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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Qatar Blockade – Update


Way back mid-June, MB published one of the most succinct, informative and entertaining reports on the Qatar/Gulf crisis seen in world media. Peers gasped for breath. Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Textures


Textures.

A misty Irish HX morn provides a smokey texture to an MB shot:

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Foto Friday – The view of & from Le Château


HX followers were left agog following publication two days back of MB’s Photo Challenge post. What lay beyond that teasing and tantalising ‘château’ shot? – numerous followers were asking (too numerous to mention of course). Sleepless nights have been the order of the day, since Wednesday night last (some sentence MB!). At least MB assumes that was the case.  Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Satisfaction


Satisfaction.

MB has a Yankee friend called JL from Connecticut. MB remembers JL telling him a story many years back about a 6-month French language course that JL had attended. Now JL has many gifts, but the gift of languages is not one of them. And never will be. The end of the course arrived and JL could only mutter one single phrase en Francais; which was:

“Marie, où est la bibliothèque?”

After 6 months – that was the sum total of JL’s French!!!

Anyway, a few weeks back, MB found himself in Nyon, a small French-speaking town some 15 minutes train-journey from Geneva. MB had heard that there was a castle on the outskirts of the town, on the lake edge, that was worth a visit and a few camera shots.

“Parlez vous Anglais?” said MB to a couple of shop assistants, a few minutes after disembarking from le train.

“Mais oui Monsieur” replied les deux Francais.

And just at that precise moment, all of MB’s school French came flooding back to him. Like un tres grande linguistic sunami, en Francais.

“où est le chateaux?” said MB, casually, to les deux Francais, who looked quizzically at l’Irelandais, wondering if this guy before their eyes wasn’t some kind of major p**s taker. He had just asked them if they spoke English and had then addressed them in perfect Francais. ‘Quell assh**e’ they were thinking for sure, thought MB.

“à droite Monsieur” – instructed les deux Francois.

“Merci beaucoup, merci beaucoup, au revoir” replied MB in accent-perfect Francais.

“Un plaisir (assh**e)” replied les deux Francais.

MB turned right just down the street as instructed. What satisfaction did MB not feel on seeing le beau chateaux before his eyes, a mere 100m in the distance. All as a result of MB’s tres bon multilingual skill-set!

Voila!

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Sunday Shot – No Comment


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Foto Friday – The bull in the field


For all MB’s Arab friends in particular, who like to see Irish greenery.

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Moscow – That’s a wrap!


One final Moscow post!

Some random Moscow shots, with text explanation, to finally conclude MB’s Moscow photos stories.


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Unusual


Unusual.

Enough said!

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Foto Friday – Jet L’eau


MB was in Geneva last week and captured this early-morning shot of the city’s famous water fountain, or ‘jet l’eau’ as the French-speaking Genevois refer to it.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Collage


Collage.

Back in the HX heartland, there’s a cultural museum on the HX/Meanus road called the Old Irish Ways Museum. It includes a large collection of agricultural implements and multiple other mementoes from an older Ireland; the Ireland of our parents and grandparents. The contents were gathered over many years with huge dedication and effort by HX local Dennis O’Connor who travelled the length & breadth of Ireland in his quest. Many acquisitions needed repair and renovation, and as can be seen from the end result, it was very obviously a large labour of love on the part of DOC. If ever you get to visit HX, then do not miss the Old Irish Ways Museum.

Every room and exhibit within provide a spectacular visual collage for the visitor.

Example:

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Moscow – Armoury Chamber Museum


The Kremlin complex contains a hugely fascinating museum called the Armoury Chamber, which is in operation since 1851. It is full of religious, political and military historical artefacts from over a 1,000 year period, and is one of the most interesting cultural venues that MB has ever visited. The piece de resistance is a glass case that contains 6 or 7 Faberge Eggs. 00MB must inform followers that photography is not allowed within the Armoury, but followers are also well aware how much respect MB generally gives to that particular rule when he is on his travels. During the course of MB’s visit, he received four “final warnings” from Kremlin security staff. They really were giving MB a hard time, unaware, obviously, that MB’s efforts were solely in the interests of furthering international peace and harmony.

The security staff were obviously watching the Faberge case like hungry hawks. So trying to get off a decent shot or two with the camera proved, sadly, impossible. To raise the camera to one’s eye, depress the button 50% to lock the autofocus, and continue to execute the shot as per normal procedure, would certainly have seen MB ensconced in the nearby and infamous (just around the corner) Lubyanka Prison.

In hindsight, MB is a tad sorry he wasn’t willing to suffer a spell of incarceration in order to get a few decent egg shots, but there was no guarantee that the KGB prison lads would have respected MB’s camera memory card, or even the camera itself. Two rushed shots, whilst hiding behind some Spanish tourists, produced a couple horribly out-of-focus shots that MB is far from proud of, but gives them to you below nevertheless.

Herewith, MB’s shots, at much personal risk, from his Armoury visit:

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Bridge


Bridge.

MB is too tired & busy to find some deeper meaning ‘bridge’ photo. Followers will just have to put up & shut up with MB’s quickly selected ‘bridge’ offering.

The same photo appeared in recent weeks in one of MB’s awesome Moscow posts. But as the old MB saying goes, one can never get too much of a good thing!

Enough of your inane ramblings MB. Just give us the photo. Ok, ok, lads. Relax.

Voila or Eureka or whatever. A night shot of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, behind some bridge whose name is unknown to MB.

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Moscow – The Kremlin


Diplomatic relations between Russia and the Western nations are at a particularly low ebb at present, the worst in many years. It, therefore, comes as no surprise to HX followers that MB has made a recent trip to the heart of the Russia to try to mend some fences. And when one travels to the capital city, one knows that fence-mending doesn’t happen in ornate cathedrals, hotels or fancy metro stations. No Siree. If fence-mending is your game, then there is only one location in Moscow to head for.

The Kremlin.

MB received word prior to travel that Vlad Putin was busy and was unlikely to get a chance to press the flesh with MB. MB took the news on the chin as one would expect, and soldiered on regardless. But in the end, the paths of the two men did indeed cross, as the ‘main man’ emerged from the Kremlin complex one evening in his nuclear bomb-proof car, accompanied by some serious looking dark-glassed 4x4s, as MB was walking past. Needless to say, the Russian President gave MB a thumbs-up as both men made eye-contact. MB responded in kind with an air high-five. Mr Putin smiled. So did MB.

A day or two later, MB found himself not outside the Kremlin walls, but within. Do not ask MB how he manages such magical diplomatic feats, as he is not at liberty to say. Anyway, informing all the Kremlin security staff that he had the personal permission of Mr Putin to photograph at will, MB ran amok with his Canon 7D, and photographed anything that moved. And much that didn’t.

Seriously, a visit to the red-walled Kremlin complex is a huge thrill. The area called Cathedral Square from the outside is stunning, and one can also enter the inside of the churches to see the ornate Orthodox-style religious decoration. If ever HX followers wish to travel in the footsteps of MB, just shoot MB a private message, and he will immediately take the permission of Mr Puttin to get you inside. Guaranteed.

On the occasion of MBs visit, a class of young military cadets were celebrating their graduation, so many family members and guests were in attendance, as can be seen in some of the below photos.

Expect international diplomatic relations to start improving dramatically. Real soon!


Traffic is stopped (1st photo) to allow Mr Putin’s entourage to exit the Kremlin onto the adjoining public street (2nd photo)

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The Kremlin Complex:

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The Kremlin Palace (event hall):

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Cathedral Square, etc

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Moscow – Metro


MB was taken on a speed-of-light tour of some Moscow Metro stations last weekend by Russian friend NK. MB had previously heard that the Moscow stations were architecturally impressive. ‘Impressive’, MB can assure followers, does not do justice.  Read More