Could it be that the Block 22 love-in is about to come to a screeching halt?
Well if anyone could make that happen it’s former contestant, gossip and shit-stirrer Ronnie.
He’s here to give Sharon and Ankur a painting lesson, and set the contestants against one another. And he’s nearly finished the painting lesson.
He does some of his best meddling at the Friday night contestants’ dinner, but even before that his mere presence is enough to give Rachel a near breakdown.
When she spots him driving to the site with Ankur she’s over at Ankur and Sharon’s in a shot, accusing him of breaking that cardinal Block rule, that only contestants can paint, and demanding her own former Block contestant to help.
And her suspicions he’s actually doing the painting for Ankur and Sharon are given some validity when Scott and Shelley walk in on him rollering their walls.
It’s pretty obvious the show’s producers have pulled out all the stops to keep Sharon and Ankur from storming off the show, and Rachel has had enough.
“I was told Anks and Shaz were the worst painters we’ve ever had on The Block. Really? The scores aren’t reflecting that,” she says.
“I agree that their painting is absolutely atrocious, but the scores aren’t reflecting that. If they were getting threes, fours, fives, if they were not finishing multiple rooms, if any way shape or form the judging on a Sunday was reflective of the worst painting that has ever been seen on The Block, bring someone in, but that’s not what we’ve been seeing the last six weeks.”
It’s pretty clear to Rachel, and Sarah-Jane, that the key to getting extra help is to threaten to walk off.
“It just doesn’t feel like an even playing field. I don’t need any special treatment, I don’t need anyone brought in, I just want to feel like it’s fair,” she says before leaving the site in tears.
“If other people were as vocal would they be getting the same support?” Sarah-Jane asks.
“I would hope so, because I can tell you Rachel’s on the edge right now, she’s ready to walk.”
But if Ronnie’s presence is the final straw for Rachel, it might also prove to be the final straw for the other contestants’ love affair with Oz and Omar.
They’ve already been given a Keith reaming out for removing a joist to fit a light in, resulting in a sagging ceiling, and for being workshy.
“I’m watching you not work a lot. I’ve never seen you cut anything, screw anything, knock anything, not once,” he tells them, laying the groundwork for some accusations from Ronnie.
Ronnie uses the contestant dinner to suggest that the Sydney pair might not be playing within the rules.
After counting 17 tradespeople at the pair’s site that afternoon, and calculating it’s costing them $17,500 in wages for the one day, Ronnie smells a rat.
No doubt worded up by producers, he raises the issue with Ankur and Sharon and Sarah-Jane and Tom as they sit around the fire.
Despite his bromance with Omar and Oz, Tom admits he’s been suss for a while.
“I have a very strong feeling there’s a lot of dodgy shit going on down the end of our street,” he says.
“When you go for a drive for a toasted sandwich in the middle of the night and you see concrete grinding going on in the middle of the night, and cars rocking up at the gate and there’s people coming in the middle of the night from interstate, they’re not working for bottom dollar, they’re working for free,” he says.
While the rules allows contestants to drive a hard bargain with their trades, it doesn’t allow them to underpay them, let alone not pay them at all, and with Omar and Oz under budget week after week, despite them rarely being seen doing any actual work themselves, it’s clear something is rotten in the state of Macedon Shire.
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Author: Claire Sutherland