From grey hair to little grey cells*
Borsetshire University of the Third Age, which is open only to seniors, reports a New Year flood of members signing up for courses.
One new recruit is Peggy Woolley, 91, of Ambridge. ‘I passed the exam to go to grammar school, you know, but my father wouldn’t hear of it,’ she said. ‘He thought it would give me ideas above my station. And we couldn’t afford the uniform, anyway. So now is my chance to make up for lost time.’
Mrs Woolley is going to study psychology and sociology. ‘I hope it will help me understand some of life’s mysteries,’ she said. ‘Such as why Richard Thwaite, who is an educated man, would be married to a woman who wears a shocking pink hat to church. After Christmas. Unbelievable.’
Her daughter Jennifer Aldridge, who has just celebrated her 71st birthday, intends to study astrophysics. ‘My granddaughter Phoebe has inspired me,’ she said. ‘She’s been offered a place at Oxford, subject to the grades, of course.
‘But it made me think that although I’m so lucky to have an Albion kitchen and a platinum account at Underwoods, life may have passed me by.
‘And our friend Justin Elliott said he always thinks of me as a Newnham girl! I’ve never been a bluestocking (except on Brian’s birthday) so I thought I’d take up a challenging subject. I hope Phoebe will be as proud of me as I am of her! Did I tell you she’s been offered a place at Oxford?’
• Bit ageist, this headline? Ed
Pig rustlers have been rumbled, police claim
Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) hailed a successful start to 2016 at his New Year press conference.
‘I am pleased to report that Mr Eddie Grundy and his son Edward have been arrested for the theft of two six-month old weaners belonging to Mr Tom Archer,’ he said. ‘The animals were found in a hastily erected pig arc at Grange Farm, where Mr Eddie Grundy currently resides.
‘I was tipped off by Mrs Clarrie Grundy, who was convinced her husband was up to no good,’ he said.
‘It’s true there are a couple of loose ends to tie up – the pigs found at Grange Farm are several months younger than the stolen ones, and Mr Archer is adamant they aren’t his.
‘But I’ve done the paperwork now, and it’s great for my clear-up rate, which means more snuggle time at home with Fallon. Result!’
Mystery hero saves the day at the races
Racegoers narrowly avoided injury at the New Year’s Day meeting at Felpersham, thanks to a mystery hero who stepped in to control a runaway mare.
‘Lilian Bellamy and I had been invited by Justin Elliott to lunch in his box,’ said Mrs Shula Hebden-Lloyd. ‘Lilian is always high-spirited, but I thought she’d behave herself in the Owners’ and Trainers’ stand. Unfortunately, she had a few glasses of Red Rum punch in the Clare Balding bar and became even more lively.
‘I thought I could control her, but suddenly her handbag strap snapped and she was off. She galloped to the paddock and was about to leap up on the favourite for the Ladies’ Bumper, when thank goodness, a very dashing man in a well-fitting hunt coat stepped in and calmed her down. He’s a hero - I don’t know what I would have done without him.’
Musings from the Vicarage…
In the first of an occasional series, the Rev Alan Franks has some wise words for new parents:
‘Mums and dads often ask me for advice on choosing godparents to guide their new baby on his or her journey into faith. From long experience, here are some suggestions:
• It’s best to ask someone who returns your calls when you phone them.
• Choose someone both you and your spouse get on with. For instance, if your husband despises your choice of godparent and tells him that his partner is a serial cheat on his stag night, this might cause trouble going forward.
• Be sensitive to a prospective godparent’s feelings. For example, if someone says: ‘I want no connection with you and if you think I would stand as godparent to your child you must be on another planet, so you must’, this might be a sign they are uncomfortable with the idea.
• Try not to take it personally if your choice of godparent turns you down. Your husband will not hold it against you and use it as evidence that you are pathetic, worthless and mad. Really, he won’t.’
Next week: midwife Ellie Richards of Borchester General offers advice on eating disorders in pregnancy.
Young entrepreneur offers New Year tips
Toby and Rex Fairbrother of Hollowtree Celebration Poultry are looking forward to a bumper 2016, as their landlords David and Ruth Archer have agreed to extend their lease by a further two years. We asked Toby for his tips for a winning pitch:
• It’s guys who make all the decisions in business, right? So when you’re pitching to a couple, like David and Ruth Archer, make sure you talk to the man.
• But don’t forget to thank the little lady for making the coffee!
(Is that it? Seems a bit thin. Ed)
Many thanks to Bert Fry of Brookfield for sending in this seasonal ode:
It’s Happy New Year for David and Ruth,
A relief to all, and that’s the truth,
For when she went travelling Down Under,
I thought they might be split asunder.
David moped and spread the word
He planned to give up the dairy herd,
But Ruth came back and put him right,
They’ll still have cows – but not black and white!
So now they’re both like love’s young dream,
And Jill’s a cat that’s got the cream,
With Matt around, she’s a happy grandmother
Because Pip’s gone off that Toby Fairbrother.
And as if our good news isn’t enough,
Lynda Snell has found her wandering Scruff!
He must have covered a lot of mileage,
But he wasn’t dead in Home Farm’s silage.
So after the terrible year we’ve had –
And losing my Freda still makes me sad –
At last we’re having a bit of luck.
As Eddie Grundy would say: ‘Thank goodness!’