Posted on July 6, 2019
Go raibh míle maith agaibh (‘a thousand thanks’ in Irish Gaelic) to the four ladies who administer and set the weekly photo challenges. They are angels all!
One year of challenges has now just past and Patti has offered us a blank canvas this week with her Your Choice challenge. Read More
Posted on July 5, 2019
The English comedian Tommy Cooper, now long deceased, had a great joke about a Rembrandt & a Stradivarius, which MB may have told you all in the past. If he did, he now tells it to you again. It’s out & out MB’s favourite joke.
Man walks into a pawnbroker with a violin and a painting. Good news says the pawnbroker – you have a Rembrandt and a Stradivarius. Unfortunately, Stradivarius was a very poor painter, and Rembrandt made awful violins!
Anyway, MB is off to Maastricht in Holland next week, where he will hear and see a Stradivarius. A real one. One made by Stradivarius. Not by Rembrandt!
MB is taking his mom to see Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra in AR’s home town of Maastricht in the south of Holland, next to the Belgian border. AR concerts are spectacular affairs and very visual, so MB will go a bit crazy with his camera (as usual). And he will do his damnest to take one or two decent videos. But decent videos are very much in the lap of the gods with MB, as MB has got to be the worst videographer in the entire universe. Anyway, he’ll give it a go and maybe you will all get to see the results.
MB is unsure why he is writing this post. Normally, he springs his adventures upon you all without forewarning, to collective inhalations of breath and gasps of amazement. But MB has spent the last hour or two watching AR vids and feels like sharing his news and a vid with you all. It’s as the Gods have willed it, it seems. MB has watched 4 entire series of ‘Vikings’ in the last few weeks, so ‘the Gods’ are also on MB’s brain a lot!
Enough of your rambling MB.
Ok ok lads. Ciao for now.
Be in touch.
Posted on June 29, 2019
Thanks to Tina for this week’s serene challenge.
MB has chosen a shot of Lough Gur lake from his HX homeland.
Posted on June 28, 2019
What about a bit of caving?
Posted on June 22, 2019
Posted on June 21, 2019
Hopefully, you won’t need any of these!
Posted on June 16, 2019
Thanks to Ann Christine for her Trees photo challenge this week.
If it’s trees you want, then you should’ve all been hanging out with MB last week in the Matka River Canyon, near Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia.
They’ve got oodles of trees over there!
Posted on June 13, 2019
Matka River Canyon, North Macedonia.
Posted on June 8, 2019
Posted on June 2, 2019
Thanks to Tina for the ‘walk on the wild side‘ challenge. If followers would like to see some superb shots from Tina’s African adventures then please click on that link.
Many of the major towns and cities in the Middle East have large bird markets. The markets are not restricted to just wild birds of course. In the Bird Market at Souq Waqif in Doha, Qatar, one can find turtles, domestic pets such as puppies and kittens, and more.
Sometimes wild is caged.
Posted on May 26, 2019
Thanks to Amy for this week’s challenge – Elements. Amy lists the 5 basic elements as considered by the Chinese, being metal, wood, water, fire and earth. MB will choose Earth and will take a little license on the theme to give followers another shot from MB’s Malta exploits of some 2 weeks ago. Read More
Posted on May 23, 2019
On a few occasions in the past, MB has offered his blog site to friends who had something to say and needed a forum in which to say it.
In recent days, friend and work colleague Mrs Joy, from Punjab State in India, asked MB if she could use his blog site to publicise the events of the last year which were extremely traumatic for her, particularly in the earlier stages.
Joy has an appropriate name. She is one of the happiest souls one could ever meet, with a great sense of humour. She is truly a joy to meet and chat with. In India, in her younger days, she cared for street dogs and would personally intervene if ever she witnessed any cruelty to animals by anybody. That small fact alone will give readers an idea of her nature.
In June 2018, Joy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is a married lady with two daughters, aged 6 and 12. Needless to say, after the initial shock of discovery, thoughts immediately turned to treatment and survival and where the best treatment might be procured. Returning to her home country of India was considered, where many very high-quality cancer treatment hospitals exist. However, on discussing the matter with various doctors and with some patients who had received treatment in Qatar, she decided to proceed with the treatment in Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) – NCCR (cancer treatment department) in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Choosing the local option ensured that she would remain with her family, avoid the stressful disruption of moving home for a relatively long period, reduce the cost of treatment dramatically and her two daughters could continue their schooling without interruption.
Her choice turned out to be an inspired one. The treatment and care received was beyond excellent and was truly world class. Chemo treatment started in June and ended in December when the tumour had reduced to a size that enabled an operation to take place. The operation took place in February and the tumour was successfully removed. Medication and treatment continues to this day, and will hopefully ensure that there will be no reoccurrence.
Joy informed MB that the hospital staff became like her second family. She received treatment from physicians from multiple nationalities including Arabs, Irish, British and from her home country of India. At the time of the operation, she encouraged her husband to focus on looking after their two children at home, rather than spend all his time being with her at the hospital. She could tell him this only because of the comfort and security she felt in the care and company of the great family-like HMC staff.
As MB and Joy sipped cups of green tea together earlier today, it was obvious to MB that Joy’s great spirit has returned. The wigs are now long put away and her hair is returning to its normal thick voluminous self. And her great broad Indian smile is back on her face. Thank God!
By publicising her story Joy wishes firstly give a huge thanks to all the staff and management at HMC for the remarkable job they do. Secondly, Joy wishes to encourage anybody who might find themselves in the same predicament, to look first to the locally available world-class facility at HMC in Doha. Joy is one of the many living proofs that there are few better options available anywhere else in the world.
Finally, Joy has asked MB to post the below piece, written by a friend, which may be forwarded later to HMC or other local organisations or publications. MB is very happy to do so and wishes Joy lots of joy, joy and more joy, long into the future!
Joy’s contact details are included below if anybody would like to contact her directly for advice or just a friendly chat about matters medical. And please also feel free to share this post on your own social media sites.
ONE WOMAN’S BIG THANK YOU! – To the State of Qatar
On 27th June 2018, Joy Grover received the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Joy’s world fell apart.
The day after she received the terrible diagnosis she was due to fly out to India to visit her family. Needless to say, the doctor told her she had to cancel the trip. Joy, who has two young daughters, felt she had no choice but to follow the doctor’s advice and she cancelled the trip. Joy and her husband decided not to share the awful news with many members of their family especially her father-in-law who is now in his 80’s.
Joy visited a well-respected doctor based in Qatar, who she already knew through friends and she told the doctor she was thinking of flying back to India for treatment. This decision was based on Joy being in Qatar with her husband and children but no other family available to help her through this terrible time. However, the doctor advised Joy not to do this and told her that it would be in her best interest to have the necessary treatment in Qatar as it was the best available.
Eventually, after much thought and many prayers, Joy made the decision to stay in Qatar and accept the much-needed help and treatment for her disease. A factor in this decision was also, that in her home country of India, the treatment required would come at a huge cost and in Qatar all the treatment for cancer is provided with minimal charges.
Joy and her family were able to take the much-needed trip back to India to see their family just for 10 days before the gruelling treatment began. She spent a lot of time praying and keeping her faith and strongly believes that this has helped her to get through the emotional and physical ordeal of this life-changing event.
Joy says “I want to shout out loud to everyone who lives here and say that we are blessed with world-class health services in Qatar and the wonderful facilities and treatment are second to none. From the first visit to Hamad Hospital, all the way through chemotherapy and the continuing treatment I have been receiving, it’s no wonder that Qatar was recently voted by London’s Legatum Institute as having the 5th Best Health Care Service in the World and No. 1 in the Middle East.
The staff, doctors and nurses were faultless and looked after me as one of their own, showing endless compassion and empathy, so much so that Joy did not feel she missed or needed her family around her as the nurses and staff became her family.”
Joy also added “I want to reiterate that the treatment in Qatar is second to none. Hamad Medical Corporation has invested in the best and latest technology and medicines, and everyone should feel very proud to have access to this world-class service.
Joy wanted to express these heartfelt thanks, firstly to help others in the same or a similar situation to herself, so that they can be reassured they are doing the right thing in having their treatment in Qatar. And secondly, Joy wants to thank publicly from the bottom of her heart, the State of Qatar, his Highness The Emir Sheikh Tamim and his Highness The Emir Father Sheikh Hamad for taking the decision to establish a world-class medical service that is accessible to all the residents of Qatar, and HE Dr Hanan Mohamed al Kuwari, Minister of Health for generously providing an amazing health care system and the awesome staff, doctors and nurses at Hamad Medical Corporation. Joy is also very grateful to her colleagues and ex-colleague for supporting Joy during her journey.
For more information please contact:
Mrs Joy Grover
Mobile: +974 3118 0149
Posted on May 22, 2019
Valetta is the present-day capital of Malta built by the Knights of St John and dates from the 1500s. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and is small enough to explore in a day or two. MB spent a few days there last week ambling around the streets and seeing the sights.
The following pics give a flavour of the city. They come from a street food walking tour taken by MB and some general exploration. He will comment on a few of the pics below for the benefit of followers.
The famous (original) painting by Carravagio – The Beheading of John the Baptist. It’s the largest painting ever by the painter and the only one he signed, which he did in the red blood (paint) from the throat of the saint. The painting is on display and a permanent fixture at the Co-Cathedral of St John in central Valetta. Photo Nr 2 below is a shot of the church interior. The entire church is incredibly ornate.
One of the old city gates.
The Building known as Victory Kitchen fed thousands of hungry Maltese during WW2, when the city authorities had already signed their surrender to the Germans, but survived thanks to supplies from British ships which limped into the harbour, still under fire from German planes. Many ships were lost en route.
Flags are out in abundance during Spring religious festivals. MB believes the below flags honour St Martin, but he stands to be corrected.
Traditional Maltese bread made in a traditional Maltese oven (2nd pic below), which is some 5m deep. The eight-sided Maltese Cross which features on the below oven and on the national flag represents the eight obligations or aspirations of the Knights – namely “to live in truth, have faith, repent one’s sins, give proof of humility, love justice, be merciful, be sincere and wholehearted, and to endure persecution”.
Famous Pub in Valetta called The Pub. It’s most famous claim to fame is that it’s the pub in which famous British actor, hell-raiser and alcoholic Oliver Reed drank himself to death. The bar owner informed MB and his food tour colleagues that Reed consumed some 34 alcoholic beverages on that fateful day, depicted on the below t-shirt which is for sale in the pub. Reed died during a break in filming the movie Gladiator, leaving many important scenes in difficulty. His head was later computer-generated onto an actor double to complete the scenes.
Salmon rarely meet a happy ending!
The pies on the right are the famous Maltese go-to fast food called pastizzi. They are made from filo pastry and have one of three fillings – cheese, chicken or peas.
Posted on May 20, 2019
MB had previously travelled to Malta in November 1989 to watch the (Italia 1990) World Cup football qualifier game between Ireland and the home nation. Ireland needed to win to qualify and did so 0-2, compliments of two John Aldridge goals. Read More
Posted on May 20, 2019