Paperback: Tennis Whites and Teacakes, by John Betjeman

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The Independent Culture

How delightful that a statue of the man who wrote "It is useless to pretend that I enjoy myself abroad" adorns the refurbished St Pancras. Equally dubious about the expat life ("Our savings gone, we climb the stony path/ Back to the house with scorpions in the bath"), Betjeman extolled the delights of the Northern Line's City Branch ("a strong smell of wet feet"). What he wrote of Waugh – "he will always appeal to those who like the English language" – applies equally to himself. On themes from Girls to Clergy, this selection of prose and poetry is as full of treats as an old-fashioned sweet-shop.