- Philip and Ruth disagree over the colour of paint for Number 32.
- Madge gets irritated by Harold, and she tells him to relax or she's going back to Brisbane!
Philip, Hannah and Debbie are decorating the tree whilst Helen watches on. Hannah is bossing Debbie and Philip about over the decorations! Philip says that they need to decide what food they're taking to the Christmas party - everyone has to provide a different course and they've got the dessert. Hannah is keen to do it after her cake exploits with Anne but Philip isn't convinced. The phone rings and Philip answers it - it's Angie Rebecchi - and goes into the kitchen.
Helen calls Hannah over and kindly explains that a carrot cake isn't very Christmassy - they need mince pies or a Christmas pudding.
HANNAH: Well, I'll make the Christmas pudding then.
DEBBIE: (scornfully) Yeah, and we'll spend the next two weeks cleaning up the kitchen!
HANNAH: (to Helen) I can make the pudding but *she* can clean up the kitchen.
Debbie suggests just buying a pudding, but Helen insists that everything has to be home made. Helen suggests that they leave the mince pies to Philip, as he fancies himself as a bit of a cook! Philip comes back in.
PHILIP: That woman's incredible. She still thinks I'm some sort of financial genius.
DEBBIE: That *is* incredible.
PHILIP: Ah, careful!
Philip explains that the lease on the Coffee Shop is about to expire and Angie wants Philip to sort it out for her. Helen thinks a solicitor is needed but Philip is confident that he can do it - the only thing is, if one aspect isn't right, he'll never hear the end of it from Angie!
DEBBIE: (thoughtfully) The Coffee Shop's a pretty good business, isn't it?
PHILIP: Goldmine, I should think. But the Rebecchis need all their money for their new business.
There's a knock at the door. Philip comments that they're popular today! It's Lou and Lolly. Lou says that instead of doing presents for neighbours individually, they should do a Secret Santa. Helen thinks it's a fantastic idea. Lou says that when they're sorted, they should give the presents to him.
LOU: I'm going to be Santa Claus - I've booked the suit!
PHILIP: (patting Lou's stomach) Hahaha, good on ya, mate - you've got the tummy for it!
LOU: (patting Philip's stomach) Oi oi oi, you're not too far behind me, you know. In fact, a little in front, dare I say!
PHILIP: Careful, careful, careful!
They laugh. Philip says that as Lou's in a generous mood, can he do him a favour? Philip explains that his back isn't too good and he doesn't want to put it out again.
LOU: This sounds like hard work!
Lou puts a 20 litre pot of paint down in the kitchen whilst Ruth and Philip watch.
LOU: Strewth! No wonder you put your back out with this one, mate!
Philip grumbles that he hopes he got the right colour this time. Ruth agrees!
LOU: Why don't you buy it in 4 litre cans?
RUTH: Because Phil likes a bargain!
Ruth opens the tin and is pleased with the colour. Lou wonders if Ruth is aware about the Christmas traditions in the street. Ruth isn't but Lou says Philip will explain. Lou rushes off, but not before he brags about playing Santa Claus. Ruth thinks he'll make a great Santa.
Lou leaves and Philip wonders where the twins are - he thought they'd be helping. Ruth says that as soon as they heard there was work to be done, they were out of there like a shot! Philip goes to leave, when Ruth asks him to help with a dustsheet.
PHILIP: I thought my job was done when I delivered the paint!
RUTH: I promise you, this is the last favour I ask for.
PHILIP: Why do I find that hard to believe?
Debbie tells Hannah that Hannah is up to her neck in recipe books! They worry that she's getting over ambitious. Helen wants to speak to Hannah, but Debbie stops her - she wonders if Philip would consider taking up the lease to the Coffee Shop so that she could have a go at running it.
Helen is surprised but Debbie explains that she's worked there a fair bit and she knows she could do as good a job as Catherine does. Debbie wants something to put her mind to.
HELEN: Would you stick to it?
DEBBIE: Yeah, sure! I want to prove I can do something.
Helen thinks that it's a good idea, but she'd need to talk to Philip. Right on cue, Philip arrives home, moaning about how he's only just managed to escape before Ruth coerced him into helping her decorate.
Debbie springs the Coffee Shop idea on him, and Philip is a bit shocked. Debbie is very keen - and Helen supports her, but Philip seems a bit more wary. He points out that she's had no experience in managing a shop, and he thinks that they need to think seriously before they come to a decision.
Lou tells Madge that he's got the laugh down pat for Santa. Madge thinks he'll be wonderful and says that Harold used to love playing Santa - back in the days when he was fun to live with(!) Madge says that Harold is driving her up the wall, and Lou wonders why she's still trying.
MADGE: He's my husband.
LOU: He doesn't have to be. You lived without him for five years. Now he's making you unhappy - why don't you just tell him to toddle off?
Madge says she isn't ready to call it quits yet.
LOU: The man's got rocks in his head. Get rid of him. Marry me.
MADGE: (laughing) Are you proposing?
LOU: (seriously) Yes, I am.
Lou says that they were crazy to have split up - he's the sort of man who needs a woman in his life, and he thinks that woman is Madge. Madge is speechless!
Philip is making some sandwiches. Helen is talking to him about Debbie and the Coffee Shop. Helen is keen but Philip thinks that Debbie bounces from one thing to another - and she'll have forgotten all about it in a couple of days. Helen points out that Debbie isn't bouncing about anything at the moment - she's pretty downcast and feeling that her life isn't going anywhere. Philip doesn't think that the Coffee Shop is necessarily the path to take. Helen tells him that the decision is his!
PHILIP: (laughing) You women are very good about putting guilt on a bloke, aren't ya? I'm sure Ruth was hinting that I should be helping her with the painting.
HELEN: Well, so you should! It's your house after all.
PHILIP: She's the one who wanted it painted!
HELEN: So you left her there painting it all on her own? The whole house?
PHILIP: Only the inside!
HELEN: It'll take weeks! You should be ashamed of yourself, Philip.
PHILIP: Well, I'm not!
Philip explains that their arrangement was that he'd pay for the paint and she would paint it.
HELEN: You are mean!
Helen rebukes him - he's on holiday and he's at a loose end, so he could easily help Ruth out.
PHILIP: You're determined to make me feel guilty about this, aren't you?
There's a knock at the door. Philip picks up both his sandwiches and goes to answer it. It's Madge. He tells her Helen's in the kitchen and goes out of the door. Madge calls after him:
MADGE: Are you going somewhere?
PHILIP: Yeah, call it a guilt trip!
MADGE: (to Helen) He doesn't sound too happy!
HELEN: He'll get over it!
Madge asks if she can stay over in Number 26. Helen is surprised.
MADGE: I've got to get away from Harold, otherwise I'm going to do him an injury!
Helen guesses that they've had an argument. Madge says that she isn't sure she can live with him.
Philip has arrived to help Ruth out. Ruth is surprised to see him, and he's reluctant to explain his sudden change of heart! He tells her that he had a couple of hours to spare and it's the neighbourly thing to do. Ruth seems touched.
Madge is whinging about Harold's behaviour to Helen.
MADGE: And then there's the damned tuba playing.
HELEN: Yes, I have heard it, Madge!
Madge reveals that Lou proposed to her. Madge wonders if Lou was right - maybe they were daft to have given up on their relationship. Madge says that she told Lou that she'd think about it. Helen thinks Madge is in deep water!
Hannah and Debbie come in. They've fed Holly a cake, which is now spread all over the floor. Helen isn't impressed.
HELEN: I hope you're going to clear it up, you two.
MADGE: Get Harold in, he'll be in his element!
Hannah asks Madge for a recipe for Christmas pudding. Madge takes Hannah to one side to write it out. Debbie asks Helen if Philip has decided about the Coffee Shop. Helen says that Philip needs time.
There's a knock at the door. Helen says that if it's Harold, they'll let Madge and Harold be alone. Madge says she's spent quite enough time with Harold alone! It's Lou at the door, and Debbie slips out to see Luke. Madge and Hannah go into the kitchen.
Lou sits next to Helen, and asks if Madge has told her. He says that Madge isn't happy with "old jellybelly". Helen explains that Madge is staying at Number 26 to give her time to think.
Philip and Ruth are hard at work sanding down the walls. Philip is mulling over the situation with Debbie. He explains that he'd love to help Debbie out, but she has a history of picking things up and then dropping them. Philip says he needs to give it more thought, but he wishes it hadn't come up now - if he says no, it'll ruin Christmas.
Ruth says that she's worried about how the twins will cope at Christmas too. Philip guesses that it's their first one without their dad - Bill. Ruth is a bit upset because she went around to see if Bill had got them presents, only to be told by a neighbour that Bill and his new girlfriend have gone to Hawaii for a month!
PHILIP: (stunned) He hasn't done anything for Christmas for his kids?
RUTH: Apparently not. They're going to be terribly hurt. I thought about buying something and pretending it was from him but I think if they found out, it'd only make things worse.
Philip thinks he might send some money, or something from Hawaii. Ruth doesn't think it's likely - Bill has got very selfish.
RUTH: Not the sort who'd come around and help you to paint the house.
PHILIP: (chuckling) Reckon we'll have it finished in a day or two.
RUTH: Phil? ...thanks.
Lou spies Harold and calls him over. Lou purposely drops it to Harold that Madge is staying at Number 26. Harold is shocked and goes into Number 24.
A short note (Harold, I need a bit of space so I'll be staying at Helen's for a while. Regards, Madge) is propped up next to Harold's glasses case. Harold picks it up, reads it and then looks upset. He slowly changes his glasses over and picks the note up again.
He walks slowly into the living room, sits miserably on the sofa and eventually picks up his tuba. He starts to play King Wenceslas.
Number 32 - Kitchen
Ruth is trying to fill some holes in the wall. She says she's making a mess of it. Philip smiles and puts his hand over hers, and guides her through the motion, explaining what she has to do. She thanks him, and the pair start to gaze into each other's eyes. They lean in to kiss, but they break apart when they hear Debbie knocking at the door and yelling.
Ruth looks a bit bashful and yells Debbie to come in.
DEBBIE: (to Philip) Gran said you were here. We need to talk.
PHILIP: I'm busy right now.
DEBBIE: I really need to know about the Coffee Shop.
PHILIP: Can't it wait until I get home?
Debbie insists and Ruth excuses herself, saying that she'll see if any more filling needs doing elsewhere. Philip tells Debbie to give him the details.
Number 32 - Hall
Ruth walks out from the kitchen, and seems a bit overwhelmed by the kiss that almost happened.
Madge is helping Hananh with the pudding recipe. She hears Harold playing and thanks God that she's not at home! Madge thinks she should be thankful that Harold didn't come rushing over when he got the note. Helen says that Harold must be aware that Madge is upset, given that she's moved out. Madge is annoyed that he's playing the tuba - she thinks that shows where Harold's priorities lie. Helen suggests that Harold might be giving her some time.
HELEN: It seems to me, the thing you have to ask is whether you left Harold because of his annoying habits or...because of Lou.
Madge doesn't know. She says that whilst Harold has been 'dead', she's built up an idealised version of him in her mind - and he's nothing like it! She admits he probably never was anything like it, either!
HELEN: Harold's a good man - and he still is. And it's unfair of you to blame him for not being the person you fabricated in your own mind.
MADGE: So you think I should stay with him? Try and stick it out?
HELEN: Up to you!
Madge says that Helen's right - she has to make up her mind on her own...but she moans that Harold's tuba noise isn't helping her to think!
Number 32 - Hall
Ruth is in the hallway, filling some holes. Through the doorway, we can see Philip and Debbie talking. Debbie explains to Philip that Luke ran the Coffee Shop has a late night pizza place, and they did a great business. Ruth is still looking thoughtful.
Number 32 - Kitchen
Philip doesn't think Debbie's thought it through - she can't work both ends of the clock. Debbie says that Toadie and Catherine will both be working there too. Philip isn't keen, and says that the bottom line is that he doesn't want to have to run the Coffee Shop when she gets sick of doing it!
They disagree over the situation - Debbie reckons she has some great ideas, and talks about attracting young people, but Philip is even less convinced because he thinks Debbie is now spending money in her head that she hasn't yet earned. He thinks Debbie is getting carried away.
DEBBIE: Only because I want it so much.
PHILIP: How many times in the past have you really wanted something and then just let them fall by the wayside?
DEBBIE: I will stick to this. I promise.
PHILIP: I'm sorry, Deb. If I'm going to invest that kind of money, I need to know you have the maturity to see it through.
DEBBIE: So you're saying no?
PHILIP: I'm afraid so.
Debbie looks crushed but accepts his decision. She leaves through the back door. Philip looks unhappy.
Harold has packed a bag. A knock comes at the door and tentatively, he opens it - only to find Marlene, who's brought around some Christmas decorations as she'd got some spare. Harold comments that Helen donated some to him too. Harold says that he'll put them to one side for Madge, as he won't be staying around. Harold says there's no point in him staying if Madge can't live with him. Marlene is shocked that Madge just left him, but Harold explains that she left him a note - saying that she needed some space.
HAROLD: If you need some space, become an astronaut!
Marlene thinks that Madge might just need some time to herself. Harold says that she can have all the time that she wants! He says that he's going to move back into the hostel, and the auditions for the Salvation Army band are coming up, and if he gets a gig with them, he'll be touring the country anyway.
HAROLD: I won't have to impose my obnoxious personality upon Madge any more.
Marlene thinks that Harold should talk to her instead of walking away. Harold indignantly says that Madge has walked away from him. Marlene points out that Madge has only gone next door - it's a bit different from touring the country and never seeing her again!
Harold is very despondent and says that Madge would be much happier without him.
Philip and Ruth are still decorating.
RUTH: Debbie must've been disappointed.
PHILIP: Yeah. I feel pretty terrible.
RUTH: You have to do what you think is the right thing.
RUTH: Philip... Er, about before, um...
PHILIP: (interrupting) Yeah, it was er... I don't know what came over us, really. Silly. Carrying on like a couple of two year olds.
RUTH: Yeah. Sure.
PHILIP: Why don't we just get on with the painting, and the sooner it's done the better?
From Ruth's expression, it's clear that she doesn't feel the same as Philip - and she's disappointed that he's brushed it off so easily.
Madge walks in and sees all of Harold's things packed away ready to go. Harold walks in and he's in a dark mood.
MADGE: Marlene said you were leaving.
HAROLD: Marlene should mind her own business.
Madge says she's been thinking. Harold says he has too, and says that if she no longer wishes to be his wife, he isn't going to force himself on her.
MADGE: Oh, Harold. The mere thought of you forcing yourself on a woman is more than my imagination can cope with!
HAROLD: I seem to be quite a figure of fun to you. Go on then. Laugh away - because I won't be here to hear it.
Madge explains that when Marlene told her that Harold was leaving, it made Madge realise that she didn't want Harold to go. Madge is sure they can sort their problems out. Harold softens and says that he seems to have lots of annoying habits. Madge says she learnt to live happily with him once before - she's sure she can do so again.
MADGE: I want us to be together.
HAROLD: Oh, I hope so. I really...do hope so. Because if I can remember little else, I... I do remember how I love you.
MADGE: In spite of the fact that I'm a tough old biddy?
HAROLD: It seems like the heart doesn't lose its memory, eh?
MADGE: No, I don't think it does.
The pair hug.
Hannah shows the pudding mix to Helen and says that she hopes everyone realises what hard work it is. Helen is confident that if they don't realise, Hannah will tell them(!) Debbie arrives home and explains what happened with Philip. Helen is upset for Debbie, and Debbie starts to cry. Debbie explains that Philip thinks she's too immature - and look at her, he's right.
DEBBIE: Everything I get involved in ends up in some disaster!
HELEN: That's not true!
Debbie says that nothing ever works out for her. She says she's worthless. Helen tries to argue her out of it, but Debbie is having none of it.
DEBBIE: I'm just worthless, Gran.