Des is sitting on the couch, listening to a tape, trying to learn Japanese. Mike emerges from his room and starts teasing Des about it. There's suddenly a knock on the front door and Mike answers it to find Kerry on the step. She comes in and tells Des that she stopped by to see how his pots are going. He tells her that they're out the back, drying. Kerry then asks Des why he's learning Japanese. Des explains that he's always been interested in Japan and it's the up-and-coming language, especially in business.
MIKE: Yeah – if you can actually understand what they're saying!
Kerry suggests that maybe Des is going about it the wrong way: listening to tapes isn't real; he needs to get the feel of it from the ground up. She then asks Des if he'll be home tonight. He nods that he will and asks why. Kerry just smiles that he'll see!
Bronwyn is sitting at the kitchen table, licking an envelope, when Madge and Harold come in through the back door, Harold saying to Madge that they have to show Scott a bit of trust. Bronwyn announces that she has to go and see Henry, and she heads out. Madge reminds Harold curtly that Scott made a vow to her daughter: Charlene comes first, and she won't budge on that. Harold insists that no one expects her to. Madge sighs:
MADGE: Oh Harold... I love Scott as if he was my own son, you know that; but if it comes to a choice between the two of them...
HAROLD: Yes, well, let's hope it *doesn't* come to that, eh?
Henry is sitting on the lounge room floor of No. 22 amidst some piles of clothes and games. He's playing his guitar. Bronwyn comes in and muses that she hopes he didn't wear himself out chucking all that stuff down the stairs. Henry tells her that he thought he wouldn't pack until *she* got back: she's much better at it than him! Bronwyn rolls her eyes. Henry goes on that all that house-moving gives a bloke an appetite. Bronwyn hands him the tin of biscuits from Liz Anderson, together with an envelope, and tells him that someone left them on the doorstep. Henry smiles that it must be Liz. He bites into a biscuit and exclaims that it's good! Bronwyn then asks what's in the envelope. Henry replies that it must be the cheque. He opens it and finds a letter inside. He muses out loud that he wonders what Liz would be writing to *him* for. He starts reading the letter and a look of shock crosses his face.
BRONWYN: Something wrong?
HENRY (sharply): What?
BRONWYN: I said: is something wrong?
HENRY (quickly): No. I think I need some fresh air!
With that, Henry dashes outside, leaving Bronwyn with a sly smile on her face!
Sharon is in the kitchen and she turns the stereo on and starts listening to loud music as she pours herself a coffee. Nick comes in through the back door and Sharon beams at him that she loves the song that's playing! Nick suggests that they make the most of Hilary being away and get some of the gang over and have a big barbecue. Sharon points out that they have school tomorrow, but Nick assures her that if they start early enough they'll finish before the olds get back. Someone knocks on the front door and Sharon heads out to the hallway to answer it. She finds Mike on the step and she invites him in, yelling at Nick to turn the music down. Nick does so and then joins Sharon and Mike in the hallway. He smiles at Mike that the word's out that he'll be starting at Erinsborough High, and he asks him how he feels about that. Mike explains that that's what he wanted to talk to them both about. The three of them head into the lounge room and sit down. Mike then says:
MIKE: Er, when I was prac teaching, you guys were a little heavy on me...
SHARON: We got *better*!
MIKE (coolly): Only after I nearly got the sack. Anyway, this time it's for real: I'm qualified and I'd really like to make teaching my career – so when we're in class, I expect you to call me ‘Mr. Young' and give me the same sort of respect that you do for all the *other* teachers, OK?
NICK (laughs): Who says we give *them* respect?!
Mike ignores this and goes on that there's something else. He then says to Nick that he knows school hasn't really fired Nick's imagination, but that's not his problem: he expects Nick's homework to be handed in on time, otherwise it'll be an automatic detention. Sharon exclaims indignantly that Mike is already assuming Nick won't *do* it. Mike, however, insists that he's just establishing some ground-rules.
NICK (mutters): Anything you say, ‘Mr. Young'.
Mike sighs at Nick that it's not going to be easy for *any* of them; he just thinks they ought to know where they stand. With that, he stands up and tells the kids that he'll see them in class. He then heads out. When he's gone, Sharon mutters at Nick:
SHARON: I don't know about *you*, but I sure don't feel like partying anymore.
Nick stands up and sighs heavily. He then declares, however:
NICK: No. No! To hell with him! The ‘Mr. Young' regime doesn't start until tomorrow. Sunday's our day and we'll enjoy it if we want to. Get your book out and start ‘phoning!
As Mike heads down the front path of No. 30, he sees Henry sitting on the front lawn of No. 22, looking worried. He walks across the street and tells Henry to cheer up: it mightn't even happen! Henry, however, sighs that it already *has*, and he hands Mike the ‘letter from Liz Anderson'. Mike reads:
MIKE: “My dearest Henry, I can no longer suppress the deep feelings I have for you, feelings that I know in my heart of hearts you share. Since meeting you, I've come to realise that a difference in age – even a big difference – does not have to be a barrier between two people finding happiness together.”
Mike remarks that he takes it this isn't from Bronwyn.
Mike then asks Henry if he isn't playing with fire. Henry just looks astonished and exclaims:
HENRY: This woman happens to be over 70!
MIKE: Years of age?!
HENRY: Yes! I do her gardens, right? I try to be friendly with her, like I am with *all* my customers. She must be going senile.
Mike muses that it couldn't be *real* love, not for a woman of *that* age.
HENRY: Of course not.
MIKE: No. No... I reckon it's purely physical!
With that, Mike hands Henry the note and walks off, leaving Henry looking flabbergasted!
Harold arrives home and tells Madge – who's sitting in an armchair, sewing – that he caught Sharon and Nick buying food for a barbecue: they must have invited just about everyone they've ever met in their entire lives. He adds that he might pop over and check on them later; he did promise Hilary. Madge doesn't respond, though, and Harold remarks that she hasn't heard a word he said. He asks what's wrong.
MADGE (sighs): I can't help it: I just keep thinking about Fred and all the unhappiness he caused me with his womanising. I couldn't stand it if Charlene had to go through that.
Harold points out that she's worrying about something that might not even happen: Scott isn't a womaniser; he'll do the right thing. Madge asks:
MADGE: What if he *doesn't*?
HAROLD: Well... then you and I would have to be very strong for Charlene.
MADGE: The way *I'm* feeling, you might have to be strong for *both* of us.
Harold assures Madge that he'll be there for her.
Henry is sitting on the couch, staring at the ‘letter from Liz Anderson', when Bronwyn comes downstairs with the last of their bed linen. She looks annoyed to find Henry not getting on with the packing, and she asks what the matter is with him, as he's been acting weird all day. Henry insists quickly that he's cool! Bronwyn shrugs that she can't *make* him tell her. She adds that they've got to unpack everything at his mum's place and she wants to go to Tech and use the library tonight. She adds:
BRONWYN: If you think you'll be lonely, you could always go over and see Liz.
HENRY (sharply): What?!
BRONWYN: Well, you're always going on about how much you like the girl. I guess I'll just have to be broad-minded and trust you not to run off with her!
HENRY (quickly): Who said anything about running off?! Look, I think I might stay home tonight, anyway!
BRONWYN: Please yourself! There's supposed to be a good movie on, actually. What's it called again? ‘Harold and Mavis'? Something like that.
HENRY (warily): ‘Harold and Maud'?
BRONWYN: Yeah, yeah, that's the one! It's about this guy who has a fling with a woman old enough to be his granny. It's really good!
HENRY: No, I don't think that would appeal to me very much!
BRONWYN: Typical! You guys are all the same: reckon a woman isn't worth looking at unless she's young and cute. Personally, I think if two people are right for each other, age shouldn't come into it. You know, if I really liked a guy, it wouldn't matter *how* old he was. Matter of fact, I've been giving that sort of relationship a *lot* of thought, lately.
With that, Bronwyn picks up a packed suitcase and heads next door, leaving Henry frowning at the letter in his hand!
Jamie, Sky and Kerry are all dressed in Japanese-style clothing provided by Kerry. Des is standing with Kerry and he asks her what's going on. Kerry tells him that the only way to really learn a language is from the ground up, by immersing yourself in the culture. She tells him to take off his shoes, and she holds out a gown which Des slips over his clothes. The two of them then sit down on the floor by the coffee table and Kerry pours Des a glass of sake. He tastes it and starts coughing at the kick it has in it! Kerry then says she'll show Des how to use chopsticks. Des insists that there's nothing to it! He takes the chopsticks just as someone knocks on the front door. Kerry goes to answer it and finds Bronwyn on the step. She heads inside and, looking at the outfits and the food and drink laid out, asks what's going on!
KERRY: Orient night in Ramsay Street!
DES: Kerry's got the idea that if I understand the Japanese culture, I'll be able pick up the language easier.
Bronwyn then explains that she came by to ask if she could borrow Jamie for five minutes. Des agrees and Bronwyn picks up the child and heads out again. When she's gone, Kerry asks Des in amusement:
KERRY: Do people *often* stop by to borrow your son?!
Back yard of No. 30
The barbecue is underway and Sharon and Nick are telling a couple of their mates about how Mike has already been round to see them and told them that they have to call him ‘Mr. Young'. One kid remarks tersely that school hasn't even started yet and he's already laying down the law.
NICK: Yeah, well *I* reckon it's about time somebody took him down a peg or two.
Nick walks off, leaving Sharon to comment to her mates slyly:
SHARON: That's not a bad idea, you know? Not a bad idea at *all*...
Henry is sitting at the writing bureau, trying to compose a letter to Liz – but he has several screwed-up sheets of paper in front of him. Bronwyn comes in, holding Jamie, and, with a smile on her face, asks Henry what he's doing. He says quickly:
Bronwyn picks up a sheet of blank paper and muses that *she'd* hide a sheet of blank paper *too*: it's very incriminating! Henry grins that he *wasn't* hiding it – not exactly. Bronwyn, however, sighs:
BRONWYN: I almost wish you *were* hiding something from me. It would make what I've got to tell you a whole lot easier.
BRONWYN: I just want you to know I didn't plan it or anything; I don't know – it just happened somehow.
HENRY (warily): Do you want to let me in on your little secret?
BRONWYN: You remember I mentioned earlier that if two people really like each other, age doesn't make any difference?
BRONWYN: Well, it wasn't just talk: I've been seeing somebody lately – a guy who's in a totally different age-group to me.
HENRY (looking horrified): A *guy*? A different--; you've been seeing--? Who is he? Do I know him? A teacher at Tech?
HENRY: Do I want you to tell me who he is?
BRONWYN: Probably not – but I've got to come clean. I brought him over to face the music.
Henry turns to the front door. Bronwyn grins at Jamie and realisation dawns on Henry's face! Bronwyn tells him that she and Jamie have got quite a thing going! Henry then realises further:
HENRY: Hang on a minute... that letter from Liz: you knew about her all the time!
BRONWYN: Not *all* the time: I found out today when she came round to drop your cheque off!
Henry exclaims that Bronwyn had him worried *sick*: he was about to write to Liz to let her down! Bronwyn points out tersely:
BRONWYN: You've had me running around waiting on you hand and foot; it's about time *somebody* taught you a lesson – and I've only just started...!
A group of kids are sitting around the kitchen table, eating the food from the barbecue. One of them suggests that they give Mike the silent treatment. Sharon, however, says it needs to be something really simple: if she had *her* way, she'd let him have a bucket of water! Nick stares at her and suggests eagerly:
NICK: Not water – *flour*!
Everyone bursts out laughing as Nick enthuses that Mike's going to find it hard to play the tough guy when he looks like the Abominable Snowman!
No. 28/No. 30
Des is becoming frustrated with his chopsticks and the fact that he's barely been able to eat anything! The ‘phone rings and Mike gets it. Sharon comes on from No. 30 and tells him that she and Nick are having a few problems with a history assignment that's due in tomorrow and were wondering if he could come over and give them a hand. Mike points out that he doesn't take Year 11 History. Sharon just insists that he's *so* good at it! The kids listening to her burst out sniggering. Mike tells Sharon that he's a little busy, but Sharon pleads with him and he gives in and says he'll be over when he's made a coffee. He hangs up just as someone knocks on the door, and he goes to answer it. He finds Bronwyn, Henry and Jamie on the step, and they head inside, where Bronwyn smiles:
BRONWYN: The Clarke son and heir duly returned. Thanks, Des!
Des smiles that they're just in time to join them. Bronwyn, however, explains that Henry's taking her out and she's allowed to order *anything*!
KERRY: Special occasion?
HENRY (grimly): More like penance...
BRONWYN: Henry's been a naughty boy! [She slaps him playfully on the bum!]
DES (grins): And he *admitted* it?!
With that Bronwyn hands Jamie to Mike and says:
BRONWYN: Coming Henry?
HENRY: Yes, dear!
Harold is standing on the driveway of No. 24, looking at his watch impatiently. Madge emerges from the house eventually and Harold asks wearily how long it takes to change one dress. Madge points out that the social doesn't start for another half hour, but Harold tells her that he thought they might just casually drop in on No. 30. Madge sighs that she wishes he'd leave well enough alone. Harold, however, reminds her that he promised Hilary.
MADGE: If I know *you*, you'll get on your high-horse and you're going to ruin the evening completely.
HAROLD: Madge, that is hardly fair: you *know* I promised to be more tolerant with young people. Don't worry – I'll be diplomatic.
MADGE: I'm not sure whether your definition of that word and mine are the same!
Madge then grabs Harold's arm and they head down the driveway, Madge sighing that Harold's got to let her do the talking.
A couple of kids are placing a bag of flour above the front door. Nick is preparing his camera and Sharon tells him to hurry up, as Mike said he only had to make a cup of coffee. Nick retorts that the flash has to warm up. There's suddenly a knock on the door and Sharon, Nick and the other kids stand back, waiting eagerly. Nick calls out:
NICK: Come in, it's open!
The door opens and Madge steps inside. The packet of flour drops down but fails to burst as it hits Madge on the head. It knocks her to the ground. Sharon and Nick look on in horror...