In 2007, six friends meet in London for a pub-crawl to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their graduation from a Leeds University. As the day progresses, tensions develop resulting from their differing perspectives on modern society, from the hostile atmosphere in some of the pubs and streets, and from the suspicion each begins to have that the others may be harbouring secrets. These are gradually revealed - Tony is an alcoholic, Nigel has a handicapped son and his marriage is under strain, Vivienne (now married to Eric) and Tony may have had a fling while at university, and in later years Vivienne may have had a lengthy affair with Nigel. Alan and Jim also have secrets - Alan is dying and Jim is in a gay relationship. The climax to the story is an altercation with some yobs on the London Underground in which Eric is seriously injured.
The final chapter is set 10 months later after Alan's funeral. As the result of his injuries, Eric cannot remember what he’d learned of his wife's unfaithfulness with Nigel, but his memory is improving daily. He wishes to resume contact with Nigel, and Vivienne has to make an uncomfortable choice.