There are newcomers to the village of Thrush Green...
Charles Henstock, vicar of Thrush Green, is living in his new vicarage after the old one burned down. In its place are eight retirement homes, but there's heated debate in the village about the new residents. How to choose who will live there? How will they get on together? And how will they accommodate all the pets?
Meanwhile the old residents have their worries. At the school Miss Watson learns that her brother has had an accident; an argument flares up between Edward Young and Dr Lovell; and Dottie Harmer becomes dottier by the day.