Troy


For most of history, the city of Troy was considered a mythical place of ancient Greek legend. It’s existence, mythical or not, was founded on its mention a number of times in the poem ‘The Illiad’ by Homer (ancient Greece, not modern Springfield!). It was referred to by different names in the poem, Troia being one of them, after King Tros.  Read More

One Word Sunday – Music


Music.

This week’s One Word challenge is MUSIC. Big thanks to D of Travel with Intent blog for her challenging efforts.

If it’s music you want, then there’s a fair amount of it any day you wish back in MB’s Irish homeland. The Irish music scene is of course famous, from Thin Lizzy back in the day to Van Morrison to Enya to various Boy Bands to The Corrs to U2, and numerous others. That’s not to mention the Irish folk music scene which continues to thrive, and where many of the international groups started their young apprenticeships and have their roots. And who wouldn’t like to wander into a quaint Irish pub of an evening, after a day’s hard toil and unwind to the sound of some local musicians playing a few Irish gentle (or rousing) folk tunes or singing an Irish ballad, whilst sipping a tasty Irish brew?

Yes indeed guys, if you’re looking for a music fest, just head on over to MB’s homeland and you are likely to find music under any blade of grass you care to lift. In the kitchen. The living room. The street. The pub. The local hall. The Stone Circle. Etc.

“Stone Circle MB?”

Yes, guys. The Irish play music in Stone Circles. And why not?!

It’s fast approaching the 21 June Summer Solstice, and back in MB’s HX homeland, you are likely to find a musician or two in the pre-dawn twilight welcoming in the early-morning solstice sunshine with some music in the middle of the Grange Stone Circle.

The following shot was taken by MB in June 2014. Annoyingly (for MB) the shot is of 2 musicians who are accompanying another musician/singer out of shot,  as evidenced by the directing in which the people are looking. However, it does invoke a certain sense of mystery – who is that musician? male/female? more than one? What’s he/she singing/playing? etc?

“Bullshit MB, it’s just a dodgy shot”.

Ok lads, maybe you got a point!

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Whatchamacallit


Whatchamacallit (Oojamaflip).

Saw earlier today that blogger friend J posted a photo of a ‘whatchamacallit’ on the One-Word Sunday challenge of blog site Travel With Intent. J’s blog post title is actually called ‘Oojamaflip‘ which is seemingly the same as a ‘whatchamacallit’, but MB was previously unaware of the ‘Oojamafip’ word (egad!)

For those not in the know, a ‘whatchamacaliit’ is a word used to describe something we can not remember the name of. So the 2 kids in the below photo (from Saudi Arabia near the town of Buraidah) are gazing at a whatchamacallit, MB not being able to remember the name of that rock formation.

Sadly, as with many things in Saudi Arabia, the monument is defaced with graffiti. MB has often thought and stated of Saudi Arabia, that it is full to the brim with religious protocol, theory and formal practice, but is very light of living one’s life in any meaningful way by the rules or lessons of that same religion. MB thinks that many Saudi Arabians should actually refer to their religion as the ‘whatchamacallit’!

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Thank God for the Hens of Ireland


It’s high time the hens of Ireland were given due recognition. Yes, indeed. High time. Read More

Weekly Photo Chalenge – Place in the world


Place in the World.

When one lives the expat life, one’s thought very often turn to home. Regardless of how busy or good or great life has become in the adopted country, the littlest snippets of news from home and the homeland are welcomed like nuggets of pure gold.

The below photo features an old ruin which lies across the road from MBs parental farmhouse home, known locally as ‘Crokers’, on account of the family that once resided within. It has featured in many of MB’s past posts. Croker’s is synonymous, in MB’s brain, with his true place in the world. Home is where the heart is, after all. Truly it is.

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Happy 1st Birthday Miss Sofia


Soon after Sofia’s birth over one year back, MB agreed with Lebanese parents R&E that he would chronicle Sofia’s life in the years ahead. She is the firstborn to R&E, and to date is not joined by additional siblings. On 10 February 2018, she was one year old. Already Sofia has been the subject of three of MB’s past blog posts, the most recent being a post on her Christian baptism.

R&E, continue to work in peaceful and prosperous Doha, Qatar, and are building a new house back in their Koura/north Lebanon home region where they and Sofia will one day return. The shell of the house is now complete and the more expensive internal finishings will soon start. Architect mom R will spend her 2-week August vacation painting arty pictures on the internal walls, as she informed MB in recent days.

The Middle East continues to provide a crazy backdrop to Sofia’s early life. Syria and Yemen remain in war-ravaged chaos. Neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan struggle financially and socially under the weight of displaced Syrian war refugees. Lower level extremist violence continues in Iraq and elsewhere. Qatar, where MB & R&E abide, remains under a non-sensical travel and economic blockade by (unneighbourly) neighbours UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt. There is no end in sight to that particular saga. Recent comments from a senior Saudi politician maintained the high temperature, commenting that if the US closed its Qatar air base, Qatar would not last long, implying a Saudi-led invasion. The US, UK & France bombed Syrian government installations only a few weeks back in response to an alleged gas attack by the Syrian government on a rebel-controlled Damascus suburb. MB says ‘alleged’ on account of the fact that there is no actual proof, and international inspectors have not yet released their findings. An Independent newspaper article by reporter Robert Fisk makes for interesting reading in that regard.

Sofia remains oblivious to all the regional nonsense that goes on about her. At 13 months, she started to walk, cocking a snook of sorts to all the madness. A few weeks back, she travelled back home with mom R to visit happy grandparents and extended family. MB’s first below photo was provided by mom R from that trip. The second is from her recent birthday party.

Belated 1st birthday wishes to Miss Sofia from MB!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Prolific


Prolific.

One of MB’s favourite cities is Istanbul. With a population of over 15M people, the locals need to be prolific food producers. And they certainly are. The street markets and city food shops are jaw-droppingly spectacular and are not just for shopping. They are for ambling around, gazing, sampling, and enjoying. And for taking zillions of photos of course!

MB could show you zillions of Istanbul food photos, but a gives you just one, of a simple basket of cheeses:

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Story


Story.

If ever a picture could tell a story, then a picture of Reardon’s pub back at the HX crossroads could tell a plethora of them. And that’s an understatement.  Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – A face in the crowd


A face in the crowd.

The Appearance of Christ Before the People or The Apparition of the Messiah is a famous painting by Russian artist Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov. (1806 – 1858). The painting hangs in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and MB had to good fortune to visit the gallery and view the painting during his May 2017 trip to Russia’s capital city (where he grabbed a few shots!).

There are many faces in the crowd by the banks of the River Jordan in the famous painting, which depicts many stories from the Bible; John the Baptist, Apostles John, Peter and Andrew, and others. The artist has also included a self-portrait in red headgear sitting not far from John the Baptist who has his hand and staff raised in the direction of Christ. For further info on the painting, take a read of the Wikipedia link.

Herewith: two shots of the painting from MBs trip, both giving a sense of scale and size of the painting which took the artist 20 years to paint.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Ascend


Ascend.
MB has chosen a shot from his May 2017 visit to Moscow for this weeks challenge. The domed spires of the churches seem to ascend to the heavens at Cathedral Square, which lies within the Kremlin complex in Moscow’s historic city centre.

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Foto Friday – Arab


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Sunday Shot – An Irish Evening Sky


Soon be seeing some of these….

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Foto Friday – The Shisha Hut


MB has posted some pics from his August 2014 trip to Sudan in recent posts. For this week’s Foto Friday he gives you one of his favorite pics from that trip.

YSL and friends had just taken MB on a tour of a very poor shanty town (maybe not the correct term but MB can not think of better as he types) on the outskirts of Khartoum called Soba. It was then time to smoke some shisha in a nearby shisha hut. MB is not a smoker. Never was. Never will be. But on this occasion, he puffed some shisha with YSL and friends just to be sociable, and thankful for the effort they had all made.

The shisha hut was just that. A hut with a frail timber frame and some bamboo leaves (or similar on the outside. And some light paper fabric on the inside. The AC was great!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Experimental


Experimental.

In August 2014, MB found himself in Khartoum, Sudan, for a wedding. Read More

Foto Friday – The Best Days of our Lives


All kids love a tyre! Khartoum, August 2014.

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