Sunday, 13 January 2019

It's a new year, but how much good cheer in Ambridge?

High-tech boost for Bridge Farm


Tom Archer of Bridge Farm has kicked off 2019 with a bold new marketing venture that he claims will double turnover in his veg box delivery business.
‘Detailed analysis of our customer base has revealed that all 23 of them are aged 70 or over,’ he said. ‘And we know that our demographic isn’t ready for non-traditional dairy products, like the kefir that we discontinued last year. So my fantastically business-minded girlfriend Natasha came up with a brilliant idea: why not sell them non-traditional vegetables instead?
‘She showed me these great pictures in Waitrose Magazine of agretti, mooli, purslane, rutabaga and broccoleaf (what they? Ed) All we have to do is grow them in an app so people can order a bespoke veg box straight off the internet!’    
Mr Archer said he has been trialling the app and so far it’s a great success. ‘There was one glitch when we delivered a veg box to a 90-year-old who thought she’d booked the mobile chiropodist. But young Johnny trimmed her trotters while he was there, so that was fine. All part of the service.’ 
Dennis and Kay Huggett of Penny Hassett said they were impressed with the new scheme. ‘It saves time, as we can just throw everything in the recycling straightaway instead of taking out the potatoes and hunting round for more than one carrot,’ said Mrs Huggett.

Canterbury Tales cast in pub snub


The landlord of The Bull has said he is ‘not bitter’ that the after-party for Lynda Snell’s triumphant production of Canterbury Tales was held in the barn at Brookfield rather than in the traditional venue of the village pub.
‘All I can say is, my brother David is going to have to wait even longer to get his loan back if he insists on hosting a party rather than have the cast spend their money in my pub,’ said Kenton Archer.   
‘Anyway, I hope they had a great time. Someone said the guest of honour was a massive fake arse, which surprised me as I thought Russ Jones had already gone back to Manchester with Lily.’

From the vicarage fireside


The Rev. Alan Franks, vicar of St Stephen’s, has a New Year message for readers.

Hullo! New Year is often a time when we think of how we can help our fellow man – sorry, person! The other day I was sharing a Thermos and a chinwag with one of my flock – let’s call her ‘Shula’ to spare her blushes – about some wonderful work she’s doing with the memorials in the churchyard. I had a lovely letter from a gent who was thrilled that we’d kept his dear old mum so nice and tidy. ‘Shula’ and I then chatted about family matters, and whether we should pop in to see her sister, who’s been ill and under huge mental strain lately. I said I might, one day, but ‘Shula’ said she’s telling everyone she’s very busy and doesn’t want any fuss. So we agreed it's the thought that counts, I broke out the Hob Nobs and we had another cuppa.
Next month: are you a dipper or an all-in dunker? What biscuits tell us about our faith.

Ask Auntie Satya


With her warm wit and forensic legal skills, Auntie Satya is back to sort out all your practical and emotional dilemmas!

Dear Auntie Satya,

My new neighbours are insufferable. Last week they had a noisy party and blew cigar smoke into the kitchen where I was trying to cheer up my friend Helen – a thankless task at best. And then we had a stand-up row over the recycling bins. I do despise them as fat cats who would happily destroy the planet to make a profit – but I’d like to avoid daily unpleasantness if I can. What would you advise? Kirsty.  

Dear Kirsty,

I suggest you rise above their inconsiderate behaviour and be the better person. In your longer letter you tell me there is already bad blood between you, and indeed they blame you for their reduced circumstances: squeezing into a two-bedroomed semi-detached cottage and having to be inventive with magnetic knife-racks, space-saving waste bins and just the one tagine. Why not research what support might be available to them – housing benefit, food banks and lunch clubs for the elderly, for example – and drop in some leaflets with the offer of a friendly cuppa? I’m sure this will break the ice in no time.

Dear Auntie Satya,

My son and daughter-in-law will be moving out soon to buy their first home. We’re delighted for them and the kiddies, of course, but we don’t know how we’ll manage without   the rent they pay us. If we have to leave our home, I’m worried it will finish off my old dad, who thought he’d end his days here. Do you have any ideas for us? Eddie.

Dear Eddie,

You mention that you will have two spare bedrooms when your family moves out. Coincidentally, I have received another letter about an older couple who have had to downsize recently, and who are having trouble with their neighbours. Why not contact them and ask if they’d like to lodge with you instead? It sounds as if you have lots in common and I’m sure they will agree that sharing a bathroom with your elderly father is a small price to pay for more congenial company.    

Dear Auntie Satya,

I’ve met a lovely woman who has two sons and is full of fascinating anecdotes about cheese. We really connected over cappuccinos at the local care home. In fact, she kissed me, which was great. Then she said it was complicated and she never wanted to see me again. Now she says she likes me and has suggested a country walk – I believe she mentioned taking me up Lakey Hill? I’m aware she’s not dated for a while, but I’m a bit confused about why. What do you think? Lee.

Dear Lee,


You know, romance is much easier for young people nowadays. You have so many resources available to help you find out about a prospective partner before embarking on a relationship. Why not type this lady’s name into a search engine and see what pops up? I do hope the results put your mind at rest and at the very least give you plenty to talk about.

37 comments:

  1. Hooray! You're back. Looking forward to future reports on how the Gill's are modernising a dowdy old property.

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    1. Thank you! Ah yes, the mysterious Gills. Might need to do some door-stepping there...

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  2. Love the 'looking up Helen on internet's idea. Why hasn't anyina told Keep all about her yet? It's Ambridgee for goodness sake. Hasn't he met Susan??

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    1. good point... very surprised Susan hasn't regaled him with the whole story. And don't all people under 40 check out new friends on Google?

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    2. But Lee would not search for Helen Titchener - the name under which Helen was charged....He would only find out about cheese awards!

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    3. The question is, would finding out about cheese awards put him off? Probably not! And its surprising he hasn't;t yet met or talked to Susan, the Ambridge equivalent of Google...

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  3. Welcome back, brilliant as usual!

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  4. thanks for being back and on form as always!

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    1. Thanks Gillian – it's good to be back. There's only so many Quality Street you can eat....

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  5. Great to see you back - what would we do without Auntie Satya's advice?

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    1. Indeed. Everyone needs an Auntie Satya. Firm but fair! Thank you!

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  6. My goodness, you are on form. Poor Johnny!

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    1. It's all very character building for Johnny. Puts hairs on his chest. Or something.

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  7. Love the idea of Brian and Jenny darling sharing a house with Joe, Eddie and Clarrie Love. Also share the general bewilderment that Lee hasn't already become acquainted with Helen's fairly recent rather shocking history!

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    1. It sounds as if Brian's looking forward to it, as he seems to think the Grundys have a lot of fun. Whether that would survive first contact with Joe's bathroom habits remains to be seen...

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  8. Welcome back, Christine, better than ever, hope you enjoyed your break. Hard to choose a favourite but I think this is it -
    "a thankless task at best".

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    1. Thank you Janie! I'm glad Kirsty decided against Dry January. Having to listen to Helen's ditherings sober is just too much...

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  9. Excellent as always, happy new year

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  10. Great to have you back, Christine, and Happy New Year (still)!
    Liked the "fake bum" - and also suspect you may have had veg-box deliveries yourself.

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    1. Thank you Penny and happy new year to you - not too late at all! I do think Tom has fundamentally missed the point of veg boxes. But no doubt Natasha knows best...

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  11. Oh I've missed you, Christine! Perhaps Lee thinks it's impolite to look up a potential date's name on Google? It will be interesting when Susan Carter enlightens him....

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    1. I've missed you too Susie! Yes, who needs Google when you can just mention a name to Susan?

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    1. Not for Jennifer! Torture for the poor woman... Thanks!

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    1. Naughty? I'm hoping she will stand for Parliament!

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  14. Welcome back, fantastic edition to start the new year. The thought of Joe having to share a bathroom with Jenny darling, will make him sick. As for Helen, when Lee finds out her past, she's for the chop. (I'll gete coat.)

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    1. Thanks Eddie and happy new year to you! You're quite right; Joe would take great offence at Jennifer's hairspray and lady accoutrements clogging up his lavvy. But I have higher hopes of Lee and Helen; I'm sure they'll be able to get over it - or maybe he'll be too scared to finish with her...

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  15. Only Heydon Berrow, Lakey Hill is for going the whole way.

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    1. Who knows where their ramble may take them? On second thoughts, best not to think about it...

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  16. Happy New Year, so pleased your paper is back in print after the Christmas frolics. You have have obviously been following the village happenings. I loved the Canterbury Tales, did you get a press pass?

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    1. Happy New Year to you too Alcea! No, Tristram Hawkshaw bagged all the press passes....

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