Post by Nick Odell
Reading "Brief Letters" in "The Observer" on-line, I came across an
"Lemon drizzle cake introduced into the UK by Evelyn Rose in the pages
of the Jewish Chronicle in 1967 (A month in Ambridge, 3 July)? Sorry,
it was around before then!"
A Month in Ambridge, 3 July?
I didn't see that article on Saturday and asking The Guardian or
Google for a link today just draws a blank.
Is anybody else having better luck?
Found it via pressreader.
A month in Ambridge
Borsetshire hit by sex, drugs and lemon cake
Ambridge underwent a mystical union with Walford this month. “Just leave it, Brian!” urged
Jennifer. “Yeah, just leave it,” repeated their daughter Alice, venomously. Brian was
advising alcoholic Alice to recall her marriage vows after she’d picked up some guy whose
name she couldn’t remember, which, as she pointed out, was a bit rich coming from the
In fact, the entire shaky Aldridge edifice looks like it’s in slowmotion collapse: its
complicated web of children, stepchildren and out-of-wedlock children is going to make the
inheritance question in King Lear look positively straightforward. Borsetshire’s landscape
does not tend heathwards, blasted or otherwise, but expect Brian to be rampaging around
Lakey Hill soon, calling upon thought-executing fires to singe his white head.
Ruairi – the out-of-wedlock child in question – has announced himself as Ambridge’s first
bisexual, and he is clearly having a lot of fun with Troy, his friend-with-benefits. Also
having that kind of fun are Vince and Elizabeth, the only people in Britain to be using
the word “staycation” to mean “having a holiday at home” rather than “having a holiday
somewhere in the UK”, an accurate usage of which village pedant Jim Lloyd would no doubt
But Lily Pargetter has outdone them all with her “sexathon” with her workmate Solly,
causing an unfamiliar emotion to rise in the breast of this listener, at least – pity for
her boyfriend, creepy Russ. Lily is another one of those characters who has been compelled
back to Ambridge either by its invisible forcefield or by the requirements of the
scriptwriters, when, by rights, she should really be doing a degree at Manchester. Someone
– perhaps those indefatigable researchers into Ambridge, Academic Archers – should do a
study into university drop-out rates in rural Borsetshire.
Et in Arcadia ego! It turns out that you can get crack cocaine in Ambridge. “Drugs are
everywhere, Jennifer,” imparted Ed Grundy solemnly. “I could get a delivery by teatime
whenever I wanted.” Is there any more potent word in the Am valley than “teatime”?
“Another flapjack?” asked Peggy of Chris, in her best Celia Johnson accent. “Slice of
lemon drizzle?” It’s an Archers in-joke, lemon drizzle, the ultimate signifier of ancient
rural rituals (though the recipe was introduced to Britain by Evelyn Rose in the pages of
the Jewish Chronicle in 1967).
Peggy has been having flashbacks to what is referred to darkly as “the sanatorium”, a
Gothic-sounding institution in Scotland where her own alcoholic spouse, Jack Archer,
expired in the early-lemon-drizzle era of 1972. Jennifer thinks the Alice situation “has
hit rock bottom”. Peggy – along with the entire Archers audience – knows there are further
depths to plumb.
Ruairi is clearly having a lot of fun with Troy, his friend-with-benefits
That last sentence looks a bit lacking, not even a full stop!
Anne, Exceptionally Traditionally-built Hellerat