Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I do not believe this !

What in Gods name is going on in the world, those idiots in Brussels ala Strasbourg, having failed for the last twenty plus years to agree where they should meet have now come up with an outstanding piece of legislation, which is going to drive the Scottish nation to drink. And what you might ask is it ? - well first of all this is the headline from the BBC :

"Sporran wearers may need licence"

and why will they need a licence I hear you ask - well
"Kilt wearers could face prosecution if they do not have a licence for their sporran under new legislation which has been introduced in Scotland.
The laws are designed to protect endangered species like badgers and otters, whose fur used to be favoured by sporran makers.
The legislation applies to animals killed after 1994.
Applicants must prove that the animal was killed lawfully before they will be able to get a licence. "
"The maximum penalties for breaking the law are a fine of £5,000 and six months in prison.
Hamish Husband, spokesman for the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, said the legislation could affect fans who follow their national football team."
"Are the police going to take DNA samples from the sporran of every kilted supporter who walks into Hampden?" he asked.
"If that's the case we will need to look into obtaining a licence to cover the entire Tartan Army

I swear the world is going mad - A licence for a sporran !!

Now speaking of the world going mad, well at Latvia at least, last weekend saw the annual ritual of Ligo and Jani, the first celebrating the summer solstice and the latter an excuse for people called Jani to get seriously pissed.
In keeping with great British tradition on Bank Holidays, it duly rained at the appropriate moments like when you lit the barbie, or when you went to light the bonfire.
As many of you will know this is biggest holiday in Latvia, and I felt no sympathy for the visiting cretins who discovered that nearly all bars and restaurants closed on Saturday evening - such a shame ( I think not !) - perhaps last weekends cretins will spread the word that Latvia closes at the weekend.
For my part my first taste of alcohol was on Sunday evening, and I was delighted to find the village hall bereft of any cretins, so a delightful weekend was rounded off with a few beers a quiet chat with J...(Australian wood baron)
Normally by this time, a few days after Ligo, the papers are disclosing the number of deaths caused by drunken drivers, well this year it appears that there were zero, but some 253 were arrested for driving whilst intoxicated. So a step forward from previous years !
So as we now count down the days to Winter nights, a thought for all you budding medical persons. A few weeks ago a stumbled and fell onto to my left should, and ever since have experienced the painful side effects. After an MRI scan last week I went to the vet to get the results and here is what he told me the experts opinion was - Does anybody out there actually understand this stuff ?

MRI of the left shoulder: T1 ax., T2FSE cor., PD FSE cor., GE ax., T2fse sag.
Joint cavity equally in width
A little increase in joint cavity fluid in the intertubercular tendon sheath of the biceps brachii tendon (long head)
Irregular contour of the greater tubercle, raise in the signal intensity zone, rip of the bone structure.
Irregularity of the acromioclavicular joint surface, spondylophyte which influence the supraspinatus muscle.
The rest of the rotator muscle (m.subscapularis, m.infraspinatus, m.teres minor) and it’s ligament with no MRI pathology.
Acromioclavicular joint arthritis with supraspinatus muscle impression syndrome .
biceps brachii tendinitis (long head), left shoulder synovitis .
possible bone rip of the greater tubercle with no dislocation.

Good is it not, anyhow the only bit I understood from all of this, I do not need an operation, just Physio, Ultrasonic and magnetic (??) treatment, and with a bit of luck all will be well in about two months - so that all right !

So to all out there have a good week, and to the reader in Andover, Wiltshire , England who is spending an abnormal amount of time reading this drivel, keep on going as you are keeping my viewing figures up !

Monday, June 25, 2007

World Exclusive !

Last Thursday, and event took place in Riga for which we have been waiting for close to nine months - Patrick O'Brien was born, and weighed in at 4.1 kilo's. And this blog can now release the first picture of said child -
A handsome little chap - must take after his mother !

Anyhow to J.... (Irish - and generous to fault) and his good lady, on behalf of all village members we send our congratulations and best wishes, and look forward to wetting the wee fella's head at the village hall.

I have been somewhat remiss with the blog in recent days, but will update with all the village happenings later today, but wanted to get this world exclusive into the internet world.

Strange but true, in the last year we have now had three babies named Patrick - is this a coincidence ? or is the name becoming popular ?
Patrick J........ (English Dad- Latvian Mum)
Patrick L....... (Latvian Dad and Mum), and now
Patrick O'B...... (Irish Dad and Latvian Mum)`

Now in the case of the latter the name was chosen (a) because it is Irish and (b) The Latvianisation of the name is Patricks -so not to much of a difference.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Help for Zvannieki Needed

This is an appeal to all blog readers, and in particular those who have either an interest in or have in the past supported Zvannieki.
As many of you will know, just before Christmas of last year, they moved from the Old Zvannieki into the new Zvannieki, and at that time the owners of the new Zvannieki agreed that they could purchase the new Zvannieki at a "advantageous price".

Well time has moved on and despite the Smiley Funds best endeavours and that of Juris Calitis, we have been unable to secure the finance to purchase the property.

We have approached local banks, but the key stumbling block is how we can convince the bank that the home can meet the monthly interest payments.

In terms of loan security Juris and Sandra have enough land and properties, to cover the actual loan itself, and would plan to sell all or some of these properties to repay the loan. But all of this takes time, and for obvious reasons if a guarantee of interest payments cannot be made, then the bank does not want to be placed in the position of "repossessing" a children's home.

So if any of you out there have any ideas, or very rich uncles / aunts etc, then please let me know.

The home needs to raise Ls180,000.00 to purchase the home and the surrounding 29 hectares of land, and this would mean monthly interest payments of around Ls700.00.

All of this is beyond the Smiley fund resources.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dear oh Deer

Now here is a question for you " What does the Duke of Bedford and Latvia have in common ?" answer to follow later.

So what of the weekend, well in my stay in Latvia I have attended funerals (to many), weddings - but never a school graduation.

Saturday me saw head for the countryside at the invitation of a friend to attend his sons graduation from school. The son is 16 and is about to start his senior schooling in September.

Well the event was held in the the village hall, and seemed to me to be attended by every member of the village, but I was assured by the proud parents, that only those invited could attend.

The ceremony started at 5.00pm, and each of the graduates strode into the hall - very formal as each was dressed in their best suits and dresses, with each boy accompanying a young lady. I did but wonder what happens when there is a class with unequal number of boys and girls, but never did find the answer.

The all sat on the stage of the hall, and then in turn were called down to make a brief speech, which in the main was giving thanks to their parents and school teachers, and then all of their friends, relatives etc stood in line to present he/she with flowers.

Following this there were speeches by teachers, headmaster, and parents - all giving praise to the students. Now remember this was a small village school, so in total there were only about 12 graduates.

Finally with the formal part over, they departed the just as they had arrived with the boys escorting the girls out of the hall.

Outside each of the proud parents, and their guest lined up to have photographs taken with their children.

In the background an unseen army of helpers were clearing the hall of chairs, and layout out the tables with food, wine, Vodka etc ready for the evening celebrations. Now all of this took about 90 minutes, but when we finally re-entered into the hall - the tables looked magnificent, and food quite delicious. as the only non-Latvian present I cannot say that the conversation flowed, but everyone did their best to make feel welcome, although I did decline the Vodka, but the Moldavian wine was not bad !

Clearly the evening was set too be a long one, but around midnight, one of the guests who I had been sitting next too, announced that he had to go back to the "farm" to feed the animals, and would I like to see them.

Now in the normal course of events this was an invitation that I could quite easily have passed up on, but in this case the animals were Deer, Wild Boars and Ostriches - not exactly your average Latvian animal fare.

So off we drove, fortunately not to far. It was like entering one of those wild life parks in the UK. Massive fenced off enclosures, each with its own group of animals. I was advised that he now has over 100 deer, 80+ wild boar and over 40 ostriches.

And here is the connection with the Duke of Bedford - the original six deer, 1 stag and 5 females all came from the Duke of Bedfords herd in the UK.

Needless to say this farm is not a charity all animal welfare place - it is a commercial farm, so no fairy tale ending for these animals - but quite a place to see - and they do permit visitors, as long as they get advance notice. Unfortunately I did not get any contact details.

So weary and tired I finally got back into Riga around 2.30am on Sunday morning, way past my bedtime, so it is fair to say that Sunday was a "quiet day".

In regards to the happenings at Zvannieki, well young V...(Australian/Latvian - chief kitchen master) has now knocked though the hole in the wall, which act as the serving hatch, levelled the floor, and is now awaiting the ladies of Zvannieki to choose the kitchen floor and wall tiles, as well the delivery of the new kitchen windows and door frames. As ever with V.... projects speed is not the watchword, but I am sure that in the not to distant future, hopefully before the end of 2007 it will be finished ( just joking V !!).

For those not here, the weather over the weekend was beautiful, warm with temperatures up around 28 degrees, so I am sure for many of the village members a time to simply relax, have a few beers in the sunshine, and prepare for another week at work.

Finally a word on the cretins ( Translated English Football supporters) who got arrested last week, and entered into a fray with the local police - I was seriously dissapointed to learn that they got off with a paltry fine and sent back home - Not the message that the Latvian courts should be sending out.

I did hear of one possible solution, it appears in Liejapa, they have an old Russian style "prison" where onne can actually volunteer to spend some time ( Big thing with stag groups apparently?) - now why the authorities simply send them there, make them pay for the privilege, and make the minimum period one month.

I quote from one visitor -
"This jail once housed soldiers of a criminal bent, not political dissidents, and torture was psychological, not physical. After 'check-in', we line up in twos in the cobbled courtyard, as the guard outlines what we can and can't do - basically, we can do anything he tells us to do. We file in, double time, into the dank corridor and are made to squat, hands behind head.

To wipe off any smirks from our faces, a gun is fired into the corridor above our heads to warn us what happens if we try to escape. "

Now that sounds like the place we should send all visiting cretins, for a mandatory few days at the start of their visit.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Why ?

Ok its Friday and the weekend feeling is slowly coming over me ! - but as I sat here in the office, fooling around on the wonderful world of the internet - what do I find ? - this :




and it comes with this sales pitch

"The SenSlip is an innovative concept, designed to promote male sexual health and well-being. With patents pending worldwide, it is practical, comfortable to wear, and most importantly - it works."

SO far so Good - but what is it you might ask ? well our Irish village members might know this man S.K. from Dublin is ? who clearly thinks it is the very thing - I quote

From: S.K. in Dublin........"and I have been wearing it now for about two weeks and I can feel and see the difference........I never realized how uncomfortable I had been not wearing one.......

I promise it is true - but my question is simple - why ? and who in Gods name would buy one ? - but if you are such a person, then this is just the thing for you !

See the world is full of useless inventions and even weirder happenings - So with that thought in mind - have a great weekend

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Who Says ?

A certain person of questionable taste, B.... (English and would be fashion model for Grunge) has had the the temerity to suggest via a comment to this blog that I have a passing resemblance to Sam the Eagle from the Muppet show - Do not see it myself, but comments will be welcome, as long as they are not of a disparaging nature !

What do you think ?

A flighty tale

Last week saw me head back to the UK for a bit of business and a little time with family - but of course to get there involved me in catching a flight. Can anyone remember far enough back when flying was actually fun ? - Well not anymore !

Checking in a Riga airport was as usual a pleasure, but then the fun began. Every time I go to the airport something has changed, and this time the main bar has now become a coffee shop, and so the only place to get a beer is in the main departure area - but as it was 4.30pm it was closed !! - well at least the person who should have been serving was having a "break". After about 30 minutes he condescended to reopen, so I asked for a beer - " Sorry no beer" was the reply, OK said I can I have a glass of white wine ? "Sorry no white wine" was the reply once again. At which point I gave in in - Can anyone tell me what other airport in the world closes the only bar in the airport in the mid afternoon, and then apparently has nothing to sell ? -Me thinks this bar in in the process of closing.
The return leg from Gatwick was equally challenging, albeit for different reasons.
I arrived some 3 hours before departure, only to find the longest queue ever known to man. It was difficult to tell what they were all queuing for as there was a check in for Tallin by Estonian Air, a single check in for Vilnius by Air Baltic, and two unattended Air Baltic Check in desks. Now as I have an extreme dislike of any queue I went over to the Vilnius check in to enquire where the Riga check was, and was advised that it was the two unattended desks and they would be open in 15 minutes, so I parked myself in front - First in the Queue !! - Immediately a significant portion of the major queue moved in behind me. Still at this point the Vilnius check was devoid of passengers. But lo and behold a brave woman came and asked if "this" was the Vilnius check in ? to which the agent replied " I think the sign above me is a give away, as it says Air Baltic Vilnius Check in !" - and once again a whole swathe of the queue joined the Vilnius check in. Why they were standing in other queue I do not understand.
Now the Tallin flight was interesting, as it contained a number of England fans, and everyone of them was checked by the police, with passports being checked, and also to see if they had valid tickets for the game against Estonia.
I had feared that the Air Baltic flight would be inundated by these so called English fans, but fortunately the only group we had was an elderly group of opera buffs, so no problem there !
Now my ticket said Air Baltic, the check in said Air Baltic but the aircraft said Comdoner ( or something like that) which transpired to be a Turkish airline, with Turkish crew, apart from solitary Latvian stewardess. I guess Air Baltic are running out of planes !
One final comment on the joys of air travel, Gatwick Airport is a raving disaster, from check in to the departure lounge it makes Riga look like the queen of airports.
On my return I have learned that another one of village members has been seriously mugged, and is now in hospital, so to S.... (English - with a passion for Chelsea) I trust that you recover soon. Apparently he was smashed with a metal bar, and has a damaged arm.
And yet again De Lacy's has seen the arrival of a group of English cretins, purporting to be English fans, and there behaviour was such that even such stalwarts as J.... (Irish - builder of dream apartments), J.... (Irish - banking magnate) and S.... (Welsh - would be sticker together of bits of wood) all left their drinks and departed due the behaviour of these dipsticks. Thank God they will all be in Tallin tonight (although Estonia has my sympathies), but no doubt they will be back on Thursday night, hopefully the management of the village hall will have the sense just to ban them.
As for my stay in the UK, well the family are all well, and my grandaughter is growing up fast, but what is going on in the UK ?, it is filthy, the streets are covered in cigarette ends, the women in the main are of oversized proportions and the male fraternity all seem to be qualified cretins. Or is it simply I am getting old, and less tolerant of those around me ?