Justin emerges just in time as village hall saviour
This edition of the Justin Elliott Ambridge Observer is brought to you from our new, state-of-the-art premises, thanks to a massive bung (surely, far-sighted business investment? Ed) from ‘Mr Ambridge’ himself: Justin Elliott.
Splashing out on new notebooks and pencils all round deepens Mr Elliott’s commitment to Ambridge, which this week saw him pledge a ‘significant sum’ to fund the rebuilding of the village hall, complete with nursery, gym and screening room.
‘I’m so glad Susan made me wipe that smudge off my cheek before the meeting!’ said Ambridge Parish Council chair Neil Carter. ‘I’m sure that swung the funding deal. And Mr Elliott demanded absolutely nothing in return, apart from naming the hall after him, and asking for flags, a church service and the sacrifice of an ox in the village on his birthday.
‘I’m sure the council will agree this is the least we can do. Anyway, must dash – Susan’s doing her special chilli for tea!’
Cheers all round at The Bull
The future of another of Ambridge’s iconic buildings was also assured this week as Kenton Archer agreed to accept the £26,000 being offered by his family to help repair the pub. Jolene – a more successful hostess than Jill or Shula – managed to get the whole family round to lunch to break the news. Kenton even asked David if he could shake his hand (although he had his fingers crossed and was hissing ‘Nix, nix nix!’ under his breath).
It was a happy ending to a trying week for Jill, who sent her beloved writing table to Lower Loxley as the first step towards moving in. ‘What do you write on it mum?’ asked David. ‘Oh, you know – lists!’ said Jill. ‘Recipes, WI, gardening, reasons I hate you, Ruth and Heather for making me move out…’
‘You will like living here, mum?’ flapped Lizzie. ‘Lily is drawing you a picture!’
‘Lovely dear. I’d rather have a fitted carpet and I don’t like the en-suite bathroom. But don’t you worry about me!’ sniffed Jill, gazing out over the ha-ha and wiping away a tear…
On the AmMums message boards…
What’s got Ambridge’s mums buzzing online this week? Here’s our pick of the forum:
• Does anyone know how to stop a teenager from working too hard? My granddaughter is applying to Oxford to read PPE (that’s philosophy, politics and economics) and of course we’re so proud of her! Her teachers say… but no, mustn’t boast! Anyway, she’s always got her head in a book and I’m worried she’s just too intelligent and committed. Any tips mums? Jenny Humblebrag
• You’re lucky Jenny. Since my daughter graduated she’s given up a well-paid job, cost us thousands of pounds and started all kinds of schemes, like stubble turnips and limestone trackways, without telling me. She and her dad are so close, and now I’m away looking after me mum, I’m an outsider in me own home. I feel like me daughter’s me mother and me mother’s me daughter. It’s a killer. Northumberland Lass.
• My son is in his first week at school and loving it. He has lots of friends (mostly girls!) and wants to wear his school sweat shirt at home. So sweet. The only thing is, he’s starting wetting the bed and won’t sleep on his own. He seems to be scared of someone called ‘Joseph’. That’s nothing to worry about, is it? I mean, his psychopathic stepdad isn’t even called Joseph! Silly crybaby mummy.
• Don’t you fret Crybaby! That’s probably old Joe Grundy given your boy a fright. He used to terrify my boys with his ferrets when they was nippers. And there is a shocking whiff about him now he’s growing his tomatoes in his ‘special manure’. It’s enough to make anyone wet the bed, let alone a little lad! GrannyClarrie.
• Hey guys! I got it all wrong about my daughter! I came in tonight and she was making me a fabulous meal: tuna pasta bake (she’d bought a tin specially) and salad with a mustard dressing. We had a lovely girlie night, drinking a bottle of Lambrini and gnawing on a frozen cheesecake. So don’t give up mums! Northumberland Lass.
Kate’s recipe for a healthy profit
In our business feature this week we ask Kate Madikane for her top tips on bringing the sweet smell of success to Home Farm with her holistic retreat:
• Finding the right location is crucial. My retreat is just outside my cottage, so no commute for me! And my dad has given me the land, which helps. He’ll soon forget that dull old loan agreement!
• You need family support. My stepbrother Adam is clearing me a barn, digging compost loos, moving his sheep off my field, and generally tidying up. I had so many tasks for him to do, I had to buy a clipboard!
• Make time for yourself. Aunt Lilian and I are off on a research trip to a retreat for a few days. Setting up a business plays havoc with your chakras and you need to rebalance.
Judges warn against Flower & Produce ‘scams’
With Ambridge’s Flower and Produce Show only days away, judges have warned they will be on the lookout for any illegal performance-enhancing activities in the entries, or attempts to influence the judges.
‘I may have just moved from Suffolk, but I wasn’t born yesterday,’ said Anita Millingford, head judge of the vegetable category. ‘We’ve all heard of that old ‘feed your marrow with sugar and water’ trick, and it won’t wash with me! And I won’t be accepting any cups of herbal tea while I’m judging. Some of these old dears can brew up quite mind-altering potions, you know.
‘But the judges understand that Ambridge’s produce output has been badly hit by the flood this year. So we’ll be giving extra marks for innovative growing methods, such as unusual fertilisers, especially for tomatoes.’