Sunday, 3 May 2015

May Day merriment, wedding plans and celebration poultry: an upbeat week in Ambridge

Stop press: Ambridge laureate salutes the Royal birth

Many thanks to Bert Fry, who sums up the feelings of all our readers (except Jim Lloyd) at the delightful news from Kensington Palace.

Ode to a newborn Princess

And so this is a happy day,
All in the sunny month of May
A baby princess now is here
To fill us all with pride and cheer.

Her mother Kate and father Wills
Will be feeling joy and thrills
As they take their new baby home,
So I thought I would pen this poem

To mark her arrival into the world,
Her little toes and fingers curled.
And so from Ambridge’s subjects loyal
It’s welcome to our newest Royal!

Lynda shakes her bucket in style

Thanks to the sterling efforts of local volunteers, Ambridge will crown a new May Queen (probably Molly Button) on Bank Holiday Monday, amid scenes of wild celebrations and unbridled revelry (steady on. Ed). ‘Occasions like this are the stuff of life,’ said Lynda Snell, who personally rescued the missing Maypole from Ginny Throckmorton’s double garage and restored it to glory with new ribbons and several coats of Sunburnt Stone emulsion. ‘They offer a sense of community, purpose and delight!’
Visitors will enjoy a barbecue and tea tent, provided by The Bull; Morris dancing, and a special appearance by Jennifer Aldridge, the internet legend known as the Boudicca of Borsetshire for her fierce defence of the local environment.
‘Can I just add that SAVE is a community-wide campaign, not an opportunity for people to bask in their own glory?’ said Mrs Snell. ‘I have disinfected the collecting buckets and I personally will be shaking one vigorously. Generals may lead, but battles are won by foot soldiers.’
Well done Lynda: more power to your bucket!

A culvert conundrum for David

A representative of the Environment Agency will be at the Bank Holiday event, and David, with his Flood Action Group hat on, wants to bend her ear. He’s puzzled about two culverts on Estate land, one of which was mysteriously cleared of builders’ debris after the flood. ‘Normally, during the flood, the culvert would have delivered huge quantities of water to the stream above Berrow Farm, and if the stream hadn’t been able to carry the water fast enough, it would have spilled over straight into the cows’ cubicles,’ he explained to Ruth, who was bad-temperedly slapping cutlery down on the table.
So was there some skulduggery to save the mega-dairy and divert the floodwater into the village? And has the evidence now been whisked away? And has Ed already broken his NDA with Charlie by mentioning it to David? And if so what does that mean for Ed? (enough silly questions. Ed. As in editor. Not Ed Grundy). 

Ed and Emma’s wedding day draws near…

Meanwhile, the wedding of Ed Grundy and Emma… um, Grundy will be a proper village affair, mainly because the village has been asked to supply the food. (‘It’s so easy, and saves a stash of cash,’ said Susan.) Guests will be feasting on Kathy’s Coronation chicken, Caroline’s salads, Christine’s scones, Pat’s potato pie and Nic’s lasagne. Kate is offering aubergine and tofu with cashew nuts: ‘I expect she can have that to herself,’ sniffed Susan.
However, both Jennifer and Lynda have offered a dressed salmon, where only one is needed. Susan prefers Jennifer’s, because she’s family (and a better cook) but is too scared to confront Lynda and has insisted Fallon break the news. Will the centrepiece go the way of the infamous dressed salmon at Rob and Jess’s party? It might take all of Fallon’s diplomatic skills to prevent it…    
Meanwhile, the happy couple can look forward to something special from Tony and Peggy, who are celebrating their new-found closeness by clubbing together on a gift.
And even Ed’s money troubles may be easing, thanks to young guns Rex and Toby Fairbrother, who just happen to be looking for 50 acres of level ground in Ambridge to start a turkey-farming business (celebration poultry. Ed) Ed hopes the Estate might agree to pass his tenancy over to the new arrivals, which means he could earn money for his hedge-cutting instead of just paying off his debts.
Only Clarrie is getting the rough end of the stick as usual; all her posh frocks went mouldy after the flood so she has nothing to wear for the big day. ‘It’s high time she had a bit of TLC,’ agreed Fallon and Susan. ‘Clarrie Grundy SHALL go to the ball!’ Will they be raiding Sabrina Thwaite’s charity dressing-up box? Time will tell…

… and Helen will be catching the bouquet

With all the delight of a lemming heading for the cliffs, Helen accepted Rob’s proposal this week, now it’s clear Rob is not the father of Jess’s child. (Still beats me how he got away with it. Ed). ‘Very soon I’m going to make you Mrs Rob Titchener,’ he purred. ‘Oh Rob, after so long I can hardly believe it,’ she simpered.
But Helen hadn’t heard his phone calls with the hapless Jess, in which he twisted the verbal knife in his soon-to-be-ex. ‘Why do you have to be so hurtful?’ she cried. ‘I so wanted Ethan to be yours. And we were together that night. You said you loved me. I’ll tell Helen.’
‘No one will believe the rantings of a mad woman,’ said Rob. ‘That night was a one-off and as science has proved, whatshisname has nothing to do with me. Now don’t call this phone again. My solicitor will be in touch about the divorce.’
And with that, Rob sent Helen, his ‘delightfully ditzy’ fiancĂ©e, upstairs to put on a beautiful dress ready to go out for dinner….

Students hear the secrets of locals’ success

Felpersham University hosted its popular Careers Fair this week, and this year, invited some local people in to give students the benefit of their experience. Here are some highlights from their presentations:

Joe Grundy (livestock farming): ‘Farming’s not an easy game; there are no days off, long hours and you’re at the mercy of the weather. The land will grind you down, you mark my words, my lad. But if you work hard, and you can cope with the darkness this life brings, you’ll come out a man.’

Kate Aldridge (wedding planning): ‘There are worse jobs, I suppose, but honestly, clients can be so stupid, refusing to have gluten-free cakes or eco-friendly napkins. And it’s all a waste of time; couples go through this whole ludicrous charade, then the rose-tinted glasses come off and soon they’re treating each other with utter contempt, and the physical side has fizzled out long before…’

Charlie Thomas (large livestock units): ‘I reckon young uppity graduates, especially those who crash other people’s dates, should go and explore worldwide opportunities to gain farming experience. Mexico, for instance. Or Mongolia. Look at Pip Archer. She’s an inspiration to you all.’

Eddie Grundy (turkey farming): ‘You’ll find there’s no call for Yuletide turkeys round here. And people don’t want them fancy geese or ducks neither – too much choice can drive a man mad. No, don’t get your hopes up, you try farming celebration poultry anywhere near Ambridge and you’ll find yourself crushed by Grundy turkeys like David was by Goliath.’

Adam Macy (arable farming): ‘Growing crops is a rewarding career, as long as you can avoid the rapacious scorched-earth methods of modern agribusiness and turn your fields into traditional herbal leys, without your grumpy old step-dad moaning on about the cost and the waste of wheat.’

Kenton Archer (publican): ‘My only piece of careers advice would be, make sure your double-crossing brother doesn’t betray you by making you spend all your money on a holiday and then pulling the rug out from under you, so you’re left with no cash to pay the phone bill and have to rely on your step-daughter’s home-made bunting and bloody Morris dancers to get you out of the mire. I say, is there a fee for this?’

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