Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

Future Tense

Taken in Jeddah Old Town, Saudi Arabia, few months back.

Yum Yum

Salam lads
We had Iranian/Persian New Year celebration on Wednesday lads, which was Spring Equinox back home in HX. The Persians/Iranians work from the lunar calendar, as I think I told you last week in the piece on Nowruz – the name the Iranians give their New Year.

Atlantis On The Palm Hotel, Dubai
To celebrate Nowruz lads, MB went to expensive (what else would you expect lads!) hotel with Iranian colleague and had the crack. The food was good of course but these Saudis could badly do with being introduced to nice Sauvignon Blanc, to assist with the washing down of the tasty meals. As the entire country is ‘Dry’ in the alcohol sense lads, due to the religion, St Patrick’s Day last Sunday also passed off with only an extra cappucino available to drown the non-existant shamrock. And thanks to all friends of MB for posting or emailing a few photos of your St Paddy’s Day occasions to keep MB informed how things went at home. Appreciated.

MB arrives at the Atlantis
We had sand storm on Tuesday In Riyadh, followed by rainfall & wind on Wednesday night, and back to sunshine on Thursday.  An unusual mix.

Lots of expensive shops selling top end designer goodies
Wednesday was also International Happiness Day lads, so inshallah you all had big smiles on your faces. UAE featured very high up on the international index of happiest countries lads, which did nor surprise MB. Told you recently that there will be no revolt against the Rulers in UAE, as the locals are very well looked after, have very high incomes generally, have good schools, reasonably good health service and some very good infrastructure. Unlike some Muslim countries there is high level of tolerance of others beliefs and there is also much to do socially. So in short lads the locals are v happy. UAE was 17th overall on the index – ahead of Britain!


Lights mimic sea shells

Ajman: The UAE ranks highest among Gulf countries — as well as and above Britain and Iceland — in the World Happiness Report, it was revealed during the Quality of Life conference in Ajman on Tuesday.

Out of 156 countries ranked, the UAE is 17 — the regional best — beating Saudi Arabia’s 26. A step below the UAE is Britain at 18 while Iceland ranks 20.

Denmark is the world’s happiest country while the least happy is Togo, a small West African state, the report suggests.

The conference, at Kempinski Hotel Ajman, was held a day ahead of the International Day of Happiness (March 20)

Fish tank displays in the public area corridors built into the walls 

This Week’s Pics
Come from the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai lads, where MB dined on his trip back there few weeks ago. The food pics are from one of the superb restaurants out there called Kaleidoscope. It features huge array of international food from all over the world, and is a food experience to remember.The hotel is mega 5 Star joint, with approx 1,500 rooms and suites, and is a tourist attraction in itself, not just a hotel. It is located at the tip of the Palm Jumairah (Palm Island) and is owned by Sol Kerzner who is developer and owner of the famous Sun City resort in South Africa. The Atlantis is full of sight-seers every evening as hundreds or thousands visit it just to walk around the public areas and take a look at whats on offer. It also has a great water fun park which includes an area where you can swim with dolphins.
As I have said about many other places out here, if you are ever in the locality do not miss.

Restaurant entrance
Ballyneety Golf Club
Featured Ballyneety Golf Club back home in HX in recent blog. Nice to see the project coming to fruition. A few familiar faces in the pic also, which many from HX will recognise.


One Wife & Six Daughters
I came across an Arab gentleman recently ladies, and he felt the need to tell MB his troubles, no doubt hoping that MB would provide solution. What’s new says you lads! The problem is that he, like most Arab men, wants to produce a son & heir. Think I told you previously lads that when a man (let’s call him Mohammad) has a son (lets call him Abdullah), the man will be happy for all to call him by a new name – Abu Abdullah – father of Abdullah, and he will more or less lose his old name of Mohammad. He will never be referred to as Abu Fatima, if he had a daughter, that is just not the way the system works.
He informed MB that after his 3rd daughter was born his wife did not want to have more children. He had to tell her that he had no problem  with this, if this was her wish, but as he desperately wanted a son he would be forced to take a second wife to continue his breeding quest as permitted by the religion, up to a maximum of four wives if he wished. She would continue to be treated as she had in the past, with greatest of respect and the new wife would not be treated any differently than her – as the Muslim holy book dictates. The wife had a think about the whole situation for a while, and then  decided that she would keep on trying, for the sake of her husband and also, one can only but guess, to prevent a second wife appearing on the scene.
When he first told me the story lads I thought he might be looking for some seed from MB, as his English is very limited and I had some difficulty understanding his request. But on enquiring with my Arabic/English language mixture, he told me that this was against the religion, and he might have to kill MB if MB tried to help in that way. I apologised for the misunderstanding lads, and we put it down to the language & cultural barrier between us, our friendship as rock solid as it had always been. He said black, but I though he said white – sort of thing.
We have now moved on a few years from that conversation he had with his wife lads and we are now at child Nr 6 – all girls. Wife is now pregnant with child Nr 7, expected inshallah in approx 5 months from now. He is hopeful,  like 6 times in the past, that Allah may bless him with a son. We are all hoping and praying for a good result for both of them, to bring this particular breeding exercise to a conclusion. Don’t forget desert!

I asked him how Wife Nr 1 would react if he took a wife Nr 2. He said that there would be a small bit of “crying” but it would not last very long he felt. However, he said that as long as the wife Nr 1 is happy to keep trying to produce a son, he is happy to keep trying only with her. And only if she wants to stop will he look at the Nr 2 option. Masha’allah (Praise the Lord).

I have now asked a Sudanese lad at work if there is an African solution to the problem. He informs me that the Africans use the seed from a certain plant to ensure a son will be manufactured after consumption and consummation,  and a bag of the male fertility seeds is now winding its way to MB from Khartoum.

And then come back for 2nd desert!

An Indian colleague has informed MB that the Indians also have a seed that does the trick, but he also added, with Ghandi-like wisdom, that the physical position of both male and female during the mating exercise is as fundamentally important as the consumption of the seeds. Being the creators of the Kama Sutra lads, I do not dismiss the opinion of any Indian lad when he makes such a statement, so I have now asked for some architectural type drawings from him (he works in construction) that we can give to the Arab and ensure that he does not make any mistakes. MB is now hoping that the combination of the seeds from Sudan, and the Indian positioning, will finally end this man’s misery, if as expected a girl baby Nr 7 arrives in few months.
A friend in need is a friend indeed lads, and think you will all agree that MB does not spare the effort to help his friends!
What I really like about what she is wearing lads is the way the combination of jacket, headscarf & glasses work so well together. Stylish, elegant and age appropriate. 

Abu Dhabi Week

The above son-less Arab was not the only request for help that MB received during the week lads. Female Crosser COH contacted MB looking for a very ‘specification specific’ Irish female – she wanted to interview an Irish teacher, working in the UAE, who must come only from the Donegal area in the North West of Ireland. MB immediately called on HX Crosser network lads and within 24 hours we had produced the required result. COH seemingly wants to interview the Irish teacher lady for her Magazine in Abu Dhabi and inshallah we will feature the interview in due course when it is published, with COH permission. Anyway, here is link to COH mag called Abu Dhabi Week, which MB was previously unaware of:

The chocolate fountain & the brown haired girl
Declaration On Women’s Rights from UN
Interesting combination of The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, The Vatican & Iranian & Russian authorities opposing certain sections of a recent UN resolution on women’s rights:The Islamist movement that backs President Mohamed Mursi gave 10 reasons why Muslim countries should “reject and condemn” the declaration, which the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women is racing to negotiate a consensus deal on by Friday.The Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party propelled Mursi to power in June, posted the statement on its website, http://www.ikhwanweb.com, and the website of the party on Thursday.Egypt has joined IranRussia and the Vatican – dubbed an “unholy alliance” by some diplomats – in threatening to derail the women’s rights declaration by objecting to language on sexual, reproductive and gay rights.
UAE Treason Court Case
Mentioned this case to you a few weeks ago lads where a large group of locals are being accused of trying to form a political grouping, along the lines of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to overthrow the Rulers of the UAE. They are facing very long jail sentences if found guilty.
And a lollipop to go! 
The below article is worth a read if you have any interest in the politics out these parts, and the judge in the case certainly has a sense of humour, if the following exchange is anything to judge him by:
FlowersOne of the defendants, Eisa Al Serri said he was only allowed five minutes to call his relatives. He complained that was not enough time to phone his mother, and his two wives, to which the judge responded jokingly, “Who told you to trouble yourself and marry two women?!”

Wine glass – featuring finger print of MB

The Reluctant Emigrant (DH)

Have not yet had chance to read the latest & greatest from DH. Tomorrow inshallah:http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/new-age-emigrant/
The famous aquarium at the Atlantis Hotel, which featured a whale shark when the hotel initially opened in 2008. Public pressure eventually forced the owners to release the shark back into the ocean. Media reports at the time stated that they had paid US 1M for his original capture.

Ana Taaban lads (I am tired lads!)

Ok lads, That’s it for another week. Speak to you all next week again from Dubai where I am heading on Sunday, inshallah. Take care all.

The center piece display at the hotel lobby. The 2 ladies give you a sense of scale.


East meets West

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

Skip lunch – go straight to desert!

Feniqia Restaurant, Byblos, Lebanon, next to the Crusader Castle. A ‘Bucket List’ must!

Habemus Papam

Hello lads
Salam to you all. 

We have new Pope al hamdallah lads. The German was a non-entity I think. But had impossible act to follow after JP2. All the TV commentators caught wrong footed when the name was announced, as they struggled for info on Francie. Was nice to see!

Washing before prayer. Like the way you caught the sun on her face MB. Don’t mention lads. Take these kind of shots all the time.

Two things struck me about him. He has warm smile and I suspect a very good sense of humour. MB said to himself, after the brief initial words at the window balcony, that MB could easily spend a night in the pub back home in HX with Francie. Talking about the price of cattle Why Mrs Dillon’s chickens are not laying as many eggs as they used to. What local sinners might be up to, or even how the HX football team are doing at the mo. Being from Argentina he might have some useful pointers for us on the football. Yes lads MB could easily shoot the breeze with Francie over a few glasses of Red I think.

Anyway, good luck to him – Habemus Papam!

Ex Catholic lady, now a Muslim married to local Muslim, explains the traditions & Islamic practices

This weeks photos lads….. Come from very interesting recent visit to Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai, and from the back streets of an area called Bur Dubai (in Dubai) which is a haven for tourists seeking fake (or real but cheap) designer bags and such like, plus one or two other pics besides. Hope you like.

Who says a lady in a Burka can not be glamorous?!

The Jumairah mosque just mentioned is one of the venues for the ‘Open Doors/Open Minds’ centres for cultural understanding founded by the legend himself Sheikh Mo. They also run cultural breakfasts & lunches in one of the oldest areas of Dubai (Bastakia area) & also heritage tours of that particular locality.

Inside the Mosque – the dome ceiling

The mosque is open to non-Muslims at 10am every morning and a Muslim lady (a very glamorous one on the morning MB visited with family & friends) separates the fact from the fiction for the visitors. It’s explained that many beliefs that non-Muslims may have about Islam are very often absolutely nothing to do with the religion itself, but more probably geographical cultural traditions from the different areas of the Arab world. Like the Burka for example. Anyway lads, if ever you are lucky enough to come out these part I give a high recommend to visit Jumairah mosque in Dubai.

Picture is the Kabba at Mecca, the holiest shrine of Islam

The Great White Satan

So there I was on Wednesday night lads, watching the Barca game in the hotel lobby, in the company of a work colleague from Sudan – Khartoum, in the Arab Muslim North of that country. He happened to invite 2 fellow Sudanese friends along, one of them was only very recently ‘off the boat’ and just getting to grips with the scene in Saudi.

Mohammad shows us how its done

This guy threw intriguing question at MB……

“Sir, are you treated well in Saudi Arabi or do they treat you like a Great White Satan, as Saudi is very strict Muslim country, and you are kaffir (non-believer)”.

Preparing to pray

Or similar word to that effect lads. My work colleage, his friend, smiled broadly, as he has witnessed many times recently how MB is treated by the average Joe out these parts. Yes indeed lads, the average Saudi Mohammad treats MB (or any Western lad) with extreme politeness and respect, which is often in contradiction to the way he treats his fellow Saudi’s. It is amusing for me at times to take it all in, and thankfully am blessed with GSOH to smile at it all.

A listener

A few examples lads:

Was passing through Security going to work last week in company of colleagues from India & Sudan (same Sudan lad as above Barca story). Security Guard made everyone show their ID cards. But when MB moved his hand towards his bag to get his ID, Security Guard immediately indicated that in the case of MB the card was not necessary. On seeing the more favourable treatment received by MB, young Sudanese friend nearly got sick!

I definitely prefer her without the veil!

A few days later I had to leave the project during the working day, and had to pass through exact same Security gate. As I approached the barrier, Security Guard (a different guy) asked me to get out of the car. Most unusual behaviour thought MB, as they never check MBs car boot (trunk) and normally wave him through, unlike the treatment they give to 99% of others.

Anyway, on getting out of car SG asks MB to enter the Security Gatehouse. At this stage there are 2 or 3 vehicles stuck behind MBs car waiting patiently. On entering the gatehouse SG immediately presents MB with glass of cola and slice of cake – it’s his birthday! MB wishes him well in broken Arabic and SG is v pleased to receive the warm MB b/day wishes. MB, feeling guilty about the waiting fellow motorists, wolfed back the cake & cola asap and shook hands with SG wishing him luck for life. SG smiled from ear to ear at his new Irish friend.

Flower box outside the Mosque


On asking for mutton stew at the Afghan cafe last weekend the owner and I watch together as he spooned the warm aromatic meat and sauce into the bowl from the big pot. On seeing a chunk of meat with some fat on it he immediately flicked it back into the pot knowing that this particular piece of meat was not honouring his Irish guest. He flicked his eyes to the rest of the customers and smiled at MB. The clear message was that this piece of meat would be ok for the regulars but he was ensuring the MB only consumed the best cuts. MB said ‘sukran jazilan’ a few times (‘thanks very much’) and owner was very happy & proud man.

A Muslim cat lazes in the morning sun at the Mosque entrance

So lads, I did not give full answer to the question asked by young Sudan lad watching the Barca game. Merely told him that I am treated very well. Too well in fact. Have reported to you a few times in the past that I experienced preferential treatment a number of times in the UAE on account of fact that I am Western expat. The fact that I am not a Muslim is not even a consideration. But in Saudi I must say that the experiences are even more numerous. Maybe its a cultural thing. I have not quite worked it out yet.

So in the meantime lads, I guess I will just keep drinking the cola & eating the cake!

Blood Money
If a man or woman is sentenced to death out these parts there is possibility under Sharia law that the family of the dead person (assuming the death sentence was imposed for murder) might accept blood money instead of seeing the guilty party executed (by beheading in Saudia Arabia). Recent case is causing some disquiet as the family are asking for millions of dollars to spare the life of the guilty party. Read on lads:

“We need to have a ceiling to avoid the tragedies that are unfolding today,” a blogger posted on the site of Sabq, a news provider. “The victim’s family should pardon the culprit, ask for a sensible amount or refuse to pardon him. The option to ask for incredible amounts of money should be ruled out and the government should step in,” the blogger, I Am Here, wrote.


Outside Dubai Museum

And in a related story lads the Saudi Gov are thinking of switching to Firing Squads from the more traditional ‘beheading by sword’ method. The Swordsman’s Union of the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia (SUKSA) is none too pleased at the moment. Negotiations are ongoing:

Firing squads could replace executioners
Manama: Saudi Arabia could soon replace beheading with a sword by a firing squad when carrying out the death penalty in public.

“A specialised committee made up of representatives from the ministries of interior, justice and health as well as the commissions of investigation and prosecution, the public security and the prison general directorate are looking into a study that replaces beheading by a firing squad,” sources told local Arabic daily Al Youm.

However, the country’s area governors have already been given the right to resort to the firing squad, the sources said.

“They can use their own discretion for the execution if the court does not specify how the capital punishment verdict is to be carried out,” the unidentified sources said. “Using the firing squad is not against Islam.”


Entrance Door – Dubai Museum

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
How many times have I informed you in the past lads that Sheikh Mo is a total lege? Too many to count lads.

Well this week lads he has gone and done it again. On Facebook. SM stuck up a post few days back informing us that the Government is disolved, some new appointments have taken place, this ministry is no more, some new Ministry is now in place and the Dubai ship sails merrily onwards. First I heard of it lads. And now with one simple posting on Facebook Sheikh Mo gives us the glorious news that that he has disposed of some tyre kickers and introduced some fresh young blood into the scene of Government. Allah u Akbar!

Imaging the scene in Ireland lads if you wanted to do the same. Endless sleep inducing debates in our Parliament, long winded BS speeches from lacky gobshite politicians, election fever (disease actually), loads of TV time taken up at the expense of football & golf, and just general time wasting mayhem. But not in Dubai lads. No Siree lads. Call them in. Hire them. Fire them. And post it all on Facebook following day.

Any brand you like lads!


From Sheikh Mo Facebook page

Brothers and Sisters, The formation of a new Cabinet in the UAE government will be announced soon. It will include new and young faces. We will have four new ministers and a new ministry, in addition to some structural changes. The former team of ministers have performed their duty, serving their country. UAE never forgets the achievements of its loyal citizens. Such amendments are made to accelerate the pace of development in our country and to further achieve the aspirations of our people. There will be young faces with new ideas and energy to keep up with the rapid changes and to deal with our people’s top priorities.

Ned Kelly
I recently thanked an Australian friend for giving Irish Aussie legend Ned Kelly a decent burial after all these years. Nice to see respect for Ned and his Irish homeland, from the sons and daughters of the criminal classes of Britain from few centuries back. Good on ya sports!

A crowd of up to 200 people gathered at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wangaratta, 252kms north east of Melbourne, Australia, to attend a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrating the life of Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly (1855-1880). The son of John ‘Red’ Kelly of Moyglass, Co. Tipperary and Ellen Kelly (nee Quinn) of Ballymena, Co. Antrim. Ned Kelly was the last and arguably the most famous outlaw in Australian history. The Kelly Gang – Ned, his younger brother Dan, best friend Joe Byrne and Dan’s friend Steve Hart – were all born in north east Victoria, still known as Kelly Country.

The fame of Ned Kelly today thrives in Australia and abroad, and the story of the Kelly Gang is still a polarising one. Most commonly, Ned Kelly is considered a folk hero, while others decry him as a criminal. Regardless of personal opinion, it remains true that a great Australian compliment is still to say that one is “as game as Ned Kelly”. 

Ned Kelly’s wish, for his body to be given to his family so it could be buried in consecrated ground, took a long time to fulfil – 132 years, to be exact. After his execution, the outlaw was interred within prison confines, and it wasn’t until 2011 that the remains of condemned prisoners were uncovered, and subsequent mitochondrial DNA testing through a descendant of Ellen Quinn Kelly positively identified Ned Kelly’s skeleton.

Ned Kelly was buried in a private ceremony at a tiny rural graveyard; where he finally rests in the arms of his family and the heart of Kelly Country.

A purse or wallet of your choice

John Brennan – New CIA Chief

As part of the ongoing Irish take over of Planet Earth and the entire Universe lads, I am pleased to announce the appointment of one John Brennan as new head of the CIA in the good old U S Of A. Non-disclosure agreements prevent me divulging if the HX & Crosser Brotherhood had anything to do with the appointment lads, but let us just say that not much goes on in this world in terms of Irish advancement without the guiding fatherly hand of the the higher echelons of Crosserhood. 

Brennan is the son of of Roscommon emigrants to the US and no doubt served his time back home every summer helping the cousins pick potatoes and milk the cows. If any of you fancy private trip around CIA HQ in Langley, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA lads, please drop me discreet email and will see what I can do.  

Perfumes & Handbags

Brennan, the son of Irish immigrants from Roscommon, was raised in North Bergen, New Jersey.[10] He attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School, and graduated from Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School in West New York, New Jersey before enrolling at Fordham University in New York City.[6]

While riding a bus to class at Fordham, he saw an ad in The New York Times that said the CIA was recruiting, and felt a CIA career would be a good match for his “wanderlust” and his desire to do public service.[6] He received a B.A. in political science from Fordham in 1977.[3] His studies included a junior year abroad learning Arabic and taking Middle Eastern studies courses at the American University in Cairo.[3][6] He also received a Master of Arts in government with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 1980.[6] He speaks Arabic fluently.[10]

Ladies Purse


The Oatmeal – At The Gym: Who is looking at whom
Every time I read one of the comics by the Oatmeal I laugh out loud! If you have ever been to the gym you might recognise some of the characters in the following:


A belt for your man ladies

Was The Irish Famine Genocide?

For the history buffs amongst you lads. Recent book on the Irish famine. Case not proven it seems:


Inside a mud oven – for cooking the bread


Happy Iranian/Persian New Year lads
As  part of the HX ‘Open Doors/Open Minds’ programme lads, I give you little piece on Persian/Iranian New year which is only few days away:

Nowruz is celebrated and observed by Iranian peoples and the related cultural continent and has spread in many other parts of the world, including parts of Central Asia, Caucasus, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans.

Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical Northward equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.

Reluctant Emigrant (DH) – Growing Old Gracefully
Thanks yet again to DH for putting smile on the face of MB. This week DH is faced with the potential beauty of Botox! 


Afghani man sorts the bread

Enough Lads!
It has been another bumper rewarding HX lads, am sure you will agree. Thanks MB. Don’t mention lads.

Hope all have nice weekend lads. Be careful out there!

Ladies from the 3rd World arrive at Riyadh airport to work as maids for the locals. From Indonesia or Bangladesh by the looks. Some will be treated well, others will not. Such is the lot of women from the 3rd world who must earn money to support families at home


Good Hair Day

Salam lads
Am back in the land of the 2 holy Mosques lads – that’s Saudi Arabia to you, or the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia as we often say out here. Spent a very pleasant week in Dubai last week and got in a few photo shoots for you all. Today’s pics come from the Dubai Creek area where a huge amount of boat trade is done with neighbouring countries such as Iran across the Persian Gulf, and even as far away as Somalia on the African east coast. The traditional Arabic timber boats get loaded up with consumer goodies and sold for profit in places where such goodies are hard come by. Hope you like the pics.


Reaction to last week’s HX was very mixed lads. Many enjoyed MBs spin on world events as usual and were in orgasmic rapture about the the mega pics. But MB received almost violent reaction from some Indian followers of the HX lads. And what were they on about you might ask? Well lads, they informed MB that when they read the title last week (reference to ‘Birds’) and then MB started talking about all the stunning leggy Russian girls he saw in Fujairah hotel – the Indian lads were sure MB was going to include many pics of the Russian birds!!!


And they were mightily disappointed that MB was referring pics of the feathery birds, and not pics of long legged Russian ones. What was I to do lads? Most of the husbands/boyfriends of the Ruskie babes were Russian bear types, with no necks from all the military training, and am sure any of them could have snapped MB’s neck with their little finger. So MB left the zoom lens in the camera bag, and for once put his health & welfare before the needs of the Crosser brethern. And MB has lived to tell the tale. Enough said lads.


Hello to ‘The Ms’ who met MB in Dubai last week and are now back in HX eating the non-Muslim bacon, pork, sausages, rashers and all things tasty. Inshallah you will visit Dubai again in the future.

Onwards lads.


Good Hair Day

There I was in the shower in Dubai last week ladies. The water was perfect temperature as it flowed over the lean muscular body of MB. A little sunlight filtered through the open window and glistened brightly on the bulging MB shoulder muscles. Cool down ladies please – this story is about MB hair and not about MB body.


Anyway ladies, there I was, as naked as the day I was born, whistling a tune, with not a care in the world at that particular moment. Enjoying my ‘man shower‘. And what is a ‘man shower‘ MB? Well ladies a ‘man shower’ is a shower taken by the average man. It lasts approx 3 minutes, which is just enough time to get wet, apply the shampoo, clean off same, turn off water and dry the ‘man body‘. It is the complete opposite to ‘woman shower‘ or ‘girl shower’ or ‘lady shower’ – which are known to take hours in duration and deplete scarce water resources in many regions of the world. But you have caused me to digress ladies. Back to my story……


Thirty seconds into the MB ‘man shower’ ladies, MB reaches for the shampoo. Horror of horrors – no shampoo! Or as I would say if I was an Arab – mafi shampoo! WTF! Sudden panic attack ladies. MB likes his shampoo for the standard 20 second usage. But it was not going to be this time ladies – due to ‘mafi shampoo‘. So MB then eyed some ‘conditioner’ – that must have been left over by a previous female tenant of the property, as we all know that only women use this muck, and no manly man would ever be caught dead using the stuff. But sometimes ladies – needs must – as they say, and in absence of shampoo, MB slapped a little conditioner on his head.


And then ladies, MB had his Eureka moment! MB goes to the young Indian barber lads regularly and gets the Nr 1 blade on the sides and back, with the Nr 4 blade on top. The young Indian barber lads do not even ask MB any more what he wants. They know the spec. It never changes.

So ladies, MB is essentially hairless. Therefore MB has no use for shampoo, or the girlie conditioner. A quick rub of the soap bar on his 6-Pack stomach (max 5 seconds) serves the exact same purpose. And now MB does not need to buy shampoo – ever again! Financial savings will ensue, maybe a little extra can now be set aside for the chocolate budget – for example, and all will be well with the world. Joy of joys!


So ladies. Take a look at your man’s head. Does he really need ‘volumising‘ or the ‘moisturising’ or the ‘for normal hair types‘ that you pick up for him in Tesco each week, or in the Carrafour out this neck of the woods. May I suggest experiment ladies. For one week only, when the shampoo bottle is almost empty, do not buy another bottle, leave small bar of soap in the shower, and wait for the reaction. You may get pleasant surprise!


Saudi Fatwas & The Ladies

Interesting (for some) article on ‘Fatwas‘ lads. Religious pronouncements made by Muslim Imams/Priests normally, sometimes absolutely ridiculous and without any basis other than their own limited view of the world and warped view of their own religion:


Suddenly the net was flooded with all manners of fatwas or edicts. Some seemed sound and rational while others bordered on the ridiculous. There was a fatwa which called for the separation of the genders to prevent the mingling of the sexes at Islam’s holiest worship site in Makkah by adding extra floors around the Kaaba and dedicating one solely for women.

Another fatwa which defied foundation and drew a lot of ridicule was the one that called for working women to breast feed their male associates at the workplace, thus developing a symbolic bond between unrelated men and women who regularly come into contact with each other and making it permissible for women to mingle with the males there. And then there was the fatwa against women driving.


UAE Thinking & The Ladies
The biggest defenders of the political status quo in Dubai and the rest of the UAE are local women. And a big reason is that they can see the bullshit lives that Muslim women have to tolerate in many Arab countries, and are extremely grateful for the freedoms that exist in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the other Emirates. The below article shows the huge contrast that exists between UAE & Saudi Arabia for example, which are neighbouring states. Its not all plain sailing as the article states but at least there is a tolerant and forward thinking mindset amongst the UAE leaders:


The evolution of women’s role in UAE society has been spurred by the leadership’s recognition of the pivotal role women can play in economic and social development. It is a testament to the government’s strategic vision to enhance their roles in both the public and private spheres and to ensure that all career options are open to them.


The Gay Mormon & Coming Out

Read the below story during the week lads about a young Mormon lad who decided to video his coming out to family and friends over the period of a year as he broke the news to them all that he was gay. Amusing to say the least.

It reminded me of similar incident in my own past many years back. No lads, I was not ‘coming out’ for God sake,  you are having a laugh surely lads. But very good friend of mine decided that it was time for him to break to news to all his friends that he was gay, and he decided that MB would be his guinea pig and the first lad he would hit with the good news.

Gay Friend (GF): MB my friend, I have some big news for you.
MB: What?
GF: I am gay, homo, etc
MB: What’s ‘etc’?
GF: ‘Etc’ was joke MB
MB: So was my question, hahahaha!
GF: So what’s your reaction MB? To fact that I am coming out to you, and selected you to be the first to whom I would give the news?
MB: I dont care what you or anyone else gets up to in the privacy of your bedrooms GF, or anywhere else for that matter. Or what your ‘orientation’ is. Makes absolutely no difference to me. You are friend but from now on you may call yourself ‘GF’ if you wish.
GF: Thanks MB, So it makes no difference?
MB: I don’t care if the entire world is gay GF. Apart from fact that I would have to find hetrosexual alien women from outer space to make a few babies with, and save the entire human/alien race with my reproduction activities.
GF: Jesus!
MB: No – MB!

To be continued next week……..

Indian Women & Smartphones

Lots of hassle for ladies in India as we have seen from some serious disturbing recent stories from the subcontinent. the smartphone is finding new uses:


Reluctant Emigrant – Ping Pong

Thanks to DH for another good one this week.



HX Report – The times they are a changin!

Met up with mentor & mother figure DH last week in Dubai lads, and she got me thinking. DH is author of the above referred Reluctant Emigrant blog and like MB she too in the past sent out weekly blog email. But she no longer does so, as she uses a facility on this blog website to invite everyone to ‘follow’ the blog. This means that if you accept the invitation to ‘follow’ then you will receive the blog automatically by email, and MB will not have to send out any more emails. Enabling him to give more time to his creative genius and produce yet more side splitting and highly intellectual ‘stuff’ for you all. Masha’allah!


So expect invite from MB during next few days lads and become a HX Report – FOLLOWER


Take care ladies

That’s it for another week ladies. A pleasure as ever. Take care, and don’t forget – when you receive the email – become a FOLLOWER!




For The Birds!

Greetings & Salam to you all lads

Inshallah you are all keeping well lads, the health is good and the chickens are laying. There is  surely nothing in life as good a fresh egg. Right on MB, yo!

Have covered many many miles since we last conversed. No joking lads. Think was about to board a plane as I pressed ‘Send’ last week to give you the literary & pictorial goodies, which no doubt amazed and titillated you for few days. I now prepare the next offering from my sunny Dubai deck chair oasis by the pool as I sip yet another long G&T, easy on the ice.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai. Worlds tallest building, circa 850M high

Burj K

Yes lads, on Thursday early morning last I jumped on plane in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, instructed the captain to take me to Dubai, where I landed 2 hours later. Got hire car and made my way back to Dubai apartment/swimming pool/servants. Went on Facebook for few hours, as you do, then headed to Oman border crossing, as family needed to extend their ’30 day limit’ UAE visitor visas.

Acacia tree (I think) on the road to Oman. Photo by MB2.


The Sultanate of Oman allows you to get your Passport stamped at the border station without entering further into the country and to immediately turn around to return to UAE/Dubai. Then the UAE border post 2 or 3Km down the road stamps your Passport with new re-entry date, and you are then legal again for another 30 days. We refer to it out these parts as ‘the Oman run’ which you invariably end up doing when you are between jobs, or your employers are slow to sort out your paperwork when you commence employment.

Did you know lads that the wife of a Sultan is known as a ‘Sultana’? True lads. MB continues to spread the knowledge & the wisdom!

Having got the Passports all stamped with the new fresh ink lads, I then took family to Fujairah, one of the 7 Emirates of the UAE, and the only one I had not visited previously. Little Russia as it turned out – full of short fat balding criminal type Ruskie men, with blond super model Goddess type girlfriends / wives / mistresses. Seemingly, with so much trouble in Egypt in last year or so, the Ruskies are avoiding their favourite Sharm Al Sheikh Egyptian resort and heading instead to the 5 Star resorts of the UAE. Stayed overnight and headed back to Dubai, alas without meeting any of the Russian girls, who would no doubt have enjoyed MBs intellectual company.

UAE flag painted on the mountain slope. Maybe by ‘Banksy’. On the approach road into the Emirate of Fujairah. Photo by MB2.


Shattered from the record breaking traveling. Wrecked. Headache for 2 days before eventual recovery. Marco Polo & Ibn Batuta together never covered as much ground in 24 hours lads. Have now contacted the Guinness Book of Records to advise them of my feat (& my sore feet – joke lads!) to see in what category I can claim world record. Am sure there will be more that one category lads. So presently checking the email on hourly basis but nothing yet. The lads at Guinness must be short staffed, or drunk! Haha lads, another joke!

Ok lads, the pics,  this week, in which birds feature a lot, are the usual awesome pics taken by MB as he casually walks round the Middle East listening to young lads shouting at him – “Sir, sir, please photo sir, need for Facebook, family want to show photo back home in Delhi /Sanaa/Karachi to family of future bride, Inshallah they will like me Sir. Sir, take very pretty photo sir”.

I normally reply along the following lines lads – “No sweat young lad, the Canon Master has landed & you are in safe hands. I will take 3 or 4 shots for you to make selection. I give you 100% guarantee that the ladies family will beg that you will take the young lassie off their hands, and will give even bigger dowry as result of the awesome photo”.

Rotana Hotel 5 Star resort – Fujeirah. Ruskie heaven.


Needless to say lads this is normally the end result. And you just wouldn’t believe the amount of Hindi/Buddist/Muslim/Yahudi/Other wedding invitations I have turned down in recent years. If I were to attend them all I wouldn’t have a shekel/halalla left for my own kith & kin. You have to draw a line lads. That’s life. Anyway, they normally get over my rejection  within a few months and crack on with life, settle down, make a few babies and generally live happily ever after. And all thanks to MB lads. Masha’allah! (Praise the Lord).

A few of the pics are also from the Fujairah area from MB’s trip. Must acknowledge guest photo shooter this week lads – 12 year old MB (MB2) who took 1 or 2 of the shots. A star is born!

MB is Chess Grand Master lads. Very highly ranked.


MB is not converting 

Have to make this announcement lads, as has come to my attention that a number of Crosser members are speculating that MB is thinking of jumping ship. To the other side. Seemingly my weekly updating of what my Muslim brothers get up to has lead some to come up with 1+1=3. Not correct lads. No way.

This news will obviously disappoint many of my Saudi Muslim brothers lads, but like the disappointed Indians/Yemenis/Pakastanis whose weddings I do not attend, they too will get over it eventually, crack on with life, and start milking the camels again.

And MB will just continue to do as MB has always done lads. And you will all continue to reap the benefits. Masha’allah!

Mountains, beach & the waters of the Gulf Of Oman at Fujairah, UAE. Never saw that Russian girl until I looked at the pic on the laptop later lads, I swear!


The Dalai Lama

Have always been fascinated by the DL lads. Spoke to one or two people back home who attended one of his appearances/talks when he visited Ireland a few short years ago, maybe 2 or 3 years back. They confirmed that he has incredible presence and tangible spirituality.

Think Pope John Paul was similar in that regard. Even on TV you could get that feeling that he was a special human being with a huge spiritual presence. Met a Polish lady once who met JP when he was still a Bishop in Krakow (I think) and she told me she was so overwhelmed she cried uncontrollably. He just had a magic. Or maybe she had watched episode of ‘Friends’ before the meeting lads. Who knows!

Does anyone know any Muslim leaders or clerics with such aura? I have never seen. Muslim friends of MB – please advise.

Hungry bird on the beach


Anyway lads, saw this DL piece on Fb during the week. Think Crosser MR had posted it up. Typical of the DL, stops you in your tracks and makes you think:

At the end of the talk someone from the audience asked the Dalai Lama, “Why didn’t you fight back against the Chinese?”

The Dalai Lama looked down, swung his feet just a bit, then looked back up at us and said with a gentle smile, “Well, war is obsolete, you know “

Then, after a few moments, his face grave, he said, “Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back…but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you.”

Jumairah beach, Dubai. Locals frolic in the Arabian Sea.


Meanwhile In Saudi Arabia

The head-rolling festival continues in full swing in Saudi lads. 2013 Head Nr 16 has been removed from Neck Nr 16 in last week, to keep the Kingdom safe and enable us to sleep easy at night. It was Jordanian drug dealer this time who fought the law. But as the old song says lads – ‘the law won’ – resulting in Jordanian’s head rolling in the sand looking up at his torso.

Young lad lifts his leg as he enters the water


I feel its time for some poetry lads:

you can keep your head when all about you 

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.

Gull swoops over MBs head. MB captures the moment.


From this week’s Gulf News:

Jordanian beheaded for drug trafficking

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Sunday beheaded a Jordanian man convicted of drug trafficking, the interior ministry said.

Faris Salam Salama Al Maghrebi was arrested while attempting to “smuggle a large amount of amphetamine” stimulant capsules into the kingdom, the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

He was beheaded in the northern Jawf province, it said.

His execution brings to 16 the number of people beheaded in Saudi Arabia so far this year.


Philosophical gulls look out to sea and ponder life’s good and bad. 



Lady Driver

Was told a number of times in Saudi that in the more remote areas the women can drive cars without any risk of being jailed. Had not come across it previously but the below story is case in point. If you read the full piece the locals were happy that she was driving, and presumably continues to do so:

Gull says hello to MB, as the evening sunlight catches his wings


Mom and her 2 chicks, who hide their heads under her sari.


Manama: A Saudi woman said that she had to disguise herself as a man to be able to drive a bus and help her needy family.

Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, even though there is no legal text to support the ban.

However, Saliha who lived with her parents and four sisters in a remote area in the south west of the Saudi kingdom, said that she volunteered to take up the job to assist her old father.

“I live with my parents and four sisters and our conditions are very difficult,” Saliha said. “One day, my father thought about launching a bus service to drive female students in our area to their schools. He discussed the idea with the village men and they all agreed since they trusted my father and they were confident that he would be keen on protecting them. They also thought that driving the bus would be an opportunity for him to make some money,” she told local Arabic daily Al Sharq.

However, Saliha thought that she could help her father and do the job instead.

“I looked at his poor health condition and advanced age and I requested him to allow me to replace him, especially that I was a good driver. My father in fact taught me how to drive since I was young. It took some time before he was convinced that I could drive the bus instead of him,” she said.


Gull swoops low over the sand. MB is like speedy Gonzalez with the Canon 7D, and clicks just in time.


So long lads.

That’s it for another week. As the young lads around HX are fond of saying – be talkin tcha!

Jumairah beach, Dubai, again. This ladies head scarf tells me she is not local. Maybe some Muslim Crosser can take guess as to her nationality?

Man looks at Gulls and thinks….. what if I was born a bird? Birds look at man and think……. WTF!


Take care y’all.

Random Places

Greetings lads,

Hope all in good form. MB will be taking break from his Saudi paradise for the next week in good old Dubai, UAE. So looking forward.

Had suggestion for this week’s blog to do something on Chinese New Year lads, which is year of the snake. Did not have clue about the significance of the snake but looked it up this evening and discovered the strengths & weaknesses of people born in the ‘snake’ years.

Birds Nest Olympic Stadium, Beijing

They often have a good temper and a skill at communicating but say little. They possess gracious morality and great wisdom. They are usually financially secure and do not have to worry about money. They have tremendous sympathy for others and would like to take actions to help ther fellow human beings. They are determined to accomplished their goals hate to fail. Although they look calm on the surface, they are intense and passionate. They have a rich source of inspiration and understand themselves well. They are people of great perception. Women under the sign of the snake do well in housework but are irritable.

They are likely to be jealous and suspicious. They should be cautious about what they discuss with others, as it might cause them to lose friendship and opportunities. They tend to overdo things. They prefer to rely on themselves and have doubts about other people’s judgment. They are courteous  with polite manners, but they can be headstrong. They are fickle and usually have problems in relationships or marriage problems. 

So lads, it appears you can have great wisdom and at same time be jealous and suspicious. Bit confused by the Snake people must admit.

And the below are the most recent Snake years in question lads:

23/01/1917 – 10/02/1918

10/02/1029 – 29/01/1930

27/01/1941 – 14/02/1942

14/02/1953 – 02/02/1954

02/02/1965 – 20/01/1966

18/02/1977 – 06/02/1978

06/02/1990 – 26/01/1990

24/01/2001 – 11/02/2002

Just to confirm lads – MB is not a snake.
Great Wall, this location is approx 1 hour by car from Beijing, take cable care to reach the wall. Note cable car bottom left of pic.

This weeks pics lads are from random places. And I love random places! In honour of the Snake Year lads I give you a few pics I took when was in China about 3 years back. Ya, China lads – MB gets around. Did not have decent camera back then but the attached are decent enough. Plus a few shots of jewelry & other stuff from Global Village Market, one of my favourite places in Dubai. And other random places that I can’t remember at the mo.

You need fit body like MB to climb the wall lads

Valentines Day – by The Oatmeal
Should have included this last week of course lads. But did not see it in time. Gave you another from The Oatmeal few weeks back lads and had a giggle at this one during the week when I read:

Dubai Skyline, shot from hotel rooftop at Festival City area, near Dubai airport

Pagan Weddings in Ireland
Irish Government will recognise Pagan Wedding ceremonies lads, f any of you are thinking of same. Celtic Paganism is older than Christianity lads far as I am aware. Maybe someone can throw some light on this for me

Non-religious and Pagan weddings are to finally become law in Ireland under proposed new legislation.

The Irish government is expected to back legislation giving humanists the same status as organised religions and civil registrars in conducting marriage ceremonies.


One you won’t see in Ireland!

Sheikh Mo (the  living legend!)
The actor Johnny Depp paid surprise visit to a school some time back lads dressed in his pirate outfit. But Sheikh Mo went one better lads. He visited a Dubai school last week dressed as – Sheikh Mo. Hard to beat that lads you will agree. Came about due to request by young schoolgirl. It seems lads that when any lady clicks her finger even male Royal Rulers will jump!
Dubai: Little Mira could not believe her eyes when “Baba Mohammad” walked into her classroom during the first class of her school day. Mira Ali Murad is a nine-year-old third grade student at the evening school shift of Al Ahliya Charity School in Garhoud, Dubai.

“When he came in he asked me who he was and I said ‘Shaikh Mohammad’. He said ‘bravo’ and shook my hand and left,” she said.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, surprised Mira when he granted her wish by visiting her in her school on Sunday. Mira had asked Shaikh Mohammad, in a video message, when he would visit her school.

Prayer after work, as the lads face Mecca & the local cafe. Two Pakastanis walk past.
The Boss (do not scroll past!)
After posted last weeks song by The Boss lads I had a listen to some of his stuff. Must admit was never really a fan. But a concert called the Seeger Sessions is different from what you might expect. Some fantastic music and incredible musicians. Recommend you switch to ‘full screen’ for this one, some great angles and camera work, if that kind of stuff turns you on. Bruce sings an Irish folk song here, and I give you some  info on the song in the 2nd link below:
Ice cream after work while the bus waits for the lads to arrive for the journey home

Dragon Mart – Dubai

There is very large retail centre in Dubai called Dragon Mart, and as the name suggests it has 100% Chinese products. Really cheap stuff, from the proverbial needle to the proverbial anchor. They seem to have imported few new products since MBs last visit:

Soaps to ‘restore’ virginity at Dragon Mart
Dubai Now you can get curves like Jennifer Lopez for less than Dh60, or so certain products sold at Dragon Mart would have you believe.

From a Dh25 virginity soap that promises to tighten muscles, to a Dh60 gel that claims to push your ‘hip up’, dozens of dubious products are selling like hotcakes at various outlets in Dragon Mart.

“Our virginity soap has honey extracts and is very effective,” said a salesperson suggesting it be used at least twice a day to get its benefits in about two weeks.

Firmer buttocks, he claimed, could take a bit longer, as one needs to apply the gel for about a month. None of these products conforms to health stipulations.

But retailers swear by them. Ask them if the products have any side effects and the standard response is: “No. It’s all herbal.”


Honey trader, Global Village, Dubai

Anyone for colour?

Pendants, all natural stones, no chinese plastic fakes. 

Saudi Marriage

Like our pre-marriage courses in the West lads some Saudi cleric has come up with similar idea. Assume he had look at the Irish model:

Manama: A leading Saudi religious figure has called for holding compulsory special workshops on matrimony for all young men and women about to get married.

“The justice ministry should ensure that the marriage contract is not endorsed by a court of law unless the two spouses prove that they have gone through the mandatory workshop,” Saeed Al Qah’tani said.

The scholar attributed his call to the high rise in divorce rates in the Saudi kingdom.

“The rate has exceeded 50 per cent in some regions in the country and this is alarming,” he said. “This clearly indicates that there is a serious and grave issue about understanding and appreciating the responsibilities of spouses towards each other,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Okaz on Sunday.


Typical Yemeni style necklaces

Ring & henna

Gotta go lads

Sorry bit rushed this week lads. Not one of the better efforts I’m afraid. Just under bit of time pressure. Have nice weekend lads. Be careful out there.



Happy Valentines!

Greetings ladies

It’s Valentine’s Day ladies and am only thinking of my female Crossers of course. So big Middle East greetings and affection to you all, where ever you are sunning yourselves.

Am sure your man gave you the traditional flowers or chocolate, but MB is far more adventurous than that ladies and now has much Arabic influence on his brain to expand the possibilities. So ladies – just for you – I give you the following – as special gifts for the day that’s in it:

Spice powder castle


Forget the blue tablets ladies. We have natural solution for you man’s problem. But its a honey mixture only for the ‘married’. Any ‘singles’ caught in possession are immediately jailed, as we know what they are up to – totally and utterly haram.


This weeks photos have no consistent theme ladies, and are a mish/mash of few shots I took in last week or two. Am revisiting some places that I showed you previously, plus a few new locations.

Clouds over North Riyadh construction site. I have noticed that Muslim clouds and Christian clouds are the exact same.

Afghan Clouds

We Saudis are sadly starting to turn away from the traditional arranged marriages ladies, where some local Biddy will receive contact from family elders seeking partner for some lad or lass that has come of age and needs to be married off. She will take fat fee, and guarantee everlasting love and happiness, resulting from the suitable partner she will unearth from under some desert rock or where ever.
But no lads, that is not good enough for some of us any more. We are turning to on-line match makers, where we can take a look at some pics and actually see what we are marrying. Fast disappearing is the thrill of your first night of marriage with a partner that you maybe have never seen previously, or seen briefly only once or twice. This can not be progress lads. I fear we are losing our way. Absolutely no good can come of it. Um Sami is also none pleased!

The cooking pot at the Afghani cafe where MB has been eating the mutton stew & arabic bread of late. Masha’allah! The chef tends to put in lots of raw sugar with many (all) of his mixtures. MB told him to cop himself on with the sugar, and just trust the food to speak for itself. Think he really appreciated the astute culinary advise of Irish Michelin 3 Star chef MB.

Afghan Pot

Riyadh: In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where the sexes are strictly segregated, traditional matchmakers face tough competition from blossoming marriage services on online social networks.

More than 200 Twitter users and dozens of other forums on the internet offer services for Saudi men and women seeking spouses, angering matchmakers like Um Sami who sees it as “organised prostitution.”

“Social networks undermine our work and everything they offer is virtual: they use nicknames and they are not reliable,” said Um Sami, an elderly woman and well-established matchmaker from the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

For her, many of these websites are “fraudulent” and some are even an organised form of prostitution.

“Marriage via online platforms is one hundred per cent doomed to failure,” she said, stressing that only her traditional matchmaking method can lead to a successful marriage.

For matchmakers like Um Sami the business has flourished by word of mouth…………..

And did you know ladies that St Valentine himself is buried in Dublin? If you are struggling to find that amusing rugged handsome stinking rich type ladies, you only need to run down to Whitefriar St, touch the coffin or alter with your hand, and within 24 hours, hey presto, your new man will appear. Unlike the on-line matches mentioned above ladies, this is 100% certain to produce the results. Best of luck!—

Sunset up the street from the Afghan cafe.

Afghan sunset

St Valentine
Was St Valentine a true blue Dub?

JUST about everybody knows that St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. You may have known that he was a priest in Rome in the third century, and if you’re really on top of your game, you may even have been aware that he died in jail, but you probably didn’t know that his final resting place is Dublin. 

In fact the good priests of the Carmelite Order have been looking after his remains in their priory in Whitefriar St, just off Aungier St in Dublin, for over 160 years.

We have a good deal of information about St Valentine, but separating the fact from the legend is a bit like trying to separate a teenage couple at a school disco.

Fertility festival
It seems he was martyred in 269, supposedly for marrying couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II who felt that single men made better soldiers. Legend would have it that he died for his faith on February 14th of that year, and that this is why we celebrate him on that day. However, it’s likely that the fact that we celebrate St Valentine at this time of year is more to do with the ancient Roman spring fertility festival of Lupercalia, which like many other pagan holidays was christianised when in 498 Pope Gelasius decreed that February 14th would be St Valentine’s Day.

But how did a Roman Martyr, who had never even set foot in what was later to become an island of saints and scholars, end up in a Dublin church.

In the 1820′ and 30’s, a Carmelite priest by the name of John Spratt had earned a reputation for his work with the destitute citizens of Dublin’s Liberties. A man of apparently boundless energy, Spratt started the building process of the Carmelite church in nearby Whitefriar St in 1825.

Ten years later, he was invited to speak at the Jesuit Church in Rome, the Gesu. The elite of Rome came to hear him, including representatives of Pope Gregory XVI. As a token of recognition of the work of Spratt, the Pope ordered the exhumation of the remains of St Valentine from St Hippolytus cemetery near Rome to be shipped to Whitefriar St Church, in Dublin.

In November 1836, the remains were received with great pomp and ceremony, but with the death of Spratt some years later, the remains ceased to be of major public interest.
Some 40 years ago however, they were restored to the public eye having gathered dust for decades in the nether regions of the priory, and are now featured in a purpose-built shrine in the church itself.

This year on February 14th, at 11am and 3.15pm, as has become customary, there will be a special celebration of St Valentine in the place where he now rests, Whitefriar St Church. Carmelite priest, Fr Tony McKenny will celebrate mass and conduct a ring blessing ceremony for engaged and married couples.

It would appear that neither cohabiting couples nor teenagers need apply!

Took shot of this guy at the golf last weekend lads. He did not appear to have much interest in the goings on.

Spotted this on Fb during the week lads when one of my pals posted up. Good happy clappy one to put a smile on your faces:

Everyone who attended the golf last weekend got free 4×4 Mercedes. Just for showing up to give our support. Long live Sheikh Mo.


Another tourism project given the green light by Sheikh Mo during the week lads. Should be a good one. Will be located in Dubai Marina. We are good to go:
“I love the smell of traffic fumes in the morning” – from the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. North Riyadh street. Right next to the Imam University – a production line for Saudi Imams.

Pylons & traffic

Dubai Parking

And with 3M+ visitors expected at the above venture lads our cars will need the latest in parking technology. Just let the robot take care of it for you lads.
“There is nothing as majestic as a pylon” – MB


Ballyneety GC

Want to wish all involved the best of luck in their attempts to revive local Golf Club at home. Was great social and sporting outlet before it closed few years ago.
Arab lad gets an oil change, car out of pic.

Car oil change
DH – The Reluctant Emigrant
Thanks to DH for trying to sort out all the red tape lads. Read on:
Regardless of where you are living lads, you will always need the puncture repair facility. 

Car Puncture
And the puncture repair lad. God bless him.

Car tyre man
The Alter Tomb

Want to mention writer and Guinness drinker MQ from the HX heartland back in Ireland lads, who published mini novel at tail end of last year. It’s fictional account of a tomb he discovered in a local graveyard dating from 1618. The story also features a character we featured in this blog long time back – one John Murphy who is buried in grave in same place, also discovered by MQ, and has inscription on his gravestone that he was 219 years old when he died (I gave you all pic of this headstone previously lads).The novel, and that piece of the story in particular, got front page publicity in the local LL newspaper at home recently, about one year after the HX report on same!


The Alter Tomb from 1618

Alter Tomb

English words from Arabic
I am dedicating this piece to Crosser JMc lads who is a wordsmith in her own right. Is on a sabbatical at present from her writing career with the HX. Inshallah she comes back soon.You will be surprised to learn so many English words have Arabic origin lads, if you give a damn in the first place. You really are full of BS this week MB‘, I can hear many of you shouting lads. But sometimes lads we just don’t know what is good for us, and it takes gurus like MB to point it out.
Thanks to Crosser MC for sending pic of his gaff in Sweden to MB. Free accommodation is available for all Crossers at MCs house – all year round lads, but limited to 30 day max stay, when MC & his missus will vacate the master bedroom to allow Crossers to feel very much at home in Sweden. Big thanks MC.

Mossy hse
Nothing like an Arab Spring to get the rulers to loosen the purse strings lads. The Omani people will now reap the rewards:
But in the end lads we are all heading to the same place. The Graveyard at Grange Church, HX. Pic from my trip home at Christmas. 


Adios ladies (& Happy Val)
That’s it for another week. Regards to all. Enjoy your weekend.



Salam to all lads.

We are blessed with favourable weather in the Middle East at present, albeit still a tad cool to be jumping into the swimming pool – before noon at least! But even in our short sleeve shirts the gentle breeze in the winter sunshine is refreshingly welcome. Inshallah we will have another 3 months or so of same before the temps start to get to the uncomfortable levels again.

Beer sellers enjoy MBs joke!


Europe’s best golfers were swinging their clubs in Dubai last weekend at the Emirates GC lads, across the road from Dubai Marina. MB managed to get down for few hours on Sunday to mix with the great and the good, and most of this week’s photos are from same. Big thanks to Crosser PMc for getting the entry tickets (with Clubhouse Pass) for MB. May your own clubs provide you with a bounty of birdies in the years to come Mr P – a sort of a Golfer’s prayer lads in thanks.

Practice makes perfect


Silence is Golden

Was having a chat with a friend at work today lads when his phone rang. He immediately launched into a frenzied conversation in Arabic which went on for some time, with much hand movement as is the practice out here. Upon completion of the conversation he clicked the ‘End’ button, and a little red faced from the stressful call he had taken, he turned to MB and said:

“Arabs, why do they have to talk so much? That guy called me to make a very small point, but of course he felt the need to give me his entire life history at the same time. There is a reason Mr Mike that God gave us all 2 ears and only 1 mouth – he wants us to listen more and talk less”

Now I must explain lads that my colleague & friend is 100% Arab himself, born & bred, so his comments were not what you might sometimes hear from some donkey expat with zero brain cells. No lads, this was coming from the horses mouth, and he was also making the profound point about listening more than talking. I assured him it is the Irish way. He smiled,  happy in new knowledge that there is one place on the planet that is oasis of listening. If only he knew the truth!

This couple caught my eye lads (hehe!) Dubai is a fashion & style fest all year round. There are really no restrictions on how you dress as long as its reasonably modest and does not give offence, bearing in mind local sensibilities, religion and customs. The neighbouring Emirate of Sharjah passed a rule in recent weeks preventing tight clothes that emphasis body shape or reveal too much flesh. Presumable this young lady has Dubai address


Dubai News – Sheikh Mo

Sheikh Mo has done it yet again lads, God bless every royal & regal inch of him.

It doesn’t get any more Regal than this lads
Sheikh Mo

The Palm Jumeirah Island is one of the most exclusive residential addresses on the Planet lads, but is short of a decent shopping mall. The world renowned Mall Of The Emirates (with real ski slope) is 15 mins away, but you really don’t want to be wasting your time shopping with poor people.

So what does Sheikh Mo go and do lads? Yes lads, he simply issues royal instruction to the Palm developers (Nakheel) to crack on immediately with a new mega mall plus hotels plus other stuff, and have it ready by 2016 for a bit of shopping for the locals. When complete lads they will be able to cut 12 mins off their shopping trip as they make the 3 minute trip down to the new local. Masha’allah!

That is how it’s done lads, Dubai style, Sheikh Mo style. Let it be a lesson to you all lads. Long live our hero Sheikh Mo!


Quote from Sheikh Mo earlier this week (tear in my eye as I read):

“Before evaluating the future, we have to take a quick look at the past, for it is the foundation of tomorrow”His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The golf  shopping area with Marina in background

A wayward golf ball lands next to MBs feet



My blog received a follower a few weeks back lads and I noticed that the guy in question was also a follower of another blogger called ‘The Oatmeal’. The name intrigued me so I looked up The Oatmeal. What a laugh. Brilliant intelligent comics of the ‘laugh out loud’ variety. To MB’s sense of humour at least. Giving you one of his comics this week called:

‘When your house is burning down you should wash your teeth’

Hats off to The Oatmeal.

Golfer follows the trajectory of his ball & hopes for the best


Bird in the 5 Star Emirates GC Clubhouse – a bird with taste


Swinger Nr 1


UAE Visa Amnesty

Mentioned the UAE visa amnesty last week lads. Is throwing up some hardship cases for the authorities to deal with. Friend of mine did a deal with the authorities in recent weeks. Got a reduced penalty, which was still a substantial sum, and paid it off. Now he is free to exit and enter the UAE as he pleases. He visited him family in England last week for first time in twelve months.


Fans follow the ball flight


Crossing the fairway



Saudi Women

The Saudi Arabian Labour Ministry will now allow the Saudi women to work in Pharmacies lads. They will issue some rules shortly and the ladies are good to go. Allah u akbar.

Media City in background as golfer & caddy walk towards the green




Training & Weight Loss

Giving you all 5 unusual tips to aid your fitness & weight loss training ladies. All with scientific basis, but you will not have heard previously!


Rest area out on the course


Wearing the Burqa

One Saudi Imam got himself in bit of trouble this week lads. Most considered his call for very young girls to wear the Abiya/Burqa as extreme and bringing bad publicity on Islam religion.
Official shooter puts MB camera in the shade!

Firm wrists, swing it like a pendulum!

The End
That’s it for this week lads. Enjoy the weekend. Wrap up tightly if you are in Europe. Get out the shades if you are in the Middle East! Take care lads.

You will only see umbrellas in Middle East used as protection from the sun. the ladies like to keep the skin wrinkle free

Dubai Marina towers provide spectacular background to the golf


I prefer it in B&W!


Swinger Nr 2


Tea Time

Greetings lads. M’sa al khair. Inshallah you are all in fine fettle.
MB is on short trip to Dubai as family just landed out here for 2 month break and just not possible to bring them to Saudi for various ‘cultural’ reasons. The Golf (Dubai Desert Classic) on in Dubai this weekend so maybe get there on Sat or Sun before my return to Saudi. Incidentally lads, am invited for ‘out in the desert’ trip on my return to the Kingdom and will hopefully get some good photos for you all. Hope to do that next weekend.
This week’s pics lads are mostly from a small roadside restaurant/cafe that I happened across last weekend when was in need of a cup of tea.
Pressure of time this weekend lads will result in shorter HX than normal I think. Lets see how it goes.
MB sips Chi in the Afghan cafe and watches lad walking down the dusty street 

DH – The Reluctant Emigrant

Giving pride of place this weekend lads to fellow blogger, writer (presently some way through her first book) and general raconteur DH. Met DH today for coffee in Ibn Batuta Mall in Dubai.

Was expecting some kind words for the HX blog lads, but some 10 seconds into the conversation DH informs MB – “You are not using your blog in correct way MB, I will give you 2 hour instruction session in due course and show you how its done“. And like all men everywhere lads, I just took the beating, nodded my submissive head a few times thanked DH for the constructive criticism, for her benevolence and kind heart.

So lads, expect some amazing things in next few weeks when DH puts MB on the righteous path. Allah u akbar!

This weeks blog from DH. As usual DH, sukran gizan. May your blog always have traffic. Inshallah.
And as special treat for you all lads I give you pic (with her kind permission) of Irish/Abu Dhabi blogger DH, as shot today at Dubai’s Ibn Batuta Mall:
DH, at Ibn Batuta Mall earlier today
MR – Childhood
Thanks to my friend MR for allowing me to use the following piece which she posted on Facebook after the recent school shooting in Connecticut, USA. She generally writes on topics more close to her heart, and rarely on other stuff. I am encouraging her to get more ‘logical’ (private joke between us!) and I like the following:
I was reminded yesterday of my childhood by my friend Tony Jay. Thanks Tony. As a child my play time was all the time. I was lucky enough to have been raised on a farm where my friends were the cows, the foxes, the birds. My playground were the trees, the fields and the rivers.
School was my challenge as it curbed my freedom. I realised as an adult the education I received outside of school was to be the basis of how I perceive life today but I am grateful for my formal education in being to able to read and write so that I may communicate and read so many wonderful books and my education was my choice eventually as it was only till I was older that I realised which field I wanted to work in and so having said this I now refer to what has happened in America at the School in Connecticut.
I watched Sky News last night regarding this tragic event. A reporter stating how 5 year old children are drilled about what to do if their is an attack on their school. WOW……is all I said to myself. To think that a 5 year old is at this tender beautiful age is subjected to the world they face, a world where you must own a gun to protect yourself from those who also own a gun. The quote ” Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword” came to mind. I feel as deeply as everyone at the heartache of this situation but is it not a result of the mentality that the world has become.
I worked last year in a care home for Dementia and one lady who had been a school teacher said to me as we were having a trip down memory lane that the children of today are being educated by violent computor games and being subjected to all types of violence in the media..it is everywhere and I absolutely agreed with her. I told her about my childhood where I now realise it was my own imagination was my play and guns were no part of it.
I send Love from the deepest part of my heart to the families and friends in America but I also send Wisdom that all of us now realise that ALL OF US have been responsible for what happened in Connecticut and that from this heartbreaking lesson all of us play a part for change that children maybe allowed to be children. Freedom is never won by violence and children need to know that. My own son asked me at 17 asked me could I become a british citizen as I have the right to do so my mother being English but I was born in Ireland and I asked him why. He said he wanted to join the British Airforce. I told him NO and I also told him I was not going to be a part of him getting into a plane with the intention of killing people. He never asked me again and he is now an engineer. I was shocked that he asked me and that made me deeply aware of the influence of the violence that plays a huge part on all our children.
Change is so needed on this beautiful planet we live on. In light and Love Emoji
Arrived in Dubai on Tue night, camera at the ready – Mosque, Jumeirah Road, Dubai. 
Dubai Panoramic Photo
Attended a Photo night in Dubai few nights back lads and one of those who gave a presentation was the guy who shot this amazing panoramic shot of Dubai – from the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. The viewing deck is on floor 126 as he reminded us, and many of us have visited that deck as a ‘must see’ Dubai thing. As he informed us on the night the distance from the viewing deck to the top of the building is the same height as the Empire State building in New York!
The guy & his assistant brought a video camera with them to record their efforts and was scary just even watching it on the night. The camera used was some high tech one brought from Switzerland just for the purpose, from a manufacturer that I never heard of, using some fancy lens that I also never heard of. The final shot is a stitched panorama of some 48 individual photos, and you can zoom in with your mouse and get close-up of any area you wish.
Afghan cafe/restaurant owner makes chi (tea) for MB in Riyadh last weekend. Most places outside the Riyadh city centre area are very basic, generally small in size and not very hygienic with very small menu selection. The TV was tuned to one of the Afghanistan TV channels and was giving us the news from home in the Pashtu language. Big relief according to the owner & his customers that the US would soon pulling out.

Dubai Parkour

Another Dubai video doing the rounds at the mo is of an English Parkour activist doing his stuff in some of the older areas of the Emirate. First section of the short movie is in the Spice or Gold Market area along Dubai Creek, and second section is from the Bastakia area (Bur Dubai). Both great places to visit if you are ever out this neck of the woods

For those in saudi on lower income, or those with small business like my Afghan friend, this Chinese make of motorbike is popular
Home deliveries are possible

Saudi Walls

I have only departed Saudi a few days lads and I discover that some Ministry has introduced a new ‘wall’ rule. All shops that have both male & female staff must now build walls within the shop at least 1.6m high to separate the males from the female staff. Its obviously a very good idea lads as it will:
  • Provide work for the construction industry
  • Prevent any funny business going on in the public areas of the shops between the male and female staff.
We Saudis can now rest easier in our beds at night in certain knowledge that the segregation of the man and the woman continues in the proper way. Allah u akbar. Read on lads:

Indian lad delivers eggs to the Afghan restaurant and is pleased that MB is taking his pic
UAE Amnesty for illegals
The UAE Government recently introduced an amnesty for all those living illegally in UAE. If you come as a tourist, or your work visa gets cancelled (after your employment ends) you have 30 days to leave the country. Or you incur a daily fine. After a long period the fine becomes unpayable for many and they live illegally.
The current amnesty involves handing yourself in to the authorities, an iris scan takes place, you do not pay any fine but you receive a permanent life ban from the UAE. You are then free to leave, and must purchase your own flight ticket. The following link relates to one family from Pakistan who can not afford the ticket:
Driver stops for Chi at Afghan restaurant before delivering the blocks
Ok lads, gotta go. Maybe bit boring this week. Can’t always be awesomely brilliant I guess. Take care y’all. Chat ya next week inshallah.

Calculation Day

Sabah Al Khaire lads (Good morning lads)

Bit on the cold side at home I hear. Hopefully wood fires burning, electric blankets & hot water bottles serviced keeping you all snug & cozy. The weather in central Saudi Arabia is a delight for fair skinned Irish lads with lilly white skin who hate heat & direct sunlight. Its akin to decent Irish Summer weather at the mo with jackets required morning & evening. Nice.

Street art – Empty water bottle & cigarette butt


Dubai on the other hand is experience the usual seasonal foggy mornings:


Received another conversion attempt lads. An early morning attack this time. Landed down to the hotel lobby circa 7am to be greeted by young apprentice Imam (Muslim priest), who is attending the Imam College across the street. He was watching the prayer channel from Mecca at the time as usual, and upon seeing MB turned up the volume to head splitting level, in hope that higher volume was more likely to force the message into the brain of MB.

“Come listen to the Quran” he said, or words to that effect as he has minimal English. “You are giving me very large headache my young friend” said MB who felt the early stages of a migrane coming on. “Muslim beautiful, you must become” he replied with a beautiful Muslim smile, as I waited for the Indian lad at the coffee bar to land out my cappuccino (mafi sugar). “Muslim beautiful, Yahudi (Jew) beautiful & Christian beautiful” replied MB who was starting to enjoy the crack at this stage and was toying with the beautiful Muslim. Young lad was now obviously bit confused as he had obviously not previously considered the possibility that anyone other than Muslims could be beautiful and threw his eyes skyward, looking to Allah for inspiration. Before Allah could bestow some clever ideas MB got in again quick. “Have you ever travelled outside of Saudi my friend” said MB knowing he hadn’t, “you might get some new ideas”.

Construction waste – a study of green & brown


His level of English was insufficient to understand MBs question so he asked young Egyptian male receptionist to translate. Upon hearing the question Egyptian lad was too afraid to translate it correctly, and even with my limited Arabic I knew he translated as “are you good Muslim?”. The spineless Egyptian smiled a spineless smile and looked at MB thinking he was off the hook. “No BS please young Egyptian lad” said MB, feeling like wanting to break spineless Egyptian’s nose. “Have you ever travelled outside Saudi” said spineless Egyptian, fearing for his nose, to beautiful Muslim, but was still and will always remain, too fearful to ask about the possibility of new ideas entering beautiful Muslims brain should he ever see the wider world. “La (no)” said beautiful Muslim. “Inshallah you will” said MB. “Inshallah” replied beautiful Muslim, as he pondered the thought, trying to calculate how his future might go. MBs coffee arrived, MB sipped, the caffein kicked in, beautiful Muslim refocused on TV screen, headache symptoms receded and all was well with the world. Beautiful world!

Bitumen container


This week’s theme lads is all about calculation. Friend who has very sharp brain recently informed MB that they had just had “calculation day“. A day full of calculations, from college activities to other aspects of their daily life. And suggested it would make good topic for the blog. Bit like the book Ulysses lads, a day in the life sort of thing. My mind focused on the thought lads and within 15 mins my brain was so tired from ‘calculation’ thoughts, I had to take rest in my bed. When you think about it lads almost everything we do in life has some calculation involved. What time to get up in the morning? What time to leave the house to get to work on time? Or to get the kids to school on time? And so on and so on.

I suggest you do not think too much about it lads, as you will only exhaust your brains and need to lie down. So just crack on with life lads, but be aware that calculations are lurking everywhere and its only when the calculations go awry that life takes a turn for the worst. Get the calculations correct lads and the world will be truly beautiful for you & yours. Inshallah!

Plastic & rubble


This weeks pics are mainly from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I am not impressed with the disrespect that many many Saudi give their country. So the photos reflect. They are all shot on residential or commercial area streets. Everyone seems to throw food wrapping or papers out their car windows, or dump their rubbish on any available open space. Construction companies are the worst culprits. I do not know why the authorities do not crack down on such behaviour.

Back to the more traditional HX this week lads (that you all love), after the more photographic efforts of late. Paid extra dollars to the Yankee Website to enable colour and other features, so you will be even more mesmerized in the coming weeks & months.

As usual lads – if you think any friends would enjoy the HX just send on details, and welcome contributions from any & all.

1,000m long x 200m wide open area, filled to capacity by construction waste, dumped illegally to save cost of dumping in registered tip






HX Music (Dedicated to friend KB, who moved family to Australia last year)

Let there be music lads. Irish icon Christy Moore, from many years back. From 2004 reunion concert I think. Told you previously that I was lucky enough to see a Planxty concert as a young lad. Will always remember. Copied the following from one of the comments on YouTube. The guy is not far wrong.

I’ve seen the Stones,Clapton,Ferry,Elton John, the Police, the Boomtown Rats, Ian Dury, George Michael, Squeeze, Dire Straits, Paul Young, Southside Johnny, Genesis, Neil Finn (Crowded House), the Pogues, the Dubliners, Mary Black, Christy on his own, and many others. But the Planxty concerts, I first saw them in 79 , have a magical, ethereal, almost mystical aspect to them. The only other concerts that have come close, in my experience – but a totally different experience, are Springsteen’s.

Tyre & rubble – a study
Good luck to Crosser RM
Another HX Crosser has moved to Australia. Working in Freemantle as a mine site paramedic. Seems also to like big trucks:
RM down under in Freemantle, Australia – Good luck RM!
Was amazed to see 5 Americano companies in the top 10 of the Chocolate World Cup lads. Had previously thought that the mega greasy burger & extra large fries with super size cola to go, was extent of yankee cuisine. As a dedicated and serious chocoholic I now look on the USA with new respect.
Coffee mug
The French have sent troops to Mali in recent weeks lads, allegedly to quell troublesome militants and assist the Government. I read today that that are now trying to control the Mali army who executed 30 inhabitants of first city they liberated, on the street, in summary justice style. So all is not well for sure. Some calculations have seemingly gone wrong and the French could have landed themselves in another Vietnam. Remember they started that one lads!
Anyway, Crosser SS is not a fan of the French invasion and blogs himself on the topic. Many like SS (and I do not say I agree with them for Mali seems a complicated situation to put it mildly) are blogging against the infidel/Crusader invasion. They are using past mistakes of France to add to their argument, like the following pic, which is famous shot from the French war in Algeria many moons ago:
From the French/Algeria war
From SS:
……anyway mali will be another iraq or afghanistan. rapists cannot guide the world now the time is changing (refers to current legal case against French man in India)
they took all the african money when they ruled. again when they are on the verge of becoming begger they want to invade for either oil or gold
can you convey this to french …..
Another piece from conservative Yankee website the Huffington Post refers:
Open space in front of apartment block
UAE Football Team
We won the Cup last week lads and we are over the football moon. The players are also extremely happy and have mega smiles on their faces as the rulers, and the missus of Sheikh Mo in particular give out the goodies (the ‘1st wife’ as she is referred to, as there is another one at least):

Dubai: Shaikha Hind Bint Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, Wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has donated Dh25 million to the UAE national football team for their achievements.

The sons of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, Shaikh Rashid and Shaikh Saeed, have provided Dh12 million for the team and more donations and rewards are expected, with companies and businessmen coming forward with cash prizes and cars.

Striker Ahmad Khalil has already been given a new Range Rover for scoring the winning goal against Kuwait in the semi-final.

Coffee & Pepsi to go, with plastic
Is winning all that counts?
Great story that I recently came across on Fb and shared:
Is winning all that counts? Are you absolutely sure about that?Very little has been said about this…..On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.
Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first. Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:
“But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”He said at the beginning: unfortunately, very little has been said of the gesture. And it’s a shame. In my opinion, it would be nice to explain to children, so they do not think that sport is only what they see on TV: violent kicks in abundance, posh statements, fingers in the eyes of the enemy …
Tyre trouble
Kissing In Dubai
How many times have I warned you about kissing MB in Dubai ladies? How many times? Indian lad and his babe did not heed my warning. Or maybe it was CPR. Now in jail and will later be deported:

Dubai: A couple have been jailed for one year for kissing in public despite the man claiming he gave his female friend CPR when she suffered an asthma attack.

The 28-year-old Indian man claims he was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when he kissed his asthmatic 25-year-old Filipina girlfriend in a lifeguard tower where an Emirati woman said she saw them cuddling and kissing.

The Dubai Misdemeanour Court convicted the defendants of committing a lewd act in public.

They were also fined Dh1,000 each for consuming alcohol.

Palm leaves & fruit juice cocktail
Louvre Museum & other stuff
Maybe I mentioned this one to you previously lads. UAE will shortly have a Louvre Museum. For 1st 10 years they will have exhibits from the Louvre in France. And gradually build up their own contents:
From the Irish Independent:
And Dubai has 20% of the World’s tallest towers:




Graffiti & rubbish sculpture





23% of Saudi couples are now affected by snoring lads. It’s even affecting our “intimacy“. If any of you can come up with cure I am sure the Rulers will reward you, as well as UAE footballers at least! Ideas please lads:

Manama: Around 23 per cent of couples in Saudi Arabia sleep in separate bedrooms due to the snoring of at least one spouse, a study indicates.

According to the unofficial study, several of the spouses have, however, complained that the issue had affected their intimacy and even their relations with the larger family, local news site Sabq reported on Wednesday.

“I was forced to file for divorce from my husband because of his snoring,” a woman was quoted as saying by Sabq. “My husband refuses to see a doctor because he does not believe he has a problem and attributes his snoring to being exhausted from work. My family has flatly rejected my complaints, arguing that I was interested in trivial and frivolous matters and causing problems and apologised to my husband for thinking about filing for divorce,” she said.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/controversy-on-separate-rooms-for-snoring-couples-in-saudi-arabia-1.1129765 utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26267545



Oil drum with bottle





I wish to extend my good wishes  to young (21 year old) Crosser PRO who comes from the HX area at home and who will shortly be stationed in Afghanistan by his British army employers. PRO played football for MB only few short years ago as 14, 15 & 16 year old. Now, in the mere blink of an eye it seems, PRO will enter an altogether different world. I can not help but still think of him as the young smiling kid who played right full for me on the team. I can not think of him as young adult soldier. Make sure you calculate well young PRO. Important.

Recent email from him surprised me I must admit. He and others in his squad were disappointed to miss the February selection and will now await the March posting. I might previously have thought, had I considered it, that any young lad would not look forward to a tour of duty in such a location. The opposite is the case it seems. Strange to my way of thinking, but such is the way of the world.

Stay safe young PRO, respect the locals & their customs, and we are praying for your safe return. Salam.

PRO is now part of a very long line of Afghan history. The rulers and army top brass condition the squaddies to obey the orders, not to question why, but merely do or die. Take a look at one of my favourite pieces of TV ever. A great anti war piece. Sad that the BBC have now cut the final scene where you see the boys getting shot close up. Added greatly to the message. But still very much worth viewing: From Black Adder – Final episode.


And even Poetry is abused to condition the mind:
When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
And go to your God like a soldier…………….Rudyard Kipling (From The Young British Soldier)
Riyadh open space landscaping
DH – The Reluctant Emigrant
Thanks to DH for her weekly efforts. Amusing as usual:
Get the calculation correct!
But if you get the calculations correct lads then life can be sweet!
HX Photo – From 1939
Need some help from HX based Crossers. Can you please show the below photo to elderly relatives to try to identify any of the men in the photo. They were a digging crew who worked at the Lough Gur lake in 1939. Names if poss to MB. Thanks.
Lough Gur Diggers
Salam lads
That’s it for another week lads. Stay safe. Calculate well!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond


A soaring Kestrel over the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu. Took this shot when I visited Nepal on short break in November 2012.

Man Stuff

Greetings lads

Happy new year to you all and inshallah we will have a good one. If you are planning holidays at the moment lads keep visit to MB in mind in his lonely desert hideaway in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. You can not just turn up at the airport, we must organise an invitation for you, which will enable you to apply for visit visa in your country of residence. When you land please be aware that music, alcohol, dancing, much sport, cinemas, talking to unrelated females and all frivolous behaviour is generally considered haram and likely to land you with a jail sentence and a public flogging of varying severity depending on the transgression.

Great evening sky at Caherguillamore with winter tree skeletons

Caher Sky blue

However, assuming you are not an unrelated female, MB will be able to drive you around the city to experience the Thrill of the Saudi Roundabout and/or the Thrill of the Saudi Traffic Light Junction. The UAE has Ferrari World and much else for family excitement, but I assure you lads that it is as nothing compared to the ‘everyday driving style’ of the Saudi male. He goes around the roundabouts in the wrong direction if it gets him to his exit quicker, there appears to be wholesale national colour blindness in relation to the colour ‘red’ – as red traffic lights are considered as important as the used tissue he just threw out his drivers window onto the public street.  Please in your wisdom God/Allah – inspire the Royal Ruler to ban all Saudi males from driving anything faster than a camel, punishable by the the standard beheading, and allow the Saudi females to take ownership of all automobiles in the Kingdom. I assure you God/Allah that if the Ruler trys my suggestion for one month he will never change the law again. One for my 2013 bucket list, inshallah.

Windy evening sky at Rockbarton 

Sky yellow

Great time at home for 2 weeks with family & friends. Lots of rain to remind MB that he was no longer in the desert and some great skys. Took lodza photos over the hols especially in early morning. Gave you a few in last 2 blogs, and giving you a few more of them today. Especially some sky shots. Hope you like. Never realised how many telephone and electricity cables we have at home until this past holiday. Could not get a shot without them.

Sky with bird, behind my house, early days January

Sky bird

Ok lads, a few tales to tell you from the holiday period and the usual nonsense. Appealing to all Crossers in 2013 to send me stuff for inclusion or any ideas you have that I might tackle. Have already received very good suggested topic for next week from one of my more intelligent friends/acquaintances. So lets have them lads. MB awaits a flood of  replies (get real MB, think of the stuff yourself and stop bothering us!)

Sky at HX (over Conway’s House)

Sky + house

Man Flu

In a medical first for Ireland lads, if not the entire planet, a very close female acquaintance of MB caught man flu over the Christmas holiday. Now in the past lads, I can tell you with 100% certainty, that the same female had less than zero sympathy for any male of the species who contracted the dreaded man flu and would look on him as a Saudi male would look at a red traffic light, a worthless useless object for ridicule and scorn. But when the shoe suddenly went on the other foot lads, same lady threw herself in a heap into the bed, turned on the electric blanket for 2 whole days and moaned like a cow in the last stages of mad cow disease, just before the vet arrives to end the misery.

Copious amounts of tissues and medicines were purchased by the male relations of the family, who fully understood the symptoms, to assist the helpless victim. Mercifully, praise the Lord & Allah u Akbar, after 2+ days of TLC from those same male relatives (that she had laughed at under similar circumstances in the past) she regained her strength sufficiently to resume public appearances. A much more humble, understanding and  wise woman for her experience.

So beware ladies. A new strain of the flu seems to have developed and you too are now at risk. So before its too late, have a few words with your man about your past behaviour and he will accept your apologies with good grace I assure you. If the dreaded man flu hits you you will very shortly need all the TLC you can get!

Family inform me that we have new visitor to the tree at back of our house in recent months – a Collared Dove (note the thin black collar around his neck)

Collared dove

Man Shopping

I had to return to UAE after the holiday to renew my Saudi visa lads and took the opportunity to buy a few necessities. Namely one pair of shoes, one shirt and one trousers.

So knowing the items I needed I headed to the Ibn batuta Mall in Dubai and parked the car – 7.30pm. Walked into the mall and entered the first shop I encountered that had all the required items – 7.32pm. Had look around the shop and selected the approx correct size of the preferred shirt & trousers, headed to the fitting room – 7.34pm. Shirt ok, good to go. Trousers ok but leg adjustment required. Called assistant who pinned one leg to correct length. Put on own clothes and handed items to assistant – 7.39pm. Selected shoes of correct size and tried them on – all ok, good to go – 7.43pm. Paid the bill and was assured trousers would be ready for collection following evening – 7.46pm. returned to car – 7.49pm. Total shopping trip = 19mins start to finish.

For God sake ladies why does it take even the fittest of your number approx 4 hours to carry out the same task? I could play a whole round of golf in the same time FFS! Please ladies, please please please, take inspiration from MB and try to do better in 2013. Your man, if you have one, will respect you all the more if you do. And if you do not have a man, then a quicker shopper is a much more attractive proposition that one who is not. For your own sakes ladies, please take note!

Main Street, Bruff Village

Street lady


God help Syria. Speaking to Syrian female friend last week she informed me that in addition to the UN confirmed 60,000 dead (& that only includes victims where both first and family names could be confirmed) there are over 100,000 in prison and nobody has access to them so its unknown whether they are dead or alive. There are also millions now displaced within Syria and much food shortages. Cold temps and no heating or cooking oil. Petrol now over 5 USD per liter.

A friend said to me back in Ireland over Christmas that he heard a story that 150 people were killed recently in a single week in in Syria and he could not believe it. I informed him the figure is not correct, it is more accurately about 500 per week getting killed. He found it incredible. And I noticed Syria is disappearing from the TV screens back home. But you can believe it lads – 500 per week are getting shot or blown to pieces while the UN does nothing for various BS reasons.

And as in most wars its the women & children who often bear the brunt of the conflict.

God help Syria.

The Cliona Foundation

A good news story from back home. Great fund raising night was had last Saturday night for the Cliona Foundation, which I have mentioned in the past. And getting lots of well deserved publicity.

Secret Millionaire returns to Limerick
There’s so much doom and gloom about these days that it’s just so brilliantly uplifting to come across a good news story and particularly when it’s to do with Limerick. You may recall the RTE 1 Secret Millionaire documentary aired in September last, which covered our own special Limerick. Unbeknownst to the organisations that were approached by a seemingly ordinary chap whom they were led to believe was a Producer doing a documentary, and who later revealed himself as the Secret Millionaire – Richard Mulcahy was intent on helping those less fortunate than himself. From an unassuming background, Richard made his fortune in a number of areas including software development. Having spent a week in Limerick filming at the beginning of the summer, Richard will return to Limerick for the Cliona’s Foundation annual social night in Bulgaden on January 12 2013 along with the other organisations spotlighted in the SM programme.

Bruff village church with part rainbow

Bruff rainbow

Saudi Man & Saudi Women

Mentioned to you a number of times in the past lads that the Saudi King Abdulla is much loved by the people and is considered to be doing his best to improve the lot of women in the country. He recently appointed a load of women to an advisory council, where they will have to enter through separate entrance as the men in the council are unrelated and they are not allowed to mix. But the conservative clerics are cheesed off with his decision and think the women should be at home cooking and cleaning. They landed to see the King a few days ago to raise a protest. Thankfully he made them wait for 2 hours, before instructing his assistant to inform them to clear off and not be wrecking his head. Can imagine their faces when they heard!

The following 2 links tell the tale:

David Sheehan’s sheep
Saudi Maid Story
Not sure if this story made the news at home lads but was well publicised in the Middle east region. From the Saudi PR machine:

Riyadh slams world reaction to maid’s beheading

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Sunday criticised world reaction to its beheading of a Sri Lankan maid convicted of killing her employer’s baby, the official SPA news agency reported.

Riyadh “deplores the statements made… over the execution of a Sri Lankan maid who had plotted and killed an infant by suffocating him to death, one week after she arrived in the kingdom,” the government spokesman said.

Rizana Nafeek was beheaded on Wednesday in a case that sparked widespread international condemnation, including from rights groups which said she was just 17 when she was charged with murdering the baby in 2005.

Nafeek was found guilty of smothering the infant after an argument with the child’s mother.

Back in Dubai for few days before heading to Saudi. Typical Friday morning scene from the UAE when the Indians get out the cricket bats for relaxation and fun after the week’s toil


Entering Dubai Marina from Abu Dhabi direction, Marina towers in the background


Have a nice weekend

Ok lads. Take care, and regards to all.


Photos from HX – More!

Greetings to all. 30 more pics from my trip home. Heading back to the desert next weekend.

Happy New Year to all.


Galtee Mountains, Limerick/Tipperary/Cork border


Galtee Mountains


Fog engulfed Galtee Mor (highest peak)


Bridge @ Bruff village


Bruff Waterfall


Ballygrennan Castle, Bruff


Bruff Waterfall (again)Image


Mrs Cow!


Mary Howard’s Pub, famous Bruff watering hole


Bruff village


Bruff Church


Birds feeding


Mr Crow!


Meany’s horse


My daughter & pal running by Ash Point, Lough Gur


Knockfennell, Lough Gur, shot from the opposite Knockadoon hill


Knockadoon, looking west


Lough Gur


Lough Gur


Lough Gur


Lough Gur


Lough Gur birdsImage

Lough Gur swansImage

Lough Gur, wild goose (I think!)Image

LG & goose (again)Image

Grange Church, from across the lake with Garret Island in middleImage

Moonrise @ Lough Gur (it’s a marvelous place for a moondance!)Image

Wren Boys (girls) at my house on St Stephen’s Day evening – old Irish customImage

Bruff Village


Grange Stone Circle, Winter solstice evening, 21 December 2012Image

Chat next year. Take care all.


Christmas Photos from HX

Greetings all. A few photos of the past few days around the HX homeland. Cheers all!

Caherguillamore – Solstice Morning 21st December 2012 (x4)







Solstice late afternoon – Grange Stone Circle


Caherguillamore – early morningImage



Grange – Entrance to O’ Sullivans/Lough Gur on the Old Rd


Early morning – Grange Stone CircleImage

HX FC – The Holy GrailImage

Reardon’s Pub – HX HQImage

Caherguillamore – early morningImage

Carol singing for ‘Cliona’s Foundation’ at Limerick Milk Market (LMM)Image

Shop – LMMImage


Two Dogs – LMMImage

Polish sausage seller – LMMImage

Polish Honey – LMMImage

Leather belt maker – LMMImage

Three swans over Lough Gur – Christmas Eve morning


Boucher’s Castle – Lough GurImage

Sunday morning commemoration of 1920 shooting of 5 IRA fighters – Grange Church Graveyard


Grange graveyard – Grave monumentImage

Grange Graveyard – Raising the flagImage

Sky behind MB’s house on Christmas eve


Meanus Church – Christmas morningImage


Have a good one!