Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Cityscapes


Thanks to Patti for this weeks photo challenge.

MB took a 3-hour photo tour around Amsterdam some 2 years back in the company of a local professional photographer. He was a tad embarrassed at the end of the tour and somewhat reluctant to take his fat fee, having learnt so much from Irish/Arab shooter MB. In the end, however, he got over his embarrassment, grabbed the cash from the outstretched hand of MB and stuffed it gleefully into his pocket, education and cash at the same time!

More seriously, if you are into photography, and find yourself in unfamiliar territory, it’s well worthwhile to release the purse strings a little and get a local to show you the sights. MB would never have captured some of the shots he took that morning without the knowledge of the local photo lad, whose name now escapes MB.

MB took this one from the rooftop cafe of a tall building close to Amsterdam’s main train station. The sun was still illuminating most of the city but dark clouds were looming. Five minutes later the heavens opened, and the city was drenched.

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It’s the weekend


There are worse ways to spend a weekend than relaxing in a field in HX.

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Lens-Artists Challenge – My Travels


Thanks to Amy for the My Travels challenge.

MB had some memorable trips in 2018.

A trip to Turkey in May to the town of Canakkale on the Dardanelles Straits and the nearby ruins of Troy was one of the most interesting trips ever taken by MB. Trip with daughter MB2 to Romania in August was great and will live long in the memory. A residential week at Lancaster University in UK in September was memorable in the extreme, not least for meeting so many great new people, many of whom have become daily contacts of MB, and in all probability future rest-of-life friends.

The Lancaster trip also threw up the surprise revelation for MB that Lancaster Castle was the venue of the trial of the so-called ‘Birmingham Six’, a very famous legal case in modern UK/Irish history. MB has previously posted on the topic. Most, if not all, of the below pics also featured in the post. Sorry!

So Lancaster Castle, current Court of Lancaster and former prison, is MB’s selected topic for the challenge:

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The Sin Tax


Did you ever hear of a ‘sin tax’ ladies?

It’s a tax on sin.

Seriously.

Read More

The Grange Stone Circle


Stone circles are often considered to be some kind of prehistoric seasonal calendar or places of ancient ceremony. The Grange Stone Circle in MB’s HX locality is the largest circle in Ireland, is some 45M in diameter and comprises 113 contiguous stones. It is supported by an earthen embankment, unlike circles of individual standing stones like the famous Stonehenge in England and others.  It is estimated to be some 4,500 to 5,000 years old.

The earthen embankment is some 1m higher than the inside of the circle, suggesting that the Grange circle was used for some type of public ritual. MB is aware of the visit of an American psychic lady to the circle a number of years back. During a guided tour of the circle, she informed the local guide that she had seen visions of human sacrifice in the circle. This may have happened of course, but no evidence of such activity has even been encountered during any archaeological excavations. Coins belonging to the soldiers of Oliver Cromwell were discovered during one excavation which evidenced the overnight encampment of the soldiers before attacking the city of Limerick, some 12 miles north. Much Beaker pottery has been discovered at the lowest level of the embankment.

The Grange circle sees large numbers of pre-sunrise visitors on summer and winter solstice mornings. However, in the opinion of MB, the circle is not aligned in any way to the point of sunrise on these dates. Despite many theories of locals and others, nobody truly knows why the circle was constructed, or what purpose it served. It is known that the large stones were sourced from two or three nearby locations. The headstone (largest stone) weighs some 40 metric tonnes and is the largest individual stone in any circle in Ireland.

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MB took the following shots today in late afternoon just prior to sunset:

 

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The Cliffs of Moher


In 2011 the world voted for the new seven wonders of the natural world from amongst a list of 28 finalists. The Cliffs of Moher was the single Irish entry but it was not amongst the winners. Read More

Random shots from the homeland


Some random shots from MB’s Chrismas trip to his homeland. More to follow:

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Leprechauns & Rainbows


On the London Metal Exchange today, as MB types this post, gold is trading at approximately USD 1,264 per Fine Troy Ounce (FTO). For those few HX followers who are not regular gold traders, one FTO is approximately equal to 31 grammes. That conversion rate is very germane to the amazing story that MB is about to tell, so please keep it foremost in your brains. In the frontal lobe perhaps, MB would most respectfully suggest.

Two days back, a mere one day after MB had dismounted his camel on arrival in the Irish HX region, having travelled overland (a-lá the Three Wise Men) from the dusty Arabian Gulf, MB came within a hairsbreadth of possessing a very large pot of the yellow stuff. Think Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. And were it not for a skullduggerous Leprechaun and the illest of ill winds, MB might well have landed a king’s ransom worth of glittering, shiny, USD 1,264/FTO solid gold.

Those who have previously succeeded where MB just now failed have informed MB that a pot of gold weighs in at some 50KG. Or 1,613 FTO. Or USD 2M.

But allow MB to explain a little more……………… Read More

Qatar Art Exhibition


MB got invited a few days back to an art exhibition at the Qatar Fine Arts Association Building which is based at KATARA village in Doha. The event was very multi-cultural with artists from many countries, all living and working in Qatar, each presenting a single piece of work.

Big thanks to the Ishtaiwi family, whose mom was one of the exhibitors, for MB’s invitation.

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It’s The Weekend


The National Day celebrations have already started in Qatar with lots of events kicking off yesterday. National Day is Tuesday 18 December, which is a public holiday. Amongst other functions on 18th, the Emir of Qatar will officially open the new Doha Metro System (a project with MB involvement), which is a sort of poke in the eye to the blockading neighbouring states. The Metro project has finished more or less on time, despite the severe impact of the land and sea blockade of 05 June 2017, and the fact that almost all materials for the project had to be imported.

MB took this shot at one of the celebratory events last night:

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Happy Christmas


To anyone who read one or more of MB’s blog posts during the year, or liked, or commented, or shared, or interacted in any way – Big thanks for all the crack during 2018. Read More

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Celebrations


Celebrations.

Qatar National Day public holiday is just around the corner. 18 December to be exact. National Day celebrates the succession of Shaikh Jasim to the throne in 1878, and his subsequent founding of the State of Qatar. On National Day, the national flag will bedeck anything to which one can attach a piece of string or some bunting.

The below shot, featuring a number of Qatar flags, or a very similar version, appeared a few weeks back on one of MB’s posts. MB mentioned at the time that he would return to the scene again to get a sharper shot as the previous one was somewhat blurry.  Anyway, MB did just that last night, placing the camera on a concrete wall before pressing the button.

Voila!

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It’s the weekend


Last weekend MB went to the ballet Cinderella. The same Cinderella who fled the ball before midnight and left her slipper behind. Read More

Sofia & The Feast of St Barbara


HX Report has followed the progress of baby Sofia since her birth on 10 February 2017.

Sofia is the daughter of Lebanese parents R&E who are friends of MB, all earning their crust in Doha, Qatar. It’s MB’s intention to chronicle the life of Sofia in the years ahead as she grows up in the crazy Middle East, against the backdrop of regional shenanigans. Read More

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Happiness is…..


Happiness is……

Maybe nice food???

Or a book???

Or maybe combine both!

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