Sofia & The Feast of St Barbara


HX Report has followed the progress of baby Sofia since her birth on 10 February 2017.

Sofia is the daughter of Lebanese parents R&E who are friends of MB, all earning their crust in Doha, Qatar. It’s MB’s intention to chronicle the life of Sofia in the years ahead as she grows up in the crazy Middle East, against the backdrop of regional shenanigans. Read More

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Happiness is…..


Happiness is……

Maybe nice food???

Or a book???

Or maybe combine both!

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It’s the weekend


Read a book!

The Doha International Book Fair started yesterday and runs until next weekend. So many books!

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Lens-Artists Challenge – Splash


Thanks to blogger Patti for her Splash challenge this week.

MB has taken a bit of license on the theme and offers, instead of water, a splash of colour! MB was mooching around Doha’s Souq Waqif last Friday night and came across a bright blue chair in a sea of brown and orange that he had not previously noticed.

Herewith:

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It’s the weekend


Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar – The Life of Pie

The Museum of Islamic Art is one of the most recognisable buildings in Doha and a must-visit destination for tourists to the country. The building has featured in previous HX posts, but MB took some new pics when out walking earlier this week which he gives you below. Check out the MIA website if you want to learn some more. Read More

It’s The Weekend


The Pigeon House

Many people in the HX locality go for weekend walks around Lough Gur lake. And if one takes the walk from the car park to Ash Point on the Knockadoon Hill side of the lake, one will happen across the old stone remains of a Pigeon House on one’s left-hand side.

A Pigeon House was used in medieval times to house pigeons (really MB?!) which were a source of meat, eggs, and fertiliser. The one at Lough Gur is some 400 years old, maybe much older, and the specifications are included in the information plaque next to the structure.

Happy weekend!

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Musik 2


Supporting music and the arts in the Middle East is one sure way to fight extremist ideologies.

Thank God Qatar is hugely different from some of its neighbours. There are many clubs or bars where one can go to listen to music, and to enjoy a beer or whatever else might take your fancy. The Doha jazz festival finished last night and a new Salsa Music & Dance club recently opened in a prominent hotel, providing two example of the more relaxed scene in Qatar than exists elsewhere in the region.

The Qatar Philarmonic Orchestra is playing since 2008 and is made up of over 100 professional musicians who were originally recruited mostly in Europe and the Arab World. They play regular concerts at a number of venues, the most recent being the Johann Strauss’ Vienna on Friday night last.

From the website of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra:
The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra performs and promotes western and Arabic music in order to inspire the children and adults of Qatar and the Arab world to create and enjoy music. The Philharmonic is a member of the Qatar Foundation, which is supporting Qatar on its journey from carbon economy to knowledge economy by unlocking human potential.

The orchestra was founded by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned in 2007. The orchestra of 101 musicians was chosen by a jury of international music professionals through auditions held in European and Arab countries. Selection criteria were driven by musician quality. The Philharmonic held its Inaugural Concert on October 30th, 2008, conducted by Lorin Maazel.

MB was surprised not to see the below piece listed on the programme for the evening. But the sneaky German conductor had pulled a fast one on MB and others by keeping it for his encore!

So with the usual apologies for MB’s terrible hand-held camera video, voila:

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A night out listening to a philharmonic orchestra is not one that many back home would think possible in the Arabian Gulf region of the Middle East. But that’s the night out that MB and others had last night in Doha, Qatar.

The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra was playing a concert entitled Johann Strauss’s Vienna conducted by young award-winning German conductor Elias Grandy. The Strauss concert was played at the Qatar National Convention Centre, a spectacular venue, in one of its small auditoriums.

If you wish to read a little more on the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, click here.

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Blending In/Standing Out


MB’s efforts for this week’s Photo Challenge from Blogger Ann Christine – Blending In/Standing Out.

MB is not sure if the four dhow boats on Doha Cornice last week were blending in or standing out. Maybe a bit of both.

But Mr. Crow, standing on top of a Celtic Cross outside a church in Adare, County Limerick in late September as MB passed by, was definitely standing out!

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It’s the weekend


Dhow boats fly the Qatar flag on Doha Corniche, with view of the Westbay skyline in the distance. As shot by MB on an evening walk earlier this week.

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It’s the weekend


Weather – Qatar.

Irish people love to talk weather-talk. ‘Fine day’ or ‘soft day’ are often conversation openers, and are very acceptable replacements for ‘hello’ or ‘howrya’.

The Irish in Qatar sure had a lot to talk about last Saturday.

Saturday last witnessed an entire year’s average rainfall of approx 75mm in a torrential 6 hours, replete with ear-shattering thunder and a most impressive display of forked lightning. And like all countries of the Arabian Gulf where such weather is a rarity, when heavy rains arrive, the roads and road drainage systems of Qatar are unable to cope. Minor roads in particular often have low-lying sections (many of them) with no drainage outlets, or sand-clogged drainage outlets, so deep flooding is the order of the day. Cars regularly get stuck or abandoned.

MB was stuck in almost-static heavy traffic in the midst of it all when his car lost all power for a minute or two, except for the merciful fact that the engine did not cut out and thankfully kept ticking over. Thankfully also, this happened when the traffic was actually static. The same thing happened another five or six times during the 1.5-hour journey, a journey that normally takes 10 minutes. But each time the car lost power, it regained power moments or minutes later, and moved on.

It was real heart-in-the-mouth stuff on MB’s journey back to the office, assuming that the car would konk out at any moment and thousands of cars would start tooting their angry toots at MB, who had already decided that waving and smiling would be his response.

Today, five days later, some minor watery evidence of last Saturday’s biblical event is still evident, and MB’s car engine just doesn’t sound so healthy each morning when it starts. A visit to the car doctor is on the agenda in the coming days.

Have a nice weekend!

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It’s The Weekend


The Holy Trinity Abbey Church, Adare, County Limerick, Ireland

The Holy Trinity Church in Adare is some 800 years old and has a very interesting history. Read More

Scenes from the homeland – 2


There’s a relatively little-visited hill next to the lake in MB’s HX homeland called Carraig Aile. Read More

The Session


MB has just returned to the hot desert climate of Qatar from his heavenly Irish homeland replete with it’s temperate (highly eclectic) weather, and great social living conditions for its inhabitants, in many respects. The traditional Irish music session is one such contribution, which one can find in  various pubs in any given village or town if one cares to visit and explore.

Take for example, a session from a pub in MB’s local city:

And in relation to a very recent post from the city of Lancaster in England, MB will soon compose a post on the reason for his Lancaster visit.

But in the meantime, enjoy the music session from Dolan’s Pub in Limerick, South West Ireland.

Cheers, from a slightly nostalgic MB.

MB

Scenes from the homeland


MB arrived in his HX homeland a few days back. The following shots are taken mostly around his HX village locality. A few are taken in the Lough Derg area of south-east Galway, where youngest-sister-of-MB lives.

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