London Calling: My ill-fated call-centre interview

I went for an interview at a call-centre. I know. I know. But when the going gets tough, the tough'll do anything to stay afloat. That's what I tell myself. And being a foreigner and a job-seeker in the midst of credit crunch hysteria – melancholy so severe and so adored by Londoners that advertisers city-wide use it for rhymes and puns – I can't even splurge for the discounted 'Credit Crunch Lunch'. It's a blessing really, that food in England has the reputation it does. Basically, if I can trade my time for money, I'll do just about anything until I can find a real job – one that's somehow, even mildly related to anything I learned during 8 years of university. Getting hired by an inbound call-centre is harder than I'd anticipated. From a customer's perspective, it seemed anyone could get a job at one of these places. Anyone with the aptitude to speak a language and don a headset. Anyone with the ability to read a sales script like a robot and put me on hold. But it's just not that easy. ...more

Poetry Friday: Judith Barrington

Poet and memoirist Judith Barrington has lived in Portland, Oregon ever since 1976, when she moved from her native England. ...more

Britain's First Female Poet Laureate!

  by Laura Baudo Sillerman Carol Ann Duffy, Britain's Poet Laureate   ...more

Royal jewels

There is no reason to look at a book of lavish photographs of jewelry except pure pleasure. Sheila Young's The Queen's Jewellery, published by Taplinger in 1968, shows the Queen of England in her prime -- not that the present is not also her prime, she being quite the formidable lady -- as a smiling and apparently very happy matron in her early forties. And why should she not be happy, at least in all these photographs from ceremonial and festive occasions? All her jewelry is real. ...more

Jane Austen: A Life by David Nokes

This beautiful thick book with its ecru-lace artwork on the jacket is going to look lovely on your parlor table, beside a roaring fireplace with, preferably, the snow falling outside. It amounts, really, to a seventh Jane Austen novel, being a long, lovingly detailed chronicle of her family life, her visits, and her relations' adventures in colonial India or revolutionary France. Jane writes her novels and dies at the end, at the age of forty-one. ...more

An American Boomer in Yorkshire

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Living Abroad, a Do or a Don’t?

Everybody always expresses hopes and desires to travel the world but do you think you have what it takes to truly do that? What of leaving the life you know, the culture you are familiar with, and packing up to live abroad for a period of time, or for the rest of your life? Do you think you could do it? ...more

Crazy in Love--Wedding In the Clouds Video

We all know the ups and downs of marriage can at times feel like a wild roller coaster ride. The phrase "crazy in love" takes on a whole new meaning thanks to the recent wedding of the British couple Katie Hodgson and Darren McWalter who were strapped to the top of biplanes when they exchanged vows. ...more

Dubai is warmer than England :)

I'm sick of winter and am thinking, wouldn't it be cool to live somewhere warm. ...more

Hot hot hot doesn't seem as appealing as warm warm warm mind! Open the oven and crawl in ...more