Sunday, 6 March 2016

Justin invests, Emma protests and who's acting in Helen's interests? ... A chilling week in Ambridge

Elliott aims to raise his profile

Justin Elliott of Damara Capital has been revealed as the headline sponsor of Borsetshire’s prestigious Businesswoman of the Year Awards.
‘This year’s prize fund will be bigger than ever and entrants will have to work hard to impress me,’ said Mr Elliott. ‘As part of the application process I’m introducing a Calendar Girls round, inspired by the delicious Jennifer Aldridge (Miss March in the triumphant 2016 calendar).
‘All the shortlisted candidates will be asked to attend a private photoshoot, in which they will pose tastefully with a prop that represents their business, while I fire hard-headed questions at them. It will be like Dragons’ Den, only nude. Ding dong!’
The sponsorship deal was brokered by Mr Elliott’s social secretary, Lilian Bellamy. ‘Mr Elliott is determined to ease his way into the local community, starting with the Businesswoman of the Year,’ she said. ‘It’s very exciting!’ 

‘Astonishing’ success rates for local police

Borsetshire’s rural crime unit (PC Harrison Burns) has announced a dramatic increase in clear-up rates for recorded crimes in the first two months of 2016.
‘We’ve made real progress since my girlfriend’s father, Wayne Tucson, started work at The Bull,’ said PC Burns. ‘We got on so well when I arrested him last summer that we’ve agreed I’ll arrest him for every reported crime. We have a chat, I let him off with a caution, and we have a pint and one of Fallon’s cinnamon hot cross buns. Job’s a good ’un. I reckon I’ll be a detective soon.’

Ferrets ‘safe’ after cruelty alert

Borsetshire Ferret Welfare has said it will not be reporting a local family for cruelty offences after responding to neighbours’ concerns.
‘Residents reported hearing loud squeaks and raised voices at Grange Farm, so we sent a patrol out,’ said a spokesperson. ‘We found two ferrets caught up in a domestic incident between Mr Ed Grundy and his wife Emma. She was objecting to Mr Grundy clipping the ferrets’ claws in their bedroom and allowing the ferrets, Adele and Hercules, to nest in their pillows.
‘Fortunately, we were able to show Mrs Grundy this week’s Hello! Magazine, in which Victoria and David Beckham pose with their favourite ferrets, Ryan and Giggs.
‘Mrs Grundy was quickly reassured that ferrets are, like, totally on trend, and Adele and Hercules were none the worse for their ordeal.’

How does Lynda’s garden grow?

In an unprecedented move, an Ambridge garden has been selected to join the Borsetshire Open Gardens Scheme, even though it is still in the planning stages.
‘We were so excited by the ‘Resurgam’ garden that Lynda and Robert Snell are designing at Ambridge Hall that we signed it up straightaway,’ said a spokesperson. ‘Visitors will love the allergen-free garden and the Shakespearean garden. But it was the delightful prospect of the shepherd’s hut, in a grove of rowan, birch and a wayfaring tree, that is truly inspired.’
 Mrs Snell said she was ‘delighted’ at the accolade. ‘After the devastation of the flood, many gardeners might have settled for decking and concrete, but not Robert and I!’ she said. ‘We are going to work with Nature, not against her. Resurgam means ‘I shall rise again’ and just like St Paul’s Cathedral, our shepherd’s hut will rise like a phoenix from the ashes of Eddie Grundy’s shed. I have complete confidence in him.’  

Who are Ambridge’s favourite mums?

With Mothering Sunday here again, we ask three Ambridge sons to tell us why their mother deserves to be ‘Mum of the Year’:

David Archer, Brookfield: ‘My mother Jill works tirelessly for the family and makes the best simnel cake in Ambridge. And you should see her cherry Genoas! Sadly my wife Ruth lost her mum last year; it’s her first Mother’s Day without Heather. Not that we ever saw her on Mother’s Day, but still. So we’re going to make a big fuss of my mum instead.’

Tom Archer, Bridge Farm: ‘Pat, my mum, has a lot on her plate at the moment – mainly spinach and lentils, as she’s keen for us all to eat healthily. My sister Helen is pregnant and I was a bit worried she might not be happy at home. But mum is great at reassuring me. She trusts Helen’s husband Rob completely and she’s welcomed his mum Ursula into the family, even though she’s only met her once. That’s my mum for you. Always sees the best in people.’

Rob Titchener, Blossom Hill Cottage: ‘My mother Ursula is definitely Mum of the Year in our house. She always was: just look at the man I’ve turned out to be! I wish I could say the same of my wife Helen, but frankly she’s all over the place. Not bothering to wash her hair, snapping at our little boy Henry, and even forgetting to cool his bath water so he nearly scalded his foot, poor little chap.
‘If my mum wasn’t here to take over the chores and the childcare, and chuck out Helen’s useless eco-friendly cleaning products, I simply don’t know where we’d be. She’s agreed to stay on until our new baby’s born to stop Helen being so sloppy, confused and – I hate to say this – unkind to Henry. Thank goodness. With Ursula on hand, we have one good mother in the family, heh?’

The Ambridge Observer non-jumbo, no-prize crossword

This week’s crossword compiler is ‘Ophelia’, from Cardiff. Thank you very much Ophelia: Alcibiades is looking to his laurels…


4. Lo! Too soft! In tartan. (9)
6. Funny house-warming gift. Ho! Ho! Ho! (3)
7. Miss March sets Brian spinning. (5)
9. Order more oat cakes etc. at Bridge Farm. (3,4)
10. Titchener family motto and favourite Sunday night TV show? (4,3,7)
11. Late silent supercook told to start breakfasts. (5,3)


1. Recently retired from farming and motherhood. (3)
2. Ruth's signature dish. (6,5)
3. Film for Helen last Sunday morning. (4,5)
5. Blond siblings? (12)
8. Ed and Emma's cosy chat re Hercules' hiding place. (6,4)

Answers to last week’s crossword:

Across: 1. Hut 3. Skirts 6. Pageant 8. Kirstie 9. Yes
Down: 2. Ursula 4. Rex and Toby 5. Scotch eggs 6. Porky 7. Go green


  1. Just want to say thanks. I'm running my own small holding in NZ (Ruth didn't visit once and she would have learnt lots from the way I molly coddle my ewes and chickens) and so look forward weekly to any tips and handy hints I can pick up from this blog. I also listen every day to the Archers on Listen Again but it's not as funny as the Observer. Keep up the good work! Right. Where's the pen for the crossword....

    1. How lovely to hear from you! I think you must officially be the Observer's most distant reader. Ruth missed a treat by not visiting you, clearly. Someone told me recently that The Archers was scheduled to stop broadcasting in New Zealand and so a 'final ever episode' was written and broadcast. Have you heard of this? Fascinating if true!

  2. At the risk of an appearance in Pseud's Corner, a thought has been troubling me for some time:
    Rob Titchener and Ursula - Grendel and Grendel's Mother?

    (Perhaps one G&T too many tonight - heh heh heh heh heh heh, eh Lilian?)


    1. Absolutely Christine, Grendel and his dam are abroad in Ambridge - but who is Beowulf to be? Candidates seem sadly lacking at the moment...

    2. I found this weeks crossword too difficult for me but pleased I got last weeks right.