We begin in the chill of Bert’s cottage, waking up Rex. He’s already been out gardening and is now heading for church. Rex is deeply hungover and the strimmer woke him up. Toby arrives back, feeling a lot better than his brother. There’s still a great deal of tension between the brothers Pip-wise, played out over the breakfast table. “You’re beginning to get on my nerves.” “Likewise.”

    Ed bumps into the Dark Lord at the shop. He’s cold and unfriendly. Pat turns up and does a u-turn when she spots Rob. Rob then heads to the Bull and is having difficulty getting served. Ed’s there again and the Evil One tries to buy him a pint. He refuses. “What is wrong with these people?” Bert is there, quoting the bible with Toby. Alice is there (it’s a busy day at the Bull). She corners Ed, concerned about his reaction at her party. Just as she is trying to apologise, it all kicks off between the Fairbrother brothers. Bert calms them down, but it’s not looking good for the egg empire. Back to Alice, she makes a good fist of an apology and Ed is gracious. Ed then spreads his yokel wisdom about Alice’s sales job. “I’m sure I can learn a lot from you.” They make a date to talk further.

    Rob is walking around the village like a bad smell. He arrives for his tearoom visit with Jack/Gideon. He’s also packed Henry and Helen’s stuff from Blossom Hill. What have they been wearing up to now? Helen doesn’t care and doesn’t want the stuff back. “Let them take it all.” Pat tries to talk her round and Helen agrees to let Pat pick it all up. Tom arrives – he’s got his Nuffield Scholarship for next year. Pat and Helen are very pleased for him. He immediately starts making travel plans – Germany seems to be top favourite. He wants Justin Elliott to sponsor him. Pat arrives back from picking up Helen’s stuff from “that hateful man.”

    Eddie and Ed are finally moving Joe’s precious family heirloom (an old mangle) back to pride of place in the yard. Eddie is moaning about finding the rent for Grange Farm and surprised about Ed meeting Alice. Joe is with Bartleby. Ed and Eddie are very proud of their mangle-wrangling. Joe doesn’t seem too pleased. “It something up, Grand-dad?” Joe is worried about old Bartleby. His hock (whatever that is) is swollen. “We have to call in the veterinary.” Eddie is worried about cost. Alastair is on his way, after which he’s heading out to the partnership meeting. Bartleby has arthritis - he’s not getting enough exercise. “I’m ninety five.” Protests Joe. Then there’s some haggling about Alistair’s fee. He heads back to the stables, after his meeting. He’s going to sell the practice. Lovell James don’t want an Ambridge branch – Alastair will be commuting to Felbisham. Shula is touched that he’s doing this so she can become Joint Hunt Master.

    Toby and Rex are still arguing. Pip comes back from a hen weekend. “I still don’t understand why Rex is being so nasty.” Pip cooks Toby pasta, not enough pasta, according to Toby, so Pip heads to Brookfield to raid the larder. Jill stops her and refuses her flapjacks. “ I think I’ve been too indulgent.” “You’re being all horrible because I’ve chosen someone you don’t approve of.” “The whole family have been nothing but trouble.” Pip works out that Jill’s problem is all about Grace. “I’ll never eat any of your cake ever again.” She runs back to Rickyard and immediately asks Toby to move in with her. She may regret this.

    Shula is hunting with Oliver, whom she calls ‘master’, in an obsequious tone similar to the way Darth Vader talks to the Emperor. She tells him that she’s happy to be considered for joint master.

    Roy has been looking at dating sites, egged on by Kirsty. He wants to use a very dull picture. “It looks like something from Crimewatch,” says Kirsty. Kirsty volunteers to do some new pictures. They head to the orchard, Kirsty wants to use the fireplace at Grey Gables as a setting and borrow a dog, too. “Isn’t this cheating?” “Welcome to twenty first century dating.”

    Lillian visits Helen and Jack. Helen still hasn’t unpacked the stuff from Blossom Hill, yet. Lillian sympathises – having cleared up after Matt did a runner. Lillian helps unpack. The dreaded mauve frock heads straight for the charity shop. They find Squiggle the Squirrel, which cheers Helen up. Lillian presses her about her decision to prosecute Rob. Helen thinks she can charge him with Coersive Control, but is on a hiding to nothing with the rape charges. “The whole family is here to support you.”

    Tom has got sponsorship for his Nuffield Scholarship, surprisingly from the hi-tech company Alice works for AND he’s got positive answers from the farms in Germany he wants to visit.

    Alice is with Ed for their meeting about her business. His secret stunning business strategy appears to be ‘word of mouth’, which Alice is amazed about. She wants to talk again. Ed heads home to find a snippy Emmar, upset about her man meeting posh Alice. “You need to watch out – that woman is using you.”

    Tony and Pat are totalling up the legal bills from all the court time. They have a thirty grand legal bill. ‘It’s just so unfair.” Tony is now kicking himself for spending money on the Fordsom, but Pat continues upbeat. They crack open a bottle. “Don’t worry, Pat, we’ll get through this.”

    Susan is disappointed in her mentor Linda, returning to show business. She is even more upset by the fact that Kate is assistant director. “You can’t go wrong with a traditional panto,” says Susan. Not with Kate involved it won’t be. Susan then raises the snob stakes by telling Linda all about her posh family picture. Linda suggests she might want Robert to take it. Susan shoots that idea down instantly, still smarting about her having to be stickered on the calendar.

    Jill is looking after the twins for Lizzie. Slow Freddie is still worried about his maths. He’s been back in touch with the long-forgotten Ifty. Jill brings him one of the contentious flapjacks to try and cheer him up. Then she gives Lizzie one, too. Baked goods as a weapon. Lizzie moans on about her recent romantic encounters – Ifty and the disastrous dalliance with Roy.

    Helen is in the dairy with Pat. She’s been mulling over charging Rob. “I don’t think I can bear another long legal fight. I’m not going to make a complaint. I just need to focus on me and the boys.”


The Week In Ambridge

The Week In Ambridge

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I am a new listener to The Archers - my Mother started me at birth, so I have only been listening for 46 years. Apologies if I get things wrong.

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