Monday, 30 April 2012

Adam wakes up: the recovery starts here

Tonight's bulletin follows the very encouraging news that Adam has woken from his coma. He may sound like Brando in The Godfather and, thanks to Ian's attempts at hairdressing, look as though he is auditioning for the lead in Downfall, but this is nonetheless very good news. The official bulletin from Borchester DGH reads:

"Adam Macey woke from his coma at approximately 7.10pm this evening, just in time for the last five minutes of BBC Radio 4's farming documentary which he does like to hear.

"The first indication of this development was the fluttering of eyelids but once his mother had screamed her third "Dahling" at top volume he was bound to come round.

"We immediately ran tests. Here are the details of the questions we asked of him and the answers we received:

Question: Who is the Prime Minister?
Adam's Answer: An interesting constitutional question. I'd rather not answer.

Question: What day of the week is it?
Adam's Answer: Monday if I'm saying this for the first time, but it could be Tuesday
Lunchtime or Sunday morning.

Question: Who are those two people in bed with you?
Adam's Answer: That's my sister Alice and her rather hunky husband Christopher.

"Adam immediately had questions of his own, such as who has been taking care of his poly tunnels, has Ian's soufflé risen and could Kenton please give him a large one. He showed a particular interest in how Iffy was getting on with his bouncers."

There is much to be pleased about but Adam's recovery is in its early days. You can send your good wishes here below or via @TonysConsultant.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Adam Macey: Medical Bulletin

It's been a traumatic few days for the Aldridge family since Adam Macey was rushed into ICU via A&E. In response to the many well wishers who have been making enquiries, Borchester DGH has issued the following bulletin:

"Adam Macey was admitted to Borchester A&E on Friday evening after an accident of which we have few details. He was accompanied by his "cousin" whose appearance can only be described as "banged to rights".

"Adam's condition will be monitored for some days before a decision is made on surgery but in the meantime his comfort is paramount. To facilitate this we will need to insist upon a few "house rules":

"The young couple who were found in an adjoining bed wearing nothing but leather aprons must refrain from such activity;

"The young lady who unplugged Adam's ventilator in order to power her laptop must not return. We don't care how important Facebook marketing is to her boyfriend's empire;

"Said boyfriend will remove his stall from outside The Friends' canteen and his burger van from the car park. He must also refrain from chanting "Venison Meat Balls" in Adam's ear;

"The lady with the ruddy complexion must leave all bottles of spirits at the Nurses' station. Her insistence that "Darling Adam" will benefit from intravenous "liveners" is yet to be proved medically;

"No hot casseroles are to be allowed into the room;

"No cravats or tasselled loafers - they are simply fashion crimes.

"We will issue further bulletins when news becomes available. In the meantime, thank you for your patience, and thank you for your patients. NHS reforms mean we are paid by the head, and recently Ambridge has been providing us with good value."

Friday, 27 April 2012

How to Survive Ambridge-free Saturdays: ll

Following the success of last week's suggestions of how addicts of The Archers might survive their Archers-free Saturdays, here are an additional five ideas.

* Where's Helen?
Play Ambridge's very own version of "Where's Wally" by asking where leading characters are at the time of crucial events. Where, for example, is Helen when she should be by her dear friend Ian's side and by Adam's bed? Where's Kenton when he should be providing stiff ones for everyone in need?

* The Archers: The Musical
Help create the musical version of The Archers. Which songs? Which characters? Might David and Ruth have "Slurry with a Fringe on Top" as their theme? Suggestions please.

* Musical Statues
One for all the family. As a tribute to Adam, get the children to "freeze" every time the car stops. Great for a peaceful Saturday.

* A History of The Archers in 100 Objects
Nominate the objects that best illustrate Ambridge's history. Would you select the banner from Lower Loxley's roof? Or one of Brian's cravats?

* Musical Families
Ideal for families of 4. Firstly select your character: Shula, Kenton, David or Elizabeth. When the music stops......well, see who's left when the music starts again.

Most importantly, keep fresh for the Omnibus. It's a cracker and will need all your energies.

Good luck - and feedback appreciated.

Surviving your husband's tassel crisis

Congratulations to Beard of Stratford (see below at Ambridge-free Saturdays) for having the courage to address this delicate issue publicly. You won't be the first, and you won't be the last, but your honesty does a great service to those others who stare into their husband's shoe cupboard in despair.

My advice is a programme of sustained detasseling. Don't remove the tassels all at once. Although your husband will be secretly keen to deal with this problem, such action would be too shocking. Remove them one by one. His balance will suffer in the short term, but in the end all will be well.

It is also good to hear that last week's suggestions helped your SAWS. Long may that last, and good luck as you set about giving your husbands tassels a good seeing to.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

A traumatic night in Ambridge

Having overseen Adam's admission to Borchester DGH, it seemed wise to make some House Calls in Ambridge. The village is in shock, but here are a few quick updates:

* David, traumatised, has returned to Brookfield but seems rather keen to profess his innocence. He has previous, remember;
* Lizzie, upset at the news that has brought bitter memories to the surface, has been aggressively questioning Ruth about David's movements. Under the circumstances, my medical advice would be to give David's movements a very wide berth;
* Brian has abandoned Jennifer and popped to Annabelle's where they have both shared a stiff one. Can this evening's events have had anything to do with BL's activities?
* Tony is staring at a spread sheet, just off the phone to Peggy for I.T. advice;
* Kenton has created a new cocktail the "Adam Trailer Banger" and denies cashing in on the discomfort of others;
* A dyslexic colleague thinks he will learn more about Brian and his motives by checking his Mega Diary;
* Tom was last heard shouting to Brenda "Yes, but did Adam mention the venison meatballs?";
* Caroline finally said "yah" to Ian's request to leave for the hospital, but only when he had tossed his final pancake.

There are some serious questions to be addressed:

* Has Chris found his tools?
* Did he and Alice take advantage of Jennifer being otherwise engaged?
* Is David a cereal killer?
* Could Tom be a witness - was he taking Brenda up the polytunnel at the time?

Lynda has invited everyone to attend a casting session in the Village Hall tomorrow for her "Crimewatch" reconstruction.

More news as we get it. But remember: "Keep 'em peeled."

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Ambridge Health and Safety Inspection

Although the EA has given the go ahead for the megadairy there are some formalities outstanding, not least of which is a health and safety check around the village. You may have heard that an unidentified car was spotted on the edge of Home Farm land. This wasn't, as suggested, some errant badgers in a Panda Car but was in fact me, incognito, carrying out a Risk Assessment.

There were some tip-offs which I needed to investigate. I was told that The Forge was under new management and I was keen to see that the appropriate safety clothing was being worn. I snuck in and inspected the Smithy's Aprons and rather wished I hadn't. I only hope it was residue of venison casserole that confronted me.

I did find an ungreased harvester which is never pleasant. All harvesters should be greased on every conceivable occasion and I would ask all residents to take note of that rule of thumb.

Work around a new slurry tank is developing well with foundations completed. However, it's always best to take a head count after such construction work and make sure everyone is accounted for.

I shall write a full report for the Council but would urge all residents to check all potential dangers - you can never be too careful. Don't get caught out. Especially if you work in I.T. and are dating a vicar's daughter.

Please be vigilant and please, as always, let me know of any potential hazards that should be addressed.

Monday, 23 April 2012

St Stephen, St George and The Dragon

The bells will ring out across the Village Green this evening as the campanologists of St Stephen's celebrate St George's Day.

It's a special day for young Lily Pargetter who will be pulling hard in public for the first time. She owes everything to the tutelage of Neil Carter and a head for heights she obviously inherited from her mother.

Bells will also jangle as the Morris Dancers help celebrations for St George's Day, ably assisted by the Brownies who have recently collectively recovered from the trauma of James and Leonie's chopper extravaganza.

But who is the modern day Dragon, and who will be our 21st Century St George to slay it? With the mega-dairy commanding headlines there are many potential Dragons in the Borchester Land camp. Its opponents provide a number of possible knights in shining armour. But what about the more domestic contenders - those whose colours we already know (like Leonie and Lynda) and those who have yet to declare their hands (like Alan & Usha and Carl)?

The wellbeing of a community depends on many things and good relations within that community are crucial. Even though our entertainment depends on them breaking down.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Elizabeth Pargetter to judge Lower Loxley models

If you are entering into the spirit of Archers-free Saturday you will be delighted to learn that Elizabeth Pargetter has agreed to judge your scale models of Lower Loxley. If you don't have time to complete a model, a sketch with an indication of the waste materials you would intend to use will suffice.

You can either post photographs/sketches to the Comment area below, or tweet them using @TonysConsultant using the hashtag #lowerloxleycomp. Winners will be announced early next week.

Sincere thanks to Lizzie for agreeing to make this into a real competition. Who said Archers-free Saturdays could not be fun? Let battle commence!

Archers-free Saturdays and How to Survive Them

For many years, the length and breadth of the country, men and women have suffered on Archers-free Saturdays as withdrawal and frustration stalk the nation.

In response to the many people who have lobbied me for ways to deal with these very real problems, this Bulletin will have an occasional series including suggestions of antidotes for Archers-free Saturdays.

1. Prepare your Card for Omnibus Archers Bingo
Archers Bingo plays a major part in the Sunday morning tweetalong. Listeners can of course create their own card but here's a suggestion for 22nd April 2012's Omnibus.

2. Build your own Lower Loxley
In true Blue Peter fashion and in tribute to Tracey Island, create your very own scale model of Lower Loxley. This is a particularly useful exercise as you go about sorting your household waste for the weekend's recycling. Those cardboard boxes, washing-up liquid bottles and yoghurt pots will never have been put to better use. Ensure that this model is a sound structure: next week we'll be adding the Nigel Memorial Roof Garden. And treat this as good practice for when planning permission has been awarded for the Mega Dairy.

3. Pin the Tail on Topper
One for all the family. Played to the same rules as the traditional Children's game "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" this is a warm up for next week's "Pin Freddie on Topper" and the following week's "Pin the Crime on Darrell".

4. Ambridge Casualty
One of my personal favourites. Scour Ambridge for obvious hazards, place regular characters near them and watch as they suffer the consequential injury and visit to Casualty at Borsetshire General A&E. Only to be played during opening hours.

5. Saturday Shopping Bingo
Liven up the Saturday family shopping with matching the item to the character. Who would possibly wear that tasselled loafer; who would buy that new software; who would have a use for that turkey baster; who would buy that litter and toy for their pussy? Hours of fun for all the family.

No doubt listeners have their own coping mechanisms for these dark and empty Saturdays and their suggestions, along with feedback on the success of the above, will be gratefully received.

Yours in withdrawal,

Tony's Consultant

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Inaugural clinic: Wednesday April 18th 2012

The Bull is a perfect venue for the clinic, and Jolene an ideal host. She kept us fuelled with hot drinks and biscuits (her hobnobs have to be seen to be believed) and couldn't have been more accommodating. The only distraction was the occasional muffled shout of "Kenton! KENTON! Jesus Christ!" from the beer garden every now and again.

I arrived early in Ambridge and was welcomed by a scene reminiscent of a western town the morning after a shoot out. Flyers drifted across The Green like tumbleweed, and placards for "BAFF" "BIFF" and "BOSH" were discarded on pavements.

The tense atmosphere was highlighted for me when I saw that one man - a country squire type in tasselled loafers and a cravat - was already waiting for me in the ante-room to The Bull Upstairs. Although he seemed to be waiting for me he was clearly agitated, pacing up and down, deep in conversation on his mobile phone.

Cravat Man obviously wasn't ready to be seen, so I ushered in a lady who was waiting. This young widow is obviously still raw with grief and - it seems - considerable anger directed at her brother who she holds entirely to blame for her husband's early death. We will need to talk around this much more in the coming weeks, but I think I dissuaded her from her plan to create a roof garden in memory of her husband and invite her brother to "open" it. I also suggested that she needs to find love, or failing that an affair. But who with....?

Cravat Man was still preoccupied so I invited the next lady in. I had seen her earlier in the day grooming a pair of llamas. I thought then that she had a certain look in her eyes and when I greeted her she immediately launched into a tirade of rage. Her anger was mostly directed at her daughter's erstwhile boyfriend and his family. I suggested she should address this directly with that family rather than me and before I could finish the sentence she was gone. Expect fireworks!

And finally Cravat Man deigned to see me! He was pink with rage and frustration and talked about mega dairies, planning permission, council meetings, and EA-adios. He also said he was receiving death threats and hate mail, even via Twitter. Only today someone had called him a "smug self satisfied bastard". He showed me the tweet! I was beginning to understand. I said really he needed to rid himself of his frustrations. He suggested an affair. I couldn't possibly comment. He left with a smug, self satisfied look.

Just as I was hoping to leave, Cravat Man's Stepson slipped in by the back door, keen not to be seen. Seems like a very nice boy but very, very bitter and resentful at the way his stepfather and stepsister are making plans without including him. He's also very confused about his role as 'the only gay in the cricket team' as it sounds as though the new coach (Iffy) might spin both ways. I've suggested some refreshing relief (from his anxiety) that his partner can provide.

And so to Bridge Farm for a home visit to see the man who brought me into contact with Ambridge in the first place. Tony is making good progress but must stop trying to milk anything and everything that moves. His desire to be working is causing problems not for him, but for those who he is irritating by following around the farm, in his pyjamas, endlessly repeating his mantra: "Giss a job. I could do that." Yosser's speech is improving (he is now more King's Speech than Open All Hours) and he is moaning slightly less, although rather worryingly this is a symptom which his son seems to have inherited.

Pat seems to have transferred her concerns to the activities of Cravat Man and daughter Helen appears to be visiting a lot of "friends" which one can only assume is her regular TBSG (Turkey Baster Support Group). There is one irritant which seems to afflict the whole family, both in the house and throughout the polytunnel empire - Tucker Syndrome, of the Brenda strand. This is easily cured, with a good slap but no tickle.

My work completed I headed home. I will address the written notes I have received from some villagers and will be pleased to receive other requests for help. And I hope to return for another clinic next week. Any suggestions for an improved service will be very gratefully received.

Names are not used in order to respect Brian, Elizabeth, Lynda and Adam's confidentiality

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Welcome to the Clinic

I am privileged to serve as consultant to Tony Archer and I am delighted by his progress. You may have noticed how well his recovery is going - a recovery that can be judged by the length of gaps between his words and the amount of milking in which he engages (either cows or situations.)

However, my association with Tony's family and his fellow villagers has made me realise that Ambridge is woefully in need of some proper medical support.

I have therefore decided to provide a Wellbeing and Wellness Clinic, free of charge to villagers and visitors to Ambridge. I will be available in The Bull Upstairs every Wednesday afternoon from 2.00pm - 5.00pm and this is a call to all villagers to come to me with their problems, however major or minor.

I will treat everyone in utmost confidence except, of course, for the bulletin I will publish to the web every week.

I look forward to seeing Ambridge residents at the first clinic next Wednesday (18th April) and to publishing the first Bulletin as soon as possible afterwards.