April A to Z – Y is for Yellow!!

So… the second last day of the challenge arrives. Why don’t we wind down on a bright note? Why don’t we celebrate spring and summer and the joys of bright, bold yellow? As I’ve been having field days with galleries I may as well throw in one more? You’ve gotta agree with me, they are fun! OK… without much more fuss… here’s a yellow sensory overload!

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April A to Z – XENO!

A black and white harmony... different folk happily sharing the same space!

Ever since I began my deliberations with myself about today’s post the above photo has been lurking in the background. There’s something about the image that suggests peace and harmony, even though it was taken on a busy Dublin street. To continue… I’m going to visit friend Urban Dictionary for a bit of help, again… because it just seems so correct for today’s topic.


1) Stranger; foreigner; alien
2) Strange; foreign; exotic; different

New Latin, from Greek, from Xenos – Stranger
Feminine = Xena; Masculine = Xeno

One can be immediately drawn to the rather negative and unpleasant thought of xenophobia. This is a human behaviour we could all do without and I don’t really want to go there because I’ve seen and experienced far too much of it.

Why don’t we rather slant toward xenophilia and accept that different is good? Different is the way to go to enhance relationships and grow our minds. Why don’t we stop paying lip service to the concepts of cosmopolitanism and bridge cultural divides? I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s not great to be discriminated against because I’m foreign.

PS – Different yet so the same… we hurt and bleed the same way

PPS – There’s a lot to be said for hybrid vigour

PPPS – Back to tolerance and respect

PPPPS – Back to understanding

PPPPPS – Just be open!

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Wednesday’s Wailing Wild Winter Weather Warning

This is Ireland. This is a place where more conversations begin with a topic related to the latest storm hitting the country or end with something along the lines of…

OK… see you the weekend, depending on the weather. 

Yes… spring, summer… autumn or maybe even winter… the weather rules. You may even find the winter peeping in on most days of spring and autumn and yes, I dare say… creeping in on the odd summer’s day.

Rain… snow, hail… sleet, sea swells… roaring winds. Did I mention rain? Yes, often we have horizontal rain. Then, on the other hand we have less horizontal rain… from the other direction. Sometimes we even have vertical rain but when all is said and done… we have rain!

Mind you… when we don’t have rain for two weeks many folk are red as cooked lobsters… or braaied crayfish. Or, maybe even pink as prawns. Also, if we don’t have rain for two weeks we could be very close to having droughts.

Then… on the other hand… we have a few folk who think it is their given right to have free water. Yes, they insist that as Ireland has so much rain that they are entitled to free water. Yep… it comes from the sky but if you want it free then please stand outside with your face pointed upward and your mouth open!

PS – Tongue in cheek comes to mind so… please don’t want to shoot the carrier pigeon

PPS – Yes, I know one can’t do anything about the weather so I get on with life

PPPS – If the weather is so bad, why am I still here? Story for another day…

PPPPS – Without the rain it wouldn’t be so green!

PPPPPS – Wet can be really good!

Our two brolly tent... well needed and appreciated... such planning ;-) GSK clutching the bag of bread...

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April A to Z – Vinyl and Vapour Trails

Yep… vinyl and vapour trails. Why? Because I like to ring of it. It hatched when I had one of those lightning bolt moments. You know the ones. I was pondering this post while I was outside doing my bit for the abstract challenge. I was thinking of the vinyl. Then, I looked up and noticed the planes dashing across the blue sky… leaving their vapour trails behind.

That’s how this post evolved… vinyl and vapour trails! It has a ring about it… but, I think I may have said that earlier. I was going to use the vinyl for the “M” post. M for Music which then turned into M for Memories. That meant I still had a pile of records just waiting to be shown to the outside world.

As you may well know… the stuff can’t just lay in the bottom of the press forever… they must eventually be outed. The only thing… I have far more flat plastic discs than I can use in one post so here’s a sneak-peek look into the future… maybe next year’s V will again be for vinyl! OK… I’ve been totally random with my selection but I’m sure you may spot something to reminisce about.

The beauty of vinyl was that you could open up the gate-fold covers and dream away while you listen to Side A. Then Side B. Triple LP’s took on their own lives. Hours of lying flat on the back… head positioned somewhere in the middle of the sound wave and then just letting the music wash over you. Yep, I think it’s time I did a hi-fi upgrade… the vinyl has been in hiding far too long!

PS – I have a dream… to be a late night DJ, one day… when I grow up!

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April A to Z – UP!

Happy Monday… I hope you’re feeling on the up and up!

We’ve entered the last stretch of April A to Z. In some ways I regret taking up the challenge as I’ve found myself being drawn deeper and deeper into the whole experience. I mean… within a few days I have to do the X, Y, Z. Well,  we all have to do that. The thing is… even though I chose to go random that wee little X has been on my mind for weeks. The Y and Z aren’t too difficult but that X, man oh man… it’s got the better of me.

However, I won’t give UP… we’ll just keep looking up and keep going… upwards and upwards.

On the other hand, I have loved doing the challenge because of the additional banter with old friends and the new friendships. All in all, it’s been an upwardly mobile blogging experience and I must thank you all for adding to my fun and providing smiles. So… today we’ll just tilt our heads skyward and see what’s up there. While I tilt my head upward I may just say a wee thanks…

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Oh I do enjoy abstract! The sun is shining here in Ireland… yes, it seems spring has arrived, at last! I’ve just come in from outside (to find your challenge) where I’m trying to use flexible bamboo to splodge paint (primary colours) on a set of canvasses… a new abstract is born? Looks rather messy at this stage.

That’s the comment I left over at Ben’s challenge. Why not? I reckon he must be a mind reader.

Colour… happy sunshine colour… that’s what I’ll call this collection when I’m eventually done! However, part of this messy fun is the importance of the three smaller squares. That idea is taken directly from a piece done by Galen. He’s site is so full of inspiration I would need five or six extra hours every weekend to experiment.

So… here’s my latest fun. I have to warn… the first few photos are the beginnings and this is still a work in progress but I believe at the end of things one will have the option of the option.

Then, the option may be to bin the lot or to arrange the different pieces according to one’s own abstract…

As always… this is inspired by the real art of Jackson Pollock

Here’s a thought… if I could count every droplet and equate that to one second’s thought and planning you may realise this is not as totally random and unplanned as first appears…

I still have a way to go before I’ll be satisfied with the final product…

Lines and more lines... and squares and more lines... abstract, JP style and inspired by Galen...

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April A to Z – Time!

The idea for this post came about while I was visiting Rupali’s blog. This JRR Tolkien quote is so true…

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Yes… don’t waste the most valuable commodity we are blessed with. Use time wisely. Years ago, long before the internet and the ease of having a laptop at my fingertips, I learned to plan my day while I was doing my early morning ablutions. It’s amazing how quickly one can learn to review what tasks must be done and in what order to complete them… all while having a shower.

A 30 second review of the partly completed tasks of the day before will usually very quickly determine how to go about the present day’s work. Next step, to review project progress or where the program is at. Yes, we each have our specific tasks to complete at whatever stage of life we are. Obviously, when you’re junior, your tasks may be lesser or fewer. So, the sooner you get into the habit of daily planning and setting regular micro goals the sooner you’ll work out that your part in the process helps achieve to overall team project/ program  accomplishments.

Yes, if we decide how to use our time as best we can we may just have more free time to do the things we really love. I’m honest when I say I’ve very rarely been in the situation where I’m under time pressure. Sometimes we waste too much of the precious commodity by pursuing the 80/ 20 balance. Spending 80% of the time to achieve that 20% needed for perfection is a total waste.

The Clock Tower in Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland

You may raise an eyebrow at that statement but in life’s reality, who’s perfection are we striving for? Some may insist on XYZ whereas the more than adequate need is xyz! To illustrate… many years ago a builder friend who was heavily involved with large, affordable estate construction learned to walk away at a particular point of each build.

Those days, the final 5% retainer was only released when clients moved in and all the snags were completed. This created all sorts of problems. Clients kept calling the builders back for stupid reasons, never satisfied with the end result. I’m not saying bad workmanship or incomplete work should be excused. Remember, this was affordable, estate housing often built within tight budgets as to minimise the buying cost for the new home owner.

The resultant revisits often cost builders more than the 5% retainer. Therefore, my friend employed one man to ensure that the house was completed to the building spec before the new owner moved in. Then he didn’t bother to return after the 95% payout. Usually, the new owner soon learned that he’d moved into a suitably completed building so in the process my friend saved himself endless hours and hassles by not pandering to the whims of many new home owners.

A later spin-off was that many months later the banks would call the home owners. Many would say they’re happy and the 5% payout would arrive in my friend’s bank account. Lovely little unexpected bonus… multiply that by 20 over a year and he had his holiday money all sorted… for almost no pain.

The moral of the story? Decide on how you want to spend your time… 80% chasing the last 20% to attain someone else’s perfection or 20% to ensure the task is completed way beyond the 80% expectation of perfection!

The Phoenix CC clock... marking time?

PS – I thought the Phoenix may have significance… I’m just trying to work it out…

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April A to Z – Sunrise to Sundown…

I think I’ve used the Harry Chapin song as inspiration before.

All my life’s a circle… sunrise to sundown…

Well, why not again? It’s a rather potent song… a reminder of just how lucky we are to witness a sunrise and sundown every day. Ireland’s northern latitude makes for interesting light angles at various times of the year and that makes for great sunrises and sunsets… so, here’s a few to enjoy while you’re running Mr Chapin’s song in the background!

Here’s a reminder… pity I don’t have enough photos for you to roll for the duration of the song…

PS – Thanks to WikiP for the Harry Chapin link…

PPS – I hope I haven’t left you in too melancholy a mood…


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Reflecting on Rebellion, Revenge, Respect and Reconciliation 

Yes, it’s quite a mouthful but it’s something that’s been getting to me lately. What, you may ask? Rebellion and revenge or respect and reconciliation? The people of Ireland are currently commemorating the 100th year since the 1916 Easter Rising. That event was the cornerstone of the foundation of the Irish Republic.

It is just and right that one commemorates momentous historic events. It is just and right that a nation dwells on the achievements of the past. It is just and right that the present generation is reminded of the past. However, when rebellion and revenge seem to be an ever-present undercurrent then I begin to question the path forward.

Many may suggest I should mind my own business but I’ve seen a bitter harking back to the ills of the past. There’s an element of resentment. There is an element of hardening to any suggestion that past lessons should point in the direction of a harmonious togetherness and reconciliation.

Respect for others means tolerance. It also means leaving behind old animosities and seeking new ways of overcoming differences.

The Irish flag flies proudly over the Children of Lir in the Garden of Remembrance, Dublin, Ireland

This is a photo of the statue of the Children of Lir in the Garden of Remembrance. Do click here to read more.

So… I’ll leave you with reflections of another kind. Water and glass offer so many opportunities to capture special images.

For those who question my credentials for posting comment about Irish history and reference to their dislike for the Brits, I have a simple answer. I’m South African. My grandparents and their families were heavily impacted by the actions of the Brits during the Second Boer War.

The concepts of concentration camps and scorched earth were born in that war. My ancestors suffered the dire consequences of the war and the camps. If we, as a nation, kept dwelling on those evils we would now be a very bitter and twisted race. Respect and reconciliation is what’s most needed in my country of birth and here in Ireland!

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April A to Z – Quintessentially Quirky!

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking. Can’t he come up with something better? I mean… quintessentially quirky. That’s a bit quaint, isn’t’ it? Questionable maybe? Signs of losing the plot? No… I once wrote that I haven’t lost the plot… rather, the plot lost me!

Oh well, you win some… you lose many others but whatever you do… don’t lose the plot. You see… I live in a country where the British Royalty are very far from the centre of attraction. Here, there’s no Queenstown or Queens Park or Royal Albert… oh, sorry… that doesn’t begin with a “Q”.

However, what you do find are quirky signs. I’m always looking out for something queer or quaint. Whether you think I’ve lost the plot or not… whatever you do… beware of the bull!

Read the sign!! Don't let the bull get you down!!!

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April A to Z – Pernickety Party Pooper!

Yes… that’s right. Pernickity party pooper! That’s me… no, that’s my good lady. I’m the pernickity one… she’s the party pooper one! Mind you… according to the good lady I’m pernickity, not according to me. Then, on the flip side, her good self is the pooper, yes… according to her good self and the rest of us!

Have I you totally confused? Have I you scratching your head and wondering if I have lost the plot… completely? OK… I apologise.

Let me get back to the plot. I’ll begin with the middle word as it’s the one that links us. Party. When this challenge began I set off with A for Anniversary. Why? Because this year the good lady and I celebrate one of those milestone events.

Today just so happens to be the day when the two of us celebrate that milestone. Imagine… the pernickity one and the pooper sticking it out together for so many years!! No small feat, thanks mainly to her good self! So… as I occasionally do…

THANK YOU, I really couldn’t have done it without you! May we have many more to celebrate!!

PS – A wee gallery of past parties… yes, if it’s at home I can get away with having the odd braai or something resembling a party!

PPS – If you need a definition for pernickity then please click here to visit the urban dictionary… I rest my case.

PPPS – Not many photos of us together… I’m afraid I’m really not photogenic!

PPPPS – I’ve thrown a few photos in from the odd wedding or work do… just as proof that the good lady does occasionally let me out the front door

PPPPPS – Sorry… gallery turned a bit random… I mean, what would a kiss have to do with this post?

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April A to Z – Observed, Open Opinion at OMBH!

Sorry, I couldn’t make up my mind. I’m a dithering eejit, am I. I wanted to share an opinion or two but you’ll have to be open to my observations.

Yep, here at OMBH I’ve been known to vent and spew ever so often. Before I go any further… I’d like to point you toward the Rules of Engagement at OMBH to be found on the About page.  Next, I’ll drop in something I penned about having an opinion. You’ll find more of my quotes on the Wise Words? page…

Everyone is entitled to an opinion… but you may only express it openly once you’ve earned the right to open your mouth in the company of others.

OK… enough said about my opinionated observations. Here are a few notes I made in the last week or so.

I spotted my first sighting of swallows/ martins on the 12th of the month… whooppee… that’s supposed to confirm spring has eventually arrived. However, at that point in time I was still waiting to spot my first butterfly of the season. That seems to suggest spring has yet to arrive. Therefore, the migratory birds must’ve departed early and been pushed north by tailwind jet streams.

So, what have you learned thus far today, if you’ve bothered to read further than the first paragraph? That I’m opinionated? Yes. That I claim to be observant? Yes. That I want you to be open-minded? Yes. That the bees, birds and butterflies confuse me? Maybe.

OK, here’s a summation of things. As the arrival of spring is very tardy, again, I postulate that global warming is merely a myth. All this carry-on about the strange weather has nothing to do with warming… but, and here’s the big BUT… it has all to do with natural cycles and especially that little fella that brews off the South American west coast.

Blame it all on El Nino… even the lack of money in my bank account. It is all the fault of that little fella! Only MHO… and I’m sticking to it!

PS – As we’re still waiting for butterflies I had to share a few of last year’s sightings

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For this week’s challenge Michelle features a hummingbird as her focal point. A hummingbird having it’s dinner. In the last few weeks I’ve been trying to get photos of the birds around our house. I put out feed and set the camera up… using the remote shutter release. I’ve had hours of fun… and, fortunately I’m using a DSLR.

Could you imagine how much film I would have had to throw away if I’d tried these stunts with film. Now… all I need do is upload and then wade through photos… sometimes hundreds, to find a few good ones. Some serious first world problem, I know. OK… here’s just a few of my dinnertime visitors. Yes, I’ve used one or two of the photos before but why not?

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April A to Z – Night Photography

I’m a rank amateur, self-taught photographer. It’s taken me years to build up a bit of knowledge and kit. I read as much as I can but one day you find a bit of new information and then weeks later when you need that knowledge it’s gone. That is one of my best traits.

So… night photography is a skill or rather, a set of skills, that I’ve taken time to try and acquire. Aperture, shutter speed… ISO, I have learned to use my camera as best I can. Not too long ago I added a 35mm 1.8f lens to my collection. Oh boy… how very useful for night photography! It even allows me to use the camera in auto because it allows so much light in.

A plane flashes through Orion...

But… I’m constantly learning… and then forgetting something that takes me forever to remember when I’m out on a cold, clear night. You’ve got to remember, night photography is often best in winter… mmmmm, you’ve also got to remember, in Ireland we don’t have that many clear days or nights so, when you’re after Orion you must grab every opportunity available!

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April A to Z – Memories!

The fun just goes on. Today is the halfway point of the A to Z and boy, am I meeting many new folk and having fun! The whole experience has been a bot of a memory roller-coaster! Taking me back to places and past activities I most likely wouldn’t have been reminded of if it weren’t for reading some of the others’ A to Z’s.

I was going to do M for Music until I visited Susan’s G for Giraffe post. The memories that visit sparked had me retrieving one of my prized possessions! An ancient photo album containing a few pics I managed to “steal” while on Land Survival in 1985. I say steal because we weren’t allowed cameras… or smokes/ tobacco. I managed to smuggle both through but that’s a story for another day.

OK… back to Susan’s giraffe post. Here’s the comment I left. Also, some of the photos from that old album, which are copies so please excuse the quality. Remember, they were taken in 1985 with a very small compact instamatic!

Back to giraffes. Many years ago, I was part of a group doing a land survival course in the Klaserie Game Reserve. We lived in the open… no weapons apart from knives. One flare between the group to signal at night, if required. We found the giraffes to be inquisitive… they’d follow you at a distance as you walk through the bush. One morning, we woke… to look straight up at a large fella who was stooping down to see where all the noise was coming from! Me, apparently snoring… 
(To briefly explain… we would make small boma’s for ourselves (groups less than 4) before the sunset, either crawl in beneath the low branches of a thorn thicket or chop branches to encircle ourselves. In larger groups we would split the sleeping duties and the standing guard duties! FUN!!)

Good morning sunshine!! Early morning greetings from our friendly neighbourhood giraffe!!

Yes… that’s what we woke to… this fella gazing down at us! I hope you enjoy the gallery… the memories are special!

Here’s the official group photo taken at the end of the three-week experience… if you should recognise any of the others please let me know!

Early May 1985... the group at the completion of Land Survival Course... that rough look was well earned!

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