173 & 174
Original -- Sep 20/21, 1983
Showcase -- Feb 24/25, 2000
 Emily Nicol (Chloe Jones)
 Brian Moll (Councillor Muldoon)
 Rebecca Rigg (Gabe Baker)
 Kay Eklund (Ida Dugdale)
 Joan Sydney (Matron Sloan)
 Jon Darling (Mr. Pearson)
 Sally Conabere(Sally Wyndham)
 Esme cutting down Cookie's telegram to save money:
" 'To Dear Coralie' Well, you don't need that, she knows her own name. 'Happy birthday' She knows it's her birthday Vernon. 'Thinking of you' There's no need to put that, she knows it, you've sent her the telegram... 'Your loving brother' She knows who you are Vernon!"

 Also the scene where Molly holds Muldoon's letter and keeps moving her hand as Esme is about to stamp it.

Plotlines, characters, dialogue quotes, hospital name, house image, show photos, & show-specific details JNP Productions. The wording and presentation of the information on this site and all of the ACP graphics 1998/1999 Kitty MacAlpine (unless otherwise noted).

Thanks to Louise O for the description and details of this episode.
"Tipping the Balance"
Molly and Brendan are due back from their vacation in Adelaide, where they were visiting Brendan's parents. Dr. Elliott and Matron Sloan talk about the difficulties of raising children, citing Gabe as an example of an out of control teenager. Maggie says she is glad that she never had children. Gabe is late for dinner and Frank is worried and angry. She arrives home with flowers for Shirl - Frank's prize roses.

The town's postmistress, Miss Ida Dugdale, is fixing her bike by the side of the road - the chain had slipped off. Simon, driving past with Sally, stops to offer assistance, but she refuses his help and rides off to deliver the mail. Simon tells Sally about Miss Dugdale. Cookie's the only one who can call her Ida. Shirley helps Vicky clean the Jones' house. Bob has tracked mud through the carpet and left unwashed tins of food everywhere. Vicky hasn't decided where she will stay when Molly and Brendan return, but Shirley thinks she should move back to the flat. At the Post Office, Councillor Muldoon complains about the office being closed while Miss Dugdale delivered the mail. Frank comes in to send some certified mail and apologises for Gabe's dog knocking Miss Dugdale off her bike earlier. Frank wants to buy some stamps but she sends him away because it is 1 o'clock (lunch time). Her throat seems to be troubling her. Vicky cleans out Doris' pen. As Simon comes up she treads on a rake and splashes herself with the hose, much to his amusement. He tells her that her room is free (Sally isn't sleeping there) in case she wants to come home. When he says that he and Sally are going on a picnic Vicky is clearly upset, although she puts on a cheerful face.

Brendan and Molly return home with a huge crib made by Brendan's father. He tells her not to work so hard for the rest of her pregnancy and changes their motto to "me farm and me hospital." They find a wooden toy that Bob made for Chloe, and are impressed that he was so clean. Vicky goes to the flat to pick up some clothes and sees a folding bed in the living room. Sally comes out of the bathroom and talks to Vicky about Simon, how he's always been old-fashioned and romantic. Muldoon confronts Miss Dugdale about not delivering final rates notices to some of the townsfolk. She rides away from him but soon afterwards falls off her bike, knocked unconscious.

Muldoon brings Miss Dugdale to the hospital. He hangs around the examination room getting in the way until Matron Sloan pushes him out. Dr. Elliott is concerned when Miss Dugdale mentions having trouble swallowing and asks her to stay in hospital for a few hours. She is treating the condition with herbal medicine. Muldoon listens with interest to the whole conversation from outside. Sally and Simon enjoy their picnic at Bowen's Folly. He tells a very animated story about his encounters with Matron Sloan. Sally says he could always make her laugh, which prompts him to ask why she married Warwick (her ex-husband, and his former best friend). She doesn't answer but instead reveals that Warwick was unfaithful, before and after their wedding. Matron Sloan brings Miss Dugdale a cup of tea. Dr. Elliott wants her to sty overnight at the hospital. her throat problem seems to be caused by a swollen thyroid, and he needs to run tests to diagnose the underlying condition. Muldoon is going through the Post Office accounts. He want to incorporate the postal service with his store, after all, a great deal of money goes through the office each day. When Brendan drops in to see Miss Dugdale, Muldoon keeps him talking until 5 o'clock, when it's too late to pick up his mail! Vicky visits Molly and tells her about Sally staying at the flat. Molly offers for Vicky to stay with them at the farm. Frank talks to Shirley about Gabe's problems at school. The teachers are going out of their way to help her fit in, and the other kids resent the special treatment. Gabe comes in and overhears Frank talking about her. She is furious that he told the headmaster about her past. She says that he disgusts her and starts yelling "pig, pig!" When Shirley slaps her she is stunned and runs out of the room. Shirl sits down, shocked and upset.

Early in the morning Miss Dugdale signs herself out of the hospital. She has to get to the Post Office before 9am. Gabe comes out for breakfast looking depressed but more subdued than the night before. Shirley apologies for losing her temper. Gabe doesn't want to go to school, but Frank tells her that it is a condition of their custody arrangement. Seeing that she has no choice in the matter, Gabe reluctantly agrees. Mr. Pearson tells Miss Dugdale about Muldoon being in the Post Office the previous afternoon. Brendan picks up the mail that he tried to get the day before. Frank comes in with Miss Dugdale's bike. Bob has replaced the faulty back wheel that caused her crash. Frank suggests that she give up her delivery service for the sake of her health, but she won't consider it. Simon and Sally share breakfast. She keeps gazing at him, and when he asks why, she wonders when he'll return to the city. He replies that he moved to the city so that he wouldn't have to join his father's practice, and lists other professional reasons for staying. She says that he must have taken his personal life into account and jokes about him running away from something. To her surprise, he agrees - "you did run off and marry my best friend" -then laughs and says he's half forgotten her already.

Matron Sloan welcomes Brendan back to work. He shows her photos of his parents with Chloe. The results of Miss Dugdale's test have come back. She has an overactive thyroid. Dr. Elliott is not happy to learn that she'd checked herself out of hospital, as he has to persuade her to come back for treatment. He goes to see her at the Post Office. She will need to go to Burrigan for a thyroid scan and start on medication. Muldoon enters and hears Dr. Elliott tell Miss Dugdale that she will probably be on medication for the rest of her life. Muldoon says that she must leave immediately, and that he will personally oversee the running of the Post Office in her absence. She replies that she needs time to think about it. Gabe comes back to an empty house and decides to take Rocky for a walk, after changing out of her school uniform. She sees Miss Dugdale's bike and rides off on it with Rocky in the basket.

Esme comes into the clinic to tell Shirl that she saw Gabe in town, not dressed in her school uniform. Shirley is sure she left early in the morning to catch the school bus. Esme thinks Gabe should be put in a home where she will be taught discipline. Terence comes out of his office but quickly tries to go back in when he sees Esme. He becomes annoyed when she refers to his 'delinquent daughter' (see episodes 57-67) and sends her away. He is worried about Miss Dugdale. Shirley tells him she is too dedicated to her job to leave voluntarily. Terence is surprised to hear that Simon is at the hospital already - with Sally in town, he expected him to sleep in. Brendan asks Simon about Sally, but he insists that nothing is going on between them. Brendan invites them over to the farm for dinner. He starts to show off his holiday photos when Matron Sloan enters and berates them for neglecting their work. Frank drops by to see Miss Dugdale. He heard from Bev that her bike had been stolen. However, she asks him not to get involved as she would prefer to handle it herself.

Cookie wants to send a telegram to his sister Coralie for her birthday. Miss Dugdale is feeling very ill and decides to close the Post Office. Cookie helps her lock up and takes her to the hospital. Molly and Chloe come to the hospital to pick up Brendan. When she sees Matron Sloan Molly goes to wait outside but Maggie invites them into her office. She plays with Chloe and lets Brendan go home early, much to Molly's surprise. Brendan tells Molly that he's invited Simon and Sally over for dinner tomorrow night. Molly doesn't believe that nothing is going on between them and worries about how Vicky will feel. Frank is on the phone to the Burrigan police. He hasn't seen Gabe all day and is worried that she may have gone back to Sydney. Gabe walks in the door with Rocky. She'd been down to the river. Frank asks her if she took Miss Dugdale's bike. She readily admits to it, but since she put it back can't see what the problem is. Frank leaves to check whether she really did return it.

While waiting for Frank to come back, Gabe asks Shirley if she believes her. Shirley says that they trusted her to go to school, and she broke that faith. Vicky comes for a visit and asks if they've heard about Miss Dugdale's bike being stolen. Frank arrives home. The bike has been returned but Miss Dugdale wasn't there. Vicky tells them that she's been taken to hospital. Miss Dugdale admits that her herbal remedies are no longer enough to treat her condition. She asks Dr. Elliott if he thinks she has cancer. He considers it unlikely, but wants to send her to Burrigan for a scan. She is worried about losing the Post Office if she has to take time off for an operation. Over dinner, Molly, Brendan and Vicky discuss Matron Sloan's unusual behaviour earlier. When Brendan mentions Simon's name they all become awkward. Vicky asks if there is anything wrong. Molly tells her that Brendan invited Simon and Sally over. She says Vicky can join them, or they can cancel the whole thing if she feels uncomfortable. Vicky says that she would like to stay, and that she's met Sally and likes her. Simon and Sally arrive home after a night out. He asks how long she's planning on staying; he needs to consider Vicky as they share the flat. Sally says she's met Vicky, who told her she could stay as long as she likes. When Simon says he likes her being there, she says "prove it", but then passes the comment off as a joke. They head to bed - Sally to Simon's room, and he to a folding bed in the living room. Maggie is sitting behind the desk at the Post Office. She sees Muldoon outside the (closed) door and invited him in. He was trying to pick the lock with a piece of wire.

Maggie has organised a group of volunteers to look after the Post Office. Muldoon would prefer to see to it all himself, but she insists that won't be necessary. To Maggie's dismay Esme is the first volunteer, taking Mrs. Bailey's place (she had to take her sone to the dentist). Esme gets stuck into work immediately, rubber stamping everything in sight. As Miss Dugdale prepares to go to Burrigan, Gabe drops by to see her. She apologises for taking the bike and is relived when Miss Dugdale promises not to lay charges. Since Gabe is going to Burrigan for school, she arranges to get a lift with Miss Dugdale in the ambulance. Cookie catches Esme reading a postcard (and still stamping away). He asks her to send the telegram to his sister. She cuts it down to two words to save money: "Greetings. Vernon." She suggests he buy a small present for her with the money he saved. Molly and Brendan set the table for their big dinner. Molly is anxious about how Vicky will cope with Sally's presence and frantically tries to figure out where to seat everyone. Vicky comes downstairs in an evening dress looking, according to Brendan, fantastic. She goes back upstairs to get her watch just as Simon's car pulls up outside. Simon introduces Sally to Molly and Brendan. When Vicky comes downstairs Simon is surprised but pleased to see her. He almost seems to forget Sally is there as he can't keep his eyes off Vicky. Dr. Elliott tells Miss Dugdale that her thyroid is not cancerous. He wants to keep her in hospital for observation while she starts on medication, and asks her to be patient with herself. Matron Sloan tells Miss Dugdale about the roster she has organised. She says that the superiors in the postal service need not know about it. However, Muldoon comes in and tells Miss Dugdale that he has written to her supervisors to inform them of her condition so that they can take the appropriate action.

Everyone enjoys dinner at the Jones'. Sally asks Vicky if she finds it difficult dealing with large animals, like cows or bulls. This leads Vicky and Simon to reminisce about one of their memorable adventures together (see episode 10). They are in stitches laughing but Sally clearly feels left out. Arriving back at the flat, Sally tries to seduce Simon, saying he'd surely rather spend the night with her than Fatso. He says it's been great seeing her again and he has been able to resolve his feelings about her, and come to terms with the fact that she left him for his best friend. She tells him that she regrets that now, but he says he needs a lot more time to get to know her again. Sally is sure that Vicky is the reason for Simon's hesitance, despite him insisting otherwise, and tells him that she won't be in a relationship where there is a third party involved again. Brendan and Molly eat breakfast, happy that the dinner was a success. Molly thinks it's a pity that Vicky and Simon can't get it together. Brendan replies that they've had a long time to work things out. He conceded that if Vicky showed the slightest interest in Simon, even now, Sally wouldn't stand a chance. They both admit that she showed a lot of interest the night before. Simon is having coffee when Sally comes out. She has her bags packed and plans to leave on the early plane. She agrees with him that they shouldn't rush things, since it doesn't feel right yet. She says if it feels right after a while, they can find a way to see each other. He offers to drive her to the airport.

Esme shows Molly around the Post Office. Muldoon comes in with a letter to send by certified mail. Esme and Molly argue over who gets to deal with it. Muldoon leaves for a meeting, after insisting that his letter make the afternoon mail. Molly has the letter, which Esme keeps trying to stamp. Cookie comes in and asks for Esme's help choosing a present for his sister. He finally gets her out of Molly's hair. Molly puts Muldoon's letter in Miss Dugdale's 'special delayed mail drawer.' Simon is in his office, staring pensively out of the window. Terence enters and tells him that Miss Dugdale is responding well to treatment, but Simon isn't really listening. Terence invites Simon and Sally over for dinner, but Simon tells him that she's gone back to Sydney. Terence leaves and Simon goes back to staring out the window. Vicky is sitting at the desk in her surgery doodling in an exercise book. Simon comes in and they talk about the dinner. When Vicky suggests they all go out somewhere, he tells her that Sally has gone. He says she received a call from Sydney and had to leave suddenly. Vicky asks when she will be coming back, and he replies not for a while, perhaps not at all. This pleases Vicky, but she tries not to show it. Simon asks if she'll move back to the flat, and she decides to come back tonight. Cookie visits Miss Dugdale in hospital. He tells her the Post Office is running well. She worries that Muldoon will use her illness as an excuse to shut it down, but he assures her that Muldoon's letter was never posted. She didn't realise that people knew about her delayed mail drawer. Cookie tells her that everyone in town cares about her and they won't let Muldoon take over the Post Office no matter how hard he tries. Vicky arrives home to the flat. Only Fatso is there. She notices a bunch of flowers on the bench and a note: "Welcome home Vicky. Love Fatso." She gets teary and tells him that it's good to be home.

Where to now?