Welcome back to Home Fires! It's been a minute, let's see how the women and men of Great Paxford are holding up under the threat of war, will they find a way through or be bogged down in minor political maneuverings *coughJoycecough*?
We open with Steph Farrow (Clare Calbraith) plowing what I HOPE is the cricket pitch while Little Stan (Brian Fletcher) walks beside; a plane flying over draws their attention, but it doesn't phase Kate Campell (Rachel Hurd-Wood) and Jack Keaton (Adam Long) making out in the woods. They just go in a barn to carry on, danger Kate, DANGER!! This is not a time of free sexual congress for young women! Stay out in the daylight and preserve thy dignity (and hymen, which was HUGELY important back when women were considered secondary peoples. Totally unlike now, when the most politically powerful person currently legit thinks women are there for the grabbing, ogling and rating) and stop removing clothing!
On the other hand: war is all uncertainty: get some, Kate and Jack! It's like she heard me!
I hope I don't look so much like I want to throw up when I get ready to throw down.
Big Stan Farrow (Chris Coghill) is in church looking grave and sad; he's come to see Reverend Collingborne (Mark Bonnar). Not about being sent to fight, farming is a reserved occupation and he won't be called. Farming is also one of the few areas that women were almost equals back then: the only meritocracy.
Ah but Stanley WANTS to go fighting, he doesn't want to sit at home here on his crops. He doesn't think Steph is going to understand, he can't think of how to tell her.
The Reverend gets home and bites his wife Sarah's (Ruth Gemmell) head off; I'm guessing he wants to be enlisting too but canea. Easy there, Tiger.
Speaking of calming down, the new President of the Women's Institute could use a little deep breathing as well! Frances Barden (Samantha Bond) is furious that Joyce Cameron (Francesca Annis) is continuing her selective war assistance, today it's Frances's front gates that have been requisitioned. Last time it was the WI Hall, now Frances' metal gates are to melted down into a tank.
I understand why she's angry, but instead of shouting at my sister, I'd get my bum to the town council meetings where Joyce is engineering these moves.
Sarah's similarly unsympathetic: it's about gates. She's got an uber-stressed husband to tend to.
Spencer (Mike Noble) has some more mail for Mrs. Barden, which Claire (Daisy Badger) takes with a 'thank you'; she's a compulsive thanker like me! If she says "I'm sorry" all the time when she means "get the eff OOT of my way" I'll have found my twinsie!
Spencer thought she might be that type, unlike Jenny, who is isn't seeing any more anyway. He didn't really like her all that much, plus the jealousy. He couldn't take all the "where were you? Who were you talking to?" and the like. Spencer starts to ride away, Claire musters up the nerve to shout after him "why don't you ask me out some day?" and he does! How is tomorrow? Then she calls HIM keen, listen Claire: if you're going to tell men they ought to ask you out, you've got to at least let them pick WHEN. They decide they're both keen, yay! That's what you want in a relashie!
Hey, Bob Simms (Mark Bazeley) the sadist has a paying job for once, yay! 300 words on something or rather, he'll do a good job. And if he doesn't, he'll just blame it on Pat (Claire Rushbrook), won't he? Win-win for the ahole of Great Paxford!
Alison Scotlock (Fenella Woogar) has some less-great business news; she's getting final collection notices from the Veterinarian office well above what she can afford to pay. 10 guineas sounds like a lot. Miss Fenchurch (Leanne Best) is of to educate the masses; this time it's teaching seven year olds about money! Alison's feeling as though she could use a refresher on that about now.
Kate wastes no time after her literal roll in the hay with Jack: does he love her? A few scary questions later (do you want to spend your life with me? Will you love me next weeK? and so on), she cuts to the chase: let's get married! I mean. You're still sticky, give it a minute Kate!
Awwww and then he proposes! Yay!! I really want to be happy for these crazy kids!
Alison's digging deep to pay her bills, she's got a stash hidden with the invitation to join the new WI, that's awesome that she's kept that. Will it be enough, though? I sure like how purty the weird money is!
The Campbells do not welcome the news of Kate's impending marriage (within a fortnight) with open arms, Laura (Leila Mimmack) is taking it particularly hard. She is mostly angry, it's Erica (Frances Grey) who is concerned and Dr. Campbell (Ed Stoppard) left to argue the illogical nature of it. Kate's had it with this bunch of hyprocrites, off she stomps while Erica refuses to consider the fact that she might almost be a grandmother. Well. She COULD, but only just barely.
Frances, Alison and Sarah are going over the Women's Institute's books, it seems that Joyce sat on the boards of at least three of the charities the WI donated to yearly. Hm. They agree to hold all donations until the following year until they can do a full audit on the books. Alison is worried.
Here's Bob doing his reporting work, but who is coming up to the microphone to speak but his wife Pat! Yipes. She doesn't start strongly but regroups, I'm suddenly concerned because he told her to leave the WI, didn't he? Abusers typically isolate, makes for fewer questions.
Workers are removing the gates at Chez Barden, but Frances isn't letting it get her down. She has Claire bring out cuppas for all as Joyce Cameron descends in a black cloud with a smart hat. She's received Frances's letter about every available foot of land being used for food production like her tennis courts (and thecricket pitch, yay!), but of course it's not legally binding. Just...wouldn't want to look like you aren't toting that bale too, would you?
Pat Simms is getting stronger as she goes; her speech is well-written and inspirational. It's a call to arms to women; the men may be fighting but this is their time too. Everyone claps and cheers and is very impressed, which makes Bob stare. You know he's thinking "if she starts getting confidence..."
Spencer and Claire are having their first official date, he's impressed with how fast she cycles. It's "just how fast my legs go 'round" made me snort-laugh, but that's because of the hay-rolling earlier. Then he starts talking about sticking letters in boxes and I swear: they're baiting me! She doesn't think she could do what he does, she's too nosy! She'd want to know what was in the letters! She'd "be overwhelmed by the urge" and oh ho! War makes everyone squirrely, it appears. They eat scones an inch away from each other's faces and grin.
Bob is all smiles and appreciation for Pat's meal; perhaps she could read over his latest article, give it an extra pair of eyes? He's all relaxed-seeming, but Pat knows as soon as she sees the title she's in for it. He's angry because he thinks his boss will accuse him of nepotism for covering an event his wife was speaking at and then the hitting and screaming and kicking. Somebody knocks and they freeze. It's Erica and Dr. Campbell, they heard a noise? Bob makes the usual excuses while Pat tries not to cry audibly.
Erica and Will don't make any more of a fuss, but I bet they didn't buy that for a minute. Their minds are on Kate and Jack, though: it's their lives, how can they blame them for seizing it with both hands?
Laura's come 'round too, she explains that she's past her initial reaction and ready to test drive a few handsome pilots as well. Erica pops in to offer her old wedding dress and it's hugs all around.
Stan's having his weekly bath in the metal tub in front of the fire; his mind is far away and Steph is worried.
The Women's Institute is having all kinds of interesting back and forths with Joyce; now they've been assessed a 5 pound fine for tea and biscuits, which Miriam (Claire Price) can't even believe. Who needs a license for tea and biscuits? Anyone on the wrong side of Joyce Cameron, it seems, she sits on the Food Control Committee too! How on EARTH does this woman have time to sit on all these committees and boards? Her staff isn't going to whip themselves!
Ohhhhh noooooooo I suddenly understand why Alison looked worried earlier, she's the treasurer for the WI and when Frances suggests that they bump up the audit to next week, she about swallows her tongue. She must have been skimming; a week's not much time to get it back in the pot.
Alison goes straight to see the crooked Mr. Driscoll (Paul Barnhill) who wanted two sets of books and OHHHH. NOW I understand, my bad, sorry sorry. She took the 10 guineas from the Women's Institute, not from a secret stash, THAT'S what all that was about. I'm slow sometimes.
Spencer didn't show up for his second date with Claire, who really does have beautiful eyes
You can't trust a boiled pudding on the eve of war.
Reverend Collingborne has come to a decision, Sarah knew it was coming but she makes him say it. He wants to join up. She's furious, but what can she say? The extremely handsome Nick (Mark Umbers) pops in then, he looks just like Ralph Fiennes in his prime!
Bob is working away on his article; frustrated by yet another interruption, this time Frances looking for Pat. He tries to send her away, but Pat hears Frances and comes out. How can nobody have the shape of what is clearly happening in that home?
Claire sees Spencer riding along and stops him; ahhh it seems he's been called up. He didn't want her to wait for him, who knows what could happen? He didn't even try to nudge her into a barn, she and I are confused. They could write while he's away?
Frances gives Pat the good news about her speech, from now on they only want her! Bob scoots Frances off and I sure hope she throws out an SOS soon.
Stan's working on the stone wall when Steph drops off his lunch; she figures since he's only been talking to himself lately, he might as well eat alone too. He's not talking to her about the most important decision he has to make, she's not planning to try and stop him. He's no good to them like this, a mute brooding on the pier. She knows every inch of him, inside and out and always will. So go if you gotta, Stan.
Preparations for Kate and Jack's wedding are well underway, poor Pat sits at home and listens to the tap tap tap of Bob's typewriter and heals.
Sarah has made her peace with her husband's decision; she gives him a final brushdown (not a euphemism) before he heads out to officiate for the Campbells. The wedding is gorgeous as expected, even Joyce and Frances put aside their mutual dislike to enjoy the day.
Alison and Teresa Fenchurch are gabbing during the dancing hour (you know, I think I could stomach a wedding now, if I got to dance at it), I'm idly wondering if Teresa is a lesbian when Nigel Hughes (Graeme Hawley) introduces himself. He asks Alison to dance, which surprises her no end: she hasn't danced in 20 years!
Laura is getting good and drunk as only a sister about to lose her best friend can; Little Stan starts over but is blocked by Jack's commanding officer Richard Bowers (Philip McGinley) who takes her out on the dance floor.
Nigel and Alison visit on the dance floor and the other penny drops: he knows Driscoll and now he'll want his books cooked too, I suppose. Ah well. At least she got some charm out of it, but she looks like she just threw up in her mouth. Her insistence that it be a one time thing has been for nought.
Frances and Erica are comparing notes: Bob gave them conflicting accounts for how Pat hurt herself, it's twigged Frances at least. Get in there, help her! Carefully.
It's time for the men to leave, poor David (Will Attenborough) can barely breathe he's so disappointed to not be going. Reverend Collingborne leaves, then Stan. Poor Little Stan looks devastated and then they're gone.
And we're out. So! Well, lots happened this time, with Alison digging herself into the kind of hole that only seems like it has two ends and Frances openly declaring war on Joyce. I was surprised that Frances was so concerned about her gates at first; one cannot plow up cricket pitches and flower beds and expect to keep one's ornate gates. That seemed slightly out of character. I find myself shouting at the screen a lot re: the Simms, but I forget that back then "she walked into a door" seemed like a valid excuse. Until next time, ladies! Cheers