Planners face fruity protest
Mrs Jill Archer of Brookfield was ejected from a Borsetshire District Council planning meeting last week after causing a major disruption.
Mrs Archer, a former Ambridge parish councillor, was objecting to an application by Damara Capital to reduce the number of affordable homes in its Beechwood development near Bridge Farm, Ambridge.
But when the planning committee voted to grant the application, Mrs Archer produced a large basket from under her seat and pelted councillors with fruit flapjacks.
‘It was the only way to make them listen,’ said an unrepentant Mrs Archer. ‘This decision just means more profits for Damara and fewer affordable houses that are really needed in Ambridge. Throwing flapjacks may be drastic, but it worked when we protested about the Duxford sisters and Les Soeurs Heureuses. No one has heard of them since.’
A spokesperson for Borsetshire District Council said it would not bring charges against Mrs Archer. ‘Obviously we can't condone such behaviour, but the democratic process will not be derailed by flying flapjacks, no matter how tasty,’ she said.
New senior staff at The Bull
The Bull in Ambridge is rolling out its plan to attract a younger crowd by appointing Oliver Sterling as part-time barman in the run-up to Christmas. ‘Oliver is well-known in the British Legion, the Darby & Joan club and the U3A,’ said landlord Kenton Archer. ‘As most of our customers are in their nineties, he’ll lower the demographic by at least 10 years. It will be good for Joe Grundy and Bert Fry to have a young whipper-snapper behind the bar.’
‘I was rattling around at Grey Gables, so I’m looking forward to the new challenge,’ said Mr Sterling. ‘If I can just get my head round this new-fangled decimal currency I’m sure I’ll be fine.’
Rats turn tails at The Tales
Lynda Snell’s Christmas production of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales suffered another setback this week when the resident rats at Brookfield, who were due to appear as extras, downed tools. ‘Our barn has been cleaned and dusted and our nests swept away,’ said a spokesrat for the troupe. ‘We can’t be expected to work in these intolerable conditions, so we're moving to Lower Loxley, where we believe we’ll feel much more at home.’
Can you help Hilda find a furrever home?
Hilda is a bright, lively little girl who can be a tiny bit grumpy at times. She loves smaller animals, especially minced, and has favourite tricks, like lying very still on the stairs and leaping up when an old lady is coming down. Surprise!! Hilda would be happier in a large home without any soft furnishings or valuable objects. She can be a little bit challenging around children, older people, dogs, postmen and vets. Could you find it in your heart to make Hilda your next fur baby? If so, when collecting her, please wear eye protectors and industrial gauntlets, and bring a net and a trident. Apply: Cutiekits Cat Rehoming, Penny Hassett.
The Trials of Lily Pargetter
In the latest chapter of our passionate Autumn saga, by award-winning romantic novelist Lavinia Catwater, our heroine finds herself torn between love and duty…
‘Lily darling! Is there any spirulina and kale smoothie left? My tum-tum is a little bit growly this morning.’ Lily looked up from her essay and suppressed a sigh as Russ appeared in the doorway, rubbing his stomach under his shortie silk kimono.
‘I don’t know, sorry. I’m trying to finish this, and then I’ve got to get to work…’ Russ gave her his disappointed face. ‘Oh, sweetie,’ he said. ‘You wouldn’t want Russ to start on his new masterpiece without a healthy breakfast, now would you?’
He came over and ruffled her hair, which for some reason she didn’t find as endearing as usual. ‘No, of course not darling,’ she said, reaching for her purse. ‘I’ll just go down to the organic shop and… Russ? I thought we had £20 left for the weekend?’
He looked sheepish. ‘Oh, sorry darling. I needed some more Burnt Umber and just couldn’t resist…’ Catching her angry frown, he said: ‘Don’t worry my pet; it will all be fine when my paintings start selling…’
‘Well, maybe if you could just finish one first…’ Lily bit her lip to avoid starting another row. ‘OK! I’ll be back soon.’ She rushed out of the flat, but as she reached the deli her phone pinged with a message. Probably Russ, reminding her to get some sourdough. But no, it was Johnny Phillips. ‘Hey Lily, reckon you should come home. Your mum’s in a bit of a state…’
Ambridge! Lily’s eyes began to water, and not just at the smell from the Berrow Farm pig unit. She got out of the Uber she’d taken from Hollerton Junction, putting her credit card under even more strain, and walked down the familiar drive to Lower Loxley. Oh dear, she thought. Johnny was right to text her. The drive was overgrown, the windows dirty. And where was Geraldine, who was usually bustling about with her clipboard?
Pushing her way through a mound of unopened mail, she found Elizabeth in the office, hunched over her laptop, surrounded by piles of paper and dirty coffee cups. The phone was ringing, but she ignored it and it clicked onto a message: ‘Elizabeth? It’s Oliver. I’m awfully worried about our Hunt Ball bucking bronco. Call me back?’ But her mum was oblivious as she hammered furiously away at the keyboard, pens stuck in her hair and an agonised expression on her face.
‘Mum? Is that you?’ Elizabeth spun round and stared at her, unseeing, then suddenly broke into a beaming smile. ‘Lily, darling! I wasn’t expecting you!’
She swept her up into a hug. There was an unwashed aroma, reminding Lily slightly of Berrow Farm.
‘Mum? What’s going on? And where’s Geraldine?’
‘Oh, I sacked her. No, she walked out. Anyway, she’s not here. Who cares? Now, what have you heard about Freddie?’
Lily surveyed the chaos, and sank into the nearest chair. Her phone buzzed yet again – another message from Russ, asking when she’d be back and where she’d put his clean socks. She switched it off. To think she’d dreamed of coming home for some TLC and a cash handout! ‘Welcome to the real world, Lily,’ she smiled ruefully to herself.
To be continued….