Already concerned about Martin’s inability to sleep and the resurfacing of his blood phobia, Louisa’s troubles only get worse when Martin’s difficult mother Margaret (Claire Bloom) suddenly turns up on their doorstep unannounced to tell him that his father has died, but Louisa’s attempts to get mother and son to talk things through fail.
Meanwhile, local hypochondriac Malcolm Rayner (Christopher Fairbank) visits Martin with a splinter, but also mentions that he as a cough. As it emerges that Malcolm could have once worked with asbestos when he used to do roof conversions, he automatically fears the worst. Penhale consequently puts asbestos warning notices all over Portwenn and the panic-stricken residents race to the surgery, anxious that they have been affected by asbestos in the village. However, the scare is abated when it later becomes clear that Malcolm is a pigeon fancier, but his lungs have become inflamed as he is allergic to his birds’ faeces.
With Mrs Tishell no longer needing to be supervised, Jennifer has to leave for a new position in Woking, but terrified of losing her Bert decides to propose. Elsewhere Mike and Morwenna go on a date, but realise that they don’t really hit it off.