Friday, March 30, 2007

Timely Reminder

As previously mentioned, on Sunday we will formally hand over the mini bus to Zvannieki - and just to give you all a taster as what you , the Smiley fund gang, have all contributed to - see pictures below

So to all of you Smilers, 6:15pm - Sunday 1st April, at St. Saviours Church.

No excuses will be accepted for non attendance, in particular the Heineken cup game between Leicester v Stade Francais, which kicks off at 17.30pm !!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Art deco in Riga

A strange week really, on the sporting side we saw cricket overshadowed by the killing of the Pakistan coach - Bob Woolmer, and in football England once again proved how inept they really are. Scotland on the other hand - like Ireland - have kept their dreams alive for another day, but I fear that in the days to come Scotland at least will have their comeuppance.

Here in Riga, we experienced for the first time (but I suspect not the last) a visitation of mid week cretins. Not content with screwing up the weekend, they now appear to be determined to spoil our little village completely. The weekend cretins were above and beyond their usual low standards this weekend, not content with taking over De Lacy's, and other establishments, -they now overflow onto the street and verbally attack anyone who passes by, with what I can only assume they think is witty banter, but is in reality simply once again a demonstration of British moronic behaviour when abroad.
Needless to say I did not venture forth into the village hall at the weekend, but did manage to find a quiet respite on Mid Saturday afternoon at the village lounge, where at least at the time of my visitation, it was delightfully quiet. However I suspect that when the England v Israel game kicked off the atmosphere would have changed for the worse.
The weather over the weekend was simply stunning with blue skies and warm sunshine, still no sign of any blossom on the trees, but it cannot be far away.
On the Sunday saw a grand day out organised by P.....(horse box trader) on behalf of his son P...... birthday. Held in the Ainavars hotel, P..... once again provided a magnificent feast, with which to celebrate his sons first year.
Saturday saw the last British Airways flight depart from Riga, but as you can see from the image below, no one from BA operations has told the BA Eastern European Marketing team. The email was received this morning !

Ah well it can happen in the best of companies

So this to bring us to future events, well the big news of the week is that on Sunday 1st April we will formally hand over the new Zvannieki mini-bus. So to all of you, who have kindly donated to the Smiley Fund, please make your way along to St Saviours church for 6.00pm on Sunday evening when the presentation will be made.

On Wednesday evening at De Lacy's M....(Swedish technical guru) is hosting the first Ex Pats "casual meeting" not to be confused with the formal one held each month in the steak house. Young J....(Irish landlord of distinction) has consented to provide nibbles free of charge - it should be good night IF the mid week cretins are barred !! - Time is 7.00pm (I think)

Next weekend sees the return of a former village member R..(of pig in a freezer fame) -he is due in at the weekend - so drinks will be on him for his failure to regularly maintain his village member status.

Now one of the great joys of being in Riga, is the sheer variety of artistic capabilities on show and free to the public, from musicians, painters and street artists. So it was with great pleasure that I now note that De Lacy's is giving such support to these visiting artists during their stay in Riga.

A Special room (actually two) has now been set aside where these budding artists can leave their creative expressions for us all to share. The picture below shows just one of these galleries, the main Irish impressionist [painting in the background I believe was donated by the Guinness family), regretfully it covers up what was I thought was a masterpiece of the expressionist style entitled "Ripped Wallpaper" - in particular I would draw your attention to the minimalist frame

It is interesting to note that as far as I know no other similar establishment has followed this example. so once again De Lacy's leads the way ?? Entrance is free and to ensure comfort when viewing the exhibits a seat is provided alongwith a lockable door to ensure complete seclusion.

Personally I found the styles somewhat repetitive - but I am sure it is early days, perhaps a sign of the common background of the visiting artists (or should that be Artists ?)

Finally a special plea does anyone know a Norwegian speaker here in Riga ? if you do please let me know asap

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

One to many

A brief follow on from yesterday's blog, young J....(English Gate Erector), and shortly to depart our shores to visit the lumps of bricks in Egypt, found himself last night in the village hall, (is it my imagination but does he spend his life there ?) - trying to establish if he could watch his beloved Tottenham Hotspur play Chelsea in the FA cup replay at his temporary home or if he had to stay in De Lacy's.

Now clearly this was a tricky question, and even his comments " I would far prefer to watch it at home" did somehow not ring true.

However with the arrival of J....(Irish - and still looking for the treasure) - who was clearly set (again) for a "session".

Anyhow as is my way, I left them to it, with some two hours to go before the kick off, promising to check if it was on local satellite program. Having called him to let him know it was, it became clear that due to a malfunctioning brain - he had entered into a bet with J....( yes another J - and Irish- but renowned Irish Limbo dancing champion) in regards to the winner.

With Ls50.00 riding on the outcome, I am sure that this morning we have one happy Irish Bar owner - so drinks are on him, as I am sure that betting within licenced premises in Latvia is illegal !

Not that I am overly interested, but it does appear that we are heading for a Chelsea v Manchester United Cup Final at the new Wembley.

Last week I heard from our ex village member M... ( New Zealand - plastic flower arranger) - I show below his e-mail :

Good to see that spring has arrived for you in Riga, as I know how much you hate the cold weather.

We had an unexpected storm 2 nights ago and our temperature dropped to just above what yours is now. Well its gone and back with our the lovely sunny weather again and for the weekend - will be 24 to 26c :-)

It would only be an Aussy who would go to such extremes about sheep on a web site - but the problem for them is they also have a hell of a lot of sheep - which mainly live on baron country as they have very little grass ( there full of red dirt & that's why there meats so dry) they have far more of their land mass in baron red dirt than grass country side - not like the lovely green country side of NZ . Well enough about that.

Was interesting catching up on your informative Blogg site in the early hours of this morning.

Larisa is busy as she has been going to school full time since the start of this year studying English & doing really good.

Me well I'm still working around the country and enjoying it, almost away working somewhere in NZ or Aussy as much as I'm home.

Give my regards to all the locals I know and all the staff at Delacy's & my Son - & especially Sergi - and I agree with you about his bloody loud music.


Merv & Larisa

No sign of return to Riga, but good to know that he and his good lady are well and that we are still in there thoughts - once a village member, always a village member.

I will have to go and check to see if there wedding padlock is still on the bridge, but somehow I fear it will have gone.

For all members aways from Riga, be advised that it is a glorious day here, blue shies, sunshine and daytime temperature forecasted to be around 13 degrees.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Fairy Tales are made of this

Its been a funny old weekend for the Irish sporting fraternity, they lose the Six Nations championship, through indiscipline in the dying minutes of the game against Italy, aided and abetted by Scotland donating a try to France, again the dying minutes of their game - and then just as Irish spirits were about to be cast down, along comes their cricket team who proceed to absolutely stuff the Pakistan team, and then proceed to have the biggest Paddies day celebration on the beach in the west Indies - another piece of sporting history is in the making.
Now for those of you who think Ireland has no place in cricket might I suggest that pay a visit to
where you discover an Irish take on the game of cricket, and its place in Irish society, likewise the web site of Clontarf Cricket club

Now for those you who do not have a great knowledge of cricket, far less this one day thing, and have no idea what a silly mid something or another means I publish below a pictorial guide to the position names and where they exist on the field of play
Just to complete this sporting note, Wales (as I forecast) beat England, thereby saving Wales from holding the wooden spoon, and permitting the Village Welsh Person S.... to have something to celebrate - and Scotland are once again left holding up the the championship.

The Irish contingent, apart from young J....(an Irish treasure) all left these shores to watch the game from the comfort of there own homeland, and whilst they shed a few tears at loosing the championship - it was with much glee (and pure amazement) that took from the victory in the West Indies.

For my part I saw none of these sporting events, but a little friend tells me certain village members did indeed manage to watch ALL of the rugby matches, and at the same time became just a little inebriated. Now I do not think I should name these individuals, suffice to say it included one Australian, one Irishman and one Englishman, (all with the christian name intial of J....) as after this marathon consumption - they then proceeded to De Lacy's to take in the Irish music and dancers, all provided by our wee man J.....(Irish with penchant for loose fitting jeans). It must have been a sight to see, as the dancers were positioned outside the toilets with the musicians by the window. I am told that not to many cretins were in attendance, probably due to the fact that entrance cost Ls3.00 !

Now on Friday evening as is our custom we retired to our weekend haunt, only to find it had been invaded by drunken cretins originating from Liverpool. Now normally it takes the cretins a few days before they discover our little sanctuary, but in this case we have an informer in our midst. Young F.... ( Australian hosteler of note) - had apparently informed them of our location and the benefits therein, and had his sidekick take them ! - So please F...., by all means show them the sights of Riga, a service for which you are renowned - but please, please let us have Friday night in relative peace, and take the cretins to another establishment. Fortunately the cretins were escorted away by their guide, such that we could still enjoy a drink and chat in peace. The reason being they were going to invade another establishment at 8.00pm - God help that place.

Now for the regulars amongst you, who will remember we celebrated J.... (English with Welsh tendencies) birthday last week - so below you find a selection of pictures from the evening.

and finally a picture which once again proves that age does not beget sense

Well now that Six Nations Championship is over I can now reveal who won, But first of all, know that no one got 100% right - in fact the best results managed with only three wrong, so as there were a number of persons who managed to get only three wrong, the final outcome was decided on tries scored, so in the time honoured tradition of announcing in reverse order, the result are ( everybody holding their breath !!).

The following was received from S.... (Welsh keeper of the results) this morning ..

4th place with 3 incorrect results but with only 29 tries.........David Sim

3rd spot with 3 incorrect results and a guess of 77 tries.........J O'Neill

Runner-up with 3 incorrect results and a guess of 75 tries..........Brendan Finnegan

The winner with 3 incorrect results and a guess of 60 tries........Andrew Lewis (my son)

There were in fact 64 tries scored.

No one else had less than 4 wrong, although my accountant and best friend (soon to be ex) claimed he got only two wrong with his verbal entries after each round....I told him to F.... off!!!!!!!!

For those who wish to conduct an audit all sheets submitted are available either electronically or on paper. Hope no one thinks I cheated? (Comment - as if we would think of such a thing, nothing at all suspicious about the organiser's son winning - is there ?)

The booby prize without doubt should go to C.....(English who got 7 results wrong and guessed 150 tries would be scored! mmmmmmmmmmmm!

Also special reference to Alan Schofield who only forecasted the results of 12 games and managed to get 6 of them wrong!

So a novel little challenge over with, World Cup next.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Power Play

To all of those not residing within Latvia, let it be know that Spring has Sprung ! - the weather over the weekend and into this week is simply stunning - as I write this the temperature for today is forecasted to be around 14 degrees, with clear skies and bright sunshine - gorgeous !

As you might have gathered last weekend was very much geared to rugby watching, and yet again our Welsh chief of Rugby, S...... was visible by his silence at the end of the Italy - Wales game, so for Wales the wooden spoon is beckoning. Will not dwell to long on the Scotland - Ireland game, suffice to say that a certain Irish person (indeed persons) has had a smile still their faces ever since. Both of these games were played on the Saturday, and our weekend gathering place was pleasantly cretin free - not so Sunday for the England - France - packed with cretins, but fortunately not so bad that we could not enjoy the game.

One has to admire the dedication of rugby fans, one of the village people A... (Bristolian - and seller of dodgy goods) arranged his return flight from Mauritius such that he could get back to watch the game ! - mind you with his new found facial makeup (he claimed it was a sun tan ?) - we nearly did not recognise him.

So all in all a goodly weekend - even if I did somewhat overdo to the beer intake on Saturday - thanks to the generosity of our ever generous Irish person with building aspirations - J.....

On Tuesday we again gathered at the Riga Crematorium for the service for Viestur's father - Juris Jagers. He died as apparently as he lived - in the fast lane - unfortunately in this case it was while he was in a car. He was 78 years of age, and for the funeral his family had flown in from all across the world to celebrate his life. After the service a wake was held where his life was toasted in Tequila - as he had lived for many years in Mexico - T... ( American raconteur - but noted for his quiet demeanour !!) - tried his level best to drink a toast for each of Janis years. So to Viesturs and his family our condolences at the passing of your father, and thank you for allowing us to share in your celebration of his life.

As this is now the fourth funeral I have attended in Latvia, of one thing I am sure, as and when it is my turn, then I will ensure that there is no somber music, no eulogies - just a celebration of my life, such as it will have been - and plenty of good music, food and wine.

After the wake I retired to De Lacy's to partake of a beer ( I had refrained from any alcohol at the wake) - only to find young J....(English wood organiser) - sitting quietly in the far corner- awaiting the start of the World cricket Cup in the West Indies. Now I have to say that I am not a cricket fan - nonetheless I did join him for the first part of the game. I was introduced to the "Power Play" - not understanding what this was - - it was duly explained to me - and as best I can work out it simply means that all the fieldsmen, apart from two, have to stand inside a circle - not sure why this ritual has been introduced, but in any event you can have three "Power Plays" in a game - so presumably the rest of the game is a "Non Power Play" - where the fielders can stand or being cricket sit, anywhere they like. I always associated a Power Play with Ice Hockey - so how did it get into cricket ? - surely not to make it more exciting than it already is - hmmmmmm

Also the TV companies do not like spin bowlers, as they do not take long enough in their run up to allow adverts ! - and how many time can you watch the bowler heaving the ball to the batsman - during my brief watch, in one instance they showed a particular episode replay SIX times !

Now all of this was taking place at 4:30 pm in the afternoon - however as happens every day in De Lacy's - the bar staff changed at 5.00pm. In this case young S....(Ukrainian table ice hockey champion) came on - and as his wont changed the music from middle of road type stuff, into his favourite crap choice( Ok it is my opinion), with of course increased volume. Perhaps his own version of a "Power Play"

Now before I go I will admit that :

1- I am old grumpy with a fixed choice in music
2 - I do not like loud music of any kind
3 - Not all that keen on music in Pubs (But it is mandatory in Latvia)
4 - I was not in the best of moods after the funeral
5 - I was rude in my approach to said barman

Having said all of that, there we were watching the cricket match, up in the far corner of the pub, trying to have a conversation - but to no avail - so I remonstrated to S.... to turn the F.......g music down - Now it may have been my approach and the manner of my request (see 5 above) - but needless to say it failed to get any response.

Now it strikes me that Young S...... has somewhat lost the plot, insomuch that I (we) do not go into De Lacy's to get our heads blown off with music, of whatever choice. In fact more often or not we go into to have a chat, enjoy the food and beer. Now it may well be that in later hours of the evening, or indeed at the weekend when the brain dead cretins are in town, that louder music is appropriate. - But at 5.00pm in the afternoon in the middle of the week?

A pub is a pub, it is not a Disco or Night Club

Perhaps all of this, just indicates that in my elder years my level of tolerance is getting lower and lower -or could it be that my concern has some justification ?

As happens every year at this time, Riga is a city in transition, the trees are awaiting whatever signal that nature gives, to open their buds and let the leave and flowers appear as if by magic.

The ladies recognising that Spring is really upon us, are eagerly heading for their hairdresser to see what is the "in" color this year. As far as clothes are concerned it does seem that pink is the in color this year - everywhere you look the ladies are wearing pink - shoes, boots, skirts, jackets etc (not all at once !)

Tonight we are off to celebrate young J..... (English Gate assembler) birthday - he says that he is somewhere in his Forties. The celebrations will commence at the Village Hall and then move on to Da Sergio's for dinner - photographs of the evening will appear later this week

This weekend sees Paddy's Day - so that combined with the weekend influx of cretins - will I think see me retreat from the city centre this weekend - and if the weather holds then perhaps time for the first visit of the year to the beach, and dream of what I am going to do with my winnings from the grand rugby competition, now that with three games to go I have got 75% of my forecasts right !!

Finally a correction to my last Blog, British Airways flights finish at the end of March NOT February as I incorrectly stated.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Revealing Times

Excited - well I can hardly contain myself (hmmmmmmmmm!) - anyway we are now past the halfway point of the six nations championship, and the 20 souls who spent sleepless nights trying to forecast who would win and who would lose during the course of the championship, and placed there money where their brains were.

So with three weekend results now in hand, time to reveal the current status, as calculated by the depressed Welsh cat flap maker - S.......

But first to the weeks other news, well the main headline is that winter is over ! - we are now basking in temperatures of +1 / +2 degrees - although as I write this a little snow is gently caressing the the skies (now does that not paint a beautiful picture in your mind) - but I suspect it is all in vain - as we have forecast of up to 8 degrees for this weekend.

I spent a goodly part of the weekend wrapped up in bed with a combination of a flu virus and a cold - which has resulted in some of the most obscene cold sores covering my nose and lips (Now there is another picture to paint in your mind !). Thankfully none of this prevented me from having a small indulgent drink over the weekend, although I have to admit it took a great deal of willpower to drag myself down to the weekend watering hole.

I have also received confirmation that the mini bus for Zvannieki will be delivered on the 28th of March - so the grand plan is to present this to J..... (vicar with heart) on Sunday 1st April after the evening service at St. Saviours church. So to all who have contributed you are invited to be there - hope as many of you can make will be there. Time will be around 6.00pm.

Just learned that the colour is white - so the banks logo will be on the front, Smiley logo on the back and the words Zvannieki on both front doors.

Now we all know the Irish are wee bit slow on the uptake - but in the earlier part of last week I was standing outside the establishment, enjoying the early evening air, whilst at the same time trying my best to pollute it with smoke - when I was approached by this young Irish person, who proceeded to take out his wallet and thrust into my hand two hundred Lats, explaining that he had missed the Zvannieki Christmas function, but he would like to make a contribution now, albeit three months after the event.

So to A..... (Irish property magnate and one time lawyer) a big thank you, and your contribution is now ensconced in the bosom of Rietumu bank

Next week will see the return of young I.. (Recently won award for best dressed Scottish accountant) - he hopes to arrive on or around the 13th March - so all of those amongst you, including myself, who have missed his wit (pronounced - wallit)-I am sure he will be delighted to procure a drink or two within the confines of De Lacy's.

On the local scene, again I have to say quiet weekend, interrupted only by a group of cretins and cretinites from the Manchester locale, who suffered from an inability to understand simple signs - like NO SMOKING ! - thankfully they were escorted from the premises, and from what I could understand - never to return.

OK I hear you cry enough of this boring stuff - what is the state of play in Six Nations contest. Well no names at this time but I am sure you can figure out where you are

100% right - 0

one wrong - 0

two wrong - 8

three wrong - 9

four wrong - 1

five wrong - 1

I will refrain from naming the individual who has got five wrong, but if per chance he reads the blog this week - Happy Ski-ing !!
I learned this morning that V...... (Doctor of distinction), father died last night in a car accident. I never had the chance to meet with him, but from the tales V..... told of his father's exploits in his latter years, it seemed he lived life to the full. But to V...... and his family - my condolences.