Sunday, 24 April 2016

The hut is repaired, Pat is rebuffed and Rob regroups: a chilling week in Ambridge

‘Don’t stretch hospital resources,’ NHS warns

Borsetshire NHS Hospitals Trust has warned members of the public not to take ‘unnecessary risks’ that might cause injury this week, as the junior doctors’ strike will put A & E departments under added strain.
‘Just by exercising a little care, people could avoid a lengthy and painful stay on a trolley in Borchester  General,’ said a spokeswoman. ‘For example, this week a middle-aged couple from Ambridge had to have splinters removed from – well, shall we say it was a delicate process – after claiming the daybed in their shepherd’s hut had collapsed.
‘And on Thursday, paramedics had to be called to Underwoods’ furniture department to rescue an elderly chap who’d trapped a nerve bouncing on a waterbed. It was quite a challenging scene, as his female companion refused to co-operate, yelling: “You can’t take Justin to hospital darling; I haven’t spent all his money yet!”
‘We like to see older members of the community enjoying life but please do think of the potential impact on the NHS,’ said the spokeswoman. 

Hall to support Villa instead of Palace

An Ambridge garden is to raise funds for a failing football club after its owner had a change of heart.
‘I had planned my ‘Resurgam’ garden as a tribute to the spirit of Ambridge since the flood, and in honour of HM The Queen’s birthday,’ said Mrs Lynda Snell of Ambridge Hall.
‘But frankly, after Eddie Grundy made such a mess of my shepherd’s hut, I was ready to scrap the whole idea. Luckily, young Josh Archer came up with the answer! He’s a real marketing dynamo, that boy, did you know? So when he pointed out the obvious similarities between my shepherd’s hut and his football club, Aston Villa, I was seduced by his vision.
‘Shoddy materials, poor planning and shocking execution – the hut is a perfect symbol of Aston Villa’s terrible season, and its tragic relegation from the Premiership,’ said Mrs Snell. ‘And as I understand that Aston Villa has ditched its famous motto, ‘Prepared’, from its badge, what could be more fitting than to replace it with 'Resurgam’ – I will rise again”?
‘To cap it all, Prince William is a Villa fan so my garden will retain its Royal credentials. All it needs is a few claret and blue pansies and Josh has promised me it will go viral!’

Try our St George’s Day quiz

Following this week’s ‘England’s Green and Pleasant’ quiz at The Bull, The Ambridge Observer has gone hyper-local to test your knowledge of Ambridge. No prizes: just for fun!

Q1 Who wore the dragon costume for the St George's Day quiz ?

A Barry Simmons, with exploding crisp packet sound effects
B Lynda Snell – no costume required   
C Kenton Archer, under protest

Q2 Who stole the St Stephen’s Lent appeal money?

A Anneka Rice
B Sabrina Thwaite, to fund her Botox habit
C George Grundy, who’s been spending like a sailor

Q3 What is a ‘no-till’ farming strategy’?

A Lilian’s favourite shopping style: just charge it to Justin, darling
B A technical term for the Bridge Farm shop being closed
C Sowing one crop on top of another: Adam’s latest low-tech idea

Q4 How does Tom Archer like to be distracted?

A Devising sausage recipes with Maurice
B Planning the next pageant with Lynda
C Discussing mob-grazing at Home Farm with Pip

Q5 How did Elizabeth Pargetter celebrate her 49th birthday?

A A walkabout round Lower Loxley dressed as ‘Queen Elizabeth’,
whose birthday she shares
B A romantic meal with Doctor Locke
C A jolly family dinner catered by Emma and Fallon

Q6 What military skill is Dan Hebden-Lloyd practising in France?

A Tank driving
B Battlefield strategy
C PowerPointTM presentations

How did you get on?

In each case the right answer is ‘C’. If you scored top marks, have you thought of getting out more?

SPRING FICTION SPECIAL: The Trials of Rob Titchener

In the latest chapter of our romantic saga, by award-winning novelist Lavinia Catwater, our hero finds the tears come all too readily…

‘I wasn’t asleep, Pat.’ How could the stupid woman think that? He’d been lying awake, fighting the morphine clouds in his head, planning for just this moment. He didn’t want to see her, biting her lips, pity in her eyes – or Tony, hanging back with a punnet of grapes. At least they wouldn’t be Bridge Farm scabby organic ones. But he had to face them, or he wouldn’t see… ‘Daddy! Daddy!’ Yes, here was Henry, scrambling up the bed, heedless of his drips and drains.  God, a week at Bridge Farm and he was a hooligan again. ‘Henry! Have you missed me?’ He forced his cracked lips into a big, warm smile. ‘Lots and lots and lots!’ the little boy piped up. ‘Granddad, can I have a hot chocolate now?’ Typical. They’d been spoiling him rotten. But it seemed they hadn’t been pouring poison into his little ears. He watched Tony and Henry leave the ward; the boy seemed happy enough. But why was Pat still here?


‘So how have you been, Rob?’ If he’d been strong enough, he would have leapt out of bed and strangled her. ‘Um, well you know, apart from my severed artery, collapsed lung, perforated bowel and life-threatening infection… not too bad. Heh heh.’  Pat’s face crumpled. Please God, don’t let her start snivelling. ‘I’m so, so sorry Rob,’ she said. ‘I just wondered if you had a message for… for Helen?’ Jesus. Why hadn’t his blood pressure monitor exploded? To hide his murderous rage, he shut his eyes and began to sob noisily. On cue, his mother piped up. ‘Don’t you think you’ve done enough, Pat? It’s lucky your daughter isn’t facing a murder charge. You’ve brought the boy here; next time, he can come with me. Now you’ve completed your little mission of mercy, you can go.’
Pat’s hand flew to her mouth, and she practically ran from the ward. If he never saw her again, it would be too soon. Ursula fussed round him. ‘Now, darling, are you sure you won’t try one of your father’s Wilbur Smiths?’  He fell back on his pillows, pressing his morphine pump once more…


‘You really will have to tell me what happened on the night in question, Mr Titchener.’ DS Madeley, in her chain store trouser suit and no make-up, was looking at him too coolly for his liking. Hadn’t he spent the last ten minutes carefully setting the scene, explaining how Helen was unstable, unpredictable, needy – a danger to herself and Henry? Hadn’t he cleverly implicated that cow Kirsty, by implying an emotional relationship between her and Helen? He stabbed a finger at DS Madeley’s notebook. ‘Look, you know about the anorexia, the ex’s suicide, the antidepressants, right?’
She snapped it shut. ‘I believe you did say something, yes. But now you need to sign your statement.’ She handed him the pen. No going back now on this story he’d told. ‘It’s just… all I did was love her!’ He managed to swallow his words in a storm of sobbing. ‘It’s OK. Have one of these.’ As she passed him a tissue, he kept his face buried in his hands. But to his great relief, he heard her tone soften…  Good. Maybe this woman was as dumb as all the rest after all…

To be continued…    


  1. Replies
    1. Absolutely! And this week's issue may be worse, on current evidence...

  2. The Spring Fiction Special (if only it WAS fiction!) was outstanding even by your high standards! MORE!!!

    1. I'll pass that on to Lavinia, Cathy - thank you very much!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I just discovered this - I love it!

    Something to relieve my six-nights-a-week misery...

    1. That's good news, thank you! The Observer does aim to look on the brighter side...

  5. Brilliant view inside Rob's head. Is that true about George Grundy though ? I missed that ! Oh dear.

  6. Thank you! It's very murky inside Rob's head.... Lavinia was almost overwhelmed. Circumstantial evidence on George, but he bought his mum a very expensive Easter egg, and has since got himself a very posh watch. So either Alf took the money and gave George a big bung, or it was little George...