at large in Ambridge, police warn
Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) told a packed press conference this week that convicted fraudster Matt Crawford, who fled Ambridge more than two years ago, has returned to the village.
‘This is an opportunity for me to close one of my most difficult cases,’ said PC Burns. ‘I still remember how devastated Mrs Lilian Bellamy was when she found that Mr Crawford had gone and the Dower House had been stripped of cash and valuables – except for the print of ‘The Crying Boy’ that not even he would touch.
‘It was thought that Mr Crawford’s escape to Costa Rica had put him beyond the reach of international justice,’ said PC Burns. ‘But now he is back in Ambridge, this is another chance for me to get my man. And frankly, this couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I can show I do care about older ladies, as they all hate me just now because of the cricket team.’
PC Burns said Mr Crawford had been seen outside the Dower House on Friday, smoking a large cigar and carrying an enormous bunch of flowers.
‘Given Mr Crawford’s track record, we can only assume he is up to no good,’ said PC Burns.
Contacted by The Ambridge Observer, Mrs Bellamy said she was unable to comment. ‘It’s all rather awkward darling, if you know what I mean,’ she said.
Gin king defiant over trade talks
The fledgling gin business run by Toby Fairbrother is still looking for capital after turning down an ‘impossible’ offer of investment this week.
‘I wasn’t surprised that Kenton and Jolene Archer were prepared to back me, as the new marshmallow flavouring is a winner,’ said Mr Fairbrother. ‘It’s so good, focus groups can’t find the words to describe it. It literally leaves them struggling to speak!’
‘Kenton and Jolene loved the ‘Moon Goddess’ concept I’d come up with,’ he added. ‘In fact Mrs Archer was keen to model for the artwork. I was fine with that. Nothing says “marshmallow” quite like Jolene’s assets!’
Mr Fairbrother said he was also prepared to feature The Bull on the bottles. ‘But then Kenton said he wanted to change the name from ‘Fairbrother Gin’ to ‘Archer Gin’, he revealed. ‘At that point I walked away. As I said to my girlfriend Pip, no deal is better than a bad deal!’
NEW SERIES: Teen talk
The secret diary of Ben Archer, aged 15 and three weeks
Stayed in my room all morning. Told mum I was doing homework and she’s still so upset about Tom telling Dad off she believed me. Josh said my music was so loud he couldn’t hear himself making money with his second-hand tractors so I turned it up louder. Went out with mum to buy a game. Met Uncle Kenton in Borchester. He and mum were talking about Black Death and Che Guevara. I said I’d already got that game. So lame.
So, hello from Lurgy Boy. Lurgy Boy of year 11. So maybe the IBR did come from Brookfield. Not my fault! School sucks. I’m not going again this week. Told mum I was ill and she just said ‘OK Ben, just don’t upset your dad, pet.’ He didn’t even notice. Gran said he was cross because Joe Grundy had been very rude about him in The Bull. She was upset too. Didn’t mind when I took three extra flapjacks. The only good thing about today. Except for seeing Josh with his laptop at the bus stop. He said it was too noisy to work at home. Like he’s working. He can’t even code.
Stayed at home. Pip said she’d make me lunch and I got beans on burnt toast. Ate it ‘cos I was starving. Forgot you’re supposed to be off your food when you’re ill. Lucky I’d got the flapjacks. Pip said: ‘Ben, if you’d done something wrong, and knew you should own up to mum and dad, but they’ve already got so much to worry about, what would you do?” No idea what she was talking about. Mum came home in a worse state than ever. She’d had a massive row with Helen about the IBR and made Clarrie Grundy cry. Something about e.Coli that I don’t remember. Then Mum started to cry and tried to give me a hug. So I just turned my music up. Why can’t everyone just leave me alone????!!!!!
A word from St Stephen’s
To mark the beginning of Holy Week, the Revd Alan Franks writes:
As I sit here typing this, I am looking at a Christmas cactus on my study desk – a gift to my wife Usha from a parishioner. You could call it a peace offering, in fact: an attempt to apologise for some ill-chosen words. But if you knew my wife, you’d know she isn’t easily won over by a mere gesture. Usha had already suggested several places she would like to put it – all of them highly inappropriate for a clergy wife!
But I felt the little plant is a fitting symbol to inspire my Palm Sunday sermon.
Because when you think about it, isn’t Ambridge a bit like that cactus just now? Everywhere I go I see people being spiky and defensive, unable to get close because of the prickly barriers they have put up, causing pain with sharp, barbed words.
As we all know, Lent is a time for reflection and repentance. So I hope we can all put our differences about cows with runny noses behind us. And especially, I pray that the parishioner who upset my wife will do the right thing and allow older ladies to join the cricket team. Usha freely admits her ball skills may be lacking. But she has a wealth of life experience!
So let us all wish each other a peaceful Holy Week, and spare a thought for your long-suffering vicar on Palm Sunday. It’s never easy sharing the pulpit with Shula’s incontinent donkey!
STOP PRESS: W.I changes programme
A talk to Ambridge W.I. by Mr Joe Grundy: 'Plague farm: how the Archers of Brookfield spread disease through the ages' has been cancelled following a threat of legal action from Mr David Archer. Instead, Kirsty Miller of Grey Gables will demonstrate the new 'FabFace' beauty range and talk about her experience of existential angst. Refreshments provided.