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Adventures on the High Teas
on 31 March 2009
I absolutely adored Pies & Prejudice and Cider With Roadies, and while I was eagerly awaiting Stuart Maconie's latest book, I didn't think I was going to identify with it in quite the same way. I needn't have worried, I loved it.
As well as exploring quaint villages and historic towns, he celebrates English humour, food and music, and stops off in places which have been influential in England's literary and cinematic heritage, including Jane Austin's old stomping ground of Bath and Knutsford in Cheshire (the real-life setting for Cranford), as well as a Brief Encounter with Carnforth Railway Station.
Anyone expecting Maconie to sneer at Middle England with a huge Northern chip on his shoulder will be disappointed. He comes across as a genuinely nice guy (`The English Bill Bryson' according to the cover) and the book is infused with warmth and affection for English traditions and heritage, with only a hint of gentle mockery at the most bizarre. As usual with his books, I was chuckling and nodding with recognition all the way through.