Todd grinning as he overhears Hilary telling Helen in panic about a love letter she's received from Mr. Muir.
Kerry is tidying up in the lounge room when there's a sudden thumping on the front door. She dashes to open it and lets Joe in: he has several bags of shopping in his hands. He says he's going to put it in the fridge, and Kerry tells him that she's cleared a shelf for his meat so that it doesn't touch her veggies. Joe, however, sighs:
JOE: Look, I just got a few chops and a handful of snags; and I can put the chook in the freezer... Your veggies won't even know they're there!
KERRY (sharply): Joe, now we're married, we're just going to have to make a few compromises. You'll get used to it. A spare shelf isn't that much to ask for.
Joe heads into the kitchen, musing as he does so:
JOE: I suppose all this compromise stuff, you'll be *cooking* me some steaks and chops, will ya?!
KERRY: Ha! Very funny! You know I don't handle dead flesh.
JOE: Just thought I'd ask.
KERRY: But you're more than welcome to try a vegetarian meal any time you like!
With that, Joe stuffs the meat into the freezer and sits down at the table, telling Kerry as he does so that he'll leave the rest of the shopping for *her* to put away, in case she's got a special shelf for everything! Kerry stares at him and then starts tickling him as punishment for his cheek! She tells him to go and clear some space in the wardrobe!
Todd and Nick arrive home from school, Todd asking Nick why they didn't go to the shops with Matt and Sharon. Nick shrugs that he's broke. Todd asks what happened to all the money he made from the paintings, and Nick replies that it's gone; evaporated. Looking thoughtful, Todd comments that he supposes Nick's interested in making some money, then. Nick nods:
NICK: Yeah, yeah. How?
TODD: Well, Mr. Bishop's asked me to do his lawn; you know - tidy up his garden a bit.
NICK: Right - so we're not exactly talking big biccies?
TODD: I haven't finished yet. Henry left on his holiday without telling any of his customers, so they've all been ringing up and complaining to Mr. B.
TODD: So, the Big B has asked me to do the lawns for some bloke called McNally. He was ringing up and cracking a mental - so if you want to help me, we'll go halves.
Nick nods that he'll be in it - but he then reminds Todd that he's grounded, so how's he going to get out. Todd shrugs that he'll just go. Nick asks what will happen if Jim finds out. Todd just retorts that he's fed up of being treated like a little kid. Nick warns him just not to get caught. Todd insists that he won't.
Outside the Coffee Shop
Hilary is sitting at a table outside the Coffee Shop, looking pensive. Kenneth Muir joins her and apologises for being late, explaining that he caught Kenneth Hodges smoking in the toilets. Hilary doesn't look interested. Instead, she says nervously:
HILARY: Kenneth, I would have spoken to you at school, but what I have to say is something of a more *personal* nature, so I thought somewhere like this would be more appropriate.
MR. MUIR (nods): I understand.
HILARY: I don't want you to get the wrong impression. I'm most flattered - I really am; it's just that I had no idea as to the depth of your feeling and it rather took me by surprise, that's all. I mean, we're both mature adults, aren't we?
MR. MUIR: Yes, I think so.
HILARY: And *as* mature adults, we behave in a certain fashion.
MR. MUIR (looking worried): Hilary, I'd hate to think that my behaviour has *offended* you in any way.
HILARY (quickly): No, no, not at all. Quite the opposite. As I said, I'm most flattered; it's... it's just the *pace* that I'm concerned about.
MR. MUIR (blankly): The pace?
MR. MUIR: I'm sorry. Hilary, I've enjoyed our outings very much. I never meant to overstep the mark. If I did, I apologise.
HILARY: No, no, Kenneth, there you go again. There is no need to apologise. I, too, enjoy our little soirees.
MR. MUIR: Well. Good. We'll have to go out again soon, then.
HILARY (flatly): Mm. That would be lovely. [Hesitates] Look, I don't want you to think I'm not romantic. I *am* - and that particular piece of verse has always been one of my favourites. It's simply that I feel, at our age, one should be a little more circumspect. You know what I mean? Look, please - don't get the wrong idea: I'm not saying that I don't *share* your feelings; it's just this *particular* poem has a... has displayed a boldness and impulsiveness that I feel is best reserved for youth. Don't you agree?
MR. MUIR (blankly): Poem?
HILARY: I suppose I should be *touched* that you'd want to send it to me.
MR. MUIR: *What* poem, Hilary?
HILARY (looking surprised): Pardon?
MR. MUIR: What poem?
HILARY: Well, the poem that you left in my letterbox, of course.
MR. MUIR: But *I* didn't leave any poem in your letterbox.
HILARY: You *must* have - it has your signature.
MR. MUIR: I'm sorry - it wasn't from *me*.
HILARY: Kenneth, there's no need to be embarrassed. It was a most charming gesture.
MR. MUIR: Hilary, I swear to you: it wasn't from me. I wouldn't leave a romantic poem in your letterbox.
Hilary's face drops. Kenneth Muir tells her:
MR. MUIR: I'm afraid it looks like you've been the victim of some sort of practical joke.
A look of horror crosses Hilary's face. She stands up and says quickly in an upset tone that she's most terribly sorry. She then dashes off across the bridge, leaving Mr. Muir sitting looking worried.
Matt and Sharon are sitting listening to music when there's a knock on the front door. Matt goes and answers it to find Melissa on the step. She steps inside and asks if Hilary's home. Matt replies that she isn't yet. He asks if she's there for her piano lesson and Melissa nods that she is. Sharon asks her how things are going. Melissa sighs that her parents are still giving her a hard time - but she's going to try and get out of this lesson so that she can meet Todd. Matt comments that he doesn't much like her chances with Hilary. Melissa suddenly looks at the stereo system and she asks if he can record on it and if he has a blank tape. Matt nods that he can and does. Melissa then goes and sits down at the piano and Matt holds out the microphone as Melissa starts playing her scales.
Helen is chopping vegetables in the kitchen when Todd and Nick come in. Helen asks Todd where he's been, and he replies that he had to do something for Harold. Helen warns him not to let Jim catch him. Todd says he *won't*. Nick and Todd head through to the lounge room and Todd hands Nick $15 courtesy of Mr. McNally. Nick thanks him. He then remarks:
NICK: You know, if we did some of the customers that Henry left in the lurch, we could make a packet, mate.
TODD: I reckon we can go one *better* than that. What is to stop us from making a packet by picking up *all* of Henry's customers, especially if we charge a few bucks less?
Todd goes and takes an exercise book out of the desk drawer as Nick asks him how they're going to find out the names of Henry's customers. Todd holds out the exercise book and replies that it's a piece of cake. Nick asks:
NICK: What's this?
TODD: That's Henry's appointment book: Mr. Bishop gave it to me to look up Mr. McNally's number and address. You are looking at our potential fortune - partner!
NICK (grins): You dog!
Matt, Sharon and Melissa are in the lounge room when Hilary arrives home, looking flustered. She stops in her tracks at seeing Melissa, and asks her what she's doing there. Melissa reminds her that she has a piano lesson. Hilary tells her to commence with her scales - and she asks Sharon sharply for a word. Sharon asks what's up. Hilary holds out the piece of paper with the poem on it and snaps:
HILARY: Don't play the innocent with *me*, young lady. I suppose you think humiliating me like this is *funny*?
SHARON (blankly): What do you mean?
HILARY: Oh come on, Sharon.
SHARON: Hilary, honestly, I haven't got a clue what you're talking about.
HILARY: Very well. Then I suspect your *boyfriend* is behind this. Something like this isn't beyond him; I've always thought that.
SHARON: Don't be ridiculous - *Nick* didn't send you any letter.
Hilary looks at Matt and asks him curtly if *he* know who's behind it. Matt just retorts:
MATT: Don't look at *me*. What was in it?
HILARY: A piece of verse. A malicious, juvenile piece of verse.
Hilary turns to Melissa and snaps at her suddenly to stop making that din. Melissa stops playing her scales. Matt asks Hilary about the poem. Hilary retorts that it has Kenneth Muir's signature forged beneath it. Sharon looks suddenly thoughtful as Hilary snaps:
HILARY: If either of you know who's responsible for this, I demand to know immediately. Do you understand?
In the lounge room, Joe has put on some old of his clothes, including boots and a bright top! Kerry sighs that he wants to keep *everything*! Joe, however, insists that he doesn't, and he picks up some clothes from a pile and throws them down in front of Kerry, for the charity chop. He then picks up a pair of trousers and says he can't throw *them* out because he wore them to his first pub! Kerry says in exasperation:
JOE (sighs): All right.
KERRY: Look, you're not going to get any wear out of them. They may as well go to charity, where at least someone can get some good out of them.
JOE: I just feel like I'm hoiking out old mates, that's all.
Front garden of No. 24
Nick and Todd are mowing Harold's lawn. Todd goes to empty the grass from the mower as Sharon walks over from No. 30 and asks him tersely what the idea was of sending that poem to Hilary. Todd retorts that she deserved it. Sharon snaps that he's really upset her. Nick asks what poem she means and Sharon explains about Todd sending the love poem signed from Kenneth Muir. Todd just grins:
TODD: What you worrying about, Sharon? Old ferret-features has dobbed you in plenty of times; we were just getting our own back.
Nick asks Todd how he forged the signature and Todd explains that he traced it off the newsletter Muir sent home the other day! He then asks Sharon warily if she told Hilary that it was *him*. Sharon retorts:
SHARON: What if I *did*?
She then adds curtly that she didn't - but she's got half a mind to. Melissa runs over suddenly and beams at Todd that she got away! Todd asks her what she said to Hilary, but she tells him that Hilary doesn't know: that's why she's got to be back before the lesson's finished. Sharon warns the two of them that if they aren't careful, they're really going to cop it.
Matt is in an otherwise-empty lounge room, listening as the tape of Melissa playing her scales plays out. It comes to an end and Hilary calls out from the kitchen:
HILARY: Don't think I'm not listening.
MATT (quickly): You talking to me, mum?
HILARY (in exasperation): Of course not, Matthew. I'm talking to *Melissa*.
Toby has dressed up in some of Joe's old clothes in the lounge room! Kerry comes in with a box, explaining that she found it under the bed: she thinks it's Joe's mum's. Joe has a quick look through the box and then declares that it's all junk. Kerry, rolling her eyes, says:
KERRY: All right, Steptoe and Son, I'll leave you to it. I'll be in the bedroom, wrestling the dust-mites!
Kerry leaves the room. Toby takes out some newspapers from the top of the box Kerry brought in and exclaims at Joe suddenly:
TOBY: Hey, that looks like *you*!
Joe goes to take a look, and he says in surprise that the photo *is* of him! The headline of the story is 'Mangel Flies for Wildmen' and Joe grins that that's when he was playing for the Elliott Park Wildmen! Toby asks if he was a footy star! Joe looks at another newspaper and reads the headline:
JOE: 'Mangel a Certain for Big League'. Oh, I wish the critics had read that! I can't get over her keeping these for all these years. I didn't think she cared two hoots, mate. You never can tell, eh?
Toby asks if they can cut them out and stick them in a book. Joe nods that that's a good idea: things like that should be treasured and protected, because one day Toby can tell his kids: "That's my dad: the flying Mangel!"
Melissa dashes back into the house and into the lounge room. Matt is crouched by the stereo and he tells Melissa quickly to start playing. Melissa sits down at the piano and starts playing, and Matt switches off the tape. Hilary calls out from the kitchen that that's good: even in the last ten minutes she's noticed quite an improvement!
Helen opens the front door to find Hilary on the step. She steps inside and Helen asks how it went with Kenneth Muir. Hilary sniffs that it didn't go very well: she put all her cards on the table, told him what a charming gesture the poem was and how her only reservation was with regard to the somewhat rash manner in which he expressed his feelings - and he hadn't a clue what she was talking about: he never *sent* the poem; it's all some sort of practical joke. Helen expresses her sympathy. Hilary goes on:
HILARY: You can imagine how *I* felt.
HELEN: What did you do?
HILARY: I - I ran. Literally. I just felt as if I had to get away.
HELEN (sympathetically): Oh Hilary, I'm so sorry.
HILARY (cries): My career at the school is *finished*; it's over. I can never face Kenneth Muir again.
HELEN: Now don't go blowing things out of proportion.
Todd comes in through the back door and listens as Helen goes on:
HELEN: You did that once before, remember? - when you resigned from your job, believing that Mr. Muir disapproved of you as an unmarried mum - and look what happened *then*.
HILARY: Yes, but that was a matter of principle; *this*... oh, Helen, I virtually revealed my innermost feelings to the man. I can't bear to think about it. I can never face him again.
HELEN: Of course you can. I'm sure he'll understand. I mean, as a Headmaster, he must be *used* to students playing practical jokes on him all the time.
HILARY: Yes, but the things I *said*...
Helen suggests that she make a cup of tea: it'll make Hilary feel better. Hilary, however, cries that *nothing* can make you feel better when you've been made to look a complete and utter fool. Helen insists that she might feel like that *now*, but given time... Hilary just murmurs:
HILARY: Oh dear, I don't think this thing will *ever* go away. I just keep going over it again and again in my mind.
Todd stands in the kitchen, looking suddenly guilty, as Helen tells Hilary that everything's going to be all right. Hilary just asks:
HILARY: *Is it*, Helen? I don't know... I really feel I just want to get away from here.
HELEN (suggests): Perhaps that's not such a bad idea. Take a break for a while; relax. It might help you get this whole experience into perspective.
HILARY (nods): Yes, perhaps you're right. Maybe a break *is* for the best.
Todd stands in the kitchen, looking guilty.
Toby and Joe are playing with a football in the lounge room! Kerry comes in and asks if they've finished the sorting-out. Joe nods that he's just about done. Kerry reminds Toby that he's supposed to be cleaning his room, and he heads off. When he's gone, Joe points out the piles he's sorted out for the charity pile and which he wants to keep and which are recyclable. Kerry suggests that he puts the stuff to keep under the house - somewhere dry. Joe picks up a pile of clothes and heads out. When he's gone, Kerry picks up the pile of papers for recycling - including the old newspapers that Mrs. Mangel had kept...
Matt, Nick and Sharon are sitting in the lounge room, trying to decide what to do that evening. Nick is telling the others that he has a pocket full of dosh from doing the lawns this afternoon - and he and Todd are on the verge of a financial coup: they're going to be rolling in it, so they can afford to have some fun, fun, fun! Sharon asks what they're going to do. Before they can decide, though, Hilary comes in, looking upset. Matt and Sharon both ask her if she's all right. She just replies flatly:
HILARY: Yes. I've decided to go up and visit Edith for a few days.
SHARON (exclaims): Aunt Edie? When?
HILARY: I'm driving up tonight. I just feel as if I need to get away. You two will have to look after yourselves - I'm trusting you to behave.
With that, Hilary heads off to pack, leaving Nick to exclaim behind her back:
NICK: You little beauty!
Sharon warns him that Hilary is *upset*, but Nick just shrugs that she'll be fine. He adds that this is unreal: now they can *really* have some fun!
Toby is looking out the lounge room window. Joe comes in and Toby tells him that the truck has taken everything away. Joe looks around and asks Toby if he's seen his old clippings. Toby replies that he hasn't. They start looking for them. Kerry comes in and smiles that it feels great finally getting rid of everything. Joe says to her:
JOE: Hey, Kez, have you seen my old clippings?
JOE: Those old newspapers on the table there.
KERRY: Yeah - the council truck took them away.
JOE (aghast): What?
KERRY: To be recycled.
Joe dashes to the front door and opens it. Kerry calls after him:
KERRY: Joe, the truck's *gone*.
Joe closes the door again and stands there looking upset.