Tag Archives: holidays

12 Songs You Will Hear Every Christmas in Britain

The Brits love their Christmas music. Since the 1970s (according to my ad hoc online research), there has been particular emphasis placed on the Christmas Number One: the song that is at number one in the charts during the week in which Christmas Day falls. In an effort to snag this much-coveted title, some artists shamelessly release Christmas-themed songs (which is the framing plot-line for the movie Love Actually, the part with Bill Nighy). Several of these have become perennially beloved Christmas songs, many of them ones that Americans have never heard.

Here are 12 songs—some Christmas number ones, some not—that I can guarantee you will hear every year at Christmas-time in the UK.

Continue reading 12 Songs You Will Hear Every Christmas in Britain


Good Friday at Winchester Cathedral

As a student of Anglo-Saxon literature, I’m always interested in getting a sense of the world those Anglo-Saxons inhabited—indeed, that’s one of the reasons I came to England to study. So in that pursuit, I wanted to visit Winchester, which was the headquarters of Alfred the Great and, about a century later, the center of monastic reform in England. It was at the cathedral in Winchester that Ælfric, later abbot of Eynsham, was educated as a young monk—and since I am studying a text a he wrote, this only heightened my interest.

A few days before my visit, I realized that I would arriving on Good Friday and therefore decided to attend the three-hour service at the cathedral. Continue reading Good Friday at Winchester Cathedral