Monday, June 05, 2006

Weekend Escapades

Well once again it is Monday (strange how it happens every week), and the weekend brought a weird mixture of weather. Saturday was stunning, beautiful clear skies and wonderful sunshine, and then came Sunday - dull ,overcast and quite cold.

So which day did I pick to go to the Summer Festival at the the Open Air Museum ?- Sunday of course.

For those who have never been to the museum, it is on the top end of Brivibas, and on a nice day it a lovely place to walk, and within the grounds are all sorts of structures ( mainly wooden), showing elements of Latvian life in times gone bye. But frequently, like this weekend events are organised, where Latvian dance, music and traditional crafts, are given the chance to be seen in the open air.

Last weekend saw probably the largest of these events, whereby hundreds of Latvian craftsman are on hand to sell their wares - some of the pottery has a definite "made in China" feel to it, but otherwise, it all looked hand made to me - so from woolie socks - to beautiful dresses (no not for me !) - freshly made bread, some of which I swear you could build a house with - local honey - wicker chairs - even, and this I think was a first - giant wooden bath tub with a built in wood fire heater. What a glorious thought - to sit in your garden - in a hot tub. One thought did strike me - there appeared to be no plug, so how do you get the water out ?

Then there was Harvey ( remember the film with James Stewart) - well here he was , quite an amazing piece of work, with just straw and wire - pretty nifty I thought, and you buy him for a mere LS 100.00 - I refrained.

But the one thing that does strike about these fairs, is the variety and quality of Latvian craftsmen and women, who clearly are determined to maintain their traditions. Not sure making straw rabbits is traditional though !

Also on hand were a host of folk singers and musicians, and I spent a very enjoyable time listening to a young Kokle group on the main stage, which again demonstrated the Latvian ingenuity, when it come to building a covered stage in the middle of a forest - wonder who is missing a parachute ?

As the weather was a little chilly for my liking, I took myself back into Riga to meet with V.... (Australian/Latvian and part time builder) who has finally managed to produce a quote for getting the work done at Zvannieki. It has only taken him two months to get this done, so Lord only knows how long it will take him to actually get the work done.

On a serious note I think we are going to have difficulty in getting good work men out to do this work, so if anybody out there can recommend someone, who has a proven track record in doing good quality work (Brickwork, Joinery, plumbing and electrical) - please let me know. We now have two of the elements needed to get this work done, Money - work schedule - but no workmen.

It appears we had some seriously aggressive cretins in town last weekend, as they managed to get De Lacey's shut down on Saturday evening - and now with the world cup coming up from next weekend, one can only hope that they are all going to Germany - and we will be spared from drunken English supporters here in Riga - I suspect this just wishful thinking on my part - pity.

Personally I am going to support Trinidad & Tobago and Australia.

Oh and for those who missed it Saturday (or it could have been Sunday) was Family Day - Somehow I missed it, but I am told by S..... (Welsh and plays with plastic things) that he came across a open stage in Dome Square with much speech making going on - so I guess I did not miss much.

Also on Saturday was the Riga Half Marathon, where person of various ages were trying to kill themselves, and by the look of some of them succeeding - and down on the Daugava the annual F2000 speedboat racing was taking place. Did not see any of the latter, but I did hear it - and true to form at least according to J..... (Australian wood thingy) - it always rains on the finals day - -Sunday - and it did !

So as you can see a weekend full of various opportunities, for those who chose to see a little of what goes on in Riga, as opposed to simply planting oneself in a bar and watch some meaningless sport - but of course I also did a little of the latter


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