Our Diplomatic Hospitality group is off to the Smithvale Stables this coming Friday where we have the choice between taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride, skating on the pond, cross-country skiing or snow shoeing around the grounds. There'll be marshmallows to roast on an open fire outside and at the end of the morning we'll find warm refreshments indoors, in the "banquet hall." Musicians––the Lyon Street Celtic Band––will liven up the proceedings and might persuade us to do some dancing.
I was at a lengthy meeting this morning making plans for this and other outings. I came home in the car of a Canadian friend who is a diplomat's wife herself and appreciates the need for distraction and good company when posted abroad. She spent two years in North Africa once, unable to go out to work and feeling lonely and bored, she told me, quite a typical experience in the diplomatic missions. So the service we offer to diplomat families in Ottawa is worthwhile.
It's good fun for the organisers, too. The following week we're invited to the residence of the Japanese Ambassador near Rockcliffe Park, which is another good location for snowshoeing, and at the end of the month we'll be going curling at the RA Centre.