Lou discovering that Keith Nichols has pulled out of buying the pub.
Lou telling Harold and Madge that they have one metre of his property and he wants it back
The next morning, Harold is sitting at the kitchen table with Madge, asking if she found the title. Madge replies that she put it somewhere safe, and when she finds it they'll be able to prove Lou for the liar he is. Harold sighs that he hopes so. Paul emerges from his room and sits down for breakfast. He asks:
PAUL: Still upset about Lou?
HAROLD (in disbelief): *Upset*?! That's the understatement of the year! A man's house is his castle, and If Lou thinks he can challenge that, well he's in for one heck of a battle.
PAUL (mutters): It's just a metre of dirt...
HAROLD (angrily): It's a very *important* metre of dirt.
Paul stands up and says he'll grab some breakfast at Hannah's.
Hannah is sitting on the edge of the desk in the lounge room, talking on the ‘phone. Philip gives her a kiss and wishes her a good day, adding that he doesn't understand why she's on the ‘phone to Mark when she's going to be seeing him at school in half an hour! He then opens the front door to find Paul on the step. Paul asks if Hannah's home, and Philip replies that she's on the ‘phone – predictably! Paul heads inside as Hannah hangs up. He asks her what's up.
HANNAH (beaming): My life's going to be fantastic, that's all!
PAUL: And how do you figure that?
HANNAH: If I tell you, you promise not to tell anyone?
Hannah then explains that she's just been on the ‘phone to Mystic Mariah.
HANNAH: Mystic Mariah. She's a ‘phone psychic – you know: she makes predictions.
Hannah goes on that she got her number out of a magazine. Paul muses:
PAUL: Gee, Hannah, you're gullible.
Hannah insists that Mystic Mariah is *ace*.
HANNAH: How do you explain her predicting my relationship with Mark would work out when I was grounded?
She adds that Mystic Mariah told her ‘a romantic entanglement unties' – and she and Mark got back together!
PAUL: That could mean *anything*; I mean, you could ask her what colour your undies are tomorrow and see if she gets *that* right.
HANNAH (sighs): You're so banal...
PAUL: *Somebody* is.
HANNAH: She said a curse would be lifted, and the day after I got ungrounded. I've called heaps since then, and every time she's said something that's come true.
PAUL (teases in a spooky voice): This week, Hannah, the weekend will fall on a Saturday and a Sunday; rain will be mysteriously wet; and bread will be stale if left out of the packet!
Hannah mutters at him that if he wasn't such a cynic, maybe he could find out what *his* future holds. Paul just asks what this ‘Mad Mary' had to say about *today*.
HANNAH (corrects): ‘Mystic Mariah'. [She reads] Wear green for good luck; a friend will be contacted from faraway places; and – this is a long-term one – you will soon be involved with a lot of money.
Paul retorts that she could interpret that a hundred different ways. Hannah just says she's going to find something green to wear.
PAUL: Well hurry up, because Psychic Paul's got a prediction: we're going to be late if you don't hurry up!
Susan opens the door to Ruth, who smiles that she's the bearer of good tidings. Susan offers her a coffee. Ruth accepts. She then says:
RUTH: The money has come in from the forty-hour foxtrot. We've raised nearly two-and-a-half thousand dollars!
Susan, looking impressed, says she thinks the Year 12s want to use it to refurbish their common room, but she hopes she can talk them into something a bit more useful. Changing the subject, Ruth then says gently that she's noticed Karl's car round a bit lately...
SUSAN (admits): It's hard to maintain the rage...
RUTH: Is there a whiff of reconciliation in the air?
SUSAN: Possibly. We're on a slightly less-frosty footing, anyway. I think it was all the worry about Libby: if you think your child's in danger, it tends to put things in perspective.
Susan goes on that *her* problem is that it all just feels so different: whenever she and Karl are together, they're walking on eggshells, terrified of doing or saying the wrong thing.
SUSAN: Karl's the worst: he reminds me of a shy, awkward medical student I used to know.
RUTH: And *love*...
SUSAN (sadly): Yeah, and love.
Ruth insists that it'll come back. She then suggests that the four of them have dinner tonight. Susan comments that it sounds like more fun than pizza and video for one.
RUTH: How do you think *Karl* will like it?
SUSAN: It's Karl I'm *talking* about! He's *hopeless* as a bachelor!
Susan then adds that she'll ring Karl – this morning.
Harold and Madge are using a tape measure to check the frontage of their house. Hannah and Paul watch as they head into No. 26. Harold asks Madge what measurement she makes it. She tells him that it's five metres. Harold adds up:
HAROLD: That's five... ten... fifteen... *Fifteen metres*? That can't be right.
Lou suddenly calls across from where he's sitting in a deckchair on his front lawn:
LOU: Why don't you forget about metric, Harold? Try the imperial system. Mind you, it'll still prove that you owe a yard of my land!
Madge just tells Harold to ignore him. She then yells across the street:
MADGE: You know what they say: ‘empty vessels make the most noise!'
Karl is enjoying a coffee when Philip comes in and tells him that he's just the bloke he wanted to see. Karl muses that he doesn't hear *that* too much these days! Philip then says that he hears from Ruth that they're on for dinner tonight.
KARL: I'm looking forward to it.
PHILIP: Same. We thought we'd book the pub.
KARL (looking slightly worried): Yes, that'll be fine... I don't think Libby works at night.
Karl then adds warily that he and Susan are OK, but it's not quite like old days – it could be awkward.
PHILIP: Luckily, Ruth and I know you both pretty well – and what's more, fools that we are we *like* you both!
KARL: Thanks! I wish I could say the same about Libby...
Philip comments that father-daughter relationships have always been fairly sensitive terrain, at the best of times.
KARL (staring into space): I've got to keep trying, haven't I? She's my daughter; my *only* daughter. I love her so much, Phil; it's like a stake in the heart every time she rejects me.
Philip insists that Libby *loves* Karl, no matter how it appears at the moment.
Paul and Hannah are walking along the corridor and Paul remarks that Hannah looks pretty rapt about something. Hannah explains that it's her science mark: she thought she failed the test, but it turned out she passed – thanks to her lucky green hair tie that Mystic Mariah told her to wear.
PAUL: You're going to end up in the loony bin if you keep this up.
Hannah retorts that she doesn't see what his problem is: *everyone* wants to find out what's going to happen to them in the future; it's only natural. Paul, however, insists that no one can do it; it's just a scam.
HANNAH: No, no, I want you to try it. I dare you. It only costs a dollar a call, then you can make up your own mind.
Hannah writes down the number for him.
Harold and Madge are sitting at the kitchen table, Madge sighing:
MADGE: So Lou's right, is he? We've somehow got a metre of his land?
HAROLD (sighs): Apparently our fence-line is in the wrong position.
Madge asks what they're supposed to do about it.
HAROLD: It would seem that we've got to come to some sort of an arrangement with him.
MADGE (snaps): Over my dead body!
HAROLD (sighs): I realise what a galling prospect that is, love, but legally he is entitled to some compensation.
MADGE (aghast): What? Give him *money*?
HAROLD: If he'll *take* it. It's *my* bet that he'll want the *land*, which means we'll have to rip up our paving.
Madge suggests that they not do anything until they hear back from the solicitor. She adds that she's not going to give up without a fight.
Libby picks up her bag to head home after her shift. As she does so, Lou comments to her that her replacement's not there yet. He asks if he can entice her to stay for an extra hour or two.
LIBBY (shrugs): Why not? I can always do with extra cash!
Madge then comes in and tells Lou curtly that she's come to find out what he wants.
LOU: World peace?!
MADGE (curtly): I mean about the land claim. Now clearly, Harold and I can't carve up our driveway and garden, so I thought maybe we could negotiate something else.
LOU: If that's your idea of negotiating, I'd hate to see you play hardball!
Madge just asks what it is he wants. Lou retorts:
LOU: I want my land back, and I intend to get it.
MADGE (looking furious): You're a snake, Lou Carpenter. A greedy, grasping, nasty piece of work.
With that, she storms back out.
Hannah is pouring herself an orange juice in the kitchen as Paul looks at something. She asks what it is, and he explains that it's a postcard from his dad. Hannah asks what it says.
PAUL: He's in South Australia, tuna fishing. He wants to catch up with me during the school holidays.
HANNAH: That's *good*, isn't it?
PAUL: I guess... I don't know.
Hannah then realises:
HANNAH: That was one of Mystic Mariah's predictions, remember? ‘A friend will be contacted from faraway places.
Paul retorts that it's just a coincidence. Hannah asks him if he's going to go and see his dad. Paul shrugs that he'll have to think about it.
HANNAH: There's only one way to find out for sure: you have to speak to Mystic Mariah yourself.
With that, she picks up the ‘phone, dials the number and gets through to Mystic Mariah. She explains that she's calling for a friend and then hands the ‘phone to Paul, who takes it uncertainly.
Madge and Harold are walking past No. 22, Madge telling Harold that Lou won't negotiate; he wants his land back. Harold mutters that he'll change his mind when he's spoken to their solicitor. The two of them stop in their tracks as they reach the driveway of No. 24 and find that a line has been chalked up it, one metre in from the boundary!
A short time later, Madge is using a hose to wash the chalk line away. Lou watches from the front door of No. 22 and chuckles.
Driveway of No. 24
Sometime later, Lou is using paint and a roller to pain a line down the driveway! Madge and Harold watch in annoyance from the balcony.
Later again, Harold pulls his car into the driveway and parks right over the line!
Later still, Lou creeps up on the car with his roller and starts painting the line right over the rear windscreen, the roof and down the front windscreen and the bonnet! When Madge and Harold emerge from the house, they look at the car in disbelief!
Harold and Madge head back inside, Madge ranting:
MADGE: I swear, Harold, that man's always been pig-headed and stupid, but never anything like *this*.
On the couch, Paul explains to Hannah that Madge and Harold are having a feud with Lou. Madge, however, says curtly:
MADGE: Please... I don't even want to hear his name.
HAROLD: And I take exception to that: *we* are not feuding; *we* are innocent bystanders.
Harold and Madge head into the kitchen, where Madge asks what happens if this *does* go to court. Harold, however, says he's sure it won't go that far - and they still have to see George Jenkins, the solicitor.
MADGE: I'm not going to be able to rest easy until I know what the outcome's likely to be.
HAROLD: Pity we're not fortune tellers, eh?
On the couch, Hannah looks at Paul, a smile on her face.
Phil, Ruth, Susan and Karl are seated at a table, drinks in front of them, talking about how busy Karl is at the surgery. At the bar, Libby emerges from the back room and doesn't look impressed to see her parents sitting there together. Lou walks over to the table and smiles that that's what he likes to see: four of his favourite people enjoying themselves! He offers them more drinks – a bottle of his finest champagne, on the house. As he heads off back to the bar, Karl warns the others:
KARL: Don't get *too* excited: his finest champagne comes in a cask!
As Madge and Harold prepare dinner, Harold is saying that he's not suggesting backing down; it's just that he likes harmonious relationships with people around him.
MADGE (sighs): I wish George Jenkins would call – I've got a good mind to ‘phone him at home.
Madge heads into the lounge room, but finds Paul talking on the ‘phone, Hannah sitting next to him, listening in eagerly. She tells Madge that Paul shouldn't be too long. Madge returns to the kitchen, where Harold tells her that he'll contact George first thing in the morning. Madge sighs that maybe he's right. She suggests they eat.
Susan is telling the dinner party about an interview she walked out of where she thought she'd impressed the entire school board, only it turned out when she walked out of the room that her dress was tucked into the back of her pants! Everybody bursts out laughing! At the bar, Lou comments to Libby that her parents and Philip and Ruth appear to be enjoying themselves. Libby, however, retorts:
LIBBY (tersely): If I'd known *they* were going to be here, I wouldn't have volunteered to do the other shift.
LOU: Oh. Bit of a shock to the system, is it?
LIBBY (shrugs): Why should *I* care? I just didn't think they were ready to go public with the Happy Families charade.
With that, she heads over to the table to take the orders. Susan looks at Karl in concern. He comments to Libby warily that he didn't realise she was working tonight.
LIBBY (mutters): Yeah, a double shift. My replacement didn't turn up.
Karl sits there looking awkward.
Harold, Madge, Paul and Hannah are sitting at the table, eating. Madge is still ranting about the land; she tells Harold that she's going to ring the solicitor straight after dinner. Paul, however, asks quickly if that's a good idea, as it is pretty late. Harold nods that he agrees. However, Madge says that if Jenkins didn't want her to ‘phone him at home, why did he give her his home number? Hannah then says:
HANNAH: Paul was saying before that he had some pretty good advice about what to do.
HAROLD (looking intrigued): Out of the mouths of babes, eh?
PAUL: It's nothing, really.
MADGE: Go on – we're all ears.
PAUL (hesitantly): Well... love and compassion will make a friend of a neighbour.
MADGE: We already tried that, remember? I baked him a cake; fat lot of good *that* did us.
PAUL: Yeah, yeah, but anger spent is soon returned.
HANNAH: Yeah, and it's returned with interest.
HAROLD: Yes, well there's no arguing with *those* sentiments.
Madge just looks at Paul and puts her hand to his forehead. She muses:
MADGE: You all right?
MADGE: You sound as though you've been reading fortune cookies!
Libby is clearing the table and she comments that she hopes everyone enjoyed their dinner. Susan smiles that it was delicious.
KARL: In fact, I can think of only one thing to top off such a marvellous meal.
LIBBY: What's that?
KARL: Coffee with our charming waitress.
LIBBY (curtly): No thanks – I should help out in the kitchen.
RUTH: I'm sure Lou would let you sit down for five minutes...
PHILIP: Yeah... you've just done a double shift, haven't you? You'd be entitled to a break.
SUSAN: It would be nice, darling.
LIBBY: I'm sorry, mum, I can't. Everybody else is cleaning up; I wouldn't feel right.
KARL (coolly): That's fair enough. Forget I asked.
There's an awkward silence, which Philip breaks by asking for the bill. Libby walks off. Susan looks at Karl sadly.
Paul and Hannah head into the house, Paul saying that next time Mystic Mariah gives him some advice, he's going to keep it to himself: Madge thought he was a complete nut! As they sit down, Hannah insists that he just has to work on her. Paul then asks:
PAUL: Who put you on to this Mystic thingy, anyway?
HANNAH: Nobody – I read about it in a magazine.
Hannah picks up the magazine from the coffee table and Paul looks at it. He then gasps:
PAUL: Hang on a second: you said it only cost a dollar per call.
HANNAH: Yeah – pretty cheap for finding out about your entire life.
PAUL: No, no, Hannah, it says a dollar per *twenty seconds*.
HANNAH (frowns): *That* can't be right.
Paul hands the magazine back. Hannah looks at it and murmurs in horror:
HANNAH: Oh no...
Madge hangs up the ‘phone and Harold asks what Jenkins said.
MADGE (sighs): It's what he *didn't* say. The law is an ass.
HAROLD: Bad news, then?
MADGE: Well apparently, claims like Lou's usually expire after 15 years, but because he only bought the house seven years ago, he is still legally entitled to claim our land.
HAROLD: And what are we supposed to do: just hand it over?
MADGE: Well, he said we could just offer to pay him out for whatever the land is worth.
HAROLD: But we both know that that isn't what he wants.
MADGE: Lou wants revenge; he wants to ruin our home; it's as simple as that.
Harold suggests that if that's the best advice George can give them, he thinks they'd better get another opinion. Madge, however, tells him that Jenkins seemed quite definite – but he didn't really seem interested in the case at all.
HAROLD (angrily): So frankly, we haven't got a leg to stand on? Lou just takes our land and there's nothing we can do about it?
Philip, Ruth, Susan and Karl stand up to leave, Susan thanking Ruth for suggesting the meal. Karl makes to go and pay, but Susan quickly says *she'll* do it. She goes to the bar and hands Libby the money. She then says quietly and curtly:
SUSAN: You know, you could have made a bit more of an effort tonight.
LIBBY (mutters): I really don't want to discuss this now.
SUSAN: I'm sure you don't – because the way you humiliated your father in front of his friends and me was pretty awful.
LIBBY: I waited on your table all night; I was nice, wasn't I?
SUSAN: You were barely *civil*.
LIBBY (sighs): I didn't mean to humiliate him. I just find it hard sometimes; he's not...
SUSAN (snaps): He's not what? Perfect? No, he's not; you're right. But he at least is trying to make amends.
LIBBY (sighs): Look, mum, I don't mean to be hard on him...
SUSAN: Just think about *this*, Libby: just imagine that your dad was hurt tomorrow – or worse. How would you feel then? We don't always have time to indulge in hurt and anger. Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and get on with loving someone.
Libby stands there, looking thoughtful.