There’s an unexpected arrival for Julian, George, Dick, Anne and Timmy when dastardly Cousin Rupert is put behind bars, leaving them to care for his baby daughter Lily. The friends soon learn that parenting is no picnic, as Lilly screams, gurgles and poop-bombs her way into their hearts.
Here are some of our favourite quotes from the book:
- “First, George detached the fastenings of the old nappy, which she then carefully unfolded from the baby. Lily’s entire body beneath her belly button looked like it had been dipped in satay sauce.”
- “‘We’ll get the hang of it,’ said Julian. ‘There has to be a knack to this parenting lark.’ But despite his jolly words, his cheeks were hollow and his eyes were empty.”
- “‘I don’t see what she’s got to moan about,’ said Dick.”
- “’Without having any choice, she’s been born into a huge indifferent universe that will slowly crush her spirit, and then she will die,’ said George. ‘I’m on her side. Crying’s the least she could do.’”
- “Their being in charge of a life seemed fundamentally wrong, as though something had gone askew in the universe. But they were realizing now that this probably was something that all parents went through: from happy, arrogant youth into naked, trembling fear, an anguished rebirth at the hands of merciless and unpredictable fate. There was no fighting it, only meek acceptance.”
Lupiter Fünckstein’s corporate away day looks set to be a disaster, as a hungover Julian leads his team into a countryside hotel to try their hands at pig-whispering, strenuous relaxation and constructive blind man’s buff. However, the gang snatches triumph from the jaws of disaster when they overhear wicked Cousin Rupert planning some corporate sabotage…
Fancy some amusing snippets from this instalment? Of course you do…
- “They could not forget the words that had been said at that morning’s personality test session. In each of them, small grievances seethed and bubbled, little gremlins that grew fat and strong.”
- “‘You are floating, like spirits…’ instructed the relaxologist. Anne anxiously worried if she was relaxed enough.”
- “‘You know how many unread emails I’ve got on my work account? Four hundred and eighty-nine. So what the bloody festering pig testicles am I doing here?’”
- “‘We’re going to break everything down to its nuts and bolts, and build it from the ground up. I want you to think outside the box and give 110%.’”
George, Dick, Anne and Julian swap cream buns and lager for spiralised butternut squash and ‘magic water’ smoothies that look like something wrung out of a tramp’s trousers. Who will be the first to admit that the new diet makes them feel a little dead inside?
Here are some of our favourite gluten-free moments:
- “‘We’re going to eat no wheat, no dairy, no sugar,’ explained George. ‘I’m so pleased,’ said Aunt Fanny. ‘Shall I make you some nice peanut butter sandwiches for your picnic?’”
- “‘What on earth is this?’ interrupted Julian.
‘It’s cauliflower rice,’ said Anne.
‘So is it rice? Or cauliflower? I’m so confused.’”
- “They were determined to turn over a new spinach leaf.”
- “They had all enjoyed their breakfast of black tea and porridge (made with gluten-free oats and nut milk) sprinkled with aҫai berries and bee pollen.”
Tempers are frayed and the bonds of friendship tested when Dick, Anne, Julian, George and Timmy head to tiny Kirrin Island, escaping the EU referendum campaign. Yet soon they are holding their own debates: Should Kirrin declare independence from Britain? It turns out that sausages will have a decisive impact on Kregrexit.
If you thought the real-life Brexit campaign was entertaining (in a strange sort of way), it has nothing on this:
- “‘If there’s one thing stronger than politics it’s friendship. Right?’”
- “Dick was handed a cracker with a delicious slick of brie across it. ‘We must have made a rash decision, when the Europeans are capable of this…’ he observed.”
- “There, squatting down, Timmy laid his profound expression of the democratic process.”
- “‘Woof, woof!’ said Timmy, a love of democracy running through him like an electric current. ‘Woof!’”
The full Famous Five Spoof Series is available to browse here, including new addition Five Give Up the Booze.