Julia Hunter and Kate Bain have, it seems, each found true happiness with men old enough to be their fathers. The immaculate Julia organises her husband Hugh, a television personality, with the same efficiency with which she runs their lovely home and cherubic twins. Kate has lived with James Mallow, a retired teacher, for eight years, and although she refuses to marry him she is apparently devoted to him. Hugh and James, lifelong friends and now in their sixties, feel blessed indeed. But the age differences cannot be ignored forever, and when the eccentric and fiercely independent elderly spinster Miss Beatrice Bachelor enters their lives - after James, absent-mindedly driving without his spectacles through the dark and rainy Oxford streets, knocks her off her bicycle - a chain of events is set off in which many suppressed discontents and frustrations emerge. Kate begins to seek out friends of her own age, while Julia finds her own career blossoming just as her husband's is beginning its natural decline. The tranquil lives of the men and the girls seem shattered as new relationships develop and old anxieties surface, and nothing will ever be quite the same again.