Uncle Fred in the Springtime by P. G. Wodehouse

read by Martin Jarvis

You have to reach for Roget to do justice to Wodehouse. 'Joyful' or 'joyous' simply won't do. Try: ‘amusement’, ‘animation’, ‘bliss’, ‘charm’, ‘cheer’, ‘comfort’, ‘delectation’, ‘delight’, ‘diversion’, ‘ecstasy’, ‘elation’, ‘exultation’, ‘exulting’, ‘felicity’, ‘festivity’, ‘frolic’, ‘fruition’, ‘gaiety’, ‘gem’, ‘gladness’, ‘glee’, ‘good humour’, ‘gratification’, ‘hilarity’, ‘humor’, ‘indulgence’, ‘jewel’, ‘jubilance’, ‘liveliness’, ‘luxury’, ‘merriment’, ‘mirth’, ‘pride’, ‘rapture’, ‘ravishment’, ‘refreshment’, ‘regalement’, ‘rejoicing’, ‘revelry’, ‘satisfaction’, ‘solace’, ‘sport’, ‘transport’, ‘treasure’, ‘treat’, ‘wonder’. They are all here in spades.

Wodehouse seems to have that rather patrician knack of finding the most trivial thing of inestimable interest and of spinning out a jaunt into the country for more than a chapter or two. There is no denying - Lord Emsworth's precious pigs have kept the somewhat batty amongst us amused for years. And Martin Jarvis has it all down to a T (if that is the right tea, tee or T in question).

Here is yet another occasion for mistaken identities, misplaced romance, misapprehended intentions - all the usual Wodehousian opportunities for laughter and tears, disappointment and success, smiles and gloom - ending, as ever, in prelapsarian joy and humour.

Wodehouse has his critics, and admittedly some of his books are better than the rest, but Uncle Fred will keep you amused even as your neighbours' son's cricket ball lands unceremoniously in the potting shed and your aunt destroys all the plumbing after washing her smalls in the sink in the guest's bathroom.

Hard to beat.
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