Beverly unable to admit to Jim and Helen that Debra wants to give Rhys up for adoption.
In the lounge room, Bronwyn is helping Sharon decide what to wear for her date with Brad while, at the same time, Sharon tests Bronwyn for her exam. Matt asks Sharon where she's *going* with Brad, but Sharon retorts that Brad said it's going to be a surprise. She heads off to her room to get changed, asking Bronwyn as she does so about imaginary numbers. Bronwyn frowns that she's never heard of them! Left alone in the lounge room with Matt, she starts rifling through her text book. She asks Matt to help, but he shrugs that he doesn't even know what he's looking for! Bronwyn insists that he *must* have done it. Matt replies:
MATT: I forget, OK?
BRONWYN (looking sheepish): Yeah. Sorry.
MATT (sharply): What?
BRONWYN: I'd forgotten. Sorry.
MATT (tersely): Look, Bron, we did it early last year, OK? I just don't remember.
BRONWYN (warily): OK.
Jim, Beverly and Nick pull up in Jim's car outside No. 26 and Nick smiles that it's good to be home: he can't wait to get on his board and go for a ride! Beverly, however, tells him that he should take things easy for a while. They climb out of the car - and Nick immediately spots Sharon across the road with another guy. She looks at Nick and wanders over to him and asks him how he's feeling. He murmurs that he's fine. Sharon nods awkwardly that that's great. Nick then asks who the guy is and Sharon explains that he's Brad. There's an awkward silence. Sharon says eventually:
SHARON: I'd better get going. See you later.
She rejoins Brad, who puts his arm round her. Nick stands there looking upset.
Melanie and Madge are making Melanie's papier maché piggy banks in the kitchen and Madge says she shudders to think how long it is since she's made *anything* from papier maché! Harold and the Reverend Richards are sitting at the table and Melanie comments:
MELANIE: You know, Reverend, the guy who gave me my very first piggy bank looked a bit like you!
REVEREND RICHARDS: Oh, did he?
MELANIE: Yeah. The only person I've ever met who really knew how to appreciate pigs!
Harold tries to change the subject back to the number of stalls they need for the fête, but Melanie continues talking to Reverend Richards:
MELANIE: Still, I bet you're not like the guy who gave me my first piggy bank!
REVEREND RICHARDS: Why's that, Melanie?
MELANIE: Well, you're a Reverend and everything! Phil - that was his name. He wasn't very interested in religion. As a matter of fact, he was only interested in one thing - and it wasn't pigs...
HAROLD (quickly): I'm sure the Reverend is not the least bit interested in your adventures, Melanie!
Madge finishes wrapping a balloon in papier maché and says she'll buy some pipe cleaners tomorrow for tails. She then says:
MELANIE: Phil - that guy—
HAROLD (sharply): We've heard *enough* about Phil, Melanie.
MELANIE: But this is really funny! He used to stick little matches up my piggy's little snout, and when I'd ask him what he was doing he'd say he was picking the piggy bank. Get it? 'Picking the piggy bank'. He was such a funny guy!
She then suggests that she could wear a pig mask when she's selling the money boxes! She adds:
MELANIE: I'd need a model. Mr. Bishop, *you've* got sort of the right-shaped face!
Madge grins broadly! Harold snaps that he most certainly won't do it. Melanie asks the Reverend if *he'll* model, but Harold snaps at her that she should stop being so absurd!
Radio station studio
Henry is doing talkback with a guy on the 'phone who thinks he saw a UFO! He grins broadly as the guy talks about his mate, Stan, who has also been on a UFO - as well as organising the over-70s assault on Everest, the Veterans' iron-man competition, the senior citizens' hang-gliding competition and the sexagenarian full-body-contact karate championships! He asks the guy who this Stan *is*, but the guy just tells Henry that it's been nice talking to him, and he hangs up! Henry sits there looking amused!
Kerry is sitting reading Matt's essay. When she's finished, she smiles at Matt that she thinks it's great: he not only covered all the ground they talked about, but gave it a real perspective. Matt smiles that he couldn't have done it without her help. Kerry tells him:
KERRY: This really is impressive work - you've got every reason to be proud of it, especially given your problems and everything.
MATT (looking annoyed): My problems. You mean the 'learning difficulties'.
KERRY (meekly): Yeah.
MATT: Kerry, who told you about that?
KERRY (admits): Hilary. I'm sorry - I didn't mean to embarrass you.
MATT: No, I'm not embarrassed; I just didn't think the whole *world* knew.
KERRY: It's nothing to be ashamed of.
MATT (snaps): How would *you* know?
Matt then says he's sorry: he didn't mean it. Kerry insists that he really has written a very good assignment. Matt takes it back and says he'll see her later. He walks off, leaving Kerry sighing heavily.
The papier maché session is still going. The radio is playing, and Melanie comments that Henry's a natural DJ. Madge replies that he's always loved the sound of his own voice! Melanie goes on that he was really good with those old guys. Madge, however, remarks that that was odd: at least half a dozen of them 'phoned in the last hour with their tall stories. At the table, Reverend Richards tells Harold that he thinks they're done. Melanie says to Madge that she thought those old guys were really sweet: she thinks it would be wonderful to have stories like that to tell. She then says:
MELANIE: Maybe that's why I'm always interested in older men! Did you know, Reverend, that I once went out with a guy that was 45 years old?
REVEREND RICHARDS: No, I didn't.
MELANIE: Well, he was *almost* 45, but he was still very active - if you know what I mean!
HAROLD (looking horrified): Good heavens, will you look at the time, Reverend. I suppose you'll have to start thinking about moving.
The Reverend, however, insists that he's not in any desperate hurry. Madge muses to Melanie:
MADGE: Forty-five and still active... imagine that!
MELANIE: Yeah, it's amazing, isn't it? I know some younger guys you have to prod with a sharp stick to get anything out of!
HAROLD (quickly): Melanie, I am quite sure that the Reverend isn't the slightest bit interested in your love life - past *or* present. He is, after all, a man of the cloth.
MELANIE: What's *that* got to do with it? We're all the same underneath, aren't we, Reverend?
REVEREND RICHARDS: Oh, in a broad sense, yeah, I suppose!
MELANIE: I read 'The Thorn Birds'!
MELANIE: Haven't you read it? Oh, Reverend, you've *got* to read it.
REVEREND RICHARDS: No, I haven't read it.
MELANIE: Oh, it's fantastic! It's a great book! It's about this really, really yummy priest and this girl who falls desperately in love with him. She follows him all over the world and he has to keep going to the Vatican to have his soul admonished, but it doesn't work. He's got lust in his eyes...
As Melanie keeps talking, Harold sits there with a look of despair on his face!
The next morning, Jim joins Beverly in the kitchen, having fed Rhys from his bottle. Beverly smiles that he's a magician! Jim tells her that he was the only one who could get Lucy to take a full feed - and by the time Debra's ready to take Rhys back, the little fella will settle into a regular routine. Beverly starts to say something, but is interrupted by Nick coming in and asking Jim for a lift. Beverly asks him if he's feeling all right. Nick explains that he just doesn't feel like walking. Beverly realises:
BEVERLY: With Sharon and Matt. Look, it *is* possible to stay friends after a relationship.
NICK: I know. We're still friends. I just don't want to see her at the moment.
With that, Jim kisses Beverly goodbye and he and Nick head out.
Sharon joins Matt in the lounge room and he asks her how her date with Brad went. She tells him that they went to the basketball: he was playing. Matt bursts out laughing that he really knows how to show a girl a good time! Sharon insists indignantly:
SHARON: He was very nice. He was really... polite.
MATT (teases): Polite is good. I always said that manners were really important in a long-term relationship!
The 'phone starts ringing suddenly and Sharon goes and answers it. Bronwyn comes on. Sharon listens and says:
SHARON: Assignment? Yeah, there's a folder on the couch. ... Yeah, I'll bring it over after school. ... Yeah, no problem. ... Bye.
At the Coffee Shop, Bronwyn hangs up. Henry comes in and gives her a kiss and he then spots Melanie sitting on her own at a table and joins her. She's folding pipe-cleaners. Henry asks her what she's doing and she explains that she's making pig's tails for her piggy banks. She adds that once they're painted - and she's going to ask Helen to do them! - they will look amazing and will make heaps of money. From a few feet away, Harold chuckles:
HAROLD: Pigs might fly...
MELANIE: Pardon, Mr. Bishop?
HAROLD: Well, Melanie, now, I've been meaning to speak to you - about the way you spoke to Reverend Richards last night.
MELANIE: What was wrong with it? *He* didn't seem to mind. I thought he was *nice*. In fact, I thought I might even make him a special Reverend Pig money-box!
HAROLD: Well, now, you see, I don't think that would be appropriate.
MELANIE: Well, why not?
HAROLD (sitting down at the table): Well, with you giving him presents and then talking about [he lowers his voice] 'The Thorn Birds'—
HENRY: (laughs): 'The Thorn Birds'?!
HAROLD: Yes. Well, he might think you've got your sights set on him.
HAROLD: Have you?
MELANIE: Don't be silly! Of course not - he's *much* too young! Anyway, he's a Reverend. Well, he hasn't really *done* much, has he? I like a more *sophisticated* man - someone who's really lived.
With that, Melanie starts slurping up the milkshake she's drinking through a straw in a very mature way!
A woman is sitting with Kerry in the lounge room at No. 32, telling her:
WOMAN: The sample responses you did for 'Dear Georgette' were extremely... interesting.
WOMAN: Did you deliberately make them provocative, knowing they weren't for publication?
KERRY (looking surprised): I didn't think that they *were* provocative; I mean, I didn't *mean* them to be. I suppose I might've been a bit blunt with some, but generally I just said what I thought was right.
The woman assures Kerry that it was good advice, but some of her readers tend to be fairly conservative and would have found some of her thinking too liberal. Kerry suggests that she could tone them down a bit. The woman, however, says:
WOMAN: Oh no, I don't believe in watering down your principles; it's just that I don't think our readers would accept those attitudes belong to Georgette. I mean, they're so far removed from anything Mrs. Mangel would have offered.
KERRY (flatly): I see.
WOMAN: So... I suggest we change the name of the column.
KERRY (looking astonished): You mean I've got the job?
WOMAN: Of course! So, let's start afresh. What do you think about 'Dear George'?
KERRY: Sure! Why not? Why a man's name?
WOMAN: It'll make maintaining the secret a bit easier. You'd be surprised how much people want to know who George is. Using a man's name will help keep them on the wrong track.
KERRY: Fair enough! 'George' it is!
The woman then says that since the letters used in Kerry's submission were genuine, they'll use those first up and then she'll forward others as they come in. She adds that the thing to remember about this sort of job is that discretion is of paramount importance: the fewer people who know Kerry is 'George', the better.
In the lounge room, Beverly places Rhys in his basket as Jim arrives home for lunch. He asks Beverly how her morning's been and she tells him that Lucy called: she managed to get off school early and will be home tomorrow for Helen's birthday. Jim realises that he hasn't bought a present yet. He then asks how Rhys is and Beverly smiles that he's been as good as gold. Jim comments:
JIM: I reckon he was really lucky to find you, just when he needed someone to care. Pretty difficult, too: it's hard *not* to become attached to the little mite - but all-in-all, I reckon it's been good for the whole lot of us.
He heads through to the kitchen. Beverly follows him and starts to say hesitantly:
BEVERLY: Jim, when Debra called yesterday...
JIM: To say she was putting things off for a while?
BEVERLY: Well, that's just it: I didn't exactly tell you the whole story. She's decided to have Rhys adopted out.
JIM (murmurs): I see.
BEVERLY: I didn't mean to lie to you. I'm sorry. It's just that... I just wanted to keep him a little bit longer...
Harold is sitting at a table with Kerry and Sky. Bronwyn serves them and then asks Harold if she can leave early to go to the library once Sharon has dropped her assignment in. Harold nods that that should be all right. Bronwyn leaves them. Kerry then says to her father:
KERRY: Dad... you know when Mrs. Mangel used to write for the Erinsborough News as 'Dear Georgette'...
KERRY: Well, it was pretty popular, wasn't it?
HAROLD (warns): Kerry, Mrs. Mangel was often up to here [he indicates his chin] in hot water over that column. Do you know, there was one poor soul who lost his job because he took her advice?
KERRY: I didn't know that.
HAROLD: Yes, well, looking for some glib solution in fifty words or less in the popular press is not always the way to solve your personal problems.
Kerry points out that nobody's obliged to *follow* the advice. Harold, however, chuckles and tells her not to underestimate the power of the press or the gullibility of the general public. He then adds quickly:
HAROLD: *You* weren't thinking of writing in, were you?
KERRY: No! No, no, of course not.
HAROLD: That's good, because I like to think you could come to *me* with any problems, rather than one of those so-called experts.
The Reverend Richards comes into the shop suddenly, and Harold leaps up to join him, telling him he wants to apologise for Melanie's behaviour last night. He explains that she's like that with everyone: she's a nice enough girl, but a little on the scatty side! The Reverend Richards remarks that that's a pity, as he was quite flattered! He adds:
REVEREND RICHARDS: Spreading the gospel and enjoying the attentions of an attractive young woman aren't mutually exclusive, you know, Harold?
HAROLD: No, no. I suppose not...
Harold doesn't look impressed, though.
Nick arrives home from school, sits down at the kitchen table and gets his books out. Beverly asks in surprise what the rush is. Nick explains that he didn't want to hang round with the others, so thought he'd make a start on his homework. Beverly realises:
BEVERLY: 'The others' being Sharon.
NICK: Yes. Anyway, I've got to catch up on the stuff I missed while I was in hospital. Now's a good time.
Beverly warns him not to work too hard. She then heads through to the lounge room, where Jim is sitting on the couch with some papers in front of him. She asks how it's going and he tells her that he can't afford to leave the workshop closed much longer. She sits down with him and says she's sorry about the baby. Jim puts his arm around her and replies:
JIM: I've been doing some thinking. I have to admit that I've got used to having the little fella around the place - and it's pretty obvious how *you* feel about him; so, if Debra really doesn't want him, perhaps we ought to look into getting legal custody.
BEVERLY (looking surprised but delighted): You mean it?!
Jim gives her a kiss.
Matt and Sharon are walking through the complex, approaching the bridge. Matt asks Sharon if she's going out with Brad again tonight. Sharon retorts that yes, she is. Matt asks who he's playing this evening! Sharon tells her that he's *not*; they're going to a sports presentation. Matt muses that that's very slick! Sharon tells him that she happens to have borrowed a very sexy top from Tess to wear tonight: she thinks it's going to be wonderful. They start crossing the bridge as Matt grins and asks what kind of a sexy top one *wears* to a sports presentation. He grabs at the bag Sharon is holding - which is open at the top. Sharon pulls back. Matt manages to get hold of the bag and he holds it out over the side of the bridge. Sharon goes to grab, but only succeeds in pushing it out of Matt's hand. It falls straight into the water. Bronwyn, who's serving at a table outside the Coffee Shop, sees what happens, puts down the tray she's holding and dashes over. Matt is snapping at Sharon that she knocked the bag out of his hand. Bronwyn joins them and says tersely:
BRONWYN: Sharon, where's my assignment?
Sharon looks at the water: some sheets of paper are floating on the top. Bronwyn exclaims in horror:
BRONWYN: All that *work*...