Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Do Indians play Rugby ?

A warning to all yea you are visiting Riga - when you are walking along the pavements and you come across a piece of red an white striped of plastic tape - BEWARE ! - because somewhere on the rooftop are persons "sweeping" the snow of the roof and onto the pavement below.

God help the unwary as these guys have no regards for the unsuspecting passerby - who if caught will get a serious dollop of snow dumped upon them.

As for these roof cleaners, clearly there is no Health and Safety laws in Latvia, as they work without safety harnesses, and at best simply have a rope attached around their waist, to prevent them from joining the snow on its downward journey.

The weather has been a bit indifferent of late, with temperatures hovering between -3 to -5, but we were graced with a little snow, which always brings a little winter charm to Riga.

In deference to my English and Welsh friends I will make no reference to Scotland destroying England, and the Irish dumping on Wales, during the Six nations Rugby on Saturday and Sunday.

But for now I will bask in the Glory of the Calcutta win - knowing Scotland it will be short lived glory.

Now a question why is it called the Calcutta Cup ?
and the answer is -

On Christmas Day 1872, a game of rugby football, between 20 players representing England on the one side and 20 representing Scotland, Ireland and Wales on the other, was played in Calcutta.

The match was such a success that it was repeated a week later: the game of rugby had reached India. These lovers of rugby football wanted to form a club in the area and the aforementioned matches were the agents which led to the formation of the Calcutta Football Club in January 1873.

The Calcutta Club joined the Rugby Football Union in 1874. Despite the Indian climate not being entirely suitable for playing rugby, the club prospered during that first year. However, when the free bar had to be discontinued, the membership took an appreciable drop. Other sports, such as tennis and polo, which were considered to be more suited to the local climate, were making inroads into the numbers of gentlemen available.

The members decided to disband, withdrew the club's funds from the bank, had them melted down and made into a cup which they presented to the RFU in 1878.

The Calcutta cup was presented to the RFU to be awarded for the winner of the annual England vs.Scotland international.

So now you know !

As ever we could not watch the Scottish game, but as ever we gathered in Paddies to watch the Welsh game, but not without a little technical difficulty in actually getting the game onto the screen. German football - Yes - Olympic Ice Hockey final - Yes - but the Rugby - well eventually ! - no matter a good afternoon was had by all.

During the week, we confirmed that the planned "Marita" day will be held on March 19th , upstairs at Paddies ( back room has been booked), with goodies down in the barbecue area.

As I indicated previously the objective is to raise money for Marita and her son Edwards, to facilitate there future in Australia. It will be good afternoon, so spread the word - please - the more the merrier, but also if you are planning to attend please let me know, as we need to let Paddies know the probable numbers.

The rest of weekend was spent watching a young man ( J...... English but with Sierra Leone blood) sitting in Riga, with a device connected via the internet to a developer in India trying to make the device work, by uploading software to the said device. I still find it amazing that with the advent of the internet how the world has truly turned into a global village.

Update re Zvennieki - we have decided to go ahead and buy a new cooker, and we will hopefully deliver said cooker in mid March, so if anyone would like to join us - let me know -we need strong persons in order to carry cooker into the kitchen when we get there.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Marita Day

OK all of you ScotinRiga blogspot readers, please put in your Diary Sunday 19th March 2005, at 2.00pm. Place downstairs at Paddies - the reason - to raise money - -WHY ? I here you ask.

Well you may remember that some time ago Harald passed away, leaving a young wife and baby son.

Well since then, and after much reflection, Marita, Haralds partner, has decided that the best thing for her and her son is to emigrate to Australia, where Haralds family has offered support, until such times a sshe can be full.y independent.

However in order for her to get there she needs money for air fares and to have a little money when she arrives in Australia, to give a degree if independence and more importantly - dignity.

So that why we are having a Marita day - to raise money and at the same time to have a good afternoon.

Like Aussie day, there will be a barbeque and S..... (English with hostelry aspirations) has also kindly offered to provide some English fare.

So pass the word around all are welcome. as long as they have deep pockets and/or wallets.

The target is to raise Ls1,000.00 or more - so the more people we can get to attend the better our chances of meeting this target.

If you can make it, or simply wish to make a donation then send me an e-mail or insert a comment

Monday, February 20, 2006

Smiles all around

Take six men, bags of soft toys, shoes and children's clothes, two computers and two printers and ask them to find the Zvannieki home - what do you get ? - apart from getting lost on the way there and on the way back - seriously happy men.

Having endured my navigation skills we finally arrived to be greeted with lunch consisting of spaghetti and sauce. Just what body and soul needed.

As I mentioned before without questions or having to be asked each of the older children then set about with their allotted tasks from cleaning the table to cleaning the dishes.

So to Samta, Sandra and Juris and all of the kids - thanks from the "BIG" boys for a great day out.

The following is a selection of photograph's taken by S..... and myself. But one question where is Aussie J..... - he is nowhere to be seen - I promise it was not intentional - but there is not one picture with him in it.

Now this young man captured the heart of S.... ( Welsh with attitude)

and this is the Lady who makes it all happen - always with a smile

and what do big boys do ?

from nowhere suddenly a computer "experts"

Don't ask why they hung the duck

A skiing we will go !!

doesn't Sandra just have the most amazing smile ?

I make no comment about this one

Willing Hands and smiles

Smiles again ( well B.... was trying his best)

of course there was also less than willing hands !

coffee and biscuits anyone ?

and a little dancing to finish the afternoon off

Thanks to V.. ( Australian) for taking the time to measure up all the work that either needs to be done or is on their "wish" list .

Basically they need /would like New Kitchen, finishing off of interior, extension to facilitate up to 10-12 addition kids ( log cabin perhaps ?)

This week we will get their fixed line telephone reconnected and thanks to Tele2 we will get 10-15 free phones, with a corporate rate discount.

All of the above to be paid from the Smiley bank account - so again to every one involved - thanks - but we need to keep this thing going so spread the word along with the bank account details - Thanks to B..... S..... we raised Ls31.00 on Saturday.

The day was rounded off by way of a few beers - nice one !

Monday, February 13, 2006

Rugby Logic

Scotland wing Chris Paterson said"We have to regroup for England at Murrayfield, but we know we have to keep playing rugby, it's the only way forward."

What else was he thinking of playing ? - Ice Hockey - Netball - What ?, and if it is the only way forward why do they have to pass the ball back ?

and finally one for P.... and the dog

A fellow went into a pub with his dog. They were both keen supporters of their local rugby team and they watched the Saturday match on TV with great interest.

Every time the home team scored a try, the dog barked and yelped with delight. 'What does he do when the other team scores?' asked the barman.

He does somersaults,' said the dog's owner.

'How many?' asked the barman.

'Depends on how hard I kick him!'

Halal of a week

It has been a strange sort of a week - what with the visitation of "Ossie" ( English with Pakistan blood and a love of fish & chips - as well as being a fanatical computer games player) from the UK, who must have the worlds worst musical taste, but then again as he is just a smidgeon younger than me , by about 30 years, it is hardly surprising that we might differ as what constitutes music.

O ..... was here to train a number of local technicians in the workings of a communications product from GSEC1, (www.gsec1.com) - which he did superbly. He rounded his week off by visiting two of Riga's music clubs, needless to say not in my company.

With temperatures averaging around -8 degrees, he found the Riga scene brought tears to his eyes.

Prior to his visit I had improved my technical skills by having to set up a number of local computer networks, during which time I discovered that whoever had written the software for the GSEC1 device has no concept of time, very similar to Microsoft.

You know the feeling - the magic message comes on the screen " Please Wait - this may take a few minutes" - when what they really mean is that this going to take forever, so why do not go and have a coffee. And like everything else which is electronic, when there is real problem, what is the technical solution - Switch it off, wait two minutes (Why ?) and then switch it back on again - seriously technical stuff.

The week has also seen the first of the February Births - on Sunday evening a bouncing baby boy was born to J...... (Latvian - with a singing voice), so one down two to go - P...... ( English with dog problems) and partner Z.... and of course my daughter C........ and her husband A......

And then there was the Wales v Scotland game on Sunday - A l....d. o.. b.......... s - other than the fact that we watched it in perfect peace - Not a clue where the cretins were - arrested on Saturday night ? ( wishful thinking I know).

However for S....... (Welsh with attitude) - I suppose it made up for the previous inept display against England. However makes for an interesting last few six nation games.

Not this weekend though - Saturday will see us of to Zvannieki, to deliver the toys and computers as well as checking out reception on the Tele2 network. For those wishing to join please let me know.

One thing missing from the Riga scene, at least so far, is the long (2 - 3 metres) icicles dangling from the roofs, which come later in the year when the Spring approaches suffer from the gravitational forces from which we all suffer. Usually to impale at least one poor person each year. But so far not a sign !

Speaking of the cold this weekend also the hole in the ice fisherman back on the Daugava trying to catch their lunch. And swooping in amongst them was a skater with a kite attached to him, effortlessly skating all over the place - never seen this before, or at least not in Riga.

For those of you wondering about the blogs title, I spent all week trying to find a Halal restaurant in Riga as O..... is a Muslim, but loves meat ! anybody know of one please let me know - he is back in March !

Monday, February 06, 2006

Attention yea All

In particular all friends of Harold, who recently passed away.

Marita, Harolds partner has after much thought and discussion decided that her and her son's future lies in Australia.

This decision has been reached after Harolds famly in Australia have been kind enough to offer support to both of them, as and when they arrive there.

However in order for this to happen Marita needs cash in order to purchase air tickets and have a little money on arrival.

Unlike the appeal for Zvannieki, this is a one off , with a specific target to raise around Ls1000, so it does not take a genius to work that if 50 people give Ls20 apiece, or 20 people can give Ls 50 apiece we are there. It will not hurt if we raise more.

So to all who knew Harald, and to those who worked with him, now is the time put your hand in your pocket and give his partner and son a fresh start.

When you send the transfer, please mark your payment as "Australia" so that she knows what the money is for

I would ask all you read this , pass the word particularly all Australians.

To those of you who make a contribution - Thanks - his family will be grateful, and Harald from his position on high, will I am sure ensure your kindness is rewarded.

A clean sweep

Since I started this blog, I have given credit to a variety of people who keep Riga working, from the Street sweeper uppers - to the Flag putter uppers, but this weekend I spotted another group, without whom Riga would grind to a stop.

The Tram track cleaners ! - Like all of these people who work outside, they work in all weathers including the -15 degrees we experienced last weekend.

Normally they are simply cleaning the points and removing any muck that has found its way into the track, but at this time of the year they have to ensure that no ice builds up both in the switching points, but also the tracks themselves. Without their relentless cleaning then Riga's trams would simply not be able to function to the level of efficiency that they do.

So to this group of individuals I say thank you and keep up the work.

It goes without saying that the weekend saw another invasion of the cretins, but this however did not stop us from watching the the England v Wales rugby, albeit on the Welsh language station. Sorry S..... ( Welsh with attitude), regretfully the Celtic nation on this occasion were duly stuffed. better news on Sunday when Scotland against all expectations beat France - All of which makes for an interesting game next weekend - Scotland v Wales.

If you are wondering why I did not watch the Scotland v France game - the reason is simple we cannot receive the SKY broadcasts here in Riga. It appears that SKY broadcasts on two satellite channels and of course the one that carries BBC etc and has the Rugby, is the one we cannot get. However we can get the Welsh channel, so we can watch all of the Welsh games, albeit with with Welsh language commentary.

Kind if weird - sitting in Irish pub, in Latvia watching Welsh games with Welsh commentary ! - where else could you get this multicultural environment ?

Now speaking of weird - Can our Welsh person dance ? What say you A..... ( long suffering wife of S......)

Well lets us just say that after a few glasses of Wine/beer -he does a very good impression. Thanks to S..... & A.... for permission to publish.

and finally a question to the gourmets of Riga, is there a restaurant which sells halal based dishes ? any answers to comments please.