George Saumarez Smith imagines Bumpleigh Hall from Joy In The Morning by PG Woodhouse for the House & Garden Country House supplement
'A picturesque settlement, yes. None more so in all Hampshire. It lay embowered, as I believe the expression is,
in the midst of smiling fields and leafy woods, hard by a willow-fringed river.'
I love PG Wodehouse for joyful light reading, and I take the same collection of Jeeves books away on holiday every year. The stories are so beautifully crafted, they don't seem to suffer from being read over and over again. This is a sketch of Bumpleigh Hall, the Hampshire house of Bertie Wooster's irascible Uncle Percy, Lord Worplesdon, and fearsome Aunt Agatha from PG Wodehouse's Joy in the Morning. The house is in the village of Steeple Bumpleigh, and I imagine a dignified manor house built in mellow red brick and surrounded by ancient trees. It is a peaceful scene, but at any moment the apparent stillness may be shattered by the roar of Bertie and Jeeves coming up the drive in an open-top car for a weekend of stiff cocktails, broken engagements and ladders left propped against bedroom windows. Blissful escapism.