About this time the Hearte family started to break up. Alan and Lyddie went to England, and Caro started at Massey. The combination of no job and an empty house quickly became too much for Val. Her depression deepened.
She and Don were bickering, too. They'd just made a pact to work harder at their marriage when Val was killed in a car crash. She was driving, and her sister Christine was injured as well.
Jane went to live in a commune, because she couldn't settle down at home. Don visited her there and was forced to admit that she seemed happier.
The old Hearte house was very empty now, and Don was easily persuaded to look for somewhere more practical. He found a block of flats with the help of Mike Laughton who always had an eye for the main chance. Mike made $3000 commission on the sale, and lost a few friends.
It was around this time that Mike proposed to Dr Pip Osborn. His humiliation at being turned down was intensified when her engagement was announced almost immediately to Dr John Standish.
Pip and John married at Easter.
It was to be a simple affair, until the arrival of Pip's mother, that is. Madeleine Osborn quietly and sweetly turned it into the biggest wedding of the year. And it would have been the smoothest running, as well, if Jane hadn't turned up in the middle of the service, and the vicar hadn't fallen into the cake.
Jane took the children back to the commune with her, and Alex started work at the Anakiwa Outward Bound school.
Pop and Pete's racehorse, Danzig, had been in training for some time. "A born winner," said Pete. But who ever believes Pete? So it was only as a gesture that they bet on her for her big race. Except for Tom, who'd just resigned from the high school with the princely sum of $300 to his name and a baby on the way. He put the lot on Danzig. And won. It might have been a strain waiting for the result, but it gave him enough. money to take Viv up to the Bay of Islands.
Stephanie Paget returned to New Zealand, pregnant, and happily unmarried. It was only as a courtesy that she informed the father, David Coleridge, of the approaching birth. He caught the next plane, but Stephanie had no plans to get married.
Pip delivered the baby, a fine daughter named Alice, only a short time after the birth of Tom and Viv's son, Andrew. And when Pip and John left for Canada, David persuaded Stephanie to live with him in their flat.
Christine's new business, the House of Lorvatz, boomed after she won a major contract from fashion buyer, Simon Laing.
Larry was still at Mrs Featherstone's, but not for long. An old boyfriend, Johnnie Martin, turned up reviving her somewhat shady past. Johnnie had always been in
trouble, frequently dragging Larry with him. This time she'd had enough. When the police came round to question her, she packed her bags and ran.
Johnnie was unperturbed. He managed to con Pete out of his van in a card game, and used it the same night to burgle Hearte and Symonds.
A new family moved in next door to Mrs F. Marge and Ted Clifford had two sons, Roy and Hugh. Mrs F's new boarder, Faith Wilson, was far from impressed with them, but Marge and Mrs F had a lot in common, including a love of fortunetelling. Mrs F. was as surprised as anyone though, when she won a trail-bike on "It's in the Bag." Since she couldn't even drive a car, it was little use to her, and she was happy to sell it to Hugh Clifford.
Ken Paget's mother fell ill and died in Wales, and he went home for the funeral. Dot was dealing with some rather strange people at the local community centre, and hoping that Stephanie would make up her mind to marry David.