'There!' Pop said. 'There's the house. There's Gore Court for you. What about that, eh? How's that strike you? Better than St Paul's, ain't it, better than St Paul's?'
And so Pop Larkin - junk-dealer, family man and Dragon's Blood connoisseur - manages to sell the nearby crumbling, tumbling country home to city dwellers Mr and Mrs Jerebohm for a pretty bundle of notes. Now he can build his daughter Mariette the pool she's long been nagging him for.
But the Larkin's new neighbours aren't quite so accepting of country ways - especially Pop's little eccentricities. In fact, it's not long before a wobbly boat, a misplaced pair of hands and Mrs Jerebohm's behind have Pop up before a magistrate . . .
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.