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Posts Tagged ‘Blandings Castle’

What happens when a banking professional like Suvarna Sanyal, who has spent a life time poring over bulky ledgers and checking debit and credit figures, turns his attention to one of the popular stories dished out by P G Wodehouse? Well, he simply whips up a series of illustrations which figure some of the better known characters from the canon in some selected scenes from the story!

Savour below the results of his labour of love which, incidentally, have already undergone a scrutiny under the precise microscope of an expert in all Plummy matters.

 

‘The day was so warm, so fair, so magically a thing of sunshine and blue skies and bird-song that anyone acquainted with Clarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth, and aware of his liking for fine weather, would have pictured him going about the place on this summer morning with a beaming smile and an uplifted heart.’

 

‘Instead of which, humped over the breakfast-table, he was directing at a blameless kippered herring a look of such intense bitterness that the fish seemed to sizzle beneath it. For it was August Bank Holiday, and Blandings Castle on August Bank Holiday became, in his lordship’s opinion, a miniature Inferno.’

 

Breakfast over, Lord Emsworth’s sister, Lady Constance Keeble, looked brightly at him across the table.

 

Lord Emsworth left the table, the room and the house, but on reaching the yew alley some minutes later was revolted to find it infested by Angus McAllister in person.

Lord Emsworth told McAllister he is off to the village to judge the cottage gardens and will see him later.

 

‘It is always unpleasant for a proud man to realize that he is no longer captain of his soul; that he is to all intents and purposes ground beneath the number twelve heel of a Glaswegian head-gardener.’

He recalls the greatness of his brave and bold ancestors, whereas he himself reels under the tyranny of his sister and his head-gardener.

 

As he came to the last cottage garden, he unlatched the gate and pottered in.  A hairy, nondescript dog opened one eye and looked at him in a suspicious manner.  And when Lord Emsworth sniffed one of the flowers, the world became full of hideous noises.  He suddenly had a passionate desire to save his ankles from harm.’

At the sound of the girl’s voice, the mongrel suspended hostilities and writhed on its back with all four legs in the air.  And that was how Lord Emsworth met Gladys, and she introduced herself and her brother Ern, who was carrying a bunch of flowers.

 

‘Lord Emsworth looked at the girl almost reverentially.  Not content with controlling savage dogs with a mere word, this super-woman actually threw stones at Angus McAllister, and copped him on the shin.’

 

On learning that they would be at the Fetê in the park later, he made a vague rendezvous.

 

Clarence runs into Constance, who plans to tick off the kids who had misbehaved on their last visit to the Castle lawns.

 

‘It always seemed to Lord Emsworth that the annual Fête at Blandings Castle reached a peak of repulsiveness when tea was served in the big marquee.  It occurred to him that it would be a prudent move to take off his top hat before his little guests appreciated its humorous possibilities, but even as he raised his hand, a rock cake took it off for him.’

 

He craved solitude and made for the nearby cowshed, where he was surprised to meet a sobbing Gladys.

‘Tear-stains glistened on her face, and no Emsworth had ever been able to watch unstirred a woman’s tears.  He was visibly affected.

“Why,” he asked, “could Ern not have pinched them for himself?”’

 

Gladys recounts the encounter between Lady Constance and Ern. She concludes by saying she had told Ern she would “bring ’im back somefing nice.”

Lord Emsworth thought ‘it was like listening to some grand old saga of the exploits of heroes and demigods.’

He was further surprised to learn that Gladys had herself had no tea!

‘Do you mean to tell me that you have not had tea?’

‘No, sir. Thank you, sir. I thought if I didn’t ‘ave none, then it would be all right Ern ‘aving what I would ‘ave ‘ad if ‘ad ‘ave ‘ad.’

 

Five minutes later, Beach the butler answered the summons of a bell in the library, where he found his employer in the company of a young person in a velveteen frock.

After doing herself well at the tea-table, and clutching a well-filled parcel destined for Ern, Gladys was asked by Lord Emsworth if Ern would like something else.

‘Could he ‘ave some flarze?’

‘Certainly, certainly, certainly,’ he said, though not without a qualm. ‘Take as many as you want.’

 

When from his potting-shed Angus McAllister saw a small girl in a velveteen frock picking his sacred flowers, and realised that it was the same small girl who had copped him on the shin with a stone, he came out of the potting-shed at forty-five miles per hour.

Gladys did not linger, but scuttled to where Lord Emsworth stood and, hiding behind him, clutched the tails of his morning-coat.  Lord Emsworth’s knees shook at the spectacle of the man charging down on him with gleaming eyes and bristling whiskers.  But at that moment, Gladys, seeking further protection, slipped a small, hot hand into his.  It was a mute vote of confidence, and Lord Emsworth intended to be worthy of it.

 

Lord Emsworth pressed home his advantage while he could.

‘Angus McAllister made his decision.  Better to cease to be a Napoleon than to be a Napoleon in exile.’

 

Lord Emsworth was shaken but a novel sensation of being a man among men thrilled him.  He almost hoped that his sister Constance would come along and start something while he felt like this.

He got his wish, and asked her what the matter was.

 

He turned to Gladys.

Lord Emsworth had eventually proved worthy of his glorious ancestors.

 

This is how love conquers all. The desire to please the party of the other part. The need to be worthy of her trust and affection. Even spines made of cottage cheese get transformed into those made of chilled steel!

 

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/lord-emsworth-and-the-girlfriend-a-viewpoint

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/lord-emsworth-and-the-girl-friend-when-nature-stands-still

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/great-wodehouse-romances-lord-emsworth-and-the-girl-friend-by-ken-clevenger)

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Lord Emsworth

Much like all masters perched on the literary high table, P G Wodehouse also used Nature as a colluding partner in his narratives. When all is well with the world, roses are in bloom, bees and birds go about doing what they are ordained to do, and the sun goes about spreading cheer with due benevolence. But when giant egos clash or a disaster looms large, Nature stops in its tracks, birds stop chirping noisily, breeze ceases to blow and even flowers stand still.

In other words, Nature is depicted as having a sensitive soul, cheered up when the proceedings are going as per plans, but looking askance when the reverse happens. In the hands of proficient wordsmiths, it assumes a character of its own and provides mute support to the goings on in the narrative.

By way of an example, consider the story ‘Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend.’

Angus McAllister, the head gardener at Blandings Castle, has an anti-moss spirit. Lord Emsworth often wonders why Providence had not taken note of his sterling qualities and made him a first class mule. He recalls the time when, after having sacked him, McAllister, he, Lord Emsworth, had to plead with him to come back. This alone had resulted in his favorurite pumpkin winning the Agricultural Show.

It was a supreme sacrifice at the altar of an employer’s ego, paving the way for a subsequent loss of the iron hand to have an effective control over his own property, comprising not only the castle and its grounds but also the exquisite flora and fauna hosted therein. Lord Emsworth had thus ended up becoming the ground under the number twelve heel of the Glaswegian head-gardener.

He believed that he had thus evolved into a spineless and unspeakably unworthy descendant of his ancestors who had perfected the art of handling employees, even if it involved dividing an obdurate employee into four employees by using a battle-axe without any eyebrows getting raised.

Till the time Gladys popped up in the scheme of things, McAllister’s control over ‘flarze’ in the Blandings Castle gardens was absolute. Anyone desirous of acquiring some of these had to wait till the time he was in an amiable state of mind, steer the conversation around to the subject of interior decoration, and then took a pot shot at one’s desire.

If one’s Guardian Angels were in a benevolent mood, and if McAllister chose to show you around the gardens with a dash of Scottish pride, one could see the following species in full bloom:

Achillea

 

Bignonia Radicans

 

Campanula

 

Digitalis

 

Euphorbia

 

Funkia

 

Gypsophila

 

Helianthus

 

Iris

 

Liatris

 

Monarda

 

Phlox Drummondi

 

Salvia

 

Thalictrum

 

Vinca

 

Yucca

And when a small girl in a velveteen frock is seen flitting about his sacred gardens and picking his sacred flowers – that too, a girl who had copped him on the shin with a stone just the other day, he rushes out of his den at forty-five miles per hour.

Lord Emsworth’s soul quivers at the spectacle of the man charging down on him with gleaming eyes and bristling whiskers. But with the soft hand of Gladys in his hands, his spine sheds all the cottage cheese it had accumulated over time and gets converted into one made up of chilled steel.

‘This young lady,’ said Lord Emsworth, ‘has my full permission to pick all the flowers she wants, McAllister. If you do not see eye to eye with me in this matter, McAllister, say so and we will discuss what you are going to do about it, McAllister. These gardens, McAllister, belong to me, and if you do not – er – appreciate that fact you will, no doubt, be able to find another employer – ah – more in tune with your views. I value your services highly, McAllister, but I will not be dictated to in my own garden, McAllister. Er – dash it,’ added his lordship, spoiling the whole effect.

The sudden transformation in the character of the main protagonist leaves Nature baffled and astounded. All is still for some time. The Achillea, the Bignonia Radicans, the Ampanula, the Digitalis, the Euphorbia, the Funkia, the Gypsophila, the Helianthus, the Iris, the Liatris, the Monarda, the Phlox Drummondi, the Salvia, the Thalictrum, the Vinca and the Yucca – all are still.

Angus McAllister is perplexed. He decides it is better to cease to be a Napoleon than to be a Napoleon in exile. ‘Mphm,’ he says.

Nature resumes its breathing. The breeze begins to blow again. And all over the gardens the birds resume their musical notes. And the Achillea, the Bignonia Radicans, the Ampanula, the Digitalis, the Euphorbia, the Funkia, the Gypsophila, the Helianthus, the Iris, the Liatris, the Monarda, the Phlox Drummondi, the Salvia, the Thalictrum, the Vinca and the Yucca, much relieved, start swaying in the gentle wind yet again.

The repertoire of such literary giants as Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and Kalidasa are littered with natural allusions. Same is true of P G Wodehouse.

(Illustration courtesy Suvarna Sanyal, a retired banker who has an eye and an ear for all there is to see, listen to and laugh at in this world.

Representations of flowers courtesy Wikipedia. Given the non-floricultural background of yours truly, errors and omissions in these may kindly be excused.)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/lord-emsworth-and-the-girlfriend-a-viewpoint

https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/great-wodehouse-romances-lord-emsworth-and-the-girl-friend-by-ken-clevenger)

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ashokbhatia

Denizens of the Republic of Plumsville are cordially invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet of its Federal Government.Blandings castle-enHon’ble President, Lord Emsworth (Clarence Threepwood, 9th Earl of Emsworth), would preside over the function. The Vice President, Mr. Chichester Clam, shall also grace the occasion.

The ceremony shall begin with the Hon’ble President raising the National Flag, to the accompaniment of a rendering of the National Anthem ‘Sonny Boy’ by Ms. Cora Bellinger.

The Hon’ble President, the Vice President and the incumbent Prime Minister shall thereafter garland the statue of Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, the Father of the Nation.

Oaths shall be administered by the Chief Justice of Plumsville, Sir Watkyn Bassett. Oaths shall be in the name of the Constitution of Plumsville, viz., The Code of the Woosters.

Here are the respective portfolios and the incumbents:

Prime Minister:

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Can sunlit humour of a Plum kind be put under a microscope and analyzed? Opinions on this differ but many of us do derive intense satisfaction in doing just that.

Here is a post which does that with much elan.

Enjoy!

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When it comes to romantic affairs, age is never a bar. One gets the courage to stand up to dominating sisters and obtrusive gardeners. Moss covered alleys get preferred over stony ones. Stiff collars get forgotten. The joy of providing nourishment to keep the body and soul of the beloved together reigns supreme.

 

Plumtopia

BlandingsCastle The superb short story ‘Lord Emsworth and the Girlfriend’ was published in ‘Blandings Castle’

My heartfelt thanks to the inimitable Ken Clevenger for contributing a wonderful and very fitting first piece in this Valentine’s series dedicated to the  Great Wodehouse Romances.

* * *

Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend

by Ken  Clevenger

Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend” is the great Wodehousian romance, most worthy of a special Valentine. My starting point is the very nature of great romances. Love must blossom, however improbably. It will be heroic, idyllic, and set in the beauty of nature, but not without the odd nettle. In the end love conquers all, as someone once noted; Jeeves, perhaps?

The easy part is to recognize in this “perfect short story” that Blandings and its gardens are the bounty of nature. The nettle, perhaps I should have said thistle, as le mot juste, is…

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Denizens of the Republic of Plumsville are cordially invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet of its Federal Government.Blandings castle-enHon’ble President, Lord Emsworth (Clarence Threepwood, 9th Earl of Emsworth), would preside over the function. The Vice President, Mr. Chichester Clam, shall also grace the occasion.

The ceremony shall begin with the Hon’ble President raising the National Flag, to the accompaniment of a rendering of the National Anthem ‘Sonny Boy’ by Ms. Cora Bellinger.

The Hon’ble President, the Vice President and the incumbent Prime Minister shall thereafter garland the statue of Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, the Father of the Nation.

Oaths shall be administered by the Chief Justice of Plumsville, Sir Watkyn Bassett. Oaths shall be in the name of the Constitution of Plumsville, viz., The Code of the Woosters.

Here are the respective portfolios and the incumbents:

Prime Minister: Mr. Rupert Psmith (‘p’ is silent)

Commerce and Industry: Ms. Joan Valentine

Defence: Ms. Stephanie Byng

Entrepreneurship: Ms. Sally

Fashion Design: Sir Roderick Spode

Finance: Mr. Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge

Food Processing: Mr. Anatole

Health & Family Welfare: Mr. Ashe Marson

Home: Ms. Dahlia Travers

Human Resource/Education: Ms. Tomlinson

International Relations: Mr. Reginald Jeeves

Information & Broadcasting: Mr. Mulliner

Labour & Employment: Mr. Gussie Fink-Nottle

Literature and Fine Arts: Ms. Rosie M. Banks

Matrimonial Bliss: Mr. Bingo Little

Milk of Human Kindness: Mr. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster

Net Neutrality: Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe

Parliamentary Affairs: Hon. Galahad Threepwood

Space and Atomic Energy: Ms. Madeline Bassett

Sports: Ms. Pauline Stoker

Taxation: Mr. Tom Travers

Terror Management: Ms. Roberta Wickham

Tissue Restoratives: Ms. Postlethwaite

Tourism: Ms. Angela Travers

Transport: Mr. Percy Craye, Earl of Worplesdon

Wildlife & Forests: Captain Cuthbert Gervase ‘Bwana’ Brabazon-Biggar

The swearing-in ceremony shall be followed by a short program, as follows:

Speech by Mr. Rupert Psmith

‘Meeting Millennium Development Goals: The Role of Humour in enhancing the Gross Happiness Index of countries’

 Brief talk by Ms. Stephanie Byng

‘Defending borders of countries with a dash of humour; The need to set up training academies in pinching helmets’

Presentation by Mr. Gussie Fink-Nottle

‘Boosting employment prospects of youth by encouraging newt-rearing industry’

Brief talk by Mr. Bertram W. Wooster

‘Managing Immigrants in an increasingly globalized world – An Innovative Approach based on the Milk of Human Kindness’

Talk by Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe

‘Maintaining Net Neutrality by pinching servers and technocrats from neighbouring countries’

Address by Ms. Roberta Wickham

‘Using the hot-water-bottle puncturing strategy and other goofy schemes to neutralize terroristic endeavours’

Video presentation by Ms. Angela Travers

‘Promoting tourism by protecting sharks and whales’

A vaudeville performance by Aunt Julia and Joe Danby

A parody of the Market Snodsbury speech of Mr. Gussie Fink-Nottle, delivered by Master Seabury

The President shall thereafter be pleased to have you with him and the newly inducted team at the lavish luncheon being planned by Monsieur Anatole, God’s gift to our gastric juices. He shall be assisted by the house staff, led by Mr. Sebastian Beach.

The event shall conclude with a Guard of Honour, led by Colonel Aubrey Wyvern, astride the high-bred Potato Chip.

Venue: Forecourt of Blandings Castle
Date: October 15, 2015
Time: 10:00 hours sharp

Notes:

1. Guests and invitees are hereby requested to take their seats by 09:45 hours.

2. Pets are strictly discouraged, lest they disturb the pre-lunch siesta of the Empress of Blandings. James Pirbright shall be in attendance. All the decent sheep and cattle shall be hustled away into regions unknown, so the ceremony may proceed without any interruption.

3. Cell phones and technical gizmos of all kinds shall need to be deposited with Constable Ernest Dobbs at the entrance.

4. For those who wish to take a guided tour of the magnificent gardens and the moss-covered yew alley, Mr. Angus McAllister shall be available after the conclusion of the ceremony.

RSVP: Secretary to the Hon’ble President: Rupert Baxter.

(Notes:

  1. Inputs received from avid fans of P G Wodehouse are gratefully acknowledged.
  2. You may also like to check out: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/politicos-in-plumsville-part-1)

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