Again I write of my adopted country for those who asked for more detail. Summer is hot and balmy enough to bring out the lemons to make fresh lemonade. Working in the gardens is fine now already brown by such endeavors. The forest is just across the open fields where deer ,elk and wild bears roam free. None a danger as in winter bears go back to Russian border through Estonia. Elk are ambling alps and terrified of human life. The deer ,up to now thats 8 years, have not bothered my gardens but did walk across my lawns once as much to say,”you are trusting us.”
Really they have everything here. A nation of calm easy life mostly helpful and accepting this Englishman as friendly sort. With less than a million inhabitants and few jobs that pay only pensioners from England come or those with money.
Latvia was the cheapest place on earth some 10 years ago. Euro changed that. Still one can live well here on a budget if sensible. Plants for garden are now almost as expensive as England 10 years ago. So packets of seed window ledge heated seed trays and thats sorted. Having so much land made into English gardens is a joy but costly setting up. Then any place else would be harder with laws. Here one can do what one wants as long as you dont speed in the car.And do not turn left in Riga city centre or outside . 30 euro instant fine if so.
If floating foundations on summerhouse workshop and hen palace then no planning permit is required. One can just build. Thats Latvia for you. In some things they are so different from us. Manners are not a strong thing here with all of the people. EU laws are not used and Latvia even places an s on your name so I become sirs Kevins.. Then they convert names of other national people such as actors to illustrate that Errol Flynn becomes Erals Fphins or something like that. Where we call foreign people by the name given Latvians convert all into Latvian. When watching Endeavor on Latvian TV about young detective Morse played by Shaun Evans I missed the first show as Endeavor became something totally different that i could not relate to or could I pronounce. They are a lost nation really as only they have a language that no one understands as is it worth learning in schools, they teach English now. Outside this small nation no one would understand them so they speak English and right trough the Baltic out unto Sweden all will understand. Which for me is perfect.
The Riga Ferry is cheap way to cross to shop in Swedish markets in Stockholm. Ferry travels across the Baltic with shops stages of actors movie and dance floors, bed and breakfast extra. Saw Cats flown in by helicopter from London for one show on board. Swedish ships and crews mostly cost about 40 euro each to cross .This takes all night and we arrive 6.35am Stockholm where taxis abound ready to collect you.
Riga old town.
I was told to bus it as cheaper and see far more. We did and saw well the city of clean streets and houses. Had luncheon in a lovely cobbled square yard with tables and shops so delicately painted. Loved it all. Like passing back in time to a world of travel 1900 it felt like. Swedes are not as friendly but like us English bit stand offish. However it was a good day out. We took a tram ride to see Vassa the ship that was brought back up in perfectly preserved sate from the muds of that harbour. In front of me the vast size of history boomed out in techicolours. Painted in 1767 to be the Swedish Kings flag ship. Like our own Mary rose ship toppled over and sank owing to top heavy gun decks and open gun doors she went deeply down into the sea just yards from her moorings. A perfect ship as if built just now stands in a building made to house her. You can buy a tram ticket return but if not back to use it in half hour your lost. So we walked back took half hour into city. Strange but perhaps it was my fault did not understand Tram laws
Coaches take Latvians all over Europe but its the Estonians with cash that use them we find. Went to Tallin on a coach. 64 miles one way . A packed modern city but the old town is straight from Robert Louis Stephenson tales of curfew and city walls. For his tale of the Squire De Malatrotts door he must have been here to write it as it is exact to this place in description. I loved that old city so clean white and interestingly historic. Well! one can ramble on with all of this .I make a suggestion just come and see for yourself one day. Good old European song contest compare we all loved in Terry Wogan joked about this Estonian thing with votes but poor old Terry never came to see how great this land of Europe is. Yes it has faults it would not be a human place it if did not. Then balanced and examined the points make 2 against and 8 for. So I remain here in rural bliss with no rates no taxes and freedom to dance naked in the rain if one wants. I dont but could if i wanted. Bird song is stronger, rain is softer and heat is much. One becomes use to all in time. Fair skinned I suffered but now do not have too. Im happy to say gardening hardened me off to exist as one of them. My gardens are not they are very English lawn sort of Edwardian England and still in the making extended. If God made man a garden called Eden could it have been here in this land flat and forested lakes and meadows that he made it? Perhaps not between the vast open reach of Rivers in Middle East was it sited but here. I can think of no more a perfect vista than this to build a gardens on. England is a garden all over only thing is it has out priced its self in land, houses and gardening. The nations youth cannot take on a mortgage to buy such as a house with large enough workable gardens now.
Ship is loaded by boarding between 2pm and 8pm . I hailed a cab in city centre and the driver turned and said ferry is it Sir Kevin. I nearly fell over it was an old pal from university a lad from Old Corinth Tunisia. We drove and we talked of Liverpool in the 1960s. He had married a Swed and left Tunisia as communist Mafia have taken all over he lost even his property there. I knew him in Hamermet when I stayed there in 1980s with them. Modern house overlooking the desert to Algiers.
Travel back was sleeping and shopped in duty free for perfume next morning ever so early for Anita. My car was brought around in dock for us and drove home relaxed.Would do it again at drop of a hat. Norway for us next sail.
Here 24k will buy that house and by law that house must have at least 2acres with it. Some can be bought as wrecks to repair. 7k will give you land with timber to build your own with skill to do that your made. About 16k to make it England inside and that means no over heads afterwards so life can be as lazy or as industrious as one likes.
I would not say its for everyone but you can still have cornflakes and English tea .No bacon no real sausage so we make our own. Buy smoked meat carve and fry its bacon and sausage buy chapati its a pork and herb sausage for special occasion but cooked in hot oven its Cumberland sort of sausage which suits me. One thing you can have anyplace is black puddings. Latvians think they invented it? You cannot buy beef unless you pay through the nose for Angus beef in a shop in Riga who imports from Hereford in UK. I went just to see prices but nice lads who worked in England as most of them have to do for cash. Beef was on marble slab on show. One little loin steak was 26 euro for two just double that as no discount for bulk buys. Gary Ward who built a large guest hotel sort of village in the lands he bought said we can buy beef in station rail yard shop in Imanta outside Riga .
Yes I bought a beef joint and it was good and soft and cooked very well but was without taste. Dairy cow sold as beef. Latvia one can buy good chicken excellent pork and all the veg you wish for. Fish too. Mackrel is cheap Cod not that bad as 2kilo cost me 12 euro. Rest is river fish which is not to my taste at all. I did have large bony but very tasty Carp with garlic just the way old the Monks used to cook them. Very tasty too. I can quite see why Monks farmed Carp along with honey ,which led to mead drinking. Not a bad life if you like early dawn prayers .I could love it as music every service was the best ever made in human history.
Home produce we grow so can I have fruits and veg and green house full of toms and gourdes. Cucumbers and chili .Self sufficient if you include hens.
Latvians love garden parties and outdoor as much as any Aussie they build big barbies to smoke and grill on wood fires. They hate spices and love milky things .Horrified when I put out five dips one Indian curry from Bengal made by me. No chili in it purposely and I was told by Harry from Newcastle that was not hot enough .Latvian had runs to toilet and could not even cope with it on the serving table. Otherwise I find we have some common ground as we all must eat. Anita is used to curry now took 10 years of trying. She even tells me to spice up sauces for such as pork chop and mash and peas. I cut chops from pork sides they sell off in supermarkets as ready for barbies. I remove the ribs for marination. Remove that thicker outer skin and cut thick chops out of the bar length. Kidney in some and about six pair with chuck meat for casseroles in the week. For cost of about 14 euro it works out so cheap to have English Barnsley chops that Latvians never use or have seen. Ribs soaked over night in soy sauce brown sugar orange juice and Worcester Sauce will come out lovely .I grill on the barbie and serve with Basmati Indian rice and drizzle the marinade over them. Everyone adores this Japanese meal even Latvians who dont have a clue about Japanese cooking.
They are in the main nice people but through the last 70 years to freedom now have been the victims of cruelty and hard labour under the yoke of their Soviet over lords. It will take time for them to know who they even are.
The rich Latvian is one who robbed the state when Latvia became free from Russia.Before that it was Prussia and Sweden owned it before that.
Riga is full of Russians . Latvia has lots of Russian billionaires who live here but one hardly sees any of this going on. See the poor who leave in droves to seek wealth in America or Sweden as UK has closed its doors with 600000 Latvians residing inside Britain already. You would not know as they look mainly like us only when they speak will you understand. They talk good English but undertones give them away. Their ability to think Russian also tells you they are not one of us. Most are gentle harmless beings so no real worry and in fact they hate Russians as over lords and masters over them for too long in chains. Well! my dears a letter from Latvia more down to earth for your edification your enjoyment and your healthy wonder, perhaps.
Love to all from me .
Copywrite Kevin Parr Bt 2020 September 12th.8am Before a day gardening.