Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Adventures on the High Teas, By Stuart Maconie

This book by an admirable fixture at Radio 2 explores a milieu notable for "loft conversions, CCTV cameras, white-towelling hen parties in health spas, trampolines in suburban gardens..." In other words, Middle England.

Noting the more unexpected aspects of his destinations, Maconie is at his best when earwigging the denizens. In Melton Mowbray, he is warned off an Italian eatery: "Absolute rubbish. The worst carbonara in Leicestershire." In Tunbridge Wells, he observes a "young blonde", who starts "effing and blinding like a Clydeside docker".

If Maconie sometimes suffers from cliché – his Leamington is "suffused with a certain olde-world elegance" though it actually is "a nocturnal Hades" (according to a friend of this reviewer) – he gives us a laugh on every page.

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