Sunday, 1 November 2015

Calendar Girls cast is unveiled, Helen is undermined and Kirsty is concerned: a revealing week in Ambridge

Save the date for Christmas Calendar Girls!

Villagers can look forward to seeing the ladies of Ambridge in a whole new light as local impresario Lynda Snell unveiled (tired of double entendres already. Ed) details of her Christmas production.
Calendar Girls is all about new beginnings and making something positive out of adversity,’ said Mrs Snell. ‘That’s why it’s perfect for Ambridge this year. It’s art reflecting life, reflecting art, reflecting life… where was I again?’
The production is being held in the Women’s Institute’s centenary year, and stalwarts of Ambridge’s own WI will be taking starring roles.
After initial misgivings, Susan Carter says she is ‘thrilled’ to be playing Chris. ‘I shall be preparing very thoroughly, using the Stanislavski Method,’ she says. ‘So until curtain up I will be serving Post Office customers completely nude, apart from two first class stamps and an old tax disc. Neil’s quite looking forward to it, actually.’
Jill Archer plays aristocratic Lady Cravenshire. ‘I’m living in a stately home just now, and I have no housework or cooking to do, unfortunately,’ she said. ‘But at least Lynda needs me for something… can I make you a casserole?’
Jill’s daughter, Elizabeth Pargetter of Lower Loxley, takes the leading role of Annie. ‘Yes, as a widow myself, it was an emotional decision, ‘ she said. ‘But since the whole of Borsetshire saw my charms when I was romping with Roy Tucker at Loxfest, I feel ready to move on,’ she said.
Calendar Girls has several roles for older women, which the cast said was a refreshing change. Carol Tregorran (Jessie) insisted she had no problem with on-stage nudity. ‘I often go sky-clad in my garden at Glebe Cottage,’ she said. ‘It’s so liberating – although it gave Bert Fry a turn the first time he surprised me in the veg patch.’
WI members will be helping backstage too. Christine Barford has been tasked with making the all-concealing buns and cakes for the production. ‘We’re confident Christine’s buns won’t crumble or collapse,’ said Mrs Snell. ‘Solid as a rock; just what we need to save our actors’ blushes.’
Proceeds from Calendar Girls, which takes place at Lower Loxley in December, will go towards rebuilding Ambridge Village Hall. Plans to produce a 2016 calendar featuring the cast were shelved after local farmers said they would stick to the Borsetshire Fatstock Society’s annual ‘Best of Breeds’ version.  

From the Agri-Ambridge message boards

Our pick of what set the local farming community buzzing online this week:

• Morning farmers! Our mixer wagon broke down recently so we had to start feeding silage in the yard and concentrates in the parlour, just like my old dad did. And guess what – yields went up. Yep, we’re wondering why we bought that expensive machine for feeding TMR now. Anyone else found this? Toyfarmer.

• Hey, Toyfarmer, that’s totally cool; thanks. We can use that in our new beef cattle business. So you don’t need to feed the moo-cows their Tinned Mince and Rice on the same plate? That must save a load of work. Awesome. And another tip, guys: find yourself some hot farming totty to write your business plan! I’ve got her number if you need it… Tobes.

Can I put the record straight on here about events at Berrow Farm? The outbreak of Type C botulism was traced to a decomposing dog in the silage. The toxin takes time to eradicate so we’ll lose more cattle, unfortunately. It’s been a terrible blow but thanks for your support and the donations of feed, guys. Especially you, Home Farmer. You’re a wonderful friend. Charlie Browneyes.

  Oh, ere e is, puttin the record straight – bringin in filthy diseases and keepin is job while our Ed lost all is cows and as to work for nuthin on is edges… you big farmers all stick together an us Grundy’s is left to starve. There’ll be a judgement, you mark my words. Turkeyman

Go home, Eddie Grundy, you’re drunk. Charlie cares about his animals just like you do. He’s a very brave and special person. And I’m going to call a meeting so Lynda Snell can find out in public what happened to Scruff, rather than being told quietly. Home Farmer.

New series: Ask Aunty Satya

Everyone needs an Aunty Satya! Her advice is as refreshing as a mango lassi and as comforting as a plate of hot samosas. And she has a spooky way of bringing people together, as this week’s postbag shows:

Q My mother-in-law moved out of our home at my request to make way for my mother, who sadly died at a motorway services en route. Since then our cleaner has left, so the house is filthy, and we all have scurvy because we’re living on takeaways. I would cry tears of joy if she came back, but will she think I only want her to run the house for us? Ruth A, Brookfield.

A I may be able to help you Ruth; see the letter below. But please take better care of your mother-in-law than you seem to have done of your mother, poor lady.

Q I moved out of my home to make way for my daughter-in-law’s mother. I am living in my daughter’s stately home, but I feel that her late mother-in-law doesn’t want me there and is haunting my room. And I can’t bear to see my grandchildren’s dirty, hungry little faces. I would love to go back, but will my daughter-in-law think I am insensitive? Jill A, Lower Loxley.

A I may be able to help you Jill; see the letter above. But please don’t mention the ghosts of mothers-in-law when you move back. Unless you want to become one yourself.

Q My friend is having a baby and I should be really happy for her, but when we talked about it she said her husband was ‘over-protective’ and started to cry. Should I try and find out more? Kirsty M, Grey Gables.

A Yes Kirsty, I think you should; see the letter below. But my advice would be to try to talk to her alone, without her husband present. And stay away from culverts.

Q I am having a baby and should be really happy, but my husband is taking over my money, my business and my son. He even wanted to show my parents our baby scan pictures without me. I feel frightened and alone. An old friend recently came back into my life. Should I confide in her? Helen T, Ambridge.

A Yes Helen, I think you should; see the letter above. But my advice would be not to let your husband know about it. Wait until he has taken your little son out hunting over high hedges on a spirited stallion. I’m sure you have nothing to worry about.  


  1. Excellent and hilarious as usual.

  2. Excellent and hilarious as usual.

  3. Marvellous reporting of the highest calibre.

  4. Superb! So many laugh out loud moments!

  5. Thanks for all the lovely comments everyone! The young reporters are coming along quite well, but mustn't let them get above themselves…:-)

  6. Ah, CM, you're a tonic on a grey November morning!

  7. Ah, CM, you're a tonic on a grey November morning!

  8. Very kind, Jenny and Gordon! Thank you!

  9. So funny and brilliantly written, thank you for sharing

  10. PS. A little tip send the above letters to the writers they may be able to help!!! If they can't nobody can. Xx

  11. Great and funny. On a different topic, I would like to start a campaign to give Ed Grundy some luck. Even by fictional standards he has had a lot of bad luck. I still feel that he should have inherited half of the property that William had. Losing his milk business was as much Mike Tucker's fault as his and having the beef cattle stolen could have been the last straw. A few grand win on the lottery would see him back on his feet and restore the balance with him and William.

  12. I will second it Tony please write in some good luck of any sort for Ed Grundy I can't take any more of his bad luck it makes me feel so upset for them the stealing of the cattle was the last straw I was beginning to think that Rob Titchner had stolen them and put them into berrow farm after poisoning one of them so they would affect their heard and get Charlie fired or is that too far fetched!!!

  13. Hi Tony and Catherine, the Observer would like nothing more than to report Ed and Emma winning the Euromillions jackpot! We can only report… but there's lots of support for Ed on Twitter too. I have a feeling the editor's postbag might be full on Sunday!