Sunday, 16 July 2017

Shock overshadows a birthday surprise and a foodie prize – an emotional week in Ambridge

Celebrity chefs ‘anxious’ about Ambridge opening

Miriam and Lulu Duxford have requested bodyguards to protect them when they open the Ambridge fete next month, the Ambridge Observer can exclusively reveal.
The celebrity chefs are said to be concerned about possible protests against the opening of their flagship restaurant, Les Soeurs Heureuses, in Borchester. 
‘We have heard that there are food activists in Ambridge who will do anything to stop Mimi and Lulu,’ said a spokesperson. ‘But the girls are so brave. Nothing will spoil their dream of bringing hand-dived Québecois scallops with haggis foam to the people of Borsetshire.’
Ambridge residents Kirsty Miller and Jill Archer volunteer at the Happy Friends Café, which currently occupies the restaurant site. They said they ‘have no plans’ to organise any protest action at the fete. 
‘The sisters are not welcome in Ambridge, but we are completely opposed to violence,’ said Mrs Archer. ‘Though I would advise them not to wear their fancy designer outfits. It would be such a shame if someone mixed up ‘Dunk the Vicar’ and ‘Dunk the Duxfords’.
But not everyone in Ambridge is opposed to a high-end restaurant taking the place of a pop-up kitchen that relies on food donations.  
‘I know that the Duxford sisters believe in snouts-in-the-trough eating, and so do I,’ said Mr Brian Aldridge. (Surely, nose-to-tail eating? Ed). ‘I’m going to their opening night gala, even if Jill Archer is stretched out on the red carpet and I have to step over her.’  

Bridge Farm stars at Food and Drink Awards

Helen Archer carried off the top prize at the Borsetshire Food & Drink Awards for the second year running, as Bridge Farm’s Borsetshire Blue cheese won the ‘Best Artisan Product’ category.
In a moving speech, Ms Archer said: ‘I thought it was bad enough not being here to collect the award last year, because I was in prison charged with attempted murder.
‘Little did I think that my brother Tom would try to ruin my day this year by banging on about his fermented foods (only joking, Tom!) But this is my award – be quiet, Tom – and I’d just like to thank – I’m warning you, Tom – all the judges and of course our wonderful customers! – Shut UP Tom or I’ll stab you with this ceremonial cheese knife – oops, oh, sorry. Thank you.’

Holiday special: Handy Bulgarian Phrasebook

It’s that time of year again, when Ambridge is overrun with immigrants (surely, welcomes seasonal workers from the EU? Ed.)  Reader Roy Tucker has contacted the Ambridge Observer for tips on how to break the ice and get to know our visitors better – especially Lexi, from near Sofia. We hear you, Roy! Here are some useful phrases:

• Romanian, Bulgarian – they’re the same, aren’t they?

Rumŭnski, bŭlgarski, te sa edni i sŭshti, nali?

• I am not a racist, I just don’t like foreign people.

Az ne sŭm rasist, prosto ne kharesvam chuzhdestrannite khora

• Can I buy you a drink, even though I voted Brexit?

Moga li da vi kupya napitka, vŭpreki che glasuvakh Breksit?

• I would like to take control of your borders.

Bikh iskal da poema kontrola nad vashite granitsi.

Ask Auntie Satya

With her warm wit and forensic legal brain, Auntie Satya is here to sort out all your emotional and practical dilemmas.

Dear Auntie Satya,

My boyfriend wants us to buy a house together, using his savings for the deposit. I said that wasn’t fair because I don’t have any savings, and that when we got divorced it wouldn’t be right if I took half the house. Then he said he wasn’t talking about getting married! Why am I confused? Fallon R.  

Dear Fallon,

In your longer letter you say you are worried that if you got married you would get divorced, like your mother and father. So it seems to me your young man is offering the perfect solution – no marriage! I would snap up his generous offer quicker than you can say ‘starter home’. You can always do extra housework if you feel guilty about not contributing.  

Dear Auntie Satya,

I had a wonderful 70th birthday, sharing a bubble bath with my fiancé, slipping into the silk French lingerie he gave me, and enjoying a small party with my loved ones. Even when my ex gave me a puppy, to try and drive a wedge between us, my fiancé said we should keep her because he has bigger balls and serves all the aces. And now he’s bought us tickets for Hair – you know, the musical where you all dance nude at the end? Is he too good to be true? Lilian B. 

Dear Lilian,

I’m afraid I cannot answer your question because your letter has put pictures in my head of such a nature that I am finding it impossible to concentrate. My apologies.

Dear Auntie Satya,

I was campaigning to get our cricket club captain sacked because he deceived the team over women players being allowed to play. Then my godmother died suddenly, and I started to think this wasn’t important any more so I told him our feud was over. But now I’m worried that I’ve ruined my reputation as a small-minded, misogynistic git. Did I do the right thing? Will G.

Dear Will,


Tributes pour in for ‘much-loved’ Ambridge lady

Ambridge residents were shocked this week to learn of the death of Caroline Sterling, a much-loved member of the community, who had lived in the village for nearly 40 years before moving to Italy with her husband Oliver in 2015.
The funeral will be held in Tuscany, but Ambridge will have the opportunity to commemorate her life at a service being arranged by her close friend, Shula Hebden-Lloyd.
Borsetshire Laureate Bert Fry has composed an ode for the occasion, which the Ambridge Observer is pleased to reproduce here as a tribute.

A poem for Caroline

And so farewell to Caroline Bone,
Or Sterling, as you were to become known.
The village of Ambridge will miss you sorely,
And no one even knew you were poorly.

Though your husband Oliver will mourn you bitterly,
You died in peace, at your home in Italy.
It was where you loved to drink wine and eat peaches,
A place where you both had found your niches.

Your life was always busy and full,
From your first job in Ambridge, at The Bull.
Jack Woolley could see that you were able,
And made you manager of Grey Gables.

You were never one for airs and graces,
Despite your connections in high places.
As Lord Netherborne’s niece, you didn’t fret
When you had to host Princess Margaret.

You were so happy as Oliver’s wife,
But not always lucky in love or life.
You had your passions, I recall,
It would take me too long to name them all.

There was Matthew the doctor, and Robin the vet,
And Cameron Fraser – one to forget,
And even – it’s rumoured –  Mr Brian Aldridge,
But that’s all water under the bridge.

You found true love with first husband Guy,
Though much too soon, Mr Pemberton died.
But never one to mope and moan,
You carried on bravely all alone

Until you met your soulmate Oliver,
And from then on life could not be jollier.
Not blessed with family of your own,
To foster children you opened your home.

And young Will Grundy always knew,
As his godmother, he could rely on you.
Eddie and Joe often tried your patience,
But you were always kind and gracious.

So Caroline, Ambridge loved you dear,
And we all wish you were still here.
And though you lie in foreign parts,
You will always live on in our hearts.


  1. Both funny and touching, at once. Thanks again.

    1. Thank you! Not sure Shula will think it's quite suitable for the memorial ceremony though...

  2. Love the poem! It is not easy to write banal verse with bathos deliberately!

    1. Yes indeed, a tricky one to write. Not that I could write anything of course.

    2. Banal? Bathos? How very dare you!! I hope Bert doesn't read this. (Thank you very much all the same!)

  3. Absolutely fabulous as ever, but Robin was the vicar not the vet!

    1. He was a vet who was also a vicar. The fact that he was a vicar was the reason that Caroline broke off their engagement. She didn't share his faith anyway but, after the road accident in which she was injured and Mark was killed, she couldn't come to terms with a faith in a god who allowed such things to happen.

    2. Yes, Alan has it easy; he doesn't have to stay up all night with a difficult calving before Matins!

  4. My my, Bert's doggerel has improved. That's quite touching.

    1. Doggerel? Really, some people just have no appreciation of sublime verse. (Thank you very much!!)

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed it! Extra cake for the reporters this Friday.

  6. Interesting to discover Roy's attitude to the EU and it's citizens - or one particular citizen. Do you think one of the A O's business correspondents could interview Brian and/or Justin to establish the opinions of these esteemed Captains of Industry on the thorny issue of Brexit?

    1. Good point! I think we've learned Brian voted Remain (for the subsidies) and Adam voted Leave (for the international outlook). Justin? Who knows - but he has probably hedged his bets either way.