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(Derry Girls Mural in Derry, Northern Ireland)


A List of Virtual Breathers

It is a sad fact that we are likely about to enter another wave of the Covid Pandemic. As society gets more used to this pandemic, and comfortable living in this situation it can be easy to let down our guard. I already have noticed this with myself. Over the next few weeks it is going to be especially crucial that we do everything we can to keep our social distancing measures up and when possible, stay home.

I thought to contrast the Corona gloom, I would use my researching powers for good and so I have compiled a list of virtual breathers. A list of things that you can do online when you need to take a minute or keep yourself entertained for those fortunate enough to have the time.


TV Shows

Derry Girls:

During this pandemic this show has become a family favourite. For those on Netflix, you may recognize it already. However, it’s not as mainstream in North America as in Ireland and the UK. It is a comedy about high-schoolers set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Every single character is hilarious (especially Uncle Colm and Sister Michael), and there so many interesting and bizarre plot lines. As a 90’s kid I love the references!  The main link below is for Netflix, but there are some Youtube video links below if you don’t have an account.

The Derry Irish accent is pretty thick so I highly recommend using subtitles! Be prepped for some colourful language.

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Fawlty Towers:

Some of the older generation may know this well. Others may have no idea what this is. It’s a 12 part comedy show from the BBC that you can watch through Youtube that features John Cleese as Basil Fawlty. Basil is basically the worst hotel manager/owner who has ever lived. Some guests there have a pretty interesting stay. 


Mr. Bean and Red Green episodes:

No need to go into much of an explainer on these. I figure it may be helpful for some to know that you can pretty much watch the whole Mr. Bean and Red Green chronicles through Youtube. Good to note that Red Green is now back at it making a podcast!

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

As a political junkie, John Oliver makes me laugh a lot. Really informative and always has an interesting way of looking at things. Well worth a watch! Be warned again though, Oliver is not afraid to use some pretty colourful language as well. 



Jelle’s Marble Run:

Featured on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (who is also hilariously now their major corporate sponsor), this Youtube channel is a fascinating one. During the sports hiatus marble racing was fast becoming the next big sporting event. With full crowd noises, play by play announcers and teams to cheer for, this is not your kid’s average marble set:


Spacejam Website:

Since being released in 1996, the old Space Jam movie has never changed its website and it is so funny to look at. A total flash back to websites back when dial up was the only option.


Radio Garden:

An interesting website to check out. Through the link below, you can listen to radio stations throughout the world from Madrid, Spain to Melbourne, Australia to Moscow, Russia.



Simcoe County Aerial Maps:

Want to see what your house, neighbourhood, city and county looked like from an aerial view at different points over the last 50 years? This is the county map, that through the imagery function allows you to go back and see the City of Orillia and area as far back as 1954.



Map of the Galaxy:

While perhaps not as close to home as the county map, the link below allows to check out the aerial view of the entire universe and zoom in on particular solar systems.


Wikipedia page of Dogs:

When in doubt, you can always look at pictures of dogs! Always a good source of information, the Wikipedia page that lists individual dogs, provides an overwhelming amount of cuteness to go through.



COVID Related Content

Covid has seemed to become its own genre now. These are a couple of videos that I’ve come across over the past few months that I thought were worth sharing.

‘Can’t Touch This’:

This is a video parody of ‘Can’t Touch This’ from a high school Principal in Alabama. He actually pulls it off!


Julie Nolke:

Toronto based comedian Julie Nolke has done a couple of videos about the pandemic. They no doubt push some buttons and can be pretty funny and clever!

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

"6 Feet Apart":

One of my favourite country artists is Luke Combs. He always seems to capture the imagination. At the start of the pandemic he wrote a song all about living in the pandemic and getting through it called 6 feet apart. Most country fans will have heard this a lot already. A testament to Comb’s song writing abilities came from one Youtube commenter who insightfully wrote: “only Luke Combs could make me cry to CDC guidelines.”



Guided Digital Tours


Sotheby’s Real-estate Tours:

Lifestyles of the aspiring rich and famous, it’s interesting to take a look at the Sotheby’s Real-estate Tours. Even though I cannot afford even renting these homes for a weekend, it’s cool to see the inside of these huge mansions:


Rock of Cashel

Close to my heart is Ireland, and you can pretty much go on the web to find tours of any Irish Castle. My personal favourite is the Rock of Cashel and so I’ve included the link below:






Dominion is actually a great game to play for free with multiple people remotely. I’ve played with my brother and sister a few times and I feel like I’m pretty good.





Geoff Booth

If you tend to frequent the Hog N' Penny, you may already be familiar with Geoff Booth’s work. He’s a close family friend, but also our favourite artist. Here are two of his classics. The former, about a car that toured the Orillia area during the 1970’s visiting well known spots and picking up famous folk musicians, and the latter about people in Collingwood drinking during prohibition. Both deserve Grammys!

Mariposa Canon Bawl: Link 

Clary’s Bicycle Repair Shop: Link 

The Petersen's

The Petersen’s are an extremely talented Bluegrass singing family (not unlike the Von Trapp’s) out of Branson, Missouri. I’ve included two of the covers that they have performed, however they have done a long list of others.


John Denver’s Country Road: Link 

Dolly Parton’s Jolene: Link 

"Odds Are"

“Odds Are” is a nice feel-good song from the Barenaked Ladies that is not as often played as some of their earlier hits. The music video is pretty brilliant as well.



A Tribe Called Red

Some will know A Tribe Called Red well. They are an Indigenous Group who perform what they call electric pow-wow music. It’s a really unique and interesting sound and it’s tough not to get into the music once you’ve heard it.

Stadium Pow Wow Ft. Black Bear: Link 

Electric Pow Wow Drum: Link 


Luke Combs

Another Luke Comb’s hit that makes you appreciate your beer that much more.

Long Neck Ice Cold Beer Never Broke My Heart: Link 

A final feel-good country classic

Darius Rucker’s Wagon Wheel: Link 

(Having a great time in Ireland!, Dec. 2019)

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