Aldridge ‘a shadow of former self’
Friends of Brian Aldridge, former boss of Borchester Land, say they are worried about his wellbeing since his dramatic fall from grace following the toxic chemical spill at Home Farm.
‘He used to stride about Ambridge like a Colossus in a cravat, chairing board metings and signing off on massive investment plans,’ said one. ‘Now, he’s pottering around the garden, getting into spats with the neighbours or waiting in for the telephone engineer. I even heard he made Jenny a cup of tea, although I must say I didn’t believe it.’
‘It’s a shame,’ said another. ‘The change has been so noticeable that the chaps at the golf club are calling him Brino – Brian in Name Only.’
Recipe of the Week
Apologies to readers who were expecting Alice Carter’s recipe for Robotically Picked Strawberry Soufflé. Instead, here are her tips for creating a sensational Strawberry Surprise:
1. Arrange to run a trial of your company’s new robotic strawberry picker on your brother’s farm, without asking your brother.
2. Have PR materials printed and broadcast news of the trial on Radio Borsetshire.
3. Discover that your brother isn’t growing strawberries this year, so the trial can’t take place.
4. Have a tantrum, accuse everyone of hating you, cry hysterically and hit the booze. Surprise!!
My Week, by Susan Carter
The manager of Ambridge’s popular community shop and Post Office describes a busy week at work and at home.
Jennifer Aldridge – we’re family, you know – came round to borrow a stepladder from my Neil. Seems the shrubbery round Willow Cottage needs pruning. I must say, I never thought I’d see the day when she and Brian are living in a rented semi, while Neil and I have our own ranch-style, detached property. I feel sorry for them, of course I do. I said to Jennifer: ‘Be careful on the steps, we don’t want to be saying “How are the mighty fallen!”, do we now? But she didn’t seem to get my little joke.
People’s shopping habits can be very revealing – but of course you have to be discreet. For example, one customer – a Bulgarian lady, but she can’t help that – has suddenly started buying decaff coffee. And the way she turned her nose up at my mug of Kenco? She’s in the family way, I said to my Emma, and she’s just split up with her young man, too. Such a shame. That was at The Bull, where we had a slap-up meal to celebrate her and Ed getting a mortgage on their first home. It was my treat, and I let them have starters and everything. We had a lovely time until my Neil got nabbed in the Ploughman’s by Bert Fry, and we decided to call it a night.
Shula Hebden-Lloyd came in for her copy of Horse & Hound and to send a parcel off to her son Dan, who’s in the Army. She was telling me about a new life-drawing class she’s started, which she’s enjoying more than karate. She left a sketch pad behind and I ran after her with it, but of course I couldn’t help looking. Talk about a shock. I’ve never seen Nathan Booth in that state before and I never want to again. You can’t tell me that’s a normal hobby.
My Chris came in for his lottery tickets and packet of chocolate Hob Nobs as usual. He was proud as punch of Alice for doing an interview on Radio Borsetshire. He bought a bottle of fizz for her to celebrate, and then he bought another one, and a half-bottle of rum. ‘Ooh Chris, are you having a party?’ I said. ‘No mum; I just hope this gets Alice through dinner,’ he said. He does like a little joke. He gets that from me!
Lynda Snell came in this morning with some news: Brian Aldridge’s court case is set for February 5. Emma, Lynda and me were having a good chat about it when Jennifer came in to bring the ladder back. It was a bit awkward, but I don’t think she heard Emma say it was about time the Aldridges got their comeuppance. I do feel sorry for them losing their home of 40 years, of course I do. After all, they’re family – did I mention that?
New series: Books of the Week
Thanks to Borsetshire’s Mobile Community Library – which visits Ambridge on the fourth Thursday every month, weather permitting – for telling us about the new releases on their shelves:
Mistress of Lower Loxley
A page-turning Gothic tragedy about a mother who is trapped in her stately home and slowly losing her grip on reality as she struggles to come to terms with her jailbird son, daughter traduced by an older roué, and the pressures of running a hospitality business without an alcohol licence. Will her concerned siblings come to her rescue before the bailiffs arrive? Perfect for fans of Les Mis and Poldark.
I, Brian Aldridge
A powerful contemporary fable of a man who is threatened with losing his home, his liberty and – most important of all – his reputation, by the Kafka-esque machinations of the Environment Agency’s enforcement procedures. Can one man prevail against public opinion and the faceless agencies of the State in a dramatic courtroom setting? If you loved Twelve Angry Men, you’ll love this!
Polytunnels, fairly good condition, some wear and tear through heavy use over the years.
Will swap for baby clothes and nursery equipment, and/or books on growing quinoa and other high-yielding, high-protein but low-input crops native to South America.