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    Written by: Don Battye   Produced by: John Holmes   Directed by: Graeme Hodgson

In the reception area at the riding school, Stephen comes off the 'phone and tells the receptionist that if there are any more calls, she's to give them the same story; he doesn't want the lines tied up with panicking relatives. Alan Pascoe comes in and Stephen asks him if all the guests are accounted for. Alan replies that they are, but then adds that they're very concerned about Stephen's wife and her sister: they went riding separately, but neither of them have been seen since; he's organised search parties. Stephen murmurs, "Oh my God." The two of them head out.

In the woods, Margaret rides her horse away. Patricia tries to stand up, all the while coughing from the smoke, and attempts to hop away from the fire. She collapses back onto the ground, though, crying out in pain. She shouts to Margaret to help her, and pleads, "Please..." Margaret continues to ride away. All of a sudden, she brings her horse to a stop and turns it round. Patricia continues to lie on the ground, writhing in pain. As she sees Margaret coming towards her again, she cries out to her to help her. Margaret climbs off her horse and Patricia holds out her arm. Margaret helps to lift her up off the ground. Patricia cries at her, asking her what they're going to do, and saying they'll never make it. Margaret grabs her arm and throws it around her neck to provide some support and starts dragging her to safety.

Terry is driving along one of the roads when he sees two cars coming in the opposite direction. He toots his horn to attract their attention and they stop. He gets out of his van, while the Palmers - except David - Fiona and Jill get out of the two cars. Terry asks if everyone is OK. Beryl tells him that David isn't too good, and Fiona explains that he hurt himself getting into the car. Terry asks how close the fire is. John tells him that it was miles away an hour ago, but the wind changed direction and it started coming straight for them. Terry tells the group to head straight back to Woombai, no messing. John tells Terry that he and Kevin will go with him, and the three of them head to the van. They roar off. The others get back in the cars.

Stephen and Alan are in one of the trucks from the property, driving along. A riderless horse suddenly runs out in front of them, and Stephen recognises that it's from the school. Alan tells him that it's the one Patricia was riding.

Margaret is helping Patricia along; Patricia is coughing as the effects of the smoke worsen. She then collapses to the ground again. Margaret cries at her to come on, but Patricia finds she can't move. As a look of despair crosses Margaret's face, they suddenly hear Stephen and Alan yelling. Margaret shouts that they're over here. Stephen shouts back at her to keep calling out. She and Patricia both start yelling, and Stephen and Alan track the voices until they've found them. Stephen immediately bends down and hugs Patricia, who gasps in relief.

In David's bedroom at Woombai, the doctor tells him that all that running around has put him back a few days. Beryl asks if he's alright, and whether he has to go back to hospital. The doctor tells her that he doesn't, but he adds that he wouldn't suggest travelling for about a week. David explains that he and his family were going to go back to Melbourne together. He then adds that he supposes he should be grateful - at least he got out of the fire. Fiona comes in and asks the doctor if he could pop into the guest house before he leaves. The doctor asks if there's another victim. Fiona replies that there are two, actually - two women, who are both apparently quite distressed. The doctor replies that it sounds like his speciality - women in distress! He then turns back to David and tells him to take it easy and enjoy the attention while he's getting it. Beryl thanks him. The doctor tells her to wait until she sees his bill! He goes, and Beryl remarks to Fiona that he's quite a character. Fiona grimly says yes, but then adds that she doesn't think his jokes will go over too well at the guest house: the two women are Patricia and Margaret. Beryl asks what happened, and Fiona explains that they got trapped by the fire while out riding; Stephen and Alan Pascoe got to them just in time. David asks if they're OK. Fiona replies that they're both suffering from smoke inhalation and Patricia hurt her ankle.

In the reception area at the guest house, Stephen has his arm around Patricia as she sits there, coughing. There are several guests standing there watching, and Patricia, still looking upset, comments on their presence. Stephen tells her not to worry about them. Alan asks the other guests to leave them, and they start to wander away. Margaret suggests they go into Stephen's office, and Stephen agrees that it's a good idea. He and Margaret help Patricia up. Patricia asks if the doctor is coming, and Stephen replies that he's on his way. He then turns to Margaret and tells her that he'll never be able to thank her for what she's done today. Patricia and Margaret look at each other. Margaret says, "Anyone would have..."

In the lounge room at Woombai, Lynn asks Beryl how the patient is. Beryl explains that he can't travel for a few days, and she asks Lynn if she'd mind awfully if she didn't make it to the airport to see her and Kevin off. Lynn points out that Kevin will be disappointed. Beryl replies that she knows, but with David the way he is... Lynn quickly says Kevin will understand. Beryl then realises that there is one alternative: perhaps Margaret could look after him for another couple of days? A look of worry immediately crosses Fiona's face, and she quickly says that she's sure Margaret would agree if they asked her, but she's spent quite a few days looking after David; it would be a bit much to ask her to do it any more - she is a guest there. Beryl admits that she hadn't thought of that. She tells Lynn that Kevin can manage without her, and adds that it might be better, not making such a big thing of them going off overseas.

In his bedroom, David is sitting up, looking thoughtful. He then picks up the 'phone at the side of his bed and dials a number.

In the office at the riding school, the doctor tells Patricia that she's a lucky lady - but there's to be no tap dancing for the next day or two! Patricia smiles. The doctor then turns to Margaret and says they're both lucky ladies - they would both have been goners if it hadn't been for her. Stephen thanks him. The 'phone starts ringing, and Stephen answers it. David comes on and asks if Margaret's up to talking. Stephen says he'll get her. He tells Margaret that it's for her and that it's David, and then leaves the room with the doctor. Patricia is still sitting there as Margaret picks up the phone and cautiously says, "Hello." David tells her that he heard she had a bit of trouble. Margaret nervously says, "Yes..." She then adds that they're alright - it was nothing, really. David comments that it must have been pretty hairy; bush fires aren't funny. Margaret admits that they did get a fair bit of smoke. David remarks that it sounds like they're all in the wars. Margaret asks why that is, and David explains the he went a bit far trying to get his mob out of the way of the fire; he's not as strong as he thought he was - he put himself on the injury list again; he's got to stay there for the next few days instead of going back to Melbourne. Margaret looks thoughtful.

Out in the bush, several blokes are aiming hoses at the fire, which is still burning fiercly. Terry is dashing around coordinating the operation and telling the blokes what to do and where to head to. John walks over to Kevin - who's just finished a shift as a volunteer - and helps him take his backpack off. Terry comes over and asks how it's going. John says they're getting there.

In the office, Margaret puts the 'phone down. Patricia sits there in silence. Margaret breaks it to say it wasn't easy, talking to David in front of her. She adds that she supposes Patricia has got a few smart remarks to make about it. Patricia quietly says she doesn't think this is the time for cheap shots. She adds that they've been through an awful lot together today. Looking sad but thoughtful, she continues that they don't talk very easily together, and... she knows there have been times in the past when they've been absolutely disgusting - it's the only word she can think of - to each other; but she won't forget that Margaret had the... guilt... or human instinct... or that she cared enough - she won't say 'loved'; cared enough not to leave her. She gently says, "Thankyou." Margaret, looking upset, tells Patricia that she doesn't want her to thank her - she would have done it for anyone. Patricia sighs and then smiles sadly as she says she's really sorry that they can't use what happened today to bring them a little closer - at least to try. Margaret sits down as Patricia asks her if she can remember when they were kids - when they were very young, before the adults got to them - they were sisters...; she looked up to Margaret so much...; and today was.. just like all those years ago... when she relied upon her...; it makes her think that they could at least... at least... She breaks down in tears. Margaret says to Patricia that she must have realised something about today: she must have realised that she's not really a threat to her. Patricia looks at her. Margaret continues that she never could be - not after today; whether that's caring for her or just weakness, she doesn't know...; she couldn't leave her...; she had to come back and fight to get her. Patricia asks Margaret if she doesn't hate her. Margaret replies that, no... she supposes she doesn't. She sadly continues that her attempts to get at Patricia have all been rather a waste of time when she thinks about it. Patricia asks if this means they can at least try to come to some sort of understanding. Margaret replies that she doesn't think they could be 'friends', if that what she means...; she thinks the best they can hope for is something just... where they ignore each other. She stands up. Patricia tells her that she promises she'll make it up to her. Margaret just says, "Up to you," and she walks off, leaving Patricia sitting there looking upset.

Barbara is sitting in the lounge room at Dural, sewing, as Charlie sits by the bar and says there was another report on the radio as she left home. She continues that they must be really bad fires - after all, they're a fair way north. Barbara asks what difference that makes. Charlie replies that it's so out of the way - she hardly thinks anyone would be interested... She then adds that it's making a name for itself, though; one would hope so with the fashion parade being held up there! She adds that she does hope the fires aren't going to ruin the whole thing. Looking incredulous, Barbara angrily asks Charlie if it hasn't occurred to her how disastrous it would be for people who own property and stock. Charlie indignantly replies that of course it has - they're all in the same boat. Barbara snaps that a few frocks are as important as people with homes and a livelihood, are they? Charlie replies that they are to the people concerned. She then adds that she doesn't know why Barbara is getting so upset. There's a sudden knock at the front door and Barbara gets up to answer it. Charlie says she'll go and buy some papers, and see what they say about the fires. It's Andy at the door, and as he comes in, Charlie leaves. He tells Barbara that Amanda rang from the airport and said she wanted to see him. Barbara tells him that there's a reason, and she adds that Amanda is upstairs. As he goes to head up there, Babara asks him how he's been coping since the funeral. Andy replies that he's taking it as it comes - one day at time; he's handling it.

At Woombai, the fire is almost out; there are a number of fire volunteers damping things down; the roar of machinery is still very loud. Terry walks over to John, who's standing by one of the fire trucks and says it looks like they killed the beast! Kevin says he's ready to drop! Terry tells both of the brothers that they did well. He then adds that it's a pity Kevin won't be around for the next one! Kevin asks him if he has to be so pessimistic, but Terry tells him that he's just being realistic - they happen each year. John suggests they all go and have a couple of beers. Terry tells them that he'll see them down the pub.

Barbara opens the front door at Dural to find Charlie standing there, and as a look of annoyance crosses her face, she impatiently says she's got an awful lot to do. Charlie retorts that she knows Barbara will say she's too busy, but when she picked up the newspaper at the agent's, she nearly died. Barbara asks her what she means. Charlie hands her the newspaper, saying she simply had to bring it to show her. Barbara looks at the front page; the headline says:


Barbara reads it with a look of horror on her face.

In the reception area at the riding school, Stephen tells the receptionist that he knows he was being dropped in the middle of it when he came there, but he could have done without today! The receptionist replies that it won't be the last fire of the season, and Stephen grimly remarks, "So everyone keeps telling me!" The receptionist then asks him how his wife is. As she says this, Patricia hobbles into the reception with the aid of a pair of crutches, and Stephen says to the receptionist, "See for yourself!" The receptionist comments to Patricia that you'd never know she'd been through it! Patricia wryly retorts, "You have to be joking..." Stephen asks her if she's alright, and she says she is. Stephen then tells her that he doesn't know what he would have done if he'd lost her. Patricia quietly says "Don't, darling..." Stephen helps her to sit down and then sits down in a chair next to hers. He then asks asks her if she meant what she said - her offer: does it still hold? - is she still willing to become a simple country housewife? Patricia smiles, and then leans across and kisses him.

In David's bedroom, David tells Beryl that it's terrible, and he asks what Kevin and Lynn are going to say. Beryl explains that she had a chat with Lynn and they think it would probably be best that she's not there, anyway. David points out that, if she thinks that she might not be able to see them for at least two years, wouldn't she like to be there? Beryl replies that of course she'd like to be there, but it's not the way it's worked out. David tells her that there's no reason why she can't be there, and he tells her to to go home, adding that he'll be alright there for a couple of days - and Margaret can keep an eye on him if Fiona's got too much to do. Beryl explains that she talked to Fiona about that: Margaret is a guest, after all, and it wouldn't be fair on her. David says he's sure she wouldn't mind. Beryl uncertainly says, "I don't know..." David tells her to admit that she'd love to be there with the kids. Beryl asks him if he's sure he doesn't mind. David replies that he'll do his block in a minute! Beryl laughs that he's made his point - she'll ask Margaret, but she's not going to impose on her.

In the reception area at the riding school, Margaret says she's not sure. Beryl tells her that she understands if she can't do it - it's a bit much to ask; it's just that she really would like to see Kevin and Lynn off. Margaret says she understands, and she'd like to, but... Beryl assures her that it's alright - she's been so good already; it was only a thought. She stands up to leave, and as she does so, Patricia comes in. Beryl awkwardly tells her that she was sorry to hear about her dreadful experience, and she asks her if she's recovered now. Patricia replies, "Almost, thankyou." Beryl goes. Patricia sits down and tells Margaret that she heard a bit of what she and Beryl were talking about. She continues that she understands how she feels about David: obviously he means a lot to her - so why doesn't she do it? Margaret sadly replies that it's no use - it's ridiculous that she ever thought anything would come of it... it's just that it was so nice to... feel wanted for a change...; if she spends any more time with him, it'll just be worse for her. Patricia tells her that, if she's got a chance for some happiness for a few days, she should grab it; she may not feel too good about it afterwards, but she'll at least have something to remember; there's nothing worse than going through life without something special to remember. She asks, "Why don't you do it?" Margaret gives in and says she will. She gets up and goes out.

Beryl is walking back towards Woombai when Margaret catches up with her and asks her to wait a moment. She tells Beryl that she's been thinking, and she really should go down to Melbourne with Kevin and Lynn; she was selfish not to offer to look after David. Beryl assures her that she wasn't. Margaret continues that she'd be delighted to help, and Beryl smiles in delight as she says that's marvellous. Margaret tells her that it'll be a pleasure. Beryl thanks her.

At Dural, Barbara has the 'phone to her ear; it's ringing, but no one's answering. She calls up to Andy, and asks to see him for a minute. He comes into the lounge room and Barbara hands him the paper and tells him to read the headline. As he does so, she snaps that they had a fair idea that Wayne had spoken to the reporters, but even she didn't think he'd sink that low. She angrily continues that she's been trying to get him on the 'phone for three quarters of an hour, but he's not answering. She adds that there's just one thing to do: she'll go to Melbourne and face him with it. Andy angrily says he'd love to wrap the paper around Wayne's throat. Barbara tells him to come with her, then. Andy replies that he'd love to, but he can't afford to go flying off to Melbourne just to have a crack at someone. Barbara tells him that he's involved as much as she is - his mother's name has been dragged thorugh the mud; he has a right to defend her. She then tells him that she'll pay for him. Andy tells her, "You're on!" Barbara growls, "By the time I've finished with Wayne, he'll wish he'd never been born..."


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