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House Swap


Ashley and Claire may have got their marriage back on track, but their finances seem to be another matter.

Ashley inherited his father's butcher's but business has been down. He's already laid off Kirk (which in part lead to Chesney being taken into care by Social Services ).

When Claire discovers that there's no money in their account she fears that they've been the victim of fraud, and Ashley is forced to admit that he's been dipping into their savings in order to keep the business afloat.

Claire resolves that they will get through this together and after examining the budget determines that they have too much money tied up in their house and that they should down-size.

When Sally Webster hears of Claire's plan to sell up she thinks she has the perfect solution; a house swap. Always seeking to improve herself, Sally is keen on the idea of a house with a garden, more room for their two teenaged daughters, and still in the same street. However Kevin is not so enthused.

When Sally tells Claire that Kevin's reluctance is in part based on his belief that Ashley doesn't want to move, Claire's confident that she can change Ashley's mind.

She tells Ashley that she's been having trouble sleeping and is suffering flashbacks to the fire which nearly killed her, and the subsequent kidnapping of Freddie and everything that followed. Although Claire has forgiven Ashley his affair with Casey it seems she's not above hinting at it when she wants to get her own way. Ashley of course gives in and agrees to the move.

The valuer comes to put a figure on both houses, and while Sally talks up her house she's more critical when it comes to the Peacock's. Claire's disappointed by the figure put on their house, but Ashley reckons it must be fair - the Websters agree to pay the difference and deal is done. While Rosie and Sophie are delighted with news, Claire feels cheated and is quietly resentful of Sally.

Claire wants a better deal

Claire decides to try and get a better deal and tells Sally that they can't afford the changes they'd need to make to make the Webster's house habitable; she needs another 5,000 pounds. Not wanting to lose out Sally and Kevin agree to pay some extra and to help with the remodelling. Ashley's upset when he learns that Claire's been manipulating their friends, but Claire's smug that she's got what she wanted.

The agreement doesn't last long as Claire bemoans the state of the fixtures at the Websters and declares that she'll doesn't want their old ones but will be taking her newer ones. When Claire tells Norris that the Webster's house is practically a slum Sally is furious and the deal is off again.

Stubbornly Claire decides to try to sell the house herself, but finds the process full of frustration. Steve and Michelle show some interest but quickly change their minds. Eventually Claire apologies and the swap is back on.

The blow up

The day of the swap arrives but it seems Sally hasn't entirely forgiven Claire. Determined not to give her an inch Sally takes everything she can from her old house - including the light fittings. When Claire finds them missing she's furious but as Ashley attempts to fix the lighting the fuse box explodes.

Bill examines the box, and tells them the house needs a full re-wire, and it seems the Peacocks won't be able to move in for a couple of weeks.Kevin insists that they stay with them and Ashley agrees. The men are determined to make the best of things but the females struggle to live under one roof. 

Claire finds a box of old things in the loft of the Webster's old house; among them, a painting which Claire believes may be a valuable original. She's disappointed to discover that it's not a Lowry, but merely an Ogden. Digging deeper she finds some old programmes which Sally dismisses as rubbish. Lloyd, however notes that one is signed by The Beatles and Claire sells them for several thousand pound. Ashley urges her not to tell Sally, but when Sally again declares them old rubbish Claire gleefully reveals her cheque.


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