Posted on May 30, 2018
For the non-bloggers amongst MB’s many legions of followers who will not be aware, this is the last Weekly Photo Challenge set by the blog website, as they reorganise and move in a different direction. The king is dead, long live the king; and all that.
MB has made many online friends through this weekly challenge over years past and thanks all for the comments, interactions and general banter which he has enjoyed immensely. MB is grateful for the forbearance shown, noting that all followers, to a man & woman, have not much minding that MB is just generally spoofing and telling tall tales under the guise of showing his photos. Much much appreciated.
But regardless of what the website may do, MB will continue to churn out a weekly photo challenge of his own to keep the punters happy. Hopefully, other bloggers will follow suit and the world will keep on spinning. A big thanks also to all the WordPress staff for their efforts week in-week out in setting the challenges. Muchos gracias from (multi-lingual!) MB.
And so to this weeks challenge……..
A number of months ago, MB actually revealed to a friend what his all-time favourite photo is. It’s a photo of MB2, daughter of MB, aged 9.
MB is back home on a break from the Middle East and hides out of sight, while MB2 & friends tennis lesson is ongoing. As the lesson is finishing, MB puts his lens close to the fence, just as MB2 catches sight of her dad. She holds the net with her hand and smiles and gazes, as friends wander off. A father-daughter moment that MB will forever cherish, and thankfully one he managed to capture. Of MBs many thousands of photos, this one is, head and shoulders, above all others, his all-time forever favourite.
Posted on May 23, 2018
Back in HX land, the word twisted is generally used in the context of some local or other having consumed far too much alcohol in some local pub. That lad was totally twisted might be one description of said lad by some (non-twisted) observer. Anyway, MB is not going to show you all some HX pub or street shot for this weeks photo challenge. He will, instead, give you all something far more circumspect, religious even, from the local Islamic perspective, in the midst of this holy month, Islamically speaking, of Ramadan,
The spiral mosque at Fanar, next to Doha’s Souq Waqif, is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the whole of Qatar. It is part of the larger Doha Islamic Cultural Centre, where one can enter and learn a little of Islamic history and holy sites in an open area on the ground floor, in addition to taking evening classes in Arabic on the upper floors, which MB has done in the past. The mosque prayer area is accessed at first-floor level, if one is so religiously inclined.
MB took the below shot from the nearby souq, capturing some pigeons in show-boat mode, to the backdrop of the spiral mosque.
Posted on May 16, 2018
If you freeze water, dear followers – you get ice! MB was hardly going to produce a standard liquid shot for the challenge!!!
MB returns to his glacier in Chamonix, France, for this week’s theme shot, having used a shot inside the glacier for last weeks theme.
MBs below shot features the Dome Du Gouter peak in the French Alps. It is approx 4,300m in height, approx 500m lower than nearby Mont Blanc, making it the 3rd highest peak in the range. The Mer De Glace glacier features in the foreground, which is some 7km long and 200m deep, making it the largest glacier in France. It moves some 70m every year. The caves that featured in MBs shot of last week and other previous posts are drilled out each year.
Posted on May 11, 2018
When one lives the expat life, one’s thought very often turn to home. Regardless of how busy or good or great life has become in the adopted country, the littlest snippets of news from home and the homeland are welcomed like nuggets of pure gold.
The below photo features an old ruin which lies across the road from MBs parental farmhouse home, known locally as ‘Crokers’, on account of the family that once resided within. It has featured in many of MB’s past posts. Croker’s is synonymous, in MB’s brain, with his true place in the world. Home is where the heart is, after all. Truly it is.
Posted on May 3, 2018
Posted on April 25, 2018
Posted on April 20, 2018
One of MB’s favourite cities is Istanbul. With a population of over 15M people, the locals need to be prolific food producers. And they certainly are. The street markets and city food shops are jaw-droppingly spectacular and are not just for shopping. They are for ambling around, gazing, sampling, and enjoying. And for taking zillions of photos of course!
MB could show you zillions of Istanbul food photos, but a gives you just one, of a simple basket of cheeses:
Posted on April 15, 2018
If you go down to the woods today,
you’re sure of a big surprise.
Yes indeed ladies, if you go down to the Irish woods around this time, be prepared for some strange goings-on and some big surprises. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, at this time of the year, that you will encounter some real live Irish fairies. Following an unusually nasty winter when the weather was wacky as hell, and fairy activity was subdued and minimal, the fairies are now rarin’ to go and full of mischief and trickery.
Are the fairies like the Leprechauns MB? What a stupid questions ladies. The fairies are nothing like Leprechauns. Leprechauns are good-hearted, generally go about their business in as humble a fashion as possible, and are even willing to hand over their pots of gold to anyone (like MB) who is fast enough and clever enough to catch them while a rainbow momentarily blinds their vision. And there will be absolutely no hard feelings from Mr Leprechaun if you do manage to snatch the gold. You can just waltz off into the distance with the pot of gold in your grasp, considering how much bitcoin you might invest in, and Mr Leprechaun will just wave you off and wish you well.
The fairies, on the other hand, can be nasty, it must be said. They like to play tricks on the natural people, who are expected to grin and bear it. The only protection from fairy nastiness is to scatter some primrose flowers around the perimeter of your farm and they will never cross the primrose line. Don’t ask MB why ladies. That’s just the way things is.
May eve is fast approaching when fairy activity will be at its peak. Be warned. You may find that your cow has run dry and can not produce any more milk. Or you pet goat isn’t feeling very well. Or your sheep gets a sore throat and ‘baa’ suddenly sounds like ‘baaaggghhhh’. Yes, dear followers, should any of the aforementioned happen to you and yours, then for sure its the fairies at work and you need to tread very carefully indeed.
And for the good of your health, just play along with them. Don’t screw around with the fairies. Pretend you’re impressed with their fairy powers, and only a tad annoyed at their trickery. Otherwise much nastier things can happen. Such as your goat disappears completely some night without an earthly (or non-earthly) trace. Or worse. The very last thing you want to do, MB means the absolutely very very last thing you want to do, is to awaken the wrath of a bunch of fairies. No siree. No way. It’s the last thing you want to do.
Anyway, now that MB has given you all some advice on how to deal with the Irish fairies, he is happy to share an image with you all of a fairy house he managed to capture in recent times back in the HX heartland. For sure MB is not a liberty to divulge the exact location of the shot, as he is mindful of the health and welfare of his sheep and goat herd. He will only say, that he wore a crown of primrose flowers, granting him invisibility from the HX fairy hoards, and beat a hasty retreat from the fairy village back to the natural world in the immediate aftermath of the shot. And lived to tell the tale.
Herewith (and be warned – sharing any shots of a fairy house is not advised):
Posted on March 28, 2018
The Grange Stone Circle lies in MB’s HX homeland and dates from the Neolithic era, estimated to be approximately 5,500 years old. The circle is 150 feet in diameter and contains 113 stones, the largest weighing some 40 tonnes. Because of an embankment around the entire outside of the circle, it is thought that the circle had ritual purposes. But who really knows?!
On summer solstice (21 June) and on winter solstice (21 December), local (& not so local) people gather at the circle before sunrise to watch the first rays of the sun appear for the day that’s in it. Assuming cloud cover does not spoil the occasion, which it often does!
MB took this photo on early morning, 21 December 2017. A candle glows in the centre of the circle as people await the sunrise.
Posted on March 7, 2018
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
Posted on March 1, 2018
No, it’s not Wakanda! The night skyline of the Westbay area on the Doha Corniche is impressive and otherworldly. Most of the architecturally spectacular buildings are office blocks owned by big local companies or government organisations. The building on the extreme right on the below shot is the Sheraton Hotel.
Posted on February 22, 2018
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.
Posted on February 14, 2018
Posted on February 2, 2018
Posted on January 24, 2018
The endless variety that one thing can contain – is one of Ben’s suggestions for a take on this week’s Variation theme. Ben chose a shot from the Gouda Cheese store in Amsterdam.
MB has also decided to use Amsterdam for his theme shot, selecting another product synonymous with Amsterdam, and Holland generally – Tulips.
Just across the street (and canal) from the Anne Frank house lies Amsterdam’s Tulip Museum. MB and daughter MB2 happened to spot the Museum only on account of the fact that they could not get into the AF House due to the huge numbers of people already in the never-ending queue. But the Tulip Museum turned out to be the silver lining on the AF dark cloud. It’s a real pleasure to visit and to learn the history of the tulip, brought by invading Ottoman Sultans back to Turkey from Kazakhstan and elsewhere, then brought to Europe by diplomats based in the Ottoman region. The Dutch then made it their own, so to speak.
The fact that Amsterdam had a large wealthy middle class at that time (for reasons MB will not get into here) permitted much trading and investing in tulip bulbs, the iPhone of their day. The years 1634 to 1637 saw a frenzy of such investment which was referred to at that time, and since, as ‘tulip mania’. People were investing approximately 50% of the price of a premium townhouse in Amsterdam on a single tulip bulb, whose particular colour might have been considered rare at that time. Three years passed before everybody work up and smelt the
coffee tulips. By then, large personal fortunes had been lost in the world’s first recorded financial bubble, as bulb prices collapsed to a fraction of their previous worth.
For the information of HX followers – anyone considering a trip to Holland to view (or photograph) Holland’s famous tulip fields, April or May are the recommended months to do so.
Shot from the museum: