Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Green, Green grass of home

And lo if you wait long enough then all things change, ( well sometimes), but I have to confess my surprise over the recent recent proclamation by Riga City Council, that the inhabitants of Riga will (for a trial period !) from June 2nd be permitted to walk/sit on the grass in Riga's many parks. But however this decision is not without it critics as one member of the parks council, Agnis Kalnkazins was quoted as saying during a debate with Riga mayor " I do not think the citizens of Riga are not cultural enough to be allowed onto the parks grasslands ". Now I never gave a thought to the fact that you needed to be "cultural" to take benefit of walking or sitting on grass - but you live and learn ! - In any event in the years since the ban was introduced I know of only one sign indicating that you cannot walk / sit on the grass - but you have to admire the citizens of Riga for accepting this rule,as it is a rare occurrence to see anyone on the grass.

Last weekend saw a small group of the village people (only three) gather to watch the final of the Heineken Cup, between Munster and Toulouse. As usual we made our way to the village lounge only to find that two football matches were in play, one Scottish and one English, the former being watched by the most cretinous group of Scots one could wish see, or as was the case hear !! - and as as no one from the village lounge was prepared to give a guarantee that we would be able to watch the Rugby, we duly took our leave and headed across the road, where we duly enjoyed in relative peace and quiet the Rugby. Now I have to say this establishment is not to my liking as I have indicated before - similar atmosphere to a deserted disco - with acoustics to match. But given the apparent indifference of the staff / management of the village lounge I fear that it will be a while before we return, although I suspect that as it is the only place in Riga that sells Strongbow Cider, then for some the temptation will prove too strong.

Following the game we retreated to have a barbie on the balcony ( only five floors up) and then (and this was with four grown men) we watched the Eurovision Song contest. Now I do not know if this is simply a sad reflection on the state of us village members - for not only did we watch, we actually watched right through until the end of the contest and the voting. So I suspect we are the only group of rugby followers who after the game watched this song contest. I cannot imagine any of the respective supporters be it in Cardiff, Limerick or Toulouse who rushed home after the game to watch this travesty of a contest. Ah who said life was dull in Riga !! For obvious reasons I will refrain from indicating who the rest of this sad group of village members were for fear of wholly ruining whatever reputations they might have.

For my part last week saw me once again begin to take Latvian language lessons, this time courtesy of D.... (American - long distance cyclist) who is owner/ manager of the International Language School. Also attending is C... ( English - fondness for cable extraction) - but after the first lesson he promptly disappeared back to the UK for three weeks. I will keep you updated on my progress - but this could take awhile !

Also learned this week that a former village person, indeed one of the first P....(New Zealander -- now Indian entrepreneur) will be celebrating his 50th birthday in July at his "chateau" in France. Unfortunately his birthday is actually in October - but he clearly suffers from the reverse Latvian time syndrome,as is holding the part early. But Anyway Happy Birthday P.....

As ever it my wish where possible to provide good and beneficial advice in the art of living and I have to thank J.... ( Australian - suffers from erection problems - houses that is) for the following medical piece

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true? A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap. Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables? A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products. Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake? A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up! Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio? A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc. Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program? A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!
Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! .... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you? Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle? A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach. Q: Is chocolate bad for me? A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around! Q: Is swimming good for your figure? A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me. Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle? A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape! Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. And remember: 'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO, What a Ride' AND..... For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies. 1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than British. 2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than British 3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than British. 4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than British. 5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than British. CONCLUSION Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Personally it all sounds good advise to me, and after many request from the football fraternity, and even from those who are not I have been asked to make this video available.

Have fun !!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Trivia from downunder

First of all a brief update on the cretin situation in Riga - THEY ARE BACK - with a vengeance, fortunately over the last two weekends the weather has enabled them to to pack their backsides in the open air, where with beer prices ranging from Ls1.00 - Ls2.20, they can get noisily polluted whist giving voice to there inconsequential songs - much I fear to the annoyance of the more "normal" Riga tourists who are also seeking to enjoy the good weather.

Now whilst on the subject of visiting cretins, I have in previous blogs mentioned the fact that from time to time ( well ok every weekend) someone is either subjected to physical or monetary violence, much of which goes unreported in the local press. Well for those who have knowledge of such events there is now a way of getting this information out into the world.

Still beta test is a website , where you can report various crimes and show exactly where they happened.

So even if the local press or UK National press choose to ignore the goings on in Riga, then perhaps we can all do our bit to let the world know the darker side of Riga.

Last weekend saw my genes extended into another generation with the birth of my first grandson - Max, so now I have two grandchildren, and I am barely into my sixties !

On the domestic from various rumors abound about the opening of a new "home" - but like all of these rumors seeing will be believing, but we live in hope.

On the domestic scene as ever not a lot is happening, in fact it is decidedly boring, and to add to my woes poor old Reading are heading back to the Championship league, having been thwarted by Fulham on the last day of the Premier league, all we can do is sit back and watch the team and probably the management disintegrate - Sad !! and no doubt we will see a fare selection of both Chelsea and Manchester United transit via Riga on route to Moscow to see the Champions League final. Irrespective who wins, I suspect we will suffer the consequences on the return journey.

On the Zvannieki front all being well the difficulties with Rietumu Bank should be a thing of the past, as I finally submitted the required documentation to the bank last week, so with a bit of luck the funding they have been kind enough to allocate for this year should be with us some time in May.

Amongst all of the calamities going on in the world it refreshing to see that in some parts of the world the insanities of human life still go. In todays news from Australia ( and it could only happen in Australia !) came this piece of news :

A car driver in Australia has been fined for strapping down his beer rather than his young child.

Police said they were "shocked and appalled" when they pulled over the car south of Alice Springs in Australia's Northern Territory.

They said the 30-can pack of beer was strapped down between two adults in the back, with the five-year-old child unrestrained on the floor.

The driver was handed a fine of A$750 (US$709; £362).

Back here in Riga village life is much more mundane, as it rare to see a child being strapped in, particularly if he/she is wrapped inside one of the larger automobiles, and of course is mandatory to be seen driving with one hand on the wheel with other holding the mobile phone to one's ear ! Otherwise how would the world know you were important. - Lunacy !

There was shock and horror yesterday in the village lounge when young P.....(Irish - loves the Swiss) when he arrived in casual clothes instead of his usual suit - clearly a sign that summer is nearly upon us - or that he is going through a mid life crisis of identity. For the rest of the village people, life is pretty normal, although J....(a treasure of a man) still cannot get the right blend of socks to match his suit - could he be colour blind ? He claims not simply that is the only colour of socks he has. As for myself well I have managed not to get my hair cut now for the best part of three months, as I intend to have a pony tail before I am called upstairs. Problem is my hair just curls up at the back - so I may be in line for a Bobby Charlton first.

So with Latvia out of the Ice Hockey World Championship for another year, and Reading heading downstairs, time to call a halt to this episode.