An imagined scene, in which Sheila Canning brings an Erinsborough newcomer up-to-speed on all that’s happening in and around Ramsay Street
“I haven’t seen you round here before, have I, love? What can I get you, a beer? Coming right up. It’s a bit quiet in here this morning. I reckon people are all broke right now, what with Christmas. Even moneybags Paul Robinson, so I’ve heard! Oh, silly me, you won’t know who anyone is if you’re not from this neck of the woods. Well, pull up a bar stool, and if you’ve got a few minutes to spare, I can fill you in on a few folk. I’m Sheila Canning, and I’m the eyes and ears of Erinsborough. Oh, not that I’m a sticky beak like that Susan Kennedy. And I don’t judge anyone. But let’s just say between you and me and my gnomes, it’s been quite a year in our street, and there’s been more make-ups and break-ups than in a soap opera!
“See that woman walking by the window, blonde hair? Well, that’s Lauren, and she’s been in a love-triangle. Shocking, the whole saga. She was married to Matt. Nice man, a policeman. Set in his ways, but a good egg, and a family man, till he went a bit odd towards the end. He was rather sexy. I wouldn’t have minded being arrested by him if I were a criminal. Then the poor thing was killed by an out-of-control car. And guess whose life got saved by Matt shoving him out of the way? Brad Willis! Brad and Lauren had a child together years ago, you see. She’d been adopted out, they went on a mission to find her, and lo and behold when they did, the pair were making eyes at one another as if the child was about to be conceived! Like I said, I’m not judging, but Lauren certain played the merry widow. Matt was hardly cold in his grave before Brad had his feet right under Lauren’s table, and his wood in her shed. (Well, actually, Matt was cremated but you know what I mean.) I’m pretty sure when Matt spoke his last words to Brad that he didn’t mean look after Lauren in quite that way! And poor Terese, Brad’s wife. She went through hell. She can be a bit bossy, granted, but Brad is a weak man. Like a lot of men. Oh, present company excepted! Then Terese got burnt in a fire at the school – long story – and Brad decided he had got a conscience after all. A guilty one I reckon, saying as he chose to rescue Lauren from the building before his own wife! Lauren ended things with Brad after that, so he went crawling back home to look after Terese, but she’s thrown him out again. I tell you, with all their confrontations on the street, it’s like watching the shoot out at the OK Corral.
“And that wasn’t the only love triangle of the year either. There was another one involving Turner and a Willis. Amber Turner, she’s a nice kid but I’m not sure she’s got a lot between the ears sometimes. She was with Josh Willis, then she left him for Daniel Robinson and was about to marry him, only he got stuck down a well with Imogen Willis. I know, you couldn’t make it up, could you? Except Amber didn’t know he was stuck down a well and thought he’d jilted her. So what does the silly girl do then? Only goes and spends what would have been her wedding night being comforted by Josh. Some comforting that turned out to be. She found out later that she was pregnant to him. She and Daniel had got back together by then, as Amber realised he hadn’t jilted her. Are you keeping up? Anyway, of course, the baby being Josh’s spelt curtains for her and Daniel. And now Daniel’s with Imogen. She’s a smart cookie, and they seemed more suited. But Daniel’s changed, so I don’t reckon they’ll last much longer. He’s gone too much like his uncle Paul if you ask me. Money mad.
“Yes, there’s a lot of folk had their hearts broken around these parts. And it’s been pretty hard for me to stand by and watch some of it. I thought that Kyle – that’s my grandson – had found his soulmate with pretty young Georgia. She’s a nurse. She seemed a lovely girl. Even if she did have a pop at my taste in table lamps. So Kyle and Georgia got married, seemed happy, and then Georgia’s mother got sick and needed special cancer treatment. In Germany. So off Georgia goes to be with her mum, leaving Kyle to try and work all hours God sends on his business. Then if you please, she comes back and says she wishes they hadn’t got married. I could have wrung her neck with Dr Karl’s stethoscope. All the same, Kyle seems to have taken it on the chin. He’s seeing Amy Robinson now. She and her son Jimmy are living with us. Amy’s ex came back on the scene a while back, but he was a good for nothing type, and when she realised the truth, she soon shipped him out again. I know she’s a Robinson but Amy’s not a bit like her dad, Moneybags. And it was me who helped get Amy and Kyle together, you know. I’m a good matchmaker. All it took was shutting them in the laundry room to get them to talk and realise they were well suited. Although, I didn’t expect to find them actually getting together in the laundry room if you know what I mean. That image will stay with me for life!
“And my daughter Naomi, well, I’ve despaired at her choice in men for a long time. I don’t know what I did wrong there, but she doesn’t seem to see a good thing when it’s right under her nose with a sign saying ‘Unmarried, available, trustworthy’. Mark Brennan is all those things. Perfect, I tell you. A career as a cop, good looking, buying his house, what more could she want? But Naomi always had a taste for the high life. That’s why she fell into the arms of Paul Robinson. Moneybags. I think I mentioned him earlier. I wasn’t happy about him dating my daughter, but like a good mother, I didn’t interfere. Well, apart from a few tactful words of advice. I’m always tactful. Luckily she saw things my way eventually, but I do wish she hadn’t got drunk and spent the night with Josh Willis. You knew that Moneybags would want revenge when he found out, and he tried to have Josh set up, got someone to plant drugs on him. Oh, I don’t blame Josh for fancying Naomi. I mean, my daughter is a very attractive young woman. She takes after her mum in that way. Men can’t resist her! She’s living in the States now, new dream job and everything. I do miss her, though.
“As for Mark, the one that Naomi let slip through her fingers, well he’s taken up with Paige. That’s Brad and Lauren’s long-lost daughter. I’m not judging, but I really don’t think she’s right for him. She’s too young for starters. Still goes about flashing her belly. And if you ask me, she’s a bit selfish, wanting her parents reunited and not giving a hoot about anyone else’s feelings. And I can’t help but see her around young Tyler, Mark’s brother, and wonder if she’s better suited to him. I heard – and I’m not gossiping – that they had a bit of a moment down that well. It’s a good job they’ve filled it in now, it seems like half of Ramsay street ended up down there. And I reckon something happened when Paige and Tyler were trapped in the school lift during the fire too. I don’t know what, but the truth always comes out in the end. Still, Tyler seems to be having enough love interest to keep him occupied. He took a shine to my B&B guest, and he’s got young Piper Willis mooching about after him too. She’s a strange one, can’t decide if she’s a bit, you know, disturbed, or just rebellious. But with a family like hers, poor kid doesn’t stand a chance of being normal.
“I think lasting love seems to elude most of us in Erinsborough. No-one seems to stick it out these days. No wonder the Willis and Turner kids can’t get it right with their parents’ track records. I suppose we have to be glad that Toadie and Sonya are still happy, even after all they’ve been through. He had a freak accident, you see. But they’ve coped well. Sonya’s a fussy mare over little Nell, but she’s alright really. Yes, I do hope they’ll be okay. It’s a long story, but I owe them for a couple of reasons. Well, alright, I’ll just tell briefly. Naomi had a thing for Toadie once, and I was horrified. She just can’t seem to leave married men alone. Thankfully Toadie wasn’t having any of it, because he’s loyal. Then there was the school fire and I couldn’t get Toadie out because he’s paralysed, so I had to run for help. I felt bad, but he says I wasn’t to blame. Anyway, Sonya and Toadie Rebecchi and Karl and Susan Kennedy, they’re about the only ones who haven’t strayed this year in Ramsay Street. And Karl and Susan have had their history of infidelity, I can tell you, but I haven’t got time to go into it now or we’d still be here this time next year.
“Oh look, there goes Steph Scully. Did I tell you about her? She got sick, heard voices and kidnapped a baby. After she got out of the psych ward, she came back to make amends and rebuild her life. But then this strange woman turned up and, honestly, I wasn’t spying or anything but I saw the two of them and they looked very close if you know what I mean. I heard through the grapevine that she’s Steph’s ex. Everyone who knows Steph wouldn’t have seen that one coming. Well, it takes all sorts and I guess she must swing both ways. I suppose that’s one way of making sure your toast always lands butter side up!
“Oh, look at the time already. Nate should be in soon for his shift. Now, he’s a bit of a prickly cactus, and we all thought he was an odd bod when he first arrived. Didn’t speak more than two words at a time, waggled his eyebrows and scowled a lot. But he turned out to be alright, in his own way. He started dating Chris Pappas, but Chris wanted to be a dad and Nate didn’t. In the end, Chris went off to New York to be near Lucy Robinson and their baby. They had that artificial going-on, you know. And good luck to them if that’s what they wanted. But poor Nate, losing Chris knocked him back a bit. Till Aaron Brennan came along. So now we’ve got three Brennan boys in Ramsay Street. Aaron and Nate seem to be getting on well. And Aaron, he’s a sweetheart really. I’ve had to give them lots of cdvi e, of course. Like I said, I’m good at matchmaking. They call me Cranky Granny but it’s just because they look up to me a lot. I’m not really grumpy, anyone here will tell you I’ve always got a smile for the customers.
“So, you see, it’s been quite a year. I don’t want to brag, but even I had my moments. I enjoyed meeting Harold Bishop, who used to run the coffee shop over the way. What a nice man. He came back for a visit during the festival. I could tell he was keen on me, but he kept thinking he’d seen his dead wife and was talking to her. I do understand, I mean, I still miss my Frank. But, you can’t help wonder what might have been. Then I met Russell, the Brennan brothers’ dad. We had a bit of a romance, although he had to fend off that dried-up floozy, Angie Rebecchi, when she came by the street. Silly woman, I don’t know why she ever thought he would look twice at her. Plus, she can’t make cakes to save her life! A traditional man likes a woman who’s a good cook. I thought Russell was charming, till I found out that he’d knocked seven bells out of Tyler when he was a kid. I couldn’t just forget about that, so I told him to go and get help. He left town, and now he’s having counselling. He phones me now and then, but, well, maybe we were just meant to be mates and nothing more. I should probably just stick to being the agony aunt of the street. You see, everyone comes to me with their love problems and I’m always ready to listen and advise. I’m a wise old stick when it comes to matters of the heart.
“Would you like another beer, love? Oh, where did he go? I’ve only just got started on the story. Honestly, some people, fancy walking out when we were having such a nice chat!”
© Carol Ann Wood
This writing is unauthorised fan-fiction based upon the Australian television serial Neighbours. It takes one pre-existing Neighbours character and adds a new plot-line to summarise recent plot-lines as an original story.
The author makes no claim that any rights-holders of Neighbours – in particular FreemantleMedia Australia Pty Ltd and FreemantleMedia Operations BV – have made any endorsement whatsoever of this writing.
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