Posted on June 18, 2018
The Suvla Bay area of western Turkey on the Dardanelles Straits is infamous as one of the venues of appalling human butchery of WW1. The battles at Suvla formed part of the Gallipoli Campaign, where approximately 200,000 British/French/Anzac troops died, along with some 60,000 Ottoman Turks. Another 250,00 soldiers from both sides were injured. It is said that the sea was brown in colour for three days following one of the major battles, as the blood of the fallen mixed with the salt water.
Brutal stuff indeed.
One hundred and three years later, only a few days back, MB landed at Suvla. It is an altogether more pleasant place today. War monuments and memories abound and MB may return to that subject matter at another time. For the moment, MB will focus on the Suvla vineyard where some mighty fine Suvla wine can be procured.
On the lawn outside the main building sits an old stone press which was used for pressing the grapes. Inside, the vineyard shop sells a host of Suvla wines and foods.
Posted on June 10, 2018
This week’s One Word challenge is MUSIC. Big thanks to D of Travel with Intent blog for her challenging efforts.
If it’s music you want, then there’s a fair amount of it any day you wish back in MB’s Irish homeland. The Irish music scene is of course famous, from Thin Lizzy back in the day to Van Morrison to Enya to various Boy Bands to The Corrs to U2, and numerous others. That’s not to mention the Irish folk music scene which continues to thrive, and where many of the international groups started their young apprenticeships and have their roots. And who wouldn’t like to wander into a quaint Irish pub of an evening, after a day’s hard toil and unwind to the sound of some local musicians playing a few Irish gentle (or rousing) folk tunes or singing an Irish ballad, whilst sipping a tasty Irish brew?
Yes indeed guys, if you’re looking for a music fest, just head on over to MB’s homeland and you are likely to find music under any blade of grass you care to lift. In the kitchen. The living room. The street. The pub. The local hall. The Stone Circle. Etc.
“Stone Circle MB?”
Yes, guys. The Irish play music in Stone Circles. And why not?!
It’s fast approaching the 21 June Summer Solstice, and back in MB’s HX homeland, you are likely to find a musician or two in the pre-dawn twilight welcoming in the early-morning solstice sunshine with some music in the middle of the Grange Stone Circle.
The following shot was taken by MB in June 2014. Annoyingly (for MB) the shot is of 2 musicians who are accompanying another musician/singer out of shot, as evidenced by the directing in which the people are looking. However, it does invoke a certain sense of mystery – who is that musician? male/female? more than one? What’s he/she singing/playing? etc?
“Bullshit MB, it’s just a dodgy shot”.
Ok lads, maybe you got a point!
Posted on June 9, 2018
Thanks to blogger friend J for informing MB of the Saturday 6-word challenge set by blogger Debbie of blog site ‘Travel With Intent’. Really decent of them both to adopt lost-puppy MB and allow him to partake, following the demise of the weekly photo challenge.
And following an exchange of communications between J and MB (see below) MB has done a little rewrite of the post, which you are now reading if indeed anybody reads this! This week, in MB’s first attempt at the challenge, he has taken the 6 words used by J and just had a go. Now that he knows the rules (but “there are no rules” according to J) he may set his own 6 words in the future. Maybe.
Anyway, to this weeks challenge………………..
If MB gets up at 5.30am, and if he happens to be in Istanbul, and if he happens to wander down Istiklal Avenue from Taxim Square to the Church of St Anthony of Padua, perhaps because he has lost something, as St Anthony is the patron Saint of lost stuff and finding it again, then maybe, just maybe, after grabbing some Simit bread from a street seller, MB might catch the sun rising over the top of the adjoining buildings and behold the spectacle of the early morning rays illuminating (not Illuminati) the church spire.
Posted on June 3, 2018
Saw earlier today that blogger friend J posted a photo of a ‘whatchamacallit’ on the One-Word Sunday challenge of blog site Travel With Intent. J’s blog post title is actually called ‘Oojamaflip‘ which is seemingly the same as a ‘whatchamacallit’, but MB was previously unaware of the ‘Oojamafip’ word (egad!)
For those not in the know, a ‘whatchamacaliit’ is a word used to describe something we can not remember the name of. So the 2 kids in the below photo (from Saudi Arabia near the town of Buraidah) are gazing at a whatchamacallit, MB not being able to remember the name of that rock formation.
Sadly, as with many things in Saudi Arabia, the monument is defaced with graffiti. MB has often thought and stated of Saudi Arabia, that it is full to the brim with religious protocol, theory and formal practice, but is very light of living one’s life in any meaningful way by the rules or lessons of that same religion. MB thinks that many Saudi Arabians should actually refer to their religion as the ‘whatchamacallit’!
Posted on May 30, 2018
For the non-bloggers amongst MB’s many legions of followers who will not be aware, this is the last Weekly Photo Challenge set by the blog website, as they reorganise and move in a different direction. The king is dead, long live the king; and all that.
MB has made many online friends through this weekly challenge over years past and thanks all for the comments, interactions and general banter which he has enjoyed immensely. MB is grateful for the forbearance shown, noting that all followers, to a man & woman, have not much minding that MB is just generally spoofing and telling tall tales under the guise of showing his photos. Much much appreciated.
But regardless of what the website may do, MB will continue to churn out a weekly photo challenge of his own to keep the punters happy. Hopefully, other bloggers will follow suit and the world will keep on spinning. A big thanks also to all the WordPress staff for their efforts week in-week out in setting the challenges. Muchos gracias from (multi-lingual!) MB.
And so to this weeks challenge……..
A number of months ago, MB actually revealed to a friend what his all-time favourite photo is. It’s a photo of MB2, daughter of MB, aged 9.
MB is back home on a break from the Middle East and hides out of sight, while MB2 & friends tennis lesson is ongoing. As the lesson is finishing, MB puts his lens close to the fence, just as MB2 catches sight of her dad. She holds the net with her hand and smiles and gazes, as friends wander off. A father-daughter moment that MB will forever cherish, and thankfully one he managed to capture. Of MBs many thousands of photos, this one is, head and shoulders, above all others, his all-time forever favourite.
Posted on May 27, 2018
It’s high time the hens of Ireland were given due recognition. Yes, indeed. High time. Read More
Posted on May 23, 2018
Back in HX land, the word twisted is generally used in the context of some local or other having consumed far too much alcohol in some local pub. That lad was totally twisted might be one description of said lad by some (non-twisted) observer. Anyway, MB is not going to show you all some HX pub or street shot for this weeks photo challenge. He will, instead, give you all something far more circumspect, religious even, from the local Islamic perspective, in the midst of this holy month, Islamically speaking, of Ramadan,
The spiral mosque at Fanar, next to Doha’s Souq Waqif, is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the whole of Qatar. It is part of the larger Doha Islamic Cultural Centre, where one can enter and learn a little of Islamic history and holy sites in an open area on the ground floor, in addition to taking evening classes in Arabic on the upper floors, which MB has done in the past. The mosque prayer area is accessed at first-floor level, if one is so religiously inclined.
MB took the below shot from the nearby souq, capturing some pigeons in show-boat mode, to the backdrop of the spiral mosque.
Posted on May 16, 2018
If you freeze water, dear followers – you get ice! MB was hardly going to produce a standard liquid shot for the challenge!!!
MB returns to his glacier in Chamonix, France, for this week’s theme shot, having used a shot inside the glacier for last weeks theme.
MBs below shot features the Dome Du Gouter peak in the French Alps. It is approx 4,300m in height, approx 500m lower than nearby Mont Blanc, making it the 3rd highest peak in the range. The Mer De Glace glacier features in the foreground, which is some 7km long and 200m deep, making it the largest glacier in France. It moves some 70m every year. The caves that featured in MBs shot of last week and other previous posts are drilled out each year.
Posted on May 11, 2018
When one lives the expat life, one’s thought very often turn to home. Regardless of how busy or good or great life has become in the adopted country, the littlest snippets of news from home and the homeland are welcomed like nuggets of pure gold.
The below photo features an old ruin which lies across the road from MBs parental farmhouse home, known locally as ‘Crokers’, on account of the family that once resided within. It has featured in many of MB’s past posts. Croker’s is synonymous, in MB’s brain, with his true place in the world. Home is where the heart is, after all. Truly it is.
Posted on May 4, 2018
Soon after Sofia’s birth over one year back, MB agreed with Lebanese parents R&E that he would chronicle Sofia’s life in the years ahead. She is the firstborn to R&E, and to date is not joined by additional siblings. On 10 February 2018, she was one year old. Already Sofia has been the subject of three of MB’s past blog posts, the most recent being a post on her Christian baptism.
R&E, continue to work in peaceful and prosperous Doha, Qatar, and are building a new house back in their Koura/north Lebanon home region where they and Sofia will one day return. The shell of the house is now complete and the more expensive internal finishings will soon start. Architect mom R will spend her 2-week August vacation painting arty pictures on the internal walls, as she informed MB in recent days.
The Middle East continues to provide a crazy backdrop to Sofia’s early life. Syria and Yemen remain in war-ravaged chaos. Neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan struggle financially and socially under the weight of displaced Syrian war refugees. Lower level extremist violence continues in Iraq and elsewhere. Qatar, where MB & R&E abide, remains under a non-sensical travel and economic blockade by (unneighbourly) neighbours UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt. There is no end in sight to that particular saga. Recent comments from a senior Saudi politician maintained the high temperature, commenting that if the US closed its Qatar air base, Qatar would not last long, implying a Saudi-led invasion. The US, UK & France bombed Syrian government installations only a few weeks back in response to an alleged gas attack by the Syrian government on a rebel-controlled Damascus suburb. MB says ‘alleged’ on account of the fact that there is no actual proof, and international inspectors have not yet released their findings. An Independent newspaper article by reporter Robert Fisk makes for interesting reading in that regard.
Sofia remains oblivious to all the regional nonsense that goes on about her. At 13 months, she started to walk, cocking a snook of sorts to all the madness. A few weeks back, she travelled back home with mom R to visit happy grandparents and extended family. MB’s first below photo was provided by mom R from that trip. The second is from her recent birthday party.
Belated 1st birthday wishes to Miss Sofia from MB!
Posted on May 3, 2018
Posted on April 25, 2018
Swiss pigeons. Eating Swiss bread. In Montreaux. In Switzerland. With some lines. Not lions. They would eat the pigeons. But not the bread. July 2015.
Posted on April 20, 2018
One of MB’s favourite cities is Istanbul. With a population of over 15M people, the locals need to be prolific food producers. And they certainly are. The street markets and city food shops are jaw-droppingly spectacular and are not just for shopping. They are for ambling around, gazing, sampling, and enjoying. And for taking zillions of photos of course!
MB could show you zillions of Istanbul food photos, but a gives you just one, of a simple basket of cheeses:
Posted on April 20, 2018
The UN has designated Sunday next, 22 April 2018, as Mother Earth Day and the following is an extract from the related UN site:
International Mother Earth Day is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance.
This Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.
International Mother Earth Day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.
MB shot this early morning photo on a Geneva Street (believe it or not!) in March 2017; showing nature against a beautifully intricate and eye-catching background of aircraft pollution.
A truly great shot MB. Thanks, ladies!
Posted on April 15, 2018
If you go down to the woods today,
you’re sure of a big surprise.
Yes indeed ladies, if you go down to the Irish woods around this time, be prepared for some strange goings-on and some big surprises. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, at this time of the year, that you will encounter some real live Irish fairies. Following an unusually nasty winter when the weather was wacky as hell, and fairy activity was subdued and minimal, the fairies are now rarin’ to go and full of mischief and trickery.
Are the fairies like the Leprechauns MB? What a stupid questions ladies. The fairies are nothing like Leprechauns. Leprechauns are good-hearted, generally go about their business in as humble a fashion as possible, and are even willing to hand over their pots of gold to anyone (like MB) who is fast enough and clever enough to catch them while a rainbow momentarily blinds their vision. And there will be absolutely no hard feelings from Mr Leprechaun if you do manage to snatch the gold. You can just waltz off into the distance with the pot of gold in your grasp, considering how much bitcoin you might invest in, and Mr Leprechaun will just wave you off and wish you well.
The fairies, on the other hand, can be nasty, it must be said. They like to play tricks on the natural people, who are expected to grin and bear it. The only protection from fairy nastiness is to scatter some primrose flowers around the perimeter of your farm and they will never cross the primrose line. Don’t ask MB why ladies. That’s just the way things is.
May eve is fast approaching when fairy activity will be at its peak. Be warned. You may find that your cow has run dry and can not produce any more milk. Or you pet goat isn’t feeling very well. Or your sheep gets a sore throat and ‘baa’ suddenly sounds like ‘baaaggghhhh’. Yes, dear followers, should any of the aforementioned happen to you and yours, then for sure its the fairies at work and you need to tread very carefully indeed.
And for the good of your health, just play along with them. Don’t screw around with the fairies. Pretend you’re impressed with their fairy powers, and only a tad annoyed at their trickery. Otherwise much nastier things can happen. Such as your goat disappears completely some night without an earthly (or non-earthly) trace. Or worse. The very last thing you want to do, MB means the absolutely very very last thing you want to do, is to awaken the wrath of a bunch of fairies. No siree. No way. It’s the last thing you want to do.
Anyway, now that MB has given you all some advice on how to deal with the Irish fairies, he is happy to share an image with you all of a fairy house he managed to capture in recent times back in the HX heartland. For sure MB is not a liberty to divulge the exact location of the shot, as he is mindful of the health and welfare of his sheep and goat herd. He will only say, that he wore a crown of primrose flowers, granting him invisibility from the HX fairy hoards, and beat a hasty retreat from the fairy village back to the natural world in the immediate aftermath of the shot. And lived to tell the tale.
Herewith (and be warned – sharing any shots of a fairy house is not advised):