How would you react if squatters moved into the ground floor of your building?
The tenants of the upper floor flats of No. 27 Cranby Gardens find themselves in this very situation when a family of three suddenly move into the basement just hours after the former tenants left that morning. Hilda Greencroft is prepared to be friendly – after all, they seem to be harmless squatters: a young couple with a baby – but Oliver and Judith Blackstone say ‘Out!’ But the squatters have done their research and declare their rights.
Fifteen-year-old Tamsine Blackstone, a political revolutionary, thinks the squatters are fabulous, and rushes to offer help and advice, while her shy and idealistic elder brother, Simon, can’t bring himself to the make the first step and confront them too.
Meanwhile, downstairs in the basement, Polly and Dennis Dyson are preoccupied with their own worries. Having fled from Dennis’ domineering mother, they have set up camp in Cranby Gardens with the hope of being transferred to social housing – immediately! But life in the squat is not the romantic idea it’s presumed to be – particularly with a young baby – and it is with infinite caution that the social services are slowly beginning to grind into action.
And then trouble arrives: a group of new squatters descend on the flat and with them, a life of violence and petty crime. Abruptly, a very different situation faces everyone…
In this delightfully human comedy, Lettice Cooper masterfully develops an intriguing plot to reveal a touching and gripping story of a collection of diverse and very human characters.