Sunday, 26 July 2015

The fete’s a blast, Brian’s fate is cast and Toby moves fast: an action-packed week in Ambridge

Fete celebrates Ambridge through the ages

This year’s Ambridge fete, relocated to Lower Loxley by kind permission of Elizabeth Pargetter, was a huge success as villagers threw themselves into the theme of ‘Ambridge through the ages’:

• Charlie Thomas and Debbie Aldridge delighted the crowd as Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado about Adam, with their sparkling banter about drones, which for some reason seemed to irritate her handsome brother.
• Brian Aldridge was a convincing King Lear, experiencing existential angst over the Eccles cakes and despairing of his thankless children. ‘I’m not Tony, happy to curl up with a dog-eared old tome about organic manure! If I’m not farming, what on earth am I for?’ he asked Jenny, who often wonders the same herself. 
• Kirsty Miller’s portrayal of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, in a tattered wedding dress and muttering about ‘Gareth and his welly whanging’, frightened several villagers, including Tom Archer who was later found cowering behind the tea tent.
• Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Borchester (surely Casterbridge? Ed) was brought vividly to life by the, er Mayor of Borchester, who declared ‘let the state fart with a bang!’ His Mayorship was helped from the stage by Sabrina Thwaite, re-enacting the Spring Flea-Sweeping ceremony, and local butcher Maurice Horton (the Black Death).

Hatches, matches and dispatches at Hollowtree

Toby Fairbrother’s cynical bid to wed the Heiress of Brookfield suffered a setback this week when his intended told him she was off to her fancy new job in Brazil, via High Wycombe. ‘But that’s terrible! I’ll miss out on your 500 acres – erm, I mean I’ll miss you!’ he told the gullible Pip, who fell for his offer of curry and beer in the tent, preceded by a sweaty smooch to the sound of 250 goslings guzzling chives.
But young Josh may yet save the day for Toby, as he’s planning to set up an Egg Empire with the Fairbrothers, stretching all the way from quails’ eggs to ducks, chickens, turkeys, ostrich and dinosaur (are you sure? Ed).
Quite what Ruth will think when she gets back from settling her mum Heather into interim care in Prudhoe is anyone’s guess. With her daughter about to fly the nest, will she be as annoyed as Jill to find two posh cuckoos settling themselves in more permanently than ever?

Kenton Archer: An Apology

In previous editions of the Ambridge Observer we may have given the impression that Kenton Archer is a childish, stubborn, petty chancer with a chip on his shoulder. We have been asked to state (by Mr Archer) that in fact:
• he is a kind and generous person who is happy to let Bert Fry plant Freda’s memorial rose at The Bull
• unlike his brother David, he has had to struggle all his life because his mum and dad showed no faith in him
  he and Jolene are quite happy to fight their own battles, thank you, and don’t need crumbs from your table, Lizzie Pargetter.
• although everyone has it in for him, The Bull will soon become a vibrant, thriving pub and restaurant, unless the planners are in the pocket of his brother David, like everyone else in this village.
We are happy to set the record straight and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Debbie’s got Charlie’s number (and Adam’s)

It was a triumphant week for Debbie, whose visit home was like a long episode of Dragons’ Den, but less shouty. First she buried the hatchet with Charlie at the fete, with a slightly awkward exchange of business cards and a promise to ‘catch up at a trade fair sometime’.
Then she (almost) managed to rehabilitate Kate as a decent human being, reassuring her that Phoebe would come round eventually, and even offering to invest in her yurts-and-yoga retreat.
And in a diplomatic tour de force that would have sorted out the Iran nuclear agreement in no time, she managed to persuade Brian to let Adam take over all of the arable management, with a mixture of cajoling and threats to whisk Adam off to a job in Hungary. Despite aiming for a personal best in grumpiness, Brian  gave in, on condition that he can take charge if Adam’s hippy-dippy ideas threaten Jennifer’s standard of living.
But Debbie had a wingman in Charlie, whose love for Adam is so deep that he can even overlook his aversion to growing maize. ‘To hear Charlie, you’d think Adam is a gift from God,’ mused Brian, which prompted Debbie’s gaydar to twitch. On the way back to the airport, she gave Adam a gentle warning about not letting a casual fling ruin his relationship with Ian. But as Adam chose to focus on avoiding dead badgers in the road, and didn’t promise, this may be one situation that even Debbie’s magic wand can’t fix… 

Letter to the Editor

Dear Madam,

Now that the SAVE campaign is nearing victory, may I draw readers’ attention to other matters that threaten the quality of life in Ambridge?
I refer first to the refurbishment of the village shop (and must declare an interest here as a committee member). The postmistress, Susan Carter, has been on the internet again and has come up with alarming plans for red signage, blue lighting and collapsible bread baskets. The eye line may very well be the buy line, as she insists, but I fear that such modern marketing concepts will not sit well with some of our older residents, let alone Mrs Hawkins and her Bourbon creams. We are in Ambridge madam, not the Mall of America!
Second, I am concerned by proposals by the landlord of The Bull to build a portico at the entrance to the Ploughman’s and fit large picture windows in the family room. The plans (on the back of an envelope) were shown to me with assurances that the load-bearing wall in the bar will only be ‘nibbled at’. But to my mind this is an irresponsible approach to a listed building in a conservation area. The Bull is a haven for life’s washed-up flotsam and jetsam, not a ‘destination restaurant’!
Jim Lloyd, Ambridge.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Phoebe’s outed, Brian’s ousted and Charlie’s down and out: an upsetting week in Ambridge

Phoebe’s private life’s on parade – thanks, mum

Awkward scenes at this week’s parents’ evening at Borchester High. Kate turned the Embarrassing-Mum-Meter up to max, yelling in the school car park that she alone had prevented Phoebe from sleeping with young Alex. This was a shock to Roy, who was celebrating the happy news that his daughter is ‘Oxbridge material’ (and his temporary promotion to assistant manager at Grey Gables).
‘Oy, oy, what's going on? Sleep with who?’ he roared, coming over all EastEnders for a moment, before calming down by offering Phoebe some driving lessons and muttering ‘I hope that Alex knows how lucky he is.’
Meanwhile, Kate, keen to pass on the sexual health tips she’d learned in HIV clinics in Soweto (are you sure? Ed.) was incensed to hear that Jenny had already had a ‘lovely chat’ with Phoebe about ‘precautions’. ‘Put her on the pill mum? Have you any idea what they do to young girls’ hormones? Let alone when they hit the watercourse? Fish are CHANGING GENDER!’
Even Peggy was drawn into the multi-generational affray, when Jenny accused her of giving no advice at all about such matters, resulting in the unplanned arrival of Adam. ‘I say, I think that’s very unfair!’ sniffed Peggy. ‘Yes, alright then. Now, can we please have some pudding?’ Jenny pleaded, desperate to get Debbie’s welcome-home barbecue back on track.
Phoebe, mercifully oblivious to this exchange, was busy messaging Alex, arranging their next tryst, which, if she really is Oxbridge material, will be nowhere near Home Farm… 

Move over oldies: here come the young guns!

After the devastating flood in Ambridge earlier this year, the farming community is undergoing another massive wave of change (like it. Ed) as the older generation make way for youngsters with their eyes on the future.
• Home Farm will perhaps see the biggest change, as Debbie has been promoted in Hungary and has handed the arable management over to Adam. (Is Adam a young gun? He’s nearly 50. Ed) Brian sees herbal leys and late lambing as the first steps to a weirdy-beardy eco-apocalypse, but Adam is thrilled at the prospect of a maize-free future. Whether Brian will take Debbie’s advice to retire, and spend his days emptying his wine cellar with Lilian, remains to be seen….
• At Bridge Farm, Helen and Tom Archer will be forging ahead with their exciting plans for the new shop, just as soon as Rob and Helen get back from their mini-break to the Isle of Wight.
• At Hollowtree, goose farmers Rex and Toby Fairbrother have an ingenious business plan: blag everything from coffee to water pipes and free labour from your hapless landlord David Archer! Oh, and marry his daughter. That helps too. But might take a bit longer.

Summer fiction special: The Trials of Charlie Thomas

In Chapter Two of our exclusive serial by award-winning romantic novelist Lavinia Catwater, hero Charlie Thomas faces a cruel test of love…

Charlie arrived at the cricket ground with a trembling heart. Would Adam have forgiven him for talking to Brian about the maize contract? But as soon as he saw the rangy, handsome team captain his spirits lifted, even though Adam was holding hands with Ian, sharing a pre-match Grey Gables ciabatta wrap. At the end of Adam’s innings he took his chance. ‘Look Adam, I don’t want to… lose you,’ he ventured, his soft brown eyes brimming with tears. ‘We’ve been through this Charlie,’ said Adam, in the kind but firm tone Charlie loved. ‘The maize contract is business. I’m not trying to punish you. Now get out there and score some runs.’


Taking his stance at the wicket. Charlie saw his batting partner was Rob Titchener. Perfect, he thought, flicking a blade of grass off his immaculate whites. Rob was a snake, but fiercely competitive. Here was his chance to open his legs and show Adam what he was made of! The Loxley Barrett bowler let fly with a full toss; Charlie swung at it and began to run. But Rob was rooted to the spot, engrossed in a guide book to the Isle of Wight. ‘Get back!’ screamed Adam, but it was too late….
‘Rob, how could you leave me hanging out to dry like that? When your partner runs, you run! Adam, tell him!’ Back in the changing room, Charlie implored his captain, who was rubbing ‘Justin Elliot for Men’ liniment into his muscled calves. ‘Actually, I agree with Rob,’ said Adam, his blue eyes glinting dangerously. ‘If he’d run, he would have been out. As it was, he went on to score 10,243 and we won the match.’
Crushed once more, Charlie made an excuse to his jubilant team-mates and trudged out of the pavilion. Another evening alone with his spreadsheets awaited him…


‘Oh Charlie, how nice to finally meet you!’ A smooth, purring voice distracted Charlie from his gloom. He had just heard the bad news from Brian about the maize contract, and thought his day could get no worse. Now here she was in Jennifer’s kitchen: Debbie Aldridge. She had her brother’s handsome lines, but there was a cruel twist to her lip as she said: ‘I’m not embarrassing you am I Charlie? Not unless you’ve got something to be embarrassed about… ‘
He flushed to the roots of his hair. How could he have fired Debbie by email? If only he’d known that one day he would fall hopelessly in love with her brother! ‘Come on Charlie, let’s go party!’ Kate lurched drunkenly across the room towards him, and he saw a chance to escape. ‘I’d better run, before you chuck me on the barbecue,’ he smiled weakly and made for the door, the cruel laughter of the two women ringing hideously in his ears.
As he slunk past the patio he saw Adam and Ian, heads close together in the evening sunshine, poring over one of Jennifer’s interior design magazines…. 

Recipe of the Week

Christine Barford, doyenne of the WI bakers, shares the secrets of her marvellous muffins.

Find all the baking things you’ll need in Peggy’s kitchen. Give them a good wash as she lets that cat get everywhere. Forget where you’ve put the spatula. Fiddle with Peggy’s rusty old mixer until she tells you off. When you’ve finally got the muffins in the oven, turn your back for a minute so she can take them out before they’re done. Pick up the muffins the cat has knocked off the tray. Carry on bickering until you’ve made 40 muffins and you’re both exhausted.  Then sit down for a lovely cup of tea and drink a toast to ‘teamwork’.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Madam,

Please could you find me a friend to play with in the holidays? I don’t know anyone in Ambridge because I’ve been at boarding school since I was two. My dad jokes he doesn’t spend all that money on my school just so they can send us home early! At least I think he’s joking. Jennifer gets annoyed if I play football in her tea roses and spill her home-made lemonade. Adam is nice but he’s on his tractor a lot. Kate pinches me when no one’s looking. I’m 12 and I like football and cricket. Thank you. Ruairi, Home Farm.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Adam wants out, Kate’s frozen out and Ruth feels left out: a stormy week in Ambridge

Exclusive: Ambridge hosts The Moral Maize

This week the Ambridge Observer reports on a unique round-table discussion between three local farmers on an issue that is bitterly dividing the agricultural world: the ethics of maize production. (Are you sure? Ed.)

Adam Macy: The thing is, Charlie, I’m not going to grow any more maize for you at the estate. It’s a hungry crop, it needs input and depletes trace elements. Not to mention the damage it does to the soil. Look at the mud issues!
Charlie Thomas: Please don’t leave me high and dry this way, Adam. I thought we were friends – you know, like special friends?
Adam: It’s not you, Charlie, it’s me. The whole system is broken and the only way to fix it is to stop growing maize for dairy units and anaerobic digesters.
Charlie: He can’t do this! Brian, tell him he’s mad! What about our contract?
Brian Aldridge: Whose farm is it anyway? (Are we in the right show here? Ed.) It’s my land and you’ll grow maize until I tell you to stop, Adam my boy.
Charlie: That’s right Brian. You tell him. I want things to go back to how they were, when we shared a can of lager in the cab of Adam’s big tractor.
Adam: Well if that’s your ultimatum Brian, here’s one of my own. If we keep the contract, I’m leaving. Stick your job! [tears off microphone and stalks out of the studio: cue end titles].  

A disturbing homecoming for Ruth

Ruth arrived home from caring duties in Prudhoe to find a huge puddle of gosling poo in the yard, Rex Fairbrother in her kitchen asking for a crowbar, and Pip in flagrante with Toby in a tent (Not quite. That’s next week. Ed).
David hadn’t got round to telling his wife that he and Pip had let Hollowtree to the Goose-some Twosome. But while he was insisting this was a temporary arrangement, Toby was busy branding his fledgling business (like it. Ed) as Hollowtree Goose Farm, complete with website pictures nicked from someone else’s farm.
Jill, meanwhile, was sniffing with disapproval over Ruth’s welcome-home stew – and it seems her misgivings over the Curse of the Fairbrothers may be well-founded. Toby, who has a Mysterious Past involving Brighton and his love life, has decided that Pip’s 500 acres of prime farmland make her the girl of his dreams. ‘So you’re just going to lead her on?’ said kind, reliable Rex, who holds a torch for Pip himself. ‘You betcha!’ said Toby, sounding his cowhorn and causing another dozen goslings to die of fright. ‘I could do a lot worse... think about it. If it works out we could all end up winners!’ Except Pip, of course…

Letter to the Editor

Dear Madam, I’d just like to let your readers know about the very exciting plans my daughter Helen and son Tom have for the farm shop at Bridge Farm. Now that my husband Tony and I are retiring, we couldn’t be more thrilled to hear Tom’s vision for an outside display area, roofed in insulated UV-resistant polycarbonate sheeting. And Helen is a creative genius, juggling childcare with designing a varied and stimulating retail experience, complete with fruit! And special seasonal offers! I really don’t know why anyone would think Helen should stay at home and look after her child and husband-to-be. Any man marrying my gorgeous, clever, capable daughter should think himself lucky. So put that in your blocked-up culvert pipe and smoke it, Rob! 
Pat Archer. (Not sure who she means. Check culvert ref with legal. Ed)

New summer fiction special: The Trials of Princess Kate.

This week we’re delighted to launch a new romantic serial, by award-winning novelist Lavinia Catwater.

Chapter One, in which Princess Kate is cruelly misunderstood

Kate, Princess of Home Farm, stared moodily into her earthenware mug of Barleycup and sighed. How could she put things right with Phoebe? After all, it wasn’t Kate’s fault that she had interrupted the most important night of her beloved daughter’s life, by screaming like a banshee and throwing her boyfriend out of the house! Why couldn’t people understand how difficult it is to be a creative, sensitive Princess who also tries to be a caring mum and best friend to a stroppy teenager? ‘So unfair!’ she said to the mirror, with its handcrafted frame of Fairtrade milkbottle tops, petulantly tossing her luxuriant auburn curls. (Yes, get on with it. Ed).


An hour later Princess Kate was sitting on a bespoke Lilian Bellamy barstool in her favourite corner of the shabby chic but cosy Flood Bar, toying with her fourth glass of Chateau Chonqui vegan Burgundy.  ‘Kenton, it’s SOOO unfair!’ she wailed to the genial host, who was busy pinning a photograph of David Archer to the dartboard. ‘My whole family treats me like a pariah. And I had this amazing business plan, and all I needed was a tiny start-up loan, but my dad tells me off like I’m some kind of child! It’s so hurtful and demeaning!’ She held a bleached hemp handkerchief, embroidered by Bangladeshi craftswomen, to her startling blue eyes. ‘Tell me about it!’ sympathised Kenton, who, she knew, secretly adored her. ‘That’ll be 20 quid – cash, no more credit. And we’re closed.’


After a short but refreshing nap on a bench on the village green, Princess Kate walked back to Home Farm, striding out athletically in her organic Mexican rope espadrilles. But as she approached the swimming pool, a shocking sight met her eyes: Jennifer and Phoebe were sitting on the Oliver Sterling designer loungers, sharing a plate of brownies, deep in conversation.
She crept closer to listen. ‘It’s so unfair, she’s so hypocritical!’ Phoebe was saying. Princess Kate felt her daughter’s words like a dagger through her heart. ‘Well darling, it’s good to hear you and Alex are being so responsible,’ Jennifer said, stroking her granddaughter’s curly blonde head. ‘You can talk to me about anything, you know Phoebe.’ Princess Kate sank to a new level of anguish. How could her mother betray her so cruelly? Taking over her own role as provider of motherly guidance to Phoebe? Oh, why did life always have to be so UNFAIR?

To be continued….

[Editor sweetie, how many words would you like next week? Lavinia.] 
We’ll get back to you. Ed.      

Young Kenton strikes a winning note

This year’s Ambridge Junior Song Competition was won by Kenton Archer, aged 9, for his amusing adaptation of Terry Scott’s classic, My BrotherKenton wins a day out at the Stables and a good talking-to from his mum.

Who stole the money from Jolene and me?
Who is as smug as smug can be?
Who always got the biggest cake for tea? My brother!

Who betrayed us over selling the farm?
Who doesn’t care if he causes harm?
Who could only bowl underarm (sissy!) My brother!

Who’s obsessed with his stupid cows and calves?
Who’s sitting pretty while the family starves?
Who ate all the sweets and never went halves? My brother!

Who was our father’s favourite son?
Who’s always sucking up to Lizzie and mum?
Who’s silly and spoiled and greedy and dumb? My brother!

We’ve edited the next 10 verses for space reasons. But well done Kenton!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Kate in crisis, Phoebe in flagrante and Culvertgate is closed: a hot, hot week in Ambridge

Kate's karma is stretched to the limit

‘Alex is gorgeous, polite, charming, easy to talk to… it looks like Phoebe is a better picker of men than her mother.’ So said Kate of Phoebe’s boyfriend, who dazzled assorted Aldridges and Tuckers at Phoebe’s 17th birthday party, complimenting Hayley on her apple crumble, and even putting up with ‘I’m Phoebe’s mum, but you must call me Kate’ and her gory tales of giving birth at Glasto. Phoebe was mortified, but Alex had his eyes on the prize: getting Phoebe into bed later that week.
‘Will we have, um, everything we need?’ said a nervous Phoebe, as Alex appeared at Home Farm bearing flowers for Jennifer (an appropriate gift as he was about to deflower her granddaughter). It’s to be hoped that Alex did come properly supplied (can we rephrase that? Ed) because he and Phoebe were in flagrante when Kate, bored on a Friday night, popped over for a chat.
‘Oh, Kate!’ gasped Alex. ‘I’m Phoebe!’ wailed Phoebe. ‘Don’t you Kate me!’ yelled Kate. ‘Get your clothes on and get out!’
No amount of Tai Chi and meditation on the lawn with Lilian could have prepared Kate for such a stressful scene, let alone Phoebe, who is now officially the owner of the Most Embarrassing Mother in the World.
And Kate, of course, shed her liberal principles as fast as Alex pulled his jeans back on, Free Love not applying to her own teenaged daughter.
What next? Kate’s vision of a holistic retreat of yoga and yurts has already melted away on first contact with Brian and Jennifer; now her fragile relationship with Phoebe seems to have suffered another wounding blow. Will Lynda, who recognises in Kate another trapped, creative spirit, offer support? Will Roy punch Alex on the nose? Will Brian shut himself in the wine fridge with a corkscrew to escape the Monstrous Regiment at Home Farm? (Enough speculation now. Getting silly. Ed).   

Letter to the editor

I just wanted to say how pleased I am that, unlike that other local rag the Borchester Echo, you don’t waste valuable newsprint on my backstabbing siblings Lizzie Pargeter and David Archer. Nobody wants to hear his deadly dull opinions on the new road, and everybody knows the Ambridge fete has been deliberately moved to Lower Loxley to ruin my pub. I’m enclosing several dozen shots of our new picnic hampers, ranging from the ‘Anyone for tennis’ to the super-luxurious ‘Mixed Doubles’, which I hope you’ll publish in full. And can I assure your readers of a warm welcome at The Bull this summer. Unless they are called David, Lizzie, or Jill. Kenton Archer.
(Note to subs: don’t use pix. And can we big up the next story’s headline. Thx. Ed)

David Archer, hero of the flood, takes to the airwaves

David Archer, chair of the Ambridge Flood Action Group, revealed to Radio Borsetshire this week his belief that the independent report into the flood risk of ‘route B’ will sink the plan for a new road through the village.
‘We don’t need to remind everyone of the devastation in February,’ he reminded listeners, many of whom sobbed as they gathered round their radios. ‘But the council and road developers can’t argue with the facts and can’t afford to ignore them. Oh and while I’m on, Lynda Snell asked me to ping in a mention for the fete. It’s at Lower Loxley on July 19, by kind permission of my lovely sister Lizzie. Thanks folks!’
Mr Archer’s broadcast was greeted with delight by flood-weary Ambridge residents. ‘We might really have them on the back foot now,’ said Mrs Carol Tregorran. ‘The hard facts of this report will have more impact than butterflies, collecting buckets and even the Boudicca of Borsetshire. Would you like some seed cake?’
Borsetshire County Council said: ‘We shall take careful note of these findings and decide if they materially affect our proposals.’
(Note to subs: can you check Justin Elliot’s PR guys are OK with this? Ed).

New series: From the message boards

A quick look at what's got Ambridge talking on the web this week...

Hey guys, can you believe there are 250 new hot birds at Brookfield? No, I don’t mean Pip Archer, though I would, wouldn’t you? And my bro Rex so would. No, I mean 250 little fluffy goslings, all ready to be lovingly nurtured and fattened up by our new Gorgeous Goose Company in time for Christmas. Check out our website (when it’s ready) and place your orders guys!!! Tobes Fairbrother.

It’s disgusting the way rich kids can swan into the village and start taking the bread out of the mouths of decent families by setting up a rival business. Everyone knows poultry is the Grundys’ birthright. They’ve been known as the pluckers of Ambridge since God was a boy. It ain’t right. Bartleby.

‘Swan’ into the village? Don’t you mean goose-step? Lolz. Krazy Kenton.

 Does anyone on here believe in ghosts? I keep thinking about my husband’s first wife, Grace Archer. Now that those Fairbrother boys are back in the village, it’s like a goose walking over my grave. Aunty Jill.

Have you been to Grey Gables recently? If you have, would you mind giving us a quick review on ‘’? Thing is, we’ve had a few negative comments recently about guests behaving as if they own the place, wearing pyjamas in the bar, having barbecues in their room, letting ferrets run round the lounge – nothing much, but we’d like to post some positive feedback on there too. Thanks everyone. Rover Roy.

Jeez Louise, kid, are you for real? My wife is still having trauma counseling after we stayed at your place back in the spring. And my oldest buddy Sol Berkowitz hasn’t spoken to me since I recommended it to him. I can’t believe that hell-hole hasn’t been shut down for good. Wilbur M Cornstalk, West Virginia, USA.

Please, kind people of Ambridge, do you know anything about my cousin Stefan? We have no news of him since he failed to come home on leave in May. He was very good worker, at Berrow Farm. But he got in some trouble with his boss, Mr Titchy. He was nervous, I think. His family miss him. Can you help? Magda, Warsaw.

Poetry Corner

Ode to the Flower & Produce Show by Bert Fry

Since I lost my Freda, I’ve been very low,
I wasn’t even interested in the Flower & Produce Show.
But Mrs Carol Tregorran, she really made me think,
So I’ve bucked up my ideas, and now I’m in the pink.

Back at our little bungalow, the roses are a-bloom,
I pictured my dear Freda, sitting in our living room,
If she was here beside me now, she’d be full of happy chatter,
Telling me all about the things that really matter,

Like beating Derek Fletcher to the ‘Biggest Marrow’ prize –
I could just see the pride beaming in Freda’s lovely eyes.
So I decided me and Mrs T would make a go of it,
I’ll do most of the work, and she can weed and hoe a bit.

We’ll get her garden shipshape, and the bungalow garden too
With delphiniums and azaleas and lupins red and blue.
Losing my Freda did nearly drive me over the edge,
But now I’m going to win that trophy for Mrs Tregorran’s veg!