Episode 10 || 12 October
1980 || Synopsis || Manor
Second episode of
Series 2 (six episodes)
From The Times: "A visit from a very altered school chum."
The good news: Richard
is learning to ride, although his efforts so far have led only to disaster.
The bad news: Audrey's roof is "falling about my ears," and Ned's
repairs can't stem the tide. The really bad news, however, comes with the
arrival of Audrey's school magazine; she is dismayed to learn that the publication
has gotten wind of her recent setbacks. "I'm under 'Changes of Circumstance',"
she huffs. "'Since the death of her husband, Audrey has left Grantleigh
Manor and moved down the drive.' They'll think I live in a pothole!"
She has also had a letter from one of her old school friends, Diana "Podge"
Hodge, and feels she must put her up for the weekend, but with the roof
in the guest room leaking her only option is to ask Richard for a room.
Podge has recently gone through marital difficulties (she is listed under
"Forthcoming Divorces" in the school magazine), and Audrey feels
they must do their best to cheer her up. "She always thought more of
her horses than she did of her men....We must treat her just as we would
any other social casualty," she tells Marjory. "Like me, for instance."
She dismisses Marjory's concern about throwing Richard together with another
woman--"He might take advantage," Marjory worries. "Of Podge?!"
Audrey says, astonished. "She'd flatten him!" She allows as to
how Richard must be given credit for having some taste. "She had a
face like a ship's boiler," she reminds Marjory; "what's more,
she was built like one."
Richard, a bit pained by the bumps and bruises suffered in the last hunt,
asks Audrey if she will be riding next weekend; he feels he would benefit
from riding with someone more experienced. Audrey strikes upon the idea
of sending Podge out with him. "Does she hunt?" he asks. "Incessantly,"
Audrey assures him. But Audrey points out that Podge is just getting over
"a particularly unsavoury divorce," and warns Richard that she's
"no oil painting...And if she's hunting with you, you're going to have
to find her a very large horse." Richard agrees to give Podge a bed
for the weekend. "A double bed?" he asks.
Awaiting Podge's arrival, Marjory regales Richard with old school tales.
"She's such fun," she says of Podge; "she was always the
anchorman in the school tug-of-war team." Audrey, meanwhile, has dug
out Marton's old hunting kit for Podge to wear. "She'll never get into
mine," she reminds Marjory; "and Marton won't be needing these
any more, even if he has gone to the happy hunting ground," she says,
displaying an enormous pair of pants and eliciting a disapproving look from
- A U D R E Y:
- "'Since the death of her husband,
Audrey has left Grantleigh Manor and moved down the drive.' They'll think
I live in a pothole!"
- A U D R E Y:
- "Marton won't be needing these any
more, even if he has gone to the happy hunting ground."
- A U D R E Y:
- "How do you go from a WXXXXX down
- A U D R E Y:
- "I don't want someone like that
at the manor. Do we?"
- N E D:
- "Where are they off to? Must be
- A U D R E Y:
- "That's very possible."
But when Podge arrives, astonishingly slim and
gorgeous, and vivaciously pleased with her newly-single status, Audrey and
Marjory go from stunned disbelief ("I don't believe it!" Audrey
exclaims. "How do you go from a WXXXXX down to that?!") to scheming
to keep the divorcee away from the manor. Audrey's first gambit is to tell
Podge that she has a problem with her roof, and if she was thinking of driving
on somewhere...Richard, however, is at his most charming ("I'm sure
you've got things to do, Richard," Audrey says, trying to dismiss him;
"Nothing that can't be cancelled," he says gallantly), and insists
that all is in readiness at the manor and that he and Podge will hunt in
the morning as planned. He volunteers Audrey's hunting kit for Podge's use,
to Audrey's dismay; "...and if Audrey's things are too big for you,
I'm sure Marjory could find something for you." He leaves the three
women to their dinner, promising tea ("Indian? Salon? Chinese? Lapsang
souchong?") and milk in the morning ("Cow's? Goat's? Camel's?").
"You must forgive him," Audrey says; "he always talks in
lists. He's in the grocery business." Ned shows Richard out, and in
response to Podge's undisguised enchantment, Audrey and Marjory launch into
a duet about Richard's frailty and demoralisation after the loss of his
wife. Podge goes to retrieve her dog Twinkle. Audrey and Marjory are horrified
at the way events have transpired. "Did you see the looks that she
and Richard were giving each other?" Marjory says, scandalised. "We
can't allow them to be alone together at the manor," Audrey agrees,
and a plan is hatched; "We'll say there's been a frightful mistake,
that we forgot it was full moon tonight, and DeVere is liable to go off
his head" Audrey will put Ned on the couch for the night and give Podge
Ned's room. But Podge reenters with the enormous Twinkle, whom she says
will be no trouble and can sleep on the couch.
Comes the morning, Richard goes to wake Podge with breakfast on a tray ("China
tea as ordered," he whispers)--only to find that Audrey has sent Ned
to sleep at the manor. "She sublet my room," Ned explains, while
Richard tries to recover from the shock. Audrey and Marjory, meanwhile,
prepare nervously to watch the hunt; Audrey cannot ride because Podge is
borrowing her gear, and Marjory has galloper's leg. "Besides,"
she says, "the master keeps swearing at me."
And when Richard and Podge, straggling behind the pack, disappear altogether,
Audrey grabs Marjory's bicycle (attempting to ride side-saddle) and sets
off after them--following as far as a ploughed field, where she pitches
off the bike with a yelp of indignity.
Nerves at the lodge are decidedly frayed when,
hours later, Richard and Podge have not returned and Ned's dinner is waiting.
Marjory cannot bring herself to believe that they can be up to anything.
"Not in the dark, surely," she says. "Dark is no obstacle,"
Audrey says ominously. "The cold might be a bit inhibiting, though."
Audrey is furious with Podge's footloose ways; "I don't want somebody
like that at the manor," she says to Marjory. "Do we?" The
riders return to the cold shoulder ("A chilly reception is what they
deserve and that's what they're going to get," says Audrey) and announce
that they have already eaten at the pub, but when Marjory takes Podge upstairs
to help her out of her hunting kit, Audrey goes on the offensive. "I
can scarcely bring myself to say this about a fellow Old Girl," she
tells Richard, "but Podge is a fallen woman. She's only out for what
she can get, and she's eaten bigger men than you for breakfast." "Well,
she didn't get much of a chance this morning, did she?" Richard points
out. "You saw to that." "I was trying to protect you."
Richard reassures Audrey that nothing untoward has taken place, nor will
it. "I give you my word as a gentleman...and a grocer," he says.
Next morning, Richard tentatively enters the Chinese room, not knowing
whether to expect Ned or Podge, but is reassured by the woman's dressing
gown on the bed. "You don't have to go today, you know," he says;
"you can always stay on if you want to." But he is surprised instead
by Audrey, already dressed. "Good morning, Richard," she says.
"Is that my tea?" she asks. "Two cups and saucers, how thoughtful.
Won't you join me?"
- A U D R E Y:
- "Good hunting, was it? Where did
- R I C H A R D:
- "Find what?"
- A U D R E Y:
- "The fox."
- Marjory is the area secretary for the school
magazine; it was she who sent in the information about Audrey's "change
- From Audrey's and Marjory's concern over housing Podge at the manor,
it seems clear that it is now an open secret that Audrey intends to keep
Richard to herself.
- Richard is not riding the horse Audrey helped him choose in episode
- Marjory shows Richard the old school photo from episode 2, in which
Audrey appears twice.
- Audrey notes that the manor has 58 rooms, including 24 bedrooms, seven
bathrooms and a laundry room; the lodge, in contrast, is a two-up, two-down.
- Audrey and Marjory apparently lubricated their plan to keep Podge away
from the manor with some of Ned's home-made wine.
- Podge notes that she was unable to sleep in Ned's bed; it was "full
of nutmegs and copper bangles" for Ned's rheumatism. Ned, for his
part, tells Audrey he was unable to get much sleep at the manor: "That
bed was too comfortable," he tells her.
- Audrey claims that she does not entirely trust Richard in this business,
and the fact that she overhears Richard's invitation to Podge to extend
her stay probably doesn't improve her confidence.
- We never do hear Audrey's school nickname, although she does insist
that it was even worse than Marjory's: "Bonebag."