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36th Scottish International Patrol Jamborette BAC Contingent 2018

Daily Blog

August 4, 2010

Quick blog from Edinburgh airport.

Adults have spent the last 2 days castle-ing. We have seen 10 castles and 2 churches. Some ruins some in good shape. Balmoral (the Queen’s Scottish home), Slaine (a cool ruin), Findlater (a ruin on the coast we had to crawl to), the ruins of Elgin Cathedral (from thre 13th Centuary), Crathes Castle (a Jacobite ruin), Drum Castle, Glenbuckat (a ruin in the field), Kildrummy Castle (another ruin), Balvenie Castle (next to a GlenFiddich Distillery (that was a hard choice – castle…distillery…castle…distillery….), Inverness and Loch Ness (no monster sighting – did see a wedding at Urquhart castle – maybe a monster in the making?????), Donnattar castle ruins (a magnificent castle on coast), finally Glamis Castle (a Disney castle wannabe).

Tuesday all the scouts joined us at the Scout hut. Dinner, packing, stories, sadness, happiness…all the emotions. John Kennedy, the camp chief, dropped by on his way home from work to say goodbye.

Up early today, the Scots took us to the airport and here we are.

Every one without exception has had a great time. Homestays were super according to everfyone and many new friends (and facebook partners) have been established.

We’ve had a great time but there’s no place like home.

See you all soon at BWI, thanks again for letting your guys go.

Ray and the adults

The Banffshire coast calling, Sunday August 1st

Posted by Brett on August 1, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Sunday August 1, 2010

The adults took today to go up the East coast shore road from Aberdeen. Igt was a day of mist, castles, mist, lighthouses, rain, ice cream, cathedral ruins, confused cows, harbor towns, and interesting driving techniques.

Let me elaborate……

The coast road North from Aberdeen is a very scenic route along the coast and North Sea. You very quickly get a feel for the importance of the fishing industry and the North Sea Oil industry in this area. Our first stop was the ruins of Slains Castle. We were able to climb the tower to see out to the North Sea. Then came Peterhead, the Eastern most point in Scotland (other than the Orkney and Shetland Islands). We were roughly even with the Southern tip of Norway (and above Denmark). It was a very cool fishing village. We moved on to Fraserburgh and stopped at the Scottish Lighthouse museum. They did a great job in presenting the rough and lonely life of the lighthouse keepers and their families. We then proceeded west along the coast road along Moray Firth towards Inverness. We stopped at Banff and had lunch overlooking the water. Moving on Westward we attempted to find the ruins of Boyne Castle and spent about a half hour driving along a road the that the map said the ruins were located on. They must have been really ruined because we never found them. Continuing down the coast we found our next castle ruins, Findlater Castle. To say that castle was inaccessible would be an understatement. Brett braved the climb down the cliff to commune up close and personal with the ruins. The rest of us were extremely concerned with his safety……actually all we cared about were the car keys he took with him.…….. We moved on to find Bow Fiddle Rock. This was a great rock pillar that had a large hole weathered out of it by the surf and tides. It actually did look like a fiddle bow. Moving to Cullen, another fishing village, we saw a huge viaduct. After all that exertion we made an ice cream stop (the Scots really like their ice cream and they have lots of good flavors so Brett and I decided “when in Scotland….”;). So we made a pact to sample the product whenever we could. We continued down the coast to Elgin where we saw the very impressive ruins of the 13th century Elgin Cathedral. At that point we turned South and headed back to Aberdeen.

George is convinced that Scotland was never invaded because no one wanted to stay in the weather here. The rest of us kept reminding him that we were very far north – and he’s the pilot. I should say that he was the only sleeping adult in the car. That was probably a good thing because Brett is still trying to find the correct gears, not drop the transmission on the road, and learned that you cannot pop the clutch on a rolling car with a diesel engine to get it restarted after you stalled it out by starting in 3rd gear.

We saw confused cows as we passed by – lets say that there were no bulls present……..

Back in Aberdeen we went to a place and had Steak and Guiness Ale pie. Delish…..

The adults surprised me with a birthday celebration by having the waitress bring out my ale pie with 2 lit candles in it. That was novel and I’m sure the Scots were thinking ?????

All the scouts had signed a birthday card and I thank them for the thoughts written on it. No, I’m not going to tell you how old I am….well….. I’m over 59 and less than 61.

HELP – wanted…. cone of silence for the back set of the car desperately needed.

Tomorrow we head to Inverness and Loch Ness. With a whiskey tour (or two) on the agenda. After that we may actually see Nessie…….

Next time,

Ray and the adults

Aberdeen, late evening July 31

Posted by Brett on July 31, 2010 at 5:21 PM

10PM July 31

The adults are safely ensconced at a B&B and are thoroughly enjoying the comforts of home (bed, real shower). We had a Chinese dinner tonight. After days of meat pies, sausage, and other Scottish fare, we decided to go all out on the international thing and do oriental.

We had picked up our car and drove into Aberdeen proper, about 6 miles from the B&B. We drove to the beach area near the harbor and had an ice cream cone (rum raisin - yum!) looking at the North Sea. Something you don't do every day.

Just to let you know our website seems to be acting up, connecting to it is not working at the moment for us. Is this something you're seeing or is it just on our end over here? Let me know.

I think the official Jambo website may be updated for a day or so with finishing touches, so keep checking there.

The guys got the entire list of homestay people and addresses. If they lose it, I also have a copy.

To be honest, in spite of the work to set this up and carry it off, I really enjoy doing it and seeing the kids grow as we progress. It's worth it.

I'll try and do a touring blog as we go and post some pics. We have a castle list to go and see. We'll tour during the day and return here to Aberdeen at days end. They have wireless internet here at the B&B so I should be able to. I want to have a complete daily blog at trips end.

Tuesday and Wednesday probably won't have one as we are coming back to Edinburgh and the scout hut is internet free.

I should mention, for the moment, Brett is doing the driving. Other than missing the gears, running over a curb, and stalling the car a couple of times, he's doing real well. When we feel our hearts jump into our throats he may be replaced. We've banished Linda and George to the back seats. We forgot to ask for the back seat cone of silence for this car.

See y'all real soon.

Ray and Brett

Aberdeen calling, Saturday July 31st

Posted by Brett on July 31, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Short and sweet tonight.

The adults are free and touring. We took the train from Blair to Perth and then changed to Aberdeen. We rented a car and will drive around the coast, go to Inverness and than drive down to Edinburgh to meet the guys on Tuesday.

The kids are probably enjoying a real bed for the first time in days. So far no phone calls so we assume all is well.

Ray and the Adults

Blair Calling for the Final Time, Friday July 30th

Posted by Brett on July 30, 2010 at 9:18 AM 

Friday July 30, 2010

The party’s over, the curtain has come down, the fat lady has sung.

Thursday afternoon was the Atholantice, a series of game stations that each patrol participated in to win points for their Sub-camp. Win, lose, or draw, it was fun, laughs, silliness, and general competition for sub-camp honor.

After the games the dismantling of camp started. Dining flys, and unnecessary equipment were packed away. Things continued until dinner and then preparations were underway for the closing campfire.

Last night’s closing campfire was in some respects happy and in some very sad. Many memories and many friendships have been set here in Perthshire. It was quite a sight to see the 1200 or so scouts all enjoying their last time together for this camp. The aura of friendship and Scouting was all about. This is why I keep coming back here. Every one of our scouts that I talked to said they were sad to leave and wanted more. This is what this trip was all about.

History, new experiences, Scouting at it’s best. All that I wanted to happen to the guys/gal seems to have happened. Thanks again to you parents for making this possible for your scouts. They will never forget it.

The closing campfire ended with a candlelight ceremony and the admonition from the Camp Chief to “Haste ye back!”.

Today, Friday, the Scouts started to leave camp for their homestays. By 1PM everyone but the staff had departed – by car, train, or bus. I have included the listing of where our guys/gal have gone. They will rejoin the adults on Tuesday evening in Edinburgh after a few days of R&R (a real bed, real shower, some home cooking, and new friends). They all took the homestay gifts with them and were told to offer to “do the dishes”.

The adults will continue to dismantle camp and we have a final staff dinner and dance tonight. We leave tomorrow morning.

This is the last planned blog from Camp. I may get the opportunity to do one or two more as the adults are traveling.

I want to thank Brett, Linda, and George for helping me make this trip a rousing success. I could not have done it without them. We are tired but the experiences for the scouts are what this is all about. I know your scouts will talk about this for a while, as my son (who came here twice) still does after 8 years.

Thanks again.

Blair Signing off.

Ray and the adult team


Home stay arrangements (I’ll let you find these on the map):

Kyle D to Milton of Campsie, Glasgow

Luke to St. Andrews, Fife

Noah to Craigrothie Cupar, Fife

Anthony to Newburgh, Fife

Cameron to Saltcoats, Ayrshire

Joe to Irvine, Aryshire

Trevor and Christian to Edinburgh

Kyle M to Linlithgow, West Lothian

William to Coalsnaughton, Clackmannanshire

Bethany to Carronshore, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Blair Calling - The End of Camp, Thursday July 29th

Posted by Brett on July 29, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Thursday July 29, 2010

Last night was the Burns Supper and Ceilidh in the Kastle. The scouts and adults had haggis, taties, and neeps. The adults all liked theirs especially the Piping in and the Address to the Haggis. Somehow Robbie Burns doesn’t improve my poetry appreciation, but that’s another story.

Haven’t heard comments from the kids yet about their culinary experiences. I’m sure their will be stories yet to tell.

The Ceilidh (dance) was fun to watch. Our guys, who think they can dance supreme, learning a new set of Scottish moves. The dance moves were fun to watch, but funnier were the moves Joe was putting on the girls to get them to dance with him. Hey Joe, how many +s and how many –s?

Today dawned a little cold but the sun was out all day. This was breakdown day. Most of the campsite was taken apart and put in the storage area in the woods for the next camp (2012). Dining flys, gateways, and tables disappeared and everyone got ready for the end of camp.

I think William’s patrol has the Irn Bru record, over 31 liters! They saved the empty bottles and cans to prove it.

Tonight is the closing campfire and I really think everyone will be sad to see it end. I specifically asked Anthony if had a good time and ho9s response summed it up – “I’m sad it’s over, I don’t want to leave”.

Folks – Mission Accomplished !!!!!!!

We have a meeting tonight to hand out the home-stay arrangements and I will send out an e-mail as soon as I can with the details. Probably not until Saturday because the electricity to the cabins is going off at 5 tonight and I don’t know if the wireless will be up. Anyway, I’ll send it as soon as I can. Tomorrow morning the scouts all depart and the adults will continue to break down camp. By Saturday, no one will know we’ve been here, except for a number of dead grass circles.

The adults will be leaving Saturday morning for a touring trip around Aberdeen and will meet up with the scouts Tuesday night.

Till next blog.

Ray and the adults

Blair calling, the yellow orb remains; Wednesday July 28

Posted by Brett on July 28, 2010 at 11:46 AM 

Wednesday July 28, 2010

It rained last night and was cold this morning. The clouds soon burned away and the sun came out and it got warm- shorts time! It’s 3:47PM right now and the clouds are coming back. Don’t know what that will bring. We’ll have to see.

I went to Pitlochry this morning and dressed for the moment. By 10:45 I realized I had too many layers. They’re right over hear- if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes.

In the AM Christian and Kyle M did pioneering, Noah, Trevor, and Anthony did team sports – I guess the Testosterone levels were getting too high. Luke went to Country Crafts.

Kyle D and Joe did the “circus” activity. To be honest, it’s a new one and I haven’t made it over there to see. Hopefully there are no lions and tigers and bears – oh my. Bethany did the Castle tour. I’m wondering if the weapon room will have the same effect or if it is just a guy thing. William and Cameron went to their activity before we could get what they did.

In the afternoon Christian, Kyle M, Noah, and Trevor did Global Development. Boy did they ever look the part of refugees. Kyle M even had a baby to plead for sympathy with the Border Guards. Cameron, Joe, Luke and Anthony went to Pitlochry. I think our guys are single handedly improving the local economy. Kyle D, William, and Bethany did the “No I in Team” activity. That involved a whole slew of team building activities.

Last night was the PL supper for Christian and Kyle. Both totally enjoyed the food, entertainment, and sing along. I want to thank them publicly for stepping up to the plate and doing a great job of guiding their patrols. When the adults were trying to get everyone moving at the start of the trip in London, we often said it was like herding cats. Towards the end of London we began to hear “meow meow” coming from the scouts as we were walking along.

Since we got to camp the PLs have been doing the herding.

Today is the last day of activities. Tonight brings the Burns Supper for the adults and for the scouts in their sub-camps. Haggis-taties-and neeps. Can’t wait to hear all about it. After the Burns supper there is a Ceilidh in the Kastle – a big, enjoyable dance for all the scouts. That will be a sight to see.

Tomorrow brings the camp wide game competition between sub-camps and the start of dismantling.

Some camp dismantling will start tonight (the newspaper office has all the tables gone. So, I’ll send this blog tonight while I can, and will try tomorrow if possible. Probably no pics tonight, will upload as soon as I can while the adults are touring. I will also send the homestay info as soon as I can. We’ll get that tomorrow afternoon.

It’s hard to believe Blair Atholl 2010 is almost over. Thank you again for allowing us to take your scouts to an experience they will never forget. Many memories and stories have been formed.

Till next blog (as soon as I can).

Ray and the adults

I'm singing in the sunshine at Blair!, Tuesday July 27th

Posted by Brett on July 27, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Tuesday July 27, 2010

The sun is back, what a beautiful day. The temperatures in mid 60’s. I know, I know, we’re going to die when we get back home. But in the meantime …………..

Itook patrol pictures (our group with the Scots they are teamed with) at subcamp inspection this morning. One of our patrols seems to have bigger grins than the other. See if you can figure which one?

Another varied day of activities. In the AM Kyle D and Bethany did the fencing thing. Bethany had an air of professionalism as she did the activity. She looked as if she was honing her skills for something in particular. Maybe Noah should look over his shoulder. Kyle has done this before so I assume he also has sinister plans. Methinks the game’s afoot Watson.

William and Cameron did Backwoods cooking. They cooked a fish and things look great, until I noticed the can of Old Bay seasoning next to their dish. Backwoods? Or maybe they were saving it to put on the Haggis tomorrow night.

Christian, Kyle M, and Luke did archery. I got some pictures – using my telephoto from a distance. Robin Hood has nothing to be afraid of. They were supposed to shoot at a balloon – the balloon survived (see the pic).

Trevor and Anthony did the castle tour. I’m sure it had something to do with the large weapons room in the castle they heard about. I think I heard them chanting something about some Scotsman called Wallace and were planning something to do with charging the battlements. Too much Irn Bru I’m afraid. Mom and dad – the addiction withdrawal from Irn Bru is going to be hard to deal with. You should probably start collecting the bubble gum now and soaking it in water.

In the PM William did pioneering. I guess he’s moved from the ancestor quest to building log cabins. Cameron, Joe, and Bethany did Blair Actor. It basically involved them hamming it up and role-playing. I don’t think it’s fair to put a professional ham (Joe) up against the rest of the world. If I were dad, after looking at his pic, I think I’d have a long sit down talk with him about his inner self. Christian and Kyle M are in the craft area. One of the activities involves pouring fast setting casting material into molds. I don’t know why Kyle M kept asking Christian to put his feet into a bucket while he poured some “stuff” into the bucket and then wanted to take him to the nearby river. Does Christian snore?

Luke, Anthony, and Noah are doing climbing. I want to get there and take the before and after pictures so I can document the carnage. What I discovered is the real identity of Spiderman (and he appears to have a stand in).

Finally, Trevor is doing the “walk on the wild side”. I’m not sure if he knows what it is from the title. It’s a walk through the natural animal preserve on the Castle grounds to see the plants, bunnies, cows, deer, pheasants, and other wildlife here. OMG, wait…… I’m going to run up to the Castle and see if any of the weapons are missing from this morning.

Tonight is the Patrol Leaders supper in the Staff Club. It gives Kyle D and Christian a chance to sit down and be pampered and entertained in recognition for their service as the PLs and a thank you from the Scots for their efforts.

The Kastle event for this evening is an activity where the camp Uncles compete for their subcamp cheered on by the scouts. All sorts of crazy contest are in the offing.

Things are going well and every one is happy.

The final arrangements are completed, and all are going home after the jamborette with a Scottish family. That in itself is a great experience.

It’s Tuesday and the realization of the end fast approaching is hitting me. It’s always hard to leave this place and all the wonderful things it has to offer.

Till next time.

Ray and the adult team.

Blair - The rain returns (for a bit)

Posted by Brett on July 26, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Monday July 26, 2010

The day started out cloudy and slowly progressed to mist then the rain started about 2PM. Luckily, so far it just sprinkled for about a half hour then stopped. It was cloudy for a while and then the sun returned.

Today was a varied activity schedule for everyone.

In the AM Beth, Kyle D, William, and Cameron did Canyoning (the wet suits put them in the running for the ugliest dressed American contest). Watching them put the suits on was worth the wait – I didn’t know they could move their body parts in that many directions.

Noah did Backwoods Cooking and made the Scottish equivalent of silver turtles. I kept telling the staff that a wee bit of good Scottish whiskey would make them interesting, but they responded “what a way to ruin good whiskey”. I responded “what a way to improve the scouts cooking”. Oh well, kind of a draw.

Anthony and Joe did the Celtic crafts activity. Joe wanted to make an earring for his new piercing. Unfortunately we didn’t have any alcohol to sterilize the ring so we said to wait until he got home.

Luke, Trevor, Kyle M, and Christian did fencing. What grace, what form, what speed. The lunges, the parries, the en guard stance, ah, the artistry of the ancient sport, displayed to perfection. Yeah, right…… more like slashing and hacking. Luke the ham carver, Christian the dart guy, Kyle the Pirate , and Trevor the, the .…. Terrible… he just wanted to stab things.

Kinda like the Jets and Sharks from West Side Story. The great part was seeing them in their masks – like a group of very large locusts.

In the afternoon Beth and Cameron did Pioneering – pretty cool lashings they did. Noah went to Team sports (that would make dad proud). Luke and Anthony went to electronics. They were supposed to make blinking woggles but when I walked by I could swear they were saying something about an electric chair. Must have been the wind.

Trevor, Christian, and Kyle M did the afternoon mountain biking trek. I will say that the pointy bike hats did wonders to their hair style. Reminded me of Aliens with grease. Needless to say I did not trek with them.

Joe and Kyle D did the first aid activity. Something about the arrow sticking out of Joe’s stomach didn’t look right. Then they added the blood, now you’re talking.

William did the castle tour…. he is still looking for those long lost relatives. Not sure that he could use that illegitimate thing up here.

George attempted too make offerings to the Gods for the Jam caper. Seems he has a side job as the tooth fairy and left an apricot jam on my pillow last night.

BTW, George C, – just kidding about the piercing.

International show tonight in the Kastle. This is where a lot of contingents put on entertainment from home for the assembled adoring groupies (scouts).

We have a new mascot – MacWabbit.

All joking aside, the scouts are having a fantastic time, making new friends, experiencing new things, eating different foods, and generally getting exposure to things that the rest of their classmates can only dream about. Thanks again to you for making it possible.

It’s hard to believe but there’s only 3 days to go.

Ray and the Adult team

Sunday in Perthshire, July 25th

Posted by Brett on July 25, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Sunday in Perthshire

July 25, 2010

Today was a restful day. A late rise allowed everyone (including the adults) time to catch up on some much needed rest after yesterday’s Country Fair and last night’s campfire. The International campfire was the first time the entire camp contingents were together in one place. The opening campfire was done in the sub-camps on Tuesday and the Namibian contingent didn’t arrive until after that. The hill overlooking the Jamborette site was packed with scouts, visitors, and curious onlookers (the caravan site – trailer camping- had people wondering what the heck was going on and wandered by to see). The Uncles had the scouts hopping with enthusiasm and the campfire yells, songs, and general noise echoed off the hills. I saw the guys/gal jumping with the rest of them.

We had a Scout’s Own today on the side of the Castle. The entire camp, in their official uniforms, paraded out of camp to Bair Castle led by a pipe band. I always get a thrill to see this, the sounds of a Pipe Band and all the Scouts parading together is really cool. By this time all the scouts have bonded into friendship, even if they don’t speak the others language. That’s the really great part about this event. - the breaking down of barriers between international youth. The rest of the world’s adults should come here and take note.

BTW, Linda was dressed to the nines in her totally purple Scottish outfit. Somehow visions of plums seemed to be dancing in my head. Must have been the sun.

The pipe band has stayed at the camp and is playing tunes as we rest up for the games. It is really great to hear the pipes echoing over the campsite. Right at this moment they are playing Amazing Grace. You really feel the atmosphere of Scotland while you are here.

Bret and I went around to all the sub-camps and the Uncles said the guys/gal are doing great with no problems. They all seem to be having a smashing time.

After lunch we had international games. We set up our “hillbilly golf” game and the scouts from the Satellite camp had fun playing it. Thanks to Anthony C Sr. for making it.

For dinner tonight all the adult staff goes into the Sub-camps and cooks dinner for the scouts - a BBQ. There was steak, sausage, chicken, ham….plenty of food. The kids enjoyed the night off from their own cooking (so would I).

Homestay is coming along. Christian’s entire patrol has homestay arranged. I will provide details when I get the info. The other patrol has almost everyone settled. The Uncles will assure that all are placed.

Tonight was Pirates in the Kastle. A lot of bouncing to music and pirate themed activities.

I need to make mention of 2 disturbing events that have occurred in the adult team. George now has the dubious title of the Apricot Jam bandito. The Scots serve very good rolls for breakfast and there is a selection of jams available. Brett and I especially like the apricot jam, but, it is always in short supply. This morning I managed to obtain 2 so I put one aside for tomorrow morning (to meet my apricot jam fan addiction). Seems George saw the one on my tray and thought I was going to throw it away and scarfed it up and was in the process of spreading it on his roll when I looked up and caught him red-handed. No excuses George, you took my jam! We made him wash the dishes. He is now on the Official Jam watch.

The second item involves Brett. Seems every evening he SKYPES a young lady and has, ah, shall we say, rather racy conversations with her (the adults present can’t help but overhear). Plus, since he has a video camera built into his computer, the pictures are supposed to be interesting (we don’t look, out of respect for his privacy). We’re hoping that Peg (his wife) doesn’t find out about this. The other adults agreed not to mention it to anyone. Please don’t let him know I put it in the blog.

Till tomorrow.

Ray and the adults

Country Fair Day at Blair, Saturday July 24th

Posted by Brett on July 24, 2010 at 3:13 PM

First thing, the mylar foil twins are not ours!!!! They could have been if 2 of you had not responded to our blog. Tomorrow is another day though, and we know where they keep the foil……….

Now that your pacemakers have reset, on with the news.

Today was a rather slow day for the scouts (but not for the adults). There is a Satellite camp across the road filled with about 350 Cubs and older scouts that did not get into the Jamborette. They came in the morning and did some of the activities that our guys have been doing. In the afternoon the camp opened up to the public and they streamed in to see the sights. We did our funnel cake thing, and, as I predicted, we had the longest and busiest booth in the place. We were asked by the Scots to shut down at the end. They wanted to clean up. So much for recognizing success.

Bethany met Simon who was her older brothers home-stay family in 2006. He is here this time as a leader in Macdonald sub-camp. He was also Kyle D's patrol leader last camp.

We have all of Christian’s patrol booked for home-stay. Some of them were taken out for dinner by the parents.

Tonight is an international campfire and they usually have fireworks. Weather is holding out although is was chilly last night.

Short and sweet tonight. Let visions of funnel cakes dance in your heads.

Ray and the adults

Blair in sun, beautiful sun; Friday July 23rd

Posted by Brett on July 23, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Friday July 23

Today dawned sunny and a bit chilly. Interesting how the sun makes one forget anything else. Except haggis. That dinner is coming……. Will be interesting to see.

Last nights Karnival was a sight to see. There were all kinds of games, carnival type activities, and a drum band. The drum band got the pulses going and the bodies moving to the beat. Great to see the kids bouncing to the beat but he adults commented that if we tried that we’d hurt ourselves. It reminded me of a saying I heard over here – “Inside every older person is a younger person asking ‘what happened?’”.

Today Christian and Trevor went to Pitlochry (to spend more money). I think the parent’s retirement plans are being postponed as we speak. Kyle M. went out last night into the nearby hills on the Explorer Overnight Trek. Linda went to eat dinner with them and it turned out that that was the place to be. She had minute steaks – the Scottish idea of minute steaks somehow didn’t make the translation. Their “minute steak” is more of a thick piece of meat. Linda is now banned from talking about it to the adults.

The happening of the morning was the Atholl Experience. If you remember, I said that the kids should bring a set of clothes that would not make it home. Well, this was the day for William, Beth, Cameron, and Joe. Mud reigned supreme. It was the Pirates vs. the Ninjas vs. the Vikings. To really appreciate the nature of the event, see the picture gallery for today. The adults earlier had threatened the kids under penalty of death that they were not to hug us as they came out of the woods. So far, they’re all coming home.

In the afternoon Luke and Anthony did \Global Development. The basic idea was to let the scouts see what it is like to be a refugee family trying to get across the border into another country. The 2 guards and the application form in a completely new (and indecipherable) language provided a somewhat realistic event. Plus, the guards were accepting bribes. Some things are universal.

Beth, William. Kyle D, and Cameron went to Pitlochry. Joe did the climbing wall. Luke, Kyle M, and Noah did the castle tour.

Noah, Christian, Kyle M, and Tevor were the afternoon mud-men in the Atholl \experience. The baggage weight seems to be going down for the trip home – oh, wait a minute – it will be offset by all the stuff they bought along the way.

Flash - I’ve just seen Noah, Christian, Kyle M, and Trevor come out of the mud pit. We definitely have a winner! See the pics to compare morning crew to afternoon. These 4 guys need a gift certificate to the mud spa when they get back home. It may help their looks – on second thought….nah….. Plus, I think the death sentence worked, I’m still clean, whew……..

Make sure you check the photos on the official Jamborette website (WWW.JAMBORETTE.ORG.UK). Many of our guys are in the photos.

Also, the adults are depressed that you guys are not commenting on our photos and blog. We’re so depressed that we may have to force feed haggis to all your scouts and then teach them the recipe so they can make it at home for you. Wow, that’s really cruel for even me……..

ha ha ha ha ha ha ……………………….

Ray and the adults

SUNNY Blair Calling, Thursday July 22nd

Posted by Brett on July 22, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Thursday July 22

Oh the humanity, oh the happiness, oh the SUN!

Ya think we’re glad to see the sun today? You betcha! (that’s for George D).

The weather warmed up and the sun came out, and the ground started to dry. It’s those little things that make campers happy – OK, they make the adults happy, we admit it.

Last night was the Day-glo disco in the Kastle. To say the participants got “dressed up” and bounced to the music would be an understatement. Everyone (last night) was glad to be inside a big tent, no matter how much the aroma was. It was dry and the dancing went on, no one cared.

Today’s activities were decidedly upbeat in the sunlight. Christian, Trevor, Luke, Anthony, Kyle M and Noah went gorge walking. They dressed up in wet suits for the river walk. Trevor pronounced that is was an “epic wedgie” in the works. I followed them down to the gorge and along the cliff as far as I could. I was convinced that I was walking where no human had trod for over 100 years – the moss, layers of leaves, and dead twigs were piled so deep that I felt as if I was doing more work that they were. The river was fast and cold and the wet suits were a blessing. In the afternoon they did Ready-steady-cook. No more excuses at home mom!

Kyle D, Bethany, Joe, and Cameron did crafts in the AM and in the afternoon Cameron did Mountain Biking – he gained a few muscles on that one and Beth did team sports. Kyle D is going on the overnight Explorer trek tonight.

We had patrol dinners tonight when the adults are guests of the patrols for dinner (we bring treats – soda, candy, etc.). I was with a Scottish/Swedish patrol, TJ was with a Scottish/Japanese patrol, Brett was with a Scottish/French patrol, Linda went up the mountain to be with the Explorer overnight. We don’t know where George ate, probably with a liberal foreign contingent . We return the favor on the weekend when the adults go to the patrol sites and cook dinner for them.

Speaking of George, he has been in 7th plane heaven. This morning 2 RAF fighter jets buzzed the camp (they do it every camp) and there have been a number of antique planes flying by. He’s getting his aeronautical fix. In fact this morning he fell off the bench in the dining tent.

The Kastle has a Karnival for the night time activity today – all sorts of crazy games. It’s supposed to be cold tonight.

Chris C – look in today’s newspaper, Christian has a birthday announcement.

Everyone is having a great time and meeting new friends and no one is complaining they want to go home.. We have a second homestay, Kyle M has an invite.

OK, time to go to Karnival. Till tomorrow.

Ray and the adult team.

Blair Water Park Calling - a wet day 2

Posted by Brett on July 21, 2010 at 4:52 PM

July 21

The real Scottish weather descended today and the rains came down. The guys/gal were on their first day of activities. Unless they were doing a water activity rain gear was the uniform if the day (actually, I guess it didn’t matter you got wet anyway). A lot of the activities were moved inside the large tents but many remained outside. It is supposed to rain today and clear tomorrow. Hopefully that will happen or my prediction of chocolate pudding will come true. George was working he first aid station and Linda was helping to pour the castings for the Celtic chess set. This year Fergus, the Scottish Scouter that runs that station, brought with him molds for the chessboard. Since I have a set of playing pieces, I now have a new mission.

We have a homestay already, Beth was a hit with the girls in her all girl patrol and got invited. However, the boys with her don’t seem to mind the girl patrol. Whoda thunk?

Activities today included Kyle, William, Cameron, Bethany doing country crafts and Joe doing water sports (that involved standing outside, holding your arms out, and looking skyward). In the afternoon they all did Ready-Set-Cook.

Christian, Kyle M, Trevor , Luke, Noah, Anthony doing Geo Caching. In the afternoon they went to Pitlochry (to spend more money – and get out of the rain). Trevor decided to cling to his Scout traditions and did Pioneering instead.

The rain let up for the late afternoon and evening. Tonight they are all inside the large Kastle enjoying a disco dance – Scottish day-glo stylestyle.

Linda has bonded with another contingent leader who also loves purple. George – I see some serious shopping in your future. It was fun to watch Linda washing her purple boots in Lake Blair – see photo.

I should say that Lake Blair is a new feature this year. Hopefully it will dry up before Nessie moves in.

Sorry for the delay in the pictures but the inter net has been spotty and I’ve been busy on the newspaper. Check the jamboree website for additional pictures.

Till next time.


Blair Calling for real this time. Tuesday July 20th

Posted by Brett on July 20, 2010 at 5:55 PM

July 20 9:442PM 

We finished Edinburgh by celebrating a birthday for one of the Scottish Scout leaders.

We are at camp.

Do you all remember William Wallace’s last words – FREEDOM !!!!!!

Interesting bus ride from Edinburgh- we were transported on the Scottish National Rugby Team bus. Pretty cool bus. (see pictures).

Trip up was a real international adventure – besides us and Gibralter, there were contingents from Canada, and Austria. Scenery was beautiful all the way up and we arrived in sunshine and heat. That didn’t last long. The boys and gal were separated into their patrols and, after check in, were taken to their sub-camps.

Kyle, Bethany, William, Cameron, and Joe are in Stewart. Anthony, Trevor, Luke, Noah, Christian, and Kyle M are in Robertson. The adults were taken to their tents and met with their team members. TJ also joined us today. Brett is in archery, Linda in crafts, George was switched to First Aid, and I’m in the newspaper. Look at the jamboree website for the arrival pics and check out the newspaper (our guys are on the front page – he he).

The soccer games started immediately and I saw some of our guys playing. After dinner there was an opening ceremony and welcome by the Camp Chief, John Kennedy, and a parade of the International flags led onto the parade field by a Pipe and drum band. The international flavor was in full swing with 17 countries plus Scotland. The scouts then went to their campsites for a subcamp camp fire. The rain did return but fun was had by all.

Tomorrow the activities start in earnest and I will attempt to follow the guys throughout the week. So =o far everyone is having fun.

Two notable events – Linda is sharing a tent with a Scot named Fergus (I have known him for years over here and he makes the chess pieces) and George and Bethany represented our contingent in the opening ceremony.

I will post pics so you all can catch up.

Till tomorrow.


Blair Calling Tuesday July 20th

Posted by Brett on July 20, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Tuesday, July 20 7:47PM

Greetings from Blair. We arrived OK at camp. A little rain but everything went well so far. I'll do more later this evening as we are getting ready for the opening campfire.


Edinburgh- Castle, Scots, Haggis, and Frankstein

Posted by Brett on July 19, 2010 at 12:59 PM

July 19 Monday

We arrived in Edinburgh yesterday afternoon, Cameron stated "we're not in Kansas are we?", then went shopping for food for dinner - spaghetti. We also got Scots porridge and fruit salad with Birds custard for today's breakfast.

The Gibraltar contingent arrived around 8:45PM and the 2 groups shared the scout hut. To say the Gibs are subdued would be a big fib. Joe immediately said "these guys are cool", that is until 2 in the morning when they were still all awake......

We left the hut around 9 and took the bus into city center and went immediately to the Castle. Did a tour with a real Scot (accent and all) and the guys saw the Scottish Crown Jewels. After the Castle we let the guys wander about in groups to see the Royal Mile.

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Stone are happy to announce that they are the proud parents of a brand new bouncing baby kilt. Cameron found his ancestry on the Boyd clan (part of the Royal Stuart Clan - hoitey-toitey aren't we). We have a new fashion statement going on - look for the blue fleece gang.

We took a special event in the afternoon at Mary Kings Close that gave the guys a great history lesson on what life was in Edinburgh before, during, and after the Plague. Google their website.

We did get introduced to the Scottish wet weather today.

For dinner we are eating (real time here) at the Frankenstein Pub (they have a website if you're interested).

Kind of a last relaxing, mellow day before we hand them off to camp Uncles (than you, thank you, thank you ).

The bus will pick us up at the Scout Hall and I will blog more and post pics as soon as I can.

So far the guys/gal have had a history lesson to beat all history classes. Nothing beats real time experiences. Hopefully, as tired as they might have been, they absorbed much. That's what I hope for all along every time I make this trip. Time will tell, but believe me they have seen and heard a lifetime of experiences in one short week. Camp will bring a lot more.

Thanks for all your hard work and support to the adult leaders to make this happen.

Till next time,

Ray and the tired leaders.

Sunday Morning July 18th The Great Train Blog

Posted by Brett on July 18, 2010 at 6:14 AM

The great train mini Blog

Sunday July 18

Surprise, surprise, the train has power and free wi-fi! Hey AMTRACK - get with the program. After a long night killing zombies and assorted other video creatures at Namco Station, we walked back to BP House over Westminster Bridge past a really beautifully lit landscape of Big Ben, Parliament and the London Eye. I'll try and post some more pictures of that.

We got up for a 7:30 breakfast (late for us, or as the Brits say, we had a bit of a "lie in"). Bags in tow, we were off to Kings Cross Station for the 10:15 Edinburgh train. We get in at appx. 3PM and the Scots will meet us and take the group to the Miller Scout Hall.

The main event this morning was avoiding the flying bird poopage at Kings Cross. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it) some were blessed with accurate target runs. We immediately reminded them of what happened to the sailors on the Black Pearl.

Smooth transition to the train and we have a couple of hours of "rest".

More as soon as I can.

Ray and the adult team

Sunday Morning July 18th The Great Train Blog

Posted by Brett on July 18, 2010 at 6:14 AM

The great train mini Blog Sunday July 18 Surprise, surprise, the train has power and free wi-fi! Hey AMTRACK - get with the program. After a long night killing zombies and assorted other video creatures at Namco Station, we walked back to BP House over Westminster Bridge past a really beautifully lit landscape of Big Ben, Parliament and the London Eye. I'll try and post some more pictures of that. We got up for a 7:30 breakfast (late for us, or as the Brits say, we had a bit of a "lie in"). Bags in tow, we were off to Kings Cross Station for the 10:15 Edinburgh train. We get in at appx. 3PM and the Scots will meet us and take the group to the Miller Scout Hall. The main event this morning was avoiding the flying bird poopage at Kings Cross. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it) some were blessed with accurate target runs. We immediately reminded them of what happened to the sailors on the Black Pearl. Smooth transition to the train and we have a couple of hours of "rest". More as soon as I can. Ray and the adult team

London is Signing Off, Saturday July 18

Posted by Brett on July 17, 2010 at 8:45 PM

I should report that Brett’s heart rate has gone back to normal. We were arriving back from Paris and passed through British Customs and the British Custom agent asked us to “come with her”. Brett immediately though we were getting busted for something. He was in the process of pulling out his emergency card to phone the US Embassy when he realized that the sweet customs lady was a Girl Guide leader and was talking to me about what we were doing and about the Jamborette in Scotland. We gave he one of our crab woggles (slide) and one of our contingent patches for her son. Very nice lady, great conversation, no CPR required.

Moving on to today, Linda and Brett got the head start on Scottish individuals with “Bill the washing Scott”. They volunteered (read coerced) to take the leaders early morning wash (hint hint) laundry to the laundrette. Bill showed them the ropes with the washers and dryers and then proceeded to tell them his whole life’s story.

Brett and I got the kids moving to Hampton Court via Waterloo Station (shades of France) and George and Linda went off to make the pilgrimage to Gillwell (something all Woodbadger’s do). We took a train from Waterloo to Hampton Court to see Henry the VIII’s home away from home. The grounds and gardens were a spectacular sight to see. We had to rescue some scouts from the guard who was looking for someone to behead (believe me is was hard decision). Bethany wanted to go to Windsor Castle to see the Queen. We told her that the Queen wasn’t that accessible and her response was “but she could just be walking around”. Brett decided that her calling wasn’t the field of diplomatic relations. Other comments on the train involved the “cowboy chick” something that opened their eyes. We told the kids about the earthquake and William exclaimed “I traveled 3,000 miles to miss an earthquake?” We had Trevor lead us to the castle from the train station and upon arrival he turned to the leaders, bowed low, and said “one castle Sir”. Ah, it’s nice to see a youth know his place. Saturday was interesting no matter where we went as the girls we observed were showing off their best features. Moving on……. Hampton Court was magnificent and the gun collection impressed Noah (“that’s a lot of guns”;). Lock the door mom, Rambo is coming home soon. I think a NRA membership is in the offing. The maze was a hit with the scouts that tried it and we witnessed the Joe Coyle and his Prancing Ponies brigade (too much Monty Python) go into action and exclaim “charge the castle”. I didn’t have the stomach to watch the impending collision with the battlements.

After Hampton we had Cameron lead us from Waterloo Station to the Bakerloo line. He did a great job navigating us through detoured lines and changes.

We headed towards the Imperial War Museum. What a display of the weaponry of war and an impressive description of the human tragedy and suffering of the WW I trenches (they actually walked through a simulated trench) and another display of what it was like during the London blitzkrieg. The sounds and sulfur smells of the displays made a very realistic presentation.

As we left the museum Luke said there shouldn’t be wars and debated with Brett the uselessness of it all. George and Linda finally joined up with us and we then proceeded on the “hunt for the Rosetta Stone”. We had 2 Brazilian ladies tag along as they were lost and wanted to go to the Museum themselves. This was the Good Turn for the day. We came to the British Museum and went directly to see the Rosetta Stone exhibit. Luckily there were limited crowds and the guys (and gal) got nose close to it. Now they can relate an obscure school history discussion to the real thing. We let them have a short period of time to see the Egyptian exhibits (from what I saw, there’s nothing actually left in Egypt).

After the Museum we returned to BP House for washing and a very painful cleanup of the room led by “George the Terrible”. The other 3 adults decided he was the ogre for the day.

After clean up we went to Namco Station for an evening of silly games, bumper cars, and general fal-der-ral.

OK, that’s it for London. We leave tomorrow morning for Edinburgh. There’s no guarantee we’ll have internet access until camp so I’ll catch up when I can.

Today London…..tomorrow Scotland!

The kids, when asked, all said they were having a great time. That’s what we wanted….. mission accomplished.

The adult team (3 days to freedom……….)

Friday July 17 - Paris

Posted by Brett on July 16, 2010 at 8:49 PM

Paree is on the air

Friday – July 17

Today was exciting – we arose at 4:45 AM (yes you read it right 4:45 AM – after getting to bed at about 1AM) to take the first tube train at 5:40 to St. Pancras (or as the kids say St.Pancreas) Station to catch the Eurostar train to Paris. It is an amazing train, fast and smooth – London to Paris in 2:15 (20 minutes to pass under the Channel). The scouts were amazed, fascinated, awed, stunned, flabbergasted, astounded, and stupefied at this ride. OK, OK, they slept through it (see the big snore).

We arrived at Gare du Nord Station after gaining an hour. Our guide – Pascal – or as George kept saying “Mr. pressure unit” (OK, George C will get it) met us at the station. We climbed aboard the mini bus and were off. We saw Vendame Square where there was Napoleon monument made out of lots of used and melted down cannons – OOOOHH – that’s where they all went!

After that we went to the Louvre and passed the I.M. Pei glass pyramid. We frantically looked for Robert Langdon, but had no luck. Moving on to Notre Dame Cathedral we saw the beautiful stained glass, carved doors, flying gargoyles (which George referred to as “ the best vomiting gargoyles” he had ever seen). Joe C volunteered to play the part of Quasimodo, but we told him he stood a better chance as a gargoyle stand-in. The kids got a life lesson from Pascal regarding “gypsies, tramps, and thieves” while we were there (sorry Cher). By the way, the crab count continues to rise - Joe lost another one in Notre Dame. It’s like the movie “An American Crab in Paris”.

On to the Eiffel Tower…. We had tickets to ascend to the top, which saved us hours in the queue. The view from the top was “maginifique” even though Brett was revisiting his amusement park phobias (and he’s a Hubble Scientist ????). Somehow the smarter members of the group found the elevator to the bottom and the rest didn’t get the memo and walked (limped) to the ground floor. No names mentioned (B,K,N,C). We went to MontMartre via the Arch de Triomphe (the traffic circle from hell) and passed by Brett and George’s favorite shops (their relatives will understand). Since we arrived late at Sacre’ Coeur, we didn’t climb the short (according to Brett) stairs to the top but got a beautiful look anyway.

We stopped at a crepe shop and the kids ”crepped-out”.

We took the Eurostar from Gare du Nord back to London. Another Bethany moment happened when she said “I was disappointed – I wanted to see the water in the Channel”. Blonditis seems to have spread as William joined in and said “that would have been nice”, and Joe (always the thinker – like dad) said “yeah, they should have made the walls out of glass”. To which George responded “it’s only a matter of Pascal”.

Back in London, we did another Harry Potter moment as we made the pilgrimage to Platform 9 ¾.

As we took the tube to BP House Kyle M experienced a magical moment, he was standing by the back door of the tube car and the window was open. So was the window of the next car. His hat magically blew off his head and flew into the next car. One kind gentleman picked it up and handed it back through the openings. Who says pigs don’t fly.

The kids finally stumbled to bed ( ha ha ha ha ha – it’s working, it’s working !!).

Time is crepping along.

Tomorrow (oops, today) we will visit Hampton Court, the Imperial War Museum, and Namco Station.

The giddy adult team.

Tired London Thursday July 15

Posted by Brett on July 16, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Ah – London is still tired but yelling across the big pond anyway.

Can you hear us ? We’ve seen very few comments on the website or by e-mail – did the earthquake do everyone in?

Thursday July 15 11:17PM

Today was a busy day (and I do mean busy) – the adults are starting to question our sanity (oh never mind, it’s only an hour a week – ha ha – the Scouters on this list will understand).

Breakfast was interesting – the scouts seemed to be hibernating bears. That is the den was slow to empty. It was interesting to visit the den and see the carnage – I mean neatness of the room (he he). The carrot was dangled to clean up or no Namco. That should work.

We did do the post office thing this morning – so if you don’t get a card soon – no one loves you.

We went to Trafalgar Square and explained “who was the dude on top of the column?”. History lesson commenced so at least Lord Nelson should ring a bell. We’re trying to make up for the lost tuition things.

Off to Buckingham Palace via the Mall (pronounced maaaaaaaallllll – hey don’t blame me – I may be British by birth but I know what a Mall is!). I should mention that the Mall provided an obstacle course of royal horse do-doo. I guess the royal pooper scoopers hadn’t been out yet. Bethany pointed out that there was a “royal zamboni” parked on the side – we assumed, based on home experience, that it was designed to gently smooth the “stuff” into a homogeneous protective covering for the roadway. I guess that’s better than speed bumps made of it.

We meandered in front of Buckingham Palace admiring the beautiful gates, flowers, and general elegance of the building. From prior years I new that standing by the Victoria memorial to view the events inside the gate was a futile attempt. So we proceeded to Birdcage Walk (who picks these names) and stood in front of the Royal Barracks. The soldiers and band went through a very thorough inspection and drill to prepare them for the march to the Palace. As they started to line up we hot-footed it to a place on the roadway where I knew they would march in front of us (close enough to see the whiskers of the unshaven – not that there would be anyone in the bunch that would dream of it). As we were waiting, a very interesting event occurred – an individual dressed in a very good looking suit carrying a open bumbershoot (you figure that one out) was arrested. It was very interesting to watch and listen to the conversation between the officer and this individual. I have no idea what he did, but there was no disruption, just a discussion that included comments like: “have you ever been arrested before?, why did you do it?, PLEASE stay with me until the car arrives”. All this with a ruckus. Maybe the LAPD should take note. When the band and armed escorts passed us, we then returned to the Maaaaaaaaallllllll to watch the mounted Horse Guards pass as they went to the palace. After that we walked through St. James Park we went by #10 Downing Street. George informed us that there was Aston Martin DB7 parked in front. I guess the job pays pretty well.

After #10 we walked to the Westminster (pronounced, for all you Americans back there, as “West-min-ster” NOT “West-minister”. A dead give away you are from Texas. We got on the boat for a leisurely cruise down the Thames to Greenwich. Unfortunately for us, we picked the ONE DAY in the entire year that they hold a very important race on the river. This event has been going on for 400 years and they closed the river for about 30 minutes. We were excited to see the race pass before us – 3 kayaks and a boat containing an Umpire dressed as Captain Crunch (see picture). Oh well, the Brits really put it on.

Finally we started again to Greenwich. We arrived at the town dock and proceeded to lunch – a oriental soup restaurant that served humongous portions. We figured the kids would be full for the rest of the day – oh yea of silly ideals! Memorable quote from lunch occurred when Bethany (who seems to getting blonder as we go along) was looking at the menu and debated getting a dish that contained duck (or as it seemed to her “mystery meat”;). She asked us “what’s in duck?” Where upon someone responded – “it tastes like chicken”. Off to culinary school for both of them.

We walked up the short hill (another Brett lie) to the Royal Observatory 0 degrees 0 minutes 0 seconds (0° 0’ 0”;). The photos showed some of our scouts in their normal state – between hemispheres. Coming down the hill, Bethany wanted to take a picture of a most elegant doggie poop box (proper British design). There was stick protruding from the opening and Mrs. D attempted to remove it for a better photo op. She pushed the stick inwards and the flap temporarily opened wide. As the odiferous aroma wafted the nearby area, Noah said, with a proper British accent exclaimed “oh it smells! DUH!

As we returned to Greenwich we passed a tattoo shop. One of the scouts asked me if they could get a tattoo. When I responded maybe we should ask their parents first, the response was “oh, they won’t mind”. I’m going to leave it to the parents to decide if your child is the mystery tattoo aficionado. Parents, we have decided to open the nominations from the floor for a tattoo pool. The first correct response to our website comment section wins a kid with a tattoo. Feel free to nominate someone else’s child.

After Greenwich the “Linda hunt” began. To say Linda has a Harry Potter obsession would be a Hogwart sized understatement. We searched for the area where they filmed the scenes for Diagon Alley. We eventually found it (next to the Borg Building, AKA the Lloyds of London building – see the photo). It was actually quite impressive. It must be a good place, as all the bankers in their very proper suits and ties were all gathered for a rousing round of pints – or 2 or 3 or 4…. See the photo in today’s section for reveler control directions.

After ESCAPING Diagon Alley (sorry Linda) we went to the Dickens Inn pub for the British version of pizza. After dinner we went to the Tower to see the Locking of the Keys ceremony. This was arranged by the US Embassy in London for us. This ceremony has been continuous daily tradition for 700 years – except for 1 day during the bombing of London – even then it wasn’t cancelled, it was shortened – they simply “locked the blood doors”. We proceeded back to BP House and ran into a delay on the tube. This seemed to be the day for delays – breakfast, boat ride, tube ride. So we decided to continue the day with a delayed blog.

I do need to mention that Bethany’s heart rate did go up during the tube delay. We were sitting between stations waiting for the train to move and Bethany mentioned that she was nervous in confined spaces. From prior experience I knew that the train’s engine would shut down during delays. I said to her (as we sat there with the engine running in the background) “you don’t have to worry as long as the engine was running”. Not 3 seconds after I finished speaking the engine shut off. The look of absolute panic was a sight to see. Dad laughed his knickers off.

By the way, we are posting a “Big Snore” album in the website photo gallery.

Till next time – ta ta

Thursday July 16th

Posted by Brett on July 15, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Hallo, hallo, a VERY Tired London is attempting to call again

Thursday July 16

Today was Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Changing of the Guards, 10 Downing Street,Thames River cruise, Grenwich and the Prime Meridian, and the Keys ceremony at the Tower of London, late night, early rise tomorrow for Paris.

So, to be completely honest – long day, many activities, tired adults, no blog today. We will update things tomorrow on both days.

We did post some pictures on Kodak Gallery.

Nighty night.

The very tired adult team.

Hallo, Hallo....London Calling Again

Posted by Brett on July 14, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Hallo, Hallo…London calling again

Wednesday July 14 11:00 PM

Just in case you were wondering from yesterday’s pictures, we haven’t seen William or Anthony since yesterday. They were last seen reading something about Berlin…………. (just kidding dads/moms).

The crab count continues to rise (not quite a bushel yet, but the count increases…;). Noah’s crab passed away in his pocket (suffocated by bodily odors no doubt) and William’s became a paraplegic by losing 2 legs. It’s a sad sight to see that crab limping up his neckkie. Joe is setting the record by losing 2 so far. At least today’s passed to the great beyond whilst inside Salisbury Cathedral so he was actually speeded to his resting place in the great crab pot in the sky.

Today started with breakfast at BP House. Brett was really excited to see that there were Boston beans on the menu. He gleefully carted a bowl back to the table where he was heard to proclaim – “they’re COLD!!”. Thank the Gods he didn’t eat them because all the adults would have paid the price later that day.

Noah volunteered to do the hard job of navigating us to the tour bus (actually “minibusshuttle”;). Come on Noah, looking out the front door of the hostel is hardly a brain drain.

We met our tour guide Jonathan (who has led a tour for me twice in the past) and he gave the scouts an overview of our day. So, off we go. Jonathan was pointing out the sights as we were going out of London and made the comment that there was only 1 beer brewery left on London. Compared to the dearth of history knowledge yesterday, we were amazed at the number of scouts that yelled out “FULLERS!!”. OK parents, I’ll let you explain that one…….

We passed the local rugby stadium (80,000 seats) and Jonathan explained that American football is rugby backwards (and they drive in the left?).

Winchester Cathedral was the first stop – they actually forgot to build a church spire – we figured not enough taxes. Winchester turned out to be the home of the W clans (Wickham, Walton, and Walker – ask the scouts) and another dead dude (oops, dudette) – Jane, Austen that is, famous author, never married, just buried (sung to the Beverly Hillbillies theme)….. The scouts learned that a hard hat diver actually went under the church in early 1911to shore up the foundation – yes, underwater, under the cathedral. One scout asked “why couldn’t he have just used a garden hose to drain the water?” Let’s see, 10,000 gallons, one hose……do the math.

We next saw the elite Winchester School for boys (only), Male teachers (only), rich people (only). At $45,000 per year, I don’t want to hear any more complaints from the Spaulding or St. Mary’s crowd.

We left Winchester headed to Salisbury via very picturesque country roads. We saw nekked sheep and “free ranging” pigs (if I owned pigs I’d let them free range in a heartbeat) that lived in pens that bore a remarkable resemblance to sausage casings. The adults figured it was psychological pre-conditioning for the pigs, the ultimate result would be non–neurotic sausage – definitely an organic health food thing. On the way to and from Salisbury we passed quite a few beautifully thatched-roofed houses. The roof is a 2 foot woven reed structure and there is an 18 month backlog. Hey, Anthony C Sr. – here’s a way to branch (reed out) out, come over here, take a new roofing course and write off the trip.

Arriving at Salisbury we walked to the Cathedral and passed the Cathedral School – boys (only), Male teachers (only), rich people (only) – a recurring theme here? William Golding was a teacher at this school – he of Lord of the Flies fame. Hmmm, all boys, all male teachers, wealthy families….guess inspiration is all around. As we approached the Cathedral we noted that the 404 foot Cathedral spire was tilted. We guessed Foundation 101 was an optional course for the builders.

We “ate” the BP House brown bag lunch. George made the comment that he was concerned about any cookie that carried the name “Digestive” (see the photo). His comment was “this could not be good”. The sandwiches were packed in a rather simple (we thought) triangular plastic package. That is until we heard one of the scouts ask “how do I get the sandwich out of here?”. Can you say tuition refund? After “lunch” into the Cathedral. Inside the church one of the sextons did the “water dip stick test” and there was a 4 foot water table under the church (the Winchester diver obviously wasn’t available).

William was the celebrity of the afternoon with his illegitimate ancestry. We found the tomb of his 29th generation removed ancestor – William Longespee – no comment. The cameras were flashing over and over. Hey dad – the tour guide and a plaque on the church verified the “illegitimate” comment from yesterday.

Next off to Stonehenge. As we approached Stonehenge, Bethany asked “what’s that pile of rocks over there? OK Peg, tuition refund! We arrived just in time to see the afternoon helicopter stone lifting for cleaning purposes (see picture). We learned that the reason that some stones had alignment holes on both sides was because, if there were errors in fitting, they simply turned the stones over and made the holes again. We assume that the phrase “measure twice, cut once” started here.

We started back to London and Cameron won the sleeping award! We passed through Chiswick (pronounced, according to the kids “cheese-whiz”;) where I was born. Oh my aching British heart. I don’t think I can eat a true Philly Cheese steak again.

After arriving back at BP House, we went to a local “chippie” and had a fish and chip dinner. Luke wanted to know what the purple things on the plate were (since it’s mom’s favorite color). We told him potatoes (as we didn’t have the heart to say turnips).

Tomorrow we’re off to see Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guards, then a boat cruise on the Thames to Grenwich. After that we will stop by the area where Harry Potter filmed Diagon Alley. When told that, Joe exclaimed “great – I want to buy a wand!” Dad – fear the EXPELLIAMUS!

Good night.

The adult team

London Calling Tuesday July 13

Posted by Brett on July 13, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Well, we’re here (and I’m home….).

To continue yesterday’s saga, another one, oops make that two, bite the dust.

The case of the disappearing crabs continues to grow. Extinction of the entire population is becoming a distinct possibility… at least local branches seem to be threatened. The Kyle M clan has been hard hit with not one but two mysterious abductions to the planet Concrete. Marvin the Martian’s "Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator" (sometimes spelled as "Eludium Pu-36") can’t touch the forces of crab evil we’ve found here.

The flight from Newark consisted of 250 movies, 4,000 songs, 100’s of video games, and very little sleep. The video flight tracker was especially informative as it appears that we are sill in Newark. I just don’t get all the Newarkians with a British accent …. At least it’s not a Brooklyn accent. Noah had a absolute revelation that when different food items come into contact with each other there is no earth shattering effect and could actually be quite pleasant. Cameron won the contest for least amount of sleep --- NONE.

Arriving at 6:12 AM, which was 6 hours of actual flight time but 11 hours of reality time stressed Hermione’s Time Turner.

We arrived so fast in London the customs officials forgot to use their Time Turners.

Kyle D had the job of getting us from Heathrow to BP House and all was well until we reached the steps (no elevator or escalator) of Gloucester Road tube station. Bethany B summed it up beautifully by saying.…. %$#@@#&*&&. Brett wants to let Peg know that Beth has not let one rip yet. I’m not going to ask….

Luggage was left at BP House and we started to leave until someone (I won’t mention any names YNOHTNA) realized he did not have his wallet. It was fun watching his frantic searching routines on the luggage room video camera until he realized it was in his pouch all along… ah, the foibles of the yutes….

First stop was getting to Westminster Abby, choreographed by Joe C. Notable quotes from the group for this experience included, “we’re walking on top of dead guys?”, “why are we going this way?”, George D saying “where the hell’s Newton?” (not the fig variety), “we don’t need no stinkin’ poets”, “wait until high school and you’ll read all these dead guys”. Notable disappointments included William S’s attempt to find Henry the II’s grave (he’s a relative – yeah right – oh, on the “illegitimate side” – that’s a direct quote dad). We noted with sadness that all the classes the parents paid good tuition money for apparently were ill spent when we heard “who is Tennyson…who’s Newton….. and the biggest hurt of all – who’s Baden Powell?”.

The culminating experience was when we played the “let’s sign our tube cards” game outside of the Westminster gift shop. The adults take gleeful perverted pleasure in watching the group squirm when they realize that they may have lost the item we are asking about. Kyle mmmmmmm was a picture of panic and consternation as he rummaged through all his pockets (and I do mean all) multiple times, until he noticed I was holding up a card in my hand that an adult found on the store floor. As a caveat, we are providing learning experiences for the overtired.

The next guide was Christian getting us to the London Eye – that was easy after he looked up, pointed and said “there it is”. Don’t worry we’ll give him a harder one later. On the way Bethany said “I thought he was a hot dog”. You’ll understand when you see the photos for today.

We then followed Brett’s suggestion that we walk from the Eye to the Tower of London. At the end of the “short” hike I thought that the phrase “expelliamus” that was being directed at him was actually going to work. He did say it tired them out.

The Tower was actually a good learning experience, especially when the Yeoman Warder said, after a rather long and detailed history lesson about the Tower, to all the Americans in the audience, “think…all this could be yours too….if you’d only paid your taxes”.

After the Tower, a tube ride back to BP House (a lot of prayers seemed to be answered) and check in, showers, and dinner.

All for today, tomorrow it’s Stonehenge, Winchester Cathedral (no Luke, it’s not the place that makes shotgun shells), and Salisbury Cathedral. The main group question was “are there bathrooms on the bus?”. Go figure (and it wasn’t the girls asking).

The adult team

Monday Newark

Posted by Brett on July 12, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Monday 7/12/10 3:00

By the time you read this we will probably be winging our way over the big pond.

The plane is scheduled to depart at 6:40, assuming no delays.

I want to start this daily blog by saying thanks to all the parents for first, entrusting your child to us, and then for working the past year to raise funds, sew on patches, make payments, sew on patches, attend meetings, buy supplies, sew on more patches, and in general support this endeavor. From past experience I can honestly say that your child will return a changed (for the better) individual. The adults have 2 main goals: 1- to make sure your child is safe at all times, and 2- to make sure your child has the trip of a lifetime. Thanks for allowing us to do that.

OK, now for the gory details so far.

We do have the very sad duty to announce that we had an unexpected premature death in the family this morning.The sudden death of “Chessie” the crab hit us all hard, especially Trevor (but not as hard as it hit Chessie it turned out). You could say it was a shattering experience for Chessie and he will be sorely missed. Trevor took it calmly because, as he said, ”I’ve got more in my bag”. So much for condolences to the family and a period of mourning.

Linda made it known that her crab was a “she crab” (you could tell by the painted claws). I know I purchased male crabs but secret operations can alter things. Oh well, at least they weren’t purple claws.

We were absolutely shocked as were about to taxi to the runway in Baltimore that the pilot came over the intercom and personally had to tell Joe to “sit down and take a seat”. This, after I gave them all the “best behavior” speech. Oh…. that was Jo, the stewardess, …..never mind.

Based on historical precedents, we did have a winner for the “when will they arrive pool”. I know he was at camp the week before and a flight later in the afternoon at the same airport, but we did start the random drawing of time slots for anticipated arrival.

Noah had the best seat in the house on the flight to Newark. He sat right over the screaming squirrel (oops, engine) and was extremely happy when the landing gear (right below him) thunked into position. In fact, when I looked over I at first thought the oxygen bag was hanging down from the overhead compartment.

I assigned the first of many “jobs”to the scouts (getting us from here to there) starting at the Newark airport. When I said get us to our gate, the look of sudden panic on Christian’s face was a Kodak moment. Joe at least has some time to figure out where Westminster Abby is. I did have to point out to him that Westminster Bridge is not the same thing and the cross on the symbol that said Westminster is a tube stop. Oh well, a learning experience is coming for all.

We’re sitting at Newark waiting for the plane to Heathrow (it’s hot here). I probably won’t do another blog until tomorrow evening so until then….


The Adult team.

PS – I’ll try and post some pics before we leave Newark, no promises.