Michael is a 66-year-old drunken arisotcrat fallen on hard times. He used to manage the family pile, a maginficent estate called Sitten Hall. But when the family got stung for inheritance tax he was forced to 'gift' it to the National Trust. Now he's stuck in sheltered housing, his mother, Granny Banana, is seeing out her last in Greenaways Nursing Home, and his despised brother Philip lives in suburbia with his exotic young wife and three children. But Michael's doing ok - until Granny Banana a ccidentally falls out of the back of his landrover. The least he could do was to give her the funeral she wanted, to be buried back at Sitten Hall with her cherished dog. But the family coffers aren't what they were, and Philip insists on a cremation and for the ashes to be scattered in the grounds of a local hotel. Determined to salvage the last of Banana, Michael contrives to steal the ashes, replacing them in the urn with sugar, but a farcical bungling of events leads to Granny Banana being b aked into one of three cakes to be presented as a raffle prize at the local swimming gala...THE OLD COUNTRY is Sam's most mature book yet.