‘Hungary shall not have my son!’ pledges the Boudicca of Borsetshire
One of Ambridge’s leading families was nearly torn apart this week as Jennifer Aldridge, who has already lost one child in a tragic case of ‘moving to Hungary’, vowed that her husband would not drive her son Adam there too.
‘I couldn’t bear it,’ she confided to her newly-retired brother Tony, who was idly reading a Farmers’ Weekly report on organic manure. ‘Everyone thinks Adam’s herbal leys are an excellent idea, especially that nice Charlie who got on so well with Debbie. But Brian won’t have it, and says that if Adam goes ahead, it will have to be on a 60-40 share-farming basis. He won’t even be paying Adam a salary! Honestly, I wouldn’t blame Adam if he ups sticks and moves to Hungary. What do you think Tony?’
‘Oh, I leave all the decisions to Tom and Helen these days,’ said Tony. ‘And Pat will be here soon to tell me what I’m having for lunch. What were you saying?’
Local dairyman and cricket hero marries
Rob Titchener, Ambridge’s match-winning all-rounder and manager at Berrow Farm, was married this week while on a mini-break to Ryde in the Isle of Wight.
The wedding was planned and arranged by Mr Titchener, who was also the best man, registrar, ring bearer and sole witness. The bride was given away by Mr Titchener. Mr Titchener also designed her full-length gown, in a fetching shade of hessian with a completely opaque sacking veil. Afterwards Mr Titchener drank a toast to the guests (none) and absent friends and family (everyone), and then allowed his bride to cook and serve his wedding breakfast. The bride, whose maiden name was Archer, will now be known as ‘the current Mrs Titchener’. The couple honeymooned in Ryde and will make their home anywhere Mr Titchener damn well chooses.
Pip may not be fair game after all…
Jill was concerned this week that the Fairbrother boys have inherited the wicked charm of their father Robin, who led Elizabeth up the garden path. But Pip is proving resistant to Toby Fairbrother’s advances, even though he’s been pulling out all the stops with witty banter and his comedy car horn.
Although tempted to go with him to the Game Fair, she decided it would be more fun to spend some quality time with her mum, back home from Prudhoe for the weekend.
But Toby hasn’t given up on his bid to bed the Heiress of Brookfield. ‘You may not mean to break Pip’s heart, but you will,’ warned kindly Rex. ‘You walk through life leaving a trail of wreckage.’
‘You were born in the wrong century, bro,’ said Toby. ‘Pip’s been round the block a few times. I just want to show her a good time.’
But as Pip’s idea of a good time is writing a job description for the new contract milker (see below. Ed), Toby may need more than his pulling pants to win her heart…
Summer fiction special: The Trials of Charlie Thomas
In Chapter Three of our exclusive serial by award-winning romantic novelist Lavinia Catwater, hero Charlie Thomas sees his hopes cruelly dashed once more…
‘You see, Charlie old chap, I can talk to you, man to man.’ Brian Aldridge’s faded blue eyes looked at him kindly over his glass of Old Silage finest malt. ‘You’ve got a business head on your shoulders, not like that feckless stepson of mine with his hippy-dippy weirdy-beardy greeny-beany ideas!’
Charlie felt torn. He hated to hear Brian speak of Adam like that, but at the same time he was flattered the old man confided in him. Almost like one of the family… for a moment he allowed himself to imagine himself and Adam standing at the altar, under a ceremonial arch of plaited maize…
His phone rang, and his heart leapt when he saw it was Adam calling. ‘Hi Charlie – I’d love to come to the Test Match with you!’ Could he believe his ears? He turned bright red and nearly choked on his Tom Archer pork scratching. But before he could say a word, Adam said: ‘And Ian would love to come too!’
‘But… but…’ he stammered. ‘I thought Ian hated cricket!’
‘Oh, he does… but you know Ian. Always up for free champagne and a poke round someone else’s kitchen! Must go – Ian’s got the omelettes on. But thanks Charlie!’ As he rang off, Charlie could hear Van Morrison’s ‘Have I told you lately that I love you?’ playing softly in the cosy flat at Grey Gables. ‘What’s up, old chap?’ Brian returned from the bar, munching a microwaved sausage roll. ‘You look as if you’ve lost a shilling and found a penny!’
Stupid old fool, thought Charlie. If only you knew… But Brian might still be his father-in-law one day… ‘To tell you the truth, Brian, I am a bit upset,’ he blurted out, blinking back tears. ‘It’s the fertility data at Berrow Farm… I think someone’s been fiddling it, and the evidence points to Rob Titchener…’
To be continued…. (This is more like it Lavinia! Ed).
Letter to the Editor
I wanted to warn any poultry-keepers among your readers of a dangerous gang of rustlers at large in Ambridge. Early one morning this week I was driving to work when a young woman waved me down in the lane. Then she and two male accomplices brazenly herded a large number of small birds (probably ducks) across the road in front of me and into a neighbouring field. I sounded my horn to alert the police but only received verbal abuse for my pains. I gave a statement to the Borsetshire Rural Crime Unit (PC Burns) and hope no one else falls victim to this distressing crime. Name and address withheld.
New menu at The Bull: the locals have their say
Ambridge’s favourite pub (don’t you mean ‘only pub’? Ed.) will soon be announcing a brand new menu, with many dishes chosen by The Bull’s regulars. ‘We’re confident that our fine dining experience will have something for everyone – except David Archer of course,’ said landlord Kenton Archer. Highlights of the menu include:
• frozen pizza a la mode de Ruth Archer
• roast Hollowtree goose with sauce for the gander
• grass-fed Hereford beef (while stocks last)
• vegan kale and quinoa quesadillas, garnished with yurt (yogurt? Ed)
• Women’s Institute centenary jam sponge, with jam sauce and extra jam
• Freda Fry’s cottage pie (last few portions found in the freezer!)
Brookfield Farm needs an extra pair of (non-wandering) hands!
Position: Contract milker, Brookfield Farm
Start date: End of August
Finish date: the minute I catch you eyeing up my wife, mate
Principal duties: Not making the boss feel insecure.
Required skills: Must be able to milk cows blindfolded when the owner’s wife is around. Being a eunuch desirable, but not essential. Must on no account be called Sam.
To apply: Send a photo to confirm that you are really ugly.
Interviews: Ruth Archer.
Final decision: David Archer.