One of the things I miss when we’re away from the UK is Radio 4. My favourite programme is From Our Own Correspondent, so I keep up with it by downloading the podcast.
If you’re not an avowed Radio 4 geek, From Our Own Correspondent (or FOOC for those who can’t be bothered to type) is a programme where news correspondents tell stories about the place they’re posted that aren’t news exactly — more personal stories, or strange events.
I mention it because the boxing day edition had current correspondents reading despatches from the past, and one of them was about Irkutsk in the particularly harsh winter of 2001. It really gives an idea of how dangerous winter can be there. The coldest we experienced (-17) is a normal November day for Irkustk, but the effects of the temperature dropping to -40 are heartbreaking.
You can listen here if you’re interested, the Irkutsk piece starts at 6 and a half minutes in, though the whole programmes is fascinating (to me!).