I’ve started screening CVs for our imminent vacancy in Kosovo. Found two applicants that looked moderately promising, noticed they both lived in the same city, called a friend in said city to see if she knew them. Turns out the two are married to each other! But submitted applications quite independently – though when I looked more closely I realised they had put the same home phone number. Interesting possibilities arise of two-for-the-price-of-one or some form of job share… but there are other candidates who need to be taken into consideration as well.

Just finished The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, having bought it changing planes in Zurich last weekend after I lost the only other unread book I’d brought on my trip (also because it was on the BBC Big Read list). I was pleasantly surprised. The setting is my favourite century, the 12th, in a fictional county of southern England between Hampshire and Sussex, and the topic is human relations and architecture. There were a couple of annoying historical inaccuracies – everyone in the book speaks English, and hardly anyone French; the story of the White Ship is brought in rather gratuitously as a plot device, and the character of Thomas a Becket at the end seems to me very different from what we know of the real one. But one should read historical fiction for style rather than accuracy, and this one passes that test.

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  1. Plus, since he married into the Cecils, it’s a fair guess that bullies were among Oxford’s acquaintances. It’s just that these were upper-class bullies.

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