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.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Maurice as the Black Death (snork!)

  3. Inspired from the scriptwriters there, I thought!