Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter)

Half way through February, Niall’s mum arrived for a holiday in Oman, and as she’s been here a few times before, we thought we’d do something a bit different this time and do a mini roadtrip away from Muscat to visit some places that none of us had been before. I took a couple of days off work and we made it into a 5-day trip over a long weekend. As it was Chris’s birthday whilst we were away, I made a birthday cake the night before, which was somewhat complicated by the fact that our gas bottle ran out just after I’d put the cake in the oven……. I did wonder why it wasn’t cooking after it had been in there for 5 minutes already!

Lemon Drizzle birthday cake

Lemon Drizzle birthday cake

Anyhow, it turned out OK in the end, and I made some more homemade marshmallows to roast over the campfire to go with it. If in doubt, make marshmallows, and pour more lemon drizzle onto said cake.

Homemade Raspberry ripple marshmallows!!

Homemade Raspberry ripple marshmallows!!

So we loaded up the car, plugged in the solar panel, filled up all the tanks (and the fridge!), packed the tools (always an essential when you’re driving a 30-year old Land Rover!) and headed off. Continue reading

Sandstock 2015

Well, hasn’t it been a jolly old long time since I last visited the blog to update it! That gives you some idea as to how hectic the past couple of months have been for me. After the Muscat Marathon at the end of January, I took a couple of weeks off from serious training to give myself a bit of a rest. Aside from a few light days of training after the Desert Marathon in November, and a few days off sick over Christmas, I hadn’t really had a break from training since I arrived back in Muscat in August last year. Happily this break in running (and therefore free weekends!) coincided with a few fun things, the first of which was the Sandstock music festival.

Due to certain laws and rules in Oman, it’s now illegal for a group of more than three (I think) people to play in public – i.e. you can’t have bands playing unless it’s at one of the big hotel concert venues….. so no live music at the hotel bars anymore etc. There have been a few house parties where the various Muscat bands have played, but I’ve managed to miss all of them. So, once a year, the bands all join together to host an informal music festival in Oman for an afternoon and evening of live music. There have been previous incarnations of Sandstock, most recently being Jebelstock (jebel is Arabic for mountain) up Jebel Akhdar a few years ago. This year Sandstock was to be in the Wahiba Sands, very, very close to where I’d been running in November for the Desert Marathon. I went with my housemate as Niall was away, and met up with a group of her friends to set up camp and enjoy the music. We made ourselves salad, nibbles and dips* for a snacky dinner, packed our coolboxes full of ice and drinks, donned our best festival attire then met up with various other cars that were also making the trip down to the desert. Continue reading