- Madge and Harold talking about Lou's "Inner Samaritan".
- Phil and Ruth making up.
- Karl and Susan discovering Toadie's deception over the vase.
Walk towards the light, my child, do not be afraid…
No, it's not a near-death experience, or a re-run of Ghost, Karl's holding a flashlight so Lance and Toadie can rummage around in the garbage for every last piece of the vase. He tells them that when they're done they can come inside and clean up some of the paint circles that are now all over the place. He leaves them to it, handing Lance the flashlight.
Toadie immediately wants to know why he can't hold it – Lance says he's done enough, he's not going home with dirty clothes. He wonders how much the china repair man is going to cost and Toadie replies that they'll figure out how to pay for it tomorrow. Lance has only just finished paying for Karl's car, and now this.
LANCE: Man you are trouble.
And yet you still hang out with him…
Ruth is on the phone to someone, wondering if they'd asked anyone else. No? Well, maybe it would be better as just the two of them after all.
RUTH: OK, bye Phil.
LANCE: Was that Philip?
And we wondered why he might need to be kept back.
Lance talks about the session he's got with Toadie – maths (presumably them working out finances…) – and says he's learning lots so probably won't need to be in the catch up classes for long. When he asks what she has planned for the day she tells him about her meeting with Phil for the PTA. Which will be just them.
RUTH: Just get too bogged down.
LANCE: Too crowded you mean.
Ruth stops playing random notes on the piano and states that she is the president, Phil is the treasurer, they have to work together. When she finds out Lance is meeting Toadie for another study session she tells him she's very proud of how he's handling the whole situation.
Lou owns the rust bucket, I mean, bus. Signed, sealed, bought and paid for. Madge declares them both blind and says that instead of hard work a can of petrol and a match is needed. The boys are full of enthusiasm but Madge doesn't share it in the slightest.
Lou's on the phone to someone, plugging the bus' charity angle. As a result he scores a donation of 40 litres of paint, and he tells Marlene that he's going to apply for the charity tax exemption – that should help the bottom line. Marlene points out that the idea of charity is to help others, not yourself.
When Karl comes in Marlene comments on not seeing him around much recently. Karl says he's been getting a fair bit of locum work, getting his hand back.
KARL: What about Phil and Ruth, hey?
LOU: What about Phil and Ruth?
The gossip king has said to much but Marlene's already baited. Karl says that there's more there than meets the eye and swears them to secrecy.
Yeah. Wonder how long it'll be before she tells someone?
Marlene's telling Libby about the romance between Phil and Ruth (to answer my previous question: three seconds), wondering how long it's all been going on. She swears Lib to secret and Lib promises to keep it quiet.
Libby then asks how Lou's plans for the bus are going and Marlene says that it's now a joint venture with Harold; restaurant and soup kitchen combined. Libby smells a story and Marlene advises talking to Harold. Marlene reminds her not to say a word about "you know".
The local gossip and a journalist…?
In the kitchen Toadie asks Lance if he's found a china repairer for the vase yet. He has, and it'll cost a fortune. Toadie's next question? How many tutoring sessions will it take? Lance doesn't want to keep ripping his mum off.
TOADIE: The longer you're dumb, the quicker we pay off the china man. And we don't want to be in debt for the rest of our lives, do we?
Nope. To do that you just need to go to Uni, travel, have some semblance of a life…
Madge tells Helen about the bus and Helen says that Reuben once owned it.
It costs nothing to remember past characters, I really don't know why they don't do it more often because people do talk about dear departed loved ones, little mentions like this are what those who've watched for years treasure and those who haven't gloss over.
But moving back to the kitchen of number 26, Madge says that Harold's got no money and the bus is a wreck. Helen points out that maybe it's not the money that Harold wants to spend. She suspects that if Harold undertakes this venture then he'll be committed for quite some time. Madge, however, is no longer listening, but has noticed something in Helen's mail. A letter, addressed to Harold, return address is Claudia Harvey but that's not what Madge is concerned about. It's the "SWALK" on the back.
Sealed with a loving kiss.
Lance completes a math problem, earning thumbs up from Toadie. When Toadie notices Ruth coming in he tells Lance to stay out of sight and let him do the talking. Lance's only request is that he doesn't make him look like a complete idiot.
Ruth thanks Toadie for all the help he's given Lance and says that she's sure Lance will speed through the catch up classes with Toadie's help. There's a small sigh from the Toad and he tells Ruth that maybe he went overboard with the encouragement. Lance isn't stupid, but he's still got a way to go.
Listening from the kitchen, Lance is far from impressed as to how he's being portrayed.
Ruth affirms her commitment to Lance's study sessions and when she's gone the boy himself puts in an appearance. He's not happy with how Toadie made him look but Toadie replies that now they can pay for the vase.
Harold comes home from his walk and Madge hands over his mail. He says he's had some ideas for the bus and Madge is eager to hear about them. She'll make a cup of tea and he can tell all while he reads his mail. One of Harold's ideas is to take on the long-term unemployed to staff the bus – he should talk to Lou about it. Madge says he should… after he's read his mail. There's a knock at the door and he goes to answer it… no, stay there, read the mail…
I think Madge missed the point of subtlety.
Libby was at the door and asks Harold about the bus, saying she'd like to do a piece on it for the paper. She asks when would be a good time and Harold drops his mail on the side to give Libby his undivided attention.
Lou serves Phil two lemon squashes and declares that at least it's got bubbles, "just like the real thing". What? Lemonade? Traditionally lemonade had no bubbles, it was a still drink made with lemon juice and spring water. Lou declares that he meant champagne, stopping me before I can research on Wiki the history of the drink. Ruth declares that they have nothing to celebrate as yet, Phil chiming in that things are a mess financially.
The PTA, that's why they're there. Lou covers his behaviour saying he's just excited about the bus. Good food, good views, moonlit city… quite romantic. Phil and Ruth say that they need good fundraising ideas for the PTA and donating the bus' maiden voyage to them would be that – and good publicity for Lou. He says he'll think about it before leaving them to their business. Alone…
Harold's boring Libby with the details of the bus, stressing the issue that they're there to help, show those in need that people still care. Madge says that Libby gets the point, from the look on Libby's face all she wants to get is out of there. When she's gone Madge hands over Harold's mail. He says he wants to go and see Lou but at her insistence he takes the mail with him to read on the way.
Harold tells Marlene about being able to drum up some publicity for the bus before heading off to catch up with Lou. He passes Lance and Toadie who are stopped by Marlene. She tells Lance that she's heard the news about his mother and she's thrilled for the pair of them. In fact, she reckons that Phil will make a very good father figure.
LANCE: For who?
MARLENE: For you!
Marlene declares that all boys need a role model to show them right from wrong. And Ruth can't do that because…? I also think Lance is a bit beyond that "right from wrong stage" by about ten years or so.
When she's gone Toadie jokes about Phil and Ruth but Lance dismisses it, saying she doesn't know what she's talking about.
Karl is cleaning the piano, presumably to remove the paint that Toadie and Lance were supposed to the night before, while Libby says that Harold can talk. She's got a lot of information but concedes it should make a good article. The longer it takes though, the more articles she can squeeze out of it.
Karl fumes about Toadie – the paint has ruined the French polish. On cue, the guy himself walks in and is promptly given the job of removing the rest of the paint. Karl wants to know if they've found someone to repair the vase and hopes that they're a professional. Toadie replies that she is, Mrs K will get her vase back, and he feels bad enough already as he knows how much it means to her.
Ruth and Phil come home and are pretty much set upon by Lance who, after a few pointed comments, says that he doesn't see why they should need to run off to be together.
Oh Lance. You suspect that they're having an affair, remind me one day to explain to you what an affair actually entails. Sneaking around is a good proportion of it.
Lance isn't happy that apparently they'll tell half the street they're an item but they won't tell him? Ruth and Phil are a little confused by this and say they don't know what's going on, but after finding out Marlene's involved they're going to sort it out. Now.
Harold is telling Lou about Libby's interest and then moots his idea about getting the long-term unemployed to staff the bus. Lou's not interested until he hears about the government subsidies for doing that. Marlene comes in and Lou tells her about Harold's brainwave about the government helping to foot the wages bill.
Phil and Ruth are the next ones in, accosting Marlene over what she said to Lance. They state that they are not having a relationship and Marlene stammers that Karl seemed pretty certain that morning. As Phil and Ruth leave to talk to Karl, Lou comments that maybe they got it wrong.
MARLENE: Maybe, maybe not. Rumours just don't start from nowhere.
Obviously never been in the nf.com spoiler forum then.
Outside the pub Ruth is suddenly all for dropping the subject while Phil is still wanting to get to the bottom of this. Ruth admits that her and Susan had talked after the meeting the other day – about the kiss on Christmas Day. She reckons that Susan got the wrong end of the stick and just wants to forget the whole thing. Phil smiles and says that he'd love to know what she said to give Susan the wrong idea but Ruth's not taking the bait.
Harold comes home and says that he's going to have a soak in the bath. As soon as he's gone Madge rifles through the now-open mail, picking out Claudia's letter. She's sprung when Harold comes back out, asking where the bath salts are. He asks what she was doing, and even though she claims she was just going to move them to the table they both know she's lying. Harold leaves without another comment and Madge puts the letters down.
Toadie's going through stain solutions and wants to try baking soda. Libby declares she's finished her article – she hopes her editor likes it. Lance arrives and Toadie asks if he's there for another "session". Lance says he wants a lesson this time, declaring that he's not ripping Ruth off anymore.
Karl and Libby are about ten feet away. Oy.
Toadie replies that it's his loss – if he wants to spend his nursery money then so be it. He then asks if Lance asked Ruth about the rumours. When Libby asks what the gossip is, Lance tells her that someone's been spreading stupid rumours about Ruth and Phil being an item.
LANCE: Wish I knew who it was. Reckon they need a good smack around the head.
Karl looks a little uncomfortable at this.
Madge is telling Helen that she can't stop thinking about the letter, to the point where she just got caught trying to sneak a look at it. Helen suggests that maybe she's overreacting. "SWALK" isn't a very mature thing to do. Madge isn't too sure though. Harold was gone for a long time and he'll have met other women. Despite what he knows now – that Madge is his wife – just what happened between him and this Claudia?