Saturday, 24 December 2016

Debbie flies in, Santa surprises and Susan entertains: a hectic pre-Christmas week in Ambridge

Grandmother ‘comfortable’ after acute shock, say paramedics

An ambulance was called to Brookfield in Ambridge this week as Jill Archer’s family feared she had suffered a heart attack.
‘It was terrible,’ said her daughter-in-law Ruth Archer. ‘All I did was mention to Jill that Pip and Toby weren’t having sprouts for Christmas dinner, when she went a very funny colour.
‘Then I added that they were buying a ready-stuffed chicken joint instead of turkey, and she keeled right over.’
Paramedics who treated Mrs Archer at the scene said she had suffered an acute panic attack, and was recovering well at home.
‘It’s such a relief; we thought we’d lost her,’ said Ruth Archer. ‘I’m just glad I didn’t tell Jill that Pip and Toby were having shop-bought mince pies. It would have finished her off.’

Police seek ‘phantom Santa’

Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) warned the public to be vigilant this week after a mysterious inflatable Santa appeared in the yard at Bridge Farm.
‘It may seem harmless enough,’ said PC Burns. ‘Young Henry Archer looked out of his window on Wednesday morning and saw a cheery plastic Santa smiling up at him. But no one has admitted to playing this prank, and the perpetrator may be up to no good.
‘I am concerned it may be linked to a late-night incident at Ambridge View, when a decorative urn was knocked into a pond. Mr and Mrs Carter said ‘carol singers’ were to blame, but if you ask me we could be looking at a series of bungled distraction burglaries.
‘And frankly that’s the last thing I need before Christmas, when I should be snuggling up at home with Fallon in our matching Scooby Doo onesies.’

My Week … with Jennifer Aldridge

We catch up with Jennifer Aldridge of Home Farm, leading light of Borsetshire’s social scene, in the busiest week of the year:


It was ladies only this evening, as Susan Carter had a little party to celebrate the end of our ‘Calendar Girls’ year. It was a charming event; Susan always does her best with the catering. Some of her amuse-bouches were really… well, amusing! I haven’t had Dairylea and beetroot on Ryvita since about 1992. But apparently they were left over from Neil’s diet, which is why they were only slightly stale. Waste not, want not, I said to Susan, especially when you’re on a tight budget. I know exactly what it’s like. Heaven knows, we’ll be down to our last few million if Brian goes ahead with his plan to… oh, well, perhaps I shouldn’t say to a member of the press!
And it was so charming of Eddie Grundy, Neil Carter and Toby Fairbrother to turn up at the end of the evening to sing carols to us! Although they did look a little the worse for wear and for some reason Susan didn’t look very happy. Though what she meant by telling Neil chilli was off the menu, I’ve no idea.


I was up early today preparing a little supper for a very special party: all of the family at Home Farm for Christmas! My daughter Debbie is home from Hungary for two whole weeks; then there’s Adam, Kate, and my granddaughter Phoebe, who’s at Oxford University. And who else? Oh yes, Ruairi, of course. His end-of-term report says he’s good at art.
Supper was nothing special: just the eight courses, with special dishes for Kate, who’s vegan, and Ruairi’s usual plate of gruel – he says he’s not used to rich meals after boarding-school meals.  But I must say I had to step in when the family started bickering about this big land deal – you know, the one I’m not supposed to tell you about. When I wanted us to talk about lovely things like Phoebe’s tutorials. Did I tell you she’s at Oxford?


I had to miss one of the highlights of our year this evening: the Borchester Land party at Grey Gables. I was busy making costumes for the Ambridge pantomime – my daughter Kate had messed up as usual, so Phoebe had to take charge and organise a sewing party – so clever. She’s at Oxford, did you know? But Adam and Debbie told me all about it. Apparently Adam rushed into the kitchen to surprise Ian with a bunch of mistletoe! So sweet – and luckily the burns from the hot fat were only superficial. Everyone was there – Justin Elliott, my sister Lilian – everyone knows about their affair now, don’t they? Oh, you didn’t know? Well please don’t put that in your little article, will you? And Rob Titchener, unfortunately. Why Justin chose to employ that man I have no idea. But my daughter Debbie gave him what for when he tried to charm her. She had an abusive relationship herself, you know. But don’t put that in. Not very discreet of me. Anyway, no one gave Rob a Secret Santa present. So that jolly well told him!  


Talking of Rob Titchener (not that I ever gossip of course) I met poor little Henry with his mother today. He ran off for five minutes –and you should have seen Helen! Absolutely panic-stricken. And it turns out, Henry had been posting a Christmas card for Rob in their old cottage! That little boy has been through such a lot. We can only hope it doesn’t affect him in the long term.  He’s so bright; it would be lovely to think he might go to university, like Phoebe. Did I tell you she’s at Oxford?

(That’s enough Jennifer Aldridge. Ed).


  1. Brilliant as usual, poor old Rob hehehe.

  2. Poor Jill, are her twilight years to be blighted by her grandchildren who won't listen to the wisdom of the ancients. I haven't listened yet to the omnibus, too busy yesterday. Now you have wetted my appetite, thank you.

  3. Thank you Eddie and Rob - poor Rob and poor Jill! Not usually top of the sympathy charts - but then, it is Christmas!