Brexit? It's alright, said Fred…
Borsetshire fruit farmers needn’t worry about Brexit making it harder to recruit seasonal workers, according to Borchester College student Freddie Pargetter.
‘Fruit picking is a fantastic job and I’m going to tell all my pals to sign up,’ he said. ‘I’ve done it for a whole day now and I’ve already been invited to a drinks party, met a cool girl called Sonja and saw a brilliant punch-up where the lads from Manorfield Close set fire to a chair and this huge guy, Mouse, laid one of them out, though I’m supposed to say that was in self-defence.’
Mr Pargetter, whose mother Elizabeth owns the Lower Loxley estate, said he was ‘perfectly satisfied’ with the working conditions and pay for seasonal workers. ‘In the holidays I’ll be earning £20 a day, which adds up to £200 for a six-day week, which I reckon is pretty good,’ he said. ‘I’d work at Home Farm full-time if I could, but boring old mother says I’ve got to go back to college and resit my maths GCSE.’
… Tom shows Eurocrats the art of the deal
In other Brexit news, a young Ambridge entrepreneur received a surprise call-up from the UK’s negotiating team in Brussels this week. ‘The offer came out of the blue, but apparently a contact of mine called Matt Crawford had recommended me,’ said Tom Archer of Bridge Farm. ‘He’d told his friends in Whitehall what a great negotiator I was, and they called me in.’
Mr Archer has a track record of working with local power brokers like Brian Aldridge and Justin Elliott, chairman of Damara Capital. ‘Justin Elliott offered £1 million for 3.5 acres of our land, but I managed to beat him down to £850,000 all on my own,’ he said. ‘It’s that kind of experience the UK will need when securing a great deal for British farmers.’
Mr Crawford confirmed that he had suggested Mr Archer and wished him well in his new role. ‘I’m sure Tom will help do some great international trade deals for Brits like me, whose business interests are mainly in Costa Rica,’ he said.
Charity accused of ‘bullying’ shoppers
Trading standards officers in Felpersham are investigating Borsetshire Wildlife Trust (BWT) over allegations that staff at a street stall harassed shoppers last Friday. ‘It was awful,’ said one witness. ‘My little boy was quietly eating his takeaway Happy Meal, when this old lady leapt out and accused him of destroying the planet by eating fast food. Poor little Ryan was in floods of tears, and then this little boy – Henry – pinched him and said he was naughty for not liking fresh fruit like aunty Kirsty. We went straight round to the police station. They should be locked up.’
Kirsty Miller, spokesperson for the BWT, said she was sorry if anyone had been offended. ‘We accept our new volunteer, Mrs Jill Archer, was a little over-enthusiastic,’ she said. ‘But she has more than 50 years’ experience of bee-keeping and does feel passionately about it. And of course she is a trained domestic appliance demonstrator, so is no stranger to the hard sell.’
Borsetshire Rural Cinema
Showing this week: When Rex met Anisha
Enjoy this light-hearted romcom starring a well-meaning but ineffectual taxi driver and a feisty, Glaswegian vet, whose unlikely romance takes them from cricket nets to a really awful Chinese restaurant, with plenty of amusing cat-related banter and tales of rugby club pie-eating contests along the way. Will they or won’t they get together? Who cares!
SUMMER FICTION SPECIAL: The Trials of… Lilian Bellamy
In the latest chapter of our sizzling romantic saga, by award-winning novelist Lavinia Catwater, our heroine fears the past will return to ruin her future happiness…
Lilian stepped out of the cool portico of Arkwright Hall into bright sunshine, fanning herself with her souvenir tea towel. She had enjoyed Lewis’s talk about panelling, but all thoughts of carved lambs tongue mouldings with floral spandrels – perfect for the cloakroom at the Dower House – vanished as soon as she saw Lynda Snell. Oh, why did life have to be so difficult? Only a few weeks ago, she was an ecstatically happy bride-to-be. Now, she had been unforgivably rude to Lynda, dear James’s marriage to that tiresome Leonie was in trouble, and – most annoying of all – Matt was still strutting around, grinning as if he’d struck oil in Penny Hassett… ‘Lilian – darling, what’s wrong?’ Justin took her arm in that slightly proprietorial way he had. ‘Come along – you can apologise to Lynda tomorrow. Dinner at Grey Gables?’
‘Oh Justin, that sounds nice. But what if we bump into Matt?’ Suddenly, her fiancé’s eyes took on the steely glare that was feared in boardrooms from Dallas to Dubai. ‘A most unimpressive man. You’re with me now Lilian.’
‘Of course, darling.’ She stroked his bespoke linen sleeve. But as they walked to the car, Lilian shivered as a sudden chill breeze whipped up the trees, which seemed to whisper: pusscat…
‘How dare he! Cocky young whippersnapper!’ Justin strode about the drawing room, nearly tripping over the books of soft furnishing samples. ‘We had a deal – until they got greedy, these…’ He stopped short, as if suddenly remembering he was talking about Lilian’s family. ‘Sit down, darling – have some Pimm’s!’ Lilian expertly mixed a large glass, topped up with the emergency extra shot of gin she kept in her bra, and handed it to her agitated lover. ‘But who is this other developer who’s offered Tom so much more?’ Justin shook his head, but she knew the answer, even if he didn’t. Only one man would go out of his way to thwart Justin, and use her hapless brother Tony and his family to do it. Excusing herself to fetch more ice, Lilian leant against the kitchen door, her mind racing faster than one of Matt’s nags. Would he never let her go? And – as she bashed ice cubes out of Justin’s amusing bottom-shaped trays – in her heart of hearts, did she want him to?
Lilian sighed happily as she buckled up Amir’s gleaming bridle. The beautiful Arab snorted softly, reminding her of Justin when they… ‘Hello pusscat!’ She span round to face Matt’s dazzling grin. ‘Gorgeous creature,’ he said. ‘And the horse isn’t bad either…’ She ignored his broad wink. ‘Get out of my way, Matt. I’ve nothing to say to you.’ ‘Don’t worry, I’m going. Just here to see Anisha about my multi-million pound bloodstock venture…’ He sauntered off, whistling ‘Big spender’ as Lilian saddled up, her mood ruined…
‘Wha…. Where am I?’ ‘Sssh, Lilian. Don’t move. You’re in shock.’ Matt! What was he doing here? What had happened? Suddenly, like the crack of pain across her head, the memory returned: Matt had appeared again while she was out on her ride, she’d accused him of cheating Tom, he’d infuriated her, she’d galloped off – and now here she was in a ditch, covered in dirt, and Amir… ‘Oh, no!’ She tried to struggle to her feet but Matt gently held her back. ‘Amir’s grazing down the lane. Don’t worry.’ As he bent over, dabbing at her head with his large, checkered handkerchief, she breathed in that familiar, heady scent of cigar and cedar cologne. ‘I thought you were a goner for a minute,’ he said, and suddenly he looked pale beneath his Costa Rican tan. ‘Oh, pusscat, you know there’s still something there…’ He tried to gather her in his arms and, fighting her dizziness, Lilian leapt to her feet. ‘No, there is nothing and there never will be. Leave me alone Matt, just leave me alone!’ And with that she limped off down the lane, wondering what she would say to Justin…
To be continued