Monday, March 17, 2008

All Change !

The one thing about the world and Riga in particular is that it never stands still, and this was never more true than in regards to our local hostelries. It all started last year with the closure of our village hall - De Lacy's, then Tom McShanes morphed into The Victory, complete with pole dancers.

Now this weekend saw the closure of The Dickens, to make way for a fashion shop/store. Apparently the fittings are being shipped off to St. Petersburg. So now we are left with the village lounge, but even here it looks as if life will change this year, as the existing lease runs out in the latter part of 2008.

So within the space of 12 months Riga may well loose all of the so called English/Irish bars, and could well become the only capital city in Europe not to have at least one proper "pub". Sorry I cannot call the Stella bars a pub, even though they proudly claim this title on there doors. But it could well be that they may become the only place left.

Saturday saw the village lounge play host to a group of visiting folks from Ireland, and in sharp contrast to the Scottish cretins of last weekend, they truly added to the atmosphere when watching the rugby, and what a feast it was, with the usual performance from Scotland, a marked improvement from England, and the daddy of them all, Wales taking the championship in fine form with a convincing win over the French.

Our Six Nation championship competition has as far as I can determine produced no outright winner, as on the list that I maintain we have three people win 11 correct results. However I must await further information from our Welsh adjudicator S...... as to the results from the Welsh competitors, as just maybe they have produced someone with 12 correct answers - Watch this space.

Now today is St. Patricks day, and the village lounge has gone overboard with its Irish decorations - well actually they put up some green balloons, and the omnipresent Guinness posters. However by Thursday night the majority of balloons had burst ! - and I suspect most of the Irish visitors will have headed back home, so it will be interesting to see the attendance tonight. Regretfully I will not be in attendance as I am working the night shift, but as ever the village members will keep me posted.

Well not for the first time, I got the above wrong, first of all I did attend at least until 7.30pm, and there was indeed quite a few Irish persons inside the lounge to celebrate St. Patricks day, albeit that they were two days late !, as I understand that in order to avoid conflict with the Easter religious celebrations, Ireland had decided that this year the official Paddies day would be held on the 15th February !

It was also noted that none of the Irish village members were in attendance, or not when I was there - however I understand that the alchohol free Irish Ambassador had organised a black tie "Irish" night. Bet that was a bundle of fun !

Not that this seemed to have any effect on those attending ( at least in the early part of the evening), as one poor sole had nearly lost his voice since his arrival in Riga - but that was not going to affect his consumption.

Now does anybody recognise the Pixie in the tall hat ?

Finally a message to Singapore Airlines - You S..k !!! - why you might ask, well last year I registered to fly on the first A380 flight into London, and guess what the damn thing arrive today in London - and where am I? - in Riga. Did I receive any notice - NO !!!!!. So now I suppose I am going to have to see how I get my deposit back

Late notice on the Six Nations competition - WE HAVE A WINNER, with a forecast of 11 correct results (tying with two others) and with the nearest forecast of tries scored - 53 against the actual number of 50. So well done to C.... (English with penchant for nightclubs and free drinks).

Finally a lady from the past re-appeared last night - Young L.......( Latvian/Russian lady - married to M... and living in New Zealand). She is back in town until May - but no sign of M...
!! - good to see her and she looked stunning

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tales of the unexpected

Now who would have forecast the way that both Rugby and Football played out last weekend ? As we sat down to watch the Ireland v Wales, all expectations were for an Irish victory. Indeed in our little Six Nations competition only two forecast Wales to win ( both being Irish I might add !) and as for the Scotland v England game, here it was four persons who had Scotland down to win, me of course along with another two Irish and one Englishman.

Now I have to say that neither of these games were classics, but for Wales it means that next weekends match against France in Cardiff, should be a cracker ! for Scotland of course we all know about our record in Italy !!

For me the afternoon was spoiled by the arrival of a group of Scottish cretins, who seemed determined to drink the place dry, and given my low level of tolerance by such morons I took myself off home to listen to the Scottish game - A pity, but for the life of me I do not understand the rational of the lounge management, who seem to tolerate this kind of behavior. Not least of as there were some women in the bar, and the language was up to the usual high cretin standard.

Perhaps it is just me, and my age - but why these louts are allowed into the country escapes me, and personally I felt ashamed to be Scottish !

Sunday was totally different for the France v Italy game, a few young French persons, R...(new Zealander of verbal notoriety), his good Lady D.... (Latvian with artistic talent), C.... (English would be tree surgeon). The game itself was entertaining with the Italians refusing to capitulate, but eventually outclassed.

Briefly on the football side was it not refreshing to hear that none of the so called big four will be in the FA cup final, but as ever the bleating of the defeated managers that they were "robbed" by the referee. Again demonstrates the difference between Rugby and Football. For me it is quite simple some decisions go with you , and some against, but at the end of the day the reality is simple, if you do not score you cannot win !!

A final footnote on Reading, as they have now won two games in a row and climbed away from the so called relegation zone, albeit there is only three points in it.

This week sees the sale of tickets for the Latvian Song Festival to be held in July, tickets are on sale as of 10.00pm - Monday 10th March. So if anybody would like to attend this simply amazing event visit - but be quick ! - Sorry you are to late as all tickets were sold by 13.30pm !!!!

One thing I did note over the weekend was the number of cretins that were in town, every pub at least on Saturday was mobbed, so our looks like our (my) hopes that they had moved onto other parts of the world are dashed. Not helped of course this weekend by a huge write up about the Village lounge in the monthly free newspaper "Baltic Guide" - which of course is available in every hostelry in Riga.

Now I can reveal that one of the great mysteries has now been resolved, Is it possible for two Irish men to drink 34 pints of Guinness ? - well of course the normal answer would be a resounding YES ! - but on this occasion it has proved to be false. A week or so ago at an establishment whose name I will not reveal the establishment concerned, but it is known to all. The Irish + Mexican contingent were having a few beers to celebrate the birthday of a local bar celebrity. When the evening came to a close they were presented with a bill for the 34 pints, but with clear indignation they suggested that perhaps a wee mistake had been made. But at that moment the staff involved took refuge behind the computerised bar till, and indicated that computers do not lie. But as was to prove the case later - garbage in equals garbage out.

Now instead of printing a detailed bar bill, all that that miscreants could obtain was a simple bill showing the total. Now to make a long story short, it was finally established that instead of entering into the till 2 pints, the number entered was 22. A simple mistake when you are working with a modern touch screen computerised screen. But the question has to asked why did it take so long to resolve what was a simple error ?.

Anyhow all has been fixed, but it does serve as a lesson to check your bar bill if you are running a tab, or alternatively just pay as you go.

Now to be fair to all concerned this is the first time I have ever heard of such a mistake ( or at least one of this size).

So there we are another week has passed, and still no word from our New Zealand ex village member, nor indeed from that other ex member now hiding himself in Nigeria.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Birthday Girl

Now it is not for me to give away a ladies age - So I will not, but yesterday young I..... (Latvian bar manager of note) celebrated her newest birthday at the Stella bar, in which she now works.

It has to be said she was not looking her usual self, as earlier in the day she had taken herself of to the hairdressers, in order to look her best. Well all I can say is that the hairdresser clearly has a Shirley temple fixation. Check it out for yourself. As ever the Irish contingent were in attendance and no doubt set to make it a memorable night for all concerned. For my part and giving respect to my age I retired back home.

And as our Mexican/Latvian village compadre heads for London for his interview to become a student (again !) - Can I take this opportunity to wish him all the best on Thursday, so if you get a chance around 1.30pm our time, give your best thoughts.

Finally, I have on many occasions had to refer to the state of toilet facilities in some of our local hostelries, but this one takes some beating. Apparently they offer limited WiFi coverage within the premises but have found that the toilet provides the best. Needless to say it could only happen in ......... ( guess where ?)

A clue think of the land of the brave and T.....(the bearded wonder)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Another one bites the dust !

Well I suppose it was inevitable, but as we have sat back over the last few months in the hopeful expectation that De Lacy's Mark 2 might arise, I can confirm that this will never happen. I happened purely by chance to meet up with our small but illustrious former host J..... (Irish with penchant for oversize jeans) this morning, as he and his good lady + son were making their way to the Tax office in Jerusalem iela (An Irishman going voluntary to the Tax office - now that's a first !)

Anyhow the bottom line is that he is heading back home in three weeks, for good ! - As I suspect we might be missing a farewell party I will take this opportunity to wish him and his family well back in Cork or wherever they settle, and thank him for providing us all with a village hall for which we all still remember with fond memories. A passing of time brings with such sweet sorrows .

So now we are down to the village lounge or the new Stella bar, for the latter whilst the service is excellent and the choice of beers (regretfully not mine) wide - the place lacks a certain ambience. Although I did while away a few hours on Saturday watching the Harlequins rugby match, in the company of the lone Irish village member J....(teller of tall tales, but builder of small buildings). Whilst we watch the game, listening to the commentary was difficult simply due to the background noise. Not that those from the UK limited were particularly noisy whilst watching the football, just that the acoustics are so bad that you feel you are sitting in a empty hall where any noise just bounces around the walls.

Anyhow in search of a beer to my taste I took myself back to the village lounge to watch the Cardiff Blues v Munster - Now was this game a possible indicator to next weekends match of Ireland v Wales ? - well as Cardiff managed to snatch victory almost in the dying minutes of the game, it will be interesting too see the effect it has (if any) on the result in Dublin.

Speaking of results did anybody notice that Glasgow beat the Ospreys last Friday night, or did it slip below the radar of a certain S.....(Welsh - with Osprey aspirations). No doubt we will here some lame excuse that it was a second team, as it appears the vast majority of the Welsh team play for the Ospreys. However that excuse will not change the result !

Now on a non rugby front, a thought passed through my mind whilst meandering in the park. How to have a fund raiser for Zvannieki in the summer ? - and it came to mind that amongst the village members we do have some who have connection in the entertainment world, in particular the music industry. So would it be possible to organise a concert ? Anyhow I have approached the individuals concerned to see if would be at all possible. But if any one out there has a an idea for the summer please let men know. Speaking of Zvannieki it will come as no surprise that our Latvian kitchen builder, has still not finished, and I suspect it will be a long time before we see him again.

So with young V....(Australian/Latvian - ship repairer of note) now heading back for a cruise from the Canary Islands on Wednesday, our only direct contact is gone for a few weeks. So if we have any budding kitchen fitters out there - I need your help !!

Now I may have mentioned ( but cannot remember) that dropped into our midst is a young Scottish lass, working it appears as an nanny for a senior member of one of our illustrious banks, P.....x. Now while I have seen her on a few occasions, usually in a state of serious inebriation, she appeared last week in the village lounge, but as you can see from below, nobody took the slightest bit of notice of her attire ( or the lack of it !)

Well apart from the Irish with there usual charm !

But if any of you needed convincing that this has been a mild summer, then this young lady's handkerchief ( sorry blouse) should convince you - this was on February 29th, which of course as we all know is the one day when a lady may make a proposal to a man, but your avid reporter did not listen in to the conversations.

Have a good week !