A mercy mission for Ruth and David…
Brookfield was left in disarray at the end of this week as Ruth and David rushed north to rescue Heather, who had sprung herself from her interim care facility and headed for home, mainly to check that Ruth hadn’t yet sold it behind her back. Once there, she’d fallen and injured herself again, intensifying Ruth’s anguish: ‘If only I’d rung me mum this would never have happened!’ she wailed, improbably. But Ruth had been distracted by Pip’s good news: somehow she managed to get a 2:1 in her degree. ‘I’ll book a table at La Femme du Monde!’ said David, proud as punch. ‘No, Dad, you have to go with mum to GrannyHeather!’ insisted Pip, whose way is now clear for a few cans and weapons-grade flirting with Toby in the Fairbrothers’ new caravan….
… and birthday blues for Shula and Kenton
Meanwhile Jill had a much better week than Heather (not that this would be difficult). She decided to throw a party for Shula and Kenton’s milestone 57th birthday (is that a milestone? Ed), which Shula gamely offered to host. ‘You have so much going on Shula! The Stables, the church, the WI…’ Jill trilled, little knowing her daughter secretly dreams of being fed grapes by Richard Locke in a Provencal vineyard…
Soldier Dan is expected for the weekend, which will cheer Shula up. But whether Alistair turns up at the party remains to be seen, as he is always being called out to urgent business meetings from which no business, mysteriously, ever results…
Meanwhile, it took four strong women – Lizzie, Jolene, Shula and Jill – to persuade Kenton to attend his own party. But even though David and Ruth won’t be there, the birthday boy is likely to be more miserable than ever. The insurance company has refused to pay to shore up The Bull’s foundations, which were crumbling with damp for years before the flood. This means Kenton and Jolene’s plans for porticos, picture windows and posh nosh are in ruins, with a bill of £30,000-£50,000 to find first. And although Kenton hasn’t yet found a way to blame David for this, he probably will soon…
10,000 more reasons why Rob married Helen
Rob is finding that marriage to Helen is turning out even better than he hoped. Although Henry is proving irritating by disrupting marital relations and playing too loudly with his boat, Helen’s gran Peggy has come up trumps with a super-generous £10,000 gift.
‘Oh look darling; it’s made out to Mr and Mrs Titchener!’ cooed Helen, as Rob whisked the cheque into his wallet and checked his secret supply of Tipp-Ex.
Things are less rosy on the work front though. With his forensic accountant’s hat on, Charlie has been combing through the dairy data to see where the profits have been leaking away. ‘I spend hours every week going through those figures!’ Rob growled. ‘Don’t you trust me?’ ‘We’re missing something, Rob. Shut the door on your way out, will you?’ was Charlie’s unsettling answer…
Summer fiction special: The Trials of Ian Craig
Chapter Four of our exclusive serial by award-winning romantic novelist Lavinia Catwater, in which chef Ian Craig sees his chance of happiness melt away…
Ian woke and turned to Adam. ‘Morning mate! How’s your silly mid off?’ he giggled. ‘Didn’t we have a great time at Edgbaston?’
Adam frowned and threw the giant inflatable kangaroo that lay between them across the room. Shocked, Ian asked: ‘What’s up? Did I embarrass you in front of Charlie? I’m such a duffer about cricket.’
‘No, Ian, you were fine.’ Adam smiled that irresistible smile. ‘Everyone loved your practical joke with the Panama hat and the pavlova. No, it’s this thing with Brian.’
Ian seized his moment. ‘Well, that’s simple,’ he said. ‘Take Debbie’s offer of a job in Hungary. I’d easily find a kitchen, and you’d have more money, more security, and no Brian breathing down your neck.’ (Or Charlie Thomas, he thought to himself).
Adam bounded out of bed and headed for the shower. ‘This is our chance, Adam!’ Ian called after him, hope flaring like heartburn in his chest.
Later that evening the scene was set: the flat smelt deliciously of goulash and a bottle of Tokay was chilling in the fridge. ‘Hi Ian, I’m home!’ Adam came in and flung his cricket bag down. ‘We won by eight wickets. And guess what?’
Ian handed him a glass. Had he called Debbie? Was their new life assured? ‘I’ve been to see Brian. I’m accepting his share-farming offer.’ Ian’s world went dark, but he managed a smile. ‘Well, you certainly know how to surprise a fella!’
‘I know, but Charlie says, seize the day. Charlie says I’ll regret it if I go. Charlie says… Ian, where are you going?’
‘Just turning down the goulash!’ Ian rushed to the kitchenette, where he stuffed a tea towel in his mouth to stifle his bitter sobs…
To be continued…
From the Message Boards
Our pick of what set the Ambridge online community buzzing this week:
• ‘So Helen Archer married Rob Titchener and couldn’t even pick up the phone to tell me! And I was going to be a maid of honour! I think it’s a bit rubbish.’ KeirasMummy.
• ‘No smoke without fire, I say. When people get married that quick, there’s usually a reason. Anyway, does anyone on here know where I can get some name badges and tabards personalised for the fantastic new village shop?’ Retail-is-Detail.
• ‘Well you should know about shotgun weddings mum! LOL’ KeirasMummy.
[Please don’t make personal remarks. Moderator].
• ‘I think it’s romantic, just like when Chris and I went to Las Vegas. Five years ago now!’ AerospaceAlice.
• ‘Well, at least they didn’t marry at Lower Loxley and put money in my smelly sister’s pocket! I’m offering the happy couple a drink on the house (a 125ml glass house white and half of Shires. Terms and conditions apply.)’ KrazyKenton.
(That’s enough. Ed.)
Items for sale
• Wedding magazines, large collection. No longer needed. Free to a bride-to-be who's as happy as me. Apply: Helen Archer, Blossom Hill Cottage.
• Wedding hat, made of organic straw. Never worn. Apply: Pat Archer, Bridge Farm.
• Village pub, crumbling a bit and ruined by David Archer. Apply: The Bull, Ambridge.
• Male child, answers to Henry. Surplus to requirements. Top price urgently needed. Apply: R Titchener, Blossom Hill Cottage. (This is getting silly. Ed).