Posted on June 22, 2019
Posted on December 5, 2018
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
Posted on August 18, 2018
The Islamic feast of Eid al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) takes place next week. In the week leading up, Muslim families will travel to the animal markets to select their particular sheep or goat (normally). So maybe not an ‘everyday moment’ throughout the entire year, but the buying and selling of animals is an everyday moment for that particular week in the Middle East and throughout the Islamic world, for many hundreds of years past.
Posted on June 30, 2017
Diplomatic relations between Russia and the Western nations are at a particularly low ebb at present, the worst in many years. It, therefore, comes as no surprise to HX followers that MB has made a recent trip to the heart of the Russia to try to mend some fences. And when one travels to the capital city, one knows that fence-mending doesn’t happen in ornate cathedrals, hotels or fancy metro stations. No Siree. If fence-mending is your game, then there is only one location in Moscow to head for.
MB received word prior to travel that Vlad Putin was busy and was unlikely to get a chance to press the flesh with MB. MB took the news on the chin as one would expect, and soldiered on regardless. But in the end, the paths of the two men did indeed cross, as the ‘main man’ emerged from the Kremlin complex one evening in his nuclear bomb-proof car, accompanied by some serious looking dark-glassed 4x4s, as MB was walking past. Needless to say, the Russian President gave MB a thumbs-up as both men made eye-contact. MB responded in kind with an air high-five. Mr Putin smiled. So did MB.
A day or two later, MB found himself not outside the Kremlin walls, but within. Do not ask MB how he manages such magical diplomatic feats, as he is not at liberty to say. Anyway, informing all the Kremlin security staff that he had the personal permission of Mr Putin to photograph at will, MB ran amok with his Canon 7D, and photographed anything that moved. And much that didn’t.
Seriously, a visit to the red-walled Kremlin complex is a huge thrill. The area called Cathedral Square from the outside is stunning, and one can also enter the inside of the churches to see the ornate Orthodox-style religious decoration. If ever HX followers wish to travel in the footsteps of MB, just shoot MB a private message, and he will immediately take the permission of Mr Puttin to get you inside. Guaranteed.
On the occasion of MBs visit, a class of young military cadets were celebrating their graduation, so many family members and guests were in attendance, as can be seen in some of the below photos.
Expect international diplomatic relations to start improving dramatically. Real soon!
Traffic is stopped (1st photo) to allow Mr Putin’s entourage to exit the Kremlin onto the adjoining public street (2nd photo)
The Kremlin Complex:
The Kremlin Palace (event hall):
Cathedral Square, etc
Posted on December 20, 2016
Unknown to most in MB’s homeland is the fact that in the majority land area of the Middle East, music is forbidden. In the local lingo, it’s haram. Allegedly, according to those of such beliefs, it’s not God’s will that people should sing or play or listen to music. Read More
Posted on October 28, 2016
“To change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.”
MB will not post anything strange or grotesque, but will instead focus on the ‘transform’ element of this weeks challenge.
Our local churches back home at Grange & Patrickswell are almost exclusively used for daytime and daylight activities throughout the year. Living in a very rural location there is no great, or hardly any, need for the opening of the churches after dark, save an occasional evening funeral service.
But at Christmas time each year the churches host Christmas carol services, or midnight masses which are actually on at approx 8pm (an Irish midnight!).
Anyway, it’s interesting to see them in their transformed Christmas state.
Posted on March 28, 2016
Post of yesterday featured a photo from the old Byzantine Church at Chora, Istanbul. Today it’s a museum called Kariye. MB took many photos during his visit in March 2015 and decided to share some of
MB took many photos during his visit in March 2015. The following are some of the more interesting shots, both from within the church and externally in the church grounds.
Posted on March 17, 2016
Ok. So MB wished you all a happy St Patrick’s Day in an earlier post of today. So what the hell what?! No harm wishing you all again, on the day the chosen people celebrate their big day. Ok?!
Posted on November 27, 2015
One day you’re single. Next day you’re not!
Friends of MB get married at ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’ Catholic Church in Doha, Qatar. June 2015.
Posted on August 17, 2015
The Islamic religious holiday of Eid Al Adha is the nearest thing that Muslims have to a Christmas. It’s a great family occasion and a big meal is consumed. It is a religious duty of all Muslims to sacrifice an animal at this time, normally a sheep or a goat. Cows, cattle, camels and others are also used when groups or extended families may pool together for the purchase of larger animals. The sacrifice is to honour the story from the holy book when Abraham gave thanks to God for sparing his son, after God had earlier tested Abraham by asking him to kill him. Abraham then killed a sheep as a sacrifice in thanksgiving. The same story appears in the Christian Bible, albeit both books state different sons names (Ishmael in the Quran and Isaac in the Bible). Read More
Posted on August 15, 2015
The War in Syria has created some 10M refugees from a total population of 23M. Approx 6.5M are internally displaced and some 3.5M have fled the country. Millions of houses and apartments are now reduced to rubble. 250,000 to 300,000 people have died as a result of the extremely complicated civil war war which has many participating actors. More than the combined dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Read More
Posted on August 7, 2015
Slightly off theme!
At the end of the day we all die. Sad, but what to do! And if you happened to live and die in Nepal, chances are you would end up like the robed dead body in the picture, taken at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.
Before a dead body is cremated it must first go through the ceremony of purification, which involves taking the body to the edge of the holy Bagmati River, dipping & washing the feet of the body in the water. Following purification, the body is then moved to the adjoining area of funeral pyres where the body is burnt and the ashes washed into the river on completion – onwards towards the next life and eventually (hopefully) reaching Nirvana.
You will notice the the feet of the body extend beyond the end of the timber/straw pyre. As the body burns, relatives will eventually manoeuvre the feet into the flames with bamboo or timber poles.
Posted on July 31, 2015
The natural beauty of MB’s homeland is always an inspiration every time he’s home to get out the camera and start clicking.
This shot is one of MBs from the New Year’s early morning mass by the frozen Lough Gur lake on 01.01.2010, which was a 10th anniversary celebration of a similar mass held to welcome the new millennium on 01.01.2000. MB attended that one also but alas did not have a camera. The priest inspires the flock on this particular morning with his sermon and all are inspired by the beauty of the surrounding nature.
Posted on July 3, 2015
Posted on July 3, 2015
The round towers of Ireland were built between the 9th & 12th centuries, generally next to monasteries or other religious buildings. Some are up to 40M high. The doors were constructed in an elevated position to enable the monks or priest to take their chalices and other valuables to the safety of the tower by ladder when there was a threat from invaders. The ladder was then pulled up and the door locked securely. Once the invaders departed the monks would then reappear and resume normal duties.
Many of the towers survive to this day due to their aerodynamic curved shape which prevents storm damage. The tower featured below (on a foggy day) is in Lismore , County Waterford in Ireland’s south east.