Steven Stubbard wants nothing more than to get on with his easy life in Switzerland: back-pedalling in his job, finally writing those songs he’s always dreamed of… But when his elderly father calls to inform him of impending bowel cancer surgery, he suddenly finds himself plunged back into dealing with the remains of a family he’s spent his life trying to escape: his crazy, intractable father, a one time airline Captain, now shares a squalid hermit-like existence in Devon with 100 disease-ridden sheep who love nothing more than a quick swim in the neighbour’s pool or an evening curled up in front of the television; his sister Jane, alone, depressed, a help-refusing advice-seeker, collects bad luck like others collect spoons.
With his father busy in hospital upsetting staff and patients alike, Steven reluctantly attempts—against his father’s will—to restore some semblance of order and hygiene to his dilapidated home. Shuttling between Basel and Devon, it rapidly becomes an odyssey for him: the stench and humongous mess of the rotten house, an imperious, sly father, a sister whose tenuous grip on reality lessens by the day, an evermore prevaricating hospital administration and the spectral remains of a flock of sorry sheep. Why is he doing it all? And for whom?