Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Foto Friday – Assaha Hotel, Beirut.


MB will head to Lebanon next weekend (the Islamic Eid Holiday weekend in the Middle East), where he is invited to a wedding in the ancient town of Byblos. Having seen the church and party venue online, it promises to be a great photo opp occasion for MB and his camera. Big thanks to work colleague DAM and his wife-to-be for the invitation.

The below photo is from the inside of Assaha Hotel, where MB spent the first night of his December 2016 previous Lebanon wedding trip. He received some special hospitality from local residents on the following morning on a local street when he went to buy a local phone sim card. But that’s a story for telling at another time.

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A New Irish Passport


It was not until MB arrived in the Middle East (ME) some nine years ago that he learnt the true value of his Irish Passport. Read More

Why every kid should collect stamps


MB is reposting the below post from blogger friend Heidi/HeidiBlog. MB used to do this as a young kid. Wonder where those stamp albums got to? Great post H. Thanks. MB

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My blog-pal Anthony has a great memory, because this morning he reminded me of a post I wrote three years ago. With apologies to those for whom this is a rerun, it at least explains why I was more excited about the heat-sensitive eclipse stamps than yesterday’s actual eclipse.

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I admit it: I feel nerdy confessing I collect stamps.I’m not sure how it started but I think it’s my father’s fault. He used to travel a lot for work, so he had friends all over the planet. And occasionally these friends would send us a letter, like this one:

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Within a few years I’d amassed maybe a dozen such first-day covers, and I’d saved several hundred stamps from my father’s correspondence. I especially looked forward to Christmas each year.

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Before long I was saving my allowance for the local stamp-swaps and mail-order offers. I’m sure I got swindled…

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Corner


Corner.

Camels race around the corner at a track in Doha, Qatar – shot from MB’s camel racing excursion of some months back. Note the robot jockeys on the camel’s backs. The robots and their whips are controlled by remote controls in the hands of the owners who follow the camels in 4x4s on roadways outside the track perimeter.

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Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Foto Friday – Mother’s Milk


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Ohh Shiny!


Ohh Shiny!

This week’s photo challenge phrase is one that MB was not previously familiar with. Perhaps because it’s purely an American phrase. Or perhaps, that phrase & MB’s paths just never crossed.

The phrase, according to Andrea who set this week’s challenge, means something that is distracting, like an American bird distracted by a shiny object (Irish birds just don’t get distracted – they are always focused and in ‘the zone’).

Anyway, MB got to thinking, what makes him distracted?

When he travels back to the Emerald Isle he is always distracted by the ruins of an old manor house anytime he drives past, known locally as ‘Croker’s, after the old boss man of the family who lived there. The ruin lies just across the road from the farmhouse where MB grew up.

There is a local saying back in HX-land – “I doubt it, said Croker” – which originates from a deathbed conversation that Coker had with his priest. The priest tried to console Croker in his final dying hours with the soothing words – “At least you will be going to a better place”. To which Croker famously replied – “I doubt it”.

Herewith, a shot of the ruin which MB took from the nearby wooded area along the Grange/HX road during his trip home last May:

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Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Elemental


Elemental.

The photo challenge this week is to explore the classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire.

Difficult to get all the elements in a single shot of course, so MB will give followers a few of the recent shots he took around the square in front of the chateaux in the town of Nyon, Switzerland. The shots contain elements of the elements!


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Some weather thingy on a wall in the square. The inscription below the weather clock reads – He who looks at me loses time – or some such. French attempt at humour or wisdom, MB presumes.SONY DSCSONY DSC

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View from the rear of the castle

Qatar crisis – There is no crisis – We won!


Further to MB’s comprehensive and quite deadly ‘Qatar/Gulf Crisis’ update blog post of recent days, MB now brings further joyous news to all. If heretofore, followers had considered that there was still a lingering, albeit minuscule, smell of crisis in the Gulf air, MB is most pleased to inform all that the air is now mountain-fresh and rosy-smelling. Read More

Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Syrians Unknown


I also know many Syrians from my years in the Middle East. Impressive people all.

John Wreford Photographer

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Syria, a country torn apart by a relentless war, five years of disturbing headlines, dreadful imagery, chemical weapons and a refugee crisis not seen since the Second World War: this is what we know of Syria.

Brutal media headlines reducing innocent people seeking peace and security to mere statistics and derogatory adjectives.

Individual stories and histories are removed as the media simplifies, homogenizes and represents people through stereotypes: often the sole source of information for the wider general public. After years of conflict, what does the public know about Syria and its now tormented people?

Turkey is currently hosting around three million Syrian refugees. Whilst the most vulnerable are living in camps, the majority are determined to continue their lives, not only to survive but flourish and follow dreams, overcoming adversity and the constant hurdles that the stigma of simply being Syrian brings

The reality of strong personalities, creative and…

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Foto Friday – Statues


Many will be aware of the terrible destruction wrought by the ISIS/DAISH group throughout their areas of occupation in the Middle East. Destruction of statues at the world heritage site of Palmyra, amongst others, received huge international attention. The acts of destruction have their basis in certain teachings of Sunni Islam, from whom ISIS has spawned. Those teaching state that the recreation of the human form is prohibited, albeit the principle is not included in the Quran. That such thinking can lead to the destruction of antiquities of world importance is obviously unfathomable for most reasonable people.

MB was explaining to a Sunni Muslim colleague in recent weeks that if ever he will travel to Ireland, he will see religious statues along public roads as he explores the country. Many of those statues date from 1954, which was a year dedicated by the Vatican authorities to the honouring of the virgin Mary – the Marian Year.

MB caught these shots on his May 2017 trip to his homeland. They are not atypical of what one will find in numerous Irish locations.

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