MB spent much of 2012 & 2013 in Saudi Arabia. He lived in a small hotel across the street from the Imam University. He often met the young Imams who would come in to have a coffee and study their religious books and notes before exams. MB spoke to many of them and was often invited or encouraged to join the religion of the ‘final word of God’. Most were grim people for whom smiling seemed forbidden. The Saudi version of their religion considers many things forbidden. Things that most people the world over take for granted. Like music and singing. Like the mixing of male and female. Like photography. Even smiling it seemed. It often struck MB that the Saudi Imams lacked a soul.
September 2009 and MB was on duty at the skittles stall at the local village fair back home. A friend of MB appeared with one of her colleagues and partook in the skittles competition (an old Irish game involving knocking over some timber pegs with larger timber logs). If you look closely at the pic you will see a silver cross hanging from her neck. And you might guess that maybe this friend of MB is a religious nun. Bingo. Correct. She is a member of the FCJ Order (the Faithful Companions Od Jesus) who ran the local village school over the years. Sister V has taught in the school and lived locally for most of her life. She is a great supporter of local events. Likes to smile. And as you can see from the pic she has soul. I wish some of those Saudis could get to meet her!