Part of the attraction lies in its hero, Alfred Polly. He is a small, inconsequential man, the sort who drifts through life as if in a dream. ‘I’ve never really planned my life, or set out to live,’ Polly admits. ‘I happened; things happened to me. It’s so with everyone.’ But Polly is graced with a warm heart and a real need for affection. He has a romantic streak fuelled by a voracious and indiscriminate love of reading. He also has a knack for comic neologism that makes up for his lack of formal education. Pushy youngsters are referred to as a ‘Shoveacious Cult’, full of ‘Smart Juniosity’. A man with a prominent Adam’s apple is the ‘Soulful Owner’ of an ‘Exorbiant Largenial Development’.