Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Scotland Travel Day: Days 0 and 1, August 25-26, 2017

Just after 3:00 pm Friday August 25, 2017 we took an Uber to Dulles Airport.

Going through TSA there was no issue with my refrigerated growth hormone injections.

The Omnitrope was in its own case from the manufacturer.

I put that in that new iCool weekender case I’d bought for this trip.  I chose this one for these reasons:

  • For vials or pens (insulin, growth hormones, L-Thyroxin, polyarthritis medication)
  • Keeps your medication between 36°F – 46°F (2°C – 8°C) for 12 hours (I knew this trip would be about 20 hours, start to finish)
  • The iCool bag uses a new generation of chemical gel pack that generates very little condensation and have a slower thawing period than traditional ice packs. This allows patients with diabetes or those using temperature sensitive medications to transport their medications for a longer cooling period. The iCool Weekender keeps insulin or other temperature sensitive medications cool for up to 12 hours at 36°F – 46°F (2 to 8°C). This bag can carry either pens or vials. There is enough space inside to store needles.

I had the gel pack from the iCool frozen solid and put that in a small Rubbermaid lunch bag with 2 thin ice packs,  1 on top and 1 on the bottom.  If you don’t want to read all the way to the end, this system kept the growth hormone cold for the 20 hours going and returning but the 2 thin blocks had completely thawed.  The inner iCool was mostly frozen and the growth hormone was still cool.


I had the sharps separately in a little square container with just enough for the week.I used the side pocket of the lunch bag to store my doctor’s note and clipped the whole thing with a carabiner to my backpack.

I also found a smallish sharps disposal container, although this was still kind of big for my needs, it was better than taking the whole huge one that’s in my bathroom.  This worked well and I have enough for 5 more trips 🙂

And that’s about it for medical information, at least until we get to Heathrow 🙂

Our first flight out of Dulles there was a lot of turbulence over the ocean.  Possibly due to Hurricane Harvey.  Apparently, they flew faster to get out of the turbulence and we landed early in London Saturday morning.

We walked for what seemed like forever to get to Customs.  Then, since we were coming from outside the UK we had to leave security area and go through TSA again.

I told the agent I was carrying refrigerated medications and she read the doctor’s letter.  Everything seemed like it was going well until I was flagged for more screening 🙁  I had to take all the stuff out of my carefully packed Growth Hormone bag and everything else was taken out of my backpack to be swabbed down.

Not fun.

The next plane to Inverness was announced at 9:00 am (Saturday morning) so we moved to that gate.  Tom went to the restroom.  Turns out that gate was actually down an elevator.  I texted Tom that we had to move along.  Then they said the flight was closing.  Another text to Tom.

He arrived and we hustled down 2 escalators and onto a bus that said “Final Passengers”.  We were among the last people on the small plane.

We had to walk up stairs to get on the plane, then back down when we arrived.  I could already feel my knee hurting.  There was no turbulence on the short flight, though.

We arrived in cold/rain.  Of course.

Scotland 2017, Day 0

The luggage arrived and we got our rental car and headed off.


We saw lots of sheep, of course.

We arrived in Aviemore and saw lots of bikers.  This is their answer to Sturgis, I guess.



Thunder in the Glens


Thunder in the Glens has become one of the major events in the UK for Harley-Davidson fans, with people traveling from all over the world to enjoy the event. It is now officially the largest Harley Davidson rally in the UK with an ever growing number of loyal fans.

Enjoy over 60 trade stands supporting local charities and groups, H-D demo bike rides, Jeep demo drives, Custom bike show, Outside entertainment, Scottish Knights battle scenes, Off road motorbike riding.

Saturday Mass ride out to Grantown on Spey starts at 12.00 noon. Sunday 2.00pm to 4.00pm – charity rides on the back of a Harley-Davidson in Rally Village.

From Harleys 2017 Thunder in the Glen aviemore

We arrived at our place.  Luckily, we knew where it was because we’d been here before.  According to RCI (the timeshare company that got us this place, it’s called Macdonald Craigellachie Chalets.  According to the place, it’s called Macdonald Spey Valley Golf and Country Club, or Dalfaber Golf and Country Club or Dalfaber Village or…???

We couldn’t check in until 4:00 pm so we had a bite to eat while we waited.  UntitledI had Scotch broth.  I haven’t had that for years and years – yummy!

Scotch broth is a filling soup, originating in Scotland (DUH!). The principal ingredients are usually barley, stewing or braising cuts of lamb or mutton (hopefully not relatives of those sheep we saw earlier), root vegetables (such as carrots, swedes [rutabaga], or sometimes turnips [aka neeps]), and dried pulses (legumes, most often split peas and red lentils).

Cabbage and leeks are often added shortly before serving to preserve their texture, color and flavors.

Tom had a club sandwich – and lost a crown 🙁

The club room had a Snooker table.  I didn’t know what snooker was, although the table looks like a pool table.  It sounds quite complicated according to Wikipedia.

We finally got the key and started driving around trying to find our chalet. Then we went back to main desk for better directions and finally found it.

After 20 hours at 4:15pm  (11:15 am at home) I finally removed the growth hormone from the cases.  The 2 ice packs had melted but the GH in its weekender case was still cool and that gel pack mostly frozen.  A good solution except for issues at Heathrow.

Then, the usual unpacking, charging electronics, short naps.

Then off to Tesco for some grocery shopping.  The streets were crowded with bikers, drinks in hand, oblivious to traffic.  There was a long queue in the grocery near their customer toilets.  Lots of folks wandering around the store, not necessarily with any items in their carts.

We spent 52.60 pounds (67.88 US Dollar in Sunday’s exchange)

Coconut rum and tropical juice (orange, apple, pineapple, pomegranate, banana, and mango) makes an interestingly passable drink.

We watched a show on BBC about royal life, divorces, Diana and Captain Phillips, a movie we saw on a cruise

I didn’t read my Kindle at all first night. Instant sleep!

Busy Saturday!



Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship

Saturday, April 23, 2016
Competition Noon-5:00 PM
Awards and Massed Piping Performance 6:00 PM

No other event in the United States will feature this many top-level pipe bands.

The Virginia International Tattoo will host the first annual Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship on Scope Plaza in Norfolk, Virginia. The competition, which coincides with the Tattoo performance weekend, will feature Grade 1 and Grade 2 pipe bands from around the world.

Bands will compete from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Scope Plaza, and awards will be presented at 6:00 PM followed by a massed piping performance.

Vendors will be on- site for all of your food and drink needs.

GRADE 1—Top Grade

Inveraray & District Pipe Band, United Kingdom

Peel Regional Police Pipe Band, Canada

Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band, United Kingdom

Toronto Police Pipe Band, Canada


Great Lakes Pipe Band, United States

MacMillan Pipe Band, United States

Midlothian Scottish Pipe Band, United States

New York Metro Pipe Band, United States

Read the press release.

Virginia International Tattoo Hullabaloo

April 23, 2016, 4:30 – 7:30

Scope Plaza, Norfolk

This is a happy hour like no other! Three hours of non-stop performances, craft beer and tasty treats. Expect performances by international military bands, dancers, drill teams and some of our favorite local dancers and musicians.
The Hullabaloo is a perfect opportunity to shake hands with an active duty soldier and get a selfie with an Australian highland dancer.
Get tattooed three hours prior to the Tattoo!

DrumLine Battle

April 23, 2016, 5:00 PM
Scope Plaza, Norfolk

DrumLine Battle is back! A favorite event of the 2015 Hullabaloo, DrumLine Battle showcases marching percussion ensembles of any instrumentation and any skill level year-round, spotlighting their unique talents and creativity in a high energy face-to-face competition. You might see a Canadian pipe band versus a German military band or a Swiss drum corps versus an American fife and drum band!


Check out 2015 matches!

The 20th Annual Virginia International Tattoo

A Time to Celebrate- 20 years of Spectacular Performances

A Time to Remember- 20 years of Service and Sacrifice

Saturday, April 23, 7:30pm 

The 2016 Virginia International Tattoo will celebrate the past 20 years with an extraordinary, once in a lifetime cast of performers and a recorded video tribute by General Colin Powell with script by legendary war correspondent Joe Galloway.

Included are the Swiss drum corps Top Secret, a Dutch Band on Bicycles, world champion pipers from the Highlands of Scotland, a massed choir of EPIC proportions, and the very finest performers the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have to offer.

The heartbeat of the Virginia International Tattoo is always its extraordinary international cast. Every year, the Tattoo includes military bands, drill teams, bagpipers, drummers, celtic dancers, choirs and more from around the globe to create a spectacular performance.

Each year the cast is different but the spirit of the cast remains the same. We invite groups from the U.S. and our key allies who epitomize talent, discipline, hard work and pride. Whether they are young civilian dancers from Canada or military pipers with combat experience from Scotland or our local Navy Band nicknamed “The Finest of the Fleet”, these performers and their passion for the traditions and cultures that they represent will inspire you.

2016 Cast


51 ACU Swan Regiment Drums and Pipes

In 2002, the 51 Army Cadet Unit was formed when the 2/28th Battalion and the 24th Anti-Tank Company Association members donated funds for the purchase of 21 drums and 21 Australian National Flags. Each flag was a representation of the 100 former members killed in action in World War II. When bagpipes were added to the mix in 2011, the Drum Corps transformed into the Drums and Pipes, as seen today.

Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pipe Band

The Presbyterian Ladies’ College was founded in 1915 in Perth, Western Australia, with a strong Scottish heritage. In 1934, the Black Watch tartan uniform was introduced. The Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pipe Band was formed in 1980 and today these two icons have become tangible reminders of the heritage.

OzScot Australia Highland Dancers

First established in 2000, the OzScot Australia Highland Dancers is a team of 24, ranging in ages 15-25. What is so interesting about this team is that the first time they work together is upon arrival at the international event they are performing. These dancers all have held or are currently holding titles and all hale from various parts of Australia, representing the Celtic community of Australia and promoting the country, highland dancing and friendship.


8 Wing Trenton Royal Canadian Air Force Pipes and Drums

The Canadian Forces Base 8 Wing Trenton Pipes and Drums represents the Canadian Armed Forces, specifically the Royal Canadian Air Force and is comprised of both current serving members, some being veterans of the Bosnia conflict and the war in Afghanistan, and civilian volunteers. The band carries with it all calibers of players from beginners to those who compete professionally and at the World Pipeband Championships in Grade 1.

Heeresmusikkorps Kassel, German Army Band Kassel

The Heeresmusikkorps Kassel was formed in 1956 and is the only military band of the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces of Germany) in the state of Hesse. This Army orchestra plays all over the globe, performing in both modern and traditional styles while “presenting musical culture in its most beautiful form.”

Jordanian Armed Forces Bagpipe Band

The Jordanian Armed Forces Band was established in 1921 with a core of 10 musicians. In the decades to come, the full band, seven musical groups including an orchestra, was formed includes more than 500 musicians today. Forty members of the Bagpipe Band are participating in this Tattoo.

Band of the Netherlands Mounted Arms Regiment

The Band of the Netherlands Mounted Regiment is one of the two professional orchestras within the Royal Netherlands Army and the only full-time professional military fanfare orchestra in the world. The band continues the traditions of the Bicycle Music Corps, sporting uniforms issued in 1914, playing on the period-correct bent instruments and even performing while riding bicycles.

Top Secret Drum Corps

Formed in 1990 by a group of enthusiastic, talented young drummers from the Swiss city of Basel, Top Secret’s energetic and unpredictable drumming performances incorporate the traditions of Basel, Scottish and American styles. Top Secret’s members are highly dedicated drummers with diverse backgrounds.

Inveraray and District Pipe Band

Stuart Liddell, one of the world’s top solo players, began coaching 5 younger pipers in 2003, calling itself the Inveraray Piping Project. The Inveraray and District Pipe Band were officially formed in 2005. Their first performance took 13th of 17 spots in the Novice Juvenile Division at Cowal Games with borrowed drums and its young members in uniforms of various colors. Fast forward to 2015 and the Inveraray and District Pipe Band has become a leading competitor in Grade 1 Division competitions.

Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band

The Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band is a Grade 1 pipe band from Fife, Scotland, and was established in September 2007. The band’s first competition at the Dunbar Highland Games in May 2008 saw them awarded first prize in Grade 1. In August of the same year the band made their first appearance at the World Pipe Band Championships and gained entry into the Grade 1 final, having achieved second place among fourteen bands in the morning qualifying round. Consistently a top 12 competitor, Police Scotland Fife is a band to watch in the 2016 competition season!

Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums

The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums are musical ambassadors for Colonial Williamsburg and perform there nearly 500 times a year. The Fifes and Drums are composed of boys and girls from the local community aged 14–18. They represent the Virginia State Garrison Regiment of 1778, whose field musicians were vital to commanders for marching the regiment in proper cadence and for beating daily ceremonies—Reveille, the Assembly, the Retreat, and the Tattoo.

Granby High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps

Established in 1972, Granby High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps is one of the largest NJROTC units in the Hampton Roads Area. They were recognized with The Navy League’s 2011-2012 Most Outstanding NJROTC unit in Area 5 and the #2 NJROTC in the nation and awarded the Naval Service Training Command Distinguished Unit award with academic honors.

Hampton Roads Police Color Guard

With a mission to protect and serve, members of the Chesapeake and Norfolk Police Departments proudly represent their cities in a display of integrity and honor.

Quantico Marine Corps Band

Established in 1918, the Quantico Marine Corps Band is one of the oldest professional musical ensembles in the Marine Corps. With an authorized strength of one officer and 50 enlisted Marines, the band has performed at many recognized civilian events; including the Super Bowl XLI Pregame Show, the 9/11 Memorials at Carnegie Hall and the Town Arts Theatre, Times Square, the Macy’s Thanksgiving and Columbus Day Parades in New York City, numerous appearances at The Virginia International Tattoo, and the Opening Ceremony for the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The band’s mission is to provide musical support that will encourage community relations, enhance troop morale, and promote the Marine Corps recruiting program through its demanding performance schedule. As well as musical support, the members of the band also fulfill their duties as Marine Riflemen. In support of the War in Iraq, 17 members of the band were attached to Task Force National Capitol Region and deployed conducting combat operations. These Marines returned to the band in June 2008.

Rhythm Project All Stars

The Rhythm Project is a world percussion ensemble dedicated to the nurturing of self-esteem through individual and cooperative achievement. Founded in 1996 by the Virginia Arts Festival, the Rhythm Project consists of four elementary and middle school groups along with the premiere high school ensemble, the All Stars, who will be performing at this year’s Tattoo.

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band

The TRADOC Marching Band supports larger reviews and parades for Headquarters TRADOC and Fort Eustis. The TRADOC Band’s mission is to provide music for Headquarters, TRADOC’s areas of interest by fostering Soldier and family morale, ‘Telling the Army Story’ to the civilian community, and supporting the strategic messages of the Commanding General, TRADOC. The Marching Band is featured at the Virginia International Tattoo in Norfolk, Virginia every other year, where it performs for over 30,000 in the largest military tattoo in North America. The Marching Band can also be seen at many area Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day Parades.

U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team

Members of the Drill Team have double duties in the Honor Guard where their duties include Firing Party, Body Bearing Team and Colors. When not involved with their Honor Guard duties, the Drill Team is on the road, representing the Coast Guard in a wide variety of parades, competitions and celebrations.

Coast Guardsman who apply for a position on the Drill Team work closely with members of the present Drill Team to prepare for their first performance. Once a prospect has advanced in his or her initial training they are placed in an actual Drill Team performance. If the member successfully completes the performance with no flaws they are then accepted on the Drill Team where they continue to hone their skills.

In order for the team to become one cohesive unit they practice five days a week for a minimum of two hours each day.

U.S. Fleet Forces Band

Known as “The Finest of the Fleet”, the band is the musical representative for Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, VA. The band provides musical support for ships, military bases, foreign dignitaries and community events throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio River Valley areas of the U.S. and also regularly deploys to Central and South America.

U.S. Marine Corps FAST Co.

These highly trained Marines provide limited duration expeditionary antiterrorism and security forces in support of designated component and geographic combatant commanders in order to protect vital naval and national assets. Conduct other limited duration contingency operations as directed by the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command. Their Mission Essential Tasks are to provide forward deployed, expeditionary antiterrorism and security forces to support designated commanders, protect vital national assets, establish or augment security and to maintain permanent forces to provide security for strategic weapons at designated facilities. At the Tattoo, FAST Co. will provide a military skills demonstration that illustrates the fitness of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Virginia International Tattoo All-American Chorus

800 singers will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Virginia International Tattoo. The Virginia International Tattoo All-American Chorus is the largest gathering of voices ever to be in the Tattoo! Dr. Craig D. Jessop, Professor of Music and founding Dean for the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University and former music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will conduct the chorus in performing a premiere piece created just for this event. Participating choruses include: Booker T. Washington High School Chorus, Churchland High School Chorus, Granby High School Chorus, Kempsville High School Chorus, Lake Taylor High School Chorus, Landstown High School Chorus, Maury High School Chorale, Norview High School Chorus, Old Dominion University Concert Choir, Visual & Performing Arts Academy at Salem High School, Virginia Children’s Chorus, Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

Wake & District Pipe Band

Based in the City of Raleigh, North Carolina, the Wake & District Public Safety Pipes and Drums (Wake & District) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to improve piping and drumming quality, culture and tradition in the region. Established in 2006, the program honors those who sacrifice their lives while serving others, standing for the motto “FOR OUR FALLEN”

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