‘Home looks nice. Allus does though, don’t it? Perfick’
And so the Larkins – Pop, Ma, Mariette, Zinnia, Petunia, Primrose, Victoria and Montgomery – return from an outing for fish and chips and ice cream one May evening. There, amid the rustic charms of home, they discover a visitor: one Cedric Charlton, Her Majesty’s inspector of taxes.
Mr Charlton is visiting to find out why junk-dealer Pop hasn’t paid his tax – but nothing’s that simple at the Larkins. Mariette takes a shine to ‘Charley’ – as Pop calls him – and before long the family have introduced the uncomplaining inspector to the delights of country living: the lusty scents of wild flowers, the pleasures of a bottle of Dragon’s Blood, cold cream dribbled over a bowl of strawberries and hot, hot summer nights.
In fact, soon Charley can’t see any reason to return to the office at all . . .