Sunday, 7 June 2015

Ruth rushes north, high jinks at Home Farm and Grey Gables goes Glasto: a frantic week in Ambridge

Exclusive! Local hotel to lose 5-star status

Grey Gables, one of Borsetshire’s premier leisure destinations, is set to be stripped of its luxury rating following a damning report by an undercover hotel inspector. The inspector was so shocked by what he found during his stay this week that he broke cover to give the Ambridge Observer an exclusive preview:
‘I booked at Grey Gables as ‘Vince’, a delegate at a commercial property conference. From check-in onwards my experience fell short of 5-star standards.
The owner and receptionist seemed more concerned about a lost dog than their guests, and an elderly vagrant was allowed to wander about the lobby, muttering racist remarks about “swarthy thieves looking for cars to steal in the car park missus”.
‘I inspected the car park and found it had been squatted by an extended family in a shabby campervan, playing loud music and drying their laundry on the topiary. When I objected, a woman called Sylvia said “Back off baldy, it’s our Baggy’s birthday and we’ve come for the party!”
‘Later that evening, a distressed resident came into the lounge, saying she had been forced out of her room by ‘boom box’ music coming from next door. The family I’d seen earlier were escorted from the hotel, but it was impossible to escape the smell of stale lager and fried food wafting downstairs. Not at all in keeping with chef Ian Craig’s ‘A Borsetshire Night’s Dream’ summer menu.
‘Worse was to come the following evening, when I was accosted in the bar by a man called ‘Eddie Grundy’ who claimed he was a multi-millionaire country singer who lived permanently in a suite at Grey Gables with his wife and father. He cadged drinks off me all evening, then flagrantly suggested we defraud the hotel, as he could keep me and my fellow delegates supplied with cut-price alcohol and snacks. As ‘Vince’, I played along with him, to see how far he would go. The ‘snacks’, which were stuffed in his pockets, were of poor quality, not properly chilled and well past their sell-by date. The sausagemeat buffet bites are something I will not easily forget.
‘Hotel staff turned a blind eye to these unpleasant and illegal activities. And the last straw came the following evening, when a lady of a certain age was allowed to totter round the lounge, asking male guests to “buy a girl a little drinkie, darling? Gotta save my pennies for the magic Botox man!”
‘I shall be recommending that the hotel be downgraded from 5-star to 1-star (boarding house standard) with immediate effect.’
The Ambridge Observer tried to contact Caroline Sterling, Grey Gables’ owner, for comment, but we were told she was busy booking a holiday.

Kate pours cold water on Pip’s hopes of romance

Pip’s delight at securing the job with Webster International was dampened when her partner in the Young Farmers’ Treasure Hunt turned out to be Rex Fairbrother, not Toby. But she gamely got on with it, and soon she and Rex were motoring through Borsetshire, solving Latin clues and chatting about milk margins like old pals. Meanwhile Kate, who had bagged the hotter Fairbrother brother, was telling Toby how bendy she was. ‘I can get into all sorts of positions,’ she purred, subtly. ‘I wouldn’t mind seeing that,’ said Toby. ‘Which way?’ ‘Any way you like, Toby!’
Soon they’d abandoned the treasure hunt and headed back to the drinks and barbecue at Home Farm, where Charlie and Adam were earnestly discussing global agri-politics over a glass of Pimm’s. But the civilised atmosphere was ruined by over-excited Young Farmers, who threw Kate in the pool. ‘She’s a right laugh, your cousin!’ Toby yelled to Pip, stripping down to his boxers to join Kate for a swim.
‘Yes well, she’s got a lot of baggage; she’s probably over-compensating,’ sniffed Pip. ‘My brother is the kind of man your mum warned you against,’ said Rex, wistfully chewing a burger.
The YFs then threw some raddle dye in the pool, prompting Adam to throw them all out. The water was as purple as Brian’s face will be when he finds out how much the damage will cost. But Pip was spared seeing Toby and Kate sneak off for a closer look at her chakras. She was called back to Brookfield as Granny Heather has had a massive stroke…     

Ask the doctor

In the latest of our occasional series, a local GP advises two readers on health worries affecting the older generation:

Q ‘My mother in Prudhoe had a mini-stroke (my husband David says it’s called a ‘TIA’, and then this week she’s had a massive stroke. What does this mean?’ (From ‘Ruth’ in Ambridge).
A Well, ‘Ruth’, I’m afraid it means you will miss Open Farm Sunday and your mother-in-law will have to design the posters, which won’t be very good. Your husband will get very tired and grumpy and your daughter may have to give up the glamorous job in Brazil she has been offered. As your mother is so far away, I can’t give you a prognosis, but I believe her neighbour Mrs Watkins’ husband had a stroke, so perhaps she can advise.

Q I am an elderly, lonely widow whose home was recently flooded and then burgled. I am staying with family and can’t face rebuilding my life. I’m thinking of going into a care home, but my friend says I should pull myself together with cake and sherry. What do you think doctor? (From ‘Christine’.)
A You poor woman; it sounds as if you’ve had a bad bout of ‘Peggywoolley Irritans’. With everything you’ve been through, you are probably clinically depressed, and sherry will only make it worse. Could you find a nicer friend – maybe a gruff, kindly chap who likes bird watching – to confide in?

Letter to the Editor

Mrs Susan Carter of Ambridge View writes:

I just wanted to encourage everyone to go along to Berrow Farm on Sunday for their absolutely wonderful Open Day. I myself have been invited specially. Charlie Thomas says he wants me to have a display area, and talk about the importance of the Ambridge Community Shop. Charlie says it’s all about the principle of producer/retailer symbiosis. Charlie says it will be really valuable to have someone with my professional expertise and local knowledge there, and there’s a party after. Charlie says… (OK, enough. We get the picture. Ed).


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  1. Sheer Genius darling. Trying desperately to identify the sad woman in need of Botox. Send her to me I'll put her on to a wonderful little man in Soho, absolute bargain darling and such a sweetie.

  2. Thank you darling! I'll be in touch (I mean, I'm sure she'll be in touch).

  3. Award winning edition, unlike the greasy grub on offer at Grey Gables.

  4. Award winning? That calls for an early trip to the Flood Bar. Warm bottled lagers are on me!