Monday, May 21, 2007

Traces of Bertie Wooster in Worcestershire

On the way down to the Malvern Hills, we drove along the A422 from Alcester to Worcester, one of the most winding roads we've encountered yet in England. The road also passes some English villages with exceptionally entertaining names. The road meanders past Peopleton, White Ladies Aston, Upton Snodsbury, and, best of all:

In P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster books, Bertie Wooster attended the fictional Malvern House Preparatory School, where he met his newt-fancying friend Gussie Fink-Nottle. In a famous incident in the novel Right Ho, Jeeves!, Gussie unwittingly drinks orange juice spiked with vodka and delivers a memorably drunken prize-giving speech at the fictional Market Snodsbury Grammar School. Upton Snodsbury is the only real "Snodsbury" in England. Worcestershire (where Bertie's Aunt Dahlia lives in the fictional Brinkley Court) seems to have inspired Wodehouse with its wealth of colorful and humorous place names.

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