, doctor. I’m feeling a lot better and have accepted my friend Peggy’s invitation to move in with her. But I’m a bit worried about what happens if she falls ill, or if we have an argument? What would you advise? ‘Christine’, Ambridge.
A I would ask a friendly lawyer to draw up a simple agreement, covering important matters such as which shelf of the fridge you have, who can use the bathroom first, and who decides whether you watch ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ or Jeremy Kyle. In my experience, if you get these small details right, everything else falls into place. Good luck!