Mark Garvey likes women, wine and football. He is obsessed by the past but wants a better future. His relationship with Alyson, an Australian physiotherapist, has ended disastrously. In an attempt to forge a new start, he escapes Birmingham for a new job as Director of Social Services in Devon. He moves to Hope Cove, rents a holiday home and tries to start a new life. As a kid, he took holidays in the same part of Devon, so his reason for being there mirrors his desire to rediscover a sense of childhood optimism for the future. Yet leaving does not resolve his problems; it just creates new ones that get in the way of him moving forward. Mark Garvey has many problems, but the biggest problem he has is that he is Mark Garvey.
He eventually stumbles into a relationship with the local doctor, Kalpna. Yet beneath the surface, the playground of his childhood optimism is littered with pitfalls and chaos – not that different to what he has left behind.