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  

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