Country Matters

Little Egret

By The Hodge

‘A green winter, a fat churchyard’


After Christmas, I noticed a friend of mine on social media announce that she wasn’t to be disturbed as she was dedicating her day to catching up with Emmerdale. She also demanded that her friends avoided posting spoiler alerts. Now, I’ve never watched a single episode of the programme but from trailers and excerpts I’ve a fair idea as to what it’s about although I was always disappointed that the word ‘Farm’ was dropped from the title. So surprised was I therefore to stumble across what appears to be the story line for the next three months in a skip and I couldn’t help but want to share it with you. My friend will be safe enough as she resides in Sussex… I’ll give you just the gist of the plot as it is too long to reproduce on a single page of Cirencester Scene.

In January, a local farm comes up for sale as the farmer concerned has made so much profit, he’s having to move to the West Indies for tax purposes – well, it is fiction. The large farm attracts the attention of several rival bidders from outside the area. Firstly, Phil Mitchell puts in an offer they can’t refuse when he discovers that there’s no space left in E20 to bury any more bodies. However, he’s quickly outbid by one Ken Barlow who wants the land to set up an alpaca farm for his new money-making project of designer cardigans which he’s calling The Val Doonican Range. The two rivals and their respective cohorts adopt increasingly bizarre tactics to achieve their aims ending in a duel on March 31st.

In February, the long-lost great grandfather of one of the characters finds his way back home and is welcomed with open arms. It turns out to be none other than Walter Gabriel from The Archers who actually didn’t die in the 80’s but being fed up with being typecast left and underwent intensive speech therapy before moving to America where he landed leading roles in Dallas, Dynasty and The Sopranos. He also voiced several characters in The Simpsons. Missing life in Britain, he returns and eventually lands the part in Emmerdale but is written out again in March as viewers can no longer understand “Me old dear, me old beauty”, in a broad Worcestershire accent. A hand-written note suggests he apply to take over the role of landlord in the Queen Vic. where viewers are used to not understanding what the character is saying.

There are of course numerous sub-plots going on throughout the three months covered but rest assured that everyone has a jolly time and lives happily ever after.

* * * * *

January brings little joy to many people as winter weather often intensifies but spring will soon be with us so bear with it and it will soon be past. I did read that HRH The Princess Royal, someone with a lot of common sense, stated that there was no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.

There are many winter visitors among the birds to look out for at this time of year such as redwings, fieldfares and black caps. Increasingly too around these parts little egrets are becoming regular visitors. They are a smaller, white version of our grey heron. If you can, please do put out food for all the birds that visit your garden and help them through the coldest months. They also need access to clean water at all times and will appreciate anything you can do to assist them.

It just leaves me to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

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