- Harold calling Madge and telling her that Claudia really needs his help and he'll be staying longer
- Toadie telling Lance that the TV is probably stolen
Back of Lassiters
Toadie is taking Lance to the scene of the crime, showing him the "evidence" of the deal – namely the tyre tracks in the grass. Lance rightly points out that all it proves is that there was a car here (and Toadie's going to go into law?) and that's not illegal. Toadie stresses that he knows what he saw and it is proof that something's not quite right about the deal.
You know, this might explain Toadie's track record as a lawyer.
Madge talks to Lou about Claudia, saying that she hasn't heard anything since the initial phonecall a few days ago. Lou picks up that Madge is worried about the whole thing. She trusts Harold, but Claudia isn't the only one who needs him. Lou's surprised at how quickly Harold dropped everything to go and help her, especially as he was supposed to help with the bus renovations. Lou remembers that he's supposed to pick up some paint for the bus and leaves Madge to hold the fort while he goes and does just that.
Toadie can't believe how unworried Lance seems by the trouble that Ruth could potentially be in.
TOADIE: Unless… Maybe you're covering for her. Maybe she's in on it!
LANCE: Maybe you should pull your head in.
Lance says he has something to do and so Toadie makes his exit, telling him not to come crying if Ruth ends up in jail. Lance calls out to Ruth who puts in an appearance with rubber gloves and toilet brush (which she puts down on the table, ick) wondering aloud why it's always her turn to do the bathroom. She then tells Lance to go outside and get some fresh air. My Mum would have handed me the brush…
Lance broaches the subject of the TV and Ruth tells him that Lou's given them the papers and warranty to go with it.
Karl's reading Libby's article on the community bus as Toadie comes in. Karl asks if Toadie's read the article, full of fatherly pride to Libby's achievement. Toadie declares he doesn't really read the papers so Karl says he can do the dishes.
TOADIE: I did them last week.
KARL: And you've been eating off them every night since.
Toadie changes the subject and brings up the subject of Lou once being mayor. He asks if Lou quit or if he was sacked, because being a community bus it's important that everyone have a clean rap sheet. Karl's not taken with the idea of Lou being a criminal and asks Toadie to explain why, if Lou is a criminal, he's walking the streets a free man.
Yes, because everyone who's guilty goes to jail.
Karl tells him that whatever rumours he's been listening to to stop; Lou's got a long standing history of community service.
As Karl crosses the road a taxi pulls up outside number 24, Harold and Claudia in the back seat. Claudia's unsure about coming back and staying and tells Harold she'll find her own place as soon as she's got her confidence back.
As they take their bags out of the boot Karl comes over with the article, saying that he should have a read when he gets a moment. Harold brushes him off saying maybe later, as he and Claudia head inside.
Lance comes over and tells Lance that the TV is completely legit. He shares that Ruth had the same concerns but Toadie thinks that Lou could have faked the paperwork. He's trusting his instincts and Lance can believe what he wants.
Karl comes in, calling out for Lou. He shows Lou the article on the bus and Lou says he'll have a read when he's finished unloading the paint tins. Why Karl doesn't say something to him about the way he's lifting and moving those (supposedly) heavy tins I do not know…
Lou comments on the charity angle being the hook for these articles and Karl agrees, declaring Harold's representation to be somewhat… colourful. Madge walks in and overhears this, naturally wanting to know what they're talking about.
Karl shows her the article and Madge says he'll be thrilled to read it when he gets home.
KARL: Well he is.
KARL: Back home. I just saw him – with your friend.
MADGE: What friend?
Karl says that they'd just got back and Madge picks up her stuff and walks out.
KARL: Did I just say something wrong?
Harold is offering Claudia a biscuit when Madge storms back in. Harold jumps to his feet but Madge is more interested in pointedly welcoming Claudia back. Harold apologises for not calling but they only just made the plane.
So, no phonecall from Melbourne airport then because…?
Madge declines the offer of tea – she's supposed to be working – but she had to come home and say hi. Claudia says it's shame she's working as she'd planned a picnic by the lake. Madge says that she's sure Harold won't mind it and before he can say anything she takes that as his consent. She heads off back to work, avoiding Harold's attempts at a kiss. When she's gone Claudia asks if it's a good idea that she stay as Madge seemed… tense. Harold didn't pick up on it though.
Lance is shushing Bonnie while Toadie very carefully closes the front door.
RUTH: (whispering) What's going on?
The boys quickly say that they thought she was asleep and didn't want to disturb her.
RUTH: Well I'm going out, so whatever you two are up to don't leave any evidence.
Lance is sure that she knows but Toadie tells him he's just being paranoid. They get the TV out of the box and Toadie begins to look for the serial number, saying that if it did fall off the back of a truck then the police would have a record of it. Lance is still worried but Toadie points out that if it's not stolen then there's no problem, is there?
Karl is still doing the proud father routine and showing off the article, this time Lou's had the chance to read it now. Lou doesn't think that Libby's gone into enough detail and Karl immediately wants to know what's wrong with it. Lou says that Lib has put a lot of focus onto the charity side of things when it is first and foremost a business venture. Karl says that Lib writes what she finds out, she's not in the habit of making stories up and Lou says that Harold kept him in the dark about the whole thing and he feels that people might not be getting the full picture.
Karl picks up on Lou's attitude and wonders if there's anything crooked about the bus and when Lou says there isn't Karl wonders why Lou isn't happy with the publicity. After some impressions of a goldfish, Lou declares it's a good article and goes back to it.
Madge is talking to Helen about how Claudia's feelings seem to be more important than her own and that Claudia seems to be playing on it. Madge says she can't say something because it would seem petty and she knows Harold's doing the right thing. She does feel sorry for her, but isn't sure this is what she needs. She's also very aware of the fact that Claudia was there for Harold when he was playing at being Ted in Tasmania. Helen tells Madge that she needs to talk to Harold about how she's feeling.
The boys write down the TV serial number and Toadie goes to call the cops with it. Lance says they should use someone else's phone in case the line is traced. Toadie ignores Lance's complaint and dials. When the person answers Toadie states that he's just bought a TV and reckons it might be stolen, asking to be put through to the "stolen division" to have the number traced. He quickly hangs up telling Lance that they wouldn't do a thing unless Toadie told them who he was.
Lou wonders who put the idea in Karl's head that he's involved in dodgy dealings but Karl says it's just idle gossip. As Karl gets up to go a man comes in asking to speak to Mr Carpenter. He introduces himself as from the taxation department and says that they read about the bus in the paper – but that they have no record of any charity registered in his name.
Madge comes in, giving Harold a bit of a start. She asks Harold why Claudia came back and Harold replies that she needed a fresh start and needed support in that. Madge points out that they are supposed to be making one too, putting their marriage back together. Harold's comment about them all making a fresh start doesn't go down very well with Madge who says that there's not enough emotional space for three of them in this house.
Harold concedes that he should have called her, but he felt that Madge was such a strong person and Claudia… Madge says that Claudia needs to let go of the past and of Harold. They can be her friends, they can help her find somewhere to live and make a new start; she's a lot stronger than anyone gives her credit for.
Too late they realise that Claudia's heard every word and realising the situation she offers to go and pack.
Toadie picks up the phone to try again, almost giving Lance's name when they ask but after a quick thump from Lance gives his real one, spelling it out for him. I would have thought the Rebecchi clan would be known well enough!
Ramsay Street – outside the Bishops
Claudia's packed and leaving. Harold chasing her down the driveway offering to drive her somewhere. She tells Harold that she'll manage and that Madge was right. She needs to let go and make a fresh start, and so does Harold. He admits that it'll be strange without her as they've been through so much. Claudia points out that Harold is a lucky man; it's not been easy on Madge and she loves him very much. Claudia puts her bag in the boot of the taxi and says she'll call him when she's settled. He goes to kiss her on the cheek but she pulls back, offering him her hand instead.
As the taxi pulls up Karl walks up and approaches Harold about the article. He says Lou's seen it and will have a couple of questions for Harold no doubt. Madge realises she's been gone ages and Lou will be wondering where she is, but Karl replies that at the moment that's probably the last thing on his mind with the tax guy turning up about the charity status of the bus.
Harold comes in wondering what's going on; the article is littered with mentions of the charity angle but very little about the fact that it's a business too. Lou declares it was all a misunderstanding that's now been cleared up. Harold asks what he's been telling people and Lou defends his actions by saying that he was simply highlighting the charity angle to keep costs down. Harold accuses Lou of using his position in the community to further his needs.
As the two of them argue about the bus and Lou's reputation, customers begin to walk out in disgust which further sends Lou off. Before things get much heated, another man in a suit comes over and asks to speak to Mr Carpenter, introducing himself as from the police. When Lou asks what it's about the officer says that they've received word of him selling "cut price TV sets"…