Posted on January 11, 2018
There’s the trunk of an old tree a few hundred meters from MB’s mom’s house in south-west Ireland. It looks very much the worst-for-wear, weathered to a bare totem pole-like stick figure on the edge of the grassy field. Even most of the bark is now stripped bare. Where once upon a time birds might have nested or sung from the denseness of its branches and leaves, that possibility is now no more unless mother nature performs one of her regrowth miracles. But no sign of that yet. The tree itself, or ninety percent of it at least, succumbed to a storm some years back leaving only the forlorn and desolate looking trunk as a memory of greater and greener days.
Posted on January 4, 2018
MB took his awesome ‘8 Ducks A-Swimming’ photo one early misty morning back in HX-land over the Christmas holiday.
And what has the shot got to do with this week’s challenge MB? ie – Growth.
Well, not a lot lads to tell you all the truth. It features eight ducks a-swimming, and one can see some rushes protruding through the lake surface, growing, as it were. And remember, Spring will soon be here, when the mammy and daddy ducks will produce cuddly little baby ducks who will all grow up and continue the cycle of duck life, ad infinitum, unless Trump presses his ‘my button is bigger than your button’ button. Then the ‘ad infinitum’ thingy will be no more. And anyway lads, we shouldn’t always be bound by rules!
It’s far too early in the year to be turning the Photo Challenge into some sort of political statement MB, don’t you think?
Ok, ok lads. Let’s leave sleeping ducks lie for the moment, and just let’s concentrate our brains on the truly awesome nature of the photo.
Agree MB, it’s truly a wonderous shot. Truly ‘awesome’, to use your own phraseology, which should please you no end!
It does. Thank lads. You are an awesome bunch of followers!
Happy 2018 to one and all.
Posted on December 24, 2017
Followers will find a version of ‘The Prayer’ on Youtube by Andre Bocelli & Celine Dion. The version MB now gives you is by HX ladies JD & NOS from the Christmas Carol service at Grange Church on Sunday evening last. MB knows which version he prefers.
Posted on December 21, 2017
MB was in the Grange Stone Circle at 6am this morning, on account of the fact that it was Winter Solstice Morning. And where else would any self-respecting inhabitant of HX-land want to be at such a time on such a date? Correct – The Grange Stone Circle.
Go only knows how many photos MB took this year in Russia, Lebanon, Qatar and Ireland. So he is not going to tax his brain or work his index finger to the bone by flicking back through them all to pick a ‘2017 favourite’. He will, instead, give just one shot to this week’s photo challenge from his visit to the stone circle this morning.
As followers would expect, MB took many awesome shots at the circle. Any one of a dozen or more of them could easily win a NatGeo photo competition or a Pulitzer, if MB could be bothered winning such piffling awards. But MB is bigger than mere awards and is just humbly happy to share his general awesomeness with faithful followers, free gratis, without compensation, or medals or pats on the back. However, he just might review that ridiculous position in 2018, if he could figure out how to
milk his followers monetize his blog site. But that’s another matter. For another day.
MBs favourite photo from this morning (one of), caught a lucky split second one might think if one did not know MB so well. MB managed, by his sheer general awesomeness, to capture another photographer at the exact moment he fired his flash next to a candle that was burning in a small jar on the ground (thanks to friend MR, for that great candle!).
And there you have it lads. A brief history of one of the most awesome photos that any of you will see in 2017. Or 2018.
Will you send it to Nat Geo MB? No way lads. It would be completely wasted on them.
So happy Christmas to all. Thanks for all the crack in 2017. Have a great 2018.
Posted on December 20, 2017
Posted on December 19, 2017
For the last six years, a Christmas Carol service has taken place at Grange Church, HX, where attendees make financial donations on the night to assist various charities, with an emphasis on helping local people at Christmas time. It is always a stunning musical event, and last Sunday night’s concert, which MB attended, was possibly the best ever. Many locals have now come to recognise this event as the real start of Christmas in the locality. MB understands that sentiment. The atmosphere on the night is very special.
The choir on the evening comprises volunteer members of the three local church choirs who come together for the annual event and attend rehearsals over the previous three or so months. The adult choir for the occasion goes by the Irish Gaelic name ‘Cor Na Nollaig’ (The Christmas Choir) and the children’s choir, who also perform on the night, is called ‘The Little Voices Children’s Choir’. The event is overseen or managed by two very young members (we can call them ‘kids’ actually!) of the Grange community, NOS and JD, who arrange the music and conduct on the night.
None of the choir members are professional singers, just local inhabitant choir-members. But youngsters NOC and JD have studied music, as will be evident from some videos that MB will post in subsequent posts. MB might have been better concentrating on either the photos or the videos, as he might have gotten better results, but what to do when needs must?!
For the moment, MB will give followers some photos from the night, to set the scene and give a flavour. Apologies for the poor photo quality. MB’s camera lenses are really not cut out for the ‘low light’ conditions. And FYI – the red glow in many of the pics is coming from the red-light heat lamps on the walls of the church, evident in some of the pics. “Enough of your nonsense excuses MB, they are just crappy shots”. “OK, ok lads, maybe you’ve got a point. And Happy Christmas to you too!!!”.
Posted on December 18, 2017
MB is back in his Irish homeland mere days and he already received gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh in the newly reopened HX shop and filling station. Well, in truth, he received a free cup of coffee from manager TOC, and did not actually received any of the aforementioned metal or spices. TOC, MB is now thinking, could easily have been one of the three wise men, had he lived back in the ‘Bethlehem/bright star in the sky’ days. But anyway……….
Jokes aside, MB was hugely pleased to hear of the reopening of the new ‘Xpress Stop’ facility a few weeks before his return home, as it creates a focal point once more in his HX community that was sadly missed since its closure a few years back. Older people in the community, in particular, got to meet neighbours and friends in that shop and learn of local news and gossip, and who was getting married and what baby was born and who had died and what time the funeral was on. Etc.
With much of rural Ireland losing shops, post offices and other facilities, HX is certainly bucking the trend of rural decline. Not surprising, MB guesses, when the locality has a world-renowned blogger in its midst spreading the bright HX news, week in week out, throughout the four corners of the flat-earth globe. It was only a matter of time, MB is now thinking, before the HX shop and filling station performed its ‘Lazuras’ act. And so it has come to pass.
Anyway, notwithstanding MB’s vastly over-inflated sense of his own importance, he wishes TOC and all the ‘Xpress Stop’ staff the very best with the new venture. Onwards and upwards.
Posted on December 13, 2017
MB has chosen a shot from his May 2017 visit to Moscow for this weeks challenge. The domed spires of the churches seem to ascend to the heavens at Cathedral Square, which lies within the Kremlin complex in Moscow’s historic city centre.
Posted on December 10, 2017
Long before oil was discovered in the Arabian Gulf, many natives survived on income derived from pearl diving. This pearl water feature, in honour of that heritage, is located on the Doha Corniche next to Souq Waqif.
Posted on December 8, 2017
We are just over 6 months into the blockade of Qatar by neighboring states. Qatar National Day Public Holiday is almost upon us and MB expects that this years will be bigger and bolder than ever. MB has previously shown followers photos of the Ruler, Sheikh Tamim, from around Doha, and such photos continue to proliferate as Qatar dwellers show their support for the Ruler and the State against ‘the others’.
MB took this shot last night on Doha Corniche and it’s pretty typical of what’s on view at the moment.
Posted on December 6, 2017
MB is not saying where he took this ‘cheeky‘ shot. But you are free to guess!
Posted on December 1, 2017
If you hear him bark, you would never question his nationality.
Posted on November 30, 2017
New Church graveyard at HX on the shore of Lough Gur lake. Live doesn’t much more serene than that!
Posted on November 26, 2017
On Friday last, over 300 Sufi Muslim worshipers were killed during prayer time at a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. Many more were injured. MB read in some reports that the attack on the Mosque was unexpected. This is not true. The mosque was in a remote out-of-city location and was a prime target for the fascist DAISH/ISIS murderers who consider the very spiritual Sufis to be heretics who must be killed whenever the chance arises. Similar to their views on Shia Muslims, other Muslim sects or any others who do not fit into their extremist fascist Sunni Islamic view of the world. Any imbecile would have known that the mosque was a target. Target – with a capital ‘T’.
MB has a fondness for the Sufis since he encountered them on his trip to Sudan three years back when he wrote a post about his encounter and including many photos. The following is MB’s final paragraph of that post:
The Sufis consider themselves the original Muslims from the time of the Prophet (PBOH). All spirituality, chanting to Allah, playing drums and enjoying the celebration. And at same time putting on a real spectacle for the many non-Sufi observers who attend just to observe and enjoy. The more extreme Salafi & Wahabi schools of Islam would consider the Sufis to be heretics or some such and would not have kind words for them. In fact, many on the extreme wing of Islam (like ISIS) would have all the Sufis killed if they could. MB prefers the Sufis, with their dreadlock hairstyles and their music and drum playing, and the happy smiles on their faces. Smiling is not a strong point with their Islamic opponents.
Long live the Sufis!
Sudani Sufi (he’s the one in the middle!) at the graveyard in Khartoum, with 2 European teachers who were on a short UN programme teaching female teachers from Yemen. It was unsafe to carry out the programme in Yemen. August 2014.
Posted on November 24, 2017