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!


  1. Excellent content, yet again. Good job I'd finished my coffee or I would have been snorting it down my nose. More please about Princess Kate.

    1. Very kind, thank you! Next week we've pencilled in 'The Trials of Charlie Thomas' (if Lavinia stays off the gin). Perhaps an ill-starred dalliance between him and Princess Kate?

  2. I must congratulate young Kenton Archer on his wonderful reinterpretation of the Terry Scott classic. He must surely be a prime contender for the position of Barf of Borsetshire when Bert Froi finally pops his clogs. More from this talented 9 year old please.

    1. I believe Kenton's already working on his first collection: The Bitter Letters: Songs from behind the bar (heavily influenced by Hughes and Larkin). I'm sure we will hear more from him!