Yesterday it was glorious but I had things to do and a lunch meeting to have, making today the last weekend-day my in-laws are in town. Typically, as we'd planned to take them to Linying Temple, it's pouring with rain so we're stuck inside.
This makes it an appropriate time to sing the praises of podcasting.
I've often wondered how much we 'entrepreneur' ex-pats (those who came to China, at least in part because of the business opportunities - as opposed to the 'flake' ex-pats who came to China because they were trying to avoid getting a job in the their home country or indeed simply trying to avoid their home country) survived without the tools we have at our disposal today.
Internet Banking - It's a godsend - I can only assume that people had to do all this by telephone and post in the past - and keep much better records than I endeavour to do.
Imported Food - The 'Shanghai Shopper' supplies all those things you can't do without (and a fair few you'd probably be better off without) - of course the most vital of all the imported goods is cheese.
Restaurants - There are now a wide range of foreign-food restaurants in Hangzhou- significantly more than when I first came here 3 years ago. Still notably lacking a Mexican restaurant though hence the irregular pilgrimages to Zapatas in Shanghai.
And finally podcasting. Now I'm told that, thanks to the deliberate break up of the BBC into all sorts of separate companies, the BBC doesn't own the copyright on much of the material it broadcasts so live transmissions are licenced, as are the "Listen Again" broadcasts that you can access via a streaming feed but you can't record or make copies. This makes "Listen Again" not particularly useful when you'd most like to listen to the radio in the car. Now we have podcasting there are a small, but significant number of Radio4 programmes available to download to your iPod and then listen to in the car so now I have the joys of the Today Programme to listen to on my way to work (OK, it's not the whole programme and it was broadcast the day before but it's a start) and joys such as From Our Own Correspondent. The list is still getting longer but won't be complete until it also encompasses Home Truths (albeit David Stafford doesn't match the legend that was John Peel) and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.