Posted on May 27, 2018
It’s high time the hens of Ireland were given due recognition. Yes, indeed. High time. Read More
Posted on May 23, 2018
Back in HX land, the word twisted is generally used in the context of some local or other having consumed far too much alcohol in some local pub. That lad was totally twisted might be one description of said lad by some (non-twisted) observer. Anyway, MB is not going to show you all some HX pub or street shot for this weeks photo challenge. He will, instead, give you all something far more circumspect, religious even, from the local Islamic perspective, in the midst of this holy month, Islamically speaking, of Ramadan,
The spiral mosque at Fanar, next to Doha’s Souq Waqif, is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the whole of Qatar. It is part of the larger Doha Islamic Cultural Centre, where one can enter and learn a little of Islamic history and holy sites in an open area on the ground floor, in addition to taking evening classes in Arabic on the upper floors, which MB has done in the past. The mosque prayer area is accessed at first-floor level, if one is so religiously inclined.
MB took the below shot from the nearby souq, capturing some pigeons in show-boat mode, to the backdrop of the spiral mosque.
Posted on May 16, 2018
If you freeze water, dear followers – you get ice! MB was hardly going to produce a standard liquid shot for the challenge!!!
MB returns to his glacier in Chamonix, France, for this week’s theme shot, having used a shot inside the glacier for last weeks theme.
MBs below shot features the Dome Du Gouter peak in the French Alps. It is approx 4,300m in height, approx 500m lower than nearby Mont Blanc, making it the 3rd highest peak in the range. The Mer De Glace glacier features in the foreground, which is some 7km long and 200m deep, making it the largest glacier in France. It moves some 70m every year. The caves that featured in MBs shot of last week and other previous posts are drilled out each year.
Posted on May 11, 2018
When one lives the expat life, one’s thought very often turn to home. Regardless of how busy or good or great life has become in the adopted country, the littlest snippets of news from home and the homeland are welcomed like nuggets of pure gold.
The below photo features an old ruin which lies across the road from MBs parental farmhouse home, known locally as ‘Crokers’, on account of the family that once resided within. It has featured in many of MB’s past posts. Croker’s is synonymous, in MB’s brain, with his true place in the world. Home is where the heart is, after all. Truly it is.
Posted on May 4, 2018
Soon after Sofia’s birth over one year back, MB agreed with Lebanese parents R&E that he would chronicle Sofia’s life in the years ahead. She is the firstborn to R&E, and to date is not joined by additional siblings. On 10 February 2018, she was one year old. Already Sofia has been the subject of three of MB’s past blog posts, the most recent being a post on her Christian baptism.
R&E, continue to work in peaceful and prosperous Doha, Qatar, and are building a new house back in their Koura/north Lebanon home region where they and Sofia will one day return. The shell of the house is now complete and the more expensive internal finishings will soon start. Architect mom R will spend her 2-week August vacation painting arty pictures on the internal walls, as she informed MB in recent days.
The Middle East continues to provide a crazy backdrop to Sofia’s early life. Syria and Yemen remain in war-ravaged chaos. Neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan struggle financially and socially under the weight of displaced Syrian war refugees. Lower level extremist violence continues in Iraq and elsewhere. Qatar, where MB & R&E abide, remains under a non-sensical travel and economic blockade by (unneighbourly) neighbours UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt. There is no end in sight to that particular saga. Recent comments from a senior Saudi politician maintained the high temperature, commenting that if the US closed its Qatar air base, Qatar would not last long, implying a Saudi-led invasion. The US, UK & France bombed Syrian government installations only a few weeks back in response to an alleged gas attack by the Syrian government on a rebel-controlled Damascus suburb. MB says ‘alleged’ on account of the fact that there is no actual proof, and international inspectors have not yet released their findings. An Independent newspaper article by reporter Robert Fisk makes for interesting reading in that regard.
Sofia remains oblivious to all the regional nonsense that goes on about her. At 13 months, she started to walk, cocking a snook of sorts to all the madness. A few weeks back, she travelled back home with mom R to visit happy grandparents and extended family. MB’s first below photo was provided by mom R from that trip. The second is from her recent birthday party.
Belated 1st birthday wishes to Miss Sofia from MB!
Posted on May 3, 2018
Posted on April 25, 2018
Swiss pigeons. Eating Swiss bread. In Montreaux. In Switzerland. With some lines. Not lions. They would eat the pigeons. But not the bread. July 2015.
Posted on April 20, 2018
One of MB’s favourite cities is Istanbul. With a population of over 15M people, the locals need to be prolific food producers. And they certainly are. The street markets and city food shops are jaw-droppingly spectacular and are not just for shopping. They are for ambling around, gazing, sampling, and enjoying. And for taking zillions of photos of course!
MB could show you zillions of Istanbul food photos, but a gives you just one, of a simple basket of cheeses:
Posted on April 20, 2018
The UN has designated Sunday next, 22 April 2018, as Mother Earth Day and the following is an extract from the related UN site:
International Mother Earth Day is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance.
This Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.
International Mother Earth Day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.
MB shot this early morning photo on a Geneva Street (believe it or not!) in March 2017; showing nature against a beautifully intricate and eye-catching background of aircraft pollution.
A truly great shot MB. Thanks, ladies!
Posted on April 15, 2018
If you go down to the woods today,
you’re sure of a big surprise.
Yes indeed ladies, if you go down to the Irish woods around this time, be prepared for some strange goings-on and some big surprises. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, at this time of the year, that you will encounter some real live Irish fairies. Following an unusually nasty winter when the weather was wacky as hell, and fairy activity was subdued and minimal, the fairies are now rarin’ to go and full of mischief and trickery.
Are the fairies like the Leprechauns MB? What a stupid questions ladies. The fairies are nothing like Leprechauns. Leprechauns are good-hearted, generally go about their business in as humble a fashion as possible, and are even willing to hand over their pots of gold to anyone (like MB) who is fast enough and clever enough to catch them while a rainbow momentarily blinds their vision. And there will be absolutely no hard feelings from Mr Leprechaun if you do manage to snatch the gold. You can just waltz off into the distance with the pot of gold in your grasp, considering how much bitcoin you might invest in, and Mr Leprechaun will just wave you off and wish you well.
The fairies, on the other hand, can be nasty, it must be said. They like to play tricks on the natural people, who are expected to grin and bear it. The only protection from fairy nastiness is to scatter some primrose flowers around the perimeter of your farm and they will never cross the primrose line. Don’t ask MB why ladies. That’s just the way things is.
May eve is fast approaching when fairy activity will be at its peak. Be warned. You may find that your cow has run dry and can not produce any more milk. Or you pet goat isn’t feeling very well. Or your sheep gets a sore throat and ‘baa’ suddenly sounds like ‘baaaggghhhh’. Yes, dear followers, should any of the aforementioned happen to you and yours, then for sure its the fairies at work and you need to tread very carefully indeed.
And for the good of your health, just play along with them. Don’t screw around with the fairies. Pretend you’re impressed with their fairy powers, and only a tad annoyed at their trickery. Otherwise much nastier things can happen. Such as your goat disappears completely some night without an earthly (or non-earthly) trace. Or worse. The very last thing you want to do, MB means the absolutely very very last thing you want to do, is to awaken the wrath of a bunch of fairies. No siree. No way. It’s the last thing you want to do.
Anyway, now that MB has given you all some advice on how to deal with the Irish fairies, he is happy to share an image with you all of a fairy house he managed to capture in recent times back in the HX heartland. For sure MB is not a liberty to divulge the exact location of the shot, as he is mindful of the health and welfare of his sheep and goat herd. He will only say, that he wore a crown of primrose flowers, granting him invisibility from the HX fairy hoards, and beat a hasty retreat from the fairy village back to the natural world in the immediate aftermath of the shot. And lived to tell the tale.
Herewith (and be warned – sharing any shots of a fairy house is not advised):
Posted on April 1, 2018
Beautiful piece of writing from blogger John Wreyford of his street experiences in Amman, the capital city of Jordan. MB was lucky enough to once visit Amman, a few years back. He must do so again.
A seedy Downtown Cinema
Maher bent forward and poured a stream of Tamer Hindi juice into a cup for me from the antique Ottoman flask on his back. It’s very sweet and very welcome, its natural Red Bull and will give me energy Maher tells me, sounding not unlike a Red Bull commercial. Dressed in traditional garb and wearing wraparound sunglasses, he aptly represents the curious contradiction of the Middle East, ‘Don’t forget to tag me on Facebook’, he shouts as I wander off.
A tour bus pulls up and a group of septuagenarian’s shuffle towards the amphitheater, not stopping as they take snap shots of the Roman colonnade with their tablets. They don’t stop to try Mahers juice either, too much of risk perhaps; a jippy tummy or worse, getting left behind to fend for themselves. Amman is only a side show, it’s Petra they have come to Jordan…
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Posted on March 28, 2018
The Grange Stone Circle lies in MB’s HX homeland and dates from the Neolithic era, estimated to be approximately 5,500 years old. The circle is 150 feet in diameter and contains 113 stones, the largest weighing some 40 tonnes. Because of an embankment around the entire outside of the circle, it is thought that the circle had ritual purposes. But who really knows?!
On summer solstice (21 June) and on winter solstice (21 December), local (& not so local) people gather at the circle before sunrise to watch the first rays of the sun appear for the day that’s in it. Assuming cloud cover does not spoil the occasion, which it often does!
MB took this photo on early morning, 21 December 2017. A candle glows in the centre of the circle as people await the sunrise.
Posted on March 8, 2018
MB has picked a photo from September 2012 for the day that’s in it. MB’s daughter MB2 and friends celebrate a schools football victory. Sadly, in some parts of the world, such a photo is not possible. For no good reason.
Here’s hoping for a better future for all.
Posted on March 7, 2018
Posted on March 1, 2018
No, it’s not Wakanda! The night skyline of the Westbay area on the Doha Corniche is impressive and otherworldly. Most of the architecturally spectacular buildings are office blocks owned by big local companies or government organisations. The building on the extreme right on the below shot is the Sheraton Hotel.