A walk in the snow.

Contrary to the image that most people have of Scotland, where I live we rarely seem to get much snow and if we do it just doesn’t last. Fortunately, as skiers, we only live an hour’s drive from the Cairngorms where there’s a good chance of there being snow at this time of year. Having enjoyed our ski holiday in Austria a couple of weeks ago we have been waiting for the chance to do a little more skiing a bit closer to home. Sadly, although the Cairngorms has been getting some good falls of snow it’s been very windy with low cloud so not the most pleasant of skiing conditions. However, we had it in mind to take a trip up Aviemore way so packed our walking gear instead and ‘headed towards the hills’!

Love the light feature inside the Druie Cafe.

Love the light feature inside the Druie Cafe.

After our drive a coffee and scone was a priority and we stopped in the cafe at the Rothiemurchus Centre.  We both declared the cheese scones were the best we’ve ever had- well besides mine, of course!

The centre is situated in the old Rothiemurchus School and besides the cafe there is a nice shop area which sells a selection of gifts, stationery and food items. Being part of the Rothiemurchus estate you can buy local venison, highland cow and salmon products. Definitely, worth a browse and a refreshment stop.

Over coffee we had decided to walk around Loch Morlich which was just a wee bit further along the road.

The day stayed dry and wind free, but looking towards the ski area we didn’t regret not taking our skis as it seemed to shrouded in low cloud most of the day.

A frozen Loch Morlich with cloudy Cairngorms behind.

A frozen Loch Morlich with cloudy Cairngorms behind.

We came across a number of snowmen around the loch, but this is definitely the most macabre I've ever seen!

We came across a number of snowmen around the loch, but this is definitely the most macabre I’ve ever seen!

The trees looked beautiful covered in snow.

The trees looked beautiful covered in snow.

Half way round we came to the cafe at Glenmore. This had always been a favourite stop after a day’s skiing some 30+ years ago. Apple Strudel was a firm favourite of ours in those days. Was it still on the menu?

Would there be apple strudel?

Would there be apple strudel?

Inside, the cafe looked pretty much the same but the little food shop that had been attached to it is now a small shop area selling outdoor related goods and postcards and books. An extension has been added to this part to make a pub. They advertise live music at the weekends and it sounded more on the folk, traditional type which is often sadly lacking these days. Hopefully, it’s a success.

So did we get apple strudel? We were very sensible and had lentil soup and a roll and then my husband had apple strudel!

You'll be having apple strudel with that cream, Sir?!

You’ll be having apple strudel with that cream, Sir?! 

Sadly, no yummy vanilla sauce, like in Austria, but my husband was more than happy with his double  portion of squirty cream instead!

After all that indulgence a brisk walk back to the car was required. The sun had broken out and it was beautiful walking round the edge of the loch. We came across some very noisy ducks in a stream on the way.

It was lovely walking around the loch.

It was lovely walking around the loch.

imageI had taken the details of a few geocaches that had been hidden around the loch but now that there was snow everywhere it was impossible to find them . All was not lost as I could ‘bag’ an earthcache which, luckily, was back at the car park. All it entailed was taking a photograph of myself with the hills behind and answering a geology question about the last Ice Age! With a little help from ‘mr. google’ I think I cracked it!

So after a very enjoyable walk in the snow we headed home and talked enthusiastically about returning soon for another walk? Ski? Or cross country ski? Depending on the weather and our mood. Whatever the activity I have a feeling cheese scones and apple strudel might be involved again:)

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Felting.

A few years ago I took a felting workshop in Switzerland. I was in heaven – a whole week of being in the mountains with like minded people playing around with wool.
Sadly, since then I have done very little with the knowledge I gained.
Living in Saudi I only wear warm clothes for a short time in the winter so now that the days are a wee bit cooler I decided to wash some of my cardigans in readiness for cycling to school in the cooler mornings. One of my cardigans was becoming a bit holey so I thought it would be fun to have a go at felting it.

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So in my usual slap dash way I chucked it in the washing machine on the hottest setting and waited to see what happened. Success – it shrunk! Next a dry off in a hot tumble dryer and I had a felted cardigan to play with.

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I set to with scissors and cut it up into all its original pieces.
With a piece from the back I’ve made this cafetiere cosy.

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I’m really pleased with how it looks.
At the moment I’m not sure what to do with my other pieces. Ideas very welcome:)

Abayas, Gahwa and dates.

This morning was craft morning. So I got myself organised quickly, grabbed the new sock on my knitting needles and wandered across to ‘Bunnies’ to see who was there. It was busy!
One of the ladies had completed a beautiful handmade quilt and had brought it to show. It was her first ever quilt and it was certainly a quilt to be proud of. It made me determined to get one of my long term quilt projects out of the cupboard soon and restart the process as I really love this craft.

20130408-231500.jpgGahwa pots and old Gahwa cup.

We were all having a chat and catching up with people who had just come back off holiday when Kate mentioned that an American woman who is married to a local Saudi was coming to join us. She did not come alone but brought some Gahwa (Arabic coffee) and dates to share:) so lovely. I think she finds it a bit lonely at times and although she loves her husband dearly, craves some ordinary chat with other English speaking women. She is pregnant with their first child so will be travelling back to U.S for the birth next month. I certainly didn’t expect that as I would have thought that she would have been obliged to have the baby here.
She also brought 4 abayas with decoration to sell. I got the idea that some of the others had been expressing difficulty in getting ‘nice’ abayas. She certainly came through for 2 of the women as they quickly ‘snapped up’ a couple of the abayas for 300 SR each. I heard a while back that many Saudi women were getting hassle for wearing abayas with adornment on them by the matouaya (religious police) down in Riyadh, so it will be interesting if any of the ladies have any problems here.
All in all, although I came home again without knitting a stitch, I had a very enjoyable couple of hours and a very interesting time meeting another ‘western’ woman who lives in Tabuk under very different circumstances to us other ex-pats.