Flicking through the book, my mother said it was like walking among ghosts. To me, it was like being allowed inside the walls of Blandings Castle. If the dates didn't give the lie to the theory, I'd argue, based on the evidence of what I saw in that scrapbook, that Wodehouse never wrote fiction at all. Rather than using his imagination, my theory would go that he based everything he wrote on his experiences during a hitherto unrecorded trip to pre-war Melbourne.
There he discovered the prototypes for his ranks of formidable aunts:
'Oh look, there's Tighty Fogarty - he was such a good dancer,' she cried.
'Why was he called Tighty?' I asked, peering at the picture she was pointing at.
'Oh darling, you know, he was rather fond of a drink', she said. 'But you've no idea how marvellous it was when you found a good dancer.'
She stared at Tighty for another long moment.
'Mind you', she added, 'the night he got so tight he ate the flowers from the vase on the table, I did wonder whether he wasn't perhaps taking things a little too far.'
(History doesn't relate whether Tighty's friend Streak was unusually fond of bacon or of taking her clothes off in public, let alone what the hell is going on in this photograph:)