Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Essential Websites for Homesickness

This is my fourth Canadian winter and each one gets a little easier to bear, but still when the temperature drops below -20 C and the landscape is blanketed in thick snow which probably won't melt until April or even May, then I get homesick.  I cope by cocooning myself in Britishness with the help of the internet.  The essential website is, of course, the BBC, particularly radios 3, 4 and 7.  The BBC iplayer won't play TV programmes outside the UK, but I can catch up on The Archers, listen to Farming Today, and in a few days time I'll hear nine lessons and carols from Kings College,  even though I didn't listen to the Archers in the UK, have never been a farmer, and I'm an atheist.

While listening to the radio, I go house-hunting with the aid of Rightmove.  I look for a little old house in, or near a market town, with a garden big enough to grow some vegetables; in other words a house like the one we used to have.  I've set up weekly searches on Leek, Ashbourne, Ludlow, Devizes, Wirksworth, Bridport and Buxton. My current shortlist of properties numbers 53, and the favourite is a cottage near Devizes on a one acre plot; I have already redesigned the garden and decided what improvements I'll make to the interior. I plan excursions from my fantasy home using Transport Direct, and get an aerial view of the area using Google or Bing maps.   

If I'm really far gone in fantasy, then I start furnishing my dream home from the IKEA catalogue.  Actually, I can do better than the internet and visit IKEA in Edmonton.  Every IKEA, wherever it is in the world, looks exactly the same.  Once, near Christmas time, we met a couple of Polish friends in Edmonton's IKEA, who told us they were just there for a stroll, because it reminded them of Europe.

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