Sunday, 22 February 2015

Perjury, pancakes and Hadley Haugh is off: a seismic week in Ambridge

Hadley Haugh: it’s all off!

The massive news in Ambridge this week, which came as a complete surprise to the entire village (don’t you mean ‘nobody’? Ed) is that David has had a change of heart, mind and underpants and is now determined to stay at Brookfield.
‘It’s not about the possession, or the obscene amount of money Justin offered,’ he blubbed to his mum, exhausted by emotion, lambing and a race round Grange Spinney in search of his toy farm.
‘It’s bigger than that, deeper than that. It’s almost as if Brookfield made me what I am, who I am. This sounds stupid.. but I’m not sure I’d know who I am without it..’
Jill, of course, knows exactly who David is. ‘You’re not mad; you’re my David and you’re so much your father’s son,’ she purred, delighted that her long game of quiet resistance has paid off.
However, while David navigated his inner turmoil, Ruth has been up to her hocks in parlour designs and paperwork. As far as she knows, they are set to sign contracts and celebrate next week with Heather and pints of Newcastle Brown. But to David and his mum, Ruth is no longer his wife but a ‘huge question’. How will they tell her? And how long before there is more paperwork to be done – of the divorce variety?  

Staying at Brookfield: the business case in full

Being an astute and forward-thinking farmer, David is preparing a presentation for Ruth and Pip, explaining why they should turn down £7.5 million and stay on a farm that’s about to have a road run through it. The Ambridge Observer has had an exclusive preview of his compelling reasons for staying:
• the robins in the hedge that Phil and Jethro laid in Cow Pasture need a nesting site
• Lady Rosetta III wishes to give birth to her next calf at Brookfield
• David has discovered a secret code in Dan’s diaries that is the key to Brookfield’s future prosperity
• Phil wrote the ‘Happy birthday’ label on David’s toy farm, proving that Brookfield is his son’s birthright
• The toy farm was miraculously saved by Hilary Noakes declaring it a health and safety hazard
• Phil appeared to David in a waking dream and told him to grow a pair

Two sides to Mr Titchener …

David wasn’t the only Ambridge resident to perform a volte-face this week. Rob, who only a few months ago persuaded Helen to give up work, suddenly went all liberated and reasonable and suggested that she might as well go back to the shop full-time – and why not get Henry stacking shelves while they’re at it? Much to Pat and Tom’s delight, Helen got stuck in and soon had Ambridge Organics looking shipshape again. But another incident with the electric roller-shutter, and a late supper for Rob, proved too much for the Mary Portas of Borchester.
‘Well darling, you could always take the more radical solution and sell up’, said Rob, thinking only of Helen’s welfare and not at all about the cash he’ll need to fund Jess’s maintenance claim. ‘Oh Rob, why couldn’t I see it? It’s obvious!’ simpered Helen, leafing through the latest issue of Gullible Woman’s Weekly.

…. and Shula’s seen the nasty one  

It was Ash Wednesday this week, so Shula decided to give up biscuits and to unburden her sin of perjury to Caroline. ‘I lied to PC Burns,’ she confessed, ‘for the sake of the hunt. It was Rob who started it. He tried to grab the sab’s camera and punched him, hard, to the ground.’
Caroline offered to ask Oliver to give Rob a ticking-off, but Shula insisted on confronting him herself. ‘The more I think about it,’ she reported back to Caroline, ‘the more I don’t like it. The way he couldn’t conceive of being in the wrong.. it’s not healthy. I don’t like it. It was horrible. Like someone walking over my grave…’
Will it end there? Or will Rob try to silence Shula and her inconvenient conscience? Time will tell…

Pancake Day didn’t fall flat!

Did you miss this bargain
 at the SAVE jumble sale?
Only 50p from Hilary Noakes
Jennifer’s reputation as the Boudicca of Borsetshire preceded her to Pancake Day at The Bull, where, to cheering crowds, she made another rousing speech for the SAVE campaign, pledging to protect  ‘every field, hedgerow, copse, sheep or cow, rabbit or pheasant..’ (yes, we had all that last week, Ed).
Lynda was miffed at Jennifer’s spell in the limelight, and stomped off to bend the ear of the Westbury Courier, but apart from that it was a happy event. Kenton was in high spirits as he and Jolene pack their bags for Australia (unaware that the promised windfall from David has been cancelled). George Grundy won the children’s race, and Emma was in a good mood as her surprisingly tasteful wedding dress plans are going smoothly. Ed was celebrating the sale of his and Mike’s cows and tried to persuade Mike to stay in Ambridge. ‘We’re too far in to turn back now… it would be like David and Ruth pulling out of their move,’ said Mike, in a spookily prescient way. Perhaps Carol had put something in the cider…  

New series: Observer confidential

Welcome to our new series, in which we aim to help readers wrestling with a personal dilemma. This week, ‘Roy’ of Ambridge writes:
 ‘I had an affair last summer and my wife left me. This week she came to visit. I was so pleased to see her I jumped all over her and told her how lonely I’d been and how she must come back to me, where she belongs. But she said something about being lonely while I was away having it off with my boss, and that she wants a divorce. Where did I go wrong?’
• Our agony aunt replies: You may have tried to move things on too quickly, ‘Roy’. Your wife wants a husband, not a randy, needy, selfish sheepdog living in a midden. It may not be too late for your relationship, but my advice, offered with love and care, is to get a good lawyer.
• Next week: we advise ‘Brian’ , who is living in a ‘house full of hormones’, surrounded by a ‘monstrous regiment’ and struggling to pay ‘extortionate decorator’s bills’. Hang in there, ‘Brian’!

Neighbourhood Watch alert

Residents of Grange Spinney are warned to be on the lookout for two suspicious characters who have been knocking on doors at twilight, possibly attempting to gain entrance on a flimsy pretext. ‘I was just getting the kids’ tea ready when the doorbell rang,’ said Mrs Janice NoName of Maple Crescent.  ‘This bloke and an old lady asked me if I’d bought a toy farm at the Ambridge jumble sale. The bloke looked really upset so out of the goodness of my heart I went to fetch it. Then they had the nerve to turn their noses up! Said it wasn’t the right one. I tell you, they’re all mad in this village. I wish we’d never moved from Nuneaton.’

Sunday, 15 February 2015

It's the Valentine's Ball at The Bull, but who will dance to Rob's tune? A tricky week in Ambridge

We’ll milk again…

Nostalgia was in the air this week in Ambridge. While villagers prepared their Victory Rolls for the Valentine’s Day Ball, David and Pip rummaged through the NFU archives, reminiscing about Dan Archer’s marvellous mechanical mobile milking machine. ‘Great-granddad was a real pioneer,’ agreed Pip. ‘Now can we buy a £100K tractor Dad? That toy one you got me for my first birthday smelt of custard.’ (What this? Ed.)

… but it’s beef for Ed!

Oliver came up trumps for the Grundys this week, suggesting to Ed that he carry on renting his land but swap his dairy cattle for a small beef herd. ‘That’s put me in the mood to dance Bert Fry off the floor,’ crowed Joe, doing a little jig so all the mothballs fell out of his 1947 suit. Oliver also offered Ed and Emma the use of a barn and furniture from Grey Gables for their wedding reception, and even the cows did their bit by passing their TB test. So maybe there will still be Grundys at Grange Farm after all…

Local crime update

Ambridge’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) is investigating an allegation of assault at the meet of the South Borsetshire Hunt this week. Hunt member Mr Rob Titchener is accused of punching an anti-hunt campaigner and trying to grab his camera. The alleged offence occurred after the hunt had accidentally (for the second time this season) killed a fox. The investigation has stalled as the only witness, Mrs Shula Hebden-Lloyd, appeared to be struck by a thunderbolt from Heaven when asked to confirm Mr Titchener’s version of events. He claimed that Mr Murphy had set upon him with a machete, causing him slight bruising to the arm. Enquiries are continuing once PC Burns has celebrated Valentine’s Day with his girlfriend Fallon and their new floral teapot.

Live on air: the Boudicca of Borsetshire

Jennifer delivered a rousing call to arms against Route B on Radio Borsetshire this week, described by one Facebook fan as ‘like Churchill in pearls and a lovely Brora cashmere twinset’.  Goaded by charmless interviewer Rhiannon that she was more Nimby than Occupy, Jennifer found her voice as rural champion. ‘It’s time someone stood up for the unsung heroes, the ones collecting kids from school, juggling a budget, making a meal for four after a long day at work,’ she said. ‘Honestly Rhiannon, you’ve no idea how expensive boarding school fees and vegan sausages are these days!’   (Subs: check transcript. Doesn’t sound right. Ed)
This all made Brian very grumpy. It’s bad enough Kate and Lilian glugging his wine like fizzy pop and leaving their undies all over Home Farm’s many bathrooms, but Jennifer becoming famous is a step too far. ‘These fans of yours – they’re pranksters, bored students, even lunatics!’ he said supportively, before stumping off and refusing to get ‘embroiled in Jenny’s PR machine’ by taking her photo.

A Valentine’s reunion for Kate and Roy?

Kate and Lilian
on their third bottle 
Kate visited Roy this week, picking her way through the debris of pasties and pizza boxes to warn him to stay away from Phoebe. ‘This mess – this havoc that surrounds you – it’s exposing her to your unmanageability,’ she claimed, astonishingly. This was the biggest laugh Roy had had in ages, but their row soon became more unsavoury than his half-eaten lamb bhuna. ‘Yes, Phoebe left me, but I never left her. You’re a terrible mother, and I’ll see my girl whenever she’s ready, whenever I like,’ he yelled. 
But accusing Kate of being nearly 40 was the final straw. ‘I’m not the one who broke her heart, you are!’ she yelled back, prompting Roy to propel her out of the house and straight back to Home Farm. ‘Look mum, the horrid man made me cry and hurt my arm,’ Kate whinged. ‘And can you believe it? He called me SELFISH!’
Jennifer though, still on a high following her radio triumph, had moved from Churchillian rhetoric to Thatcherite tough-love. ‘I can’t see anything on your arm, and you and Roy need to buck up your ideas. How on earth do you think this is helping Phoebe?’ And as Kate went on to drown her sorrows with Lilian and a couple of bottles of Brian’s finest Burgundy, it’s unlikely the war between the Tucker/Aldridges will be over any time soon.

Looking daggers on the dance floor

Kenton hired an air raid siren to help the 1940s Valentine’s Ball go with a bang, and there was certainly a whiff of cordite in the air. Helen kept Rob waiting by working late in Ambridge Organics, which manager Tina had deserted earlier on the grounds of stress. But knowing that this would annoy Rob, Helen told him that Henry wouldn’t settle and rushed to get a drink, leaving Rob to do a little mild intimidating of Shula and a spot of light threatening of Adam.  
Not surprisingly, after their chilli-fest earlier in the week (see below) Neil and Susan Carter won the prize for ‘most loved-up couple’ at the ball, and Carol Tregorran won ‘most elegant dancer’ with both her beaux, Bert Fry and Joe Grundy.
And all seemed to be forgiven between Rob and Helen by the last dance, when he took her in his manly, hunt-sab-bashing arms.
‘Oh darling, I do adore you,’ she swooned.  But what will Rob do when he finds out she plans to go back to work full-time? Tin hats all round.

Recipe of the week: chilli à la Carter

Thanks to Mrs Susan Carter of Ambridge View for sharing the secret of her special chilli. ‘I like to have it hot and steaming on the table when my husband Neil gets home after a hard day being assertive in the pig unit,’ she says. Bon appétit!

Serves 2 with plenty of seconds

250g lean, masterful mince
450g tin full of beans
1 big hunk of spicy sausage
450g juicy tomatoes (pommes d’amour)
Chilli oil, as hot as you dare
1 sexy stockman cube
Pinch of cumin get it

Stir all the ingredients together and leave to simmer while you rustle up a Dirty Banana. Serve with nothing but a smile.

Situations wanted

• Experienced office administrator, ruthlessly efficient, specialising in property and covering for bosses when out shopping, golfing and having secret lunchtime liaisons. Competent in Word, ExCel and raising a disapproving eyebrow. References available from Home Farm and Costa Rica. Reply: Anthea, Box 126.

• Enthusiastic retail manager, experienced in organic food but more suited to sectors with lower stock turnover. Currently available after a spell of maternity cover. Qualified to undermine businesses on instructions from the owner’s devious partner. Reply: Tina, c/o R Titchener, Box 248.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Twitchers’ Corner, Dateline Ambridge and a sad day for Ed

 Jenny’s hot, hot, hot!

Jenny had an excellent week, despite a wobbly start when Underwoods ran out of chilli oil. Her blog for the SAVE campaign went viral, with replies coming from all over the world (East Anglia). It bagged her an interview with Radio Borsetshire, allowing her to snub Lynda’s ill-judged offer of media coaching, and helped her and Jill solve the Great Brookfield Dairy Mystery.
Heady with this success, she even managed to make a joke. Taking pity on sozzled, heartbroken Lilian, she invited her sister to stay, much to Brian’s chagrin.
‘With so many women in the house, he even used the word “coven”,’ she confided to Jill. ‘I told him, at our age the only time our cycles synchronise will be when Lilian and I get our delicates ready for the washing machine!’  Encouraged by Kate, Jenny has signed up for some open-mic gigs at the Ferret’s Nest in Felpersham. Go, Jenny!

Is David regretting the robots? (part 2)

David, Ruth and Pip combined a flying visit to Heather (‘Now don’t you be selling up just on my account bairns’) with placing the mahoosive order for robotic milkers. Pip was thrilled, but now that the cash is down, David is edgier than ever. He snapped at Shula for asking when the money might come through, as she wants to train racehorses and is plotting up a winner for next month’s Cheltenham Festival, having inherited the Archer ‘delusion’ gene.
Then he failed to reassure Eddie on how much work he might keep when Brookfield is all wind farms and solar panels. ‘I’ll be lucky if I get to cut the lawn round Justin Elliot’s mansion,’ Eddie said, to an awkward ‘Well it’s only rumour pet,’ from Ruth. And Bert is still worried that he and Freda will be turfed out of their bungalow. ‘He’d get equivalent accommodation,’ said Ruth, ‘but he might lose his lovely river frontage…’ (although in fact Justin has already told Bert he can park his new caravan anywhere out of sight of the house). Is it finally dawning on David that he can’t move north and retain his Ambridge’s Favourite Farmer award?

Happy birthday, Roy!    

A visit and a card from Phoebe perked up Roy’s birthday no end, until he found out that Kate is now a permanent fixture at Home Farm. ‘She had an affair. So that’s both of you, isn’t it?’ Phoebe said, turning down his offer of last night’s takeaway for tea. As Brian confided to Jim and Robert, ‘Phoebe is not too impressed with either of her natural parents at the moment.’
‘That’s all I need – Kate bad-mouthing me morning, noon and night!’ Roy fumed at Mike, accurately as it happens, because when Kate learned that Phoebe had been to see Roy, she ‘went postal’ as Phoebe, also accurately, predicted.
‘You see mum, that’s the trouble. Roy sets her such a bad example. No wonder she’s upset,’ Kate moaned to Jenny, who for once rose to the occasion magnificently. ‘Now you know I’m your mother and I love you. But sometimes I wonder, can you hear the words that come out of your mouth?’ Kate, however, had her fingers in her ears, singing ‘La la la’….

‘What’s a “little bastard”, mummy’?

Rob’s plan to keep Helen in the kitchen by putting Tina in charge of Ambridge Organics unravelled this week, when an inspector called – not from Child Maintenance, but Environmental Health. Rob spluttered with impotent rage when Helen abandoned their lovely home-cooked lunch to sort things out, leaving him to pick up Henry. This was not a good time for Jess to call about baby Ethan, and Planet Titchener nearly exploded. ‘I have no intention of taking a DNA test and I am not paying maintenance for your little bastard! No, not you, Henry, you’re my favourite boy!’
And when Rob dropped into the shop later, things were even worse. Helen was happy as Larry, talking point-of-sale material and vitamin supplements with Tina, and daring to suggest Rob and Henry might have a takeaway for tea!
Faced with such insubordination, Rob refused to go to dance practice at The Bull, leaving Helen to have fun on her own. ‘Well, an occasional pizza won’t hurt him,’ said Ian. But will it hurt Helen? Someone will pay for this!

Curtains for the cows at Grange Farm

Will the Brookfield Bottle save
Ed's dairy enterprise?
If things are looking bleak for Eddie at Brookfield, it was an even worse week for Ed. Mike revealed that he couldn’t sell the bottling side of the business as a going concern, leaving Ed nowhere to send his milk. After a visit to Brookfield, where Ruth and David had no advice to offer, Ed decided to sell the 36 cows he has left and buy a tractor. ‘If I can’t be a farmer in my own right, it’s the best I can hope for,’ he told Eddie. ‘Don’t beat yourself up. You’ve done so well against the odds,’ Eddie said as they surveyed Ed’s beautiful but loss-making beasts. ‘You were brave. Never knew no one so brave.’
‘I tried hard, and I failed hard,’ said Ed. In the absence of Pip coming up with a wizard wheeze from uni, or the Brookfield Milk Bottle having magic properties, it looks as though Ed, despite his best efforts, will be another sad loss to dairy farming.   

Lions are full of heart!

Many thanks to the Ambridge Lions, who have kindly donated a defibrillator to be installed in The Bull. The need for this became clear after a ‘dance practice’ incident where competition between two elderly participants had nearly fatal results. Fortunately Joe ‘Beetroot Face’ Grundy and Bert ‘Goose step’ Fry were revived at the scene with Mrs Carol Tregorran’s famous Turnip Tango tea. But better safe than sorry, eh gentlemen?


Dateline Ambridge

Good-looking, clean-cut farming entrepreneur WLTM similar. Me: hard-working, ambitious, NSOH, tired of dating game and drunken fumbles. Now looking for long-term commitment and crop rotation expertise. You: called Adam Macy and engaged to Ian. Let’s connect! Please. Please?

Twitchers’ Corner

This week we asked Robert Snell and Jim Lloyd, two of Ambridge’s keenest bird-watchers, for their top seasonal tips. Have you seen any of these species around the village?

Pargetter’s booby (Tucker adulterus). The male is an excellent parent, who pines and fouls his own nest when separated from his young. Listen out for his mournful nocturnal call: ‘Hayleylizzie! Lizziehayley!’

Long-legged thwaite (Sabrina titillata). Despite its eye-catching pale gold crest and showy leopardskin plumage, this bird is completely mute.

Great crested titchener (Turdus duplicitus). Aggressive type. Mates with two females but sets up home with only one, confining her to the nest and throwing out unwanted young.

Liver-spotted jillfinch (Aga domestica). Mates for life, but roosts with her young when widowed. Known for her chirpy call: ‘Hello you two! Hello you two!’

Common or garden shrike (Carter inquistadora) Ground-dwelling bird with dowdy plumage and sharp beak, distinctive for its busy habit and incessant shrill  cry.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Home truths at Home Farm: an emotional week in Ambridge

Hope those are vegan porkies, Kate...

Regular readers might wonder why Kate made so little fuss of her daughter Nolly’s 14th birthday on January 14th.  She wouldn’t even let Jenny, who’s a whiz with technology, Skype her a cake! And why hadn’t Kate talked to her husband Lucas since arriving in Ambridge?
Trust being the most precious thing between a mother and daughter, Kate confided in Jenny, over a cosy cup of herbal tea, that Lucas’s parents had turned him and the children against her, poisoning their minds so that Nolly won't even speak to her mother now.
Jenny, horrified, told Brian all about it, who gently pointed out that there might be more than one side to the story. ‘You’re not suggesting Kate’s lying, are you?’ Jenny fumed, her rose-tinted specs nearly combusting at Brian’s lack of family loyalty (not for the first time, it must be said).
But Kate’s version of events didn’t survive first contact with feisty Phoebe, who finally flipped at the prospect of moving into Kate’s cottage.
‘Lucas threw you out and Nolly won’t speak to you because you had an affair. About the same time as my dad did. You always said you two had a special bond,’ she spat at her mother, who squirmed like a butterfly on a pin.
‘You didn’t come back for me; you came back because you’ve got nowhere else to go, and I’m the only child you’ve got left. And I wish to God I wasn’t!’
And with that she disappeared to phone Hayley and invite herself to Birmingham for the weekend, coming down only to ask Kate – ‘mum’ no longer – for a lift.
‘Can you do that for me Kate? Can you do THAT at least?’ Go, Phoebe! 

All hail Hayley!

Thank goodness for Hayley Tucker. She’s a proper mum, the kind who knows that to mend a broken heart, all you need is a snuggle on the sofa, a stupid sitcom (preferably one with a hapless man in it) and a family-sized bar of Galaxy. All of which she supplied to Phoebe, who’d continued her fight with Kate in the car on the way to Birmingham. ‘Why do you have to involve me in your lies? Why can’t you be hypocrites, like other parents?’ she railed.
‘I can’t lie to you!’ retorted Kate, ignoring the inconvenient truth that she already had, several times. ‘But you could SHUT UP!’ yelled Phoebe, threatening to get out and walk rather than listen to any more of Kate’s self-serving bluster.
And how does Hayley feel about all this? She played a blinder, refusing to blame Kate or even Roy, and suggesting that Phoebe might go and see Roy on his birthday. But is that solely for Phoebe’s sake, or does the flame still burn for Tucker the … (Family newspaper. Ed). It remains to be seen…

Tears for souvenirs are all he left her...

The eyes follow you
round the room...
Lilian is slowly coming to terms with the fact that Matt is gone for good, leaving her with few home comforts apart from a hideous print of a crying gypsy that Jack Woolley won in a raffle. ‘I loved him so much, J’lene’, she sobbed, digging in the back of the sofa for spare change. ‘I thought we were in our golden years - the home stretch!’ Regular readers might wonder if Lilian was thinking that when she set up a love-nest with Matt’s half-brother Paul. Be that as it may, Lilian is facing the future with no man, but at least she will have some cash, when Kenton and Jolene buy her share of The Bull. And that only depends on the sale of Brookfield. So that’s all fine. One less thing for her to worry about!

Emma and Ed are in this together…

Ed Grundy took four cows to market this week (Felpersham, not Borchester, to avoid the embarrassment). Unfortunately, Emma told Susan, which is as good as putting up a poster in The Bull. And of course, Susan had some excellent marriage guidance for her daughter. ‘Ed’s like your dad,’ she said. ‘A hard worker and a lovely man. But that’s not enough sometimes. So maybe you need to be a bit more like me; give him a gentle push in the right direction. Not that I ever nag, of course…’
Meanwhile Neil, his ears still ringing from the drubbing Susan gave him last week, tried his hand at assertiveness with Tom and Johnny over the pigs, but failed miserably and slunk back to Ambridge View to eat chocolate and nurse his grudge. ‘For the last time Neil, DO something about it!’ was Susan’s response, not noticing the silent tears rolling down his ruddy cheeks.

… and Joe presses David’s buttons

David, twisting his cap in his hands, went to see Justin Elliot this week to ask if he and Ruth could stay  on as tenants after the sale. To his surprise, the Beelzebub of Borsetshire was as nice as pie. ‘If I can help out your family, and it suits me, it’s a win-win,’ he purred, before going too far by saying that it had always been his dream to move to the Midlands. Not even Helen Archer would swallow that one, but David seemed happy enough – until Joe Grundy turned up.
For some reason, it is vitally important to the Archers to establish that Dan Archer had a milk round before the war, and here was the proof, stamped on a filthy old bottle that Joe found in the pole barn, next to his Susan’s old mangle.
 ‘So you’ll see another Ambridge spring,’ Joe mused on hearing that the move north would probably be delayed until June. ‘That time of year when you turn the cows out, with the sun on their backs…’
‘But times are so tough in dairy, Joe,’ moaned David.
‘They’re always tough for farmers. They’re tough for my Ed. But he loves his animals and he loves his land. That’s the main thing, isn’t it David Archer?’
As Joe remembers it, Dan was fond of cows and sheep, like his grandson David. ‘But your dad, he was only interested if they had a snout and a curly tail!’ (which seems a little harsh on Jill).
‘It’ll be good to see the ewes and lambs on Lakey Hill one more time,’ David agreed, going all gooey.
But will Joe’s family history lesson tug strongly enough on the Archer heartstrings to stop the move? Up north, the robots are marching inexorably on…

Blogger of the Week

This week the Ambridge Observer’s tour of the local online community visits Jennifer Aldridge of Home Farm, stalwart of the SAVE campaign. Here’s her latest post:

Elliot's plan for Brookfield:
dare he deny it??!!!
‘Outrageous… riding roughshod over countryside… MASSIVE distribution hub... access roads... Ambridge becomes industrial wasteland… arc lights, guard dogs and barbed wire… chemical weapons stored in the Am… betrayal of everything England stands for… Brookfield demolished to build disgusting decadent pleasure palace… Justin Elliot, Borsetshire’s answer to Nicholas van Hoogstraten…  (Whoa! Have we legalled this? Drop and replace with Bert Fry’s Burns Night sonnet ASAP. Ed.).

Valentine’s Day Ball at The Bull – that dance card in full

• Osteoporosis Tango: Carol Tregorran and Bert Fry
• The Lavender Waltz: Helen Archer and Ian Craig
• Jealous Guy (slow foxtrot): Rob Titchener (solo)
• The Bartleby Polka: Carol Tregorran and Joe Grundy
• Wedding Bells Waltz: Adam Macy and Ian Craig
• The Takes-Two-To Tango: Adam Macy and Charlie Thomas
• The Moving North Jitterbug: Ruth and David Archer
• We’re in the Money (comedy Charleston): Jolene and Kenton Archer
• Highland Fling: Jazzer McCreary and the nearest female
• One For My Baby, and One More For the Road (rumba): Lilian Bellamy and Justin Elliot
• SAVE the last dance for me: Jennifer Aldridge and Lynda Snell