Money worries split leading families
The Archer siblings realised a shocking truth this week: there will be no more family meals until the row with Kenton is sorted out. ‘How can we carry on making raspberry cheesecake and mum’s special stew if no one turns up to eat them?’ wailed Shula, shovelling the leftovers from Pip’s farewell/welcome back meal into Tig the dog.
There was nothing for it: to get Kenton to come to dinner (and incidentally to save The Bull), the family would have to stump up the £26,000 needed for the building works. Jolene was touchingly grateful for the offer, but whether Kenton will accept the cash is still uncertain, especially as he has added ‘throwing my poor mum out of Brookfield’ to the list of David’s capital crimes.
Meanwhile Brian needed extra blood pressure medication to handle Adam’s new sustainable cropping plans at Home Farm. The prospect of turning 17 per cent of the arable land into herbal leys sent him into overdrive: ‘I see how it works: you pour money down the drain, then you carry on pouring money down the drain!’ he fumed. ‘Oh, come along Brian; Adam knows what he’s doing. With his experience in Kenya he’ll have the place buzzing!’ said Jennifer, soothing him with hummus and a Cornish pasty. ‘Yes, with bailiffs!’ said Brian, spraying pastry all over the worktop.
However Kate was the unlikely beneficiary of his rage, as he gave her the land for her holistic retreat with barely a murmur – although it’s coming out of the herbal ley allocation. ‘Let Adam deal with Kate; they can weave crop circles together,’ he mumbled despairingly into his lunchtime burgundy.
Carter bid to save hall sparks council row
Ambridge Parish Council was in uproar this week as it emerged that chair Neil Carter had approached Justin Elliott for help to rebuild the village hall without the approval of fellow councillors.
The leaked email (no need to say Justin’s PR copied us in. Ed) praises Damara Capital boss Mr Elliott as a ‘visionary philanthropist’ and ‘saviour of Ambridge’, and asks ‘his most generous beneficence’ for a donation of at least £100,000 to rebuild the hall.
‘It’s outrageous! This is the man who wants to run a road through Ambridge and turn the landscape into industrial wasteland!’ said one councillor, who asked not to be named. ‘Of course, Carter’s wife Susan put him up to it. I bet he just typed out what she said. That woman is Lady Macbeth in a pink and orange paisley tabard.’
High hopes for youngsters as new school year starts
It was back to school for Ambridge’s students this week: how did they get on?
• Keira Grundy enjoyed her first day at Loxley Barrett, despite a few tears (surely, 20-minute screaming tantrum? Ed). ‘Well, what do they expect if they try to take her Elsa-from-Frozen costume off her? It’s not right!’ said mum Emma.
• Henry Archer After a mix-up at registration, when stepfather Rob insisted his surname was ‘Titchener”, Henry settled in well. ‘Don’t worry about silly mummy crying again, Henry,’ said Rob. ’Women are like that. I’ll keep a close eye on her for you.’
• Phoebe Aldridge celebrated stellar AS results with just one square of dark chocolate and was back in Borchester High library before term started. ‘Why am I trying so hard to get into Oxbridge? Have you met my mother?’ she said.
• Josh Archer is looking forward to a more relaxed final year. ‘Yeah, I dropped PE – couldn’t hack the theory side,’ he said. ‘Anyway, you don’t need exams to build up an Egg Empire. Toby Fairbrother says so.’
It’s Pip’s brilliant blog from Brazil!
Young Ambridge farmer Pip Archer is off on an exciting adventure working for Webster Agri-International in Brazil. Before she went, the Ambridge Observer snapped up the rights to her travel blog – and here’s her first post!
Umm, OK guys, I know this is a bit embarrassing, but I only lasted two days in the job! Yes, they dangled Sao Paolo in front of me, but it was meetings and spreadsheets all the way. So here I am again, cleaning tractor filters, ordering limestone for the new trackway and testing calf dung for colostrum. Never a dull moment!
OK, yeah, it was awkward that mum and dad had to pay the contract milker £2,500 to leave (shame: he was quite cute!) but I had a brainwave! I’m going to grow stubble turnips and bring Welsh sheep in to graze them; small margins but low input and the ewe hoggs (that’s weaned lambs, not gimmer shearlings, or ewes of course) will improve soil fertility too…
(Give me strength. I hope we’re not paying her for this. Ed)
Letter to the Editor
I am writing to offer you my services as theatre critic. As you may know I have occupied this role at the Borchester Echo for many years. But I find I am obliged to transfer my allegiance elsewhere.
I returned from my ‘Mapp & Lucia’ weekend in Rye to find the standards of critique in the Echo, which I have nurtured since dear Dame Judi was an ingénue, traduced – traduced! – by that parvenue Lynda Snell (Dylan Nells fools no one darling). The woman can barely direct a pantomime cow, let alone convey the nuances and chiaroscuro of Magic Opera’s performances at Lower Loxley.
Her ‘review’ also committed the ultimate faux pas of commenting on the audience. Readers do not wish to know what the hoi polloi have for their interval picnic or whether a ghastly mobile phone goes off. Yet the Snell/Nells woman is obsessed with Wurzels ringtones and selfie sticks. I can only assume she is a closet Cumberbitch who should never be allowed near the operatic milieu.
I trust, Madam, your organ will be more accommodating to my superior talents.
Tristram Hawkshaw (www.hatchethawkshaw.com)
Ask him to cover Borchester WI’s centenary ‘divertissement’. Should put him off. Ed.
Postie ‘baffled’ over homes mix-up
Ambridge’s much-loved postman, Pat, has complained he ‘can’t keep track of the comings and goings’ of villagers displaced by the flood. For any readers confused by who is living where, here’s an Ambridge Observer handy guide:
• Adam and Ian are back home in Honeysuckle Cottage, which was renovated in record time and with minimum fuss.
• Caroline and Oliver are no nearer to moving back into Grange Farm and are going to Tuscany for three months to escape the chaos.
• Eddie, Clarrie and Joe Grundy are still in Grey Gables, but hope to be back in Keeper’s Cottage before Joe’s 94th birthday.
• This is news to their landlady Hazel Woolley, who plans to evict them as soon as she’s lined up new high-spending tenants.
• Fallon Rogers and PC Harrison Burns are moving into Woodbine Cottage, once the crack in Christine’s floor is fixed (this may take some time).
• Jill Archer will not move to Lower Loxley until she’s seen the whites of Heather’s eyes at Brookfield.
• Lilian is still cluttering up Home Farm with fag packets and gin bottles; Lynda and Robert Snell are practising feng shui in Lilian’s Dower House, and Jim is feeling awkward in the frosty atmosphere at The Stables.
• Grange Spinney residents are still camping out in tents and caravans outside their ruined homes, but no one really cares about them. (That’s enough comings and goings. Ed)