Exchange of insults threatens Home Farm deal
A land sale that would help save an Ambridge farm from financial ruin was nearly derailed this week after bitter exchanges between two key players.
Borchester Land’s chairman, Martyn Gibson, said he was pulling out of a deal to buy 300 acres of arable land from Brian Aldridge of Home Farm, after he claimed his wife Pamela had been ‘grossly insulted’ by Mr Aldridge’s wife Jennifer.
‘Mrs Aldridge accosted my wife in Underwoods department store and told her her hairstyle looked like an electrocuted hedgehog,’ he claimed. ‘No one insults the wife of the new Borchester Land chairman in this way. The sale is off.’
Contacted by the Ambridge Observer, Mrs Aldridge did not deny the claim. ‘Pam Gibson started it by asking if I was in Underwoods looking for a job,’ she said. ‘The cheek of the woman! She’s just jealous that her husband wasn’t Borsetshire Businessperson of the Year, even if it was only for 24 hours.’
• Stop press: the land sale is now reported to be back on, after shuttle diplomacy between the two parties by peace envoy Justin Elliott, armed with tickets to a Nigel Kennedy concert for Mr and Mrs Aldridge, and a voucher for Fabrice of Felpersham for Mrs Gibson.
Women’s Institute members ‘outraged’ by fitness classes swap
Kate Madikane, owner of holistic retreat Spiritual Home, has apologised to Ambridge W.I. after a mix-up that saw their over-50s yoga class invaded by a herd of goats.
‘I’ve never seen anything like it,’ said one member. ‘The goats were roaming round the hall, eating anything in sight – one lady nearly lost her green woolly leg warmers. The smell was terrible and I dread to think what they’ve done to the parquet floor.’
Ms Madikane said she would pay for any damage. ‘I had asked Californian fitness guru Nani Kidd to visit Spiritual Home to trial her goat yoga classes, but unfortunately the goat supplier sent the animals to the village hall,’ she said. ‘I can appreciate it would have been a shock if you had only just got used to a downward dog.’
Ambridge Village Shop: Product recall
Shoppers are asked to return any products they have bought in Ambridge Village Stores recently if they were not served with an appropriate insult at the time of purchase. ‘It’s a new policy,’ said manager Mrs Carter. ‘Now that my Neil is a manager, I see no need to hold my tongue if I disapprove of customers’ moral choices. Anyone who is doing wrong, in my opinion, will get a thick piece of my mind along with their ready meal for one or packet of chocolate Bourbons. I tried it on Alistair Lloyd and felt much better afterwards.’
Coffee break with… Russell Jones
In our occasional series of interviews with readers who have interesting jobs, we catch up with the deputy principal of Borchester College.
Q Thank you for talking to us, Mr Jones. Exam time must be very busy for you?
A Yes – but we’re very proud of our pastoral care here at the college. And call me Russ. All the students do; I like to relate to them more as a friend than a teacher, you know? I find young female students respond especially well to an informal touch.
Q Doesn’t that make it more difficult if there are disciplinary issues to deal with?
A Oh no. The better you know your students, the more you understand what makes them tick. I can usually make a student see where his or her best interests lie, and mostly we resolve any awkward situations between us, without having to bother the principal, if you know what I mean.
Q You teach art, but do you have responsibilities for students who don’t take your subject?
A Oh yes. I seek out young people who may be vulnerable – a female student who has lost a parent, for example. I’m no father figure – far too cool for that, though I say it myself – but I find I can make a connection that we both find very fulfilling.
Q How you do balance your work and family life?
A It’s tough, but teaching is a vocation and my wife is fine with that. She knows if I’m late home, it’s because I’m out counselling a student on a one-to-one basis. I find once you get them off school premises – to a country pub for instance – they really open up. It’s very rewarding. And my wife has her hands full with the kids!
Ask Auntie Satya
With her warm wit and forensic legal skills, Auntie Satya is here to sort out all your emotional and practical dilemmas!
Dear Auntie Satya,
Last week I had a one-night stand with a local vet – I’m not sure why, except my bridge club had been cancelled. A couple of days later, I rang him because my schnauzer was off-colour. But before I could say a word he blurted out that he wasn’t ready for a relationship and asked me not to contact him again! I couldn’t care two hoots about that – to be honest he was rather, shall we say, underwhelming – but it would be very inconvenient to find another vet. What would you advise? Lavinia.
I suggest you take your dog round to the surgery and insist that the vet examine her. If he looks nervous, suggest that he leaves the door open or asks his nurse to chaperone. This will reassure him of your intentions and put your relationship back on a professional footing.
Dear Auntie Satya,
I have recently separated from my wife and in a moment of madness, allowed myself to be seduced by a lady from the local hunt. She is a quite attractive blonde with a Range Rover Evoque but not my kind of woman and anyway I am not ready for another relationship. So when she rang me, I made that very clear. But I am worried I have upset her and I don’t want to lose her business (I am a vet). What would you advise? Alistair.
I would ring this lady and say that, while you were spending time together, you couldn’t help noticing that her schnauzer was looking under the weather, and that you have an appointment free if she would like to bring the dog to the surgery. When she arrives, leave the consulting room door open and ask your nurse to chaperone. This will be a clear signal to the lady that you would like your relationship to resume its professional basis. It may go more smoothly than you think.
Dear Auntie Satya,
I recently made the brave and difficult decision to tell my husband I no longer love him. It has been so hard for me as no one seems to understand how guilty I feel, even though I have to do what is right for me. Now he has betrayed me by having a one-night stand with a mutual friend, and says he is consulting a solicitor about divorce, even though I generously allowed him to move back into the spare room. Why do you think he is being so cold?
I am sorry to hear you are upset. But if you read through your letter again, I think you will find you have answered your own question.