The Adventures of Honoria Plum

He was sorry, he wrote, that he would be unable to see Miss Petherick-Soames on the morrow, as they had planned, owing to his unfortunately being called away to Australia. He added that he was pleased to have made her acquaintance and that if, as seemed probable, they never saw each other again, he would always watch her future career with interest.

‘The Ordeal of Osbert Mulliner’ (Mr Mulliner Speaking)

 

Like Osbert Mulliner, I was recently compelled to compose a similar communication to friends and well-wishers in the United Kingdom and prepare for an antipodean journey of indefinite duration.

But wait…. I’m getting ahead of myself.

The adventure started, you may recall, in the March of 2012, with some harmless musing on the Plumtopian dream. Later that year my family and I left Australia for the UK, and I’ve enjoyed some wonderfully Wodehousian experiences in the years that followed.

We were welcomed to England with warmth and generosity by three distinct Aunts (not a cloven hoof in sight) and a cast of relations to whom I’m greatly indebted. We lived in a Berkshire country vicarage, an Oxfordshire town, and Georgian Bath — where a young Wodehouse once loafed. I experienced English life through the seasons, rambled in Somerset, met Gudgeons in Wiltshire, conversed with Mulliners in country pubs, and drank at Ukridge’s Coal Hole — in the footsteps of P.G. Wodehouse and his characters.

cropped-emsworth-by-the-water.jpg
Emsworth, Hampshire (UK)

I was fortunate enough to visit Wodehouse’s birthplace in Guildford (Surrey) and his former home in Emsworth (Hampshire). We saw adaptations of his work on stage – in Perfect Nonsense and A Damsel in Distress — and attended a musical celebration of his career as a lyricist.

Best of all, I had the opportunity to meet other Wodehouse lovers in London, Amsterdam, and PSeattle U.S.A. I went on one of Norman Murphy’s famous Wodehouse walks, and had the honour of visiting P.G. Wodehouse’s step-grandson, Sir Edward Cazalet and seeing his family’s impressive Wodehouse archive collection.

The friendship and generosity I’ve encountered among fellow Wodehousians has been incredible, and so it was with heavy heart that I informed friends of my impending return to Australia. The reasons for my return are complex – ‘wheels within wheels’ — but my Wodehouse chums rose to the occasion. We were treated to wonderful farewells by Tony and Elaine Ring, Hilary Bruce (P G Wodehouse Society Chair), and Elin Woodger Murphy, who also saw us off to Heathrow in great style.

All of these wonderful new friends and experiences I owe to Wodehouse.

Building a new life in Australia will be challenging, but I’m returning with renewed determination to find fellow Wodehouse lovers, and introduce his work to new readers. Once the dust has settled, I’ll continuing writing on the subject of Wodehouse — here at Plumtopia.

I hope you’ll continue to follow my adventures.

HP

lasseterhighway
Image: Lasseter Highway by Toby Hudson (Wikimedia Commons)

 

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40 thoughts on “The Adventures of Honoria Plum

  1. Though I’m sure you’re quite excited about returning to Australia (and I can readily see why), I know you must also be devastated to leave the land of Wodehouse. I would give anything to get to do some of the things you mentioned in this wonderful piece of yours. Alas, I doubt I ever will, but it was wonderful reading about it through your eyes.

    Best of luck in Australia and in finding some new Wodehousean chums.

  2. What ho. Welcome back Down Under. I nearly said “welcome home” but I don’t think you ever left — Plumtopia is your home and that goes wherever the physical you might be. Thanks for sharing it with us. Pip, pip and tinkerty, for what it’s worth, tonk.

  3. Ken Clevenger

    No,seriously, a down under chapter of The Wodehouse Society is just the thing to keep you engaged in Wodehousian revelry. Today The Netherlands, tomorrow Australia. We can call it Pax Wodehousania.

  4. Nice to see you out and about on the interwebs again! If you’re ever tempted to pop across the ditch to Wellington, I’ll be sure to have the kettle on – or perhaps a nice G&T in the garden if it’s summertime.

  5. George P. Smith

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.

    What Ho! I’m sure PGW will be with you wherever you settle. Glad to read you again. and waiting for more.

    1. Thank’s Rose. That’s wonderful news! Where in Australia are you based. I know a couple of Wodehouse fans in Melbourne and we’re thinking of planning a get together.

      1. Dear Mrs Plum, it seems you’ve flushed out a few more Australian fans, such that a meeting might be fun. There are a couple on TWS’s membership list in Melbourne (apart from me, of course) and one, I think, in Queensland. I wonder whether it can be done before I hie off to London for the dinner. Tally ho.

      2. Fred

        I’m in M. too. Attached to Wodehouse since discovering a matching first name with young Threepwood. It’s pleasant to think of a world that has only so recently passed away, cats and birds and all.

  6. LCantoni

    I can imagine your sadness — the first time I visited England, I didn’t ever want to go back to the U.S. — but I’m sure those beautiful people in that beautiful land below the Equator will welcome you home with open arms. And Wodehouse lives in our hearts wherever we land. Best of luck on your new adventure!

    1. Thank you so much — you are quite right! England and Australia are both fascinating places to visit, and there’s always Plum to bring some joy in the darker moments.

  7. This is sad and unexpected news, but as a fellow expat Aussie (52 years in London, after an earlier stint in 1953-55) I know such things must be in a world of change, travel and international opportunities or demands. We must hope that HP with her boundless energy, imagination and initiative can relight the Wodehouse flame in a country which has much in its favour, but has always been strangely slow to appreciate PGW and his World. I recall the depression that hit when on a trek home, I was told in a secondhand bookshop in Melbourne (yes, Melbourne – cultural capital of the nation): “No, we find little interest in Wodehouse these days”. I pass the baton to HP as she seeks to amend that situation. Many thanks for your contributions to the gaiety of life over the years – and Good Luck, Cobber! (Cobbess?)

    1. Thanks so much, Murray. That’s very kind. I am sorry I won’t be seeing you at this year’s dinner.
      I agree that Melbourne can rightly be considered Australia’s cultural capital. The bookshops here in Adelaide are fewer than ever, and seem regrettably short on Wodehouse. The local reading public needs to have their sombre reading tastes jollied up a bit, and I plan to do my bit,
      I’m very thankful technology will allow me to continue having ‘conversations’ my Wodehouse friends around the world though.

  8. Looking forward to your posts from Australia. Once PGW crossed the Atlantic, his writing was only enriched by his experiences in the US & UK. “There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.”
    ― P.G. Wodehouse
    I am sure Wodehousians there will be ready for another mate – all the best!

  9. Library Network Camden

    You are just like Wodehouse—he was exiled to America, you to Australia. Your standard of writing won’r drop either.

  10. xoanon42

    Welcome back, old horse! Can you spare a fiver?

    I can only assume that your sudden return to Adelaide was due to you having to explain to an aunt why you fumbled some trivial little task she set for you – and having decided it would be more judicious to no longer be among those present.

  11. jackfielduk

    What Ho Sheila! Good luck on your new adventure and safe travels. Looking forward to PGW-ANZ(?) and reading more Plummie posts connected via God’s daisy chain.

  12. Pingback: How to pronounce Wodehouse – Plumtopia

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