New curate Rosie Edwards arrives to marry Joe Penhale to baby sitter Janice Bone and Martin immediately recognizes that she has a pulmonary embolism. At the pre-wedding party Bert sees the chance to unload his unsold whiskey but it depletes the wedding guests and Ruth is unhappy about her investment. Come the big day Rosie's condition, Janice's cold feet and Joe's kidney stone jeopardize the happy event whilst an over-worked Louisa is frustrated that baby James speaks his first word to everybody except her .
Martin suspects pub landlord and reformed alcoholic Ken Hollister is drinking again when he exhibits signs of liver failure but when Ken falls downstairs into his rat-infested cellar Martin discovers the true cause of his illness. Ruth considers selling her farm but gets a shock when John Rahmanzai arrives in Portwenn to scatter his father's ashes since the father was once Ruth's lover though, to save his father's reputation, she lies about their parting. Finally Louisa works out the reason for one of her pupil's health problems, leading her to consider a career in ...
Martin is not happy to discover that Louisa has been accepted for a child therapy course but eventually relents though he is kept busy when sailing instructor Amy Vincent passes out after taking an excess of tonic for hair loss and Clive Tishell drops down dead from over exercising, leaving Ruth concerned at Sally's lack of emotion for her loss. Things start to improve for the Larges when Bert gets work and a home with shop-keeper Caitlin Morgan and Al begins a successful tenancy as the new pub landlord.
James is teething and nothing seems to be working, so Martin and Louisa try Mel's suggestion of amber beads. Mrs Tishell seems to be having a delayed onset of mourning. Al receives a Large whiskey order, but when he tries to put the still together he has to ask Bert for help. Louisa has problems at school with Toby, who is Angela Sim's nephew.
Penhale decides to have a police open house to raise community awareness, but the turnout is not what he hoped for. James goes through a biting phase, and Morwenna leaves the surgery for a weekend away with Al.
Portwenn takes on Port Cattan in the annual rowing contest but when rival skipper Alice Taylor's cut head brings on Martin's haemophobia, causing him to faint, the whole village gets to know. Martin is also concerned that Graham Hendy, husband of crèche owner Mel, exhibits signs of alcoholism when he claims to be tee-total but discovers the reason when Graham crashes his car during Louisa's farewell speech as headmistress. The race goes ahead with Portwenn showing considerable sportsmanship but on return to the surgery Martin receives bad news.
American tourist Beth Traywick returns to the village and flatters Mrs Tishell into helping her trace her family tree but arouses her jealousy when she suggests Martin moves to America. Martin is still suspended from work after Amy's accusation, awaiting his hearing but his representative Chris and Beth both need his help and, whilst his abrupt manner at the hearing does not go well for him, he is thrown a bizarre life-line by Penhale.