He ticks off most of the topics covered in my own book – the modern Olympics, Housman's imaginary land, place names and how to pronounce Shrewsbury, a quick turn round most of the market towns (though not Shifnal obviously), and an ascent of the Long Mynd – though his description of the latter is far less shteep and shcary than mine.
In writing the book he comes to see that each county is largely defined by its distance from, and relationship to, London. For example, Shropshire, he says, is the only county without a direct train service to London, 'not that they actually want to go to London. They just think they have a right to go.'
And on he rattles, seemingly enthusiastic, but tempered with a selection of observations that read like a collection of two star reviews on Trip Advisor:
'A few Scottish-border villages excepted, nowhere in England feels more remote from London.'
'This is a county for the conscientious and the unambitious.'
'Shropshire can seem a bit small-minded and backward.'
'It is a county, the county, of small towns, now almost all forgotten by the railways, and often by major roads, and to some extent by time itself.'
In case you think Engel is being a bit harsh or blinkered, just another member of the metropolitan elite denigrating anything outside of his own posh life in London, it's probably worth pointing out that he actually lives in that mighty bastion of cosmopolitanism, Herefordshire.