Author Archives: Kate Bateman

Dostoevsky on Originality

For months I have avoided picking up The Idiot again, despite being only about 150 pages from the end, because every time I did I was just not able to get through the wall of text that is the beginning of Part Four. When I read, sometimes I like not concentrating too much, and Dostoevsky […]

Seeing Britishness: British Fonts and Typefaces

This is something I noticed a few years ago but has been niggling the back of my mind since I returned in October. How do I describe it? I noticed that no matter where I am in the country, at NHS clinics, at train stations, on roads, at airports, on transport, at the post office, all the information on the signs looks really similar. I don’t mean what’s written, but the font itself.

Impressions of Madrid

I went with memories of my stay in Portugal a few years ago fresh in my head: winding streets, cheap wine, beautiful scenery, absolutely roasting temperatures, and no idea how to pronounce anything. (Maybe this should really be its own separate blog post?) I can say this for Madrid at least: I found it to be less beautiful than Porto and Lisbon, but the people and the food completely won me over.

How to Teach Yourself a Foreign Language

This is no means an exhaustive list of stuff you can try, or even the best or most-proven by research. But I’ve seen and tried a lot of stuff, both in language classrooms and on my own, and these are the things that I always wind up recommending because they worked for me. So, if you’re interested, have a read.

The Saga of Our English Boiler

A couple weeks ago I jokingly wrote that the whole reason shower boilers exist here is because English boilers and pumps and water tanks break so often that letting agents have a liiiiittle more leeway in fixing all that stuff if you at least have hot water in your shower.

Again, when I wrote that I was joking. But now? Not joking any more.

Why I Learned Korean

When I tell people I taught myself Korean, I normally get asked two questions: why, and how.

7 Things I Never Knew About… Until I Moved To England

I was pleasantly surprised that there are actually a lot of things people haven’t talked much about related to life in England, and I racked up this list in no time. (I mean really, yes chips are called crisps, and they have a queen, and people are more polite, but I’m going for weirder, more sneaky differences here.)