Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Day Peace Broke Out

In ‘The Day That Peace Broke Out’ (or Tom Good fights the Law, and the Law wins) we get an insight into Tom’s motivations in embracing self-sufficiency, as well as seeing the beginnings of a siege mentality that can erupt into violence, i.e. someone gets shot in the arse with an airgun pellet.

Someone is stealing leeks from the Good's front garden and Tom is outraged - leeks are not just vegetables, they are a vital component in their struggle to fend for themselves. To steal them is an insult, an invasion, and he intends to find the culprit and protect his homestead.

After a rather tense dinner at the Ledbetters where leek soup is coincidentally served and insinuations are made and then withdrawn (the Good-Ledbetter dynamic is fascinating, especially as they seem alternately fascinated and repelled by each other – the sexual tensions alone could form the basis for a book) Tom decides to stay up all night, trusty air pistol at his side, to try and catch the culprit in the act.

In the middle of the night, Tom sees a man grabbing a handful of leeks from the garden. Tom shouts a warning, but the man makes a bolt for it. Tom aims and fires, hittting the fleeing thief in the buttock. Justice has been served.

The next day, puffed up with success, and imagining himself as a latter day Wyatt Earp, Tom is dismayed to receive a summons for common assault. In court (under the eye of the reliably dyspepetic James Cossins), the thief is ordered to pay a fine and Tom is sentenced to be bound over for three years. Tom is so sure of his moral rights that he doesn't see this as a bit of a let off and, refusing to agree that he would not do the same again if his property was threatened, is sent to prison until he agrees to accept the sentence.

Tom spends an unhappy two days in jail ('for a place with so many people, it's ever so lonely in here' - so at least he seems to have avoided being sexually molested) until he receives a visit from a tearful Barbara and a good talking to from the eminently unprinicipled Jerry, and decides to stop being a tit, accept the judge's recommendation and just go home.

When the Good's are reunited Tom gives a little speech about how all he really wants is a castle with a drawbridge that he can pull up and forget about the rest of the world. Then he and Barbara start getting it on, so its clear what sort of leisure activities he would have on the agenda in this ideal world. The Goods always strike me as a couple with a very active and rewarding sex life, although this perception could also be down to the fact that I find Barbara Good very attractive and, in Tom's wellies, wouldn't be able to leave her alone for long, especially on those dimly lit, electricity free evenings in front of the fire.

As a coda, the leek thief returns to make his apologies and, after giving Tom the opportunity to boast about his cricketing prowess, the two become firm friends. Tom is particularly smug about the fact that the leeks were stolen out of jealousy - the thief lives in a flat in tower block and just wanted something fresh and green and real to take back to his concrete chicken coop.

Firmly established as the victor in the war of leeks and lifestyles, Tom insists that the thief takes whatever he wants from the garden from now on. Barbara, however, isn't aware of this and, seeing yet another 'theft' taking place, sets belligerent goat Geraldine upon the man. 


1 comment:

  1. I kind of always wanted to be Tom Good growing up and agreed with his vision of a homestead in which he could pull the drawbridge up and the world could go hang...but then I do think, that like your good self, my desire to be Tom may have been shaped by my lust for Barbara too!