Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Aur Cymru

Once upon a time, in mists of time, their lived in Welsh Wales a man who claimed he found the spirit of life - whisky, and set about making same.

Now all of this was a long time ago, perhaps when dragons still roamed the Welsh countryside. Well after all of this time once again a Welsh Whisky has appeared - Penderyn - www.welsh-whisky.co.uk , if you would like to read the early history of the company - which is quite fascinating, then visit - www.cynonvalley.co.uk/whisky/

"Like Welsh gold, Penderyn single malt Welsh whisky is a rare and precious commodity. This golden malt signals the welcome return of whisky distillation to Wales, after an absence of over 100 years. The last genuine Welsh whisky distillery closed its doors at the end of the 19th century, but now after so many barren years, connoisseurs are promised a precious seam of golden Penderyn Welsh Whisky"

And where you may ask did I come across this rare gem ( well if you like whisky) - at the Welsh Trade delegation visit to Latvia, in a social gathering at the Blackheads House.

I was there out of pure curiosity, but S..... (our budding Welsh cat flap entrepreneur), was there to meet with fellow countrymen and to sample the Welsh delights on display, including Lava Bread (made from seaweed -so do not ask !) - pancakes (of the miniature variety) and a fair selection of Welsh Cheeses.

So the Hoi Poloi of Latvian /Welsh/English/Scottish society gathered to sample these delights, but first of all we had to listen to the various delegates, both Latvian and Welsh sing mutual praises of each other, finally it was Professor Brian Morgan who introduced us to the art of whiskey tasting/drinking - and with great aplomb we duly tasted the golden nectar.

Now after these more formal sessions, the idea was that we should "network" with the various Welsh businessmen to see if mutual befits could be realised. However this coincided with introduction of another piece of Welsh culture - music - in this case, in the shape of a group called Radio Luxembourg, who proceeded to drown us with noise, welsh noise mind you ( they sang in both Welsh and English - not that you could tell the difference) - which effectively killed any possibility of conversation.

When they had finished - S...... seeking to get their autographs I think, then started to engage them in conversation (not in Welsh) - anyhow an interesting bunch of musicians, and all strong supporters of the Welsh language.


Suitably refreshed with Welsh delicacies we then retreated as was our wont, to De Lacy's to finish off what had proved to be an interesting evening.

The weekend brought about a surfeit of Rugby, which was enjoyed in the upstairs of P..... W....., so a big thank you to them for providing us with a relatively quiet environment to watch, and I would encourage all who enjoy Rugby to support the managements endeavours to provide us a place to watch, because at the end of the day the pub is a commercial enterprise, and if they do not get enough regulars to watch, then it will return to its bad old ways of just showing football, and therefore the cretins will win again !

The weekend also saw the first dip below zero degrees, so it was back to wearing of the vest (no tights as yet !) - and with a forecast of between -10 to -12 degrees this weekend, I think we can safely say that winter is upon us. We have also had some fairly strong winds this week, which must be driving the leaf sweeper upperers mad, as fast as they sweep them up into little bundle, then SWISH or is it SWOOSH ?- they are are scattered asunder !! - so off they go again.

And just as the leaves are disappearing from the trees, so the cars are once being covered in bird s..t - you never seem to see it at any other time of the year, but the warning is quite clear - do not park underneath trees - or else ! - must be a Latvian bird thing ?

Remembrance Sunday is coming soon, so if anyone would like to join in going to Jelgeva, please let me know - hopefully this time I will not get lost.

Zvannieki has a minor crisis last weekend - absolutely no transport, due to all vehicles for one reason or another being out of action - but hopefully they have now managed to get some, if not all back in action.

To avoid repeating the happenings of winter in Riga, then please check out the blog this time last year, as it will be the same this year ! - so only new and hopefully interesting stories will be written up.

Please Note J... (Irish personage with no drinking problem - he can do it every day !) - is trying to organise a Christmas dinner around 14th December, so if you would like to attend please let him or myself know.

- and finally this Tuesday 2nd November 2006, saw our first sprinkling of snow, and overnight forecasts of -12 degrees for this weekend, now that's more like it ! - Riga in the snow - a true picture postcard image - I love it ( if you believe this you clearly have not experienced the sub zero temperatures or the total inability of Latvian drivers to cope with driving in the snow.) Technically (and legally) as of 1st November all cars are supposed to have "winter" tyres fitted and a plastic warning notice stuck in the rear window, to advise other motorists that they do have "winter" tyres fitted. Reality ? - some have stickers, but no winter tyres, others have winter tyres and no sticker, and majority have no sticker and no "winter" tyres - a recipe for disaster.

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