Archive for the ‘What ho!’ Category

A Crime is Afoot

OIPSir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse KBE (15 October 1881 – 14 February 1975) was an English author and one of the most widely read humorists of the 20th century. Born in Guildford, the third son of a British magistrate based in Hong Kong, Wodehouse spent happy teenage years at Dulwich College, to which he remained devoted all his life. After leaving school he was employed by a bank but disliked the work and turned to writing in his spare time. His early novels were mostly school stories, but he later switched to comic fiction, creating several regular characters who became familiar to the public over the years. They include the feather-brained Bertie Wooster and his sagacious valet, Jeeves; the immaculate and loquacious Psmith; Lord Emsworth and the Blandings Castle set; the Oldest Member, with stories about golf; and Mr Mulliner, with tall tales on subjects ranging from bibulous bishops to megalomaniac…

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Of all the reading that I have done, I have never ever had so much fun,
Than whilst perusing Wodehouse, Laughing to burst out of my blouse.

That Bertie Wooster is so British, such a jolly good fellow,
Can erupt like a volcano at times, yet is disarmingly mellow,
Ample bosomed Aunt Agatha et al bully him into the ground,
Bertie would be lost if Jeeves, that paragon wasn’t around.

The aunts make mincemeat of Bertie without so much as a by your leave,
If it wasn’t for Jeeves the saviour, we’d weep for Bertie and for him grieve,
The Wooster name would fall into ruin, rust corrode their noble family crest,
Sans Jeeves to keep a vigilant eye and shoo away both aunt and other pest.

Bertie Wooster is so upper class, so stiff upper lip, simply so very English,
He belongs to the right club, yet tormented by kinsfolk who can be devilish,
He can be downright foolish dealing with matters of finance and of the heart,
Both sorted out impeccably by Jeeves, his man for all seasons from the start.

Bertie’s a sharp judge of character, he knows a man who is a good egg,
In a silk dressing gown B.W. loves to lounge all day without shake of a leg,
If a challenge confronts his intellect he turns to Jeeves with a : What ho?
What ho? What ho? he choruses on till his Man Friday makes it right to go.

Of all the reading that we do, Wodehouse brings us so much fun,
Don’t ask me why, just pick up a book, turn the pages and no further look.


(Ruby Haider loves to write. The magic of language fascinates her. She has been a teacher and an advertising professional. She loves poetry and believes herself to be a bit of an idealist and dreamer.

Her permission to blog this composition here is gratefully acknowledged.)

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Even though the dark clouds of a virus envelop us and Life makes us glum,

Many of us bask in the brilliant rays of humour which greet us in the form of a narrative Plum;

Our suggestion to all clueless politicians and caregivers is never to despair,

We support all your lockdowns, we write this merely to make you aware.


With his head bulging at the back, many a problem Jeeves can still solve,

Ordering stuff online and keeping scheming aunts away with a goofy resolve;

Keeping at bay girl friends who wish to improve Bertie’s grey cells,

Arming him with some quotes from Spinoza which he uses over phone, casting transient spells.


Jeeves keeps shimmering in with one of his pick-me-ups on a tray,

While the master sharpens his skills at sock-darning, forgetting all shades of grey;

An article on ‘What the Well-dressed Dictators are Wearing’ is being whipped up by him,

Alas, the chances of the next issue of Milady’s Boudoir coming up soon are rather slim.


The pride of the Wooster clan is close to his heart, the feudal spirit intact,

For the sake of an aunt, restoring a stolen cat to its owner is part of a pact;

For the happiness of an uncle, thirty days without the option is no big deal,

At the end of which he merely aspires for a delectable Anatole meal.


Uncle Tom is not amused by the sudden downturn in his earnings,

His solace lies in keeping a tighter leash on the tax wolves’ yearnings;

Aunt Dahlia continues to ensure that Anatole keeps them both in good humour,

Relishing a unique phase of togetherness where the silver collection is safe from any intruder.


 Lord Emsworth potters about his gardens in a state of bliss,

Thanks to Gladys, he no longer hesitates to tell McAllister to call it quits;

The sanctity of the moss-covered yew alley is being maintained,

The Empress is in the pink of health, thanks to the advice of Augustus Whiffle being entertained.


The Bingeese love enjoying their quite life, sans the fear of a

Laura Pyke popping up at home,

Bingo Little ensures a cup of afternoon tea while Rosie works on her next tome;

Rosie keeps a sharp eye on the internet banking transactions of her dear hubby,

Lest he be attempting to fund one of his sporting impulses with the support of a buddy.


Florence Cray is delighted at the prospect of finishing Spindrift-2,

Edwin the Scout plays fire fighting games on his tablet new;

Madeline is delighted at seeing the stars shine so very brilliantly,

Pauline plays tennis on the roof top of her high rise diligently.


Unless you speculate, you do not accumulate, is what Ukridge keeps doing online,

Many of the doctors we know in Plumsville are already co-opted by WHO on the front line;

Mr Schnellenhamer whips up the script of his next medical thriller, extending his range,

Nodders having been persuaded to go on leave without pay, surviving only on the juice of an orange.


Gussie is delighted that his newts no longer complain about the quality of water,

Of another notebook with juicy comments on Pop Bassett he claims to be an author;

To deliver speeches at schools only in the video conferencing mode he is braced,

Non-availability of tissue restoratives ensures he faces no risk of feasting on orange juice duly laced.


Ashe Marson provides online tips to all those wanting to remain fit,

Larsen exercises, brisk walks and cold baths form a part of his wellness kit;

Troubles of the lining of the stomach unite those who are young at heart,

Forsaking the pleasures of the table and allowing Prudence to win over Greed being a worthy art.


Rozzers keep a ceaseless vigil on ‘criminals’ who move around freely without a mask,

 Their sinister ‘Ho’s and ‘Ha’s and investigative techniques make easier their task;

The risk of getting their helmets pinched has all but vanished,

But the practice of getting pushed into water bodies is yet to get banished.


Indoor and online games of all kinds have risen to the kids’ defences,

Would-be step-fathers not coughing up protection money face consequences;

Rogue ones, when in love with Hollywood divas, start behaving angelically,

Priests need them around so as to be hotter on their jobs and to evolve spiritually.


Entrepreneurs and business honchos await the new normal to unfold,

Psmith helping them to recast operations into the Industrial Revolution 4.0 mould;

Sally and Joan Valentine inspire them online to worry more about sustainability,

Scaling up their efforts to contribute towards creating an inclusive society.


To put it simply, God is in Heaven and all is well with many amongst us,

While providing succour, our Guardian Angels are not missing the bus;

The elements are in a better shape, flora and fauna lead a contented life,

With males wearing skirts, spouses are delighted, families missing many a strife.


  The challenge we face now is an opportunity to evaluate our priorities anew,

The value of interrelationships, quality time with loved ones who may be few;

Realizing that Mother Earth needs to be treated with greater respect,

That all of us play a role in maintaining civility by way of a public debt.


The virus has thrown many V-and-W shaped depressions our way,

Teaching us never to allow the dismal forces of despondency to make us sway;

Having a chin up attitude, no matter how dark the skies may look,

The sun is surely shining somewhere, smiling benevolently above a babbling brook.


The victory of Homo sapiens shall need an analytical frame of mind,

Besides empathy, compassion and gestures kind;

Many of our delicately nurtured leaders across the world have already set the bar high,

The so-called sterner ones may now reveal their milk of human kindness and refrain from making us sigh.


 Plum’s works carry life lessons which we continue to pick up and apply,

Many of us are surviving the lockdowns so far on his works’ supply;

Upcoming ones would afford us an opportunity to keep devouring more,

Soon, we may look back at this phase of mirth and make it a part of our family folklore.


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Bertie Wooster, as you know,
Is not really a true Lothario.
Sure, he’s admired a girl or two,
As lively young Drones are apt to do.

There was Bobby, of the fiery tresses,

Who got Bertram into tangled messes.

And haughty Lady Florence Craye,

A lovely profile, seen sideway.

Pauline Stoker gave him quite a scare,
Lolling about in his gents’ sleepwear.
Honoria Glossop was a strong maybe,
‘Til her father gave the nolle prosequi.

The menace of Madeleine Bassett was there,
Like Damocles’ Sword, hung above Bertie’s hair.
Only Gussie Fink-Nottle, her prospective mate,
Stood between Bertram and a most hideous fate.

An English gentleman’s honour code,
Pointed Bertie down the matrimonial road.
Only an iron hand in a velvet glove,
Could loose the tightening fetters of love.

Fresh off a fish-containing snack,
Head visibly bulging at the back,
Jeeves glides in and finds a way,
To free…

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The placid streets of the village of Market Blandings were adorned on this June afternoon by a jaunty figure in a pale grey suit and matching derby hat and by his companion, somewhat less well-attired, in patched tweed and a battered straw boater.

The natty dresser dabbed his brow with a silk handkerchief, for the day was warm. Beach, the butler who had driven them down from Blandings Castle, had opted to remain at the Emsworth Arms for a cool one, while Galahad, for it was he, and his brother Clarence, the ninth Earl of Emsworth, strolled off to the tobacconist.

“I had a letter from young Ronnie the other day,” said Gally.

“Ah, yes, Ronnie. Yes, indeed. Ronnie who? “ asked Lord Emsworth courteously.

“Your nephew Ronnie. Ronald Overbury Fish. You know, Clarence- Julia’s boy— pink face, married Sue Brown, prettiest girl in three counties.”

“Ah yes, Ronnie, of course Ronnie. And how is he?”

“Very well. In fact, from hints he dropped, I fancy there may be a little Sue or Ronnie on the way.”

“The way here?” Clarence asked in alarm. “The summer has so far been remarkably quiet and free of pests, er guests.”

“No, no, a little bundle, to be brought by the stork in a number of months, you know… never mind, Clarence. The point is, he may need some extra income and wants to buy out his partners in the onion soup bar.”

“Ah, just so, good for him. Good for him.”

“In order to become sole proprietor of the onion soup bar he naturally needs some capital,” said Galahad, “and as you surely are aware, it would be a good investment, Clarence. Late night revelers and after-theatre crowds are always clamouring for onion soup, and young Ronnie has turned out, unlikely as it may seem, to be a canny businessman. Of course with Sue by his side, the world’s his oyster, or rather his onion, I might say. The world’s his onion,” he repeated, rather louder. “Ha, ha. Anyway, shall I tell him you are good for the money?”

Gally was glad to see that Lord Emsworth was fingering his chin and wrinkling the brow in concentration. It was not always easy to capture his full attention.

“Onions. Yes, hmm. Onions. Do you know, Galahad,” he said, swimming up suddenly from his brown study, “My veterinarian Banks has been advising me, and very strongly, I might add, against feeding the Empress onions. Onions of any sort, mark you. And yet, Whiffle, in The Care of the Pig, most clearly states that onions are not at all detrimental to pigs, if lightly boiled first. Lightly boiling them appears to remove any toxicity whatsoever!” He brooded a moment. “Banks is an ass. I shall take a strong line with him in this matter.”

“My sainted aunt, Clarence! You haven’t heard a word I’ve said.” Gally removed his pince nez and used them to rap Clarence sharply on the head. “Now listen, and forget about that blasted pig for a moment! Who is more important, your nephew Ronald or the Empress?”

Lord Emsworth regarded him with surprise. “The Empress, of course.”


“Well, really Galahad, I have…several nephews. Quite a few, I fancy. But there is only one Empress.”

“And I yield to no one in my appreciation of her many admirable qualities,” said Galahad, “but she is, after all is said and done, just a pig.”

Lord Emsworth started so violently that his glasses fell from his nose to dangle freely from their chain. “Just a pig! The Empress is a thoroughbred, an aristocrat, dash it, descended on both maternal and paternal side from prize-winning porcine pedigrees. She has three times won the silver medal in the fat pigs class at the Shropshire agricultural show and there is no reason why she may not win a fourth, no matter what drivel that fellow Banks says about onions in her diet. She is certainly not just any pig.”

“A pig is, in the end, a pig, Clarence. Yes, she is a good pig, a large pig, but a pig by any other name would smell as sweet.” Galahad paused. “Well perhaps not quite that, but I’m sure there are plenty of other pigs that, if fed properly for awhile, could match her girth and magnificence.”

“I beg to differ, Galahad, Lord Emsworth said stiffly, “I beg to differ indeed. Few other pigs match her lineage, precious few, if any.”

“All right. How about this? If I can take a pig, a common local young pig from the village here or its environs, and, given six weeks to feed it up, nurture it, and make it a match for the Empress in girth, you will cut Ronnie a sizeable cheque.”

“Certainly. I agree to your proposal. There is surely no chance of you doing it, none at all, but I give you leave to try. If you manage to turn a plebian local animal into something resembling my prize pig (and I scoff at the idea), I will not only give Ronald the money, but I will… I will eat my hat!” he finished hotly.

“That I will not require, Clarence. But after we obtain our tobacco, let us go to a nearby farm with the purpose of purchasing a pig.”


Five and one half weeks later, the Honourable Galahad Threepwood and the Castle’s butler, Beach, stood gazing morosely at a pig rooting contentedly in a ramshackle pen behind the abandoned garden shed. More precisely, Gally was gazing morosely— he would have described Beach as wearing his customary demeanour, that of a stuffed frog.

“No use sugar-coating it, Beach,” he said, screwing his black-rimmed monocle more firmly into his eye. “This pig, though certainly day after day, in every way, it’s been getting fatter and fatter, is nowhere near in the Empress’s class.”

“I have not neglected a single feeding, sir,” said Beach. “Despite it having added considerably to my regular duties, I have carried comestibles amounting to approximately 57,800 daily calories in starches, proteins and additional roughage to the animal. As far as I can tell, it has consumed them all.”

“I don’t doubt it, Beach. I don’t doubt it. Be that as it may, this porker is never going to win Ronnie the money for his onion soup bar. What is worse, Clarence will be able to crow over me for making that silly bet. “

The butler nodded mournfully. He was fond of Mr. Ronald Fish, and his wife Sue Brown had made a strong impression on his susceptible heart.

“Too bad, too bad, sir. Poor Mr. Ronald. He will be disappointed, I fear. Perhaps he can acquire the money from some other source.” Beach stood a moment in a grave silence. “Ah, well. I must return to the house, sir. Tea will be served on the terrace in approximately twenty minutes, if you require sustenance.”

“Damn the terrace, and damn tea!” Beach turned back as Galahad, removing his hat and slapping it on the railing of the pen, burst into impassioned speech. “I won’t accept defeat this easily. Did my ancestors at Agincourt, when faced with a few bloodthirsty foes, turn and go home for tea? Pshaw! Besides, you know I never touch tea, not after what happened to my old pal Buffy Struggles. Gave up cocktails for the foul stuff after attending a temperance lecture and the poor fellow was dead within a week!”

“Dear me!”

“Absolutely. Run over by a hansom cab in Piccadilly Circus. No,” he mused, “what we are going to do-“

“We, sir?” the butler quavered.

“Most certainly we. I shall need you for this next phase of the plan, or Plan B, as it were. Now, I have heard that Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe down the road at Matchingham Hall is boarding a prize pig in the hopes of mating his own pig, Pride of Matchingham, to it. Clarence has never seen that sow, so we, or more accurately you, will sneak over in the dead of night and borrow it. We will then present it to Clarence in the place of this pig, and he will have to admit that we have won the bet. You can leave old Parsloe this smaller sow for a couple of days, just to confuse him.”

Beach was trembling all over like a jelly in a brisk wind. “But sir…”

“But me no buts, butler! Would you want to be the one to dash that young Fish’s hopes and dreams? Or cause Sue’s starry blue eyes to fill bravely but despairingly with unshed tears? Surely the Beach I have known practically from a lad would not be the man to allow fear of a simple pig-swap to dash the food from the mouth of Sue and Ronnie’s first-born, or soon-to-be born, child?”

“Mrs. Ronald is expecting, Mr. Galahad?” Beach drew a deep breath and a look of noble sacrifice passed over his large face, causing his chins to quiver. “Tell me what I need to do, sir.”


“I would never have credited it, Galahad. It seems a miracle, but you have done it!” Lord Emsworth shook his head wonderingly two days later. You have taken a common farmyard sow, even perhaps a somewhat scrawny sow, and transformed her into a magnificent creature. I do not say she is the equal of the Empress, but you have certainly won your point.”

He took another turn around the large, placid animal that a rather pale and haunted-eyed Beach had led by a rope out into the stable-yard.

“Yes, she is a very fine animal indeed. I will be happy to add her to the Castle’s livestock. She will not by any means do us shame.”

“Er, as to that, Clarence,” Galahad said hastily, “I have promised her back to the farmer from whom we bought her. It seems her litter-mates in his pig-sty have been missing her. Pining away in fact, and refusing their food.”

“Egad, that is most worrisome, Galahad.” The Earl of Emsworth took one last covetous look at the sow. “Pigs will not thrive if they do not ingest their regular daily nutrients. Wolff-Lehmann is very clear on that in his book on the subject. Perhaps you’d better bring her back to the farm after all.”

“And that cheque for Ronald? Your nephew Ronald, that is, for his onion soup business.”

“Ah yes.” A slight shadow crossed Lord Emsworth’s face. “Exactly how much was he needing, Galahad?”

Galahad told him and the ninth earl winced.

“But look at the bright side, Clarence. Ronnie will be so busy with the increased responsibilities of his business and his growing family that he will have no time at all to make pleasure trips down to Blandings. And as our sister Julia will soon be presented with a grandchild in London, she will surely remain in the metropolis as well.”

“Er, for quite some time, do you think, Galahad?”

“Indefinitely, I’m sure.”

“Ah, well, that’s… too bad, of course, and all that. However, the pressures of business and family, yes, certainly. Let them know we quite understand if they stay away…, er, quite some time. Er… indefinitely, as you say.”

With the look of one who sees the sun coming out from behind the clouds, Lord Emsworth turned towards the house. “Come see me in the library in ten minutes, Galahad. I will be writing that cheque.”


(Permission to post this piece here is gratefully acknowledged.)

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An Anonymous Doctor

Yet another medical practitioner who wishes to remain anonymous specializes in the realm of diet and nutrition. Like all good doctors, he advises those who have been disappointed in love to eat frugally. Fail to do this, and the result is as inevitable as the climax of a Greek tragedy. No man, however gifted his gastric juices, can go on indefinitely brooding over a lost love and sailing into the starchy foods simultaneously. If so, indigestion grips him soon enough, making him consult a physician like the one alluded to here.

His solutions to cure a soul in torment may sound drastic, but are invariably effective. He is apt to put one on a diet comprising nothing else but the juice of an orange.

He may advise the patient thus: ‘Precisely. Take your orange. Divide it into two equal parts. Squeeze on a squeezer. Pour into a glass … or cup,’ he added, for he was not the man to be finicky about small details, ‘and drink.’

(The Juice Of An Orange; Blandings Castle… and elsewhere)

Laura Pyke

When it comes to maintaining your digestive system in the pink of its health, yet another dietary expert, Laura Pyke, could assist you. Some may consider her to be a food crank but she is a professional who thinks most of us not only eat too much but also too quickly. She recommends a diet comprising only parsnips and other greens. Alcohol, she maintains, corrodes the stomach tissues.

She is apt to gaze at you like a high priestess imparting instructions to her favourite, though erring, disciple, while describing the manner in which you are ruining the lining of your stomach when you keep eating stuff lacking in fat-soluble vitamins. She would speak freely of proteins, carbohydrates, and the physiological requirements of the average individual.

When you shift to any of her diet plans, your immunity levels are bound to go up, thereby reducing the probability of getting afflicted with viruses of any kind.

It is always wiser to consult her either online or by physically popping up at her clinic, if you have the permission of the concerned authorities. Inviting her to your home, even if she happens to be an old school chum of your spouse, is best avoided.

(Jeeves and the Old School Chum; Very Good, Jeeves)



Wilfred Mulliner, a brother of Mr Mulliner, is a chemist and is the inventor of various creams, lotions, and tonics, known in the trade as Mulliner’s Magic Marvels.

Many of you may recall the following creams, lotions, and tonics invented by Wilfred Mulliner which are specifically mentioned in various narratives dished out by P G Wodehouse.

  1. Mulliner’s Raven Gypsy Face Cream.
  2. Snow of the Mountains Lotion
  3. Mulliner’s Buck-U-Uppo
  4. Mulliner’s Reduc-o, the recognized specific for obesity. Available in the form of tablets (3d the tin) or liquid (5s6p a flask).
  5. Mulliner’s Ease-o, cures the most stubborn case of lumbago in six days.

Of these, Buck-u-Uppo is a tonic invented ‘primarily with the object of providing Indian Rajahs with a specific (concoction) which would encourage their elephants to face a tiger of the jungle with a jaunty sang-froid.’ It works directly on the corpuscles. The dose for an adult elephant is a teaspoonful mixed with the elephant’s morning mash. If consumed by Home sapiens in glassfuls, it makes them far more confident and assertive, making them succeed in life, whether personally or professionally.

In these times, when work-from-home is the norm, spouses who get persuaded to try a small dose of this concoction may not venture out to paint statues pink. Bishops may refrain from frequenting nightclubs dressed in Sinbad the Sailor costumes.

But long term pending projects at home, such as mowing a lawn, clearing snow off the driveway, garage cleaning, painting a room blue while awaiting the arrival of the stork to deliver the next baby, spending quality time with family members, wearing skirts for a change, tidying up the fridge, doing dishes and mopping the floor, would get attended to with much enthusiasm and aplomb; much to the delight of the party of the other part which had since long given up nagging of the party of the first part on such issues and had instead decided to take a spiritual view of things.

(Buck-U-Uppo features in three Mulliner stories: ‘Mulliner’s Buck-U-Uppo’, ‘The Bishop’s Move’ and ‘Gala Night’.)

Dentists I. J. Zizzbaum, B K Burwash and the like

Merry laughs and gay quips make Doctor I. J. Zizzbaum the life and soul of the party at the annual dentists’ convention. But this does not guarantee his behavior when approached in his white-coat-upholstered professional role.

If his trade rival B K Burwash, who is also in the business of teeth management, has landed a prize catch in the form of a celebrity client like Joey Cooley, the 12-year-old movie star and darling of all American mothers, you could find him to be a gloomy cove, appearing like a dentist with a secret sorrow. This could leave you shuddering even more while seated in his pin-cushioned dentists’ chair.

Dr B K Burwash has a reassuring smile and is rather used to handling celebrity clients who could amount to free advertisement worth about a thousand dollars in the olden days, besides the heavy fee he pockets even otherwise.

Then we have the dentist in Shrewsury who wishes to render his services anonymously.

(Laughing Gas, Leave it to Psmith)


Some of the Veterenians

Dr Smithers is a veterinary surgeon who gets called in to investigate the sudden onset of asceticism upon the Empress of Blandings after her keeper Cyril Wellbeloved goes out of action, so much so that she, a hearty feeder, starts refusing any form of nourishment. Somehow, he is baffled by this sudden change in her dietary habits.

 (Blandings Castle, elsewhere)

Banks is yet another vet who gives a clean bill of health to the Empress even when she refuses to accept a potato offered by Lord Emsworth.

(Pelican at Blandings)


Webber is another vet who gets called in when the Empress ends up gobbling Gally’s memoirs.

(Heavy Weather) 

Lord Emsworth may have a poor opinion of all these gentlemen. However, we learn from reliable sources that they are capable persons who can bring relief and succor to many of the species known to mankind.

Augustus Whiffle

Residents of Plumsville would fondly recall the dietary requirements of the Empress of Blandings, as prescribed by Whiffle, an authority on all matters porcine. According to him, her daily nourishment should not be less than fifty-seven thousand eight hundred calories, these calories consisting of barley meal, maize meal, linseed mail, potatoes and separated buttermilk.

In order to assist vets and pet owners of all kinds, Augustus Whiffle (or Whipple), the well-known author of Lord Emsworth’s favourite book, The Care of the Pig, has been roped in to promptly dish out his advice on handling pets of other species as well, covering dogs, cats, horses, cows, lions and the like. This, it is hoped, will cheer up pet owners and exert a soothing influence on them when they suspect their pets to be suffering physically in any way. Moreover, the communication gap between a white hunter and a lion which has just been shot, as to whether the latter is dead or alive, could become a thing of the past.

An elderly man with a thin, reedy voice, Mr Whipple is a member of the Athenaeum club and is so impressed by what he hears of the Empress of Blandings. Our office has already contacted Lord Emsworth to request his permission to enable his wish to be fulfilled. We hope a gesture of this kind would enthuse Mr Whipple to churn out his advice in respect of other species without much delay.

(Blandings Castle, elsewhere)

It is hoped that the steps taken by us would assist humans as well as members of other species to attain the highest possible level of health. WHO would keep making its unique contribution towards promoting health, keeping the world safe from pandemics and serving the vulnerable, with measurable impact for people at country level. As always, we are individually and collectively committed to put these values into practice.


Illustrations of some of the characters have been dished out by Suvarna Sanyal, a retired (but not at all tired) banker who has a flair for dealing with figures. Illustration of the E of B courtesy the www.


Inputs from the following fans of PGW are gratefully acknowledged:

Abhik Majumdar

Arun Krish

Bommireddipalli RamaKrishna

Devadas Mallya

Mahesh Sankaran

Morten Arnesen

Gopalakrishna Annavarapu

Pradeep Swaminathan

Ryk Westwood

Satish Pande

Sudhakar Ravindranath

Sudheer Tambe

Ted Fontenot


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The World Health Organisation, as the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system, adheres to the UN values of integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity. It upholds such values as human rights, universality and equity established not only in WHO’s Constitution but also in its ethical standards.

In order to further strengthen the team of medical as well as paramedical professionals associated with us, we are hereby pleased to announce the immediate empanelment of the following experts drawn from Plumsville.

Sir Roderick Glossop

The high-priced loony doctor, with a bald head resembling the dome of St. Paul’s cathedral and two ferocious eyebrows which give his eyes a piercing look, has a pleasant baritone voice. He is expected to counsel all those who happen to be in quarantine to make creative use of their time while curbing their tendency to indulge in gambling, getting otherwise sloshed by liberal doses of their favourite tissue restoratives and consuming tobacco in any form whatsoever. He would advise all and sundry to refrain from drinking coffee as he feels that it is the root cause for half the nervous troubles of the world. He has already issued a forceful appeal to governments all over the world to ban the item at least during the time humanity is fighting the dreaded Corona virus.

Given his serious-mindedness in all matters professional, he could be often found surreptitiously observing people under stress in the garb of a butler. Those who have already fixed an appointment with him are best advised not to carry any musical instruments with themselves. Nor does he tolerate pets of any kind, specifically cats.

(Thank You, Jeeves; Very Good, Jeeves; elsewhere)

Sir Hugo Drake

He is yet another famous nerve specialist, assisting those suffering from acute stress generated by country-wide lockdowns which are the norm these days. He is said to be tall but stout.

His passion for the game of golf is well known. He has a deep respect for transatlantic golf. He is never a man who pays much attention to women’s looks. What matters to him is the professional merit of the party of the other part, whether medical or otherwise. He also dishes out books which are found wonderful by such general practitioners as Doctor Sally Smith.

(Doctor Sally)

Doctor Sally Smith

She is a general practitioner from USA. While handling medical emergencies, she is always calm, empathic and fair. She places a premium on understanding the psychology of the patient.

She detests the fact that the male mind does not appear to be able to grasp immediately the fact that a woman doctor need not of necessity be a gargoyle with steel-rimmed spectacles and a wash-leather complexion.

She is averse to getting proposed to by potential suitors while being on duty. She takes a dim view of men who have simply inherited their wealth, preferring instead those who work hard for eking out a living.

(Doctor Sally)

Doctor E. Jimpson Murgatroyd

Your first sight of this capable doctor may not put you at ease. He happens to be a gloomy old buster. He has sad, brooding eyes and long whiskers, and his resemblance to a frog which has been looking on the dark side since it was a slip of a tadpole is apt to send your spirits right down into the basement. He has bushy eyebrows which accentuate the effect of his sounding like a minor prophet about to rebuke the sins of the people. He has this habit of scratching his nose with his stethoscope at frequent intervals.

However, his check ups are thorough. He would weigh you first. He would then proceed to check your blood pressure and pulse. Thereafter, he would tap you all over like a whiskered woodpecker.

His diagnosis is invariably accurate, especially when it comes to red spots popping up in any region of your physical body. His advice to you could be frank and honest but brutal, barring you from such stimulants as alcohol and tobacco. Your irregular hours may get criticized. Your not getting enough exercise may get commented upon. Once the lock down gets relaxed, you may be advised to give up your unwholesome metropolitan life, move to the country, breathe fresh air, go to bed early and also to get plenty of exercise.

(Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen)

The Anonymous Speech Therapist

Those who have fallen in love and are unable to articulate their tender feelings to the party of the other part due to their terrible stammer and overcome their shyness in these virus-ridden times may consider consulting the specialist on Harley Street. He is a kindly man with moth-eaten whiskers and an eye like a meditative cod-fish. He may benevolently advise you to speak to three complete strangers a day.

‘Many people,’ he may explain, ‘who are unable to articulate clearly in ordinary speech find themselves lucid and bell-like when they burst into song….stammering,’ he may add, ‘is mainly mental and is caused by shyness, which is caused by the inferiority complex, which in its turn is caused by suppressed desires or introverted inhibitions or something. The advice I give to all young men who come in here behaving like soda-water siphons is to go out and make a point of speaking to at least three perfect strangers every day. Engage these strangers in conversation, persevering no matter how priceless a chump you may feel, and before many weeks are out you will find that the little daily dose has had its effect. Shyness will wear off, and with it the stammer.’

(The Truth About George; Meet Mr Mulliner)

Doctor Hailsham

Many of you may have a tendency to overeat when stressed out due to prolonged confinement in isolation wards or when quarantined at home. You may have recently put on extra layers of fat on your persona. Comely girl-friends who have a marked distaste for bulging eyes, triple chins and a pear-shaped body may already be registering protest, threatening to put you in cold store and redirecting their affections elsewhere. The cane chairs you normally sit upon might already be creaking and complaining about the harsh treatment being received at your hands.

If so, you may choose to spend some time at the place run by Doctor Hailsham. By way of tissue restoratives, it offers parsnip juice, followed by either stewed lettuce or an orange. On special days, you could be lucky enough to find some exotic items to be put down your hatch, like potassium broth and grated carrots, followed by a refreshing cup of dandelion coffee. You can also go in for seaweed soup, if you prefer.

Doctor Hailsham guarantees to take a pound a day off you, if you follow his regimen faithfully. He also cautions you to make proper arrangements for your travel to his camp, perhaps hiding in a cargo van ferrying fresh fruits and vegetables.

(The Fat of the Land; A Few Quick Ones)

Dr Ambrose Gussett

If you are twiddling your thumbs trying to figure out how to have your rival-in-love returned to store, leaving the field clear for you and your beloved, Doctor Ambrose Gussett would be the right person to consult. He happens to be a thorough professional and a person with deep reserves of tact and resource.

He is a well-liked young doctor, and a golfer with a handicap of two. Some of you may recall that he had once fallen in love with Evangeline Tewkesbury, who had come to the community visiting her aunt. The Oldest Member had then entertained doubts if Ambrose should consider proposing to Evangeline, since she played tennis and not golf, but Ambrose felt that he loved her anyway.

When his tormentor and rival-in-love, Dwight, had fallen sick after an overdose of alcoholic stimulants, Ambrose had lost no time and had acted like a true medico. Dwight had then also got annoyed by a parrot which had been delivered to his house, though he did not remember having ordered one. Ambrose had advised him to rest.

At Evangeline’s place, her aunt had told Ambrose that the former was upset, because nobody had remembered her birthday, though Dwight had promised to buy a parrot for her. Convincing Dwight to let go of the parrot, gifting it to her lady love and then proposing to her had come easy to him. She was hesitant but had eventually agreed.

This is the kind of professional attitude, tact and resource medicos need to handle the multitude of patients afflicted by the dreaded virus these days.

(Up From the Depths; Nothing Serious)

Doctor George Mulliner

He is a caring and compassionate doctor whose brow is often furrowed worrying about the likes of Nurse Wilks, an old nanny of the family. Senior citizens of all hues, sizes and shapes are hereby advised to turn to him for palliative and geriatric care.

The fact that he asks his brother, Frederick, to visit their 85-year old Nurse Wilks, despite knowing that she is as autocratic now as she was during their childhood when she used to shut them up in cupboards for stealing jam, goes on to establish his credentials even in the field of community medicine. Since her heart is weak, Frederick is advised to do whatever she wants him to, including partaking boiled eggs and taking off his shoes; in short, getting treated by her as a school going kid.

Eventual reward for Frederick is a happy reunion with the object of his affections.

(The Portrait of a Disciplinarian; Meet Mr Mulliner)



Illustration courtesy Suvarna Sanyal, a retired (but not at all tired) banker who has a flair for dealing with and drawing up figures.

Inputs from the following fans of PGW are gratefully acknowledged:

Abhik Majumdar

Arun Krish

Bommireddipalli RamaKrishna

Devadas Mallya

Mahesh Sankaran

Morten Arnesen

Gopalakrishna Annavarapu

Pradeep Swaminathan

Ryk Westwood

Satish Pande

Sudhakar Ravindranath

Sudheer Tambe

Ted Fontenot


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