Posted on May 22, 2016
The HX soccer club won the local Cup Final on Friday night, completing a season League & Cup double. Needless to say, they were jubilant!
Posted on May 12, 2016
Posted on May 6, 2016
Posted on May 6, 2016
MB is very often a first port of call when life’s winds are howling. And so it came to pass again in recent days, when MB received the following email from a young Saudi friend:
Posted on May 1, 2016
01 May is associated with Irish (Celtic) festival of Bealtaine (pronounced approximately – b-yowl-tin-a). It’s a celebration of the coming Summer season and a hoping for a good harvest from the fields some months hence. It’s also a time when you must be careful of the dastardly activities of the fairies, who are up to no good at this time. You must take measures to protect your home, your children and your herd of cows, lest they come to some harm.
From a W.B. Yeats poem:
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world’s more full of weeping
than you can understand.
So be careful of the pishogues tonight, throw a few primrose flowers inside your front & back doors to keep the bad fairies out, drive your herd of cows between two fires to keep the milk pure and prevent the cows milk drying up completely. But only on this night.
Read more of the Bealtaine festival on the Irish Archaeology blog site: http://irisharchaeology.ie/2011/05/mayday-and-bealtaine/
Be careful out there!
Some Spring flowers from MB’s trip home last week:
Posted on April 29, 2016
MB admires very much the unpaid volunteers from his home community who man the Lough Gur lake Heritage Centre. As well as giving of their daily time to look after the shop and interactive displays for visiting tourists, they also act as guides for those who wish to gain some knowledge of local monuments. Some of those same monuments date back over 6,000 years.
Check out www.loughgur.com for further info on MB’s home locality.
The Lough Gur Heritage Centre
A local Guide with a group of visiting tourists at the Grange Stone Circle
Posted on April 29, 2016
MB took a flying visit home last weekend. Lots of local events were taking place, particularly relating to the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule.
Some pics from the trip:
Posted on April 22, 2016
A brilliant abstract shot of a grassy hill by MB – from which you can extract 4 swans (if you have nothing better to do).
Posted on April 19, 2016
MB travels home tomorrow for a mini-break. Maybe he will see some sights similar to those below, captured on previous trips. Read More
Posted on April 15, 2016
On receiving this week’s Photo Challenge from Michelle at the WordPress website, MB started a trawl through his photo library for something suitable. He came across a really nice shot of some street pigeons eating bread crusts on a footpath in front of Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland. It would have got lots of ‘likes’. He came across another cutie shot of a monkey in a forest park in Goa, India, eating a banana while holding her baby. For sure many ‘likes’ would have clocked up. There were many others that would equally have brought smiles to the faces of observers.
Then MB came to some pics he took in Istanbul on his last visit to that city in the Spring of 2015. And he saw some pics of Syrian refugees begging on the streets so that they might enjoy some occasional food, ‘dinnertime’ being a long forgotten concept. And but for the generosity of passers-by, which obviously fluctuates up and down, even ‘occasional food’ becomes even more occasional.
Turkey has some 2M Syrian war refugees at this stage. The refugee camps are places of horror, and hence many refugees prefer the indignity and awfulness of begging on the streets of the major Turkish cities, in all weather conditions, in preference.
The EU has recently promised Turkey some USD 3B to cater more easily with the refugee influx, but more critically from an EU point of view, to stop the refugee tide flowing into Europe from the Turkish mainland. A Turkish friend said to MB recently that we can expect about 10% of the cash to go to the migrants and about 90% to be syphoned off by Prime Minister Erdogan and his cronies. If you know anything of Turkish politics then you will know that such predictions mightn’t be too far off the mark. Incidentally, a Syrian acquaintance of MB’s in Doha, hailed the re-election of Erdogan some months back as “a great day for Islam“. MB nearly wept on hearing. Erdogan wraps himself in the Islamic flag for sure and plays the Islamic card very well. It doesn’t surprise MB one little bit that Erdogan’s major support base comes from the lesser educated sectors of the Turkish population.
And so MB comes to the end of his ‘preachy’ introduction to this weeks photo challenge. Please forgive the departure from the more pleasant norm. A little commentary follows on each of the pics.
MB is not expecting many likes!
The angelic faces of the two babies caught MB’s attention in particular. The shot was taken in the heart of Istanbul’s tourist area, approx 100m from the famous Blue Mosque and other iconic Istanbul attractions. A grotesque contrast if ever MB saw one.
This is not a nice photo, in the sense that it doesn’t convey anything nice. In fact it is very un-nice. MB is sure that when this young couple got married only a few years back, the world seemed full of great promise and all things good. Then their country and their region were engulfed in war. MB noticed that the father never lifted his eyes from the downward direction. He would raise his hand to beg money on hearing passers-by get close or on seeing their feet, but the shame of his new found refugee/begger status didn’t allow him to look strangers in the eye. The look on his wife face is even worse, and speaks a thousand words and more of her new-found situation also. To say that she is beginning to look more animal than human is not an exaggeration. What a world we live in.
The awful irony of this photo is that the two signs behind this hungry mother and child refugee beggar duo, on a hot Istanbul street, are advertising health supplements in the adjoining shop. The mother has positioned herself and child in the shadow of the tree trunk to avoid the sun’s heat and allow her child to get some easier sleep. She would raise her hand to passers-by for donations.
Posted on April 14, 2016
The Middle East (ME) gets lots of nasty press around the world, for many obvious and sad reasons. But MB can assure you, given his many years there, that it’s full of characters who would be right at home in any Irish pub on any given night – Muslim of not! – telling tales and spinning yarns over a beer or three. Read More
Posted on April 10, 2016
MB has stacks of pics in his photo library. So for next few months MB will scatter some of those pics around his blog posts. Time doesn’t permit much story writing at the moment so the pics will just have to do until circumstances permit otherwise.
The is a large bird market area in age Souq Waif in Doha, Qatar. Whatever about the rights and wrongs of such a place, it’s a very interesting part of the souq.
Posted on April 8, 2016
This week’s photo challenge is – Future.
There are dire warnings for many parts of the MENA region (Middle East/North Africa) in the not-too-distant future in relation to dwindling water resources. Already there is evidence of the future impact on the present politics of certain countries.
It is said that securing future water supplies is at the heart of many decisions the state of Israel makes in relation to the Palestinian terratories. You will read and hear much more in the coming two or three years about a large dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River which may starve the countries downstream of desperately needed water supplies. Sudan & Egypt have indicated they may use military intervention against the Ethiopians should they proceed with the dam in such a way that will greatly restrict water supply to their peoples.
In the coming 50 or so years it is predicted that the rainfall will be so little and temperatures so hot that many Arabian Gulf countries will be unable to support human habitation, due to the impact of global warming. Some scientists say we have already passed the tipping point. Let’s hope not.
MB gives you a shot from his visit of April 2015 to Goa in India, taken at the Bhagwan Mahaveer National Park.
Posted on April 1, 2016
This weeks photo challenge from Cheri is Landscape.
As part of the Summer Solstice Festival back home in HX every June, the festival organisers host a ‘Long walk for the Long Day’ on 21 June, the solstice day. It’s generally around the lake area, with the permission of local farmers. The scenery is stunning; although ten-a-penny in Ireland. When you live in the Middle East desert for a number of years, you more fully appreciate just how stunning it actually is.
MB took this shot on a rainy 21 June evening last year, 2015. Awesome shot MB. Thanks lads.