Beauty And The Priest

A tall, dark stranger blasted in,
And Paige was duly smitten.
She felt that fate had sent him,
And her future surely written.
But there was just one problem
From the stranger’s point of view.
‘I don’t know who I am!’ he cried.
‘Aw, there’ soothed Paige, ‘bless you.’
So Paige turned sleuth to find out who
‘John Doe’ had been before.
‘I know you’re good inside!’ Paige cooed,
‘And I’m what you’re looking for!’
But John sensed there was something
Telling him that this was wrong.
‘I don’t care who you were!’ cried Paige,
‘My love for you’s so strong!’
And John tried hard to waive his doubts,
As he gazed at Paige’s bod.
One half of him said ‘Go For It!’
And the other said ‘Oh God.’
Then one day John remembered Jack,
Who’s celibate and holy.
As Paige dreamed of a surfer guy,
Or, Hawthorn’s footy goalie.
‘I guessed that you were good!’ she wailed,
‘But not quite as good as this!’
And Jack was deep in torment
As he thought back to their kiss.
Now Sheila’s all a-dither
And quite flustered by this shock.
‘Oh Father! Half this street have sinned,’
She said, ‘They’re quite a flock!’
So, will Paige steal her man from God
And will she win his heart?
The Bible in her crop-top
As she sings ‘How Great Thou Art?’
And will she wear a rosary
But pray for lasting love?
It’s a Thorn Birds situation,
What a story! Lord Above!

© Carol Ann Wood
July 2016


Index of Posts:


Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
Carol’s football-related blog: Levelling the Playing-Field
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Perfect Blend
Neighbours


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Terese Talks

An imagined scene where Terese talks to the bottle

Well, where do I start? Wishing we hadn’t come to Erinsborough? In a way, I do wish that. Brad and I were happy till we moved back to the place he’d spent some of his teenage years. And back to Lauren. Right now I can hardly bear to say her name; it’s something I spit out, like a grizzly bit of meat. It all seemed okay when we first arrived. At least, I thought it was. Lauren was married to Matt. Nice man, a bit boring, but steady, till his bad spell. And that probably even wouldn’t have happened if my husband and his wife hadn’t decided that maybe they shouldn’t have split up over twenty years ago and went around looking gooey eyed at one another. They tried to hide it at first, but I noticed.

Brad is so easily influenced. He’s always been a dreamer, but at least with my career progression, he’s had a certain freedom to express himself or whatever he calls it. And when Josh was training for the Commonwealth Games, he was able to give up his job and coach him. That was down to me. I don’t think he appreciated how hard I worked to make sure we had a decent standard of living. And standards are important to me, considering the fact that my background meant I had to work my way up the career ladder the hard way.

Pam and Doug always preferred Beth, Brad’s first wife, to me. He wasn’t married to her for very long but he knew he’d made a mistake and that’s where I came in. I can understand his parents’ attitude but you would think they’d have gotten over it after this many years. They think I can’t cook, but for God’s sake, I wasn’t prepared to be one of those homely little wives who was tied to the kitchen. And anyway, I’ve never neglected my family. They go out to the day on a good breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it fuels ambitions. I’ve always wanted our kids to have ambitions.

Anyway, back to the situation I’m in now. Yes, I know that Brad says I pushed him away. But how many wives would welcome the fact that he and Lauren had had a baby together that she thought had died and he knew nothing about? Did he stop and think about how I’d feel about it? No, he went off into a parallel universe, one in which he and Lauren had brought up their daughter and played happy families. Then they searched for her and brought her into our lives. I tried to be accepting. I tried to be nice. But you could see that Paige only had one agenda, and that was to get her birth parents back together again. Romantic, right. Except that there was me, and there was Matt. Poor Matt. Like I say, he wasn’t the most dynamic of men, but Lauren should have paid him more attention. If she had, he wouldn’t have had so much stubborn pride and got himself into a terrible mess working for Dimato. By then, Lauren didn’t need too many excuses to lean on my husband.

I know that a kiss is not a full-blown affair. But after that kiss when Brad and Lauren were searching for Paige, (a kiss they were going to keep secret, might I remind you,) something shifted. People kept telling me – well, Brad in particular – that I had to start trusting him again. They hadn’t let anything go further than a kiss. But it’s still betrayal, right? And it’s not as if the two were strangers. They had history and they were living on the same street. It was always going to be there, that … memory. There was also the time when I was in Canada, visiting Piper and I found out Lauren had fallen asleep on my sofa. Or so she said. I wonder about that, now. What was she even doing, visiting my husband when I was overseas? Can you blame me for being suspicious after that?

I felt awful for thinking the way I did after Matt died. I really was sorry he’d been killed, and after all, he’d saved Brad from that speeding car. But I was worried, too. I knew it would mean that Lauren would be even more emotionally reliant on Brad, and I knew where it would lead. When Brad told me that Matt’s last words to him were ‘to look after Lauren’ I admit I doubted whether he’d made it up. Was it just another excuse for him to pursue Lauren? You can see my thinking here, surely?

I didn’t mean to start drinking so heavily. I just wanted some escapism from the stress. Look, there’s been Josh’s accident, and  Imogen’s eating disorder, which brought back some painful memories of my own. There’s been the incident with Ezra – and I didn’t feel that Brad understood how much that affected me at all – and then there was Nick. I still can’t believe what Nick did. I feel as if everyone has let me down. Is it all my fault? How can it all be my fault? I have tried to hard to get Brad to sit down and talk things through. But he just flounces out like a teenager, using phrases like ‘oh you don’t understand!’ Or, ‘It’s so unfair!’ Imogen has far more maturity than Brad sometimes. I do know that I could have handled things a bit better. I shouldn’t have read Lauren’s journal, or Paige’s text message. But I ask you, what would you have done in my situation? I only wanted one man. But clearly, that man always longed forLauren. And right now, I hate her for ruining my life.

© Carol Ann Wood
October 2015

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.


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
Carol’s football-related blog: Levelling the Playing-Field
NOT Just Saying: Carol Anns’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Perfect Blend
Neighbours


Please note that any advertisements which appear below these posts are not indicative of any endorsement by the author. They are placed there by a WordPress algorithm.


Sheila Takes A Look At Love

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
December 2015

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.


Index of Posts:

Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
Carol’s football-related blog: Levelling the Playing-Field
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Perfect Blend
Neighbours


Please note that any advertisements which appear below these posts are not indicative of any endorsement by the author. They are placed there by a WordPress algorithm.


Love Thy Neighbour: Kyle Canning 

Kyle Canning, school bully, partly responsible for a canoeing accident in which classmate Zeke Kinsky went missing and suffered amnesia; blackmailer of brainy pupil Sunny, to get her to write his English essays; class clown. Whilst newer Neighbours fans might easily believe in a past as class clown, the rest is harder to digest. Because Kyle, played superbly by Chris Milligan for eight years, is generally an affable bloke, even if he is stubborn and sometimes makes stupid decisions. It’s taken a while, and the firm guidance of gran Sheila, to change Kyle into a responsible adult. Sheila arrived on a visit to her grandson to keep tabs on him, but ended up staying, and with hindsight, it’s probably a good thing she did. She’d already played a big part in Kyle’s formative years, due to his erstwhile father Gary’s disappearing act, and flighty mum Sharon’s preoccupation with her string of boyfriends. If it wasn’t for Sheila’s presence, who knows if Kyle would have gone down the same dodgy route as Gary! As with all characters whose stay in the street has been lengthy, it is impossible to collate his every storyline into one tribute. Instead, I’m going to look back at some of my own favourite moments with Dial-A-Kyle.

Kyle first appeared as a guest character, rather like present day Jayden Warley. His early scenes saw him in trouble for school Muck Up Day offences and other misdemeanours. Kyle didn’t excel academically, and we assumed his behaviour was related to feelings of inadequacy. That was all we had to go on, as it would be some time yet before we could piece together his familial backstory. By the time he became a regular, his character had started to change. Young Kyle morphed from being a bit of a bad lad, into a laid back, down-to-earth bloke whose heart is in the right place. A good looking guy, he was never short of girlfriends, initially mainly brief flings and one-night hook ups. Playing the field was part of Kyle’s teenage lifestyle – and there’s nothing uncommon in that – but it was annoying to realise that whilst he prided himself as being a bit of a babe magnet, he tended to expect his girlfriends to be sweet and innocent. His tenure in the street has since included several brief romances, an inadvisable fling with Kate Ramsay, a girlfriend’s pregnancy (ending in a miscarriage) a marriage, a break up, a new romance, and a reconciliation.

Friends with benefits

Kyle is a home bod, and whilst he has successfully fulfilled his dream of setting up a handyman business, that’s the extent of his horizons. A good, honest living and a few cold tinnies with his mates suits him fine. As he got older, it was clear that he also wanted to find the right girl, and settle down to raise a family. His first serious romance was with Jade Mitchell, Sonya’s younger sister, with whom he shared a house with at one point. They were just friends, then gave in to their passions and spent the night together. Kyle, however, ran scared, and decided he didn’t want anything heavy, so suggested they become ‘friends with benefits’. Like Kyle, Jade had never had a serious relationship before, and she agreed to this arrangement. It was soon clear, however, that the two had deeper feelings for one another than they cared to admit. When they finally acknowledged their love, it was met with opposition from Sheila, who saw Jade as a bit of a bossy boots. (Just who was the family dog named after, again, Sheila?) As it turned out, the relationship came to its own natural conclusion. Jade’s ambitions were bigger than Kyle’s and she left, following a lucrative job offer in America. This big career break happens a lot in Ramsay Street; clearly Erinsborough is a stepping stone to great things!

Enter nurse Georgia, who was engaged to country boy Scottie, before it was discovered that Scottie had been secretly gay all along. By then, Georgia was harbouring feelings for Kyle, and those feelings were reciprocated. The two had an on-off relationship. Scottie had been Georgia’s only previous boyfriend, and she was emotionally traumatised by the break-up. Georgia and Kyle blew hot and cold, and at times you wanted to yell, for goodness sake, just get it on! Even when they did, the path to marriage was full of obstacles. Sheila, despite approving of Georgia in a way that wasn’t the case with Jade, continued to interfere in her grandson’s life. Meanwhile, Kyle had attracted the attention of Georgia’s friend, Kate Ramsay, a girl he had briefly dated, now a teacher at Erinsborough High. (Study, qualifications and securing a job take around half the time in Ramsay Street as they do in the real world.)

In a dark place

Kate was at an especially complex emotional stage of her sadly-short life. Neighbours fans all knew that she was in love with ex, Mark Brennan, whom she believed to be dead, until he made a shock return to the street. (As you do in soap-land.) She projected those confused feelings onto Kyle, who was on one of his ‘breaks’ from Georgia. Kyle had stupidly ignored advice and looked directly at the sun during the total eclipse, so was temporarily blinded. Doctor Karl told him that he had to wear protective glasses, and what with the Georgia situation, and losing business while incapacitated, he was in a dark place in more ways than one. And, apparently, he was also incapable of resisting the charms of pretty Kate. The deed done, both felt remorseful and agreed it should never have happened. They kept the moment a secret, but we all know that secrets in Ramsay Street have a habit of jumping out of the closet at the most inopportune moments.

Kyle and Georgia reunited, and Kyle proposed. We sensed trouble ahead, knowing what poor Georgia didn’t. Meanwhile, secretly jealous of Georgia’s happiness, her mentally unstable cousin Gemma blew the secret wide apart, with malice aforethought. Having discovered the truth of Kyle’s infidelity, she chose to print out an e-mail in which Kate told Kyle that they should forget what happened between them, and then slip the print-out in with the engagement congratulation messages that Georgia was reading out to party guests. Oops. Georgia had been betrayed by fiancé and best friend in one fell swoop. The engagement was off, and Kyle had a face like a puppy who’s chewed his owner’s shoes.

Fearing that Georgia would never forgive him, Kyle started openly dating Kate. It was evident that, deep down, their hearts weren’t really in it, but they clung together for comfort, each continuing to try and reconcile their differences with Georgia. Sheila’s interference may have served to prolong their romance, as she made it clear that she preferred Kate to Georgia. Although Bossy the dog didn’t agree, refusing to accept Kate’s affectionate tickling, and turning her head away. Dogs tend to pick up vibes!

And then, Georgia discovered that she was pregnant. This gave Kyle some hope that she would eventually forgive him for the indiscretion. Keen to show how thrilled he was to be a dad, and his desire to be involved, he concentrated on mugging up about pregnancy and restoring a traditional rocking horse – one suitable for the still unborn child at the age of three. But hey, he meant well. And who wouldn’t smile at the tiny ‘Dial A Kyle’ babygro presented to Georgia? Even my husband, who knows little about the characters or plot, remarked on it with an ‘Aw.’

Kate was devastated to learn of Georgia’s pregnancy, as she’d just been diagnosed with premature menopause symptoms, and told that she was unlikely to conceive children, although she kept the news from Kyle. By then, Kyle realised he wanted to end things with Kate, which he did. Shortly afterwards, Georgia miscarried. That was when you felt genuine compassion for all three characters. Kyle had messed up, but the prospect of being a father had shown him what he really wanted from life. In one of his sweetest, most tender scenes, we saw him and Georgia plant a tree in memory of their lost child. I cried buckets, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

Tragedy and a reunion

It was in the face of further tragedy that Kyle and Georgia were finally reunited. Kate and Mark reconciled, and Mark proposed. As Georgia learnt of their engagement, Kate’s last words to her friend would resonate with her. Do what makes you happy, she said, follow your dreams. Moments later, Kate was gunned down, leaving Georgia to reflect on the frailty of life.

After Kyle’s brief absence from Ramsey Street – in Thailand to rescue a cousin in a pickle – Kyle and Georgia got together again, properly. They married and settled down to the life that Kyle had always wanted, and all seemed rosy until we saw signs that Georgia might have regretted the union. She wanted to travel, she said. She didn’t want children yet, partly because she was scared that she’d miscarry again, and needed time to heal. Then her mum’s cancer returned, so she was off to Germany to be with her throughout the specialist treatment unavailable in Australia. We sensed that this would be the end for the newly weds, as Saskia Hemple (Georgia) had left the show. Lo and behold, Amy Williams appeared. Not only was she attractive, she was a fellow tradie looking for work, and a feisty single mother. Oh, and the long-estranged daughter of Paul Robinson, which was bound to be a bit of a hurdle for Kyle to overcome. But, give him his due, he eventually got Paul onside. No mean feat.

The predictions of the viewers were correct, and Georgia reappeared briefly only to tell Kyle that she had things she wanted to do in life, effectively setting him free and giving him license to get together with Amy. This romance took time to get off the ground, with Kyle devastated by Georgia’s decision, and Amy wary of men after a bad relationship with the father of her son, Jimmy. However, Sheila encouraged Kyle and Amy from the off,  believing her to be the perfect antidote for Kyle’s broken heart. I didn’t want to see Kyle and Georgia split up but, after a while, I got used to him and Amy together. Indeed, many fans argued that they were better suited. Amy is down to earth, sensible and level-headed. She isn’t really into heels and dresses, but more of a shorts and tee-shirt kind of girl. Sadly, happiness doesn’t usually last long in Ramsay Street. Georgia had physically left, but perhaps her memory always lingered. And, we learned, she apparently regretted leaving Kyle. But, we cried, you can’t just hurt Amy and Jimmy like that, Kyle. Amy’s good for you, she loves you unconditionally. Kyle was torn, but in our hearts, we knew that as Chris Milligan was leaving the show, Georgia would be the winner who takes it all.

Poor old Kyle, locked in the lavatory

There have been so many amusing moments involving Kyle, and I have loved them all. My favourite has to be when, during the tornado, he went missing, only to turn up the next morning trapped in a portable toilet cubicle. Georgia, relieved to have found him alive, swept in for a hug,  but gagged in horror, wishing she had waited. Kyle’s expression was hilarious. What do you think I’d smell like, I’ve been in here all night, he reasoned. Fair point, Poo Boy! Another scene which had me in stitches, was Kyle dressed as a naïve Bell Boy to fulfil one of Georgia’s sexual fantasies. I also remember with affection the time Sheila caught her grandson about to bathe in the spa, starkers. Well, go on then, she said, it wasn’t as if she hadn’t seen it all before, as she’d powdered his bottom many a time as a baby. To which Kyle’s response was that he might have changed a little since then. Again, fair point!

Kyle is one of those characters who reminds you of someone you know in real life; the bloke at the bar of your local pub, the everyday grafter, scratching a living and being content with his lot. He’s had a lot of knocks, not least inadequate parenting, and having to face the truth of his father’s criminal activity. Latterly, Kyle discovered that he had a younger half-sister, who shared the same dad, and although he was initially resentful of rebellious drama queen Xanthe, you could tell that he realised she wasn’t dissimilar to himself. She may have had more of their father, Gary’s, attention than him, but they share the background of a dysfunctional upbringing. And who better than gran Sheila to help make Xanthe’s life more stable?

For Kyle, the love he had for Georgia had never died. After her brief visit to talk things through, and with the hotel explosion having left some Ramsay Street residents devastated, Kyle made his bold decision. We waved him off to join Georgia in Germany. It was an odd feeling; we felt desperately sorry for Amy, so gracious and dignified in the loss of her man. We felt sorry for Jimmy, as he and Kyle had developed a father-and-son relationship. We felt for Sheila, who had already lost daughter Naomi to the American Dream. We felt for Xanthe, who might have benefited from a bit more plain speaking from her new big brother. But in another way, we understood that Kyle wanted one more chance to make it work with his wife. Even if it did mean moving away from his comfort zone.

Bye-bye, Bossy

This article would not be complete without a special thank-you to darling Bossy, the pooch who fans have loved since she was a puppy. Even though Sheila sometimes cursed her for making a mess, or for causing problems in the neighbourhood by going on a bra-stealing rampage, she’s going to miss that dog. We will miss her too. We worried when she started uncharacteristically biting folk and we learned that she had a life-threatening brain tumour. We were relieved when she survived an operation. Somehow, Bossy always seemed to convey what the viewer might be thinking about a character, but which the character didn’t always see. That dog has that air of ‘knowingness’ about her. It was obvious that Kyle wasn’t going to leave his best friend behind, and so it was a case of bye bye Bossy and a lot of tears.

Chris, thank you for playing Kyle Canning, and for making us laugh and cry so much over the last eight years. Dial-A-Kyle may be somewhere in Germany – enjoying a lager – but I know he’ll always think of Ramsay Street as his home. And as he thankfully survived Hotel Death Trap, I know many fans would welcome him back at the tap of a hammer. Just as long as he brought Bossy with him!

© Carol Ann Wood
April 2016


Index of Posts:

Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
Carol’s football-related blog: Levelling the Playing-Field
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Perfect Blend
Neighbours


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Love Thy Neighbour: The marriage of Daniel and Imogen

We all love a Neighbours wedding, and there have been a fair few over the years. Unfortunately, many of them have had disastrous or tragic consequences. However, with Daniel and Imogen’s nuptials being arranged in the aftermath of the Lassiter’s explosion, we knew that this union would not only go ahead, but that we would be waving the pair off, tissues at the ready, to their exciting new life in America. Granted it was rushed, to the point of being somewhat unrealistic: just how quickly can you arrange a marriage licence, book (and then re-arrange) a celebrant, and flights and visas to the States? However, as this was a happy event after much sadness, we were ready to suspend disbelief. Besides, we already knew that both Ariel Kaplan (Imogen) and Tim Phillips (Daniel) were to be leaving the show, so why not make it a joyous exit, with scenes reminiscent of Daniel’s young parents Scott and Charlene so many years before.

Daniel and Imogen’s path to marriage has been typical of the Neighbours young: rocky, fraught with tension and, at one point, including the ubiquitous love-triangle. As soon as the nephew of Paul Robinson arrived on Ramsay Street as a carefree hippy, we saw Imogen’s eyes flicker. Initially, with anger, over a misunderstanding involving a vintage dress, but that’s Imogen for you. She’s a strong-minded girl who likes to feel that she’s in control of situations. Beneath her apparent dislike of Daniel was an instant attraction that she was trying to keep at bay.

Career oriented Imogen is the opposite of best friend Amber in so many ways. Although both might have romantic notions of love, Imogen always kept hers in check and was not about to settle for anything less than the real thing. Including taking things to ‘the next level’. We saw a hint of love to come when, after the tornado – 2014’s disaster – Imogen and Daniel rescued a baby wombat whom they named Erin. (Yes, we did all get the name-play!) Daniel had a fear of wombats and managed to overcome it with Imogen’s help. They also bonded over academic texts. Daniel might have been a hippy back then, but like Imogen, he is a deep thinker, whereas Amber is less scholastic. Daniel and Imogen have a shared love of nature and of eco causes. (There were much in-joking text messages between them about ducks.) Daniel admired Imogen’s strong belief in justice and her unwillingness to be anything less than her own woman. It was only a matter of time …

As we know, though, it was Amber who first caught Daniel’s eye. Sensing that she was unhappy with the then-nonchalant Josh, twin brother of Imogen, he befriended her and took an interest in her ambitions as a photographer. We watched as Imogen struggled with her feelings for Daniel, her idealistic notions of love shattered as her parent’s marriage fell apart, and sensing her pain as the complexities of the Willis and Turner clans grew ever deeper. I felt very sad on Imogen’s behalf when, after discovering that her best friend was cheating on Josh with Daniel, she still kept her feelings for him to herself. And it must have hurt her to see her friend openly dating the man she loved. She later had to watch as Amber and Daniel planned their wedding, and in order to distract herself from the pain, she set about being chief wedding planner, in true Imogen style. Imogen definitely inherited her mother’s organisational skills!

A well of emotion

Of course, Daniel and Amber’s wedding was a non-event, because of Erinsborough’s notorious well. Imogen and Daniel just happened to be the latest characters trapped therein, in the pursuit of a family ring that Daniel learnt was down there. Imogen had already been barred from the wedding, having been confronted by Amber, after her true feelings for Daniel had been uncovered by Paul Robinson. Imogen insisted that she would never have stood in her friends’ way, which was obviously the truth but, once down the well, and fearing they might not get out alive, she asked Daniel if he could ever feel the same about her as she did about him. No, he said. Liar, we thought! And even though Daniel and Amber eventually reunited when Amber realised that her fiancé had not eloped with Imogen after all, you could tell that this was not how things would end. After Amber’s ‘comforting’ from ex, Josh, on what would have been her wedding night, there was a pregnancy. Josh and Daniel had come to an uneasy truce after Amber had left the former for the latter, but this new situation only fired up the animosity again. Daniel was delighted when told about the pregnancy. He had no reason, at that point, to suspect that the baby wasn’t his. But in true soap style, despite Imogen counselling Amber against telling Daniel of her night with Josh, she blurted out the truth. A paternity test ensued. It was pretty easy for fans to guess ‘Who’s the daddy?’

For Amber and Daniel’s relationship, it was to be downhill thereafter. Daniel was insistent that he wanted to play a rôle in the baby’s life, despite not being the biological father. Josh was excited about being a dad, and thought that there might be a chance of reconciliation with Amber. Stress mounted as the unborn baby was found to have a life-threatening condition which needed surgery, either in vitro, at great expense, in America, or after birth. Of course, Josh was on the side of Amber who wanted to go to America to give the baby what she thought was the best chance. Daniel didn’t. Clearly, Daniel and Amber’s hearts were not in this relationship any more, and Daniel bowed out without much fight. It wasn’t long before he and Imogen finally got their act together and he acknowledged his true feelings for the feisty law student. Imogen worried that dating him might have a detrimental affect on her friendship with Amber, but Amber was fully focused on her baby, and went around in a sort of daze. She didn’t even react adversely to her mother Lauren shacking up with Brad Willis so soon after her father, Matt’s, death. Daniel and Imogen were given the green light.

Intellectually matched

I have always felt that Imogen was a better match for Daniel than Amber, although other fans are entitled to their own opinions. For me, Daniel and Imogen are intellectually and emotionally matched. He might have started out as a hippy with no particular career goal, but since then, he has realised that he needs to have more of an aim in life. He has learnt from Imogen that you don’t have to compromise your ethics for ambition, and that you can have a career and still be an honest-living person. This is in contrast to Paul, of course, and there were moments that we felt alarm for Daniel, and worried that he was becoming a younger version of his uncle. Being with Imogen has ensured that this will not happen.

It was Imogen who pulled Daniel back to base recently. Her attentions had wandered towards Tyler’s hot bod, as Daniel worked long hours at Lassiter’s. The revelation that his girlfriend was attracted to a mechanic with a man-bun caused Daniel to insist that he and Imogen have a break for a while, even though Imogen argued that she hadn’t acted on her attraction and that Tyler hadn’t encouraged it. Daniel wasn’t sure of Imogen’s feelings any more. But after knowing that Josh died in order to save him, Daniel recognised the truth: Josh knew his sister was most definitely in love, and had even gone to the hotel prior to the blast, to reiterate the fact to Daniel. Daniel had been rather horrible to Josh, and yet, Josh bore no grudge, only wanting his twin sister’s happiness. Life is sometimes cut cruelly short; there was a strong need for viewers to see happiness to come out of such profound sorrow. Imogen had not only lost her brother but her beloved Pop, Doug. Her eulogy at Josh’s funeral was heartbreaking, and whilst she wasn’t the only family member to suffer such pain, the loss of a twin was expressed with brutal honesty. Well done to the writers for making this point.

So what else was there to do for Daniel but to propose, when Imogen was offered the chance of an internship in America? Daniel is currently under the impression that his uncle Paul may have been responsible for the hotel explosion, and he knows how difficult this is for Imogen and her family to deal with. He understands that she needs to get away from Erinsborough, and that it would be good for him too. So, we snivelled as Daniel discarded a post-explosion crutch and went down on one knee at Lassiter’s lake. (Where else?)

An open window – and an exit

We laughed as Scott and Charlene sent Daniel’s sister Madison to check on Daniel’s state of mind before he tied the knot. We saw her attempt to climb in through an open window just as her mother had done before her, only this time it was her brother, not a future husband, on the receiving end of a smack in the face when he mistook her for a burglar. Yes, writers, it amused those of us old enough to remember the first time. Predictable, but a nice touch. Madison Robinson (you wonder whether Charlene named her when under the influence of gas and air, it’s such a mouthful) was there and gone in the blink of an eye, but I get the impression she will be back at some point. We need a new Robinson. Her brother has not only departed, but chosen to take Imogen’s surname, Willis. His choice, we’re told, but one of which we knew feminist Imogen would wholeheartedly approve!

Whilst we can understand the bride and groom not wanting to cause any fuss after two bereavements, a wedding was just what was needed to galvanise everyone and give the family something to smile about. Thankfully, Daniel and Imogen’s hastily planned original ceremony was put on hold following Brad and Terese’s frantic dash to the registry office – with Terese clad in nightdress, dressing-gown and slippers – once they got wind of it. We were happy that Amy and co transformed chez Willis into a reception room – complete with fine tableware and a few hundred cupcakes in less time than a TV makeover programme – for the two families to witness the ceremony. Miraculously, Terese still had her wedding dress stashed in the spare wardrobe, in pristine condition (well, you can’t imagine Terese spilling the jam from a Lamington down it) and looking more 2016 than anything I remember from 1994. Equally miraculously, the dress fitted Imogen perfectly, unless we are to assume that the women of Ramsay Street had her safety-pinned, stitched, and vow-ready in minutes. We were relieved that Terese was able to play her rôle as mother of the bride in her finery, rather than her recent daytime attire of nightdress and slippers – probably concealing a wine-glass in her dressing-gown pocket. But, like I said, we’ll suspend disbelief, and Imogen looked beautiful. Of course the pair had learnt their vows off-by-heart in one day, and of course Susan had no essays to mark that afternoon and was free to be the celebrant. Sorted in minutes, in true Erinsborough style!

As this article is a tribute to Daniel and Imogen as a couple, it’s not possible to look in depth at both characters’ noteworthy moments. However, the comic episode when Imogen, mistaking alcohol for fizzy pop, became drunk at the dinner table, stands out. Terese wondered: ‘Imogen! What has got into you?’ And the frantic baking marathon, when she developed a bit of a crush on the recently-bereaved Mark Brennan, left us unconvinced that she was cut out to be a domestic goddess. But what she may have lacked in expertise, she certainly made up for with enthusiasm! We’ve seen her extreme vulnerability when she developed an eating disorder, leading us to realise that she wasn’t quite as self-assured as she made out. But she’s matured a lot since then and, as with her late twin, she arrived as an adolescent but has left as a grown up.

And as for Daniel, he’s definitely changed a great deal during his Ramsay Street stay. He frustrated many of us at the start: admirably idealistic, but so laid-back he was horizontal. Whilst we felt that his presence was good for his uncle Paul, who had a lot to learn about putting family before fortune, we could see that Daniel needed to go through a process of self-evaluation and change, too. He alluded to a time when he was shorter-tempered and troubled, which presumably had led him to move towards his hippy existence with ex-girlfriend, oddball brainwasher, Rain. But perhaps he had gone too far down the route of day dream believer, and it was just a phase of his life which wasn’t meant to last forever.

I’m going to miss both Imogen and Daniel, and want to wish Ariel and Tim the best of luck in their respective careers. We are losing two more prominent and popular characters. Coming so soon after saying goodbye to Doug and Josh, it’s rather hard to take. But, for now, it’s enough to know that the newlyweds are alive and, for once, they got their happy ending, a rarity in soap land. Let’s hope they follow in the footsteps of Scott and Charlene. Here’s to the next generation of Willis-Robinsons.

© Carol Ann Wood
April 2016


Index of Posts:

Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
Carol’s football-related blog: Levelling the Playing-Field
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Perfect Blend
Neighbours


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Let’s Hear It For The Boys! Nate and Aaron

When Nate Kinski (Meyne Wyatt) first turned up at the Kennedy’s house, no one was sure how his character was going to develop. A nephew of Susan’s from her previous marriage (to his late uncle Alex) Nate seemed rather evasive about his past. What we did know, however, was that he had toured Afghanistan twice with the Australian infantry, and that he was openly gay.

Initially, Nate presented as a very defensive person; he didn’t trust others, finding it hard to open up and express his feelings. He had seen terrible atrocities in war, and lost several soldier friends. Indeed the initial reason he visited Erinsborough because he was in the area to attend a serviceman’s funeral. Despite Nate seeming so unwilling to talk, the one thing he did seem to be confident about was his sexual orientation. There being only one other gay character in Ramsay Street, we could guess, once it was clear he was sticking around, he would soon be involved in a relationship with Chris Papas.

Chris, unlike Nate, had not been out of the closet for very long, and was struggling to gain his father’s acceptance. The relationship between he and Nate was destined to be short-lived. Having agreed to be a sperm-donor for single-but-broody Lucy Robinson, Chris realised that he wanted to be actively involved in his child’s upbringing. It was obvious that Nate wasn’t on board with the idea of having a child in their lives. After Lucy became pregnant, Chris suggested that they both move to New York, Lucy’s home. Nate declined the invitation, and Chris’s desire to be a father proved to be a stronger pull than the love he felt for Nate. Chris bid farewell, and the two, sadly, albeit fairly amicably, split up.

By this time, viewers had started to warm to the lighter side of Nate’s personality, which was emerging little by little. His interactions with Sheila when first learning the ropes of working at Lassiter’s were amusing. The two developed a competitive friendship, with one always trying to outdo the other. In contrast to Nate’s early personality, when he seemed only to scowl and answer questions in monosyllables, he began to reveal his dry sense of humour. This new side to Nate became more apparent when Tyler Brennan (Travis Burns) – brother of Mark – arrived in Erinsborough. Tyler proved to be a good friend for Nate, who started to let his hair down. The pair bonded over activities like racing remote-control cars, and from that point, you felt that Nate was finally one of the lads. We also guessed that Nate wouldn’t be left single for long.

Chris leaving the scene created the cue for another gay character to rock up. This was in the shape of Mark and Tyler’s brother, sunny-natured Aaron Brennan (Matt Wilson). And in true soap love-story fashion, Nate and Aaron took an instant dislike to one another, despite Tyler’s numerous attempts to match them up. We all saw through the dislike, of course, but it makes a nice scenario and builds up the suspense.

Intrigued by infamous eyebrow-waggling

Bit by bit, Aaron became intrigued by Nate, wanting to find out what made him tick. Nate, though, continued to scowl, waggle his infamous eyebrows and growl one-word responses to Aaron’s tentative flirting. However, Aaron was not going to be easily dissuaded. The whole ‘boys-in- a-box’ scene which Naomi set up to promote the Lassiter’s romantic weekend package was Neighbours humour at its best, even if a little far-fetched. Was the kiss just an act for the audience, or was it for real? Nate reverted to his grumpy self and declared it the former. After that highly-charged moment, there was much embarrassment and tension between the boys, which seemed to last an age. Some viewers remarked that, as it was fairly obvious the two fancied one another, it was about time the writers moved the story forwards.

Aaron and Nate have had several false starts, with an abundance of silly misunderstandings. Nate was reluctant to let Aaron know that he was the knight in shining armour who rescued him after he was beaten up. Aaron, being a romantic, was determined to uncover the truth. He thought that it might be fate, and that whoever recused him could be the love of his life. When he realised that Nate knew the identity of the rescuer, Aaron badgered him until Nate admitted that it was he himself, just to shut Aaron up. Aaron was delighted to know the truth, but Nate simply shrugged off Aaron’s admiration and put up his emotional barrier again. It made the ‘all-knowing’ viewer want to bang their heads together.

Eventually, the two started dating, although this wasn’t without trials and tribulations. Even now that they’re officially together, the two still sometimes misinterpret each other’s likes and dislikes. This is not helped by the ‘Sheila Canning advice service’. (For ‘advice’, read ‘meddling’!) Nate thought that his dancer man, Aaron, would love cocktails. Arranging a cocktails-and-fancy-food night at Karl and Susan’s, Nate was out of his depth with the mixers. Poor Aaron, believing that it was Nate who loved making cocktails, did his best to convince him that he was doing fine, albeit the strange taste of the drinks proved too much for him to fake enjoyment. The boys began to talk more openly, saw the funny side of things, and Nate confessed that he much preferred a beer and a burger. Bingo! I like the humorous side of Nate which Aaron has helped tease out. Only Aaron could get away with calling Nate ‘eyebrows’. Others might not want to try it!

Fine dining seems to figure high on the list of Nate and Aaron’s social activities. Thinking that it was time for Susan and Karl to get to know Aaron better, Nate invited him over for dinner. Again, a misunderstanding nearly ruined the evening. Karl had been advised not to mention his music, and given that it’s his favourite topic, it was no easy feat for him! Uncomfortable silences prevailed until an unsuspecting Aaron begged Karl to talk songs. The temptation was too much for Karl, much to Susan’s and Nate’s dismay. Especially as Aaron was genuinely interested and he and Karl engaged in deep in conversation. Eventually, the Kennedys were badgered into going out for dessert, with Nate practically ushering them out the door. You had to smile at Nate’s cheek. Whose house it it, again?  And whoever goes out for dessert? But presumably, Susan and Karl are just happy that this once-difficult stranger they’d taken under their wing, was blossoming in life and love. After all, if we evaluate the relationships which have recently imploded on Ramsay Street, Nate and Aaron are becoming one of the most stable pairings!

Currently, Aaron sometimes stays overnight with Nate at the Kennedy’s house, and all is well in romance. I hope that this remains the case, as I think they make an interesting, maybe more dynamic match than did Nate and Chris. Nate needs someone like Aaron, happy-go-lucky, upbeat and positive, to keep him on an even-keel, because PTSD doesn’t just disappear. Stressful situations can be a trigger, and Aaron has the personality to pull his boyfriend back from any such occurrence. Nate is probably equally good for Aaron, who tends to jog along without too much thought for the future. He never worries about work, so long as he make enough to get by. He is currently recovering from an injury and so cannot dance. Nate might be able to convince him that it’s always a good idea to have a plan B. That said, Nate needs to guard against his jealousy when Aaron performs. If he wants to be with Aaron, he has to accept that dancing is something he enjoys. Perhaps Nate and Aaron will put their skills together into a business enterprise, in time to come. Who knows?

Decryption – and exposure

The storyline involving Nate and Aaron in their quest to expose Erinsborough Mayor, Paul Robinson’s underhand dealings is intriguing, and poses interesting questions about Nate and Aaron’s developing relationship. Asked by their friend Josh Willis, Aaron’s former dance-partner, if he could retrieve files from an encrypted hard-drive – the one which Naomi stole from Paul before she left for America – Nate agrees help, gleaning the techniques from a former colleague in the military.

Whilst Josh is looking for evidence that it was Paul who was behind the planting of drugs on him – to set him up, as revenge for sleeping with Paul’s ex, Naomi – Nate uncovers something else. He is furious when he decrypts emails which reveal that Paul has been in favour of the closure of Erinsborough High School, likely for his own financial gain. This is a potentially far more serious matter, in the light of the recent near-fatal fire at the school. Nate is angry on behalf of his aunt, Susan, Erinsborough High’s principal, but is cautious about how to handle his discovery. However, once he reveals the discovery to Aaron, the genie is out of the bottle.

Aaron doesn’t hold back, and sends the incriminating emails to the newspaper. When Mayor Robinson’s nephew, Daniel overhears his friends’ disagreement about how to handle what they have found, events spiral. Daniel, long disgusted by his uncle’s dodgy business dealings, wants his uncle exposed. Working with Nate and Aaron, they discover even more. Paul has established a number of property companies which, seemingly independently of one another, have been buying up swathes of Erinsborough to provide space for a luxury housing development.

Since his exposure in the West Waratah Star, Paul claims he has received death threats, and has asked Aaron to be his bodyguard. Nate and Aaron fret about how things are turning out. Viewers might be wondering if Paul suspects their involvement in uncovering his dodgy dealings. Aaron is in a dilemma; he’s currently unemployed and needs the money, so if he declines Paul’s offer, it will look suspicious. But if he accepts, can the boys be sure that this isn’t part of a plan for Paul to set Aaron up? I only hope that whatever the outcome, it will not put too much strain on Nate and Aaron’s relationship.

If the writers choose to keep Nate and Aaron as a couple, it would be great to see the two of them set up home for themselves in the street. I have greatly enjoyed watching them become in involved with – and bringing out the best in – one another. In short, the boys are cool. Let’s hear it for the boys!

© Carol Ann Wood
November 2015


Index of Posts:


Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
Carol’s football-related blog: Levelling the Playing-Field
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Perfect Blend
Neighbours


Please note that any advertisements which appear below these posts are not indicative of any endorsement by the author. They are placed there by a WordPress algorithm.


Love Thy Neighbour: Amy Williams

A fellow neighbours fan remarked recently that it’s amazing how level headed Amy Williams is, given that her parents are Paul Robinson and mentally unstable man-eater Nene. When Amy, played by the delightful Zoe Cramond, first arrived in Ramsay Street with young son Jimmy, she presented as a fiercely independent woman. And it’s hardly surprising. She’d had little contact with father Paul over the years, and was understandably still resentful of the fact that he’d once dipped into her trust fund, to obtain money for one of his business dealings. She wasn’t impressed, either, that her father failed to recognise her upon her arrival. To be fair, he hadn’t seen her since she was seven, and possibly had no photos of her since that time. That said, he still had a lot of making up to do and, when he finally admitted to wanting one more chance to prove his worth, father and daughter began tentatively to build a relationship. But it hasn’t been without rocky patches!

Amy had largely raised Jimmy single-handedly, as his father Liam hadn’t been around much. She has strong beliefs about teaching Jimmy the value of money, something which goes against Paul’s ethos of making as much of it as quickly as possible, and not always in legitimate fashion. Paul struggled with not being allowed to lavish Jimmy with material gifts, but father and daughter seem to have met in the middle. Paul doesn’t want to upset Amy, and so he has had to rein in his indulgences, and place more emphasis on time-richness. Amy has come to realise that she might have been over-protective of Jimmy, and possibly a little over-strict, too. Compromises have been made, with Amy recognising that Jimmy is benefiting from having his granddad around, even if she still gets infuriated with Paul’s behaviour at times. And it’s been good for Paul to have to listen to Amy’s point of view on occasions.

Romance brewing

Amy quickly became a popular character with viewers, but there was one nagging doubt for some of us: before anyone could scream ‘romance brewing’ Amy was working for Kyle Canning. Kyle’s wife Georgia had gone to Germany to be with her mother – who was receiving specialist cancer treatment – and most of us didn’t want to see Kyle and Georgia split up, and certainly not because of an illicit affair. But after Georgia’s admission that she regretted marrying Kyle and wanted to travel before settling down, any misgivings about Amy were forgotten. No one wanted to see loveable Kyle with a broken heart for long. Amy ticked all the boxes; she’s a fellow tradie, she’s attractive, warm-hearted and down to earth. And Kyle, luckily, bonds well with children, swiftly establishing a fatherly relationship with Jimmy. There were, of course, the usual Neighbours style pitfalls and stop-starts to their union for entertainment purpose. Kyle dated the somewhat mysterious Shay for a while, which made Amy jealous, even though she hid it well. Amy was harassed by some builders on-site, Kyle got protective, and Amy rejected his gallantry. She wanted to deal with it on her own, as she was used to doing, so she found Kyle’s interference, though well-intentioned, unnerving.

Amy and Kyle’s budding relationship was also met with opposition from Paul. Typically for him, he envisioned the perfect partner for his daughter as being a professional man, comfortably off, someone who could provide. Amy, however, doesn’t see a man as a ticket to prosperity. She has an entirely different outlook on life to that of her father, and Paul has had to grudgingly accept that Amy has fallen in love with Kyle. And the main objective for Paul is that Amy and Jimmy stay in Erinsborough, so he’s backed off and seems to have stopped meddling. Of course, that might have more to do with the fact that he’s been distracted by his own problems of late, not least the loss of his empire!

Spanner in the works

We could guess that it would’t be long before Amy’s ex, Liam, would turn up and throw one of Kyle’s spanners into the works. Whilst Amy is undoubtedly a strong woman in many respects, she is not without her frailties and insecurities. Liam almost convinced Amy that they belonged together, firstly by getting Jimmy onside and leaving Kyle stomping around with one of his grumpy scowls that makes him look about twelve. Amy eventually succumbed to Liam’s advances, but viewers sensed that he was not to be trusted. It was with much relief, then, that we saw Liam finally outed as the person who stole Toadie and Sonya’s benefit fund, and who trashed Harold’s after breaking in to see if there was money in the till (there wasn’t, even Lauren isn’t that careless.) On finding no cash, Liam took advantage of the feud between the warring Turner and Willis families, thus hoping that Terese Willis would get the blame for the ‘home wrecker’ message he left behind. Paul, typically, paid off debt-ridden Liam, with the agreement that he leave Erinsborough and have no further contact with Amy and Jimmy.

When Amy discovered Paul’s pay-off, she was furious. As much as she wanted Liam gone, she felt that it wasn’t for Paul to decide whether he have contact with Jimmy. It was probably a bit too much pot and kettle for her liking; Paul wasn’t exactly squeaky clean and yet she’d given him another chance. Jimmy became aware of a rift between his G’Dad and his mum. (G’Dad is not a term that sits well with most viewers I’ve spoken to, though. Take note, producers!) It was some time before Jimmy learnt the whole truth about Liam, and why Amy was mad with Paul. You had to feel for the kid when Kyle blurted out the truth. Jimmy sensed that something was being kept from him, and badgered Kyle for answers. Once again, Amy was angry, but Kyle had his reasons. He had been badly let down by his own father, and he didn’t want Jimmy to idealise a man who was cut from the same cloth.

Amy swiftly established friendships with the other women of Ramsay Street. She and Jimmy hadn’t been in Erinsborough long, before being invited to live with Sonya – ever the philanthropist almost on a par with Susan Kennedy – and Toadie. Amy had accidentally run over Nell’s buggy and was keen to make it up to Sonya. She felt that she could ease her new friend’s workload if she was around to take care of some domestic duties. There were a few tense moments when it seemed as if Sonya doubted her decision to have Amy and Jimmy as house guests. Misunderstandings occurred, such as Sonya’s belief that Jimmy was hurting Nell. It turned out, of course, that Nell was going through a common toddler phase: biting. Both women are sometimes blind to their own child’s faults, and this could have fractured the pair’s friendship, but luckily, everything seemed to be resolved peacefully. Although, there were still awkward moments. Amy, in one of her efforts to impress with household tasks, inadvertently thew away Nell’s favourite cuddly toy. Horrified, she and Kyle went on a frantic and complex mission to find it. This brought the pair closer together and Amy – despite having clashed with Paul and considering leaving town – decided to stick around.

A tryst on the couch

Kyle and Amy’s comic moments when getting it together followed on seamlessly from Kyle and Georgia’s in scenes past. As with many couples in the street, the sofa featured writ large. Really, is that not a bit careless, given that front doors are rarely locked in Ramsay Street and anyone could have walked in? Sheila returned home unexpectedly one day, almost catching the pair in a tryst on the Canning’s couch. Amy hurriedly covered herself up, but somehow her bra had got the attention of Bossy, who has been prone to underwear stealing, and she sneaked off with it. Of course, the bra was later discovered by Sheila and we all chuckled. That’s Neighbours comedy at its very best.

When Toadie had his freak accident with the jumping castle, temporarily paralysing him, Amy felt that she and Jimmy were getting in the way at the Rebecchi’s. Cue Sheila’s invitation for them to move in with the Canning clan, much more preferable to Amy than Paul’s penthouse. Sheila was keen to encourage her grandson’s romance with Amy, feeling that she was just what Kyle needed to get over Georgia. After Kyle’s brief dalliance with Shay, he and Amy were still dithering about being together, providing viewers with more amusing moments, as they met by the bathroom door, each pretending not to notice the other’s night attire. Given that Ramsay Street residents are often spotted sunbathing and swimming together, this seems a little tame by comparison! Sheila, frustrated by the pair’s hesitation to commit to the relationship, took drastic action, locking them in the laundry room. It seemed to work better than metaphorically banging their heads together, as the pair were soon loved-up again in every sense of the word. It appeared to have been a bit of a turn on too: despite the fact that  each had their own bedroom, Kyle and Amy began romping regularly amongst the smalls.

A frolicking spin in the utility room

Poor little Jimmy had rather a shock in store. Picture the scene: You’re nine years old, and you go to put your socks in the wash basket like Sheila says, to be met with the sight of your mother and her boyfriend frolicking on top of the washing machine wearing not very much. Accompanied by sounds that definitely could not be attributed to the machine’s fast spin. A lot of frank talking and child-counselling ensued, and it now seems as if Jimmy is on board with his mum and Kyle’s relationship. As long as he doesn’t have to witness or overhear anything physical, as he quite rightly pointed out!

No one was especially surprised when Nina, aka Nene, rocked up – a reinvented version of her former self. Whilst Amy wasn’t unhappy to see her mum, (once Nene had recovered from heat exhaustion after taking grandson Jimmy off, goodness knows where, for a long walk) she was a little uneasy about her intention to relocate to Erinsborough. Amy had apparently thought Nene happy in a new nursing job, and wondered if there was more to her visit than just wanting to spend time with her daughter and grandson. It was bad timing for Paul, too, given that he had recently gone bankrupt, and the last thing he needed was yet another ex turning up to mock his misfortunes.

Nene, though, seems to be more interested in unattainable men, such as Doctor Karl, and Amy has learnt that her mother’s mental instability is not as far in the past as she would have people believe. Her nursing career has apparently been tainted with misdemeanours of the romantic kind, and medical negligence. Unfortunately, she was already employed as a nurse to Doug Willis, a dementia sufferer, before these facts were uncovered. Amy, whilst appalled at her mother’s deceit, and manipulation of Doug’s condition in order to impress Karl Kennedy, has been quick to jump to her defence. This is possibly because Nene brought Amy up alone, in the absence of Paul, and she now knows from personal experience how tough it is to be a single parent. Whether the two can go on to have a more balanced mother-daughter relationship, only time will tell. Since Nene’s arrival, it has seemed as though Amy is the parent and Nene the child, rather than vice versa. But if events with Kyle take the turn we think they might, Amy will need her mum’s support. We can only hope that Nene manages to focus on someone other than herself for more than five minutes, and start being a parent.

Just as it seemed as if Amy and Kyle were becoming one of the more stable couples of the street, the boat has been rocked again, possibly beyond repair. Viewers were given hints of things to come when a letter from Georgia arrived for Kyle’s birthday. He threw the letter away, insisting that he had moved on and didn’t want to know about her new life. Sheila was in agreement with this. She had grown fond of Amy and Jimmy, and was delighted that her grandson seemed happy once more. But Amy wouldn’t rest: The recycling team seem to be sporadic visitors to Ramsay Street, and upon rediscovery of the thrown-away letter weeks later, she retrieved it from the bin. Wrestling with her conscience, she eventually read it, learning that Georgia wanted Kyle back. Sheila sussed Amy’s mood, extracted the truth from her, and tore the letter up, telling her to leave the past alone.

As always in soap land, Amy could bear it no longer. She insisted to Sheila that Kyle deserved to know the truth about Georgia’s feelings. We were waiting for Amy to confess the snooping to Kyle, but first she chose to test his love for her by a spur-of-the-moment marriage proposal. Not one of her better ideas. Kyle, gobsmacked, said it was too soon. He has a point, but Amy took this to mean he didn’t love her enough, and so the whole truth of the letter came tumbling out. We don’t know yet where this leaves Kyle and Amy. This is a storyline where you really can see things from both points of view. Amy might appear tough, but inside, she longs to feel loved and secure. She’s focused on her rôle as Jimmy’s mum for nine years, but now she’s starting to realise that she can allow herself a life outside of work and motherhood. And after all, she deserves to be happy. Kyle seemed to have moved on after Georgia, and he wouldn’t deliberately hurt Amy, or Jimmy for that matter. But he’s still technically married, so will he want to give that marriage another try, or commit to Amy?

Whatever happens, it’s going to leave someone with a broken heart. If it turns out that heart is Amy’s, there will certainly be no shortage of suitors waiting to help her heal it. I’ve grown very fond of Amy Williams, and I hope that she stays in Ramsay Street for a long time. I would love to see the return of Andrew and Elle, to see how the three half-siblings interact. If Amy is left single, I am already speculating on who out of the current residents might be a good match for her. But if no one takes her fancy, I’m sure there would soon be an Erinsborough newcomer happy to step into Kyle’s work boots. And as Amy doesn’t fall in and out of love easily, they’re big boots to fill!

© Carol Ann Wood
March 2016


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