'I should like to go to France,' said Ma.
'God Almighty,' Pop said. 'What for?'
'For a holiday of course,' Ma said. 'I think it would do us all good to get some sun.'
And so at the end of a rainy English August the Larkins - all ten of them, including little Oscar, the family's new addition - bundle into the old Rolls and cross the Channel to escape the hostile elements.
But far from being the balmy, sunny and perfick spot Ma Larkin hoped for, France proves less than welcoming to an eccentric English family. The tea's weak, the furniture breakable and the hotel manager is almost as hostile as the wind and the rain they've brought with them! And when the manager learns that Ma and Pop are unmarried yet sharing a room under his roof, the trouble really begins . . .
H. E. Bates was born in 1905 in Northamptonshire. He worked as a journalist and clerk on a local newspaper before publishing his first book, The Two Sisters, when he was twenty. In the next fifteen years he acquired a distinguished reputation for his stories about English country life. During the Second World War he was a Squadron Leader in the R.A.F. The Darling Buds of May (1958), the first of the popular Larkin family novels, was followed by A Breath of French Air (1959), When the Green Woods Laugh (1960), Oh! To Be in England (1963) and A Little of What You Fancy (1970). His works have been translated into sixteen languages. H. E. Bates was awarded the C.B.E. in 1973 and died in January 1974.