Fascinating Oxford at the crack of dawn

Oxford at the crack of dawn

It’s midway through the summer at Oxford and the students have gone home for the holidays. This got us thinking about what a completely deserted Oxford might look like, so we got up at the crack of dawn to capture the sights and sounds of an empty city.

Here’s how the dreaming spires look first thing on a summer’s morning…


Source: University of Oxford


UK rejected half of EU doctors for poor English

A shocking 45% of the doctors who applied to work in the UK were barred after failing to prove their English-language skills.

English language education for doctors

About a year after the EU’s freedom of movement rules were amended to require medical doctors to pass a language proficiency exam in order to practice medicine in an EU member state in the doctor’s non-native language, a shocking 45% of the doctors who applied to work in the UK were barred after failing to prove their English-language skills.

IELTS examsDoctors from non-Anglophone EU member states must achieve a sufficient score on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in order to receive a license to practice medicine in the UK. Out of all the applicants, 779 were rejected. According to the UK’s General Medical Council, only one-third of 245 Italian applicants passed the English requirement; 40% of the 174 Greek applicants passed; and less than a quarter of French applicants earned a license to practice medicine in the UK. Polish and German applicants proved to be the most competent in English, with 69 of 114 Polish doctors and 53 of 79 German doctors scoring at least a 7.5 out of 9 on the IELTS. The IELTS is widely considered to be more challenging than other popular English proficiency exams, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC).

The recent language requirement, which came about after a German doctor administered an overdose of painkillers killing a patient in the UK in 2008, aims to ensure that the language barrier never interferes with a patient’s right to appropriate medical care.

English favourite – Spotted dick

Spotted dick

They’ve tried calling it “sultana sponge” and “spotted Richard”, but why? It’s always been spotted dick! This soft suet sponge studded with currants is even better smothered in custard. And it was served at Hogwarts. Must be magic.

Spotted dick English pudding

Steam this traditional British pudding until well risen and firm (no laughing at the back, please), then smother it in warm golden syrup and custard. Yum READ MORE

Mob Football, a Forerunner of Modern Football

“Mob football” was popular in medieval England. It involved an unlimited number of players, a pig’s bladder and very few rules. Due to its destructive nature, it was banned by King Edward II in 1314: “There is great noise in the city caused by hustling over large balls…we forbid… on pain of imprisonment, such game to be used in the city in the future.”

Mob football in England

Mob football is the name given to some varieties of Medieval football, which emerged in Europe during the Middle Ages. Mob football was a local tradition in some places, and was often an annual event. Typically there were an unlimited number of players and very few rules. By some accounts, in some such events any means could be used to move the ball towards the goal, as long as it did not lead to manslaughter or murder. READ MORE

No more “mind the gap” in the new London trains

Last week, London unveiled the new cars to the public for the first time, and when the trains finally hit the tracks starting in the mid-2020s, they’ll bring an appreciable list of improvements to riders.

New trains in London, 250 new tube trains

With the new design, you’ll be able to walk the entire length of the train, which frees up lots of space that was wasted just from closing off individual cars in the past. The entrances are now all evenly spaced and feature double-wide doors, which means it should be a lot faster to get on and off the trains. And you won’t have to “mind the gap” anymore: the cars are all shorter, which makes the trains more flexible and able to come much closer to the platform edge. READ MORE