Sunday, 19 March 2017

A shock at Brookfield, Pip in trouble and Justin in a pickle: an extraordinary week in Ambridge

Brookfield ‘devastated’ by desserts blow

David Archer of Brookfield in Ambridge says the farm could take ‘years’ to recover after a devastating blow this week.
‘It’s a disaster. We simply have no idea where the family’s next pudding is coming from,’ said Mr Archer. Visibly shocked, he revealed that his mother Jill had burnt an apple pie and a birthday cake by taking a nap while baking.
‘This is uncharted territory for us,’ admitted Mr Archer. ‘We’re usually so careful about baked goods security. You’re never more than a few steps away from a freshly made flapjack. But after this, we’ll have to rethink completely. It may mean buying in our cakes and biscuits. Or Ruth could cook. But that’s the Doomsday scenario.’
Mrs Archer said she was at a loss to explain what had happened. ‘In 60 years of baking I’ve never lost a cake,’ she said. ‘But I have been feeling a little strange since my friend Carol Tregorran made me give up coffee and replaced it with her herbal teas. She’d do anything to put me off my stroke for the Flower & Produce Show.’

Watch out for AGA outbreaks, medics warn

Public Health Borsetshire has warned families to be vigilant after an outbreak of an unusual virus was reported in Ambridge. ‘Accelerated Geriatric Aquafiteitis, known as AGA, tends to affect older, female patients and is highly infectious,’ said Dr Bea Ware. ‘It only takes one lady to tell her friend about Leroy’s new water-based, low-impact exercise class and the next thing you know they’re all at it.’
Dr Ware said AGA can cause symptoms such as ‘prune skin’, an unpleasant whiff of chlorine and, in more serious cases, verrucas. ‘We advise patients to self-medicate with tea, cake and a nice sit-down,’ said Dr Ware. ‘After a few weeks of soggy swimsuits and fighting over the hairdryer, the virus usually subsides.’

Business special: Hit up the Hammerhead!

The Ambridge Observer is delighted that U.S. flooring magnate Andy ‘Hammerhead’ Anderson, who is staying at Ambridge Hall this week, has graciously taken time out from his bird-watching tour with Robert Snell to advise young local entrepreneurs.  

Dear Andy,
My new online farm machinery sales business is doing really well, but I need space to work. My gran needs the kitchen table for her baking, and when I tried to set up my laptop at Grey Gables, Lynda Snell told me off for not buying a drink. What do you advise? Josh A.
Yo, Josh,
Are you kidding me? How you gonna make your first million if you can’t even find yourself a place to work? And are you seriously telling me you let little old ladies stop you doing a deal? Get yourself a girlfriend who works in a coffee shop, and ask me again when you’ve got a real problem, loser.   

Dear Andy,
My dad turned me down for a loan to buy some new cattle because he thinks I’ve still got the profits from the last lot. He doesn’t know I lent it all to my boyfriend to make gin. And now our cows have caught an awful virus and I think it’s my fault because I let them out. It’s all so unfair! What can I do?  Pip A.

Hey Pip!
Are you really as dumb as your name? If I was your pa I wouldn’t put you in charge of a can of soda, let alone a bunch of cows. Quit your pity party, help your folks out and buy yourself some time before your pa starts asking questions. And when that happens, you better hope that boyfriend of yours makes a mean bottle of gin ‘cos you may need a plan B, you know what I’m saying?  

Dear Andy,
I gave my father a brilliant 45-minute presentation on my company’s service, which links cutting-edge crop mapping and targeting technology with drone-based delivery of pesticides and fertilisers. I could see he was concentrating because his eyes were closed, but he hasn’t yet placed an order. How can I close the sale? Alice.

Alice, Alice, Alice.
You sure have disappeared down that rabbit hole – but this ain’t Wonderland! How you gonna shift that there high-falutin’ tech kit if even your pa can’t stay awake for your pitch? While he’s snoozin’, you’re losin’! Cut it down to 10 minutes and throw in free pizza. You’re welcome.

The Trials of … Justin Elliott

In the latest chapter of our passionate saga by award-winning novelist Lavinia Catwater, our hero has gambled everything for love – but will he win or lose?

‘Oh, darling. This is so wonderful.’ Justin nuzzled Lilian’s neck, inhaling that delicious aroma of Crème de la Mer and Voltarol. ‘The music? Yes… I’ve always loved André Rieu’s Breakfast in Bucharest,’ murmured Lilian. ‘No, silly! I mean spending all our time together! You’re so much more exciting than chilly old Miranda. She could never see the potential of the broiler unit at Ramsbury like you can darling!’
‘That’s sweet of you Justin. But I do have a life at Home Farm, you know!’ Lilian smiled as she drew on her Poule de Luxe satin peignoir, but Justin sensed a slight cooling in the atmosphere. ‘Say you’ll be back soon darling? That salami I bought last week is nearly past its sell-by date!’
Lilian pursed those lips he loved in a moue of distaste. ‘Come on darling… it takes more than a bit of old salami to keep me happy, you know!’ And with that she was off to the en-suite. So Lilian wanted excitement, did she? Justin reached for his phone…


‘So you see, darling, I’ve got it all mapped out!’ They were walking arm-in-arm through the country park, digesting the late breakfast of eggs Benedict and Danish pastries they’d enjoyed at Grey Gables. Justin regretted leaving the Rennies behind in his rush to tell Lilian his plans. ‘There’s this marvellous service called Codgers Concierge, and they’ve sorted the whole Season for us! Royal Ascot, Wimbledon, Glyndebourne – I’ve never seen Don Pasquale; it sounds wonderful – all with coach transport, packed lunches, loo breaks and hearing loops! Don’t you think so Lilian?’
‘What, darling? Oh yes, I adore Joe Pasquale!’ Again, Lilian seemed distracted. Perhaps it was the shouts and scuffles coming from the bird-watching hide, where Robert Snell and Jim Lloyd were putting on their traditional ‘Dance of the Tetchy Twitchers’ for some tourists.
‘We won’t miss that on our honeymoon, will we darling?” Justin squeezed Lilian’s hand. ‘But I’ll leave all the wedding details up to you.’
To his horror, she dropped his hand as if it were covered in fox poo. ‘Honeymoon? Oh, my goodness, is that the time? Shouldn’t you be in Felpersham Justin? And I have to… I have to… goodbye!’ And with that she hurried off towards the lake, leaving Justin to wonder what he’d done wrong this time…    

‘Oh Lilian, it’s so wonderful to see you! Here, have a glass of this almost acceptable Riesling.’ Justin’s words were heartfelt. His fears that she was having doubts, which had grown during those long afternoons at the Dower House watching Countdown, subsided. But Lilian, who usually attacked her meals like a gundog, was toying with Wayne’s special rissoles. ‘I’m sorry I stayed away so long, darling,’ she said. ‘But the thing is, this talk of weddings and honeymoons was all so …. sudden! And you know, you’ve never actually said that you love me!’
Justin’s heart flipped over with relief. Was that all it was? ‘Oh, you silly, silly darling,’ he boomed, drawing the attention of Robert Snell and Jim Lloyd, who had invested the tourists’ tips at the bar. Pushing back his chair with a loud scrape, he went down on one knee. Thank the Lord he had remembered the Ralgex that morning. ‘Lilian, you are the most exciting woman I have ever met and I love you from the bottom of my heart. Marry me, you luscious wench!’
There was an awful silence, broken only when Barry Simmons burst a crisp packet. Lilian gasped: ‘Oh! I just don’t know….  I’m sorry, I’m so sorry… ‘ and with that she was gone again, leaving him on his knees on the pub floor. His feeling of dread was as cold as the spilt beer seeping in through his pale yellow corduroys….
To be continued…



  1. Lilian attacking her food like a gundog.. Barry Simmons' crisp packet... Brilliant!

  2. 'Codger's Concierge' brilliant! Very funny - best yet....

  3. Thank you Ruth and Caro - much appreciated! The Am Ob is thinking of starting up 'Codgers Concierge' as a lucrative spin-off...

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.