Marmite by Mail
As the wave of summer guests bearing gifts from home dwindles, homesick Brits yearning for Hob Nobs, Marmite, Branston Pickle or almost anything else British, can now find a huge range of goods online at www.britishcornershop.co.uk. The virtual store offers hundreds of British grocery items – from confectionery to cooking sauces and, for the non-Delias amongst us, even Paxo stuffing. Some 200 British periodicals are also available. Prices are comparable to a typical corner shop and shipping costs are calculated by weight. The site promises to deliver your order within five working days, subject of course to local customs regulations.
Tickets to Ride
Any novice Russian speaker who’s queued for ages at a train station and stammered a mangled request for tickets will appreciate www.trainline.ru, a fully bilingual and very user-friendly online ticket agency. The site contains up-to-date train schedules and allows you to choose dates, times, compartment types and even stopovers en route to your final destination. You can search for train times in seconds – and with no obligation to buy. If you do make a purchase, choose to charge your Visa or Mastercard and you can collect tickets at the train station or have them delivered to a specified address for an additional $5. Beware, Trainline.ru isn’t cheap – you’re likely to pay 35-40% above the face value of tickets – but at least you won’t be left wondering if the tickets you wanted to St. Petersburg are only good for a midnight train to Minsk.
5 Steps to Winterize Your Car
Don’t be lulled into complacency by October’s warm weather. Winter is on its way. To keep you moving no matter what’s falling from the skies or covering the roads, be sure to get your car ready this month for the cold, ice and snow to come. Here’s how:
- Clean your radiator. If your car overheated in one of Moscow’s summer traffic jams and you added water to your radiator, be sure to drain the fluid completely and fill your radiator with pure antifreeze (called òîñîë in Russian). You definitely do not want a frozen and cracked radiator block.
- Unfreeze your window washers. Start adding full-strength window washer fluid to be sure it won’t freeze up the first time the temperatures dip below freezing. If you don’t, keep a bottle of vodka under your seat. You can splash that on the windows to dissolve the ice and slush. Even if you do, keep a bottle of vodka under the seat anyway. It will keep your passengers warm in winter traffic jams.
- Grease your locks. Squeeze some anti-lock oil in all your locks before the cold season begins. Do this even if you have a car alarm and you don’t use your key to unlock the door. If the lock is frozen, you can beep all you want, but the door lock buttons won’t budge.
- Wash and wax your car. Wash off the summer grit and wax your car to protect it from snow, ice, slush and salt.
- Buy winter tires. If you don’t have all-season tires, buy and put on winter treads. Don’t be cheap: be sure to buy a winter spare, too. To stud or not to stud? Russian drivers are divided on this issue. Some swear by studs; others say they’re a menace. If you drive out of the city on unplowed roads, go for the studs. For city driving – you can do without them.