01Ties That Bind20110208American star Kathleen Turner reads this specially commissioned story of family tension.
After the death of her husband, a New York writer decides to move to Cape Cod where her younger sister has a house on the Bay.
Their mother lives in a nearby assisted-living facility.
Neither sister has children; the father died many years ago.
Only the three women are left.
How nice, our storyteller feels, for them to regain some of the closeness of former years; to recapture the fun and memories of childhood summers - when the family had happily vacationed there.
But what if ties that are supposed be binding turn out to be less than secure - even fraying at the edges? What if a house-purchase becomes problematic? And where are the difficulties actually coming from? Mother? Or the sisters? Could 'family', perhaps, exist only in the mind?
Producer/Director: Rosalind Ayres.
American star Kathleen Turner reads Christine Conrad's brand new story of family rivalry.
02The Weighing Up20110209Jeremy plainly cares deeply for his family.
His business takes him all over the world but when he is home he gives them his full attention.
He calls occasionally at inconvenient hours from various places abroad, though the sound of his voice is never inconvenient.
His comfortably overweight wife, Avril, always gets a decent warning of his actual homecoming, so she can be sure of having ready his favourite food and wine.
But what if, this time, he's been delayed in Tokyo and won't, after all, be back by the weekend? And what if, suddenly, there's a young woman on the line to Avril with some surprising news that could disturb the pattern of a contented family life?
In Angela Huth's cannily observant tale of comfort food and feminine rivalry, which of the two women is likely to come off best when there are no more 'soft centres' left in the chocolate box? Who has the ultimate 'hard-centre'? Will Jeremy leave his wife for a younger, more streamlined, model? Or is there a way to keep him content?
Reader: Gemma Jones
Producer/Director: Martin Jarvis
A Jarvis & Ayres Production for BBC Radio 4.
Angela Huth's tale of female rivalry: what happens when there are no more soft centres?
03 LASTMrs Windermere20110210Elizabeth Bowen's mysterious story of power and control - as compelling today as when written in 1925.
Two woman - one young, one older - come face to face in the doorway of a Regent Street restaurant.
The older woman, Mrs Windermere, grasps Esme's wrists, draws them towards her bosom, and cries in her deep tremolo, 'My dear!' She regards the younger woman with a strange intensity and gently massages the wrists with her thumbs.
Unsettling! These two have previously met in Italy.
But there's something decidedly odd about Mrs Windermere - her effect on Esme is almost hypnotic.
They take a table upstairs and soon Mrs Windermere is discussing Esme's marriage, and suggesting some surprising changes to her marital status quo.
The young woman finds herself being unwillingly drawn in to something peculiar and distasteful.
But can she escape the clutches of this strangely controlling personality?
Reader: Sarah Badel
Producer/Director: Martin Jarvis
A Jarvis & Ayres Production for BBC Radio 4.
An oddly unsettling encounter between a young wife and a controlling older woman.