I was at Lichfield City station today for World Book Day. Staffordshire County Council were working hard to promote their libraries and Tindal Press author Paul McDonald was on hand to chat and sign copies.
The conversation got onto favourite reads. One of the rail managers at Lichfield City expressed a lifelong admiration for Betjeman.
‘I love reading poetry. Betjeman’s the best,’ he said.
Betjeman adored the railways of course.
‘And electric trains are lighted after tea’
So perhaps it’s not a surprise for a railwaymen to read Betjeman. I took this photo at a damp, crisply cold Lichfield City and it immediately brought to mind the environment Betjeman loved to describe. My favourite poem is Death in Leamington Spa. I love the post-Empire decay, the suburban impoverished gentility…
‘Chintzy, chintzy cheeriness,
Half dead and half alive.’
What a great line!