Sunday, 31 July 2016

Fete on the brink, Shula in turmoil and the egg empire cracks: a crisis week in Ambridge

City star to open Ambridge fete

Brazilian football royalty descends on Ambridge on Sunday, as Felpersham City central defender Benny Carvalho is set to add some Rio glamour to Ambridge’s Olympics-themed fete.
‘People said we wouldn’t be able to make a success of the fete once Lynda Snell resigned from the committee,’ said Fallon Rogers. ‘But with Benny showing us his silky skills, we’ll soon have the whole of Ambridge in carnival mood! I’ve just got to sort out the parking. And the road closures. And the pop-up tea tent. And Dunk-the-Vicar. And the bran tub. And sweet-talk Jean Harvey into doing Guess the Jelly Babies. OMG, where’s my clipboard? Sorry, got to go…’
Villagers said they were delighted that a celebrity would be opening the fete. ‘Benny Hill? Oooh, I like him. But isn’t he dead though?’ said Gemma Hawkins.

Legal eagles swoop on ElfWorld

A local tourist attraction faces ruin by Hollywood moguls who have threatened to sue the owners for trademark infringement.
Lawyers representing The Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter and The Lion King franchises all claim that ElfWorld, recently set up in Grundys Field, has stolen their ideas for profit.
‘It’s outrageous!’ said Eddie Grundy. ‘I don’t deny that Dad has taken inspiration from fantasy classics of the silver screen. He’s 94; you can’t expect him to make up his own stories.
‘But where are all these profits supposed to come from? Today’s takings were 98p and a broken hair-slide. And since Bartleby trampled our plaster wizard, trying to shake off the wings Dad made for him, we’ve lost one of our biggest draws. How am I going to fight a multi-million dollar law suit without that?

Twelfth man helps Ambridge nick a win from Netherbourne

By our special cricket correspondent, Rob Titchener

Thanks to the editor for allowing this ordinary hero of the flood to write up what turned out to be a gratifying victory for Ambridge against Netherbourne.
I’m crocked at the moment – not the time or the place for details, but let’s just say justice will be done about that soon, heh. But though I can’t play, I made myself useful. I taught new captain Harrison Burns how to win the toss (surely that’s just luck? Ed), and gave Dan Hebden Lloyd a manly pep talk before his workmanlike knock. But the lower half of the batting order seemed more interested in the tea tent than winning the match. Badly done, PC Burns, heh!
Luckily I was able to have a firm word and advised him to open the bowling with Barry Simmons, who pitched it up quite nicely, despite that ridiculous man-bun. Who does he think he is, Gareth Bale? If any son of mine…
Talking of which, my boy Henry is showing terrific promise with bat and ball. I’ve bought him proper kit, despite his Granny Pat bleating about a wooden bat and hard ball being dangerous for a five-year-old. Six hours a day in the nets, and Henry will be coming along nicely. Never did me any harm…
Oops, forgot I’ve got my reporter’s hat on! Anyway, Ambridge won – our second victory after a disastrous run. And in view of my key role, I gave myself the Man of the Match award.
(Note to sports desk: don’t book him again. Ed).

The Trials of Shula Hebden Lloyd

In the latest chapter of our romantic summer serial, by award-winning novelist Lavinia Catwater, our heroine must wrestle with her conscience and her deep-seated desires…

Listlessly, Shula plucked one of Hector’s tail-hairs out of the horse blanket she was sitting on. Maybe she should have washed it before bringing it to the cricket, she thought ruefully. But life was so hectic, what with Alistair moving his practice back to the Stables, and Dan and Dorothy filling the house with youthful energy and freshly laundered piles of active leisurewear. There was Dorothy now, her muscled legs in Army shorts flashing as she collected tea things for the dishwasher…
Shula turned to Richard Locke, who was sharing one of Emma Grundy’s Brazilian brigadeiros with Lizzie, and playfully tickled him behind the ear with Hector’s hair.  ‘What the…?’ Richard slapped his neck crossly. ‘Oh, sorry Shula… I’d forgotten you were there. Can I get you anything?’
‘No thank you Richard,’ said Shula, flushing red. ‘I just thought I’d mention – did you know Dan’s Dorothy was named after the film star Dorothy Dandridge? Nothing to do with the Wizard of Oz. Isn’t that funny?’
‘Er, yes, whatever, Shula,’ said Lizzie. ‘They’re off on holiday soon, aren’t they? Croatia, isn’t it? Richard, do you fancy Split?’ And their heads were together again, giggling at some private joke…
Blinking away tears of hurt pride, Shula looked across the village green. Rob was standing over Pat and Tony; Tony was patting the rug beside him but Henry was hiding behind Rob’s legs, seemingly wanting to stay with him. Oh, what a mess. Shula felt a surge of nausea. Was it the leftover goat’s cheese quiche she’d brought to the picnic, or her conscience? In her heart, she knew the answer…


‘Really Shula, you mustn’t be so hard on yourself!’ Caroline unbuckled a bridle and started rubbing it briskly with a damp cloth. ‘So you saw Rob hit that hunt saboteur, and then you lied to the police about it to protect the hunt. Anyone would have done the same! Here, pass me that numnah and get a grip.’
Shula shuddered. Caroline had such a way of getting straight to the uncomfortable truth. ‘But it’s different for you Caroline. I’m a Christian! What will God be thinking of me? If I’d said something at the time, about the violent side of Rob that no one else has seen, Helen would have left him and none of this would have happened! It’s all my fault!’
‘Look Shula… none of us could have known what would happen. I mean, who knew that Oliver and I would be moving to Italy, and Grange Farm would be turned into holiday flats? There’ll always be a room for you and Alistair in our villa, if you need to run away from the truth – I mean, get away from it all!’
Shula twisted a set of reins in anguish. ‘But Caroline, I could have done something to stop this… and it’s too late now…’
‘Hello? Anyone there?’ The tack room door swung open and there stood Fallon, looking dishevelled and carrying a clipboard. What was she doing here?
‘Oh hi, Shula, Caroline..’ Fallon looked uncertainly at them. ‘I just wondered, do you know anything about Dunk-the-Vicar?’
Dunk-the-Vicar! Shula felt dizzy with shock. This was a sign! It was God’s way of reminding her of her wicked sins, from that business with Alan to her cowardice and lies over Rob. Dropping her bridle, she pushed past Fallon and out into the fresh air, mumbling some excuse.
‘What did I say?’ she heard Fallon ask. ‘Oh, nothing,’ said Caroline. ‘Something to do with a dodgy quiche, I think. Now listen Fallon, can you get me a selfie with Benny Carvalho?’

To be continued…  


Thanks to Bert Fry for this moving poem, which adapts a popular folk song to the sad news of a setback to Upper Class Eggs, Ambridge’s new poultry business.

Fox in the henhouse

Fox went out one summer’s night,
The moon over Hollowtree shining bright,
And the henhouse door left open wide
He crept in without a sound-oh…

Fox attacked while the chickens slept
Laid about them right and left,
Killed a bunch and maimed the rest
And the eggs all smashed on the ground-oh…

Rex and young Josh had a shock
To see their dead and dying flock,
Eddie Grundy helped finish ‘em off,
But Toby was not to be found-oh…

Toby turned up, red with shame,
Said he was the one to blame,
Seeing a girl – wouldn’t give her name –
So he hadn’t been around-oh.

Josh said this is the final straw
Rex said give him one chance more,
Toby said: ‘I’ll pay you back, for sure
But I’ve only got one pound-oh…’

Repeat over and over again.


Whack-a-Mole game. Or Splat-a-Rat will do. Or Bash-a-Bunny or Squash-a-Squirrel or Crush-a-Coypu or Wallop-a-Weasel or Stun-a-Stoat. Basically, anything that involves hitting a stuffed furry toy with a mallet. Condition unimportant, will collect before 1pm Sunday.
Contact Fallon Rogers, c/o Ambridge Tea Room. Urgent!!!!  


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "Just luck"?? How very dare that editor! Rob is the tossers' tosser…

    PS - Tell Fallon to get in touch with Joe Grundy. He might still have his "Flatten-A-Ferret" kit.

    1. Yep; sure Flatten-A-Ferret will be a star attraction at next year's fete...

  3. Fabulous stuff, as always.

  4. Fantastic! Like a window into Shula's clouded mind.

    1. Thank you Paula! Shula's clouded mind is pretty murky, Lavinia says... :-)

  5. I love this ......very Victoria Wood.

  6. Superb as usual, it's better than the real show!

    1. Thank you Darren - what's this 'show' of which you speak? We only report on events in Ambridge...:-)

  7. Superb as usual, it's better than the real show!

  8. Replies
    1. Wow, Victoria Wood?! Not worthy... thank you! The next instalment is out tomorrow - it's published every Sunday. If you sign up for an email it will be sent to you automatically...

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