Quotations from P G Wodehouse are copyright of, and reprinted by permission of, the Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate © 2019 The P G Wodehouse Society (UK)
Norman Murphy really was a one-
Wodehouseans turned out in considerable numbers, and the evening was kicked off by Norman’s widow, Elin, who described her “First Murphy Experience” in 1993, when Norman took her and a friend on an all-
His passion for sharing his knowledge sometimes bordered on obsession: “Boy, did he love to answer questions,” Elin remarked. James Hogg aptly described Norman as “a specialised human Google” who did “the frothier end of popular culture” a great service by focusing his “first-
And then there were The Walks. When he led his perambulations around London’s busy West End, Norman’s enthusiasm was such that everything was conducted at breakneck speed. Robert Bruce recalled his first walk being accompanied by a lot of noise, “not all of it coming from the Chairman”; Norman greatly enjoyed that line when it appeared in Wooster Sauce. Lesley Tapson commented how on an occasion at the National Theatre, when Richard Briers was being interviewed on stage, Norman called out a question from the audience, asking, “Have you any advice on how to speak slowly?” Richard’s response wasn’t recorded, but it clearly made little impression.
Still, Norman did hone his skills at herding things around – and not just his fellow walkers. Hilary Bruce recalled how, at one Royal County of Berkshire show, Norman added yet another string to his bow when he won third place in the novice pig handling event, partnering a sow called Truffle to whom he gave a back-
In addition to sharing knowledge on his own walks, Norman was also intensely interested in -
Apologies to all those whose memories we haven’t the space to include, but surely the climax of the evening arrived when Edward Cazalet, having challenged “the best shorthand writer in the world to keep pace with Norman’s speech,” presented Elin with an embossed commemorative case containing the fibre-
Perhaps the last words should be left to Norman’s long-
Before we knew it, ninety minutes had flown by. Quite aptly, considering they were passed in the company of Norman Murphy.
Elin Woodger Murphy and Sir Edward Cazalet;
James Hogg; and
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