Thursday, August 23, 2007

In Memory of days gone bye !

It is with regret that I have to advise that on Saturday 18th August 2007, the village hall closed its doors for good. Now you may ask what effect has this had on the village people, well to put it simply we are lost ! - where to go ?
Some have been spotted in Livi square in one of the outdoor bars, but this will only last for as long as the weather holds out.
Even sadder is that it appears that there will be no second coming. Our beloved bar owner - J..... (Irish - with growing aspirations) is planning (or so I am advised) to desert us in our hour of greatest need, and return to his native country. So having taken our money for the last few years, he is taking his ill gotten gains and heading for home. Well disappointed as we are, I am sure we all wish him and his family well for the future.

So what are the alternatives - Tim Mcshane's - No - its closed, Amsterdam Bar - No - its closed Dickens - No - its closing (ok - it is moving to Brivibas at some stage) - So it looks as if the original home for many of us, way back in the mid 1990's - Paddy Whelan's will once again become our home. Now whether or not it will be upstairs or downstairs is still to be answered.

No the sad reality is that there is not a real alternative to De Lacy's, it had become the spiritual home for all of us. A place where you could be assured of meeting someone, have a chat and enjoy a good beer. Even if it had become a home from home for the visiting cretins at the weekend.

So to all of the village people we need to make a decision - where shall it be ?, - please post your suggestions on the comments link below. If we fail then we end up as a group of individuals and not a village community.

Now elsewhere during the last few weeks the activities in Riga have been far and few, but in the last weekend of August saw the return of the Formula 2000 boat race on the Daugava. It transpired to be a beautiful day, and saw a fair gathering on the banks to watch the race.
Two weekends ago saw the 805th anniversary of the city of Riga, in addition to the various concerts around the city, the F2000 power boat race was held on the Daugava. Not the greatest spectacle in the world, but on a glorious Sunday afternoon, a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

Not sure who won, as the race seemed to involve going round in circles, and avoiding crashing into the walls on either side of the river ! - So after watching a few circles, I retreated to Paddies to enjoy a Sunday afternoon beer.

Now on the Zvannieki front - we have a problem. As will all know the Rietumu Bank has for the last three years been a staunch supported of the home, Indeed over two years ago they gave a substantial sum ( Ls 4,000.00) for the refurbishment of the kitchen, with promise of a further Ls 3,500.00 once work was underway. Well due to the home being relocated, work on the kitchen did not start until this summer, thanks to V.... (Australian/Latvian - builder of repute). Unfortunately also this summer saw a libelous article published in a Russian rag called the Republika, which claimed in effect that sexual abuse was taking place at the home. Of course it was all rubbish, but it did come to the attention of senior staff within the bank, which appears to have resulted in the bank withdrawing the offer to provide the second installment of Ls 3,500.00. We cannot blame the bank as clearly they took the article at face value, it is just a pity they did not contact either myself or the vicar to get the real facts.

Now as you can imagine when we started the project it was with a budget of Ls 7,500.00, of which to date we have spent the original Ls 4,000 from Rietumu + Ls 800 from the funds raised by the Smiley fund. So at this time the Smiley fund is effectively broke, and therefore not in a position to complete the kitchen. So we need to take action to raise as much as we can to make sure that the kitchen gets complete before the end of Autumn. So to all readers and supporters of the blog and Zvannieki can I please ask that if you have any ideas on how to raise funds please let me know, or if you have sum cash to spare then please send to the Smiley fund bank account.

On a happier note this weekend sees the start of the Rugby World Cup, and the the manager of the village lounge has agreed to show as many of the games ( if not all) as possible, starting with the opening game on Friday evening at 10.00pm local time.

And finally a word for the good lady A..... ( Welsh and wife of a Rugby mad, dog flap maker) - this picture is just for you. Taken at the grand opening of A.... (Bristolian owner of biggest Australian Barbie in Latvia) home on Saturday last - the question is "What kind of plant is it ?"

Now that world has returned to something close to normality I will hopefully once again return to updating the blog on a regular basis. For those here in Riga over the next few months a selection of "events" which you may be interested in.

Swingle Singers 5th November - Latvian Opera House

Elvis Musical "The King" 6th November - Congress Nams

Alice Cooper/Foreigner 1st December - Riga Arena

Joe Cocker 7th December - Riga Arena

Vanessa Mae 12th December - Riga Arena

Friday, August 17, 2007

Soothing Lips ?

First of all to all those poor soles who have been missing there weekly blog injection, my apologies. Suffice to say the last few weeks have been a bit hectic, and there was just not the time to get blogging. And now to the events of the last few weeks starting with a possible disaster - De Lacy's is closed (well almost !). On Sunday 12th August a final party was hosted by our genial little Irish type person J....., ably assisted by the bar staff I......(Latvian and a secret user of vaseline!), S.....( Ukrainian music master).
Just to prove us all wrong, the bar was closed to cretins at 5.30pm, with only the village people allowed in, and then to our total amazement it was announced that food and drinks were on the house !! For my part I left the celebrations early, around 9.30pm, but I am advised that the party itself did not finish until the wee hours of Monday morning.
During the latter part of the evening/morning the local constabulary visited in response to complaints about the noise -and just to add a bit of colour to the whole proceedings, it has been mentioned that certain members of staff and village persons took to dancing on the table and the bar - regretfully I have no pictorial evidence of these goings on. But below are few of the images I captured, whilst those of a more sober stance were still in evidence.
As young I...... (Latvian Vaseline addict) had taken to serving me only large G & T's, as within minutes of my arrival they had run out of Kilkenny, I was forced to take matters in hand and serve myself, and if I may so the beer was pored with some skill !
But on behalf of all the village people to J..... and the staff thanks for a wonderful night, even if you are not actually closed ! - That's right, whilst the kitchen is closed De Lacy's at least for an indefinite period will remain open to serve us with our favourite tipple, always assuming that they have any left. Only the Irish the could hold a wake, and then find the body is still alive !
Now this picture is one to set any landlord into a serious state of panic, taken at evening peak time, De Lacy's was EMPTY, well apart from me and the girls, for me paradise for J..... (Irish philanthropic) a disaster.Now staying on the subject of De Lacy's, until young J..... (Irish ) mental breakdown, and the associated provision of free food and drinks, it was well known that he was one to watch the pennies, or in the case of Latvia santimes, indeed it has been said that he make a Scotsman look like a free spender. An ongoing example of this is shown below, given that he new that De Lacy's was in the process of closing he has refrained from any capital expenditure, particularly on toilet fittings - hmmmmmmm !Now this image was captured in the weekend village hall, not sure if I would care to taste the contents, because if they cannot spell what it is, lord only know what it tastes like.

Now staying on strange things, this sight was recently caught on camera, now it would be unfair of me to mention the name of the person. However I would make but one comment - I do not think this exercise regime of yours is working, or if it is - it is only working from the waste down !So what else has been going on in the village, well to be frank not a lot, the was a second appearance of the Phantom of the Opera (or Spoks in Latvian), again held outside, but this time close to Kongress Nams. But as you can see it did not exactly capture the hearts and minds of Riga finest.

Now you be wondering from the above why young I......(Latvian and our favourite barmaid) has apparently developed a secret crush for Vaseline. Indeed she is actively an encouraging a respectful man B...... (Irish fashion magnate) to smuggle it into Latvia. Now what weird and perverse reason could she have ? - when challenged she claimed it was to put on her lips !! , but if this was these case why three tins of the stuff ?? - that is a lot of lipsmacking.

And finally and I do not want to been to be starting rumours, but watch for developments at a well known bank- as in recent times a senior executive, J.... (Irish rocker and sailor of note) with the responsibility for counting the banksmoney, was heard to be asking if he could borrow money !!