The Adventures of Henry J. Ruffington – Oman 2015

Well, it has been far too long since I updated this, and far too many exciting things have happened to not share with you. So, for a Friday afternoon we take a little step back in time to March of this year and an 8-day roadtrip around our lovely country of Oman. Since we had a leaving date set (end of May) for moving back to the UK, we thought it was high time we headed further south and made our way down to Salalah and the Dhofar mountains. Our plan was to start in Muscat, head down the highway past Nizwa and Adam, before turning off the road and heading into the Empty Quarter the way we’d come out of it on our February trip. Niall and I headed out of town on the Thursday night straight from work, stopping off at the big Lulu in Nizwa to stock up on food for the next week or so. It was pretty windy and dusty south of Nizwa as there seemed to be a lot of building works etc. being done near the roads. We turned off along a little track and sheltered behind the perimeter wall of an un-developed plot of land just off the road. Tent popped, samosas and onion bhajis from Lulu, a cup of tea in hand and we were all set for night one.

In the morning we hit the road for the last hour or so of driving down to where we had arranged to meet up with Gab and Liz in their car. Not driving an old car, they can cover the distance on the main roads a hell of a lot quicker than we can! First things first, stock up on water and fuel before heading into the desert. We’d established that we’d have plenty of diesel for the distance that we were planning to cover, with our main tank, sub tank and additional tank. However, Sheba the Jeep wouldn’t have enough range on her one tank of petrol, so needed an extra couple of jerry cans, just in case. Our 50L water tank was filled, plus several 5L water bottles stashed away in the back of the car just in case. Off we went!

Hiding from the heat for a lunchtime break in the desert

Hiding from the heat for a lunchtime break in the desert

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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

Whole30 round 2 – week 4 and beyond

Just came across this article saved on my computer and realised that I’d never posted it!! I got sidetracked with writing about Atlantic Endeavour stuff and my Muscat marathon jaunt.

Day 22:

  • Breakfast – Tinned sardines, raw carrot, mushroom, pepper and cucumber.
  • Lunch – Raw carrot, mushrooms, sugarsnap peas, pepper, cucumber and tomatoes.
  • Dinner – Hotel buffet dinner – lots of salads, coconut curry lamb & baked potato wedges
  • Snacks – Fruit and nuts, fresh pineapple, a banana and an apple.
  • Drinks – Lots of water, green tea.

    Whole30 round 2 - Day 22

    Whole30 round 2 – Day 22

Day 23:

  • Breakfast – Banana, 2 hard-boiled eggs, beef bacon, baked potato wedges, cucumber, tomato, pineapple & melon.
  • Lunch – Tuna salad with icebery lettuce, coriander and a hard-boiled egg.
  • Dinner – 2 BBQ’d beef burgers, chicken kebab and lots of salad. Puf of apple, apricot, dried coconut, maca powder, pistachios & cacao nibs.
  • Snacks – Banana, fruit and nuts.
  • Drinks – Green tea and lots of water.

    Whole30 round 2 - day 23

    Whole30 round 2 – Day 23

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