Tag Archives: Blandings

Book Review – Leave it to Psmith

 

Leave it to Psmith – P G Wodehouse

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Arrow (1 May 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 009951379X

ISBN-13: 978-0099513797

Published in 1923, this is the second Blandings novel and he fourth and final Psmith book. It seems that Wodehouse stopped writing Psmith novels because he couldn’t think of more stories for the character. Fortunately he didn’t take that view of Blamdings, and carried on writing the same story for another sixty years.

Apart from Psmith (the P is silent, I will refrain from the ancient joke) the book also features the Efficient Baxter, the Earl’s secretary, and the bane of his life. I always feel the peril is more real when Baxter is about.

Psmith enters the castle masquerading as a poet with plans to help Freddie Threepwood (heir of the Earl of Emsworth) in a plot to purloin a valuable necklace which he needs…

Let’s just say that it’s complicated.

Baxter is judged to be mad by Emsworth after a scene involving plantpots and pyjamas (which will be mentioned in subsequent books) and Psmith foils a second plot to steal the necklace before all the romances are rounded off and Freddie Threepwood gets the money he needs to set up as a bookmaker.

I doubt I’m giving any secrets away here, as this is what you would expect. That’s really what you read the Blandings books for – romance, mild peril and everlasting summer.

 

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Book Review – A Pelican at Blandings

A Pelican at Blandings – P G Wodehouse

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Arrow (2008)

ISBN-10: 0099514028

ISBN-13: 978-0099514022

I ordered this by accident just before Christmas – I’d meant to order a set of Jeeves and Wooster books to help me through the horror of the Festive Season but these arrived. It didn’t really matter because deep down I’ve always preferred Blandings to Wooster – the reason I’d ordered the Wooster books was because I thought I needed to to make more of an effort with them.

Anyway, here we are, Blandings Castle, where the sun always shines and the twentieth century seldom intrudes. This is the real deal, for despite my admiration of Timothy Spall, the TV adaptation was a grotesque parody.

You could say that the novel is also something of a parody, but in the hands of Wodehouse it avoids that pitfall and weaves a fresh story out of what is pretty standard Blandings fare. A formidable sister, an American millionaire and that renowned blister Alaric, Duke of Dunstable all conspire to make Lord Emsworth’s life a misery. At that point Gallahad Threepwood, younger brother of Emsworth, and one time member of the Pelican Club, enters the picture.

There are two plots to steal a (fake) painting, a couple of romances (one of which does not run smoothly), two imposters in the castle, an incident with the pig in the night, a certain amount of slapstick and a spot of blackmail. It takes a sure touch to navigate all that to a safe conclusion but yet again Wodehouse manages to dovetail the plot, tie up the loose ends and bring the book (the last of his Blandings novels) safely home.

I bought them to ease the pain of Christmas, but ended up reading several of them in hospital to ease the pain of various unfortunate incidents relating to cameras and tubing. It worked – they were a perfect antidote to my troubles. In fact I can’t see any circumstance that can’t be broghtened by a touch of Blanding therapy.

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Perfect light reading…

Trees are Good for You

The sun has just broken through the clouds, bringing a welcome brightness to a wet, grey day. I’m typing and watching antiques programmes on TV after a late lunch of home made pea and mint soup. Today has been productive and pleasant and all is right with the world. The only thing that could improve my mood is an invitation to stay at Blandings Castle.

So why am I wound up to the point of homicide?

Because yet again I’ve had to go to the phone to answer a call from an overseas call centre. I’m registered with the Telephone Preference Service but unfortunately this doesn’t stop the overseas calls and we are getting one or two of those every day. We notice them more that we are at home.

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Trees at Arnot Hill Park

As a general rule I try to be polite because the callers are only doing a job, but today I wasn’t in much of a mood for manners. I was forthright rather than rude, but I don’t suppose I improved their day. In fairness, they didn’t improve mine either.

As part of my on-going process of self-improvement I’m going to stop being irritable and start letting karma take its course. As I always told the kids, you shouldn’t let the actions of others dictate your behaviour.

From now on I’m going to stay polite and let karma sort things out. It’s just that I’d find it easier to do if I was allowed to pick karma up and hit people with it.

The trees are archive shots because if you want to be calm, trees are good for you.

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Sunset in Sherwood