|Posted by Brett on August 2, 2012 at 10:15 PM||comments (1)|
Packages picked up from multiple locations, forwarded and received at Bishopton sorting facility.
Minor packaging blemishes noted and repaired.
Chinese refueling accomplished.
Auxillary fuel tanks prepared and reloaded.
Non-essential Irn Bru fuel canisters jettisoned.
Local Irn Bru reloading station was exhausted of available stock.
Packages removed from temporary overnight storage depot.
Packages delivered to and accepted at Icelandic Air handling facility.
Packages were scanned and processed through security (some packages required additional levels of scanning).
Packages awaiting intermediate forwarding to secondary shipping facility.
Intermediate shipping code is FI431, ETD 14:05.
Final Destination shipping code is FI645 ETA 19:00 EST.
Prompt package pickup is required.
Additional handling fees will start incurring at Customs + 5. Excess storage fees will be imposed at 5 minute intervals with no maximum. All methods of payment accepted.
Inga , Swedish Product Handling Agent.
|Posted by Brett on July 29, 2012 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
When the scouts left camp on Friday the adults took off to do some touring. John and Ray (along with their wives, who were touring in Ireland before camp and met up at Blair just before the Jamborette ended) headed East to Balmoral Castle to see the Queen's royal Scottish palace. After visiting Balmoral, the 4 headed to Inverness.
Brett, Jim and Linda took off and quickly stopped for a Venison Burger at the House of Bruar, then onto Eilean Donan Castle, near the Isle of Skye, then landed in Newtonmore for dinner and 2 nights at the Glen Hotel (actually a Bed and Breakfast).
We all meet up in Inverness on Saturday for a day trip up to the Orkney Islands, a rugged, rocky but beautiful place off the Northern Scottish mainland. We traveled up the East coast of Scotland to John O'Groats and took the Pentland Ferry over to the islands. While there we visited the capital city Kirkwall, saw Skara Brae (the Paleolithic excavation), the Ring of Brodgar (standing stones similar to Stonehenge, but older), the Italian Chapel (built by Italian POWs during WWII), and the Churchill Submarine Barriers.
A long but fruitful day. I should mention we all had Orkney Ice cream, - yum, however a Milkshake is just powder added to milk and stirred up in a machine...no Ice Cream!
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 27, 2012 at 4:35 PM||comments (7)|
Greetings from Inverness.
This morning the scouts all left camp for their home-stay destinations. It was a bittersweet experience. Sad to see the camp end, happy to go on to new things(home-stays), and sad to say goodbye to new friends. There were a few tears shed as the scouts hugged and departed for the 4 corners of Scotland. We will re-gather outside Glasgow at a scout hut in Bishopton next Wednesday evening.
The scouts were busy in the morning hours doing the final breakdown of their campsites. By 10AM all the patrol tents were down and all that remained were dead spots on the grass where the tents once stood. In 2-3 weeks time you will never know we were there. The staff took down all the large tents and did their part to shut things down.
By 12 Noon all of our scouts had departed for their home-stays in tow with their hosts. I'm assuming wash, showers, fluffy beds and a non-camp meal were on top of the list of things to come. Hopefully they will offer to do the dishes as we asked.
When the scouts departed the adults struck off on their touring expeditions. We will meet together tomorrow morning to do a day trip from Inverness to the Orkney Islands. On Sunday, we will go our separate ways to explore this beautiful country. All the scouts have our phone numbers for any emergency contacts and have the numbers and locations of everyone in the contingent. I do not expect any problems as the Scottish Scouts have this process down to a science. Most of the guys will travel by train back to Bishopton, 3 are staying near Glasgow and will return by car.
I will upload the last days pictures and match the Kilted rumps very soon and comment as things progress.
As always, this was a great camp and I am also sad to see it end. The closing campfire is always hard to attend and see it close out this event. Oh well, as the Scots say, see you in 2 years - "Haste ye Back!"
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 27, 2012 at 3:55 PM||comments (0)|
Thursday July 26, 2012
Blair – Last Full day of camp
Partly Cloudy - sunny late in the day
Well, we’ve finally arrived at the last day of camp. It’s both a day of happiness and sadness. Happiness that this part of the adventure is drawing to a close and also sadness that this part of the adventure is drawing to a close. But, home-stay and touring are yet to come.
Today was a busy fun filled day. The Atholantics took up the late morning activities. They are a crazy, fun games competition between the sub-camps. Each sub-camp competes for points urged on by their Uncles and Cousins. By this time the members of the sub-camps have bonded into a cohesive group and the competitions are fun to see. I will not have time or internet access to upload today’s pictures, so I will do that when we arrive at the first B&B on our touring.
After the games, the serious camp dismantling began. The patrol sites were taken down, the pioneering timbers were unlashed, and the timber was stored for the next camp in 2 years. The tents were the only thing left standing and they will be struck tomorrow morning. By the time the scouts leave around noon tomorrow the only signs that we were here will be dead grass circles and squares. If you returned to Blair in 2-3 weeks, they will have disappeared and all traces of our encampment are gone. At that point the sheep rule.
I should mention that yesterday’s “name that wound” session required getting the doctor from half-way up the climbing wall to be air-lifted to surgery. She arrived in the nick of time, dressed the wound, and still had time to return to the wall to finish the climb. The adults were impressed.
The home-stays are set and the list is below with their hosts name and home-town so you can Google Map the location for reference (plane fare from Sweden was provided courtesy of the Scottish Scout Association):
William – Ewan of Montrose, Angus
Luke – Ryan of Edinburgh
Iann – Keir of Scottish Borders, Eyemouth
Stephen – Rory of Aborath, Angus
Joe – Richard of Glasgow
Noah – Cameron of Cambuslang, Glasgow
Jordan – Sean of Milton of Campsie, Glasgow UPDATED from EMAIL
Chase – Victoria of Milton of Campsie, Glasgow
Chris – Ruairidh of Tain, Rossshire
Cameron – Ruairidh of Tain, Rossshire
Wyatt – Sean of Milton of Campsie, Glasgow
We have told the scouts to be on best behavior and offer to do the dishes.
The closing campfire was very moving, all the scouts gathered on the hillside, singing one final time together, and remembering the last 2 weeks. It was both happy and sad.
A few closing comments for this blog-
It seems so long ago that we first met at the Knights of Columbus in June, 2009 to start the planning for this trip. Many months and fundraisers later it’s actually happened and is almost over. Wow, time flies. Brett, and a number of the scouts, have even started talking about the return trip in 2014.
I think you will find that the scouts you sent with us are not the same ones you will get back. We have seen a lot of changes in them. The adventures in Norway, the travels between 5 countries, blending into the sub-camps filled with Scouts from around the world, working with their Scottish Patrol, learning new customs, and generally mixing with international youth they have never met before has left an indelible mark on them. We have marveled at their growing maturity and acceptance of all things new. They have made new friends and will probably use Facebook and other means of communication to keep up. The scouts from previous trips have done this. Hopefully this trip has opened a new world to them and it will stimulate them to greater things. When they get back to school in the Fall and the conversations focus on “what did you do this summer”, the Ocean City and Myrtle Beach answers will be totally trumped by our guys. They will have many stories to tell you when they arrive home. Please press them for details – you know how teenagers are – “yeah, it was OK”.
Secondly, I want to thank all of you for entrusting your scouts to our care on this trip. I realize that many of you may have had initial trepidations about sending them across the Atlantic with us, but I think we met our original promise to you so many months ago – that we would make sure they are safe and had a good time. At least, from what we see, all of our scouts think so too.
Finally, I especially want to thank TJ, Linda, Brett, Jim, and John for helping me with this adventure. Without them I could not have done it. Their assistance in “herding cats” was invaluable. Thanks a million guys and gals !
For your future planning, we would like have a Contingent Reunion sometime in the early Fall, when memories are fresh, to show all the pictures we didn’t post on the websites, reminisce, tell stories and generally bring this trip to closure. If anyone would like to volunteer their home for this, we would be most appreciative.
Also, the Kilted Behind results will be put on the photosite as soon as I get a stable web connection.
As the scouts of Blair say, “Haste ye Back”.
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 26, 2012 at 4:10 AM||comments (2)|
Wednesday July 25, 2012
Activities come to an end, weather is beautiful.
The activities came to and end today with strong rays of sunshine in the sky. What a glorious feeling we’re NOT singing in the rain.
The scouts did a variety of activities to round out the week. In the morning Cameron joined me in Kastle Currents to report the last day’s news. He kept mumbling something about Clark Kent. Chris went fishing and that was perfect for him – fish do not talk, so even if he did say “hi mom” no one would know. He was surprised though when the stealth photographer caught him having fun. Sorry Chris, gotcha.
Wyatt went climbing and was caught making it all the way to the top of Big Candy Mountain.
Jordan and Noah went mountain biking (their experience in Norway was good training).
Chase went to iBuild and made his own iPod speaker system. Hey mom and dad – he actually did not buy anything today but I think there is a new side business in the works. I guess his new approach is not to buy any more junk to take home but to make it. His next purchase will be a large shipping container. Dad, park your car in the street as the garage will be full.
Luke, William and Joe went gorge walking. You have never seen anything like those 3 in a wetsuit, not only did it keep the midges away but even the fish left town.
Iann went to Blair Roots and started concocting herbal mixtures. By the end of the session he was heard chanting something about Expelliamus and saying he wanted to apply to be Pomona Sprout’s understudy.
Stephen went geo-caching. He was heard to yell something like “I found a castle, I found a castle”. Duh…….
Cameron, Chris, Jordan, and Noah went to Pitlochry in the afternoon and continued the great tradition for ice cream eating in every town they visit. They appear to be giving Chase a run for his purchasing crown.
Wyatt in the afternoon went gorge walking – he looked much better in a wet suit.
Luke and Iann did Thumbs, tums and highs. We’re not sure what it is but the title says it all.
William and Stephen went to Blair Actor. One is a budding thespian the other a budding waiter. I leave it to you to judge.
Joe finished out the week by visiting the Castle and tried to sign up to be a member of the Blair Athollers but was rejected because he did not have the requisite accent. Somehow the Scots don’t appreciate “Bawlmerese”, hon.
The day’s evening meal was a Burns Supper, complete with haggis, taties, and neeps. We knew what it was, but the kids explanations will be a hoot to hear. It contains what ? Jordan did not have any, go figure. I guess it wasn’t pickled herring.
The evening wound down with a Keilidh in the Kastle. Our Pretty Purple Person had her dance card filled in advance. George, sorry, it’s Fergus all over again.
William and Noah gave Sharkey, the Camp Chief, a gift from our contingent. He expressed his happiness with our scouts and how they had blended into the camp and were well behaved and active participants. I guess that means there is no reason to leave them here – so we’ll be bringing them all home, shucks.
Noah’s patrol won the sub-camp clean site award for the 4th time – way to go Victoria!!
All home stays have been set up. We will provide specific info tomorrow.
It has been a fantastic camp. We are all sad to see it end. ALL have had a fantastic time. Tomorrow is the last full day of camp, involving Athollantics- a wild set of games that pits sub-camp against sub-camp to earn points for the Uncles honor. After the games the dismantling of camp starts in earnest.
We will send one last blog from camp tomorrow, including home stay info. When the scouts are on home stay the adults are going touring. We will send periodic updates as we get them.
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 25, 2012 at 4:50 AM||comments (2)|
Tuesday July 24, 2012
Sun and dryness has returned to Blair Atholl – oh Happy Day!
Nothing else to report…………….other short sleeves re-appeared.
3 of our scouts went to Fencing – Chase, Wyatt and Jordan. Another hack and slash session commenced.
Noah finally got the mud out of his hair, ears and other places and did team sports. He had a distinct advantage, much like the monkeys in the zoo, however he was hurling mud globs.
Willliam and Stephen did Walk on the Wild Side. They got to see local plants and animal life. The animals seemed to walk away from them, maybe it was residual Atholl Experience aroma.
ALERT – we interrupt this broadcast, woop woop, to announce that we have a new Radio Blair talent. Star of radio waves near and far our own Chris the Motor Mouth was a feature personality on Radio Blair. He was an integral part of the record industry.
Several of the others did team sports but we could not tell them apart from the other Wallace wannabes.
Luke, William and Joe showed their Martial arts skills by completely breaking apart a wet noodle with one blow.
We have a sad announcement, Noah’s patrol came second today.
Stephen won the Scout Shop Bag Full of More excess baggage contest. Contents included a lifetime supply of Irn Bru, delicious tasting Haggis chips, completely sanitized sheep meadow muffins, a large supply of TP (for the sheep not him), and a box of Mr. Ray’s favorite shortbread cookies (he’s plotting a midnight raid with the help of Corporal Klinger).
The patrol leaders luncheon was held in the Staff Club to give the PL’s a thank you for all their hard work.
The last of the home stays are in the works – specific details will come to us on Thursday evening.
Tomorrow is the last day of activities with a Burns Supper in the evening followed by a Keilidh (dance) in the Castle. Can’t wait to hear the haggis descriptions.
Pictures are slow uploading as the internet at camp continues to be flaky. Will upload as I can.
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 23, 2012 at 2:00 PM||comments (2)|
July 23, 2012
Monday – Activities and rain return
Hello from a rainy field somewhere in Scotland. “We’re singing in the rain …….”
Woke this AM to the liquid sunshine of the day. We have flag raising and lowering today so Willliam and Luke raised the flags in the AM – William the US flag and Luke the Russian flag since the Russian Scouts didn’t show. How’s that for Glasnost. Noah and Jordan will do this evening’s lowering.
In spite of the rain everyone was busy and had a great time. In the AM Cameron did Ready Steady Cook, Wyatt did Country Crafts, Jordan and Chase went to Pitlochry to spend more money, Chris and Noah did archery. The brave group of Luke, William, Iann and Stephen got muddy in the Atholl Experience. Oh the mud! Joe visited me in the newspaper to show off his vocabulary and writing skills.
In the PM Noah braved the mud by himself. It was probably worse because the rain kept falling. Wyatt did all terrain boarding (in preparation for his drivers license test). Jordan and Iann visited the Castle, Chris and William and Stephen did circus skills (probably getting ready for a career choice – all they need is the red nose). Luke did individual sports. The rest were full of Irn Bru so we didn’t believe anything they said.
Tonight an inter sub-camp competition called Sub-Camp Showdown at the Castle.
Wireless connectivity tonight is spotty to non existent. Pictures will probably be uploaded tomorrow. We’re going to sent Brett up a tree to see if the reception is better there. Meanwhile the rest of us are going to find a comfortable, dry spot and watch.
We are being called the “parentals” by a number of the scouts. Sounds like a Swedish curse. We understand the defense against the dark arts instructor with us can combat that with Swedish Meatballs. We will identify the guilty parties and make sure they are returned to the appropriate parents. Your credit card has been declined. There’s still hope for the rest.
Home stays are coming along fine, almost everyone has an invite.
Congratulations to Noah’s patrol! Once again they have won the Camp Chief’s Pennant for clean campsite. Way to go Guys! No more dirty rooms at home.
All for tonight, we’re going to run between the raindrops to our Spartan accommodations. Brett needs to check his ice cube tray. The salty and sweet supply has run dry so we’re sending Linda out with a backpack.
Wait - FLASH -------- amazing, as I write this at 6:56 PM the sun, yes the sun has reappeared in the Scottish skies! Please, don't tease, stay a while.
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 23, 2012 at 4:45 AM||comments (2)|
Place your Votes upon our Behinds!
|Posted by Brett on July 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM||comments (3)|
7-22-12 Sunday in Blair
Cloudy, windy and cool
Today is a laid back day so the blog will be short and sweet.
Late rise today. Church service this AM was on the hill next to the Castle. The whole camp marched to the castle behind a full Scottish pipe band. Very stirring and emotional for those of us who have been here before. There’s nothing like bagpipe music. After a very international themed service the whole camp marched back to the camp. Today’s tourists at the castle got an unexpected treat.
After lunch it was international games, our hill-billy golf was a success.
Dinner is a BBQ in the subcamps, and the adults will cook for the scouts. The night’s program in “our”castle is Heroes and Villains, all sorts of costumes are expected.
We will have a new contest tomorrow on the photo site - Name that Kilted Behind. Most of the group have kilts, so, we want to see if you can “find your behind”.
Sun is finally peeking out now so the chill should start fading. I will say that this is the coldest Jamborette I have been to – better cool than rain however.
First week has been fantastic, all are having a fabulous time and looking forward to next week. The down side is that it will be over sooner that we realize.
New homestays: Luke – Edinburgh, Stephen- Aborath, William – Montrose.
We will post a detailed listing next Thursday when we get the travel details from the Scottish homestay coordinators.
Hope you are enjoying the blogs and photos. Comments on our website have been sparse – we feel as if no one loves us.
Till tomorrow when activities start again.
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 21, 2012 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
Saturday July 21, 2012
Blair Atholl Country Fair Day
Sunny, cloudy, breezy, cloudy, sunny, a wee spritz, sunny - normal Scottish weather.
We have 3 homestays arranged, Joe, Noah, and Wyatt are going to the Glasgow area. Luke is going somewhere but won’t tell us, probably Sweden or Russia, mom said the further the better.
Today was a laid back day for everyone, late rise and breakfast. Jim decided to maximize the process and missed breakfast, we were able to have seconds.
The Satellite camp scouts came over and visited the camp with special projects to so they had wee small taste of Blair. The rest of the day was spent getting ready for the Country Fair, which opened at 2PM. Each scout got a starter set of Atholl Bucks, “paper money” they could spend at the fair booths. As we sold the funnel cakes we replenished the supply of bucks and sent the scouts out to spend more. Chase got the bucks and continued his streak of spending, but this time mom and dad can relax. Well, almost, he did get a tartan scarf so the streak continues. Mom and dad – get another card! Jordan followed true scout training to stay hydrated properly as he carried his 2 liter bottle of Coke with him throughout the fair. Chris had a monumental day, he has extended the word of the day to multiple cohesive words that actually form a sentence. Today’s conversation focused on his break time at the fair, which he managed to have end 5 minutes before the fair closed. He must be taking lessons from Dilbert. Noah’s dislike of mac and cheese got him a dinner invite from the parents of his home stay partner. We all await the report on how the haggis tasted.
Our funnel cake booth was a rousing success as usual. Lines extended into the distance. See photos. There were many more booths than in the past. The crowd was also larger. It seems that the word has spread far and wide. A number of visitors came up and said they remembered us from the last camp. The variety of food, crafts, songs and dances from all the contingents totally showed the international aspect of this camp.
Bulletin – it’s dinner time and Jim skipped another meal. More beans for the rest of us. Brett’s ice cube trays are still working fine, he has found a local current bush to plug them in to.
Jim has found a new source for salty foods as Linda is severely neglecting him. The Irish contingent took pity on his deficiency and gave him 72 bags of “Tayto” cheese and onion crisps.
International campfire tonight will end a busy but fulfilling day.
Tomorrow is a church service at the castle, an afternoon of international games, ended by a feast at the sub-camps. The adults will go into the sub-camps and cook for the scouts. The menu is a BBQ fit for a king – steak, sausage, ham, chicken, hamburgers and other assorted meats. There’s also salad, fruit, desserts, etc. etc. etc. It allows the scouts a meal off from cooking and a chance for the adults to come in and show them how to really burn things on a charcoal grill.
Till tomorrow ……
Ray and the Adults.
Additional Video link:
|Posted by Brett on July 20, 2012 at 2:50 PM||comments (0)|
Friday July 20, 2012
Blair and real sunshine
The activities go forward.
The morning started off with a brilliant, but unidentified yellow orb in the sky. Everyone was abuzz trying to guess what it was until one Scout from Iceland yelled “it’s the sun”. An amazing Kodak moment. It actually felt warm standing still gazing in the direction of the gift from the Gods.
Jim was busy in iBuild with Noah and Chris. They made iPod–like speakers to annoy their parents with when they get home. We told them that if they plugged it into a current bush it would work without batteries. They immediately scurried off to find the bushes. Kinda reminds me of the Left Handed Smokeshifter or the hunt for blue pigeon milk. Luke, and Cameron were busily involved in team sports. Jordan, William, and Wyatt did individual sports. Watching Luke play volleyball was an interesting experience – thank goodness he wasn’t doing the beach volleyball thing in a thong. Joe returned from his overnight expedition with no icicles hanging off his face (though some of the girls admitted it might make him look more mature). After he thawed some more, he went to Celtic Connections and increased his etched bar glass collection by one. Mom, he was very good and picked the smaller glass, it only holds a liter.
Stephen and Chase went on the Castle tour and they kept looking for the dungeon for some reason, kept muttering something about practice for his sister. Chase found Scottish Ice Cream in the Castle gift shop. His quest to find a gift shop at every location and buy something continues unbroken. $$$.
Mom – reload the card!
Iann did BART, the Blair Atholl Rescue Team. Suggestion to all, if lost on a mountain, pray the St. Bernard reaches you first.
Tonight there is a musical extravaganza called “Blair Fest”, with a variety of performing artists- Mikayla, eat your heart out.
The adults had a varied day as well, John continues to catch fish, Ray still pumps out the best news on the planet, Brett continues to shoot at dogs, people, and pallets. Jim’s clothing still smells of solder fumes and he made a special trip in the afternoon to erase those memories. Linda has been relegated to making bedsheets.
Tomorrow we will be invaded by the Satellite camp, a group of cubs and younger scouts. We will serve our funnel cakes in the afternoon during the country fair when the local community from far and wide will come to see the international variety of food, dances, and crafts done by the Scout contingents. The lines for funnel cakes are forming already.
By the way it’s 7:30 PM and that pesky yellow orb is back.
We’re about to get Blair Fested out. Till tomorrow.
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 20, 2012 at 7:45 AM||comments (1)|
Thursday July 19, 2012
Blair in the Sun (and cold – at least it’s not raining) The sun will come out tomorrow, tomorrow...........
Remember to check out the BBC link I sent yesterday for a great video clip.
Great day in the sunshine (for 5 minutes) – we know it was sunshine because Brett had his sunglasses on.
The temperature is rather brisk especially for those scouts who went swimming in the river.
The big news of the day is that Noah’s patrol again was the cleanest campsite and as a result won the Camp Chief’s Pennant. Way to go guys (we’re still giving credit to Victoria).
The first 2 mudders have arrived. Please see the pics of Joe and Chase and you’ll understand why we said to bring disposable clothing. Both of the said it was “great”! More to come.
Joe left this afternoon for his overnight Extreme Trek. We hope he survives and thaws out by Sunday.
Two new kilts have arrived and have yet to be named. That means 7 out of 11 now have kilts. The first day of school in September should be interesting.
Mr. Bourdon reports the fish are biting and Brett reports they are tasty. Brett also reports that the archery range is turning the 2 targets into swiss cheese.
Luke, William, and Stephen (aka the 3 Stooges) worked at the pioneering activity and proceeded to tie themselves in knots – the adults were not surprised.
We note that the Scots believe in leaving out the meat in any food item that normally contains it – ever have a cheese and tomato pannini?
The highlights of this evening were great. All the staff ate dinner with the patrols in their campsite. We were graciously served hand and foot (not that we didn’t deserve it) with a meal of pate with oat crackers, noodle soup, ham, roast beef, pork and gammon, topped with quiche, Scottish styled potatoes and poulet ala Blair. Some were served fish of the day and kabobs. Dessert was a delicious strawberries and heavy cream caloric feast. We’re not making up the menu. Each of the leaders ate with a different patrol- Ray with an English patrol, Jim went to Sweden, Brett went to Austria, Linda visited Hong Kong, John with the Norwegians.
The evening culminated with the scouts having a great Circus Carnival event in “our” Kastle.
All for tonight, the adults need to recharge.
Please remember to check the various websites for pics and information (official jamborette website, our blog site, and our photo site). FYI the daily camp newspaper (Kross Currents) is available as .pdf documents on the official jamborette website.
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 20, 2012 at 7:40 AM||comments (1)|
Please check out the BBC site at:
|Posted by Brett on July 18, 2012 at 3:05 PM||comments (3)|
Wednesday July 18, 2012
Weather: rain, rain, and more rain - We're singing in the rain......
First complete day in Blair started with a monsoon. It constantly has rained off an on (more on than off). We changed into tadpoles to adapt. This evening the rain slowed down some to a light drizzle.
In spite of the rain the guys have been very busy.
Chase, Cameron, Wyatt did Blair Actor in the AM and Extreme Sports in the PM. Blair actor is a chance for them to “act” silly (uh, is there a difference from normal?) in costume.
Noah, Chris and Jordan did Ready-Steady-Cook in the AM and International Field games in the PM (Jordan did team sports in the PM). R-S-C is a chance to demonstrate just how adaptive they can be to a cooking challenge and we are proud to announce that our guys won the competition. They maintain they still don’t know what they cooked but they names it after their station leader. The adults are sure it must have been something Swedish.
Tomorrow Jordan is doing climbing in the AM and International Field sports in the PM. Wyatt is doing a Castle tour and martial arts, Cameron is doing the visit to Pitlochry (mom- more credit card charges coming !) and Circus skills. Chris is also doing Pitlochry and circus skills, Noah is doing Piclochry and martial arts.
A word of congratulations to Noah’s patrol, today they and their Scottish partners won the Subcamp Saltaire flag pennant for the cleanest campsite. Our hearts stood still! Moms- don’t believe them when they say they can’t clean their rooms! I'm sure it has something to do with the cute female patrol leader they have. Garsh.......
William’s patrol was also very involved. Iann, William, Luke and Stephen took fencing under the tutelage of the Russian contingent leader. Her attempts to teach them the finer points of parries and lunges morphed into hacking and slashing. They were not the Three Musketeers, more like the 4 Stooges. William, Luke and Stephen did Gorge Walking which turned to be Gorge Hiking because the stream was very high. Joe did Bush Craft. Tomorrow most of them are going to Pitlochry to spend your money and eat ice cream. Joe however is doing the Extreme Explorer overnight trek. Mom, we gave him your message and this is the result.
Tonight is the crazy Zombie Disco. After this day of rain it will be hard to tell the Zombies from the scouts, but who cares, it will still be a spirited group.
Pictures of some of today’s activities are on the website.
Now that the day is done the adults are going to retire to our Spartan accommodations and recharge.
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 17, 2012 at 5:30 PM||comments (1)|
Tuesday July 17, 2012
Blair Athol Calling - Trip to Edinburgh and Opening Day
We have Internet access again so the blogs continue. It may be a bit disjointed, as the Internet access is slow and may not allow many picture uploads every night. Please check the Smugmug website for constant photo updates.
We left the hotel in Bergen at 4AM to go to the airport in an over sized mini van stuffed to the gunnels with luggage. The term Norwegian Sardines comes to mind. Our flight left at 6AM and a new customs issue appeared. We were busted for sunscreen smuggling – not one bottle but 2 LARGE bottles. You would think we were going back to the beaches of Sweden. We arrived in Copenhagen, promptly marched through customs (and got our passports stamped – Mr. Brett was happy), walked 20 feet and realized there was no food on thi9sw side of the border. So, what do all illegal aliens do – we went back across the border. We ate Danishes in Denmark (Yes, Jordan did eat a Danish, no Iann did not. After satisfying the hunger binge, we went through customs once again watched extremely closely by the border guards. We told them we were Americans and they understood.
Our next flight took us to Edinburgh. The 15 of us were almost half the passengers. Every now and then the pilot would yell, “lean right, lean left”. Talk about power!!
We landed in Edinburgh and the majority of the group were dropped off at the Royal Mile to do still more souvenir shopping. Mom and dad – we are proud to announce the birth of 4 brand new kilts. Gene and Stephanie you guessed right. The other expectant parents will just have to wait until either a picture gives it away or we return home, what ever occurs first. The rest of the group (all 4 of us) went to the scout hut, unloaded the van and went grocery shopping. We had Scottish noodles (tortellini) with pasta sauce and Swedish meatballs. The Gibraltar contingent shared the facilities with us. We had warned the kids they would be a lively bunch. They didn’t disappoint us. What we didn’t expect is that one of our own would wake everyone up at 5AM to play.
We left the hut to go to the street corner to wait for the bus, and wait for the bus, and wait for the bus. When it finally arrived we had Norwegian sardine can part II. The Gibraltar contingent “happily” volunteered to leave their luggage behind so we could leave for Blair. The driver proceeded to go to Blair via downtown Perth. Never did that before, evidently either did he. Thanks to Brett’s road map, we finally arrived at Blair.
We arrived at Blair Castle, checked the kids in with the Scottish staff and they were taken from us to their Subcamps. As William Wallace would say “FFRRRREEEEEEDDDDOOMMM”.
The adults proceeded to check into their Spartan accommodations. The staff is fed very meager rations 4 times a day.
William’s patrol is in Morrison Subcamp, and Noah’s patrol is in MacLean Subcamp.
Tonight we had a very impressive opening campfire, complete with a Scottish Pipe band for the opening ceremony.
Activities start tomorrow. We will update as the week progresses.
Right now beddie bye time.
Weather forecast for tomorrow calls for intermittent monsoons.
Ray and the Adults.
MONDAY July 16
Hello from Copenhagen
Waiting for the bus to get to the plane at Copenhagen airport. Every one had a breakfast Danish while in Denmark. Just seemed the thing to do.
Scout quote that just can't wait - "Those scouts are Swedish not Finlish". It only gets better and better.
|Posted by Brett on July 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM||comments (4)|
Sunday July 15, 2012
Weather: Partly cloudy, brief drizzle
Hello from Bergen,
Woke up in Flam, looked at the mountains and “our” waterfall, sighed deeply, and left for the ferry ride to Gundvagen via a van to catch the bus to meet the train to get to Bergen to follow Brett on an extended hike to the Hotel.
The ferry traversed the Aurlands Fjord from Flam to Gundvagen. To say the scenery was breathtaking doesn’t do it justice. The adults stood on the deck fascinated by the varied scenery, took many pictures while the scouts played cards. Oh, the lost moments that will be regretted in 30-years.
The trip on the fjord was cooler than we have experienced because of the water – hoodies and fleeces were the clothing of the day. As we travelled we saw seagulls following us (had to remind the scouts that what goes in at one end comes out the other). George - Jim and Linda discovered a new Bingo Special, bacon wrapped, cheese filled, and extra long hotdogs. By the time the trip was over they were all gone. Ray didn’t get “second breakfast”, darn scouts. Looking at the kayakers and the tents pitched along the edge on the fjord at the base of the mountains, surrounded by waterfalls, gave us new ideas hi-adventure trips. As we went along, we lost count of the waterfalls after 70 some. The snow still on the mountaintops provides plenty of water to continue until late July. The boat captain pointed out one waterfall that he said was the biggest in Norway. The ferry made a number of stops at small but picturesque villages along the water picking up a few passengers on the way.
We pulled into Gundvagen, which is about the size of Shady Side, but it did have a souvenir shop and a bus station. When the busses pulled out, the population dropped by 50%. Our bus driver was great – he spoke English and different from our last driver, actually commented on the areas we passed through and actually had a great sense of humor.
The trip had many interesting highlights: we picked up a number of people on the way and in doing so we traveled a series of switchbacks that would make Lombard St. in San Francisco look like a cakewalk. The main highlight of the trip was pointed out to us as we went through a small town were the biggest talent was the individual who produced a local delicacy that makes Haggis look tame. Lets just say two of the ingredients included sheep brains, and eyes. The driver suggested that if you didn’t want your food staring back at you, eat the eyes first. Needless to say it will not appear on a future camping menu.
After arriving at Voss, we walked across the parking lot to catch our train to Bergen. The train trip was uneventful except for the attempt to post a single message to let you know our progress while dodging tunnels.
We arrived in Bergen and eventually found our hotel. Ray and Brett are still debating on whose fault is was, but Brett seems to come out on top because I’m writing this.
After checking in and stowing or gear in the rooms, we went to the funicular to get to the top of Mount Floyen. The whole city was spread out in front of us, including the rain clouds coming from Russia (?). After viewing the magnificent panorama in front of us, an ice cream was needed. I should note that after waiting for days, Ray’s wife finally called him as we were coming down from the mountain. Unfortunately, just as he answered the call, the funicular entered a Troll cave (aka tunnel) and the signal dropped. Connection was re-established after leaving the tunnel area to great applause from the Scouts.
Dinner was a great success. The restaurant has a selection for everyone, even Jordan.
Tonight consists of showering (thank goodness), repacking, and getting ready for our 4AM pickup for the trip to Bergen airport. We leave at 6AM to fly to Copenhagen to get to Edinburgh. Does this mean we are doomed to do this for the rest of our life?
Just so you know, we will not have Internet at the scout hut in Edinburgh; so don’t expect a blog until we get to Blair. Sorry for the blog withdrawal, get over it!
We expect many comments on the website when we reconnect.
Till next time….
Scout question of the day:
As the ferry was leaving the ferry terminal in Flam, we were asked, “Why is the ferry turning around?” The adults answered, “So that it doesn’t drive on the road”.
Chris’ follow-up comment – “Hi mom”
The corn flake contagion is spreading – now it extends to puffed rice. God forbid we have porridge next.
Adult quote – “Do you want some cereal with that sugar?” Follow up scout response- “At least I only spilled corn flakes on the chair, not the floor.” Adult response – “Have you looked behind you?”
Till next time…..
Ray and the Adults.
Tomorrow's weather in Edinburgh:
|Posted by Brett on July 15, 2012 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
Hello from the train between Voss and Bergen. Trip going well so far today. Fijord cruise was magnificent. More tonight (it's 1:46 PM right now).
Ray and the Adults.
|Posted by Brett on July 14, 2012 at 2:40 PM||comments (3)|
July 14, 2012
Happy Bastille Day: Have you had your pickled herring today?
Flam, Last Day
Partly Sunny, cooler in the evening.
This blog will be more of a serious style this evening. This is our last night in Flam, tomorrow we go Bergen. We have been staying in 2 houses on the Brekke property. I have worked with Brekke Tours in Grand Forks, N.D. to plan the Norway portion of this trip (www.brekketours.com). I will state emphatically they are a superb tour company and if you want to visit Norway (or Scandinavia), please consider using them. Michelle in their office has been very helpful (and patient) with me in planning this trip, offering suggestions I would never have thought of. The staff here in Flam has been exceptional, helpful, and the most gracious hosts you could imagine. My compliments to Siver. The 2 Brekke houses we are staying at have the most magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and waterfalls. The large waterfall you can see out our windows (and in the pictures) is named Brekke Falls. Magnificent. The adults all agree this is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been – tranquil, serene, and extremely laid back. We don’t think you can find a comparable place in the US. Again, my sincere thanks to the folks at Brekke Tours for assisting me in arranging this “Norway in a Nutshell” adventure for our scouts.
Today was a great time. Rented bicycles, put them on the Flamsbana train, went up the mountain to Myrdal and then it was all downhill from there. We biked 13 miles down the valley back to Flam. To say it was an experience would be an understatement. Down the valley, next to rushing mountain streams, and past huge waterfalls is something the guys will never forget. Besides, we wanted to tire them out for tonight! Please see the pictures and videos in today’s photo gallery.
Tomorrow we will take a 2 and a half hour ferry ride along the fiord to Gundvagen, then take a bus to Voss, and then a train ride to Bergen. We’re still experimenting with travel modes. We’re hoping there’s a donkey cart in Bergen to round things out.
OK, not to be totally serious- random ramblings of the day:
We are happy to report that all is still quiet on the RPP front.
Linda took Chase shopping and taught him all the necessary skills – Gene and Stephanie, check the credit card statements. Luckily she didn’t make him get her biking “outfit”.
We’re going to play name that knee…. See photo to enter contest. Credit cards accepted (we’re determined to get back to Sweden).
We’re hoping that Iann and Joe’s memory cards are full soon. Stopping every 500 meters for a photo of a rock is getting a bit much.
Cameron showed his fashion sense with a one leg on, one leg off pants outfit.
Ray enjoyed the best kilometer and a half bike ride of his life. Don’t tell Jane.
Stephen broke his bike – we’re not sure how but it might have something to do with his love of Top Gear.
Brett got a close up view of the “Class 22 Rapid”, and immediately re-classified it to “Class Death”.
Upon returning to the Brekke houses, now that the kids are into Norwegian television, they watched in no particular preference: A Spanish language documentary on Antarctica with Norwegian subtitles – (I swear we are not making this up); Norwegian cartoons featuring a cow, a pig, and a goose (this held their undivided attention for an hour); and finally an Australian teen drama dubbed with Norwegian subtitles that even the cooks leaned over the stove to watch (we were amazed dinner didn’t burn). Oh BTW, Carmina, Jordan enjoyed the pickled herring pizza.
News Flash – Chris actually said something today. We’re looking forward to the follow-up on Sunday.
Scout quote of the day: “I once lost myself in a mirror”.
Tomorrow’s another day on the fjord dodging Trolls.
Till the next fit of insanity hits us,
Tomorrow's Bergen Forcast:
|Posted by Brett on July 13, 2012 at 4:25 PM||comments (4)|
July 13, 2012
Flam Day 2
Partly cloudy, no worries about running out of sunscreen (if we have extra we can always use it as sandwich spread- see picture)
Update from late, late last night - One undiscovered scout enjoyed his dinner last night so much that he caused Brett and Ray to have a midnight toilet unclogging adventure. Brett courageously volunteered to use his left appendage, but Ray who is sharing a family bed with him, vehemently insisted that we find another way. After desperately using a wire clothes hanger, reluctantly provided by Ray, (John – bring me another one!) and an unsuccessful search for the proverbial “toilet tool (RPP)” next door (thanks guys for not answering the door – we’re not Trolls) we were forced to call our gracious host and try to explain, at midnight, what we wanted. We did not know the word Stemplet (we do now). We are proud to announce that Ray and Brett successfully completed the RPP adventure. “No one will ever know the trouble I’ve seen.” I should mention we set new Norwegian records for breath holding. There’s got to be a Scouter’s Knot for this Chuck R! If not, at least a merit badge.
It was a dark and stormy night (in Sweden), but we were in Norway with the Trolls.
This morning we learned that there is an art to serving Corn Flakes from a box for breakfast. It became quickly obvious that our scouts have not mastered this yet. After the clean up we walked to the village and saw the bus for the tourists, and the other bus for the tourists, and then finally the minivan for us. The adults almost immediately had the dreaded realization that we were trapped in close quarters with the scouts for the next 2 and a half hours. No greater life has one given for their country than this…….
We drove to a beautiful overlook at Stegistein. There is a platform that projects out from the cliff side and offers a fantastic view of the Aursland Fiord from Flam out towards what eventually will join the North Sea. As the scouts crowded near the edge, the adults tried to remember which parent made that special request. We tried and tried and tried …..… so far they are all still coming back (credit cards still accepted). After admiring the view we drove to the small village of Aurlandsvangen and saw the Vangen Kirkje, an old Norwegian stone church built in 1202. Our tour guide/ driver/ mime said as many words in 2 + hours as Chris and Wyatt put together have said in 5 days. We’re thinking of looking to see if the mayonnaise had traces of Polident in it. We returned to Flam in plenty of time for the scouts to do some serious trinket/souvenir shopping. Quick, check your credit card statements!
We prepared lunch and learned it is harder to spill ham out of the box than corn flakes. All in all a successful luncheon feast of ham, bison, caribou, reindeer and Swedish meatballs. All garnished with uniquely Norwegian toppings of leafy meadow greens, vinenturkenripen tomats, and pickled herring chips. The scouts are adapting to international gourmet cuisine very well. We should say that Jordan is adapting very well to his diet of oatmeal, bread and pickled herring. Dear Mrs. G, please send more pickled herring quickly!
After lunch we tackled the dreaded BrekkeFossen (waterfall) in search of Joe’s favorite wood nymph, Huldra who is reported to live at the top. Fully equipped with our climbing gear (Joe carried the rope and duct tape), off we went. We climbed and climbed and climbed (tunnel!) and finally reached our destination. In all seriousness, once we reached the falls, the view was stunning. The entire valley lay before us and in the distance we could see Mr. R sunbathing in the mist. BrekkeFossen drops a total of 1790 feet. We know this because Brett took out his tape measure to confirm. Lots of pictures on the photo site and the videos on the website do not do it justice. From our houses we can see the main 377-foot drop-off. We asked Mr. R, who was guarding the cottages (heard that one before) to take our picture while we were at the top of the main falls. Looking at the pictures of ourselves we appeared to be nothing but mini Norwegian marshmallows (with a mini cherry on top). Jim, “thanks for the memories”. The backwash mist from the waterfall made our camera pictures and videos have drops in them. Sorry folks, we haven’t found any Norwegian camera lens windshield wiper adaptors.
At this point we split into 2 energy level groups. One group came down from the mount with the tablets and Joe’s group continued on in search for Hulda. The first group courageously descended in search for more pickled herring for dinner. The second continued onwards and upwards. They finally had to admit defeat after reaching the next waterfall pool and suspend the search for today. They vowed to return tomorrow and find Huldra the wood nymph and her Haagen-Dazs shop.
While the unsuccessful search for Huldra was under way, the first group triumphantly returned with the Norwegian ingredients for pickled herring jambalaya, flavored with Old Bay seasoning (which we just happened to have with us in copious quantities). The 4 quality cooks - Joe, Stephen, William and Iann, did a bang up job. A delicious dessert finished the meal (see pictures for the varied choices).
After dinner Ray’s room service finally showed up and managed to get the TV working. The scouts spent the next 2 hours glued to the TV watching a Frank Sinatra retrospective (dubbed in Norwegian) and a special on Norwegian Ice Fishing. Who-da thunk. Mean while the adults (who I absolutely swear have not had a drop to drink) started writing this blog.
Tomorrow brings the challenge of carrying our bikes up to the Flaamsbana train and going back to Myrdal to slowly descend once again to Flam (sound like a circle doesn’t it?)
Anyway it was a great day. Looking forward to tomorrow.
Scout word for the day: serendipity. Coincidentally, no one knew it.
Scout quote for the day:
At the Vangen Kyrkje, after looking at the tombstones, one scout was heard to mention, “Hey, they’re old dead dudes in there”.
It was a slow day. Too much pickled herring and Huldra searching.
|Posted by Brett on July 12, 2012 at 4:35 PM||comments (6)|
July 12, 2012
Rain – Sun – Rain
Oslo to Myrdal to Flam
First I want to state categorically that any spelling and grammar mistakes are due to being tired after a long day of herding cats. Do not believe anything else the adults tell you.
Before we exhaust any more of our limited wit and wisdom on these blogs we are now of a unified desire to find out “is anybody there, does anybody care, does anybody feel like we feel – LONELY! So please feel free to comment on our attempts to show your children in their best light. Contributions to “email@example.com“ are greatly appreciated. All major credit cards accepted. Besides, the resident Norwegian Trolls have been constantly asking for a “tasty bite”. Have we been tempted!
Update from yesterday – we finally got our pictures developed from the Swedish Hostel we briefly visited. Check the daily trip highlights to see these photos. You will note that the air conditioning really worked. Jim made a special plane trip to the local EMS store for appropriate clothing for the scouts – see pictures. We’re always thinking of your kids well being. You wanted a refund – ha ha. By the way, the dinner bill last night was 3200.00. You wanted a refund – ha ha.
Leaving Haraldsheim Hostel this morning was an exercise in cooperation and teamwork in the middle of the monsoon rainstorm. After eating breakfast we conducted the Lawn Luggage Luge Competion – if you remember we had to go down the big hill since we came up to get here. It was neck and neck with Joe and Luke but down the stretch Stephen pulled into the lead and held on for the big win.
We went to the Tram station to get to the train station to take the bus to get to the train station. Don’t ask. While waiting at the Oslo train (bus) station we got a second breakfast for the eventual train ride – fantastic chocolate covered waffles from a unique Oslo bakery – 7 Eleven (one of 55 in Oslo, but only 2 Starbucks).
We were entertained on the bus part of the trip to the train station by hearing Iann’s PhD dissertation on the multiple levels of Harry Potterism and it’s many applications to survival in Norway. Joe provided counterpoint. We have a debate team in the making. Linda is still kicking herself for missing this unique experience. We arrived at Honefoss train station and finally were allowed to board the train we were supposed to board in Oslo. We finally began to see the real Norway. All of us were constantly taking pictures as the train progressed. We constantly heard “look out, tunnel --- take it now, NOW - too late tunnel”. The scenery was magnificent, especially the snow covered hills and valleys – after all it is only July. On the way to Myrdal, a number of things happened. First, we saw the famous Norwegian Marshmallow farms (see photos). We are now constantly looking for the less famous Graham Cracker and Chocolate Farms (we are hoping we didn’t miss them in Sweden). We then went through Finse, 1222 meters above sea level, 11 degrees Centigrade. It made Sweden seem like a beach. Look out -Tunnel! The waterfalls were magnificent – a fantastic teal color. One set of rapids on the river was categorized by Brett as a Class 22. BSA doesn’t have that one in their book. Look out another tunnel! We finally arrived at Myrdal and changed trains (again) to the world famous Myrdal-Flam railroad (Flamsbana). It is one of the world’s most fantastic train rides and the trip lived up to it billing. In 13 miles we descended 866 meters to Flam, a mere 2 meters above sea level. Along the way we stopped at the Kjos waterfall. Be sure to check out the video on our contingent website. Thank goodness no more tunnels.
Siver our host for the Brekke houses we are staying at met us in Flam. He took our luggage to the houses and we hiked to the farm. Please look at the pictures of our houses and the views out our front and back door. Philmont does not have this ambiance (TJ, our resident Philmont expert, verified this fact).
Brett bought an ice cube tray but luckily didn’t leave it in Sweden, so the adults all get 3 ice cubes for our sodas.
After unpacking and settling in, we went grocery shopping. We quickly learned that we cannot read Norwegian labels, and you can’t necessarily tell by looking at the pictures. We especially want to thank the good-looking Swedish girl who helped us. We’re going back tomorrow!
William, Noah and Chase improvised a surprisingly good Taco Chili over rice – lots and lots of rice. Joe, Wyatt and Chris did their KP duty and washed dishes, but Joe never did stop whining about how cold the river was.
Today was a long but enjoyable day. We saw the beautiful countryside of Norway and learned to appreciate the cool temperatures – at least it’s not HHH (hazy, hot and humid).
Until tomorrow ……TUNNEL!
Quotes for today:
Adult #1 – “Where are we?” Adults 2-5 – “NORWAY!”
Scouts- “We demand room service”. Adult response – “So……”
Following a survey to determine who actually followed directions and brought a water bottle for hiking, a scout commented – “What are you doing, taking a survey?”
Upon entering one of the numerous tunnels on the train trip, one scout was heard to comment – “Hey, it’s dark in here”.
“What does that Norwegian word mean?” Adult males – “I don’t know”. Adult females – “Sale!”
Word of the day = brevity. Scout answer = “When using the loo, use it with brevity”.