Regards to all

Irish poet/singer MB highly recommends. Lot’s of his stuff online if you care to listen. Uplifting.

Regards to all.

So long 2020, you neckless giraffe

If 2020 was a giraffe, he would have no neck.

Read More

It’s beginning to look a lot like christmas. Or is it?

Friends of MB are beginning to pop up Christmas decorations. MB can see a small Christmas tree twinkling brightly in the dim dark nights in the apartment block across the street. A few nights back, friends of MB played Michael Buble’s Christmas Songs CD as background hum to the consumption of a nice Chianti. Not a sliver of liver nor a fava bean in sight!

It’s certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

What a year of experiences. Boldly going where none have gone before. Thoughts to all who’ve struggled, and the many who continue to do so. Financially. Emotionally. Whatever.

MB won’t be home for Christmas. First time ever. Will miss it terribly. Too much logistical hassle with quarantine periods each end, and the mental hassle of spending 7 hours on a flight with a mask and the hustle and bustle of infection-controlling airports. Wondering if any fellow mask-face passenger is infected; praying not. Whilst trying to watch Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory on the inflight entertainment system. To get into the festive mood. Or listening to Shane McGowan. If Qatar Airways have him on the playlist. Doubtful.

Then there are those with real problems.

Few weeks back, MB’s phone pinged. Messenger. Old school friend. Still lives in HX land. Much of his adult life spent looking after kids football teams. Has Stage-3 colon cancer. Went to doctor to have something relatively innocuous checked out. One test later, the big C. Fuck-a-duck. MB wished him well and continues to check in with him. Here’s hoping he’ll have a merry Christmas. Hoping big time.

Time for MB to go look for a Christmas tree. Alas, no tree markets out here. No tree sellers with puffa jackets and scarfs and woolly caps and seeing their exhaled breath in the cold sharp air and asking too much before settling on a lesser sum. Maybe MB can find a small Made-In-China plastic tree, and plank it on his work desk. And another for the living room table. Here’s hoping.

The Doha weather outside is delightful, but having no fire inside is frightful. And the lights are turned way down low. On MB’s essential oils mist lamp.

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow!


If you’ve been listening to world media in the last year MB will forgive your assumption that quarantine is some sort of hellish black hole. However, MB can assure followers that it ain’t necessarily so.

Now it could be.

Image if you were detained in some rat-infested prison for any reasonable length of time. And the guards were busy playing days-long poker sessions. And forgot to deliver food to you and the other inmates. You would be mightily cheesed off, not to mention ravenously hungry.

And if you happen to be under home quarantine in some middle eastern country, then other risks arise. The rules state that you must confine yourself to your room, not interact with other family members or house mates; and one of said family members or housemates must be your designated contact, and only contact, to deliver food, water, etc, etc.

But what if said family members or said house mates decide to binge-watch some Netflix series? One with more than three series at least. Then you might not see them for three or four days and turn into some skeletal creature under the bed sheets. Doesn’t bear thinking about dear followers. Really. It doesn’t.

Anyway, much as MB gave followers his sure-fire 100% guaranteed corona prevention programme a few weeks back (which you can read HERE), MB now gives followers more sure-fire quarantine advice to 100% get you through those long days when sole points of contact may be too busy to keep the quarantinee in sufficient sustenance.

A large bar of fruit & nut chocolate is your only man.

Fruit and nuts for protein, vitamins and minerals. And chocolate for pure pleasure.

MB recommends JH Whittaker & Sons brand from New Zealand. Given the size of their rugby players, it must be strong stuff. MB just now looked up their site and discovered the Whittaker lads are making chocolate since 1896. Need MB say more?!

And so dear followers, that is exactly how MB got through a 2-day quarantine period earlier this week, following a corona test – required due to close contact with a positive case work colleague, and the 2-day wait for the result. MB survived on a large bar of delicious Whittaker’s Fruit & Nut chocolate and not much else. Viva Whittaker’s!

Oh. and by the way lads, the result was negative. This gives MB’s above-mentioned corona prevention programme a 100% success rate to date. The only such programme on the entire planet with such a score:

Trial participants – 1 (MB)
Participants tested – 1 (MB)
Test result – Negative
Success rate – 100%

So there you have it dear followers.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Order your Whittaker’s chocolate now!


Lens-Artists photo challenge – negative space

Thanks to Amy for the negative space challenge. Followers can view Amy’s post HERE.

As Amy explains, negative space in a photo is empty space, so to speak, around the main subject matter, allowing more focus to the main subject, and an overall feeling of calm or tranquility to the greater photo.

MB’s gone a tad lazy in recent months. No posts. No photo challenges. No nothing. Maybe MB is suffering from Corona blues? Possibly. Inspiration and inclination have been absent. For no great reason.

For many years, not a day went by without a few hits, at least, on the HX Report. Desperate people the world over (obviously says you!) landing at MB’s HX door, having searched some obscure word or phrase. And voila, their hit gets registered on MB’s blog stats. Then, on 22 August 2020, no hit. Which hit MB hard. Like a hammer!

Not really lads. The HX blog site is just a bit of craic for the self-amusement of MB. But still, no hit on 22nd August, only a few days after the Leo birthday of MB. Made MB think a little.

Maybe MB is surrounded by negative space. In a Matrix-like reality, or alter reality. He’s not sure. But he decided he needs to get back in the game. Post a few pics. Get off his ass.

So thanks to Amy for the inspirational post. Here’s MB’s effort, from 19 December 2019 at Doha Corniche:

Sofie & Maria – Tooth Fairy!

Sofia, Maria and family recently celebrated Fathers Day, and the arrival of Maria’s first tooth! Next week, Maria will celebrate her first birthday. As followers can see in the below photos, Sofia & Maria look like most young sisters the world over, oblivious to the world around them. And thankfully, oblivious to the troubles around them at present, which are manifold in their passport homeland of Lebanon. Read More

Lens-Artist’s photo challenge – Sanctuary

Thanks to Xenia for this week’s ‘Sanctuary’ challenge. Check out her post HERE.

When MB thinks of the word ‘sanctuary’ he immediately thinks of his much-younger-then-her-years mom back in Ireland. COVID days, for the elderly in particular, were and continue to be, tough days. There was a spell some time back when MB’s moms age group were confined to their homes and needed the good deeds of others for daily necessities. Thankfully, MB’s mom received same in abundance.

Her sanctuary has been her garden and the family farm. The land is now rented out for others to farm but the green fields are still available for daily strolls. The house lawn & garden provides a flower and shrub-clad sanctuary to sit and rest, or to plant new additions acquired from a nearby garden centre.

Here’s to you Ma!

The family farmhouse where MB grew up and where mom of MB still resides. MB can’t wait to get home, sooner rather than later he hopes! This pic was taken one cold March 2019 afternoon.

Ed’s Blog From The Bog – Reblogged by HX Report

MB’s cousin RO’R is married to Tommy O’Rourke. The live in Dublin, Ireland. RO’R, like MB, is north of 50, to put some context on this reblog from Ed’s Blog.

A few short years back, very suddenly, Tommy lost his sight. Life suddenly went from the normal to the very abnormal. Previously Tommy was a huge fan of live horse racing and the game of golf. The passion obviously remained, but under very different circumstances.

Today, MB received a copy of Ed’s Blog From The Bog (from RO’R – see below) which mentions Tommy and his introduction to the world of blind golf. MB was not previously aware of the blind golf world. But what a great world to discover, particularly in these trying times. And huge well done to all those involved and who give of their time to nurture and foster this world.

Best wishes to Tommy for the future and to super caddy RO’R. Hopefully that hole-in-one near-miss on the Par 3 first might be converted some time in the near future to the real thing!



Reblog of Ed’s Blog, where the debutaubt exploits of Tommy O’Rourke are mentioned:

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A Quiet Moment

Thanks to Patti for the Quiet Moment challenge. View Patti’s great post HERE. Read More

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Old & New

Thanks to Amy for this week’s ‘Old & New’ photo challenge. See Amy’s post HERE. Amy’s challenge is to capture ‘old’ and ‘new’ in a single shot. Read More

Lens-Artist’s Photo Challenge – Delicate Colours

Thanks to Ann-Christine for the ‘delicate’ challenge. A-C’s post can be viewed HERE. Read More

Lens-Artist’s Photo Challenge – Pastimes

Thanks to photo guest Sue who set this week’s challenge. You can view her superb shots HERE. And if you like golf (like MB!) then you will love Tina’s post HERE. Read More

Lens-Artist’s Photo Challenge – Cropping the Shot

Thanks to Patti for this week’s challenge. You can view Patti’s very informative post HERE.

Read More

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Morning

Thanks to Ann-Christine for the Morning challenge.

Morning of 08 August 2013.
Read More

When you’ve got a novel problem, you need a novel solution.

All problems have solutions. More or less.

One only has to find the solution.

And obviously, the more novel the problem, the more novel the solution required.

Take your average virus for example.

MB is open to any novel suggestions. Including the ingestion (or injection) of reasonable quantities of household bleach. Or placing humans in sunny locations where they can be exposed to high levels of bright light. Or implanting light bulbs within the human, on a temporary basis, to zap that virus critter.

MB can’t take credit for the foregoing novel ideas however, as brains far bigger than MB’s have come up with them in recent days.

But notwithstanding the novelty of the aforementioned novel ideas, it’s now a given that they don’t actually work.

Which got MB to thinking.

And thinking some more.

And then, MB had his most brilliant of brilliant eureka moments. Which MB wants first to impart to his loyal and long-suffering fanbase. Before MB’s miracle virus-cure hits the international headlines. And makes MB even more famous than he is at present.

But first, let us consider how stressed out all creeds and colours the world over have gotten of late. The following are just a small selection of quotes that MB has overheard and assembled in recent weeks from his many and multi-cultured coterie of friends and acquaintances:

My suit needs pressing. Again. – Luke, Jehovah’s Witness from New Jersey.

Jesus, when will the pubs open again? – Patrick, Roman Catholic from Tipperary, Ireland (As if Jesus would care).

Jai shri Ram – Sreenath, Buddhist from Bangalore. Lord Rama is often the solution.

Alcohol is sometimes useful. – Osama, Muslim from Jeddah.

Will the Bar mitzvah still go ahead? In any event, L’Chaim. – Lavie, young Jew from Tel Aviv.

Ou est la baguette? And is it safe to eat from mon hand? – Francois, multilingual athiest from Marseille.

The above reflects, in the humble opinion of MB, a tiny but very representative snapshot of the stress levels of humanity at this present time. And with any vaccine many months away at best, the global population is crying out for a quick fix.

One that works.

In all cases.


Roll of drums and enter the stage, MB.

With his foolproof anti-virus plan.

The 100% solution to all your viral problems.

And what’s your super-duper 100% cure MB? The suspense is killing us all right now MB.

OK lads, A little more patience please, as all will soon be revealed.

For those who may not be aware, the size of the corona virus is 200/1,000,000 mm. 200 over 1,000,000 of a millimetre. That’s 5,000 viruses, stretched out end to end, to make up a single millimetre.

So, just for the moment lads, park that dimensional fact in your heads.

Now MB wants you all to think to how your mom or grandma caught flies in the kitchen many years back.

Answer – flypaper. Very sticky flypaper.


Which got MB to thinking – what if MB could design a fly-paper solution to trap the virus. And prevent him (or her) making his (or her) way into MB’s mouth and onwards and inwards.

WHO and others have warned that the biggest method of transmission is touching the face with the hands. The virus arrives on the face, travels 2 to 3 inches and voila, hasta-la-vista baby!

So the trick – MB’s most cunning of cunning tricks – is to trap the virus on the face, a-la flypaper, at the moment of arrival.

And how, pray-tell, can you trap the virus when he lands MB???

Argan oil lads. Very simply – Argan oil.

Argan Oil

MB has long been a fan of Argan oil, using it regularly in the hot parched sandy desert environment that is his abode.

So slap on a few extra droplets each morning, and MB’s face suddenly becomes a fly-paper-like viral graveyard; a Bermuda Triangle for wandering viruses.

Now think back to that dimensional fact that MB gave you all above. To swim 3 inches for a virus is the equivalent of swimming 750km for any human. MB actually worked that one out!

Now just think of that virus trying to swim that distance through a sea of Argan oil. No way Jose! Far too viscous. Not possible. No siree. He dies of exhaustion on the journey. 100%.

Thank God MB is hale and hearty at present.  He is, however, not one to tempt fate or to anger the Gods. Hopefully, inshallah, God willing, the good health continues into the coming months and he emerges safely at the other side.

If he does, he will firmly believe that fly-paper and Argan oil played a very large part!