@ Your Library: Avoid politics with library DVDs

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I wonder if our current prime minister might be on the right track. At least with a dictatorship, the non-stop, unwanted and invasive phone calls pushing every political party in this province and country would not occur. I had to unplug the phone on the weekend or risk losing it to being thrown against a wall. Thanks to two new DVD sets in the library, I was able to completely remove myself from any thoughts of present day politics and do a little travelling in Canada and take a look food and gardens in the some of the rest of the world. There was not an attack ad, a false promise or issue avoidance anywhere in my weekend viewing and I suggest everyone with a library card try it. If you don’t have a card, we can take care of that. Once you join, we will not call your number obsessively with library information.

Who would have thought a scruffy looking Scotsman with wreaths of tattooed flowers around his ankles could be such an entertaining host in showing me my own country. Billy Connelly’s Journey to the Edge of the World started us off doing touristy things in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and then jumped off to Iqaluit and Baffin Island. We did the round of Arctic communities, we did Arctic things that involved killing fur bearing animals and throat singing and we took in the amazing landscapes most of us will never see. DVD two takes us through the Northwest Passage, ice-free now for weeks due to climate change, and then Connelly and crew go down through the Yukon and B.C. on the White Pass and Yukon railway, I think. I am saving that second DVD for medicinal purposes. He winds up on one of the beaches on the east coast of the island after herding cows somewhere in the interior of B.C.

Friends in the U.K. told me about this series when it was aired there and in Australia in 2009. Some of it was available online; however, it was not available on DVD in Canada until a few months ago. This is a DVD everyone living in Canada should see — we are squeezed along the 49th parallel with very little concept of what most of the rest of Canada has to offer. Take a look at the Arctic on a map; it’s quite an astonishing chunk of the world we can get to with no passport needed.

Gourmet Magazine’s Diary of a Foodie is a glorious, thought provoking and saliva producing trip to food and wine locations all over the globe. Done in “magazine” style, there are articles, editorials and food demonstrations by Gourmet’s former editor-in-chief, Ruth Reichl, and former executive editor, John Willoughby. It is three seasons of the television show produced for PBS. It, like the Connelly DVD, is top quality and the filming is wonderful. You might want to watch for the monk’s garden smack dab in the middle of Rome. There were many highlights in the series and that was definitely one of them. Another was the emphasis on sustainability, organic growing and a trip to Elliot Coleman’s year-round garden. Coleman is a favourite with Creston gardeners; his books are the always in the top 10 favourites in the gardening section.

Technology enhances the viewer’s experience with a website that works beautifully to add information, repeat information, provide all the recipes you might want and to show food demos not included in the DVDs. You might want to try to watch this series before your own garden overtakes your life. We have had a bit of a delay this year because of the damp nasty cold and if everyone’s garden is like mine, it is now a month ahead of me and the weeds already own it.

Ann Day is the chief librarian at the Creston and District Public Library.

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