Ambridge has brought in the New Year with a successful wedding, a disintegrating family, the potential for a big betrayal and some very tired people. It always amazes me how each episode of The Archers can pass without major incident, and yet the stories keep on moving stealthily forward.
At Bridge Farm, preparations for the relaunch overshadowed everything else - including the now seemingly forgotten fact of John, the grandson. Pat seems a lot happier, particularly after her birthday party, and the grumpy mood has moved to Tony. There are far too many references to how tired and overworked he is, which raises the “health problems” alarm bells. Either that or he’s just going to explode and refuse to do any more work.
Meanwhile, there was another indicator that Brenda isn’t going to be satisfied with the life Tom wants. She would prefer to “grow old disgracefully like Lillian.” It still makes no sense that a woman with Brenda’s ambition would stick around in Ambridge.
Relationships that are working out include Nic and Will, who came home from their honeymoon exceptionally happy - to the point where she wanted to change the name of the cottage. Wiping out all trace of Emma is understandable, except for the small fact that they’re all Grundy’s now and that’s not going to be possible. Susan and Neil are also loved up, despite the fact he’s working too hard on redecorating Tracey’s new home. She’s playing the entire family perfectly, and it’s fascinating to hear her manipulate her way through life.
Family problems are rife with the consideration of getting rid of the cows still high in the air at Brookfield. David has decided to talk to someone because he can’t talk to Ruth about it, which is presumably the first inkling of trouble.
The big problems are reserved for Brian, Adam and Debbie. With the newspaper debacle and Brian trying to wheedle his way back into the village’s favour, it’s left to Jennifer to play piggy-in-the-middle. Jennifer does irritate me, and this month she has been at her simpering best. I was curious about the meeting between Elizabeth and Debbie earlier in the month, when there was a break in the ice (that I didn’t even know existed). Debbie seems to be mending bridges just as quickly as Brian is turning round and setting fire to them.
The mega dairy saga rumbles on!