Saturday, February 23, 2013

What goes up - must come down !

When I first arrived in Riga in January 1996, I alongwith many others faced a few challlengies, not least of all in opening a bank account. However after a few tries I did finally get a bank account with the the then Hansabanka, now Swedbank. In those days the Lat was tied to a basket of Scandinavian currencies, which resulted in the £ being more or less equivalent to Ls1.00.

But now role forward 17 years and what do we find - well first of all the Lat is now tied to the Euro, and as of today the glorious £ is now worth just Ls0.7879 - a drop of almost 24% !!! - and as I write no sign of things getting better.
So for those of us with a Sterling income it is not good news - however for those Latvian businesses purchasing in the UK using Lats  - well let the good times roll !!

One of the nice things about writing this blog, is that occasionally a friend from the distant past gets in touch, and so it was this week when an accountant of ill-repute ( he did not cook the books - he burned them!) got in touch - so C.. or should I say W.. - many thanks for getting in touch. However one question I see that you accessed the blog from Reading in the UK - does that mean you are now based in the UK ? As I have no way of contacting you I trust all is well, and who knows perhaps one day you will come visit us me here in Riga.

Now speaking of old friends through the magic of Facebook I have been reunited with a former English Language teacher, who has long since departed Riga to Newcastle, where he supports his beloved Newcastle United, whilst teaching overseas students at Newcastle University. Now I know we all change but ??

Not sure what happened to that glorious head of hair from 1985 - but me thinks young B.... has put on a few pounds since arriving in Newcastle. Just a pity about their football team manager - and I did hear a rumour that my "wee" team Reading beat the "big" team Newcastle - could not possibly be true - could it ?? Finally a request please - please STOP putting out on Facebook that awful music selection - Lord only knows where you find them. But a question - Do you sleep with the hat on ?
This weekend sees the return of the Six nations rugby fest - so I will watch with bated breath to see if Scotland can continue their winning streak (Ok just the one win) against Ireland - I fear the worst but we shall but see. Of course before that we have the France v England Spectacle and Italy v Wales.

With todays temperature dipping towards -10C I think a winter warmer is called for before I step put.

A reminder to all of you thinking of visiting Riga this year, We have two major events - Visit of the Tall ships regatta in July ( I think) and then in August the Latvian Song and Dance festival. Both should not be missed, but if I had to choose - then let it be the Song and Dance Festival. Held every five years it is a week long celebration of Latvia's dance and musical heritage., and culminates in a 20,000+ choir singing. Simply unbelievable.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

By chance I was thinking about your blog. 'What's happened to Old Dave Sim?' I wondered. So I looked your site up and found a photographic tribute to myself. Nice to hear you haven't forgotten me just yet.

As for the photos. I had a fine head of hair and great John Lennon specs when I was 19. That was my gap year and I was in Locarno on the banks of Lake Maggiore in Switzerland. The Riga photo makes me look ravaged by substance abuse. That's what they call mid-life crisis and I overcame it with a one more pint attitude for 4 years.

I love the third photo you printed. That's me actually at a wake for a very dear friend of mine but I look very happy. I have put on weight as a result of stopping smoking almost two years ago. Best decision I ever made.

Very happy in Newcastle. Secure job, nice flat, wonderful city. Superb people! NUFC are picking up and I have a mini-season ticket so I'll be at the home games from now on. Watch out for Sissoko, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Cisse, Mbiwa and Krul. We'll get some joy. Bye, bye Reading!

Miss you Riga expat guys. I don't honestly niss that much about Riga but I met a lot of nice people in pubs there. I'll pop back and see you one day.

As for the slur on my music taste I actually have classically good NME/ Mojo music taste. I've pretty much got all the records in this chart which was a formative influence when I was 20. What are you listening to Grandad Sim? Genesis, Fleetwood Mac? All the best to you all. I raise a glass. And yes, I wear that hat pretty much all the time nowadays. Though not in bed!
Bruce x

9:33 pm  

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