'Christening? We never said nothing about no christening, Ma, did we?' And so with the appearance of a letter announcing the imminent arrival of Madame Dupont, Pop and Ma Larkin learn that little Oscar and Blenheim - Charley and Mariette's new boy - are to be christened. In fact, once Mr Candy - who will be officiating (much to raven-haired Primrose's delight) - learns that Pop and Ma have neglected the entire Larkin brood, the whole family seems set for a dunking Pop, who needs no excuse to open a few bottles of Dragon's Blood and host the perfick party, rushes out and buys a fun fair to celebrate. But there are one or two gatecrashers even Pop hadn't counted on turning up . . .
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, 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). His works have been translated into sixteen languages. H. E. Bates was awarded the C.B.E. in 1973 and died in January 1974.