Cameron is commenting to Pam and Gaby that there's not much going on in Erinsborough at the moment. Gaby points out that there's Beth and Brad's engagement. Pam adds that Cameron could write about *them*. Cameron muses:
CAMERON: Yes... What *does* compel a happy, care- free surfie, who avoids responsibility at any cost, to propose to his beautiful, casual girlfriend?
Gaby remarks that it sounds like he doesn't approve. Cameron replies that he's happy for them, if that's what Brad wants - but he never gave any indication that he was ready to commit. Pam says she'd better start letting the rellies know about it. Cameron says he wrote a letter to gramps with the news. Gaby slaps his hand, saying *she* wanted to do that. Pam comments that she hasn't seen Granddad Willis in years. Gaby, however, admits sheepishly that she caught up with him in Japan: his ship was in port for three days. Pam sighs at her that Doug would be furious if he knew: if he finds out she's been in touch with Bert, there'll be hell to pay.
Hannah is staring out the front window and Jim asks what she's looking at. Hannah replies:
HANNAH: My house.
She goes on that her dad's never there anymore, and he never comes over to visit her. Helen insists that he's just busy. Hannah cries that her parents *hate* each other. Helen tells her gently that her mummy isn't very well and her daddy has a lot on his plate. Jim adds that things will be back to normal very soon. Hannah heads off to her room, leaving Helen to remark to Jim that it's time they made a concerted effort to lift the girl's spirits. She asks Jim how that surprise is coming along. Jim replies that the man said there should be a new shipment coming in today; it should be there by now.
Stephen walks into No. 30 and joins Phoebe in the lounge room. She gives in a taste of a smoothie she's made in the new food processor. Stephen sips it and then tells Phoebe hesitantly that he got the sack today as Tony didn't take very kindly to him refusing to rig the sales figures. Phoebe exclaims that Tony's a creep. She then tells Stephen that she's proud of him; he did the right thing. Stephen asks what they're going to do for money now. Phoebe points out that at least he's kept his dignity. Stephen muses that that's not going to pay the bills.
Doug arrives home and hands Gaby a letter - telling her curtly that it's from Captain Bert Willis. There's silence around the table. Doug demands to know:
DOUG: Why is my father writing to you?
GABY: Well... he's probably received Cam's letter about Brad getting engaged.
DOUG (sternly): Look, I'll thank you not to go gossiping about family business to him.
GABY: He's got a right to know what his grandson's doing. I was going to write *myself*.
DOUG (snaps): He's got *no* right where this family's concerned.
CAMERON: Come on, Unc...
DOUG (firmly): I don't want you getting in touch with him about this. Understood?
Gaby then admits that, actually, she and Bert have been in touch for years. Doug frowns at her and exclaims that she's been writing behind his back for *years*? Gaby retorts that if her father's got some gripe with Bert, that's *his* problem, not hers. Cameron asks what went on between them, but Doug retorts that it's none of his business. Pam points out that Bert *is* their grandfather. Doug just tells Gaby that there are to be no more letters.
Hannah has her eyes shut. A cage is put down in front of her and Helen tells her that she can look now. The cage contains a kitten and Hannah beams that it's gorgeous. She lifts it out and smiles that she loves it. Jim tells her that the man at the pet shop said it was a bit crackers, so he thought it would fit in there! Hannah smiles that that's what she'll call him: Crackers the cat!
Stephen hangs up the 'phone and tells Phoebe disappointedly that Philip gave the last vacancy at Lassiter's to Annalise. He asks how the budget is looking and Phoebe replies that they've still got a couple of hundred to play with, so it's not critical yet. Stephen asks when the rent's due. Phoebe admits:
STEPHEN (mutters): Great...
Phoebe suggests that maybe she could get a casual job. Stephen points out that she can't leave Hope. Phoebe, however, points out that she may not have a choice.
Jim is cleaning the house and Helen comments to him that she gathers people are coming to look round. Jim nods that she gathers right. Helen tells him that it's obvious there are no real buyers out there; why doesn't he put it off until the market improves? Jim retorts that he expects things to get better now that he's dropped the price; he wants to sell the place so he can get *out* of there. Helen asks him in surprise how he can think of moving when his daughter has so many problems; the whole family needs his support. She adds that the only security Hannah has is them and this house; how does he think all this talk of moving is affecting *her*? Jim insists:
JIM: I certainly won't leave Hannah while she needs me. But Julie and Philip will sort things out and she can move back with them.
HELEN: I still think you'll regret leaving Ramsay Street. I mean, you've lived here for so long; you've so many *memories* here.
JIM (sighs): Nothing you can say will change my mind. I am selling the house, so would you please stop harping on about it?
He walks off, leaving Helen to murmur to herself:
HELEN: Not while there's breath left in my body.
Phoebe pushes Hope into the Coffee Shop in her pushchair and Cathy starts fussing over her. While she does so, Phoebe asks how business is, and Cathy replies that they're busy as usual. Phoebe says she could spare some time to help. Cathy insists that she wouldn't expect Phoebe to work there when she's got Hope to enjoy. Phoebe says she could bring Hope *with* her, but Cathy replies that it's not a healthy environment for a baby. Phoebe suggests putting her into childcare for a few hours, but Cathy tells her that it would eat up her wage. She thanks Phoebe but adds that she can manage; Phoebe should just relax and enjoy motherhood. Phoebe stands there looking disappointed.
Doug is about to head off to work when Gaby stops him and tells him that she read her granddad's letter. Doug snaps that he said he didn't want that man's name mentioned in the house. Gaby says Bert is really excited about Brad's engagement - and he said in his letter that he's coming to see them. Doug growls:
DOUG: Oh no he isn't. Now, you write back to him and tell him he's not welcome.
GABY: The letter wouldn't get there in time: he's arriving tomorrow!
DOUG: Have you got his 'phone number?
GABY: I could find it out, I suppose...
DOUG: Well, ring him then.
Pam sighs and suggests to Doug that surely he can try and be civil to the poor bloke for a few hours while he visits his grandchildren? Doug, however, just warns Gaby:
DOUG: You'd better make sure that that man doesn't set one foot in this house - tomorrow or any *other* day.
Gaby looks at her mother in concern.
Benito is sitting at a table with Cathy, telling her that when he makes a sale, he gets this amazing adrenaline rush. Helen comes in and Cathy asks what she can get her. Helen asks for a cheesecake and Cathy goes to get it. Helen then sits down with Benito and tells him that she wants to ask a favour of him. She goes on:
HELEN: Did you know that Jim is selling- up and leaving Ramsay Street?
BENITO (frowns): Er... where does that leave *you*?
HELEN: I'm not thinking as far ahead as that. Actually, I thought we might be able to change his mind.
BENITO (warily): *We*?
HELEN: Mmm. You see, he feels that he doesn't *belong* here anymore: that business with Pam, and you and he don't exactly see eye- to- eye at times...
Benito says there's nothing *he* can do. Helen, however, tells him that Jim feels he needs to be needed - and she asks Benito to ask Jim's advice on something; make him feel that he's the only person Benito can turn to for his problem. Benito sighs that Jim always gets on his high- horse; he'd take it as some kind of victory. Helen pleads with him to give it a try.
Stephen is holding a hospital bill and Phoebe tells him that she's sorry: she thought all her medical treatment was covered, but that covers hospital extras she didn't even *think* about. Stephen comments that it just makes it more urgent that he gets a job. He suggests that he could sell the car and use public transport to get to job interviews; running a car's an expense they can do without. Phoebe stares at Hope in her crib, unhappily.
Benito is sitting on the couch at No. 26, asking Hannah to get the cat off him! Hannah does so. Helen comes in from the back garden with Jim, who comments to Benito that he wanted to see him? Benito tells him through gritted teeth that he'd like his advice about something: he's been admiring the Martins' garden and he believes Jim is responsible for the new look over there. He goes on:
BENITO: I was hoping that maybe you could come over to our place and, er, maybe, er, give me a few pointers on how to improve *ours*.
Jim nods that it would be a pleasure. Benito stands up, smiling that he can't believe his luck: having a gardener in the same street! He goes on:
BENITO: *Every* neighbourhood should have a Jim Robinson to turn to for advice. Yeah. I mean, what would we do if you ever *left* Ramsay Street?! Gosh, I hate to think about it. Well, let's just hope it never happens.
Helen looks away in despair! Jim tells Benito angrily that he can cut it out. He then asks Helen if she put Benito *up* to this. Helen points out that they're just trying to prove how valuable he is. Jim turns back to Benito and snaps at him:
JIM: You can take your patronising, phony sentiments and get out my house.
BENITO (retorts): Gladly. And I couldn't care less if you *do* leave.
He storms out, leaving Jim to growl at Helen:
JIM: When will you learn to butt out?
Stephen is vacuuming the inside of his car when he sees Benito marching out of No. 26. He calls over to him and Benito snaps:
BENITO: What do *you* want?
He then apologises, saying Jim Robinson does that to him. He takes a deep breath and says he's OK now. Stephen then asks him how he'd like to buy his car for the yard. Benito suggests they have a look under the bonnet. He lifts it up and then looks at the engine and around the car body, spotting a couple of dents and a lot of Ks on the clock. He then offers $1,500. Stephen exclaims that she's worth *twice* that amount. He adds that he might shop around, just in case. Benito tells him that this offer is only valid here and now. Stephen asks him if he's sure $1,500 is all she's worth. Benito nods that in this economic climate, he's afraid so. Stephen accepts the offer and the two men shake hands.
Gaby hangs up the 'phone and tells her mother that if she wants to see her grandfather then she should be able to. Pam suggests that Gaby could meet up with him somewhere else; Doug need never know. Gaby murmurs that she'd feel guilty about going behind her dad's back. Pam says:
PAM: I think deep- down Doug's terribly hurt about the whole thing - whatever it is.
GABY: Do you know if they've ever tried to make up?
PAM: I doubt it. They haven't spoken for years and years; they don't seem to *want* to.
GABY: Then why does granddad want to come over?
PAM (shrugs): I don't know.
GABY: It could mean that he wants to mend some fences.
PAM: Could be - but if he's hoping for a full- blown reconciliation, he's wasting his time; all he'll succeed in doing by coming here is getting Doug even angrier.
She then tells Gaby to give her Bert's number so that *she* can ring him; if he gets within coo- ee of Ramsay Street, Doug will blow his cool, and their family's had more than enough emotional hassles lately.
Stephen sits down with Phoebe, who's holding Hope, saying he shouldn't have accepted Benito's offer so quickly. Phoebe tells him not to worry about it: they have fifteen- hundred wonderful dollars to play with and he'll get another job before it all goes. Stephen says he knows it's pretty scary, but he won't let her and Hope down.
Cameron is making some tea as Helen sits at the kitchen table and tells him that she's run out of ideas. Cameron suggests that maybe no one will *buy* the house. Helen, however, says that Jim's dropped the price, she's sure it'll go - and besides, who wouldn't want to live in such a quiet, friendly street? Cameron nods that it *has* got a lot going for it. Helen muses suddenly:
HELEN: Perhaps that's the answer?
CAMERON (blankly): I don't follow.
HELEN: What if we showed his potential buyers a more- unsavoury side of the street?
CAMERON (smiles): In order to turn them off?!
HELEN: Mmm. If all the neighbours pull together, we could make it appear that living here would be hell on earth.
CAMERON (admonishes light- heartedly): Helen!
HELEN (laughs): Well, if we want him to stay, we have to be ruthless! You in?
CAMERON: Well... it wouldn't be the same here without Jim. OK - I think I can play the part of 'undesirable neighbour'! As a matter of fact, I'm looking forward to it!
Cathy is mopping the floor before closing up, when Benito walks in. Cathy asks him where he's been, as Frank and Margaret are expecting them. Benito tells her that he's just taken his new acquisition for a spin. Cathy snaps:
CATHY: Don't you talk to *me* about Stephen's car. I think it's *shameful* the way you took advantage of that boy.
BENITO (exclaims): Took advantage? I had to *push* the thing halfway here.
He growls that that's $1,500 down the sump. He adds that Stephen must have known what condition it was in. Cathy, however, growls at Benito that he thought he'd conned Stephen and he deserves what he got.
Pam is looking out through the front window. She spots Doug coming up the path and she calls to Gaby to get ready for the fireworks. The front door opens and Doug comes in. Pam gives him a kiss and tells him to come and sit down. The two of them sit and Gaby joins them, handing Doug a beer. Doug looks at them and smiles that this is terrific: here he was, thinking he was going to come home to another argument about his father! He goes on:
DOUG: I know how hard it must be for you, Gaby, to have to ring your grandfather and put him off, but believe you me, it's for the best.
Pam, however, tells him:
PAM: Gaby didn't ring Bert. *I* did.
DOUG (shrugs): Oh. Well. Whatever.
PAM: Um... actually, Doug, Bert and I had a long chat.
DOUG (warily): Pam, you did tell him he couldn't come and visit tomorrow...?
PAM: Oh yes, yes, yes, I told him.
PAM: I invited him to stay for a *while* instead.
Doug sits there looking furious.