Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England by Stuart Maconie

Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England

Just where and what is “Middle England?” Is Slough really as bad as Ricky Gervais makes out? From Shakespeare to Midsomer Murders, Stuart Maconie goes in search of the truth, with plenty of stop-offs for tea and pastries....

Title:Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England
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Edition Language:English

Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England Reviews

  • Karen

    Mildly amusing,more raise a smile than laugh out loud.Chose it because I had read

    and had really liked that but in comparision this was disappointing.As for the claim that he is the english Bill Bryson I don't think so

  • Kristen

    I picked this up at a book swap and thought it might be interesting for me to read and give me some travel ideas. The author travels around in search of "Middle England" to several British towns. Some parts were quite funny, but others were sort of over my head with British references that I do not know. Some sections of the book were no more than "I got to this town and this is some conversation that I overheard" and I feel like anyone could write about that. He jumped around a lot which made i

    I picked this up at a book swap and thought it might be interesting for me to read and give me some travel ideas. The author travels around in search of "Middle England" to several British towns. Some parts were quite funny, but others were sort of over my head with British references that I do not know. Some sections of the book were no more than "I got to this town and this is some conversation that I overheard" and I feel like anyone could write about that. He jumped around a lot which made it hard to read continuously. It's not very long, but it took me weeks to finish. In the end, I don't know if I have a good handle on what Middle England is, and I don't think the author does either. I did, however, learn about some places to eat while visiting Oxford.

  • Godzilla

    I can understand how some readers found this hard going and didn't manage to finish it. The book is full of whimsy and incidental British quirks.

    I didn't find it as engaging as "Pies and Prejudice", probably because I am from "up North" and so related to that much more easily.

    Maconie does a wonderful job of making nearly everywhere he visits seem appealing in some way. He needs another job: writing bylines for the English Tourist Board.

    There's not a great deal of sunstance to the book, but there

    I can understand how some readers found this hard going and didn't manage to finish it. The book is full of whimsy and incidental British quirks.

    I didn't find it as engaging as "Pies and Prejudice", probably because I am from "up North" and so related to that much more easily.

    Maconie does a wonderful job of making nearly everywhere he visits seem appealing in some way. He needs another job: writing bylines for the English Tourist Board.

    There's not a great deal of sunstance to the book, but there are some wonderfully warm portraits painted and Maconie engages you well as a reader.

    Don't use this as an introduction to the British way of life, or as a travel guide. You need some experience and knowledge to get the many in jokes and throw away lines.

  • Jeremy

    Stuart - just because a publisher offers you an advance, you don't have to take it. "Pies and Prejudice" was a superb little book that cast an eye over the north of England with a great sense of humour and acceptance of what we have made it today. Adventures..... Now this started in terrific fashion describing the cycling mecca of Meriden. I truly thought that Stuart was embarking on travels around Middle England, a place I know very well having spent my first 20 years there. Very soon he drifte

    Stuart - just because a publisher offers you an advance, you don't have to take it. "Pies and Prejudice" was a superb little book that cast an eye over the north of England with a great sense of humour and acceptance of what we have made it today. Adventures..... Now this started in terrific fashion describing the cycling mecca of Meriden. I truly thought that Stuart was embarking on travels around Middle England, a place I know very well having spent my first 20 years there. Very soon he drifted into places I could not, even at a stretch, consider middle England. But then it dawned on me. He was not looking for a real place, more a state or mind, state of being of political affiliation. What does it mean to be from Middle England, not where is it? I find the book very chewy and thought about giving up several times as I thought it lost its way amidst the desire to get to 340 + pages. Yawn Yawn and I did fall asleep often trying to get to the end. But when I found myself there I found a shining light - Stuart started talking about the Oxfords, Moreton-in-the-Marsh and Chipping Nortons and declared he could live there!! of course he could, only a fool would not want to. He revealed some of his values ("not hearing paki or twat or bitch")made me forgive him his padding in this book. If you want to find Middle England in this book read the epilogue. The way Stuart pulls all his thoughts together and describes the qualities that make Middle England what it really is is spot on.

    A tedious read, but the end is worth the grind.

  • jennifer

    Maconie is a London music writer and t.v. host from Middle England, what seems to be the equivalent of the Midwest in America. On the surface, this book has him traveling to small towns and villages that tend to be overlooked in favor of places like London or Birmingham. It appears to be essays that are sometimes funny, other times, like discussing musician Nick Drake, sad. But there's a lot more here: Maconie breaks it up into chapters that concentrate on food, music, literature or the British

    Maconie is a London music writer and t.v. host from Middle England, what seems to be the equivalent of the Midwest in America. On the surface, this book has him traveling to small towns and villages that tend to be overlooked in favor of places like London or Birmingham. It appears to be essays that are sometimes funny, other times, like discussing musician Nick Drake, sad. But there's a lot more here: Maconie breaks it up into chapters that concentrate on food, music, literature or the British railway, and all along he goes into interesting biographies of the famous or infamous, such as when visiting the little hometown of Thatcher.

    I'm so used to reading British slang that I usually have no problem, but perhaps because Maconie is from the north, he sometimes uses phrases or whole sentences that stop me. Still, that's a small complaint. This isn't so much a guide book as a book that proves that history is everywhere in England.

  • Diana

    One of the many books I brought home from my trip to Europe. I have had this book on my want to read list for a while now and was thrilled to find it in a used bookshop. The book is about what you might call average England. The everyday places in the lives of the people who live in the Middle part of England proper. I really enjoyed reading about the places and the lives of the people there. It also gave me a list of places to visit on my next (hopefully) trip from pubs,and breweries, to parks

    One of the many books I brought home from my trip to Europe. I have had this book on my want to read list for a while now and was thrilled to find it in a used bookshop. The book is about what you might call average England. The everyday places in the lives of the people who live in the Middle part of England proper. I really enjoyed reading about the places and the lives of the people there. It also gave me a list of places to visit on my next (hopefully) trip from pubs,and breweries, to parks and monuments. If you enjoy visiting places off the beaten path, I suggest reading the book to get ideas for your trip.

  • Tim

    On balance, I enjoyed this. It's a travelogue, in which Stuart Maconie visits towns in the south of England, searching for the spirit of Middle England. In each chapter he picks a theme, and visits locations that allow him to make observations on both the topic and on Middle England's relationship to it.

    Some chapters work well, where either I had a prior interest or where Maconie finds a strong coherent topic, and his writing is always light and non-judgemental. But others aren't convincing; he

    On balance, I enjoyed this. It's a travelogue, in which Stuart Maconie visits towns in the south of England, searching for the spirit of Middle England. In each chapter he picks a theme, and visits locations that allow him to make observations on both the topic and on Middle England's relationship to it.

    Some chapters work well, where either I had a prior interest or where Maconie finds a strong coherent topic, and his writing is always light and non-judgemental. But others aren't convincing; he rarely managed to make me care about locations I wasn't previously familiar with.

    Overall, the threads that bind book together are stretched too thin; Maconie doesn't present strong justifications for his choice of destinations, and he never really digs beneath the surface to get to a truth that makes Middle England more than a tabloid shorthand. But there was enough engaging writing to make me glad, in the end, that I read it.

  • Cliff

    I see one American reader didn't understand this book. Well, quite possibly they wouldn't. It would onlt be fully understandable to Brits (I wonder if the person in question had ever heard of the floods in Tewkesbury a few years back that he refers to towards the end of the book - - knowing how parochial [from American friends] the US media is, I would not be surprised that they hadn't). The book is an affectionate, in many ways surprising, look at what is called 'Middle England' and is good at

    I see one American reader didn't understand this book. Well, quite possibly they wouldn't. It would onlt be fully understandable to Brits (I wonder if the person in question had ever heard of the floods in Tewkesbury a few years back that he refers to towards the end of the book - - knowing how parochial [from American friends] the US media is, I would not be surprised that they hadn't). The book is an affectionate, in many ways surprising, look at what is called 'Middle England' and is good at debunking many of the myths surrou7nding that expression. And he thinks Vaughan Williams is England's greatest composer, so he can't be bad. But, for a Northern Lad, I was surprised he didn't know Bigg Market in Newcastle upon Tyne comes with two g's - but then he does come from the wrong side of the Pennines!

  • Guy Jones

    Three stars maybe does this book an injustice. I really enjoyed it and found it engaging. Those readers who rushed the finish or failed to complete the book have missed out, the final chapters are the best and tie the theme together nicely. Stuart Maconie has done a good job with this book and there are some really enjoyable and thought provoking points scattered throughout. I only read it as it was on my holiday cottage bookshelf. I happen to have Cider With Roadies with me as a holiday read, b

    Three stars maybe does this book an injustice. I really enjoyed it and found it engaging. Those readers who rushed the finish or failed to complete the book have missed out, the final chapters are the best and tie the theme together nicely. Stuart Maconie has done a good job with this book and there are some really enjoyable and thought provoking points scattered throughout. I only read it as it was on my holiday cottage bookshelf. I happen to have Cider With Roadies with me as a holiday read, but this was deferred for a later date. "High teas" has made me look forward to the further read though.

  • Nick Davies

    I feel I am being slightly harsh on this book in only awarding it a middling three-star score, as this was an enjoyable and occasionally witty sort of book, but in truth it was slightly underwhelming.

    Possibly because it was one of a number of similar books written by Maconie, and also because of the book's place in the 'gently amusing English travel writing' genre, it felt a bit malconcieved. The author seeks to pinpoint exactly what the definition of 'Middle England' might be, taking in a numb

    I feel I am being slightly harsh on this book in only awarding it a middling three-star score, as this was an enjoyable and occasionally witty sort of book, but in truth it was slightly underwhelming.

    Possibly because it was one of a number of similar books written by Maconie, and also because of the book's place in the 'gently amusing English travel writing' genre, it felt a bit malconcieved. The author seeks to pinpoint exactly what the definition of 'Middle England' might be, taking in a number of small towns and villages as he discusses the literature, music, cuisine, transport and geography of the country. In the end though it was just an amble, albeit a pleasant enough one, through a few obvious places and a few obvious themes.

    Perhaps I have read too many of this kind of book? I know I will read more of the ilk though.


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