England, Our England is an anthology of writing, both prose and poetry, celebrating England and Englishness. It's the type of book that you didn't think was written anymore, refreshingly old-fashioned and thoroughly decent but charming. Exactly like Alan Titchmarsh himself in fact. There are the standard pieces you would expect - Wordsworth's "Daffodils" - familiar but half - forgotten pieces - Flanders and Swann's "A Song For The Weather" - and a few unexpected chunks, such as an excerpt from "Kes".
As a present for someone who wanted a hyper - rosy distillation of what it is to Be English, it could not be bettered. There are no depictions of sink estates, no mention of anything to ruffle the feathers of the average middle - class Daily Mailexpress reader. If you are familiar with the broadcasting tones of Alan T. you can hear him as you read this book. It's very clear who the "Our" of "Our England" is, and it probably doesn't include anyone who has a Burberry cap, Croydon facelift, or who is on first - name terms with staff at the Jobcentre.
For all that, I still enjoyed the book. The familiar pieces can be skipped and there are some unexpected delights - a lovely poem by Fay Inchfawn, the pen name of Elizabeth Rebecca Ward. Mr T. doesn't give her full dates but a quick Google tells me she lived from 1881 - 1978. Another happy discovery. To fully enjoy this book sit down with a cup of Earl Grey, a Mr Kipling's Battenburg and a plate of cucumber sandwiches (or in winter, Marmite toast). Have the Pomp and Circumstance march playing quietly in the background. If that's your idea of heaven, this book is for you.