Henry destroying the cake Madge was entering into the church fête.
Henry walks into No. 24 through the back door, holding as much of the cake as he could scoop up onto the cake tray! Nick's following him and Henry snaps at him that it's all his fault: if he hadn't been worrying about the bike, he wouldn't have left the cake on the car. Nick retorts that he tried to warn him. Henry snaps that the cake is *mangled*. Nick suggests that they could fix it by buying another one. Henry, however, has a sudden idea. He goes to the ‘fridge and takes out the first cake Madge made, explaining:
HENRY: This was mum's first go. She wasn't happy with it. Now, all I've got to do is bung on some cream and cherries and decorate it like the last one!
Nick comments that he didn't know Henry could *do* that kind of stuff. Henry stares at him and then admits:
HENRY: I can't. It'll look *terrible* if I do it.
He goes and sits down at the kitchen table and sighs that he might as well pack his bags and move out now. Nick says he reckons Henry's best bet is to tell the truth; it's just a *cake*. Henry stares at him, however, and exclaims:
HENRY: To my mum, this is family pride – the last secret weapon in the Ramsay/Mangel border dispute!
He sighs that he needs help. He suggests Sharon, but Nick tells him that she's entering a cake herself. He adds:
NICK: It looks like she's got everyone covered, now.
HENRY (frowns): What do you mean ‘she's got everyone covered'...?
NICK (quickly): Um... well, she always figured she could beat Mrs. Mangel.
HENRY (frowns): That doesn't make sense!
NICK (shrugs): You know Shazza: she's big on confidence.
HENRY: Short on brains!
He then has a brainwave and suggests *Bronwyn* could handle this – she'll either be at Des's place or Mrs. Mangel's. Nick dashes out to find her!
John Worthington is sitting with Mrs. Mangel in the lounge room at No. 32. She serves him up a slice of cake to go with a cup of tea and he comments:
JOHN: This isn't *the* cake?
MRS. MANGEL (chuckles): Oh no! That's safe and sound until it wipes the smile off Madge Bishop's face this afternoon. Er... may the best cake win, of course!
She then thanks John for being so understanding about Joe. John remarks that in hindsight he should *agree*: not many people these days care so strongly about their families. Mrs. Mangel tells him that she and Joe were apart for twelve years; she supposes he's making up for lost time. She adds that it means a lot to her. John says he understands: he'd give a lot to see *his* children again. Mrs. Mangel remarks in surprise that she didn't realise he *had* children. John nods:
JOHN: Caroline. Yes. Unfortunately, she's living overseas. But *you've* got quite a brood these days.
MRS. MANGEL: Oh, I had to take Sharon and Bronwyn in – it was the Christian thing to do.
JOHN: But with so much on your hands, do you still find time for the column?
MRS. MANGEL (hesitantly): Er, yes, I do – but I'm a little more responsible these days, John. I couldn't bear the thought of my advice causing someone pain. It's a resolution.
JOHN: I've made a resolution of my *own*: not to let stubborn pride keep me from someone I care about.
Mrs. Mangel smiles nervously. John suggests to her that perhaps he could have the pleasure of escorting her to the fête for the judging. Mrs. Mangel beams that that would be lovely – although it's not who wins, it's the competing that counts. She adds:
MRS. MANGEL: Even little Sharon has an entry – but I have hopes, John...
JOHN: So do I, Nell!
Henry is taking bowls out from the kitchen cabinets when Nick drags Bronwyn in the back door. She asks if she gets an explanation, as she left Des looking after Jamie and the last of the kittens! Henry explains that this is bigger than kittens! He shows Bronwyn the ruined cake and the spare cake and asks:
HENRY: What if someone made *this* cake look just like *that* one did?
BRONWYN (warily): *Someone*...?
Henry pleads with her, adding that he's got the almonds and cherries. Bronwyn says she doesn't feel good helping him cheat his mother. Henry replies:
HENRY: I'm not cheating her, I'm saving her from herself. They can put you away for assaulting your kids!
BRONWYN (grins): I'll say *this* much: hanging around with you guys is... different!
Henry asks Nick to go outside and keep watch.
Harold marches a troupe of scouts into the church hall and asks them to make themselves useful. He then turns and leans against a table, looking slightly out of sorts. Reverend Sampson asks him in concern if he's quite all right and shouldn't take things just a little bit easier after his recent ill health. Harold, however, insists that that stroke scare was a warning that he intends heeding; he'll get fit sooner or later. He goes on that he heard cycling was quite beneficial and has bought one of those exercise bicycles. Sharon comes in suddenly and beams:
SHARON: G'day, all. Where's the bun fight?
Harold asks if she's referring to the cake- baking contest. Sharon explains that she has Mrs. Mangel's entry and a cake she made herself, and the Reverend points her in the direction of the refreshment room and tells her that Mrs. Broome will assist her. Sharon walks off, leaving Reverend Sampson to comment to Harold that it's a pity they only had three entries in the bake- off: Mrs. Mangel and Madge appear to have scared off the competition except for Sharon. Harold asks who actually will be doing the judging. The Reverend says:
REVEREND SAMPSON: *I* am, I'm afraid. You know, we must accept the burdens thrust upon us!
Harold tells the Reverend quickly that when he smelled the delicious aroma coming from the oven when Madge was baking that cake, it took all his time to restrain himself! The Reverend smiles:
REVEREND SAMPSON: But you must! It's a matter of resisting temptation!
With that, he walks off to help elsewhere. Madge comes in suddenly, carrying a box of champagne, and tells Harold that it's a donation from Lassiter's for one of the raffles. She asks where Henry is, but Harold doesn't respond. He instead walks over to Reverend Sampson and asks if Henry has delivered Madge's cake yet. The Reverend replies:
REVEREND SAMPSON: No, he hasn't – but going by your description, I must admit, I can't wait!
Harold rejoins Madge, who mutters that Henry should be there by now. Harold points out:
HAROLD: You know Henry!
MADGE (growls): Yes... that's what I'm worried about.
Bronwyn has finished decorating the spare cake and she asks Henry what he thinks. He stares at it but shrugs that he doesn't know. Bronwyn tells him to make up his mind: she didn't see the original in one piece. Henry stares at the cake and says he thinks it's right. Nick comes in and points out that Madge didn't think that first cake was good enough. Henry just tells him to butt out! Bronwyn, however, says warily:
BRONWYN: He's right, Henry – it's not fair to let your mum compete with the second best.
HENRY: If she loses, I can handle that. At least she won't take it out on *me*.
Bronwyn comments that Mrs. Mangel will probably win now. Nick points out that there's still *Sharon's* cake. Bronwyn and Henry just burst out laughing! Nick heads off back to his books. When he's gone, Henry gives Bronwyn a thank you kiss on the cheek. She stands there looking slightly embarrassed and then tells Henry not to be late for the judging.
Mrs. Mangel is talking to Edith Chubb on the ‘phone in the hallway. She hangs up and joins John in the lounge room, where she tells him testily that now the girls' aunt wants her to measure next door for curtains. She adds quickly that it's the least she can do as a neighbour! John tells her that he'll give her a hand. The front door bursts open suddenly and Sharon and Nick come in, talking loudly. Sharon tells Mrs. Mangel that they've got some studying to do. Mrs. Mangel tells them to use the kitchen table – and not to make a mess. She then asks Sharon:
MRS. MANGEL: Did you take the cakes to the church hall?
SHARON (nods): Signed, sealed and delivered – which is more than I can say for Mrs. Bishop's cake!
MRS. MANGEL: What?
SHARON: Well, Henry hadn't delivered it when I left.
She and Nick leave the room. When they've gone, Mrs. Mangel says to John:
MRS. MANGEL: I certainly hope there's going to be no problem. I'd *hate* to win by default...
John smiles at Mrs. Mangel that he admires her sense of fair play and the way she handles the youngsters. Mrs. Mangel tells him:
MRS. MANGEL: Firm but kind – that's always been my motto.
Madge and Harold are in the lounge room, trying to set up Harold's exercise bike. Madge mutters that she's glad he's only renting it and not buying it: exercise is boring and eventually he'll lose his patience and start skipping days. Harold, however, retorts:
HAROLD: That's just where you're wrong, because this bike is just the beginning. Very soon, I'll be pumping iron.
MADGE: Yeah – and then I'll have to nurse you when you strain something!
She heads through to the kitchen with some rubbish. As she does so, Harold calls out to her that he wants it to be a bicycle built for two; he doesn't want to have the monopoly on fitness. Madge walks back over and glares at him and asks if he's suggesting she's not fit. She goes on gruffly:
MADGE: I do a full shift at the Waterhole and then I come back and look after *you* lot. You know what you can do with your fancy machines.
She then points to another contraption and asks what *that* is. Harold smiles:
HAROLD: That is my bonus vibrator belt – it's for the tummy and hips!
Madge pleads with him to be careful and not go overboard and hurt himself. The front door opens suddenly and Henry comes in. Madge asks him gruffly where he's been and he tells her that he's been delivering her cake. Madge tells him that she's got a bone to pick with him: there were *two* cakes – one in the ‘fridge – and now it's gone. Henry replies that he ate it. Madge exclaims in astonishment:
MADGE: The second cake was fine, but *that* one was hard as a rock!
Ignoring this, Henry just watches Harold climb onto the bike and suggests to him that he should start pedalling! He pats Harold on the belly!
Mrs. Mangel has climbed a stepladder by the lounge room window at No. 30 as John holds it still for her. He remarks that Mrs. Chubb sounds quite a dragon, and he asks how she gets on with her nieces. As she measures for the curtains, Mrs. Mangel tells him:
MRS. Mangel: She doesn't understand the girls, I'm afraid – not the way *I* do. Fortunately, I've had Jane staying with me for some time, so I understand problems.
JOHN: Boyfriends, eh?
MRS. MANGEL: *Especially* boyfriends.
She adds that you can't tell them who their friends should be – although, on the other hand, you have to put your foot down, and they think you know nothing about it. John remarks:
JOHN: That's a common mistake with young people these days: they think we know nothing of attraction – or affection...
He helps Mrs. Mangel down from the ladder and kisses her hand. Mrs. Mangel smiles happily and then exclaims that she's forgotten the measurements! John just puts his arms round her and smiles:
JOHN: ...or passion.
Mrs. Mangel stares into his eyes, happily.
Reverend Sampson is standing in front of a crowd gathered in the church hall. He tells them that they'll have a brief pause for a little palette- cleansing and then the sponge cake section will be judged. Across the room, Madge comments to Harold that she can't believe it: there's no sign of Nell Mangel. She adds:
MADGE: Maybe she and Big Bad John have nipped off for a rough weekend in the mountains?!
HAROLD (looking shocked): Madge!
Henry is standing with the Reverend Sampson, who remarks to him that he's surprised to see him at a church function. Henry looks down warily at Madge's cake on the table. Elsewhere, Sharon asks Nick where Mrs. Mangel is, as she wants to see her face when she loses. Bronwyn walks over to Madge and Harold and wishes Madge luck. She then joins Henry and asks him if his mother suspects anything. Henry replies that she doesn't. Reverend Sampson walks over to Madge and Harold and Madge asks him testily if they aren't going to get on with it. The Reverend tries to point out that Mrs. Mangel isn't there... Madge, however, just retorts:
MADGE: The *rest* of us are. If her ladyship doesn't care enough to be punctual, I don't see why we should sit around as if we're waiting for a royal visit.
At that moment, though, Mrs. Mangel arrives with John and Madge comments to her tersely that she cut it a bit fine, didn't she? Mrs. Mangel retorts that she didn't want to be seen hanging round the cake stall, like *some* people... Reverend Sampson announces to everyone that the sponge cake section will now be judged. He examines and then bites into a slice of Sharon's cake and comments that it's a nice aroma, the texture is a little rough... and the flavour is a touch bland but a very promising effort. Everyone gives Sharon a round of applause. The Reverend then picks up Madge's cake on its tray and holds it up for everyone to see. He bites into a slice and then declares:
REVEREND SAMPSON: A wee bit dry.
A look of disappointment crosses Madge's face. A look of sly delight crosses Mrs. Mangel's! The Reverend then announces that the third entry is Mrs. Nell Mangel. He holds up her cake and then takes a bite from a slice. After a few seconds, he starts coughing and then choking! As Harold rushes over to pat him on the back, the Reverend exclaims:
REVEREND SAMPSON: It's diabolical!
A look of shock crosses Mrs. Mangel's face.
A few moments later, Mrs. Mangel is standing with Reverend Sampson, crying that she doesn't understand; she's so sorry. The Reverend tells her that it can't be helped. Having recovered, he announces to the crowd that they have a surprise winner in the sponge cake section: Miss. Sharon Davies! As Sharon receives her rosette, Mrs. Mangel says quietly to John:
MRS. MANGEL: I can't stay here. Oh John, could you take me home, please?
The two of them head out, leaving Nick to comment to Sharon that he doesn't think Mrs. Mangel's handling that too well. Sharon just murmurs in a downbeat tone:
SHARON: I've got eyes, haven't I? How was *I* to know it was going to get so heavy?
It's evening- time and Harold is sitting on the exercise bike in the lounge room, cycling away! Henry is watching him and he remarks that it's a very impressive piece of hardware. He points to a dial on the handlebars and asks:
HENRY: What's that?
HAROLD: Don't fiddle! It's an ergometer.
HENRY: What does *that* measure?
HAROLD (hesitates before saying): Well... ergs, I suppose!
Henry makes an adjustment to a wheel on the bike – which causes it to speed up and Harold to scream out in pain! Madge dashes out as Harold climbs off the bike exclaiming that his leg hurts! Madge soothes that it's only a pulled muscle. She tells him to go to bed and for goodness' sake not to lie on his back as she doesn't want to be kept awake with him snoring. Harold mutters:
HAROLD: We're not going to argue about *that* again, are we?
MADGE: I'm just telling you it's like sleeping next to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre!
HAROLD: Yeah, well, you wouldn't be so snaky if you hadn't lost that cake competition.
MADGE (retorts): I don't give *two cents* about the cake competition, Harold.
Henry asks her if she really means that. Madge sighs that she has more on her mind than cakes – like Harold ‘the mean machine' Bishop there! Henry says he's glad she feels like that, because there's something he wants to get off his chest, but there's no point if she's going to kill him. Madge murmurs warily:
MADGE: Go on...
HENRY: I... I dropped your cake. By accident! I took the other one out the ‘fridge and got someone to decorate it for me, and that was your entry.
MADGE (snaps): I ought to skin you alive!
HENRY (quickly): But you said you wouldn't do anything!
MADGE: I said I didn't mind *losing*. I *do* mind having a stupid idiot son who can't do anything right because his head's full of God- knows- what.
Harold emerges from the bedroom and comments to Madge that that would explain why her cake didn't measure up. Henry tells Madge that he's really sorry: he just didn't want her to have to withdraw because of *him*. Madge then asks him warily if he did anything to Nell Mangel's cake just to even things up. Henry, however, tells her:
HENRY: No way, José.
Harold asks if it could've been sabotage. Madge, however, says tersely:
MADGE: Harold, *anyone* can have a bad day in the kitchen – but for Nell Mangel's cake to turn out a turkey on the same day *mine* did... that's a bit of a coincidence, don't you think?
Nick and Sharon are sitting in the kitchen at No. 26, studying, but Sharon sighs that she can't concentrate: she's going to tell Mrs. Mangel the truth. She adds:
SHARON: I'm not a cheat. I did it to teach her a lesson.
NICK: Yeah – and she deserved it, the way she went on at you. It's done, so forget it.
SHARON: I can't. I told you: I'm not a cheat. I'd rather get yelled at than feel like this.
She stands up and heads out.
Bronwyn is doing some ironing in the kitchen at No.32 as Mrs. Mangel snaps that it was sabotage: somehow, Madge Bishop got to her cake. Bronwyn points out that it was only a competition. Sharon comes in as Mrs. Mangel retorts:
MRS. MANGEL: It was my *reputation*, young lady.
BRONWYN: It's Mrs. Bishop's reputation, too. It's not fair to accuse her.
She then suggests that maybe she can get some idea of what went wrong. She goes and puts a small piece of the cake – which is on the kitchen table – in her mouth. She then exclaims in horror:
BRONWYN: I don't believe it. It tastes like—
SHARON (guiltily): Vinegar. It's vinegar. *I* did it.
Bronwyn and Mrs. Mangel both turn and stare at her. Mrs. Mangel exclaims coldly:
MRS. MANGEL: You arranged for me to be humiliated in front of the entire community, did you?
SHARON (cries): I'm sorry it worked out the way it did.
MRS. MANGEL (snaps): Sorry? I doubt you know the *meaning* of the word.
BRONWYN: Why would you *do* it?
SHARON: Look at the way she [she glances at Mrs. Mangel] kept picking on me. Humiliation. How do you think you made *me* feel?
MRS. MANGEL (coldly): I don't hear any thanks for providing a roof over your head.
SHARON (retorts): It's like living in an orphanage – or a prison.
BRONWYN (warns): Sharon!
MRS. MANGEL (coldly): How *dare* you.
BRONWYN: Come on, Mrs. Mangel...
MRS. MANGEL: Stay out of this. [To Sharon] Now, I want you out of my house this moment, young lady. Out as soon as possible.
BRONWYN: If she goes, I go too.
MRS. MANGEL (snaps): Suit yourself – but she is not staying in this house; so pack your bags – *both* of you.