Outraged villagers vow to save their shop
Shock waves ran through Ambridge this week (probably static from the new tabards. Ed) as plans were revealed to turn the village shop into upmarket apartments.
‘We never thought Hazel Woolley would stoop this low,’ said committee member Lynda Snell. ‘Where will older people find essential foodstuffs without the shop? This damned flood keeps grabbing at everything we hold dear!’
Fallon Rogers, who rents the upstairs flat, said she was ‘gutted’ by the news.
‘How dare she? I’m the only one around here who’s allowed to upcycle old tat and make money out of it!’ she said.
But postmistress and shop manager Susan Carter vowed to defeat the proposal.
‘The planners will not ride roughshod over our Parisienne Summer workwear! Our name badges stand for independence and pride, even if Lynda’s was spelt wrong!’ she said.
‘My pink and orange Paisley army will lie down in front of the bulldozers if we have to. And once the Boudicca of Borsetshire hears about this, Hazel Woolley will disappear quicker than you can say ‘collapsible bread basket’, you mark my words.’
David and Ruth face the uncomfortable truth
Exhausted from a long night’s calving, David was alarmed when Ruth returned home from Prudhoe with her car full of Heather’s possessions. ‘These are me mum’s memories; they’re not to be left in the boot!’ she snapped, sweeping aside David’s toy farm as she set the boxes down.
But worse was to come for David, who is about to lose the über-capable Pip to the grassland campos and rain forests of High Wycombe (surely, Brazil? Ed). At the end of her tether with Heather, Ruth has decided the only option is to move her mother down to Brookfield.
‘But… love… you’re not a nurse – and where would Heather stay?’ stammered David, mentally running through the options: sharing a room with Bert, moving into the Fairbrothers’ caravan or setting up a camp bed in the calving shed.
‘This is my home, my life, my livelihood!’ Ruth helpfully reminded her husband.
‘But mum has gone from a neighbourhood and a house she loves, to a shared dining room and lounge, a single bedroom and a TV. It’s not home!’
Whether Heather would feel any more at home in Brookfield, where she would be pretty much confined to her room, being force-fed with Jill’s lemon drizzle cake, remains to be seen. But Ruth was not for turning.
‘What if it was your mother, and you were an only child?’ she yelled. ‘We’ve let her down once, and we’re not going to do it again!’
Cheesy secrets of a happy marriage
Ambridge Women’s Institute will be celebrating the centenary of the WI next month in style, with a Suffragette-themed dinner. But just how far have women come in the past 100 years? The Ambridge Observer asked Helen Titchener, retailer, cheese maker and thoroughly modern mum, for her thoughts:
• ‘I didn’t feel I was fully a woman until I married my wonderful husband, Rob. A fulfilling marriage (know what I mean, ladies?!) is the key to happiness.’
• ‘Now that I’ve changed my name and put all my money in Rob’s bank account, I feel I’m truly his at last. Love really is all you need!’
• ‘Marriage has liberated me. I can visit Rob at work whenever I like, as long as I phone first. And I’m free to patronise my unmarried friends, like Ian, who just needs to give himself completely to his partner (like I do every night… oh, sorry, naughty Helen over-sharing again!) for everything to be perfect!
• ‘My mum is a dear old radical feminist, but she doesn’t ‘get it’. Being a modern woman is all about putting your man first. And if he snaps at you and your child, resents you spending time with friends, and emotionally blackmails you about having a baby – that’s just because he wants you all to himself. For ever, and ever…’ (Not sure this strikes the right tone? Ed)
What should Jolene do with her drunken sailor?
The fact that he couldn’t blame David for the £26,000 bill to repair The Bull sent Kenton over the edge this week. Too hungover to attend his own birthday lunch, he bravely got Jolene to make his excuses to Shula and spent the rest of the week snarling and whining at customers like a junk-yard dog. Even mild-mannered Robert noticed, prompting Jolene to confide in Lynda: ‘I don’t know whether to tear him off a strip or send him to the doctor.’
Lynda recommended feng shui to a mystified Jolene, but Kenton had a different form of therapy in mind: he and Toby ‘Mephistopheles’ Fairbrother formed their own little Rat Pack and high-tailed it into Borchester. Next morning they woke to a squalid scene in the caravan, like a rehearsal for the Ambridge Christmas production of Withnail & I.
‘That was some session last night. Not bad for an old bloke,’ said Toby admiringly, handing Kenton a hair-of-the-dog can. But Kenton had decided against running away to sea and headed back to the dog house….
Health officials probe ‘smug hazard’
Environmental health officers were called to Grey Gables this week after local residents complained of an offensive cloud of smugness emanating from the hotel. The source was traced to the owners, Oliver and Caroline Sterling, who were planning their forthcoming trip to Tuscany.
‘It’s awful’, said a neighbour who didn’t wish to be named. ‘The way they’re sighing and salivating over sunken baths and summer houses sticks in your throat. And when they start practising their Italian you just want to throw up. The sooner they bugger off to Italy the better.’
Financial investigator required to assist on sensitive project. Must be familiar with dairy fertility data and herd management worksheets. Ability to rummage in filing cabinets without alerting the prime suspect an advantage. Experience in avoiding culverts essential. Apply in confidence to Charlie Thomas, Berrow Farm.