Synopsis: Both Claire and Tess McLeod are affected by the attempted suicide of their neighbor Bill Tilson who had just started selling his possessions including his farm. Claire’s anxiety about the future of Drovers Run grows, while Tess is reminded of an event that happened to her when she was just a child. Meanwhile, Meg Fountain is preoccupied with her tomato chutney. It appears that it just would not taste right despite her best efforts.
Episode Summary: Bill Tilson calls on the townsfolk to his garage sale. He is leaving the bush for a life in the city. Claire McLeod (Lisa Chappell) could not believe his decision, but Bill assures her that a better life awaits him. In fact, he already has a job at his brother-in-law’s hardware store, and a house near the beach with its first month’s rent already paid, but more importantly his wife and kids are waiting for him. Claire is still not convinced, and does not appear to be enjoying the whole idea of Bill selling up. However, most people are taking advantage of some good deals from a kitschy purse to the sale of the whole farm. Nick Ryan (Myles Pollard) had offered to purchase the farm, and news of this added to Claire’s discontent. Her restlessness goes beyond the idea of the Ryan’s surrounding Drovers Run. Her real worry is that she will end up like Bill Tilson, and would have to give up the love of her life – Drovers Run.
Terry Dodge has worries of his own, and it is about Meg Fountain (Sonia Todd) who appears to be a little bit preoccupied. Jodi’s joking remark about her mother growing tired of him added to his anxiety. Sensing that an old vase from Bill’s garage sale will not be enough to win her back, he decides to buy her Bill’s wife’s old dress instead. Unfortunately, the vase would have been a better choice. Terry failed to realize that Meg would not appreciate another woman’s dress – one that somebody had already worn, and did not want anymore. Terry’s plan fails miserably, and he leaves embarrassed, and even more anxious. What he does not know is that Meg’s sour mood is born out of her unsuccessful tomato chutney that Jack McLeod once so loved. No matter how carefully she picks the tomatoes from her garden, and how hard she labors in cooking the chutney still tastes bland.
With the thought of ending up like Bill, Claire stays late that night looking at other projects that would make Drovers Run more profitable. Tired and weary she looks out the window only to find Bill Tilson’s house up in flames. The women of Drovers Run rush to save Bill’s farm, and Bill who passed out in his car inside the burning barn. Claire rushes inside the shed to save her neighbor, and her sister Tess McLeod (Bridie Carter) rushes in to help. The shed continues to burn, and the situation worsens when the doorway goes up in flames. Claire and Tess could hardly see as smoke fills up the burning shed. Realizing that the two sisters would find it difficult to find their way out, Meg drives the Ute with headlights blazing, and honks blasting in front of another doorway. Thanks to her quick thinking, Claire and Tess with Bill find their way back to safety. Immediately after, the Ryans arrive. Nick rushes to Tess’ who struggles to get some air, while Alex Ryan (Aaron Jeffrey) scurries to Claire. Seeing what they had done, Alex’ fear turns to anger and he ends up scolding Claire for risking her life. Alex’ anger seemed to have passed on to Claire as she takes it on Nick whose offer to take Bill to the hospital somehow led to her making the out of line remark of him having the desperate man finally accept his offer to buy the farm. Bill Tilson regains consciousness, and finds himself alive and safe inside a Ute. Tess’ concern for their neighbor turns to disappointment as she hears him tell Terry that they should have left him to die.
The women of Drovers Run take in last night’s event uniquely, but it is Claire and Tess who are upset the most. Claire’s fear of her farm going under intensifies, but she is not the type who gives up easily. She sets out on a new endeavor; one that requires Jodi and Becky to clear out an unused paddock of deadwood, while Claire takes on a large tree stump. Claire’s new and tedious project had her forget about the worries of following the Tilson’s fate. Tess, on the other hand, is still filled with rage at Bill for not thinking about his wife and kids when he attempted suicide. Sensing her anger, Meg talks to Tess and learns that when she was only seven years old her mother had attempted to take her life. Tess had blamed herself despite her mother telling her that she did what she did because of Jack McLeod – the love of her life. After all those years, Tess had not gotten over her mother’s attempted suicide, and that because of it she had always thought that if she did something wrong her mother would do it again. The worst thing about the whole ordeal is that she never had the chance to tell her mother how furious she was with her for not thinking of her daughter when she decided that she is not worth living for. Meg tells Tess that she should have told her mother how she felt. Although her mother has passed away, Tess finally does what she should have done long before, and her anger turns to tears.
Still worried about where he stands with Meg, Terry finally confronts her with his worries only to learn that she hasn’t grown tired of him. Though not getting any clear answers as to the cause of Meg’s petulant mood, Terry is nonetheless relieved. He ends up eating the box of chocolates he bought for her with Jodi who advises him that the best thing to do is just let the storm pass.
After a good cry, Tess’ anger had finally subsided, and her feelings towards Bill appear to have changed for the better. Claire, however, is still angry with Nick who had come over with news that Bill has quickly recovered, and will be coming home. She takes her anger on a huge tree stump only to end up with an overheated tractor. With their tractor broken, her plan of diversifying by growing crops is put on hold. Tess comes to Nick’s defense, but her sister had turned a deaf ear on her. In an attempt to find answers, she later finds herself in Bill’s burnt shed where she surprisingly finds Nick. Tess tries to find reason as to Bill’s attempted suicide, and learns from Nick that certain situations push some people over the edge. Also, despite Claire’s insolence towards him, he becomes the unlikely person who defends her. Nick explains to Tess that Drovers Run means everything to Claire. Feeling that she is quickly falling for Nick, Tess pushes away. She makes it clear that unlike her sister, she is not the type who becomes attached – not to a person, a place or to any thing. Her statement might have just successfully pushed him away.
Nick Ryan seemed to have somehow gotten through Tess, which helped her have a change of heart with regards to Bill. This confuses Claire especially when Brick Buchanon arrives with Bill Tilson whom Tess invited to stay at Drovers Run while he recuperates. Brick is more than happy to drive Bill, since it gave him a chance to give Becky her present. At Bill’s garage sale, Brick saw Becky eyeing an old bicycle, and decides to buy and fix it up for her. Though Becky appreciates his thoughtfulness, she turns down his gift.
With the tractor fixed, thanks to Becky, Claire resumes her battle with the tree stump. Alex watches as she sizes up her opponent. He advises her to forget the tractor, and blow it up instead. Stubborn Claire ignores his suggestion, and Alex decides to leave her alone. There is reason to Alex’ advice, which she soon learns when the chain tied to the tree and the tractor breaks. To add to her misfortune, the tractor once again overheats. Her luck appears to have completely run out when her foot slips on her way down the tractor, and she falls and hits the tractor’s side. With a broken rib, Claire struggles to walk back home. Just her luck, Nick comes to her rescue. Though the last person she would like to see, Nick came just in time as she faints in his arms due to exhaustion.
Bill Tilson may have gotten better from smoke inhalation, but he still has to recover from the painful truth of losing his farm. He stares blankly at the horizon. Tess tries to get Bill to open up hoping to make him feel better, but soon learns that there is good reason for his depression. There really is not a better life waiting for him at the city. Clearly, his condition requires more than a game of scrabble. This, Tess realizes when Bill would only form words that only spell doom. Off to Plan B, there’s nothing like curing depression like a small get together with the neighbors.
Claire’s injury only made her grumpier, and the women of Drovers Run fall victim to her ill temper. Always afraid of showing weakness, Claire could not stand being confined to bed more so admit that she fainted. Knowing her very well, Nick reckons that all her act is geared towards proving that she could do everything by herself, and he tells her that there will be no need for that if they marry each other. Learning that Nick has plans of starting his own business, Claire sees a whole new side to him, which appeals to her. Nick and Claire kiss, but her injury puts a damper. However, it seems that there really is no any chemistry between the two of them with or without her broken rib. Tess walking in on them puts an end to their awkward situation.
It is time for dinner with the neighbors, and Tess immediately goes to business. She stops their small talk to ask for their help in rebuilding Bill Tilson’s shed. All are more than happy to help, but soon they discover that Bill does not really care about the farm. Nothing really matters to him now, since the love of his life has left him. His wife Jenelle had run out on him, and took the children with her. So it appears that there is only one answer to his problems, and that is Jenelle. Soon after, Jenelle, a stocky, grumpy woman arrives at Drovers Run to take back Bill. Despite his wife’s ill temper, and display of obvious unwillingness, Bill is more than glad to see and reunite with her. Though it is hard to believe that a man could fall in love with a woman such as she, Meg concludes that there really is someone out there for everyone.
Becky does not have to look that far to find hers. Brick returns with the bike in tow. He realized that Becky’s endless excuses could only mean one thing. Becky does not know how to ride a bike. This he deduced when he himself had made excuses just to get off at having to swim; him too embarrassed at having to admit that he does not know how. Having guessed it right, Becky finally accepts the bike, and even lets Brick teach her how to ride. After a few failed attempts, Becky at last learns to ride on her own.
Though Meg is with Terry, Tess senses that he is not Meg’s true love. This leads Meg to confess that she might be right. Though she does not divulge his identity to her, Meg tells Tess that she once had a love of her life – Jack McLeod. However, it did not work out, since she loved him more than he did. Tess finds it awful, but Meg assures her that it was not, since she did treasure their moments together even though their relationship did not work out. After hearing Meg’s words of wisdom, Tess comprehends that though her mother’s marriage with Jack did not last he never ceased to be the love of her life. She sprinkles her ashes on Jack’s grave having realized that her mother only wanted to be with the one she loved.
Two people who have yet to realize that they need not look far to find their true love are Claire and Alex. Claire finally accepting Alex’ help agrees that explosives is the answer to her problem. The two hide behind the Ute as they blast off the stubborn old stump. After the huge explosion, Claire and Alex fall on the ground and laugh like children as remnants of the tree rain on them. Although Claire has yet to discover her one true love, she somehow knows that it is not Nick Ryan.
For Meg, the love of her life have passed and gone, which only gives way to a new one – Terry. Though she had given up on her chutney, she had not entirely closed the door on it especially after learning that Terry loves it too. Moreover, she had finally uncovered the secret ingredient that had been missing, one that Jack had been pouring – his urine. So, it appears that Meg had found new love in Terry as he assumes Jack’s role in Meg’s famous tomato chutney.
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