Weekly Photo Challenge – Transient


Transient/Impermanent.

MB was in his HX homeland last month for ten days or so. One of the events he attended during his trip was the 50th anniversary of the HX Soccer Club, which commenced playing operations in 1967. During the evening, mention was made of many former players who have passed away in the intervening years, and a number of those present on the night actually played with those deceased members back in the flower-power days.

The night reminded many of us of more advanced years that we are all just passing through at the end of the day. In the end, we are all just transients.

MB caught a nice shot of friend, former club player and band member LS on the evening, as he strummed his bass guitar to Lay Down Sally or something similar.

Play it Liam!

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Summer Solstice 2017


On the morning of 21 June, two days from now, people will gather at the Grange Stone Circle in MB’s HX homeland to celebrate the arrival of the solstice sunrise. Alas, MB will not be present. But he will be thinking of them and of his previous visits on Solstice morning in recent years.

Good luck to all who will attend. Wishing for a cloudless sky.

Waiting for the sunrise. An MB shot from 21 June 2014:

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Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Focus


Focus

All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.

MB caught a reasonably sharp focus on Mr Robin some time back in his HX homeland. Mr Robin was, at the time, focused very much on something else, as viewers can see. MB can assure followers that MB’s Robin is not the unfortunate Cock Robin of nursery rhyme fame:

“Who killed Cock Robin?” “I,” said the Sparrow,
“With my bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin.”
“Who saw him die?” “I,” said the Fly,
“With my little eye, I saw him die.”
“Who caught his blood?” “I,” said the Fish,
“With my little dish, I caught his blood.”
“Who’ll make the shroud?” “I,” said the Beetle,
“With my thread and needle, I’ll make the shroud.”
“Who’ll dig his grave?” “I,” said the Owl,
“With my pick and shovel, I’ll dig his grave.”
“Who’ll be the parson?” “I,” said the Rook,
“With my little book, I’ll be the parson.”
“Who’ll be the clerk?” “I,” said the Lark,
“If it’s not in the dark, I’ll be the clerk.”
“Who’ll carry the link?” “I,” said the Linnet,
“I’ll fetch it in a minute, I’ll carry the link.”
“Who’ll be chief mourner?” “I,” said the Dove,
“I mourn for my love, I’ll be chief mourner.”
“Who’ll carry the coffin?” “I,” said the Kite,
“If it’s not through the night, I’ll carry the coffin.”
“Who’ll bear the pall? “We,” said the Wren,
“Both the cock and the hen, we’ll bear the pall.”
“Who’ll sing a psalm?” “I,” said the Thrush,
“As she sat on a bush, I’ll sing a psalm.”
“Who’ll toll the bell?” “I,” said the bull,
“Because I can pull, I’ll toll the bell.”
All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.

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Foto Friday – Irish Scene


The Foto Friday selection this week is an MB shot from his trip home of a few weeks back. And it doesn’t come more Irish than this.

Two guys do a spot of fishing from a boat on Lough Derg lake, to the backdrop of a stone-built Round Tower, and an emerald green hill.

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Qatar Blockade – MB’s trying to sort it out!


Followers will, no doubt, already be aware of the ‘Qatar Blockade’, to give the subject matter its Twitter hashtag handle. On Monday morning last, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar, along with some other Islamic power-houses such as Maldives and Libya Eastern Region. All flights between Qatar and ‘The Others’ were cancelled indefinitely on the following day with travel bans imposed on citizens. The land border with Saudi Arabia (the only land border that peninsular Qatar actually has) was closed with some red & white ‘danger’ tape and plastic bollards, like you see on construction sites back in Ireland. ‘Danger – Do Not Enter’ signs suddenly appeared all along the frontline. “WTF?” shouted all the normal (powerless) citizens of the Arabian Gulf who, to a man and woman, hadn’t a clue what was going on.

And there you have it, dear followers. You are all as wise as all the locals on this matter. Tweets from ‘The Donald’ soon revealed that he was in the thick of it, and in all probability had rubber-stamped the whole escapade, which is still unfolding. ‘The Donald’ was in Saudi Arabia a few weeks back and departed with USD 100B in weapons contracts, while Ivanka gladly accepted a USD 100M donation to her ‘Female Entrepreneurs Fund’ from the Saudi King; her without the headscarf. Tramp. Trump.

Anyway……..

While all the expats were scratching their heads and scratching their butts trying to figure it all out, Mr Mohammad & Mrs Fathima Al Qatari made an immediate bee-line for the supermarkets and cleared all the shelves of perishable goods. Generations of dealing with Arab volatility has thought the Qatari lads and lassies a thing or two about dealing with a crisis. Monday and Tuesday saw some of the longest queues in Qatari supermarket history. Fresh milk was gone by Monday evening, leaving only UHT Goats Milk for dim-witted expats like MB, when they finally cottoned on to the fact that shopping is what one does when a crisis strikes. Food shopping. Comfort shopping. Any kind of shopping. Even MB got a little caught up in it all, buying a dozen organic eggs on Tuesday evening, rather than his normal half. How comforted was MB?! Struth!

MB heard only today that there is no chicken available in the shops, him not being the greatest of chicken fans and unaware of that particular chicken fact. The desert sand does not provide much sustenance for your average chuck, so the chicken farms of the Gulf are primarily located in Saudi Arabia where an odd bit of muck and dirt resides; Islamic chickens one and all no doubt. The chicken trucks are therefore presently stacked ten-a-chicken-breast at the blockaded Saudi border, as MB writes this chicken missal.

For the information and ongoing education of HX followers, the Arabic word for chicken is ‘dajaj’ (some word), and MB swears that almost 75% of the items on every restaurant menu in Qatar have the ‘dajaj’ word included somewhere. Dajaj this and dajaj that and dajaj the other. It’s akin to spuds back in Ireland. A must-have dish with every meal, in whatever format suits the moment. More dajaj please. And can I please order some desert dajaj? And a dajaj to go. Shukran.

So is there a threat of invasion MB? Well if there is lads, let’s hope it’s an invasion of chickens, or eggs. But which will come first MB? That’s the proverbial question lads!

Anyway, MB is not fearful of invasion. The HX Blog has numerous followers in Saudi Arabia and UAE, from MB’s sojourns in those regions. So the fact that MB is known to be presently residing in Qatar, means in all probability, that none of the hostile governments (of some 120M population) will risk sending troops across the border of Qatar (of some 2M population). Or if they do, it will only be to meet with MB to negotiate the terms of their surrender.

And that’s the story to date lads. MB will keep you all a(chicken)breast of developments, even before they happen.

Watch this space. Yesterday!

20170608_174331Lulu Supermarket today. Doha, Qatar. UHT Goats Milk. Yuk!

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Order


Order.

Sort of!

Shot from a Yemeni jewellery market stall at Global Village Souq Dubai, from a few years back.

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Foto Friday – Pubs & Castles


There is a castle and pub next to a river bridge on the road between Shannon Airport and Limerick City in the west of Ireland at a village called Bunratty. The castle takes it’s name from the village – Bunratty Castle, where you can book into one of the castle banquets that take place there most nights during the tourist season as far as MB is aware. The pub is one of Ireland’s oldest at almost 400 years old and has the great name of Durty Nelly’s. If you want to check out who Durty Nelly actually was, you can read it on the pub’s website She was certainly a character.

Even amongst natives, the pub is renowned for the quality of the Guinness beer served within. A number of years back, MB and English friend Pete, who liked his Guinness in the pubs of London, stopped off for a tipple having landed at Shannon Airport only a short while before. “Well Pete, how do you like our Irish Guinness served in Durty Nelly’s” enquired MB, Pete having taken a swallow that made almost half the contents of the pint glass disappear on the occasion of his first visit to Ireland. Pete closed his eyes, leaned back on his bar stool and uttered the immortal reply -“It’s like strawberries and cream on a summer’s day MB”. And so it was.

MB took the below shots on his trip home last week on a bright sunny day as he passed through the village:

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Friend


Friend.

MB remembers the love his two sisters had for horse riding in their younger days. Like most young girls who share that same pastime, MBs sisters always considered their horses a close friend. The horse friend was/is very often treated with far more TLC than, for example, a brother!

MB saw this guy as he drove on the road from Lough Gur lake to HX last week when he was home, and stopped to take the shot.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Evanescent


Evanescent.

For all the thickos like MB out there who do not understand the meaning of the word ‘evanescent’ – it means: soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing. Ergo, a moment in time, sort of thingy!

MB was around the Lough Derg area of his homeland in recent days and captured a number of shots of the locality. The below, in particular, seems to capture a moment in time for the two individuals in question. A minute or so after taking the shot, the guy at the back of the boat gunned the engine into life and the boat purred off into the distance, the moment in time gone forever.

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Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Heritage


Heritage.

When you grow up in Ireland, your heritage is all about you, and you are immersed in it from the moment you leave the womb. Sport. Music. Dance. Drama. Language. Literature. Castles. Prehistoric monuments. The list is endless.

In the Middle East, it’s a totally different kettle of heritage fish. And a totally different heritage. One similarity in the heritage of both locations, however, is ancient exploring and explorers.

Did you know that it was not Christopher Columbus who ‘discovered’ America.  It was an Irishman who did so – St Brendan the Voyager, hundreds of years before ‘Columbus the Pretender’. Google it guys – discover the truth!

The Arabs have a similarly famous voyager – Ibn Battuta. MB has mentioned in past posts that there is a shopping mall in Dubai called Ibn Battuta Mall – with each section of the mall themed on the different geographical locations explored by IB – China, Persia, North Africa, etc.

MB took this shot of some Arabic boats (dhows) at a heritage market in Qatar, December 2016; miniature models of the real thing.

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Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Foto Friday – Stables


Just round the corner from Souq Waqif in Doha, there’s a camel and horse stables complex. Horses often sleep in the standing position. These three had just dozed off when MB captured them.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflecting


Reflecting.

If ever you wish to turn water to wine, or you require the secret alchemist recipe to turn mercury to gold, or you wish to turn a simple semicircle to a full circle – just ask MB. He will have the answer.

This incredible semicircle to full circle reflection-shot is taken from MB’s photo cave – one of his Amsterdam trip with daughter MB2 shots in November 2016.

Wicked shot MB. Thanks lads!

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