Alan and Celia have been married for seven years now and are in the process of upgrading the bungalow they recently purchased. Celia wants a new custom kitchen, and when Alan receives an unexpected call from her brother Ted telling him he’s from New Zealand, she also insists on buying more furniture for the guest bedroom.
As Celia focuses her attention on the house, Alan decided to apply for a part-time job at the supermarket where his grandson’s wife, Ellie, works. Celia doesn’t understand why he wants a job and, although she won’t admit it, is ashamed that he is working a subordinate. But Alan is happy to interact with people and happy to take the bus to work. Celia might need the Lexus.
Meanwhile, Gillian’s house has woodworms and must be repaired, at great expense, urgently lest the roof collapse. She recently took out a loan to buy additional acres for her flock of sheep, so she asks Alan if he can lend her some money. He wishes, but will have to discuss it with Celia, given the kitchen redevelopment underway.
Unlike the rest of her family, Caroline is perfectly trouble free for now. In fact, she tells her ex-husband John over dinner, she is “the happiest she has ever been.” As he tries to find out if she is seeing anyone, she ignores his questions and asks about their son, Lawrence, urging John to push him to do Something with himself, because he has no job and has dropped out of school.
Lawrence’s idle life is made possible by the wildly successful series of Robin Hood books written by John’s girlfriend, Judith. Judith comes to the school where Celia is the principal to speak on a series featuring powerful women – Michelle Obama was a guest. John, however, warns Celia to have a contingency plan: Judith has had a few embarrassing bouts of drinking lately. His editor assigned him a personal assistant to avoid further mishaps, but John finds the assistant’s constant presence in the house annoying.
Alan is unsettled just before his interview at the supermarket. As he crosses the parking lot, a boy runs towards him with a security guard chasing him. The neglected boy is caught and forced to hand over the bread and some other possessions he was hiding under his shirt.
He and the security guard are waiting outside the store manager’s office with Alan. The manager takes Alan as the boy’s guardian and calls them all together. The manager knows Harrison, the boy, from previous incidents.
After his interview, Alan pays for the stolen goods and brings Harrison home. He felt sad that what Harrison stole was a meal, he later told his friend Harry; he does not often encounter poverty up close. Harrison impresses Alan with his vocabulary, but runs away when Alan drops him off at what he claims to be his home. Harrison reminds Alan of an impoverished elementary school boy: once the boy asked to come and play at Alan’s house to play and Alan said no; he regrets it ever since.
Hoping to avoid an experience she will regret, Caroline asks her colleague Ruth to take care of the Q&A with Judith; that way Caroline can step in if something is wrong. It also doesn’t hurt that Caroline is interested in Ruth, whose husband sleeps in the guest room, and that Ruth adores Judith’s books. Caroline invites Ruth over to her house on the weekends to plan the question-and-answer session.
It’s a big weekend: Caroline and Gillian’s joint birthday is Friday, and Ted is supposed to arrive on Saturday. But Celia got a disturbing call from Ted’s daughter, Nadine. Ted has been showing signs of dementia and recently had an argument with his children over money. In addition, he suddenly sold his house for a considerable sum. And his kids weren’t aware of his solo flight to England: he paid his housekeeper to schedule it and take him to the airport, and now everyone worries he will get lost in the of its stopovers in Hong Kong and Heathrow.
Ted’s whereabouts weigh on Alan at Caroline and Gillian’s birthday dinner. But when the woodworm is casually mentioned, he has another problem to distract him: he has yet to discuss the loan of Gillian money with Celia. He is obliged to explain himself quickly, saying that the kitchen will have to wait.
With that, the problem seems resolved, and the conversation turns to the missing Lawrence. He comes to Gillian’s farm the next day to film something for his YouTube channel, “Lawrence and Angus Do Stuff”. They’re “going over” silly things and seemingly wanting to do something with Gillian’s sheep. It might not pay off, but unlike Gillian’s son Raff’s teacher training, it’s easy, even if Angus is starting to get fed up with Lawrence.
Suddenly Celia interrupts the pleasant conversation. Gillian is once again manipulating her father, she says, taking away his hard-earned savings just as he and Celia try to enjoy a comfortable life in their later years. Gillian, hurt, says to forget the loan, she will find a way. Alan tries to defend her, but Gillian insists on letting him down.
Just then Ted calls, interrupting the bitter mood. He’s arrived in Hong Kong and seems to be doing well, said Alan, relieved. The whole family will pick him up at the airport tomorrow.
Woodworm aside, Gillian has other things to make her feel depressed: Her ex-husband Robbie sent her a birthday card.
Another ex-husband, John, is going to be surprised. While he and Judith are sitting at home one evening, she casually and hesitantly asks if he would like to marry her.