The Scaffold Series – Volume 2

This post is a joint effort by Irish poet Seamus Heaney (now deceased) and MB.


by Seamus Heaney

Masons, when they start upon a building,

Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,

Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

And yet all this comes down when the job’s done

Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be

Old bridges breaking between you and me

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall

Confident that we have built our wall.



by MB

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Reward


A fish washes up on a beach.


Weekly Photo Challenge – Rule Of Thirds

This week’s challenge is the photographic concept – the rule of thirds.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul is the Topkapi Palace, which lies in the old town next to the Hagia Sophia Museum & Blue Mosque. The palace was home to the Sultans and their harem of females for three hundred years in the days of the Ottoman Empire, until Sultan Abdülmecid in 1853 decided to move to the nearby Dolmabache Palace.

MB visited Topkapi Palace in early November 2014. The palace lies on the bank of the Bosphorus Sea Straits and the views from the palace grounds are spectacular.

Caught this shot of one of the soldiers on duty, with the Bosphorus blurred in the background:

PS – Ignore the tree!


The Scaffold Series

You can’t beat scaffolding. Read More

A Little Slice Of Ireland

MB attended the Irish Football tournament in Qatar yesterday. For most of the day he could have sworn he was in Ireland! Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Symmetry


Ajman Fish Market – UAE (Ajman is one of the 7 Emirates of the UAE)
The fishing boats (generally manned by fishermen from the state of Gujarat in India) unload their catches onto Ajman quay every Saturday afternoon and lay them out symmetrically in terms of size & species. The fish traders from the adjoining market then bid for lots through an auction process as the auctioneer with his microphone walks through all the lines of fish one by one.

Lots of symmetry in this one. The buildings behind. The roofs of the boats. And the fish. Lots of fish!


Weekly Photo Challenge – Scale


Dubai traffic – shot from the Burj Khalifa observation deck (Floor Nr 126):



When the war started my family moved to a village in the mountains outside Beirut. My grandfather came with us as he had no other choice. His wife, my grandmother, was dead many years past. He then lived with us in the village house until his death. I remember as a child enjoying waking up each morning and looking forward to hearing my grandfather’s stories from his younger days. Read More

Souk Waqif – Bird Market

The bird market at Souk Waqif in Doha would not suit Western sensibilities. But the Arabs love it. Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Depth

This week’s challenge is ‘Depth‘.

The Great Wall Of China:
One bright beautiful blue-sky morning In October 2009 MB walked on the Great Wall Of China. It’s an incredibly awe-inspiring structure and sight, as it winds it’s way into the mountainous distance, deep into the northern Chinese countryside. 8,850km (or 5,500 miles) deep to be exact. MB walked on a section which is about one hour drive outside Beijing. The wall is extremely steep in many locations as it snakes the contours of the mountain slopes, and a level of aerobic fitness is required to walk a reasonable length of it. Some, or most, of the English language signage along the wall is amusing! Read More

Not Easy

In Europe people take freedom of travel for granted. Want to go to France? Of Holland? Or Germany? No problem. Go online or pop into any travel agency in your local town or city and buy a flight ticket. Jump on the plane and off you go. Arrive, flash your EU Passport briefly to the Immigration official, and head on out to the open streets. Easy peasy.

With similar language, religion and culture for the most parts, one might think that the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region is tailor made for freedom of travel and open access to work. But for historical, political, security and other reasons it’s not. Very not.  Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow


Auschwitz Liberation by Russian Troops – 70th Anniversary

For the day that’s in it. Reposting a short post from August 2013.


Originally posted on HX Report:

Arbeit Macht Frei.

Sachenhausen (pronounced ‘Saxenhausen‘) was the nearest concentration camp to Berlin before & during WW2, based in the  Nazi supporting (at that time) region of Oranienburg, approx 1 hour train journey from the city. MB visited in April 2008. Deeply disturbing to do the tour, but recommend to any who might visit Berlin. Unforgettable experience of a ‘not nice but very memorable’ kind.

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The King Is Dead

The King is dead. Long live the long living King. Etc.

Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Express Yourself

Express Yourself

For six years the Middle East has been MB’s second home.

Mention of the ME conjures up many things to many people. In the Western world maybe it conjures up negative images for the most part. Understandable MB guesses, given that most news coverage, like most news coverage the world over, focuses of the profane, the obscene, the terrible and the trouble. And of course that’s the awful truth of certain locations in the region. Read More

7 Days Of Doves – Final Day



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