Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sausages and Lamb

Saturday afternoon came with blue skies, warm sunshine, as we all trooped out to A.... (Bristolian - qualified badger killer) house to host a celebratory party on the imminent departure of one of long serving village members S..... (Welsh - apparently suffers from random memory loss).

With strict instructions to be on time - 3.00pm - I duly complied along with the said S...., A..... (Welsh - long suffering spouse), his two children and young C..... ( English - would be beach bum).

The setting was perfect, and as was to be discovered later in the afternoon, the food was brilliant - but of course we had to start the proceeding off in traditional style - beers all round.

So with children ensconced in the swimming pool ( ok - plastic paddling pool !) and the men doing what men do best- drinking beer and talking absolute rubbish. However one gem did as ever emanated from the lips of V..... (Mexican/Latvian - holder of the key to useless information) - Apparently Water melons and Viagra have something in common - the both relax the muscles ! - So on this highest of authorities, a new medical break though for men, why waste money on the blue pill, when you can eat water melon and get the same result. For those of you in need, and try this out - let me know.

This was probably the largest gathering of village people in recent times, and I suspect that the rubbish bins will testify to the amount of beer, wine and food consumed - and to all of those of you could not make it, then Mr. S.... ( Welsh - with a shirt to die for ) - will still be around for a few more days yet. Regretfully the his cider consumption will be seriously curtailed as the village lounge is about to run out, indeed as I write it may well have run out !

Now speaking of consumption it would be fair to say that guest of honour did himself proud at the party,as was proven when later in the day he could not remember that he has telephoned for a taxi. He was quite convinced he had not, and his alcohol content had not influenced him one bit - me thinks not !

His little speech was how can say - Emotional - did I detect a little cry from the heart ?

So a day to remember, and I am sure tales from it will be told for a long time to come - however the time is not quite come to say farewell. To A.... (Bristolian - Barbecue King) and his good Lady Y...... (Latvian - hostess with mostest) - huge thanks from us all for hosting a great party !!

For those Irish readers you will be delighted to know that P..... (Irish - soon to be Gaddafi sidekick) - he did on this occasion to consume a few more beers and wine than usual, even if he was the only one to be drinking beer from a glass.

Oh - and the sausages and Lamp chops were illegally imported all the way from Wales, but I will for the sake of the guilty party(s) not publish details of this highly organised sausage/lamb smuggling ring gang members.

However at the party the culprits were caught on camera, and certainly they do have the hardened look of meat smugglers - so watch out next time you are travelling - they could be sitting right next to you !

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gone - but not forgotten

Yesterday saw he departure of one of the long standing village members B..... ( English - noted for his sartorial elegance). His departure means we have lost one of the real characters within the village people. Noted for his love of Newcastle United, which of course we never held against him. He shared a love esoteric films with S.... ( Welsh - another soon to be ex village member) particularly those spoken in some weird foreign language but with sub titles.

So to B..... , we wish you well in whatever you get up to next, and we shall await with baited breath for your return in December for Annual Christmas dinner.

Another face from the past returned to the village lounge this week, regretfully I cannot remember her name, but for those of you who were in Riga around 1996, you may remember this face as she was one of the young ladies who graced upstairs at Paddies in those days, and as you can see she has not lost the knack of puring a Guinness !!

This weekend sees a grand party to celebrate or should that be commiserate the upcoming departure of S.... (Welsh - subtitle speed reader). The party being held at A... ( Bristolian - would be mole killer) home - so as the weather forecast says it will be sunny and warm, it should be another grand day out.

Still no pictures from our wayward New Zealander R.... of last weekends Song Festival, but as soon as I get them I will publish.

But finally and in fond remembrance of B.... - a pictures to gladden the heart of all the fair maidens of Riga - pictures that exposes what an amazing body B... had kept hidden from us all these years - a world exclusive , but ones which I hope will bring a smile to the face of the man

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Timely Reminder !!!!

On behalf of A... ( Bristolian - seller of white goods) - an urgent reminder.

As you all know S..... (Welsh - would be singer) is shortly departing these shores, and so to wish him on his way A.... has offered to host a wee party at his house on Saturday 26th July. To that end he has sent out an-email to the likely culprits who would wish to attend - but to date he has had only two replies, and one of them was from S.....

So can I ask all of you who have received the e-mail - REPLY !! - If you are technically deficient, all you have to do is open the e-mail, click REPLY and enter how many of who will attend - then press SEND - If you fail to do this today then I will publish all non respondents names address and color of socks.

Lets give S.... the send off he deserves - as long as he promises not to sing

Now thats what I call a party

As many of you will know last saw the five yearly Latvian Song and Dance Festival being, which culminated on Saturday evening with Song festival to end all Song festivals S ! - A choir some 18,000+ strong and over 2000 dancers - with an audience of over 40,000 people. All of this held at Riga largest outdoor stadium in Mezaparks.

I was lucky enough to have on of the tickets ( they were like gold dust) and duly arrived at the site around 8.30, with the concert scheduled to start at 9.00pm. However due to the thunderstorm earlier in the day, that actual concert did not get underway until around 10.00pm as the stadium area had been flooded, and required the Riga Fire brigade to pump out the area where the audience were seated. I must confess I only found out this later,as I could not see any signs of the flooding, and in any event we were entertained by a large group - 800+ of brass bands from 9.00pm.

But at ten the concert began, and all I can say is that for the next three hours I sat in pure amazement at the spectacle. Whilst I did not understand one word that was sung, the sound and sight of this massive choir was just amazing or to use a over used word "Fantastic "

With the concert ending at around 1.00am on Sunday morning, then the party really started with the biggest "sing in" I have ever witnessed, with audience participation the choir and dancers took to the stage and sang there hearts out with some of the most popular Latvian songs, both old and new.

I finally departed the stadium around 4.30am on Sunday morning - with the sounds still ringing in my head. I understand the party did not end until 6.00am, and even then the participants were ready for more. This was or so I am told the first time that this "sing in" had been held at the end of the festival, but I suspect it wil not be the last.

Sitting with me were R... ( New Zealander - B & B king) and his good lady D... (Latvian - artist of note) - and hopefully he will send me some of his pictures which show the event in full colour.

The next festival will be in 2013 - god willing I will be still around to attend.

Now last week saw one of the village members celebrate his 40th birthday - known to all as Doc, V...... ( Mexican/Latvian - owner of useless facts) - so somewhat belatedly - HAPPY BIRTHDAY !
This week sees the arrival of Guiness drinking champion, and former village member A... ( English - karioki champion) - so with closure of some of his previous drinking haunts, I suspect the village lounge will see a rapid increase in its Guinness sales.

Now the next item I am indebted to a friend of B... ( English - Teacher to the world) Now this is a world exclusive, and for the first time, and hopefully the last - Mr S..... ( Welsh - singer - I think not) . So if you are not offended by a lack of musical talent, and can remember that infamous song from the movie Jungle Book - I present - S...... the singer !! ( Apologies for the quality but it was filmed in secret)

If you would like to check B... ( maker of secret movies) then have a look at his blog The musical accompaniment was courtesy of another of B.../ friens M... (Scottish - George Formby protegee).

Last week also saw me suffer from a brain failure when in a moment of total weakness I accepted an offer from that S...... Welshman to take on a young kitten, recently born to one of his factory cats. There is no rational reason why I would want a cat, but there we are I now have one, as does young R.... ( Latvian - lounge bar person). Now it has to be said he/she is an engaging little thing - but as you might gather at this time the sex of said kitten cannot be determined, at least not by me. I wanted a male cat, I was told I had a male cat - but at this time there is no physical signs that I have got one - so right now he/she has no name !!

Anyhow meet thingy !

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Grand day out

Well another fun packed week has been and gone, but in this case it really was a relatively busy week, Thursday saw the annual concert held in St. Saviour's Church on behalf of the Zvannieki Children's Home. As is past years the church was packed and an ensemble of Latvian singers and musicians proceeded to entertain us for the best part of two hours. I have to say it was truly moving, in particular the final event of the evening, when the children and the performers took to the "stage" - and just like last year it brought teats to my eyes, particularly as the birthday of the youngest was celebrated with birthday cake and candle. For those of you who could not make it - you missed a good night.

Now as many of you will know last weekend saw the start of the five yearly Latvian Song and Dance festival. Now we all know that there many things wrong in Latvia, and Riga in particular - but they have proven time and time again that they know how to organise some of the biggest festivals in the world. What other country brings together choirs, dancers, musicians from every city, town and village in the country to celebrate the countries musical heritage. The first Song Festival in Riga in 1873 in which 45 choirs and 1019 participants took part.

At the last Song and Dance Festival in 2003 over 30,000 participants, 300 different choirs, more than 500 dance groups, plus 57 brass bands, three symphonic orchestras and one chamber orchestra all took part during a crazy eleven days in June and July. On top of that a large number of art exhibitions, parades and also some contemporary rock and pop concerts took place.

This year it is expected over 38,000 people will participate -- amazing

If you would like to participate in the various events being held during the week the check out

Sunday saw the procession of all the performers parade through the Old Town, up Brivibas iela - the parade started at 11.00am and finished around 5.30pm in the afternoon, with some 38,000 participants, the vast majority in traditional regional costumes.

However as walked into the old town, I heard a lod and strange noise emanating from above, and there it was a Search and Rescue helicopter, making enough noise to drown out the musicians and singers below. Not quite sure why it was there as I could not see anyone in need of being rescued - anyone got any ideas ?

But for some five hours I sat in Livi square, with F.... (Australian - Latvia's premier host) and his good lday, and a little lated by S..... ( Welsh - cat dispenser) and his good lady, and later still by V.... ( Mexican - a July Birthday Boy ), and finally S..... ( Irish - musical entrepreneur) and N... (English - dormant follicle sufferer). So for a few hours we sat in the square, supped a few (cheap) beers and literally watched the world go by!

Most of performers were attired in Latvian traditions costume, but I have to assume that those below were just a little "potty" !!

However one comment by our erstwhile Irish person, that the after a while the parade was boring as they all looked alike clearly missed the point about watching a parade - you do not always have to look across to see interesting views, sometimes you can look up !

A very fine pair they made !

Finally can I ask one ex Irish tobacco baron to let me know if he got document he asked for ?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hey Ho - its LIGO !

Yep it been that time of the year again when the Young and Old of Latvia head out into the forests (complete with wellies) to celebrate the festival of Ligo and the day of Jani, in the former case this usually consist of getting seriously p.....d, leaping over wooden fires, and trying to find the magic clover leaf, in the case of the latter if your name is Janis, and apparently there are over 10,000 such individuals, then you get the wear a crown made out of oak leaves, drink honey beer and eat a locally produced cheese. In other words it is a time to just let your hair down and have a good time.

As is now becoming customary, and ignoring it is the middle of June the weather forecast was up to its usual standard. From the weather forecast below I leave it to your imagination as which two days were Ligo and Jani

Yes you were right - Monday and Tuesday - as it transpired midway through Monday the weather did turn for the better and for most of Latvia it was a dry night, but Tuesday returned with a vengeance with rain and basically a cold and miserable day. Riga itself was like deserted city, with only the tourists mulling around, frantically trying to find a bar or restaurant open. The village lounge along with most of the other bars in town were closed for the festivities.

The week also saw the return to working order our much missed fountain close by the Congress Nams. This fountain has been under repair for the best part of two years, but has now been restored to its former glory, and so once again as we stroll past it, or simply sit and watch its ever changing water patterns, we are reminded just how few public toilets there are in Riga. I defy anyone who sits and watches it for just a few minutes not get that sudden urge to have a p.. - it gets me very time !

Now for those readers who live afar the next bit of news is irrelevant. On Wednesday evening 2nd July, at St Saviours church, the annual Zvannieki music festival will be held to raise funds for the home. For the last two years when I have attended it has been an outstanding evening with many professional musicians giving their time free to entertain the audience, and of course it will close with the tearjerker when the children themselves take to the stage. So if you can make it please try and do so.

Now as many of you know young S..... (Welsh dog & cat flap maker) will shortly be departing these shores to seek new challengies - like making money - in his homeland. I have no doubt that before he goes he will share a few parting drinks with us - however to those who knew him, enjoyed his company, but cannot be here in Riga - a toast from him to you !! - he will be missed.

Now he has asked when will be the annual Zvannieki Christmas Dinner this year - so whilst it is only June, I can advise you all that this year the dinner will be held on Thursday 17th December, and with a bit ofluck it will be at the usual location. So do not say you have not been given plently of advance notice, and time to save up your pennies.

Again with thanks to J... (Australian joke merchant) - where does he get the time, I leave you this little ditty - however I must warn you it does contain scenes which you may find offensive

Now believe it or not but last night in the village lounge there actually was a person ( I will refrain from indicating who) who took his beer into the mens toilet, but as best I could see he was alone, and I know he does not smoke !

So there we are another week has gone, the days are growing shorter, and just to complete my misery my washing machine has broken down - but am I downhearted - NO - because I am close to achieving a lifetimes ambition - a pony tail !! - Yes since my earliest days, I have never had long hair - so before him upstairs says "Time out" I will achieve this modest but historical goal - watch this space for photographic proof. So once again I will prove the old adage that age is no barrier to setting new goals.