MADGE: John seemed in a bit of a hurry.
Joe giving John Worthington to the count of ten to get out of No. 32 and leave Mrs. Mangel alone.
John mutters at Joe:
JOHN: Just as you wish...
He heads for the front door. Mrs. Mangel goes after him and tells him that he must stay. Turning to Joe, she cries:
MRS. MANGEL: You imbecile!
Joe, however, just tells her mother not to stop him. John says:
JOHN: I'm not one to buy into family arguments, Nell - you know that.
Joe growls that that'd be right: blame someone else. John tells Mrs. Mangel that he won't hold her up any longer. He opens the front door. Mrs. Mangel cries:
MRS. MANGEL: Oh John, no, you mustn't leave. At least let's try and discuss it.
JOHN (coolly): Not in this climate, thanks just the same. I'll accept the umpire's decision.
He glares daggers at Joe and then walks out. Mrs. Mangel tries to follow him, but Joe stops her and tells her curtly that she's not going after him. Mrs. Mangel snaps that the poor man's run off like a startled hare; heaven knows what damage Joe has caused. She marches out, leaving Joe to yell after her:
JOE: Mum, you don't go chasing after a bloke. Where's ya pride?
Madge and Harold are unloading shopping from their car in the driveway of No. 24 when Madge spots John climbing into his car. She calls out to him, but he just waves back and drives off. Mrs. Mangel walks down the driveway of No. 32 and cries:
MRS. MANGEL: John... Wait! Wait!
It's no good, though: John doesn't stop. Madge calls out cheerily to Mrs. Mangel that it's a lovely day! She adds snidely:
MADGE: John seemed in a bit of a hurry.
HAROLD (chides): Madge!
MADGE: Seemed a bit upset, too!
Mrs. Mangel stands in the street, looking annoyed. She then marches across to No. 24 decisively and asks Madge curtly:
MRS. MANGEL: Do you have something to say, Mrs. Bishop?
MADGE (shrugs): Oh, merely a casual observation.
MRS. MANGEL: Then I'll thank you to kindly keep your 'casual observations' to yourself.
Madge murmurs to Harold that Mrs. Mangel is tetchy about the bake- off. Mrs. Mangel, however, retorts that she is *not* tetchy - and as for the bake- off, the proof of the pudding will well and truly be in the eating. With that, she turns and walks away. Madge lets out a chuckle. Mrs. Mangel turns back to her and demands:
MRS. MANGEL: You find something humorous?
MADGE ('innocently'): Who - me?!
MRS. MANGEL (snaps): You *enjoy* other people's misfortunes. But of course, that would be entirely in character. What else should I expect from a person dragged up on the wrong side of the tracks?
MADGE (gasps): Oo - you pious old tart!
Madge takes a determined step towards Mrs. Mangel, but Harold quickly pulls her back! Mrs. Mangel goes on:
MRS. MANGEL: And I fully intend to wipe the floor with you at the bake- off.
MADGE: I think wiping the floor with your *cake* would be more to the point!
MRS. MANGEL: Oh really? We'll just see about *that*.
With that, she turns and walks off, leaving Harold to mutter at Madge that that was not cricket: she could see Mrs. Mangel was distressed. Madge just smiles that all's fair in love and bake- offs: as far as *she's* concerned, the battle lines have been drawn.
Paul is hunting for a file amongst a pile of papers on the kitchen table. He turns to Jane - who's sitting on the lounge room floor, surrounded by paper - and mutters that this is no way to run a business. He then asks how long they said it was going to take to steam clean the office carpet. Jane shrugs that it's not long, and she suggests they take a break and put the kettle on. As she does so, Jane goes on that she has something to ask him:
JANE: You know how we're doing this fashion parade for the church fête?
JANE: Well, do you think it would be all right if we borrowed a few outfits from the Lassiter's boutique?
PAUL (snaps): And cause *further* disruption to Lassiter's?
JANE: Well, we only want to borrow a few dresses - and it *is* for the church.
PAUL: Yeah, yeah...
He then apologises and sighs that he sounds like some sort of dictator. Jane comments that he *has* been a bit tense today. Paul explains that it's the portrait Helen's painted of him: he thinks the only reason she's showing it at the fête is because he hurt her feelings. Jane asks if it's really that bad. Paul tells her:
PAUL: Jane, it's revolting. It makes me look like a... oh, I don't know! I'm a reasonable sort of a person, aren't I? I'm not *that* vain? But this... it's revolting!
Jane suggests that maybe he's just nervous because so many people are going to see it - like *she* was with the Lassiter's Girl photographs. Paul tells her that *that* photograph was *sensational*; the portrait, on the other hand, makes him look like he could star in a Stephen King movie! Jane asks him what he's going to do if Mrs. Daniels insists on showing it. Paul sighs that he doesn't know - but he hasn't given up, that's for sure.
Mrs. Mangel is dusting the writing desk in the lounge room when Joe appears in the doorway and sighs:
JOE: How many times do I have to say it? I'm. Sorry.
Mrs. Mangel doesn't respond, causing Joe to mutter that he gets the silent treatment now, does he? Mrs. Mangel turns to him and retorts that it's more than he deserves; it might give him some idea of the loneliness *she's* been feeling from time to time. Joe insists that he thought he was sticking up for her. Mrs. Mangel tells him:
MRS. MANGEL: John is a dear friend; a man who came into my life when I was at a very low ebb. A man who became a companion... almost a soulmate.
JOE: Oh come on - you weren't *that* pal- sy.
MRS. MANGEL: We had a minor falling- out; a misunderstanding. Silly. Trivial.
JOE: Well, if that's the case, get on the blower and *explain* to him.
MRS. MANGEL (retorts): You saw John's face. He was embarrassed and humiliated. You made him feel like the worst kind of trespasser. What do you suggest I say? 'Forgive my son, he's an ignoramus'? You took away his dignity and now he'll never come back - and I'll never forgive you. So just get away, out of my sight.
Joe walks off, staring at his upset mother as he does so.
Sometime later, Sharon and Nick head into No. 32, Sharon asking Nick why, if it's so dumb, he said he was interested. As the two of them go and sit down in the lounge room, Nick sighs that it was a lack of oxygen to the brain - and what's the big deal anyway?: it's only a church fête; doesn't he do *enough* community work? Sharon shrugs that if he can't do the time, he shouldn't do the crime. She adds that she doesn't ask him *that* many favours, but it just feels like everyone *else* is contributing and she wants to help too. Mrs. Mangel calls out suddenly to ask Sharon if that's her. Sharon calls back that it is. Nick stands up and says he'd better flip. Sharon, however, grabs his arm and says:
SHARON: Uh- uh, you're not getting off that hook *that* easily! You are not going anywhere until I get an answer. Come on!
She drags Nick into the kitchen, where Mrs. Mangel is making her cake. Sharon says she'd like to make Nick a sandwich. Mrs. Mangel replies coolly that he'll have to have last night's lamb - and she warns Sharon not to use all the bread. Nick asks Mrs. Mangel if she's making a cake, and she replies sharply:
MRS. MANGEL: Yes. How very observant of you. A sponge cake - although I *had* hoped to keep it a secret: it *is* a competition entry, after all.
She adds that she's going to beat Madge Bishop if it kills her. Sharon dips her finger into the bowl to take a taste of the mixture, but Mrs. Mangel slaps her hand and tells her to keep it out! Sharon mutters that she didn't think anyone could get so stressed over a dumb sponge cake. Mrs. Mangel retorts:
MRS. MANGEL: Yes, well, that's just the kind of uneducated opinion I'd expect from a teenager.
Nick asks coolly what *that's* supposed to mean. Sharon adds that she did Domestic Science at school. Mrs. Mangel muses:
MRS. MANGEL: Oh yes... rissoles and omelettes... *very* sophisticated cuisine!
SHARON (demands): Are you saying I'm not good enough to cook a dumb old cake?
MRS. MANGEL: Not good enough to make it past the preliminary judging, my dear. Madge Bishop *herself* probably won't make it to the finals. [Chuckles] What a dreadful, dreadful shame!
Looking annoyed, Sharon marches out to the lounge room. Nick follows her as she snaps:
SHARON: Who does she think she is?
NICK (smiles): Calm down!
SHARON (angrily): She does it all the time: little put- downs. It *wasn't* all just rissoles and omelettes.
She then declares that there's only one good way of shutting Mrs. Mangel up: she'll *prove* she's a good cook and do something for the fête as well. Nick sighs:
NICK: Why is it something tells me this is going to get ugly?
Henry is sitting on one of the kitchen counters, strumming his guitar and singing a made- up song about a missing dog! Madge is trying to bake her cake, though, and she mutters at Henry to put the dog out of its misery! Henry sighs:
HENRY: That'd be right: criticise the artiste!
MADGE (tersely): Henry, I have a lot on my mind at the moment. My first attempt was overcooked; it's terribly important that this one be *perfect* - and when I have to listen to you caterwauling as though you've got your toe caught in the plughole, it's more than I can handle!
She sticks a skewer into the cake she's just baked. It comes out clean and she smiles that that's better. Henry declares that that's a perfect example of the generation gap: *he's* torn apart; a tortured soul - and all *she's* worried about is cake trays! Madge sighs that they're still on about Bronwyn. She then apologises and says she didn't realise it was that serious. Henry exclaims:
HENRY: Serious?! *I* think she's fantastic; *she* hardly knows I'm alive - but what's serious about *that*?
He goes and sits down at the kitchen table and butts his head on the tabletop! Madge points out that they're not exactly kindred souls - and besides, Bronwyn's not the *only* girl in the world. Henry retorts:
HENRY: Do you have any idea how many times I've told myself that? Look at me, mum: Henry the Casanova... Henry the bigshot... but you can count the number of successful relationships I've had on the fingers of one foot! I am to romance what the Black Plague was to skincare! Yes, I always bounce back, though, don't I? Yeah, good old Henry. You know why? Because if I ever stayed depressed for more than five minutes, I might realise just how miserable I really *am*. Would this ever happen to Tom Cruise or Rob Lowe or Jimmy Dean, even? Here I am, at my absolute prime, I'm gunning down the highway of life and I ended up in a cul de sac. A *cul de sac*! I'm an embarrassment to the word 'girl'.
He walks off, leaving Madge standing looking astonished.
Preparations are going on for the fête at the church hall. In the kitchen, Harold hands John Worthington a cup of tea and sits down with him at a table, saying he can more than imagine why he feels less than welcome. John nods:
JOHN: I got out of there quick- smart. Nell may have her flaws, but deep down she's quite a generous person - but her *son*...
HAROLD: Ah, well, I'm afraid Joe is rather infamous for his 'shoot first, ask questions later' attitude. From the sounds of things, he was being a little over- protective.
JOHN: I can't bear a grudge about *that*, I suppose. I have a daughter living overseas: I'd like to think she'd be just as supportive of *me*.
HAROLD (smiles): Well, now, there is a coincidence! I've got a daughter overseas as well!
JOHN: Is that so?
HAROLD: Yeah. Kerry. Mind you, we're not as close as we should be, but, well, you can't live their lives for them, eh?
JOHN: Never a truer word.
John then looks at his watch and suggests that they look at the stall allocation. Harold shows him a floorplan he's drawn up. All of a sudden, Joe walks in and tells John curtly that he wants a word with him. Harold stands up protectively and tells Joe to remember that he's on church grounds and to act accordingly. Joe, however, retorts that it doesn't make any difference to *him*: he's there to say he's sorry. Looking at John, he goes on:
JOE: If the old stick reckons you're all right, well, you're all right. All right?
JOHN (nods): All right!
The two men shake hands and agree that there are no hard feelings.
It's evening- time and Nick is with Sharon in the kitchen at No. 26 as she waits impatiently for the oven timer to sound. After a few seconds it goes off and Sharon reaches into the oven and takes out her cake - which she stares at and exclaims in disappointment has gone all weird. Nick asks her if she's sure she cooked it long enough. Sharon examines it and sighs that it's burnt on the bottom, too. Nick grins:
NICK: Face it, Shaz, it's a dud!
Sharon shrugs that she'll just have to do better next time. Nick reminds her that the Robinsons will be back from dinner soon, and she promised she'd leave the house neat and tidy. Sharon retorts that she can't let Mrs. Mangel win - it wouldn't be *right*. Nick tells her that, according to Helen, Mrs. Mangel's sponge cakes are famous: she's got enough ribbons to do her own dreadlocks! Sharon, however, declares:
SHARON: I'm not going to let her win. Get it? And if I can't do it fair and square, then I'm just going to have to think of some *other* way.
A smile crosses her face suddenly, and she beams mischievously:
SHARON: Oh, this'll be fun...!
Mrs. Mangel turns a perfect- looking sponge cake out onto the kitchen counter and Jane exclaims admiringly:
JANE: Oh, nan, how do you do it?
MRS. MANGEL (smiles): We chefs have our secrets, Jane - suffice to say that experience will always win through.
Jane says she's sure this one will be as good as last year's. Mrs. Mangel retorts that it has to be good enough to beat that Bishop woman. Jane murmurs despairingly:
JANE: You and your feuds...!
She then sighs that at least *one* of them will be contributing to the fête: the fashion parade has bitten the dust as Paul didn't like the idea, and now it's too late to organise someone else to supply the outfits. Sharon walks into the house suddenly and heads into the kitchen, smiling that something smells really good. Nick follows her in as she says to Mrs. Mangel cheerily:
SHARON: I guess I owe you a big apology, Mrs. M. You were right this afternoon: I wouldn't have a *hope* against a cake like this, especially once you've added your special icing.
MRS. MANGEL: I didn't want to discourage all the competition, dear. I do hope you're not totally disillusioned...?
SHARON (airily): Oh, how can we youngsters ever learn if we don't try?! Besides, there's always second or third prize...
MRS. MANGEL: True, true. A very sensible attitude.
The 'phone starts ringing suddenly and Mrs. Mangel heads out to the hallway to answer it, commenting that it might be Mr. Worthington. Jane follows her, saying it might be Paul, too. Left alone with Sharon, Nick mutters that if he hadn't seen it, he wouldn't have believed the way she sucked up to Mrs. Mangel. Sharon, however, has gone to one of the cupboards and is taking a bottle of vinegar out. Nick asks her what she's doing. Sharon beams:
SHARON: She forgot the flavouring! Now isn't she a silly duffer...
NICK (groans): Oh no...
The next morning, Harold is looking on admiringly as Madge puts the finishing touches to her cake in the kitchen. He smiles that it's a marvellous effort and almost certainly the winner. Madge retorts that as long as it's enough to blow Nell Mangel out of the water, that's all she cares about. Harold sighs:
HAROLD: Is all that really necessary? I mean, here am I, endeavouring to raise money for the church, and everyone seems hell- bent on turning it into a point- scoring exercise.
MADGE (mutters): Oh Harold!
HAROLD: No, I *mean* it, Madge. If there's one thing that gets my gander up, that's people abusing the privilege of charity.
Madge points out that it's not just *her*: the whole *street's* at war - look at Helen and Paul. She then explains to an astonished Harold about the mix- up with the paintings and how Helen's determined to display hers and how Paul's trying to stop her. When he's heard the story, Harold mutters that he takes it she approves of all that pettiness. Madge, however, replies:
MADGE: Not really, no - but I mean: maybe this will teach Paul to be a little less vain and a little more trusting, hm?
Henry and Joe carry a table into the church hall and set it up. Joe then says he'll go and check on his mum's stuff and see if it's arrived. He heads out as Paul comes in and asks Henry how things are going. Henry nods that they're getting there: Joe's a help - he's pretty good in the brawn department. Paul then says:
PAUL: Listen, gran wasn't too sure where to hang that portrait, so I thought I'd come down and check it out for her.
HENRY (grins): Oh, you did, did you?!
PAUL: Yeah. Just out of interest, where is it?
Henry doesn't respond, and Paul tells him testily that he hasn't got all day. Henry grins:
HENRY: You want me to just hand it over, eh?
HENRY: This wouldn't be the same portrait that you went gaga over?! The same portrait that you'd do anything to stop people from seeing?!
PAUL (admits): Yeah, might be...
HENRY: And you think I'm just going to hand it over?!
Paul offers Henry $20 - and then $40 and $100! Henry asks what happens to the portrait, and Paul mutters that it has a little accident. Henry grins that it must really stink! He then says:
HENRY: As tempting as the offer is, the whole reason for this is to raise money for charity—
PAUL (warns): Henry...
Joe walks back in at that moment and asks Henry if Paul's giving him a hard time. Paul retorts that it's a personal matter. Henry just tells Paul that he's sorry, but the show must go on. Paul, looking annoyed, walks off. Henry bursts out laughing and says he must be sick, turning down $100! Joe just says:
JOE: Hey, you asked me to remind you when it was time to pick up that cake. It's time to pick up that cake.
Henry tells Joe that, in that case, *he's* in charge. He heads off.
Mrs. Mangel is packing her cake into a box on the kitchen table as Sharon stands next to her and says:
SHARON: Now, I'll make sure I'm very careful on the way to the church. We wouldn't want anything bad to happen, now, would we...?
MRS. MANGEL: Certainly not - not when I'm *this* close to victory. Now remember: you hand the entry forms to Reverend Sampson and he'll put the cakes on display.
She hands over the box just as the doorbell rings. She heads out to answer it and finds John Worthington standing on the step. He asks Nell if he might pop in for a moment. Sharon heads out as John steps into the house. He and Mrs. Mangel head through to the lounge room, where John says:
JOHN: I left rather abruptly last time. Perhaps if I'd stayed we might have been able to resolve that misunderstanding with Joe on the spot?
MRS. MANGEL (nods): It *was* rather unfortunate.
JOHN: But hopefully some good may have come from it. Nell, we've had our ups and downs; I just like to think of this as another hiccough - and if it's all right with you, I'd like us to resume our friendship where we left off.
MRS. MANGEL (smiles delightedly): Oh, so would I.
JOHN: I can't help telling you how good that makes me feel. You never really know what you've got 'til it's gone, do you?
Mrs. Mangel shakes her head, a smile of relief on her face.
Henry walks into No. 24, whistling cheerfully. He heads over to the kitchen, where he finds Madge's cake on the counter with a handwritten note leaning against it saying 'HENRY. BE CAREFUL!'. He removes the note and then lifts the cake up and places it on the upright palm of his right hand. He carries it out of the house that way!
Outside No. 24/Ramsay Street
Henry steps onto the outside balcony and grins as he pretends to almost drop the cake over the edge! He runs down the steps and onto the driveway, holding the cake aloft as he does so! There's a skateboard just on the pavement, though, and Henry doesn't spot it as he waves to Nick, who's working on his bike outside No. 26! Henry puts his foot onto the board and starts spinning around! The cake stays intact, though, as Henry rights himself! Looking mightily relieved, he beams at Nick and goes and places the cake on Bertha's roof while he unlocks the car door. He then walks over to Nick and asks what the story is with the bike. Nick mutters that the dumb chain's come off. Henry offers to give him a hand. He helps Nick put the chain back on and then goes and climbs into the car - not noticing the cake still lying on the roof! He starts the engine. Nick stares at him and yells:
NICK: Hey, Henry - the cake!
As Henry drives round the curve of the road, Nick starts running down the road, trying to get in front of it! Henry spots him and pulls the car to a sharp halt - which causes the cake to go flying forward off the roof and splatter all over the street! A look of absolute horror crosses his face...