Weekly Photo Challenge – Cherry On Top

Cherry On Top

Many hundreds of people, or even thousands, visit the Grange Stone Circle each year, 1km or so distance from HX. Most feel a sense of energy or awe in the very scenic surroundings.

From the loughgur.com website:

It is the largest standing stone circle in Ireland, 150 feet in diameter and enclosed by 113 standing stones. The largest stone is Rannach Chruim Duibh (Crom Dubh’s Division) and is over 13 feet high and weighs 40 tons. The entrance stones are matched by a pair of equally impressive slabs on the southwest side, whose tops slope down towards each other to form a v-shape.

The placing of hands and forehead on the 40-tonne headstone, to feel the power and energy of the circle, is considered the ‘cherry of top’ of the visit by many.


Grange Stone Circle


The Parting Glass

MB has a friend on fb who regularly posts a simple – “Good morning all. Have a nice day”.

So MB thought he would give you all a decent Irish ‘good night’ song.

Good night from MB!


Less than 24 hours ago, the bridges over the Bosphorus Straits were closed by Turkish army units who were attempted a coup. The coup failed. For medium-term or longer-term impacts we must wait and see. MB is no fan of Erdogan, but he does not support any coup.

MB has traveled to Istanbul a number of times in recent years and took many shots of the Bosphorus and its bridges. Herewith:



Weekly Photo Challenge – Details


2013 Shot of one of the buildings under construction at a Zaha Hadid-designed project in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

IMG_8096 (1)


MB does not profess to have any great insights into the Dallas shootings. No more than anyone else who is remote from it, and remote from the USA. MB watches CNN, Fox News, BBC and reads a host of news websites, so that’s the limit of his Dallas/Black Lives Matter education in most respects.

The HX Report has, however, an avid follower in Dallas, Texas, called TC. MB came across TC a few years back on a walking tour around the HX lake back home. TC was on a quest, chasing his family roots who hailed from the HX locality some 150 or so years back. As good luck would have it, two of TC’s Irish relations were actually present on the night, and MB had the great pleasure of introducing TC to DM and PM, his very distant cousins.

Over the months and years since that initial visit of TC to MB’s home locality, TC has visited again on a number of occasions and found the HX locality very much to his liking. So much so that TC is planning to retire to HX, or some surrounding area, in the coming months. MB wishes TC well.

Back to Dallas, etc.

On waking up this morning, MB turned on his laptop as usual and saw another message from TC. It struck MB as an interesting point, given all the recent goings on; in particularly the huge and emotional debate about gun control in the US of A.

MB gives you TC’s comment verbatim, save for a few minor corrections of little consequence:

Howdy Mike. One thing I have noticed – that after the killing in Dallas, that after the attacks on Paris, the airport in Turkey, the massacre of young school children a year ago, the killings earlier this year in California: These gun nuts were saying all over the internet that if there was a person with a gun – there it would not be all those killings. Now after the Dallas shootings there is not one word about how if there was a person with a gun there, he would have stopped this from happening. Well, I guess the reason why is that there were over 100 armed police officers at the peace rally and only ONE gunman, and they could not stop this tragedy from happening. I always thought those gun nuts were closed minded and full of shit, now they are proving my point. Take care.

MB posted an article last night on facebook about gun deaths in Japan, and gives anyone who is interested, the link to access it below. Japan has a population of approximately 130M. In 2014, the last year MB could find any statistics for, the total gun deaths was 6. The reason is simple, and obvious to even a simpleton – almost nobody has access to guns in Japan, and if they do, there are vigorous checks, balances and controls.

The gun lobby has a catchy phrase – Guns don’t kill people, people do. But MB’s question to the gun lobby is – How does any person shoot another person without a gun? Answers please, in the comment box below. Thank you.

How Japan has almost eliminated gun deaths:

Keep well.


Weekly Photo Challenge – Look Up

Look Up

From a Red Bull Fighters bike night at Dubai a few years back.


See beyond “the police” for change…

MB follows a blog called ‘Don of all trades’ which is written by a policeman called Don from Missouri, USA. He is a decent guy. He has written in the past about police shootings of black people in his country, and life in general as a policeman in USA. This post was written just after the shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday just past, and before the shooting of Philando Castile in St Paul, Minnesota on Wednesday; and obviously before the shooting of police officers in Dallas on Thursday night.

The post speaks for itself.

don of all trades

It is absolutely the worst kept secret that police officers are our own worst enemies.

For whatever the reasons are, we not only look agift horse in the mouth, but we question it, frisk it, shake it down, and run it for warrants just in case.


Another black man is dead, and what I’ve been reading all day is that he was killed at the hands of “the police.” This time, it happened in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It seems we can’t take two or three baby steps forward with rebuilding public trust before we take a giant, grown man step backwards.

All I’ve seen all day online line is that we, “the police,” are awful.

“The police” are racist.

“The police” are blood thirsty.

“The police” are violent.

“The police” are vengeful.

“The police” are acting as judge, jury and executioner on the streets of America.

“The police” killed…

View original post 1,650 more words

A stroll around the souq

Souq Waqif and surrounding streets. Doha, Qatar. 05 July 2016.


Of Camino De Santiago (and Onimac!)

Introduction by MB

The Camino De Santiago is a famous route of Christian pilgrimage that ends at the shrine of St James, in Santiago Cathedral in Galicia, NW Spain.

Read More

Eid Mubarak

Today is the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of the Eid Al-Fitr (the festival of the breaking of the fast) three-day holiday. The new lunar month of ‘Shawwal’ starts with the new crescent moon tonight, which is the 1oth month of the Islamic calendar.

The new lunar month of ‘Shawwal’ starts with the new crescent moon tonight, which is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. Shawwal means to ‘lift’ or ‘carry’, as MB has just discovered on researching it, so named because a female camel would normally be carrying a fetus at this time of year.

‘Eid Mubarak’ is the common greeting to colleagues and friends out these parts leading up to and during the festival, meaning ‘Blessed’ or ‘Holy’ Eid.

So to any and all concerned, especially to friends & colleagues of MB out these parts – Eid Mubarak to all.

Eid Mub

Weekly Photo Challenge – Opposites


Solstice morning. 21 June 2014. The calmest morning MB ever witnessed at Lough Gur lake. The water surface was like a mirror. Every reflection was a perfect opposite. MB took many shots. This is one of his favourites:


The Euros, and all that!

As every lady knows, the Euro football championships are on at present in France and are a footballing joy to behold. Iceland football team, and Republic of Ireland fans, are everybody’s favourites. Iceland’s defeat of the ‘auld enemy’, as we in Ireland sometimes often refer to ‘England’, will be many people’s favourite sporting moment ever, in the whole world, in the whole of sporting history, back as far a the days of the Fred Flintstone & Barney Rubble.

It’s a little a lot ironic, that in the middle of the tournament, Britain voted to exit the European community. Northern Ireland, Wales & England (all Brits) are each playing in the competition; but MB isn’t going to get into a deep (or even a shallow) discussion about Brexit, David Cameron, et al. Instead he wants to mention an aspect of it all that friends of MB back home would not have considered.

The beautiful game is, of course, a world sport and the games are watched avidly in MB’s Middle East abode. And as the ME is a melting pot of numerous races and peoples from every continent on the globe (except Antartica), MB found himself having to explain to many, when asked, the difference between the Republic of Ireland (MB’s patch and one of the participating teams) and Northern Ireland (another of the participating teams). “So you’re all British MB?” asked many Pakistanis/Nepalese/Mongolians/Khazaks/Arabs and God only knows who else.

“Grrrrrrr” replied MB to the first one or two such questions. Then MB though – it’s actually a question that Irish people have also asked themselves for approximate 800 years, since date of arrival of first British visitors to Irish shores, who had previously read all sorts of good and juicy things of the Emerald Isle on some early version of tripadviser.com. And arrived en masse to ‘help’ the locals.

Anway, MB tried as best he could to explain the difference between North (British) and South (Republic – not British – definitely not) Ireland to all who asked, and hopefully the people of Outer Mongolia and elsewhere will shortly receive geographical enlightenment from their cousins working under the hot desert sun in the Emirate of Qatar. The world bwill be a better place for it, and MB will receive less such Grrrr questions in the future.

MB also explained to many that Ireland has it’s own language. “You mean English MB?”. “Grrrrrrrrr” replied MB yet again. But in the spirit of imparting knowledge and wisdom, as MB is often given to do, and to put the geographically and culturally challenged imbeciles friends of MB in the right direction, MB pointed many to YouTube links to an Irish college, who have numerous really cool videos of the kids performing uber-cool versions of well-known popular music pieces – in the Irish Gaelic language, or ‘as Gaeilge’ as we say back home. MB regularly watches and listens to the videos of Coláiste Lurgan (Lurgan College), not because of any curtural/Irish reason, but because they are so damn good.

So HX followers, herewith, MB  gives you the kids of Coláiste Lurgan, singing their hearts out in the Irish language – as Gaeilge. Not in English. Grrrrrrr…………….!

Warning – it’s addictive listening. You may find yourself listening to more than one or two!

Really cool. Enjoy.


John Carew – HX Poet & Storyteller

MB has oft mentioned Lough Gur lake in posts of his HX homeland. He has told you a little of the mystique of the lake, and the fact that one of the adjoining hills (called Knockadoon) is home to one of the four Irish entrances to the Land of Everlasting Youth, called ‘Tír Na Nóg’ in the Irish Gaelic. The entrance, as MB has also previously informed you, is secret and is known only to certain ‘Guardians’ (such as MB). It is also heavily guarded by the fairies, and it is no easy task to get past them. Beware of HX fairies dear followers. Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Partners


Fishermen unload their catch at Ajman Fish Market, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Late Friday afternoons provide a great spectacle at the Ajman docks as thousands of fish are landed and laid out on the concrete paving by species and size. Traders from the adjacent market then bid for their requirements by an open auction process. Retailers, hoteliers, restauranteurs, or members of the general public like MB, are then able to buy the fish in the air-conditioned market as they wish, and a team of workers is on hand to gut and clean the fish if you require. There is also a small shop at the end of the market, run by a Syrian gentleman named Mr Hussam, who will cook the fish for buyers by smothering in his secret (& delicious) sauce/spice/herb mix and wrapping in tin foil, before popping into the flame oven.

If you ever get to visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi and have a few hours to kill, MB highly recommends a visit. And if photography is a hobby, then so much the better. FYI – Ajman is one of the seven Emirates of the UAE.


Mid Summers Eve/Summer Solstice

Good luck to all who will travel to the Grange Stone Circle tomorrow morning – before sunrise – back in MB’s Irish HX homeland. And well done to those who attended this morning – the actual true Solstice morning of 2016, today 20 June being the longest (daylight) day of the 2016 year. Read More


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