Clara has lived a life of solitude, home schooled under her mean uncle’s strict regime – until now! Her uncle’s house has been losing staff and furniture as his fortunes fail, and finally he disappears himself, leaving Clara all alone in the giant manor with nothing but a wedge of ‘guilt money’. Luckily, streetwise Peter has been sent to stay – at least he has some experience of the real world and how to survive. And the children are far from unhappy with their newfound freedom: a life of sliding down bannisters, making dens in Uncle’s study, warming themselves by a fire of text books, playing sardines with the village children and living off nothing but boiled eggs and mashed potatoes has its appeal! But then an interfering grown-up turns up with the unwelcome news that the house is to be sold.