Sunday, 3 April 2016

Anneka drops in, Dorothy turns up and Jess speaks out: a momentous week in Ambridge

Lent appeal cash theft: star suspected

Joy at the re-opening of Ambridge Village Hall turned to shock on Easter Monday at the news that a heartless thief had stolen £400 from the St Stephen’s Lent appeal fund.
‘We must forgive, as it’s Easter,’ said Rev Alan Franks. ‘But I’m afraid it looks like curtains for the stage curtains.’
Eddie Grundy of Grange Farm denied that any connection of his was responsible for the theft. ‘It’s true I arranged for TV star Anneka Rice, of Challenge Anneka and Treasure Hunt fame, to cut the ribbon,’ he said. ‘But I can’t believe she would do such a thing. And there’s nowhere to hide £400 cash in that jumpsuit she wears, if you know what I mean lads!’ 
‘It’s a disaster,’ said Mrs Lynda Snell. ‘And to think I’d even swallowed my pride to invite Jean Harvey when Anneka Rice turned up. Jean might be an insufferable diva, but she’s no thief!’
• When contacted by The Ambridge Observer, Ms Rice said she was devastated that her visit to Ambridge, her first since 1993, had been marred by crime. ‘If I were you, I’d be interviewing Eddie’s brother Alf,’ she said. ‘He asked if he could hitch a ride on my helicopter, as he needed to “nip off sharpish”. I wondered why he had a biscuit tin under his arm.’ 

Pageant inspires new venture for Elliott

Damara Capital’s latest enterprise in Borsetshire is a resort hotel that will stage regular plays starring its chairman, Justin Elliott, we can exclusively reveal. ‘I’d always dreamed of a life on the stage, but somehow, becoming an unscrupulous billionaire got in the way,’ said Mr Elliott. ‘But appearing as Squire Jeremiah in Lynda Snell’s pageant, ‘England’s Pleasant Land’, opened the floodgates. When I strode onstage and spoke EM Forster’s immortal lines: “I’ve not come to live in the village, what do I care? I’ve come to develop it, there’s money here”, somehow I felt I’d come home.’
Mrs Lilian Bellamy, Mr Elliott’s social secretary, said she was delighted but not surprised by the news. ‘I’ve always known Justin was a complete artist,’ she said. ‘I can’t wait to introduce him to some charming ingĂ©nues to co-star in his productions.’

From the AmMums message boards…

• Hey mums, anyone lost a brown and white fluffy toy rabbit? Looks nearly new; just a few chocolate stains and a chewed ear. Found it in the lane near Blossom Hill Cottage. GemmaH

• Oh, bless you, Gem, I bet some poor princess or little man is sobbing their heart out over it. Come to think, I reckon Henry Titchener had a toy rabbit at Bridge Farm at Easter; he wouldn’t let go of it to stroke the piglet! Mrs Woolley said it was girly, but I thought it was sweet. Although when my George was little, you couldn’t get him out of the pig-sty. MummyEmma

• Newsflash mums: I took the rabbit round to Blossom Hill Cottage, and that Rob Titchener said it was Henry’s but he didn’t need it any more and shut the door in my face! WTF? Who does he think he is? All he does is stack shelves at Bridge Farm (ooh, sorry Em, the tea room is lush). GemmaH

• None taken hun! I’ll mention it to Henry’s mum. She’s been looking proper peaky lately.  MummyEmma

Excuse me you two, that’s my wonderful son-in-law Rob you’re talking about! Let me tell you, Helen and Henry are very lucky to have him. She’s a complicated young woman you know; not easy at all. I’m sure if Rob told you Henry didn’t need his toy rabbit, it was probably because Rob had bought him a better one. He’s like that; so thoughtful. PatOrganic

• Sorry Pat! And I know what you mean about Helen. Running off to get married and not having proper bridesmaids, like she promised me. Tricky. MummyEmma

Hello mums, can I share some good news? My son brought his girlfriend Dorothy for supper this week, and she’s a delight! She works for the NHS, doesn’t drink, calls me ‘Mrs Hebden-Lloyd’ and her eyes don’t glaze over when Alistair’s talking! She’s beautiful, polite and insisted on separate beds when she stayed the night – such a relief, as I don’t like to think of Dan… well, you know. Do you think God is rewarding me for giving up alcohol for Lent? SoldierDansmum.

• Oh, get over yourself Shula. She sounds really boring. MummyEmma.

Yeah, what Em said. Gemma.

Hey guys, know this is off-topic, but can I tell you about the hil-ar-i-ous April Fool Bert played on Toby Fairbrother? With the stock cube in the shower head? LMAO, ROFL, LOLZ (is that right)? BabeRuth

That’s more than enough AmMums. Ed.

The Trials of Jess Titchener

In the latest chapter of our romantic saga, by award-winning novelist Lavinia Catwater, our heroine digs deep to share some devastating truths…

Jess shivered as she stepped off the train at Felpersham Station, and pulled her new Boden jacket round her. Even being in Borsetshire was enough to bring back painful memories. Why had she come, anyway? What did she owe Helen Archer? She’d not given a thought to Jess’s feelings when she was sleeping with Rob. But there was something in Helen’s voice as she’d asked to meet up… ‘Jess!’ A heavily pregnant woman was walking towards her. Could it be…? The Helen she remembered was brisk, energetic, smart. This woman was hesitant, washed-out, untidy. ‘Hello Jess; how are you? Nice jacket!’ Helen's manner was as irritating as ever, but her face was thinner, her eyes ringed with dark shadows. Suddenly, Jess knew why she was here…


Talking to Helen, Jess barely recognised the woman who’d breezed about Ambridge with her cheese, her organic veg and her perfect little boy, completely at home in a village where Jess still felt like a gauche stranger. Now, with Helen twisting her hands and looking round nervously, Jess knew they had plenty in common – none of it good. ‘Has he hurt you?’ The tears started in Helen’s eyes and Jess knew the answer. ‘He only slapped me once, and it was my fault… and now he’s started on Henry…’  ‘Oh, Helen.’ Before meeting her, Jess had toyed with the idea of reassuring her about Rob, about leaving her to lie in the bed she’d made.  But the thought of Ethan, her own baby, at Rob’s mercy banished any idea of revenge from her mind…


Their talk hadn’t lasted long; Helen didn’t want her mother to start asking awkward questions. As the train rattled back to Birmingham, Jess wondered what Helen would do. Would she take her advice to leave while she still had the strength? After all, she probably wouldn’t have been able to end her own marriage if Helen hadn’t done the job for her. She flicked through the photos of Ethan on her phone. At one time, she’d longed for her son to have Rob’s features. Now, she was thankful there was no trace of that man’s DNA in her child. She’d told Helen Rob was a monster. But would Helen act? I’ve done what I can, she thought, unwrapping a chocolate bar and taking out her copy of Hello Magazine… To be continued…



  1. Clever, clever, clever & so funny too.

  2. Thanks all! We've cancelled all reporters' leave this week, but it's going to be a tricky issue...