Sunday, 24 January 2016

Lilian saddles up, Rob speaks up and has Charlie given up? An awkward week in Ambridge

Berrow Farm to become bloodstock operation?

Rumours that Damara Capital’s Justin Elliott has turned his attention away from dairy farming and towards the bloodstock market surfaced this week, as the cows were shipped out and Berrow Farm took delivery of two thoroughbred stallions.
Mr Elliott confirmed that he intends to keep more horses in Borsetshire, and is considering expanding his interests in owning and breeding racehorses.
‘There’s nothing I like better than a good ride, but sadly my wife Miranda is more interested in haute couture,’ he said.
‘Fortunately I have found a willing partner in Mrs Lilian Bellamy, a fine horsewoman who is full of wisdom and spirit. (surely, spirits? Ed).
‘When Lilian and I drew breath after our gallop, and I took one look at those steaming flanks and heaving chest, I knew it. I had to have that beautiful creature. Abdul Aziz, the horse, of course. What did you think I meant?’
Mrs Bellamy said she looked forward to collaborating closely with Mr Elliott on his equine and other business interests.
‘I knew Justin would be impressed by the size of my property portfolio,’ she said. 'But d’you know  darling, I always thought of myself as just a run-of-the-mill old landlord, letting out crappy properties for huge rents. No! Justin says business people like me are the glue that sticks rural communities together. Fancy that! And I do, darling, if you know what I mean…. ‘

Titchener tightens his grip

Evidence of a family split at Bridge Farm emerged this week, as the Ambridge Observer found itself embroiled in an ugly row over the stocking policy in its shop and tearoom.
Our distribution manager, Will Shiftmore, had agreed with Tom Archer to supply both the shop and the café with extra copies, to boost the new ‘Sunday Brunch’ promotion (featuring Joe Grundy’s legendary black pudding recipe).
But Rob Titchener cancelled the order, claiming that Bridge Farm should stock only organic products, including newspapers.
Mr Archer argued that the Ambridge Observer deserved its place in the shop as a local, high-quality product. ‘It may not be organic as such, but there’s a definite  farmyard whiff about it, and I believe the staff are kept in high-welfare conditions,’ he said. (Well, sort of. Ed).
But Mrs Pat Archer took her son-in-law’s side. ‘Tom has to let Rob make the decisions; Tom is only a family member, whereas he is an expert in everything. More mung bean stew anyone?’
Mr Titchener said he was ‘gratified’ by Mrs Archer’s support.
‘If Helen weren’t at home with a bad headache she’d agree with me, and if she didn’t agree with me, she’d soon have a bad headache,’ he said.

Brookfield opens its doors to doubters   

Interest in the new spring calving regime at Brookfield has reached fever pitch, (are you sure? Ed) prompting David and Ruth Archer to hold an Open Day to explain their plans to local farmers.
‘So many people have asked us questions about it, and some have expressed doubts – even our son Josh, who’s distracting himself from Aston Villa’s terrible plight by researching what could go wrong with our scheme on the internet,’ said Mr Archer.
‘Our neighbour Brian Aldridge has expressed concerns about nitrates from the pastures polluting Haydon Brook and the Am, but we think he’s just jealous. And of course, we have to take into account lots of ‘what ifs’: what if Bert never moves back to the bungalow? What if Jill gets tendonitis and can’t mix a Victoria sponge? What if Toby Fairbrother runs amok with a chainsaw in the milking parlour? But we have to confront these issues and overcome them. Our children’s future depends on it.’
‘Our daughter Pip and contract milker Matthew will give a presentation on their recent research trip to a spring-calving herd in Dorset,’ added Mrs Archer. ‘Of course, they’ll have to make it up, as they spent the whole two days in bed and never clapped eyes on a cow. But still, you can’t live your children’s lives for them, can you?’

Hot tickets for Burns Night at The Bull

Jim Lloyd and Jazzer McCreary are promising a fun-filled evening of ‘Caledonia vs the Classics’ as they host Burns Night at The Bull on January 25.
‘I will be giving a lecture on the history of whisky, including the notorious “Babylonian controversy”, entirely in Latin,’ said Mr Lloyd.
‘And I’ll be keeping a close eye on the haggis, making sure it’s full of offal, like it should be,’ said Mr McCreary. ‘Pat Archer tried to fob me off with a veggie version made wi’ lentils and served wi’ pak choi and mung beans instead o’ neeps ‘n’ tatties. Rabbie Burns would be birlin’ in his grave!’

Items wanted

Shepherd’s hut on wheels. Must be in good condition, suitable for garden and children's play, and as a powerful symbol, conveying the owner’s strong connection with the rural environment and her nurturing role in bringing culture to life in Ambridge for the past 30 years. No time-wasters (Grundys) please. Apply: Lynda Snell, Ambridge Hall. 

Lonely hearts

With Valentine’s Day nearly upon us, a new column for readers who are looking for that special someone…

Beefy butcher, recently finished a bone carving of a pennyfarthing and looking for a new challenge, WLTM lady with an interest in charcuterie. Gloomy temperament preferred. Call Maurice.

Thrusting poultry tycoon, rugby-playing hunk with absolutely no murky unfinished business in Brighton, seeks attractive young female with extensive knowledge of foxes and a large family farm. Please send photo of the farm. Call Tobes. (Hope he’s not as old as that joke. Ed).

Image-conscious chap, recently swapped his mullet for a man-bun and feeling hot, hot hot, is looking for love! Looks, age immaterial; must find exploding crisp packets hilarious and like cricket and real ale. Call Barry.

Lost soul, about to move to Perthshire with a broken heart, WLTM a newly married farmer who will leave home and run away with him, but who, despite the special moments they shared in the shrubbery, seems to prefer watching box sets with his husband. Call Charlie. Adam, call Charlie… please… it’s not too late… (That’s enough lonely hearts. Ed)