Sunday, October 28th:
I have discovered failure and found that it is like goose grass. It clings still and I cannot shake it off.
2012 is a disastrous year for Sebastian Scattergood, who has recently retired from the pharmaceutical industry after thirty-seven happy and uneventful years as a Health and Safety officer. Despite his eternal optimism, however, all the earmarked projects of his newly earned freedom crumble into dust, each one faithfully recorded, warts and all, in his diary. Building firms go bust on him, landscape gardeners do a runner, and his cultural tours company is sabotaged by a couple of naked German students smoking cannabis on a night walk. It is only when he has been driven into hibernation by a savage attack in the press that salvation finally arrives, in the form of Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Set in a small village in the Lincolnshire Wolds, ‘Trying Times for Sebastian Scattergood’ is a chronicle of a horrendous year, narrated by an earnest and pompous man who lacks any sense of self-irony. Part disaster diary, part social satire, it is a novel of literary fiction which is both humorous and moving in equal measure.