Thursday, March 14, 2013

Straight from the Horses Mouth

The sun can be deceptive - For the last few days I have woken up to clear blue skies and the sunlight streaming into my bedroom. beautiful you might think - but lo when I check the temperature it is -12c and stays below zero for all of the day - so the winter woollies are staying on !

This week sees the annual Irish madness in Riga ( and all over the world)- with celebration of St Patricks Day, why they do not just call St Guinness Day I do not know  ? Its not as if everyone heads for a church, although to some the Pub is a church. Every so called Irish bar in town is claiming the Titleof the "best" place to celebrate the day. Of course for some one day is not enough, so they make it a St Patricks Weekend.

So for those contemplating being in Riga this weekend here is the list of the Irish bars Celebrating

Paddy Whelans -
Maloneys -
Donnegans -

Of course not to be left out our local "church" the Kiwibar ( ) is also participating, and with Guinness at Ls 1.00 a pint, I am sure it will be a sellout. Not least of as they will be the only pub featuring Gaelic Football on the day, as well as traditional Irish dancing, courtesy of Ruta and her girls, and of course Martins will be there to provide authentic non-Irish music. And we should not forget the late evening Irish Dancing and Karaoke at The Funny Fox (

Magical Club games such as Kilcormac-Killoughey v St Thomas and Ballymun Kickams v St Brigids will feature on the day - Sunday 17th March.

For rugby fans ( me included ) Saturday sees the last round of the Six Nations Championship, the key game of course being Wales v England. In theory the winner taking the championship - but NO - assuming Wales win ( a big assumption) then they can only be crowned champions if they have scored more tries than England over the course of the championship, but if England win then they are champions. No point in mentioning theScotland game against France, it is being played in Paris at 21.00 local time - who in gods name plays rugby at nine o'clock at night ??

Now on the subject of sport, in this case football, in which my only interest is Reading, who having been taken over by a Russian playboy, have decided to sack the manager, who got them promoted last season, and won the manager of the month in January. Now granted they seem doomed to relegation, but to change managers with 9 games to go - Dumb !! Would never have happened under the previous owner - in fact it is the first time Reading have sacked a manager since Madjeski (previous owner) took charge 15 years ago.

As everyone knows the "horsemeat" has engulfed Europe in recent weeks, and Latvia has not escaped - but another lesser known scandal is the Mutton being substituted for Lamb. Without mentioning any names this was a recent occurence in one of Riga's restaurants - so watch out it could be happening in your town. And how was this discovered, well T.... (Swedish - like delivering things on time) was the one who discovered this meat substitution. So from the horses mouth comes the truth about Mutton being dressed as Lamb.

I have mention before how from time to time the blog brings back old friends from yester year, and so it has proved once again with contact being re-established with B... (English - Newcastle fanatic). It is some years since he left Riga to work in Newcastle, but now seems happy with his lot in life and has even given up smoking - with the resulting increase in body mass. Anyhow good to have you back on the blog, and hopefully as you say we might see you back in Riga in the not to distant future. In his response he claimed his music tastes were , and I quote "classically good NME/ Mojo music taste" No idea what that means !! - However as to my taste in music, well I have to confess I seem stuck in the 60's and 70's music scene, as to my ears it has been downhill since then, and what is Mojo music ?? ( answers on the blog please)

On the subject of music, all of Riga's bars seem to deem it necesary to install the modern day equivalent of the jukebox. Of course nowadays it is a cleverly disguised computer with thousand of songs under its cover. BUT and it is big BUT, unless you feed it money it plays the biggest load of c..p ever recorded. Now most days I just close my ears and suffer, and usually beg the ladies behind the bar to turn the sound down (preferably off) - sometimes they do and most times they do not.

However on day last week enough was enough, and abandoning my usual Scottish Thrifty demeanour, I inserted 50 centimes ( It will take Ls 1.00) and selected my three songs. As this was a historic moment it was captured on camera.

Please note that unlike the old days, this Electronic "jukebox" has a supposed touch screen, but in this case it should be called a "poke" screen - as takes about two to three "pokes" before it recognises what you are requesting. Any how the result was a few minutes of musical pleasure (to my ears at least) and a respite from Rap C..P that it usually expounds. Of course it could just be a clever marketing ploy to play rubbish - thereby encouraging the customers to put money in the slot.

For those interested in Latvian politics (anyone ?) the current Prime Minister has been celebrating the fact that he is Latvia's longest serving Prime Minister - FOUR YEARS !! - well done that man. To celebrate this momentus event what did the State Chancellory present him a with - A bouqet of Roses. I took this as a sign of his succesfull austerity program which has resulted in Latvia having the highest GDP growth in the EU recently, and another step on the adoption of the Euro in 2014. Not surprisngly 65% + of the Latvian population do NOT want the Euro - but what do they know !!

So there we have it another week has gone by - and with Easter fast approaching, which hopefully will herald the arrival of Spring, and with it the return of having food and a beer outside, hopefully in the sunshine.

So Happy Easter to you all - Enjoy !

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Cheapest Guinness in the World ?

Well here we are in March - and the silly season has begun - in the nicest possible way !

Now I am sure that you will know that my favourite hostelry is the Kiwibar, and during its years of being open it has from time to time had some mad moments - but this week or should I say month has to be one of the best.

First the Guinness - Well this much travelled Irish favourite has had its up and downs over the years, but here in Riga - for this month only - it has what is surely the cheapest pint of Guinness - EVER ! Ls 1.00 a pint, and to help that pint go down why not enjoy there famous (or is it infamous) meat pies - again for the amazing price of Ls 1.00.

All in aid of course of St. Patricks day celebrations - which of course do not begin until 17th March - but who is counting. And just to make sure that everyone is ready for the big day - this Sunday will see a practice for the event. Only in Riga - in fact only in the Kiwibar !! and at its sister bar The Funny Fox.

Now some of you may have know that March 8th was International Womens Day - regretfully I am one of those who had no idea there was such a day - but not F.....(Australian - Hostel/Bar Entreprenuer) who arranged for a complete makeover inside the bar - with hundreds, perhaps thousand of roses to give away to the staff (all female) and of course female patrons. Walking into the bar last night I thought for a moment that I was in a florists shop ! To give you an idea what the bar looked like - see below

All of this and we are not event 1/3rd of the way in March.

This month also sees the visit of Eddie Izzard to Riga - will be interesting to see the reviews after his show at Congress Nams on 19th March.

Weatherwise we are in sub-zero temperatures - but (at least for the moment) beautiful clear skies and strong Winter sunshine. Today will see me once again venture out to watch Scotland v Wales, and later Ireland v France. On the football front Reading v Aston Villa  will also be shown live. So either I will go home a happy boy with wins for Scotland and Reading, OR (most likely) I will retreat home to sulk.

On the subject of sulking - after the Manchester United v Real Madrid game this picture has been doing the rounds - Wonder if Sir Alex has seen it ? Puts a new meaning into Busby Babes

And finally something that caught my eye and brought a smile to my face

Well thats it for now - have to get myself presentable for this afternoons activities