Sharon tells Bronwyn that they should scare Aunt Edie off by telling her lots of rotten things about Ramsay Street. Bronwyn, however, points out that nothing puts her off once she's made up her mind. Sharon insists that they have to try; they should tell her that all the men are alcoholic, wife- beating communists and the women are militant feminists who chew tobacco! Bronwyn smiles that Aunt Edie will never believe it. Sharon cries that they've got to do *something*. Mike emerges from the bedroom at that moment, carrying one of the kittens and saying he doesn't want really want anything of them getting near Jamie. He then notices the expressions on Bronwyn and Sharon's faces and asks what the matter is. Sharon tells him:
SHARON: We've got a humungous problem.
Henry is sitting at the kitchen table, doing the books, but muttering to himself, asking where all the money has gone. There's suddenly a knock on the front door and he goes and opens it to Jane. She looks around and comments that it's quiet there. Henry tells her that Harold's lying down and his mum and Scott have gone shopping so he doesn't starve to death while they're all up with his grandparents. He then tells Jane:
HENRY: I've just been going through my accounts. I'm broke, Jane. Can you believe it? Flat, stony. I must be one of the hardest- working blokes in living history and I have got absolutely nothing to show for it.
He adds that he's got to get that new guitar - something like he had for the '50s night, but that and an amp's going to cost him a couple of grand! Jane asks him if he can mow the lawn at No. 32 tomorrow. She hands over some money, adding as she does so that he's to take care of Cedric and his little friends. She grins that they cost a fortune; if you want to be a millionaire, make garden gnomes! She heads out again, leaving Henry looking suddenly thoughtful!
Todd and Nick are preparing dinner in the kitchen, but are covered in flour! Helen and Katie come in and Nick assures her that it'll be cleaned up. Katie says primly that *she's* not going to help. Jim and Des come in and Jim looks at the food being prepared and comments that *something* looks good. He invites Des to join them, but Des replies that Bronwyn was cooking tea; she might be a bit crook on him if he didn't turn up. With that, he tells Jim that he'll see him at the auction and he heads towards the front door. Jim and Helen go with him and Jim asks him if he's acting for that trainee manager he's got coming. Helen raises her eyebrows and Des explains that she's starting on Monday.
Sitting at the table with Bronwyn and Sharon, Mike comments that Aunt Edie can't be *that* gruesome; *nobody* is. Sharon retorts:
SHARON: You don't really know what she's like. Back home, they call her The Nark from Narrabri!
BRONWYN (warns): Sharon...
SHARON: When she goes shopping, Narrabri becomes a ghost town. Everybody disappears off the streets!
Des comes in at that moment and Sharon rushes up to him and tells him that he's got to say no; they don't want Aunt Edie to move into No. 30 and he's going to bid for her. Des muses:
DES: Oh, I am, am I? How would *you* know?
Sharon admits that she found the letter and opened it. Des glares at her. There's suddenly a knock on the door and Des opens it to a woman who introduces herself as Penelope Porter: his new Trainee Manager.
A short time later, Des finishes introducing everyone to Penelope and they all sit down on the couch. Penelope tells him that she'd hoped to see him at the bank today, but got delayed, and Mr. Hemmings suggested she call on him this evening. Des mutters:
DES: I'm sure he *did*.
Penelope adds that she's a bit eager; it's her first time in management. Mike, Sharon and Bronwyn get up to leave. Des tries to stop them, but Mike asks him quietly what's got into him. Des tells him that Penelope has been sent there by Hemmings; he hates Des's guts. Bronwyn, Sharon and Mike head out, leaving Des to suggest to Penelope that he should tell her a few things about the bank. Penelope nods that there are a few things that Mr. Hemmings wanted *her* to clear up, too; they shouldn't take too long. Des doesn't look happy!
Jane puts on some music and sits down at the writing desk, but is interrupted by Sharon, Bronwyn and Mike coming in, Sharon still ranting about Aunt Edie. Jane asks them what's going on. Bronwyn retorts that her little sister is being a pain. She explains that she's just found out that their Aunt Edie has asked Des to bid for No. 30 in tomorrow's auction. Sharon pleads with Bronwyn to be honest and tell Mike and Jane what she's like at home. Bronwyn says:
BRONWYN: Well, I must admit that I would prefer it if she stayed in Narrabri.
Mike suggests that someone will probably outbid her anyway. Jane asks if they know what Aunt Edie's limit is and Sharon replies that it's $150,000 - it was in the letter. Jane tells her that if Des is only authorised to go to a certain figure, then that's it. Bronwyn exclaims:
BRONWYN: But $150,000? Is anyone likely to bid *more* than that? It's a pretty ordinary sort of house.
Sharon cries that they've got to do *something*. Bronwyn asks her pointedly what she suggests.
The next morning, Jim is looking at the newspaper and he says:
JIM: Here it is: '30 Ramsay Street, Erinsborough. Auction today. Delightful family residence. Established gardens and lawns. Three bedrooms, lounge, dining room. Immediate occupation. Plenty of scope for improvement.'
HELEN: Translated, that means it's better than living under a bridge, but find a fortune if you want to make it fit for human habitation!
Jim muses that she's probably right. Nick and Todd come in, Todd holding a new carton of milk. He tells Jim that he's been trying to talk Nick into coming fishing with him, but he won't be in it. Jim asks him where he's planning to go and Todd replies that it's the Norman Street Bridge. Helen comments to Nick that that would be an interesting subject to paint. Jim adds that she means paint on canvas, not on the bridge itself! There's suddenly a yell from the back door and Sharon comes in! She tells Nick animatedly that she needs him - it's an emergency. Nick stands up and he and Sharon head back out. Henry comes in through the front door, yelling out to everyone that the door was slightly ajar. He adds that he wanted to talk to Todd. He looks at the boy and explains that he's found a way to make big money! Jim warns:
HENRY: It's all legit, Jim - and if it goes as well as I think, Todd here will be the youngest taxpayer in Ramsay Street!
With that, he and a happy- looking Todd run out!
Des is tidying up Jamie's toys, muttering as he does so that he's got better things to do. Mike points out that Bronwyn will be there soon. Des calms down and explains that this Porter woman has got him on edge. Mike asks if she's a big bad monster just because Hemmings hates his guts. The doorbell rings suddenly and Mike goes and opens it to Bronwyn. He warns her to be careful about what she says; Des is in a really bad mood. Bronwyn tells Des that she's really sorry about last night. Des just warns Bronwyn that, whatever she does, don't mention Penelope Porter. Bronwyn, however, says:
BRONWYN: She's just pulled up.
DES (aghast): What? Where?!!
BRONWYN: Out the front.
Des races to look out the window - almost tripping over in the process! - and then heads to the door to open it. Penelope Porter is already standing on the step and she says:
PENELOPE: Good morning, Mr. Clarke. I hope you don't mind, but I was thinking after I left here last night, maybe it would be a good idea if I saw you in action.
DES (blankly): What do you mean?
PENELOPE: At the auction. You don't mind, do you?
Des nods that he was just about to head over there. Bronwyn joins him at the door and asks him not to try *too* hard.
There's a crowd gathered in the street. Jim and Helen wander along as Des, Mike and Penelope emerge from No. 28. Des introduces Penelope to the neighbours. Jim tells Des that he shouldn't have too much opposition: George Coleman will probably be bidding, but the rest of them just look like they're there for a sticky- beak. At that moment, the auctioneer stands up on a box and says:
AUCTIONEER: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to No. 30, Ramsay Street, a charming family residence that I'm sure will change hands in the next fifteen minutes.
No one takes any notice of an elderly- looking woman in glasses and a pillbox hat, who walks up the street with the help of a cane.
As the auctioneer continues his patter, a 'phone begins to ring. Jim realises that it's from No. 26 and he goes in to answer it. The auctioneer then opens the bidding at $100,000. No one bites. He lowers the opening to $90,000... and then to $80,000. A man puts up his hand. Des goes to $85,000. The mystery woman goes up to £90,000. Helen heads off to No. 26 to see how Jim is.
Jim hangs up the 'phone as Helen comes in. He asks if it's over already. Helen, however, explains that it occurred to her that Beverly might need a hand if that was a call from the hospital. Jim replies that it *was* a call from the hospital, but just ringing to say that Beverly's patients from last night are responding well to treatment and she doesn't have to go in. Changing the subject, Helen remarks that Des seemed a little tense because that young woman was there. Jim smiles:
JIM: I'm a little worried about the old Des! He was saying last night that he thought she might be a spy from Head Office!
HELEN: Well, after what Paul and Gail went through with Derek Morris, I don't suppose he trusts *anyone*.
A look crosses Jim's face and Helen asks if something's wrong. Jim says he supposes he's being a bit oversensitive, but he can't help wondering why Paul didn't come to *him* when he had trouble. Helen muses:
HELEN: I suppose he considers himself a big boy now.
JIM: That's what fathers are *for*.
HELEN: If they don't still have a houseful of small children...!
JIM (admits): Yeah... not to mention the new addition that's about to pop up any day.
HELEN: Stop it! You two have never been happier since you made up your mind.
JIM (frowns): Hmm...
Todd is carrying a weighty bag into the kitchen and mutters about always having to carry the heavy stuff. Henry looks into the cabinet and finds a big mixing bowl. Todd asks him what they're doing. Henry tells him:
HENRY: Gnomes! Ordinary, everyday garden gnomes!
TODD (blankly): What about them?
HENRY (enthusiastically): We are going to manufacture and distribute them. In fact, I bought the moulds this morning!
TODD: Gnomes? I hate 'em.
HENRY: Uh - production costs to us: 75¢. Selling price: $15.
TODD: I love 'em!
Henry tells Todd that he'll be the junior partner and they've have an 80/20 split. Todd, however, negotiates it to 70/30. With that, Henry opens the big bag - which contains powdered plaster - and tips it into the mixing bowl!
The auction has paused and Mike is asking Des what happens if they come out and say the vendor is happy with the price. Des tells him to watch: they'll come out and say that although the reserve hasn't been reached, they're very close to it. At that moment, the auctioneer returns and announces to everyone that they've consulted with the vendor and it would seem that although his reserve hasn't been reached, they're very close to it! He goes on that the bid is at $144,000 and he'll take $1,000 bids. Des goes to $145,000. The mystery woman goes to $146,000. Another gentleman goes to $147,000. Des raises to $148,000. The mystery woman goes to $149,000. Des - commenting to Mike that this is his last shot - puts his hand up for $150,000. The mystery lady immediately goes to $151,000. Des remarks to Mike that he's been shot down in flames. Mike comments:
MIKE: I don't think you had a hope - the old dear's going to go on forever.
DES (puzzled): Who is she? I haven't seen her round here before. Have you?
With that, the auctioneer sells off the house for $151,000 to the mystery woman and asks her to step forward. The woman, however, turns and starts walking off down the street. Des quickly goes after her and stops her, telling her that she'd better sign the contract. The woman says in a weedy voice:
WOMAN: Er... I'll do it later.
Des, however, says he doesn't think the auctioneer would be too happy with that. He leads the woman towards the auctioneer, who congratulates the woman and suggests that they step inside and do the paperwork. Des, however, says:
DES: Tell me something, Mr. Varney: when was the last time you sold a house to a 16- year- old schoolgirl?
With that, he takes off the woman's hat and glasses to reveal Sharon hidden underneath!