It's all tickety-boo for the Wooster couple
It is a romantic tale of which even a confirmed bachelor such as Bertie
Wooster would approve. The respective chairmen of the British and American
P.G. Wodehouse societies have fallen wonderfully in love and married.
Lieutenant-Colonel Norman Murphy, 68, was married to Elin Woodger, 47, this
month after proposing to her in Wodehouse's adopted home town in New York
They were married in Long Island on October 6, but kept their church
ceremony quiet until the first evening of the biannual Wodehouse
conference, which took place a week later in Philadelphia.
Colonel Murphy, a retired former British representative to Nato, said: "On
the first evening of the convention I called for silence and asked the
committee and UK secretary to come and support me on my right and the
committee and US secretary to come up on my left.
"I talked about the liaison and co-operation between these two great
Wodehouse societies and added that the American president, Miss Elin
Woodger, agreed this was a very worthy ambition.
"In fact, so important did she consider it that last Saturday she made the
final sacrifice in this great cause.
"There was a puzzled silence.
"I said, 'I'm delighted to inform you that last Saturday the president of
the American Wodehouse Society ( I paused) married (I paused again) the
chairman of the P.G. Wodehouse UK.'
"There was a stunned silence, so I went on, 'Elin and I are wife and
husband'. Then there was a roar of applause and about 150 miscellaneous
Wodehouse enthusiasts rose to their feet. The roof came in."
Like Wodehouse's observation in The Girl in Blue that love often requires
"long months before it comes to the boil", the pair were longtime friends
before romance blossomed.
Colonel Murphy's first wife, Charlotte, and daughter, Helen, were firm
friends with Miss Woodger after they had all met in 1995 on one of his
patented walks around London, called Bertie Wooster's Mayfair.
Charlotte died in early 1999. Several months later Miss Woodger visited
Britain for a Wodehouse conference where the pair met again and, after more
time, began to go out together.
"I think of Norman as being rather like Galahad Threepwood, the Earl of
Emsworth's younger brother," said Mrs Woodger-Murphy shortly before today's
blessing at St Michael's Church in Wood Green, North London.
"He is a man with a lot of stories. It doesn't matter what you're talking
about, he's always got a something for the occasion.
"I remember the first day I met him he asked me where I was from and I told
him Everett, Massachusetts.
"He said, 'Everett, Everett, Everett. Did you know your town was named
after...' and told me the story of my home town. So I realised right
from the beginning I had met someone very special."
For her part, Mrs Woodger-Murphy has long been known by her Wodehouse
Society nom de plume of Aunt Dahlia, after Bertie Wooster's impressive aunt
who, like Elin, was a writer and editor.
Richard Briers, who is president of the British P.G. Wodehouse Society as
well as the best known voice of Bertie Wooster on the radio, reacted with
delight when he heard the news.
"That's absolutely tickety-boo. What can I say about Norman? He's a
brilliant man and obviously Elin, as a Wodehousian, is brilliant too, so we
should be OK. Not half.
"I wish them a joyous union - hands across the sea in no uncertain terms."
He added: "As Bertie would say under the circumstances, shortly before
heading to the Drones Club to celebrate, 'Top hole, Norman!' Absolutely
The PG Wodehouse Society (UK): 01494 864848; or 020-7470 0833