Bad blood – but it’s still thicker than water
Simmering rows between two sets of brothers erupted and cast a shadow over Ambridge this week (can an eruption cast a shadow? Ed).
Hearing that Kenton is struggling badly at The Bull (he can’t afford to keep Callum on, give Meriel a decent birthday gift or even bar Barry the Crisp Packet Menace from the pub), David was prepared to offer a loan. But having drunk the pub dry of ‘bitter’, Kenton was having none of it. ‘What are you – Lord of the Manor? Where do you get off?’ he snarled. ‘You’re going to have to find some other way to keep your lousy conscience quiet!’
David beat a hasty retreat, while Jolene, who takes a more pragmatic view, was left weeping quietly into the last crate of mixers…
Meanwhile, against his better judgment, Ed asked Will to be his best man. All went well until Ed let slip he was really asking for Clarrie’s sake. ‘You just wanna come across as Mr Reasonable, and make me the bad guy like you always do!’ Will yelled. ‘If you don’t wanna do it, that suits me fine! I’ll ask someone I give a damn about!’ Ed yelled back.
But it wasn’t all fraternal feuding. Rex and Toby Fairbrother, the smart new goose farmers about town, are still a team despite being knocked back by Rodways, which quoted a ridiculously high rent for the 50 acres they hoped to take over from Ed.
‘Toby and I are very different; I like to finish a job, where he always wants to move on to the next thing,’ Rex told Ed (bad luck, Pip.). ‘But when the going gets tough, you’re always there for each other. That’s the whole thing about brothers isn’t it?’
Will the battling brothers patch it up in time for the wedding? Or will there be brawling at the buffet? It remains to be seen… but Fallon’s lucky bunting is still missing.
Bird racers are ready to fly
Twitchers of Ambridge are all of a flutter as they look forward to the Great Borsetshire Bird Race, which takes place next Monday. Among the fiercely competitive local teams are the Bull Birders, with Jim Lloyd at the helm, and the Ambridge Aviators, skippered by Robert Snell.
With gamekeeper Will Grundy as driver, and a snazzy new telephoto lens, Robert seemed to have the edge until Lynda put her foot down about loo breaks. Robert insisted that ‘strong minds and iron bladders’ were required, but Lynda was determined to have a proper café stop. ‘We can’t just march in, use the facilities and march out again,’ she said. Hopefully they won’t need to take up Will’s suggestion of ‘nipping behind a tree’.
Meanwhile, having had to sacrifice his preferred team name (the Stymphalian Birds) to the god of sponsorship, Jim is intensely relaxed about the event. ‘Big telephoto lens, small tick list. I’m not at all competitive’, he said to Carol, who didn’t believe a word. ‘For me, ornithology is a chance to stop dwelling on my own petty concerns, stretch my eyes and appreciate the treasures of the world.’
But perhaps Jim has underestimated how far his birding banter has got under Robert’s skin. ‘You don’t know what it does to a man; I’m starting to lose confidence in telling common waders apart!’ he pleaded to Lynda, who wanted to know why he’d spent their insurance money on a camera.
Lynda at once promised to cross her legs and stand by her man. Will this be enough to spur the Aviators to victory? Or will the Birders’ secret weapon win the day? It’s binoculars at dawn on the village green.
Thanks a bunch for lunch, Shula
The arrival of Richard Locke for Sunday lunch at The Stables set Joe Grundy musing: ‘Archer women! They’re never happy unless they’ve got an extra man running after them… but still, I’m surprised at young Shula….’
However, it was awkward conversation, not romance, on the menu as Richard and Alistair were forced to make small talk over olives while Shula made Yorkshire puds. ‘I went to Wareham once’ was as lively as it got before Daniel bounded in, all rippling muscle and newfound dining etiquette. ‘He’s a credit to you and Shula, Alistair,’ said Richard. ‘Yes, he is. Absolutely,’ Alistair agreed, slurping the last of the cheap Bordeaux Richard brought, to numb the hopelessness of his existence…
Goodbye Otto, hello Cooper!
Much excitement at Bridge Farm, where Tony and family celebrated the arrival of the new bull with a special dinner featuring Helen’s three-lentil bake (see Charity Appeal, below). ‘He’s got a great pedigree, good stats, great conformation – what can possibly go wrong?’ beamed Tony, who clearly has a very short memory. However, Cooper, who is named after the model racing car that Peggy recently gave Tony (is there some point to this? Ed) trotted off the lorry and into his pen calmly enough. This gave Tony and Johnny the chance to chew the fat (surely cud? Ed) about life and love. Johnny is benefiting from his dyslexia support at college, and Caz, a nice girl on the horticulture course, thinks he’s brave to ask for extra help. ‘You’re more natural with girls than I ever was,’ said Tony. Let’s hope Cooper is a natural with girls too, or like Otto, he may find himself turned into burgers all too soon.
Berrow Farm mentor helps Ambridge hopefuls
It is always heartening to see senior local professionals share their experience with the younger generation. This week for example, Rob Titchener of Berrow Farm treated young farmer Pip Archer to a tour of the dairy unit, to help her prepare for an important job interview. ‘The biggest health risk to the herd is the staff’, he told a wide-eyed Pip. ‘People need twice as much watching as the stock.’
And only a day or two earlier, Rob took time from his busy schedule to put an arm round young contractor Ed Grundy. ‘You may need to be a little more careful; working for the estate involves a high degree of trust and confidence. So if you see something you don’t understand, best not to talk to strangers… I don’t think that needs much explaining, does it Ed?’ ‘No”, gulped Ed. And not only that: Rob and his lovely fiancé Helen are giving Ed and Emma a cheeseboard (not just Borsetshire Blue) for their wedding buffet.
With such wise and generous citizens among us, the future of Ambridge is surely in good hands! (please run this past Justin’s PR people. Thanks. Ed)
Charity appeal: forgotten victims of the flood
This week, we’re asking for your help to support Jack (Jazzer) McCreery,
Ambridge’s favourite pig man, milk man and ladies’ man (sometimes all at once). Flooded out of the comfortable home he shared with Jim Lloyd, Jazzer
is lodging with Pat and Tony Archer at Bridge Farm, where he is denied his traditional diet of pizza, deep fried Mars Bars and cigarettes (sometimes all at once).
Jazzer has been eking out his fibre-rich but taste-free meals with custard doughnuts from the shop, but recently even these small treats have been snatched away (by Toby Fairbrother, according to sources close to Pip Archer).
And so, in a desperate bid to escape Helen Archer’s three-lentil bake, Jazzer is reduced to eating cheese pasties and steak and kidney pies in the Flood Bar, with only Barry from Penny Hassett, complete with mullet, skull tattoos and exploding crisp packets, for company.
Please send what you can to help Jazzer secure extra supplies from Susan and bring a little happiness into his life! As he says so poignantly: ‘Three lentil bake? One’s bad enough. You could put my boot in the microwave and get a better meal.’