Joe telling Harold angrily that Harold replaced the insecticide in Joe's spray gun with weed-killer – and now Joe has killed half the gardens in the neighbourhood.
Harold hesitates and then says he doesn't think he can he held *entirely* responsible: how was he to know that it was insecticide? Joe retorts that he could have *asked*! Harold tells him curtly that there was a can of weed-killer right next to the spray; he naturally assumed--. Joe interrupts and yells:
JOE: There was a jug of insecticide on the shelf right behind it. Anyone with half a brain would have checked the spray.
HAROLD (tersely): Anyone with any brain at all would clearly label—
The argument stops as Madge emerges from the bedroom and yells at the two men to stop abusing each other: it was an unfortunate mistake, that's all. Joe asks angrily if Jim's going to believe that when he sees his azaleas. Harold exclaims:
HAROLD: What about *me*? I've wasted a whole day in the garden.
JOE: At least you've still *got* a garden – which is much more than I can say for some of my customers. As if I haven't got enough trouble with someone undercutting my rates.
Madge tells Joe that business will pick up – and Henry will be back soon. Joe demands to know who's going to explain to Henry that they haven't got a business anymore. He looks at Harold and asks him angrily if *he's* going to explain to Jim why his azaleas look like fried cabbage. Harold just retorts that he still says any responsible person would have clearly labelled the spray, so he will not accept the blame. With that, he asks Joe to leave. Joe glares at Harold and tells him curtly:
JOE: It's *your* daughter and grandkid that are going to be starving from this, because *you* lost all my customers.
He then heads out and slams the door. Madge lets out a weary groan!
Jim and Helen are wiping up dishes as Jim says the last thing he wants to do is get Beverly into trouble with the Medical Board. He goes on that all she's really done is come out in support of the family. Helen nods that that's true – and considering how desperate Paul was to find Gail, *she* would probably have done the same. Jim sighs that he wishes she'd tell *Beverly* that. Helen points out to him:
HELEN: Beverly's a very ethical person, and its' upset her a lot to break a professional confidence. Look, just try and be understanding, Jim, and everything will be back to normal with you two.
Jim remarks that it would make things a lot easier if Paul can sort things out with Gail. Helen suggests to him that he do something to occupy his mind – like gardening. Jim shrugs:
JIM: Harold would think I'm trying to compete with him in this competition thing.
HELEN: That's a thought: why *don't* you enter?
JIM: Oh, I'm not the competitive type. More Harold's thing. I haven't got much chance of winning, anyway – you've got to do something really spectacular to impress those judges; something like my prize azaleas!
Helen tells him that he *should* enter after all the effort he's put into the garden over the years. She goes on:
HELEN: I remember when you and Ann moved in: it was nothing but a jungle of weeds and blackberries. Ha! – you used to spend every spare minute you had out there, working together.
JIM (wistfully): Yeah, they were good times... Still, I've let the thing go lately; if I was going to go into the competition, I'd have to do a lot of hard work.
HELEN: Isn't that what you're looking for? Something to occupy your mind...?
JIM (smiles): Yeah – I suppose it *is*!
Melanie is clearing up in the kitchen as Des – who's sitting on the couch with Jamie – tells her that she doesn't have to do that: she cooked, so the least *he* could do is tidy up. Melanie, however, assures him that she's having fun! Des thanks her for dinner and Melanie points out that she *told* him all he needed was a couple of home-cooked meals! Des picks up a book and tells Jamie that it's bedtime story time. Melanie asks:
MELANIE: Is there anything else I can do while I'm here? Ironing? Socks need darning?
DES: You'll be peeling us grapes next! No, everything's fine.
Melanie sits down with Des and tells him that she really admires the way he's coping: it's great to put the past behind him. Des starts to say in exasperation:
DES: Melanie, I--.
He then breaks off and just says thanks! Melanie says she'll see him at work tomorrow and she heads to the door as Des starts reading to Jamie. She pauses and looks at him. He asks:
MELANIE: Nothing! It's just really good to see you back to your old self again so quickly. Night!
With that, Melanie heads out. Des sighs heavily!
Madge is sitting snuggled-up to Harold on the couch as he says he still doesn't see that it was his fault. Madge tells him to forget it and give her a cuddle. Harold puts his arm round her and Madge asks if it isn't time they turned the lights out and snuggled up in a nice warm bed. Harold, however, just sighs:
HAROLD: Oh dear... I wonder if Joe *will* lose clients over this.
MADGE: Oh, you know what Joe's like: he's as bad as Henry when it comes to going on about things. Just don't worry about him.
HAROLD: When Jim sees those flowers in the morning... oh, I just shudder to think. I know I'm going to lie awake all night worrying about this.
With that, Harold stands up and says he needs a good hot cocoa to help him sleep. He offers Madge one and she accepts, muttering under her breath:
MADGE: A cup of cocoa's the most exciting thing I can hope for tonight!
The next morning, Joe and Toby are sitting watching TV in the lounge room. Kerry comes in and tells Toby that he'd better decide what he wants for lunch. Toby asks why he can't have lunch at the canteen like all the other kids, but Joe tells him that money doesn't grow on trees – especially not in *their* house right now. Toby sighs heavily and stands up. He leaves the room. Kerry sits down with Joe and says gently:
KERRY: Joe... our finances would improve if I could get a job. I mean, I could put Sky in crèche or have Mrs. Kirkwood mind her.
JOE: Oh love, I'd rather Toby wasn't coming home to an empty house; and besides, you've got to *pay* for Sky to get looked after – it's going to take all your earnings away anyway. Don't worry – we'll be right.
Kerry doesn't look convinced though. Joe then stands up and says he'd better get over to Jim and talk to him about his azaleas. He adds that he's going to tell him whose fault it is, too, if he can get a word in before Jim starts yelling at him. Kerry wishes him luck. With that, Joe heads out.
Joe is standing on the pavement outside No. 32 and he watches as Harold walks furtively down the driveway of No. 24 – wearing his dressing gown – and then takes a quick step back as he spots Jim coming out of No. 26! Harold dashes back into the house! Meanwhile, Joe quickly runs across the street to speak to Jim. He tries to block Jim's view of the flowerbed, but Jim spots the dead plants and exclaims in horror:
JIM: Holy Moses – what happened to my azaleas?
JOE: That's what I wanted to sort of talk to you about.
JIM (gasps): *You* did this?
JOE: No, I didn't. Well, it *was* my fault.
JIM (angrily): Well you'd better start explaining, because whoever's fault it was, I want to *strangle* them.
Driveway of No. 26
A few moments later, Jim is demanding angrily:
JIM: How's it supposed to be *Harold's* fault? *You* were the one doing the spraying – you should've checked what was in the gun.
JOE: I knew what *was* in it, but I did I know he was going to change it?
JIM: Do you have any idea how long it took me to grow those? One stupid blunder from you and I've lost the lot.
JOE: Oh, be reasonable – it could've been a hailstorm or something.
JIM: Well at least a hailstorm wouldn't have charged me for the privilege!
JOE: Well, maybe I can replace them?
JIM: How? Azaleas like that don't grow on trees, you know.
Kerry walks across the street and joins the men, telling Jim that Joe really is sorry – and it wasn't his fault, anyway. Jim retorts that ‘sorry' isn't going to bring his azaleas back. He then tells Joe curtly:
JIM: You won't be working for *me* anymore – and I reckon your other customers will feel the same way, especially Lassiter's, if their garden's in the same state as *mine*.
With that, he marches back inside. Harold wanders over guiltily and says:
HAROLD: So, er, broke the news, did we?
JOE (mutters): Crawled out from under your bed, have ya?
Joe then mutters that he's sick of the lot of them, and he strides off across the street, kicking the ground in frustration as he goes. Harold comments to Kerry that Joe's upset. Kerry tells him that that's because they're having enough problems as it is, just trying to make ends meet. She adds that she'd get a job, but Joe doesn't want her to. Harold comments that that's understandable: a mother's place is at home with her children.
KERRY: So we can all starve together? That's really helpful!
Harold then suggests warily that he could lend them some money. Kerry, however, declines, saying they just have to do this themselves; they'll manage somehow. With that, she heads back across to No. 32. Harold glances at Jim's dead azaleas, looking guilty.
Office/Reception area at the Robinson Corporation
Des is in the office with Helen and Melanie and he hands Melanie some files. She heads out into the reception area just as Joe comes into the office and comments to Des that the plants in the complex look in top shape! Des shrugs that he guesses so. Joe goes on:
JOE: Um... you talked to Jim this morning?
DES: No. Why?
Joe glances at Helen, who gives him a knowing look. Joe says to Des quickly:
DES: Oh, nothing, nothing. Just wondering! Look, I don't suppose you want any extra work done round the grounds? A bloke's a bit strapped at the moment.
Des, however, points out that he's only filling in at the moment: Joe will have to wait until Paul's back. Joe comments that he thought Des might be able to stretch things a bit, as they're virtually related, what with him and Jane getting married. Des, however, says he would if he could, but he can't. He adds that he's sorry. Joe mutters that it's OK, and he heads out. Des turns to Helen and asks what Joe meant about talking to Jim. Helen assures him that it's just a little drama in the garden – nothing too serious! Out in the reception area, Melanie says to Joe with a sigh:
MELANIE: Joe, *that* was the wrong thing to say.
JOE (blankly): What was?
MELANIE: About Jane.
JOE: What did I say?
MELANIE: About them getting married. They're not. Jane's dumped him.
JOE (looking astonished): What? Oh, come off it, Mel. No way.
MELANIE: It's true! Des is keeping it secret from everyone, but he let it slip to *me*.
JOE: But why *would* she? Ah, I'd better go and talk to him.
MELANIE: No, not now. He's being really brave about the whole thing, but he's still really hurt inside. The last thing he wants is to talk about it to anyone.
JOE: Yeah, I suppose. Poor bloke.
MELANIE: He's OK, though. I've been helping him through it. He's over the worst of it now.
JOE (breathes): Yeah... I just can't think. I mean, what's got into Jane to do something like *that*?
Outside the Coffee Shop
Madge is sitting with Helen at a table outside the Coffee Shop. Harold joins them and asks if he can get them anything else, but they both decline. Harold then says to Helen warily that he believes Jim was a little upset about his azaleas. He adds that he can't help feeling *partly* responsible for what happened, so the very least he can do is help with the replanting. Helen smiles that she's sure Jim would appreciate any help he can get – because he'll have quite a job trying to salvage something in time for the garden competition. Harold looks at Helen sharply and exclaims:
HAROLD: Competition? You didn't say anything about entering.
HELEN: He only decided yesterday – but after the ‘mishap', he's all the more determined.
Harold muses that that puts a completely different complexion on things: he can hardly be expected to help somebody he'll be competing against. Helen remarks that that's hardly a charitable attitude. Madge, however, points out that Harold's right: it *is* a competition. Harold smiles:
HAROLD: And all is fair in love and gardening competitions, eh?!
HELEN (coolly): Really? Well, in that case, I suggest we change the subject while we're all still friends...
Kerry is sitting in the lounge room, reading the vacancy notices in the newspaper, when Joe arrives home. She asks him how he went at Lassiter's and he tells her that it's all right: they've still got the account. Kerry says she's been looking for something part-time in the paper, but there's not much going. Joe sits down with her and assures her that he's been in worse jams than this; they'll sort it out. He then starts going through the mail he brought in with him. He opens the ‘phone bill and exclaims in shock that it's for $523. Kerry comments that that can't be right. Toby, who's sitting on the floor with Kerry, looks suddenly slightly guilty. Kerry asks Joe if it could be the cost of Jane's calls to London, but Joe tells her that they're listed separately and come to just over $40. He then says he's getting onto Telecom. Kerry, however, says they should get his last few ‘phone bills to give figures for comparison. The two of them head across to the bedroom area. When they've gone, Toby creeps out into the hallway, goes to the ‘phone and dials a number. When the call is answered, he says:
TOBY: Hi. Katie... Yeah, yeah, it's me. I can only talk for a sec. I've got to stop ‘phoning you or I'm gonna be in real trouble. From now on, you'll have to ‘phone *me*, OK?
With that, Toby hangs up, looking worried.
Driveway of No. 24
Harold climbs out of his car and tells Madge that he hopes he's done the right thing, closing up early. He adds that he might get some gardening in if the light holds out. Madge takes the mail out the box and, looking at the envelopes, exclaims that there's one for Henry from Community Radio. She adds that she hopes it's good news after all the work he put into that audition tape. Harold points out that it's not really a *paying* job; he should concentrate on earning a living. He adds that he was talking to Kerry this morning and she was telling him the troubles she and Joe are having and about how she's going to get a job and put Sky in a childcare centre. Madge says she thinks it's a very good idea. She goes on:
MADGE: When Fred and I were struggling young newlyweds I used to work in a shop with him.
HAROLD: Yeah, but you didn't put a two-year-old in a day-care centre, did you?
MADGE: I think Sky will *enjoy* being with kiddies her own age. Really, Harold, sometimes you're such an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy!
Harold retorts that, be that as it may, he doesn't want his granddaughter growing up to be a latchkey child; they'll have to sort out their problems some *other* way.
Reception area at the Robinson Corporation
Melanie is typing and gossiping on the ‘phone at the same time as Helen sits in the coffee area, trying to work but looking annoyed at the noise emanating from Melanie's desk. She stands up and heads over to Melanie, saying to her curtly that she does know the staff roster has to be ready by 5pm? Melanie picks up a sheet of paper and hands it to Helen, still gossiping on the ‘phone while she does so! Des emerges from the office and asks Melanie if she's finished the letter for him. Melanie takes the sheet of paper out of the typewriter and hands it to Des. He looks at it in astonishment. He then glances at Helen. Melanie hangs up the ‘phone and, noticing the glances, asks:
HELEN: Oh, nothing! Credit where it's due: I don't know how you do it, but you always seem to get everything done!
The main door opens suddenly and Jim bursts in, exclaiming:
JIM: You are now looking at one fully-qualified mechanic! I have here a certificate that says I can re-open the workshop and put on an apprentice any time I like!
Des shakes Jim's hand and Helen gives him a kiss. Des says it calls for a drink! Jim tells Helen that they'll eat out to celebrate! Helen says she'll let Beverly know. Jim nods that it might cheer her up a bit. With that, he and Des head out to the Waterhole. When they've gone, Melanie says to Helen:
MELANIE: Isn't Des incredible, the way he goes on with his life?
HELEN (warns): Melanie...
Kerry is playing with Sky and Toby on the lounge room floor as Joe stands impatiently in the hallway, the ‘phone to his ear. Kerry looks at Toby and comments that he's been very quiet this afternoon. She asks him what's wrong, but he shrugs that he's OK. Out in the hallway, Joe gasps on the ‘phone:
JOE: What? That can't be right! ... Yeah ... Thanks a million.
With that, Joe he down the receiver. He then heads into the lounge room and tells Kerry curtly that they insist the bill's right; they checked on their computer and reckon there's been a whole lot of STD calls. Kerry tells him that there *can't* be: if *he* hasn't made any and *she* hasn't... Joe retorts that he told them that – but they're going to send them a list of where the calls were made to, then they might be able to figure out what's going on. Toby asks shiftily:
TOBY: How come a few ‘phone calls cost so much? Anyway, it's just people talking to each other.
Kerry looks at him suspiciously as Joe snaps:
JOE: If I find out someone's been coming in here, sneaking in, using my ‘phone, I'll ram it in their ear-hole!
Kerry just stares at Toby and asks him carefully:
KERRY: Toby... do you know anything about this?
TOBY: Um ...
Joe looks at Toby. Toby then says:
TOBY: I'm sorry, dad. I never *meant* to. I didn't know it was going to cost so much.
JOE: *What*? *You* made those calls?
TOBY: It was only to Katie.
JOE (gasps): To Katie? In Adelaide? No wonder we're up for a flamin' fortune, mate. I thought you'd have more sense. I mean, what's got into ya?
KERRY (warns): Joe, take it easy.
JOE (angrily): Take it easy? [To Toby] What in the hell's got into ya?
TOBY (tears welling up): I'm sorry. I just miss Katie a real lot. She was my best friend. I didn't have anyone *else* to talk to.
JOE (gently): Oh Toby...
TOBY: I'm sorry, dad, I never meant to.
Joe puts his arm round his son and says that if he knew he'd missed her *that* much.... Toby says he'll pay some of it back from his pocket money. Joe, however, says he reckons they can manage without that – but from now on, Toby has to ask first. Toby beams:
TOBY: You mean I can still ‘phone her?
JOE: Yeah – once a week... for five minutes!
Toby gives Joe a grateful hug. Kerry suggests that maybe they should invest in an egg timer for the ‘phone!
Reception area at the Robinson Corporation
The ‘phone rings and Melanie answers it. She's on her own. She tells the caller that she can't hear very well – it's a bad line. She hesitates and then tells the caller that that's better. She listens and then says curtly:
MELANIE: Oh, hello, Jane, it's Melanie ... I'm fine. Des isn't here ... Well, it's up to you if you want to try him at home, but if you've got any decency, you'll leave him alone. Haven't you hurt him enough already? ... Well of *course* he's hurt. Now that it's all over between you, why don't you just leave him alone and let him get on with his life?
With that, Melanie hangs up. Helen emerges from the office and sighs at Melanie that if she has to argue with her friends, she should do it at home. Melanie apologises and adds that it wasn't a friend. Helen asks if everything's all right. Melanie tells her:
MELANIE: Should be, now. I think they've got the message.
With that, Helen says she's off. Melanie wishes her a good night. Helen heads out. Melanie stands there shaking her head in disbelief at Jane!