A few points before I get to the meat of today's post:
I. When someone about to interview you says you have an impressive CV, are they just saying that, or do they mean it?
My "impressive" CV hasn't served me well since I got it!
II. Yesterday was a long hard day at a venture capital firm in the City, not far from where I worked last year at M-C.
The kitchen was fancy - red cabinetry and stainless steel fittings, all automatic soft-close. However, it wasn't stocked with as much tea or biscuits and fruits as at M-C, which definitely had a snacking culture as well as lunch delivered in. But...this place had a mini cafeteria with free food! So between midday and 1.30 pm you can go eat. Chili con carne and wild rice, tacos (the first I have seen on offer in London), baked potato, three types of salad, fruit plates, cheese and cracker plates...
Every spring, there comes one day when I fall in love with London all over again. Today was the day.
I went to the interview at the Arts Council this morning in bright warm sunshine. It was a straight shot down the Jubilee line to Westminster and barely took half an hour door to door. Whilst dodging tourists, I got to walk past the Houses of Parliament, ask a cute police officer if I was going in the right direction, and gawk at lots of exquisite architecture.
The building I went into was also lovely on the outside. Red brick with stonework, big vaulted wooden doors, and in the lobby there was a stone fireplace and oak "linenfold" panelling.
It was a casual interview with two people, so I was in for only 20 minutes. They liked some of the things I said. I was put on the spot a few times when I had to answer impressively about the role of art in modern life and why looking back at history is important. It's funny how in interviews you can come up with stuff you didn't know you knew. They made all the right sounds of approval. At the end I even asked some questions about which organisations were involved in the project and what they hope it will have become by the end of the year. They said that was a good question.
I got chatting with the receptionist. She is from Los Angeles, also with a master's degree in art history. She did a bit of finance here and nearly died inside, so she is happier earning less in a gentler environment.
I know I will miss earning that kind of money. It will be nearly half what I was getting at M-C, when all I did there was audio, and here I will be an actual project administrator. Oh bah humbug. The compromises we have to make...
When I left the building, I wandered around soaking in the warm sunshine, and taking in the beauty of Westminster Palace and its environs. In fact, I wished I had my camera with me. It's a good thing my phone camera is good for blogging. Unfortunately, I ran out of space faster than usual since I had uploaded some MP3s onto my media stick, not leaving much room for photos.
And while I was out, I fell in love with London again, as I do one day every spring. Life begins again. There were miles of daffodils in St James's and Green Parks, blushing blossoms on the trees, courting pigeons underfoot. The air was light, the sky was blue, the sun was warm, and the breeze was soft. I felt happy.
I walked through St James's Park, crossed Pall Mall and passed Buckingham Palace (Her Majesty was at home), then through Green Park to Piccadilly and along there to Fortnum & Mason. I haven't been there in many months.
I saw my old friend, a lady who has worked at the deli since I was studying at Christie's. I used to go there for more affordable sandwiches and wraps than those offered at nearby Italian cafes, and she and I would chat. She missed seeing me and said I ought to go round more often. They no longer make sandwiches like they used to, but she offered to make me one anyway, and any time I ever want one. She said she would have liked it if I got a job at the Royal Academy across the road.
I always treat myself after interviews, I don't know why. I bought my usual medium box of assorted chocolates, and she even managed to fit in a couple of marrons glaces (glaced chestnuts), a box of Rose Pouchong tea, a jar of rose and geranium jelly, a jar of quince jelly (I had to stop there or else I would have brought home the violet jelly, lavender jelly, earl grey tea jelly, pomegranate jelly, and rose petal jelly too!), some Bahlsen choc and coconut biscuits, a box each of Duchy Originals sweet oat cakes (the best) and cracked black pepper oat cakes, a lemon for my smoked salmon (forgot yesterday, and have discovered that undressed salmon is a bit ick), a bottle of F&M chili tomato ketchup, some old fashioned sausages, and a box of freshly handmade asparagus and padano ravioli.
Oh, me spoilt, I know :P
Thought the Americans would like this one. A bus, the bell tower of Westminster Palace (only the bell is called Big Ben!), and the London Eye across the river.
Westminster Palace peeping out from behind Westminster Abbey
Crossing Pall Mall between St James's Park and Green Park, Buckingham Palace is on the left. Her Majesty was at home...