Friday, November 04, 2005

It comes from the Trees

Each and every season brings its own unique attributes, and Autumn is no exception. If you were to visit Sigulda ( Latvia's answer to Switzerland), then you could take in the visual delight of the leaves turning into a mixture of gold, brown and red - and when they fall, as fall they must, then they turn the ground into a carpet of wonder. Magical !

In the city the "cleaner uppers" must hate this time of the year, as each and every morning a fresh batch of leaves have descended, and must be swept up. The good news for them at least, is that the trees are now nearly bare, so in a few days this work will be over, and they can prepare for the snow and ice, which again must be cleared from the pavements each and every morning.

There is one visitor who however is most unwelcome, or least if you are a car owner. For some strange and inexplicable reason, the Rooster birds ( pigeons - crows ) - now perch themselves up in the tress and proceed to Crap, but and this is the BIG but, only if there is cars parked underneath the tree ! and only at night !

Check it out for yourself, walk down any street where there are trees, if cars can park underneath - bird pooh everywhere, but if cars cannot park - then the pavements are clean - Why ! and why only now in autumn ? - you never see this mess at any other time of the year, just when the trees are bare. Where do they s..t at other times of the year ?

Life is full of mysteries - -this is just one more to add the list.

Speaking of strange things, the weather here in Riga is unusually warm and pleasant, I think we have had only one night recently when the temperature dipped below zero, When I think back to my very first visit to Riga, exactly 10 years ago this month - the temperature was -23C and stayed that way all through winter - another sign of Global warming !

And speaking of warming, one of "benefits" of living in Riga, is the method by which houses/apartments are heated in the Winter. For the vast majority heating is supplied by via vast underground network of pipes, which supply hot water into your dwelling, and thereby into your radiators. Until fairly recently this hot water just arrived, and you had no method of controlling the heating ( no thermostats) - this is gradually changing - but I can remember in January 1996, the only way I could cool the apartment down was to open the window and let the heat escape.

As to who decides when the heating should come ?- well the rule seems to when the temperature drops below 8C, and stays that way for three consecutive days - then viola - the heat arrives - likewise come Spring comes along - then again when temperature is 8C or higher for three consecutive days - then of it goes.

Not sure where the hot water is generated ( Power stations ?) - but the system by and large works.

Sometimes when a visitor arrives ( Like my son-in-law recently) - they ask to go to a "typical" Latvian restaurant to eat "typical" Latvian Food. Well there are many around, including the Lido chain ( boasts the largest Log house in the world- and worth a trip). However before you get carried away -be warned Latvian food can be a little basic -for example this is "typical" Christmas fare

Special foods were eaten at the winter solstice, a celebration to mark the days becoming longer. Many of these foods can still be found on contemporary Latvian Christmas tables.

A popular dish is boiled pigs head with boiled pearl barley, another popular traditional Christmas dish is boiled grey peas with pieces of fried meat and fatty bacon, usually eaten accompanied by a drink of rūgušpiens or kefīrs (curdled or cultured milk).

This dish can be found in many restaurants and cafés in Latvia all year around.

All of the peas boiled at Christmas must be eaten by the morning, otherwise there will be a lot tears shed in the new year. Another special Christmas food is the once-popular blood sausage with pearl barley, because its rounded bend is reminiscent of a circle, symbolising the solar year.

Now lets be honest what would you choose - Turkey, Ham and all the trimmings or Christmas Dinner Latvian Style ??

In Latvia Turkey is not an option - no turkeys ! - Ostriches -yes - Turkeys - No

You may Remember M... ( New Zealand ) - who found true love and happiness in Latvia, and helped reduce Latvia's population by whisking her away to New Zealand - well I always meant to publish one of there Wedding photgraphs, if nothing else so that if you ever bump into them you will know who you are talking to. ( This is the only known picture of M... wearing a suite)

So M... and L........ - stay happy - we will drink a toast to you both on Sunday, when we meet for M........ ( Italian) cook-in at our new secret week-end watering hole

If you are wondering what this photo has do with trees, please note they are standing underneath a tree - OK ?

So there we go nearly the end of another week, and as I write the sun is blazing into my office, so with a litle bit of luck I will get the chance this weekend to either walk on the beach, or head to out to Sigulda and play in the leaves.

I recently added a new counter to the this blog, and it is quite amazing the information it provides, not just how many people "visit" but where they are visiting from - So to all of you in Australia, UK, Sweden - welcome, and please feel free to leave a comment or two.

So now I can watch you - reading me - is'nt technology wonderful ?


Anonymous Iolo ap Blackpudding said...

Nice to see M_ _ _ with a smile on his face and in his situation who wouldn't! (Titter not Mrs I mean have a smile on his face)

Good to know the weather is still fine,what is M_ _ _ _ _ _ cooking surely not that horrible stuff quoted earlier surely he would be better cooking like a Mafia soldier when they went to mattress " you throw in the tomatoes and a little garlic,your sausages and some olive oil together with a big amount of wine" I paraphrase but wasn't that how Michael Corleone was shown how to cook for the mob during a mafia war.

C'mon M_ _ _ _ _ _ you can do better than simple Quail?

Anyway what about something for me so far I have missed the pig!Is it still a prisoner in R_ _'s fathers freezer? and also my Bradford curry still in R_ _'s fathers freezer?

Here we go I am missing a feast of Roman proportion...any dormice on the menu? or as a snack Otters noses?

J_ _ _ _ he of golden heart but challenged height could sell in you now where such delightful snacks as Otters noses, Wolf nipple chips,Badgers spleans or Long Haired German Shepherd Bollocks!

I for my part will have to settle for faggots and peas 10 pints of Brains and I hope a good game of rugby! Oh wo is me! See you soon

1:48 pm  
Anonymous The spitless Pig said...

To bloody royal am I stuck in this freezer and yes the curry is in here with me.Ok if I could cook a little lamb Madras things would be tolerable! but have you tried to cook a curry in a freezer with frozen ingredients and frozen bloody trotters?

It may well be mild in Riga but in this place its not "Forever Autumn" but always bloody Winter.

Someone promised me a turkey for Christmas bet that will be bloody frozen too!

1:54 pm  

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