Monday, August 12, 2013

See the UK On Ten Dollars a Month

My Inner Voice: Explain to your readers where you've been.

Me: I've been in England.

My Inner Voice: No, you haven't.

Me: But I kind of have.

My Inner Voice: No, Lisa. You actually in point of fact have NOT.

Me: Fine. I'll explain.

I've discovered My Expat Network, the service that allows you to watch all your favorite UK shows from abroad. (Am I the only one who didn't know about this? Have you guys been holding out on me?)

(Click HERE to find out about it)

My friend Lucy told me about it last week and I've been a little bit (okay, a LOT) sidetracked ever since. For the longest time, I've been under the impression that it was impossible to stream the full breadth of UK television programming from overseas, mainly because when I try to do so on BBC's iPlayer, I get a message telling me I can't.

But not anymore.

It took all of three minutes to set up an account and get it working. And it's not expensive -- less than the price of two fancy coffees a month.

Download the program and  a red globe icon will appear in the top right-hand corner of your computer. 

Click on it, and then click "Connect" on the pop-up menu, and the globe will change to green, at which point you can are free to watch whatever BBC programs you want.

So last week I went house-shopping for a traditional farmhouse in North Devon in "Escape to the Country."  (P.S. I found one.)


I let Raymond Blanc teach me a deliciously simple way to stir-fry a salad in his wonderful series, "How to Cook Well." (P.S. Raymond is fantastically enthusiastic and trés charming--even my husband was besotted.)  

I took a fascinating tour of the pleasure gardens of the Taj Mahal in "Around the World in 80 Gardens." (P.S. If you're horticulture-minded, this show will slay you.)

I got under the covers with Lucy Worsley to explore how the rise and fall of the royal bed has mirrored the rise and fall of the monarchy itself in "Tales from the Royal Bedchamber."   (Interesting tidbit: Chaucer weighs in.)

I found why trailer vacations have captured the hearts of generations of holidaymakers in  "Caravans: A British Love Affair." (Hint: It has to do with the allure of the open road.)

I went grocery shopping with Nigel Slater and learned easy ways to make delicious food every day of the week. (Hint: Buy what catches your eye and use a little creative thinking.)

I found out what artists do all day in "What Do Artists Do All Day?" (Hint: They are endlessly curious.)

Oh, the sheer joy of a discovery like this! You work hard all through the summer, you plug away at your projects and commitments, you don't take any time off to travel like you usually do, you steel yourself to deal with the dog days of August and then -- OUT OF THE BLUE -- something like this lands in your lap and makes you feel like you've been abroad since June.

Sure, it's summer and it's beautiful here in California and many people would rather be digging their toes into the sand in Malibu, or body surfing off Point Onofre, or driving up the Pacific Coast Highway on their way to a bed-and-breakfast in Ojai, but I honestly could not be happier sitting in my shady little dining room expanding my brain cells as the world unfolds before me. 

It's the little things!


Editor's Note: If you live outside the United States and would like to watch US shows, click HERE.  Also, Cameron from Canada emailed me to say he's a big fan of a similar service called Tunnelbear -- thank you, Cameron!


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