Monday, January 08, 2007

Under the Weather

Well 2007 is firmly with us, and to celebrate I instantly came down with the flu, and spent the best part of three days in in our around bed - what a start !

Whilst convalescing, I did think back to 2006, and some of the village people that have departed for one reason or another. Not in any particular order

Massimo - Italian bullshitter, apparently escaped to the shores of America, and the best I can say is that they are welcome to him. For someone who we all liked it was sad that his departure was in such disappointing circumstances.

Ron - American Marine bullshitter - again just disappeared, but suspect his demeanour and that of his military superiors were incompatible.

Timothy - English - murdered, but to the best of my knowledge no individual was prosecuted. WHY ??

Harald - Australian/Latvian - died on his feet, wife Marita and his son now in his homeland.

Chu - Malaysian, burner of books- missed by all, but returned to his homeland to seek fame and fortune.

Michael - Irish & Head Honcho of the Bank - departed to his homeland, but still returns with a fair degree of frequency.

Ian - Scottish - Bean Counter Entrepreneur - promises to come back soon when the weather is cold - -he likes to wear his rabbit hat !

Finally, although long since gone I did get a reminder from our ex village New Zealander - M... and the lady he absconded with L....... - clearly they are all doing well and L....... has now become an official KIWI - so good to know we have not been forgotten by the down underers.

I always thought Ned Kelly was Australian ?
- prizes for the best captions to go with the above pictures

I do not think I have missed anyone, but if I have, my apologies. As ever life just goes on, and people wander into and out of the the village, but all of them in their own way leave their mark - good and bad.

Now with the final total of the Smiley almost to hand I can reveal that thanks to the generosity of so many people and companies, we raised a total of Ls 1570.00. I will be sending a mail out shortly with a list of donors - however I can advise all that the New Years party organised by U.. (Australian/Latvian bean counter) and J.....( English/Latvian disk jockey), raised Ls129.00 for the cause.

One question for local readers has anyone heard what happened to our British artist, who desecrated the Freedom Monument ? - is he still locked up ?

Spent Saturday afternoon, playing at being a house remover, on behalf of the four Somalians who have staying at the Lutheran Church in Old Riga. But thanks to his most Christian Lutheran Archbishop of Riga, they have been kicked out. They are now staying at a purpose build ( c/o of EU funding some three years ago) at refuge hostel on the outskirts of Riga.

I have to say it is a modern and well equipped building, lacking in only one thing - REFUGEES !! - it has never had any. Where was it when the Somalians were in fact real refugees ?- but I guess the Latvian bureaucrats decided that it was better to keep them locked up in Olaine.

The building is now used for single parents and anyone else who is need of shelter. The occupants are wholly funded by the state - EXCEPT of course for the Somalians, as they are (1) No longer refugees and (2) are not deemed to be in dire straights.

On speaking to Farouk (one of the older Somalians) - it transpires that they are all working in hotels as waiters etc. Two of them were employed by the hotel Konventa Centa, but for the first three months were paid Ls 45.00 per month !!! and then this was increased to Ls 120.00 per month. In both cases well below the minimum monthly wage set by the Government - do you think someone was taking advantage of them ?

Anyhow life is moving on for them, and Farouk at least has now moved on to working in a Casino, again as a waiter and working a night-shift 5.00pm - 5.00am, for Ls 25.00 per night - so while the nights may be long, he is clearly determined to earn and save as much as he can, in order to build a life here in Latvia - Good on him and indeed the others.

For anyone who is remotely interested - the weather is still mild, and shows no sign of relenting - apparently it is all down to the El Niños - now did you know that there cold and warms ones ?

Well a warm one is called El Niños and a cold one is La Niñas - so now you know !!

May the bug be with you !


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