Phil’s proposal of rationalisation and Roy’s proposal of marriage both come out, but not in the ways they intended.

Radio Times: This New Year will not be a happy one.

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  • At Home Farm, Jennifer and Kate have a lot of catching up to do but on the subject the father of her unborn child Kate is not very forthcoming. They had a row and she left, eight months pregnant. She has come home to have her baby and to see Phoebe, which she is bent upon doing as soon as possible. Since Roy and Hayley are not back from Birmingham, she is temporarily thwarted.
  • At Brookfield, preparations for the family party are in progress. Elizabeth opens her mouth and puts her foot in it, assuming, not unreasonably, that David would by now be in the know about the consultant’s report. He is now. He seeks out his father and explodes. He cannot believe what Phil is contemplating about the farm and he cannot understand why his father has not talked to him about it. If Brookfield is to be turned into a factory operation, count them out. He and Ruth will be looking at a farm in France as soon as possible; maybe there he will be appreciated and will not be answerable to someone who does not consider him worth talking to. Ruth tries to calm him but to no avail; she can go to the party, David will not.
  • At Nightingale Farm, Roy and Hayley bring a very tired Phoebe back home and are looking forward to a rather special evening (with a Jean-Paul “take-away”) and a surprise for Hayley. But first they have to get Phoebe to sleep. The phone brings a different surprise and Roy fails to persuade Jennifer that bringing Kate over to see Phoebe tonight is a bad idea.
  • Phil is no more in party mood than is his son. Surely David is not serious about France. Jill has to admit that a couple of months ago she learned from Ruth that they were considering moving to fresh pastures. She thought she had talked Ruth out of it and had not told Phil for fear of hurting him. Phil begins to realise that his attention has been too much on the farm rather than on the people; he wanted to be sure of handing on something which will last but now his concern is whether there will be anyone to hand it on to.
  • Kate’s reunion with her tired daughter does not go well; she is a stranger to Phoebe. At last she agrees to go away and Hayley has the task of getting Phoebe to sleep; it is a long time before the confused little girl will release her grip on Hayley’s hand. Jean-Paul’s creation has gone to waste as neither Roy nor Hayley are hungry. He promised her a surprise but it was not meant to be like this; at midnight with fireworks audible in the distance Roy proposes to Hayley.
  • Opinions vary about what has happened to David and what to do about it; his coat and boots are gone but his mobile is on the table and he has not taken the car. The more charitable of his family reckon he will have gone to the Bull and try to reassure Ruth that he will be having a good time, in more agreeable company. At the other extreme, Elizabeth is low on sympathy and high on champagne. What they don’t know is that David has gone out to check on the heifers and has found one in a ditch. His attempts to free her do not go to plan. What state he is in is not clear but neither he nor the cow are capable of a strong call for help and there is a cold, wet night ahead.

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