Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

If it’s stopped, it’s parked V

Not much that need to be said at this attempt.

Fully on the footpath and blocking any possibility of a wheelchair user or a pram getting past, they’d have to take to the road, which is a busy main road – and sports (worn out) double yellow lines.

To the left, and not immediately obvious from the pic (it looks as if the footpath just carries on at the same level, but it doesn’t), is a drop of more than 6-inches down into the Tesco Extra car park.

The car park fills up fairly quickly, especially since the other shop units (out of sight to the left) were occupied, but that’s still no excuse for inconsiderate or illegal parking.

I could probably collect a clutch of similar pics on a daily basis, but usually pass when it is quieter (and darker) at night, otherwise it would be like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel.

Baillieston Ford parking

Baillieston Ford parking

April 20, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Satellite 4 the 65th British Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow

I’m almost tempted to use the ‘Better late than never’ excuse for this event mention, but even that barely applies, or excuses, my failure to the notice the arrival of a Glasgow Eastercon.

I don’t really understand how I failed to notice or find Satellite 4, which is the 65th British Science Fiction Convention, taking place in the Crowne Plaza Hotel (next to the SECC) from the18th to 21st April 2014. It’s not all that long since I wrote (elsewhere) about the dearth of Eastercons (or any Science Fiction Conventions) in Glasgow these days, and I even had a hunt around the web for related events, and didn’t come across it. Cons are arranged well in advance of their due date, so I really should have found it. I’ve no idea how I managed to search so badly that I didn’t find this long ago.

(Hopefully I’ll do better in advance of ComicCon, due to take place in September 2014, over the weekend of the 7th and 8th in Hall 4 of the SECC.)

Full details of Satellite 4, its programme, and its Guests of Honour – including British scientist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell – can be found on the official web site:

Satellite 4

The BBC also mentioned it, and I found it there last night:

Sci-fi fans descend on Glasgow for Satellite 4 convention

Space explorer

Space explorer

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

More bricks

After noticing a batch of various brick at Mount Vernon Stadium (or the place that used to be Mount Vernon Stadium) I noticed a few of the bricks I had lying around the garage had different brickmarks (names cast into their faces) than those found at the stadium site. Most of these have been found nearby, some dug up in the garden (which was created around 1930) and kept as they come in handy as supports and props – for everything BUT the weight of a car!

As before, you can look up info on them on these sites dedicated to brickmarks:

Brick Spotting | a search for lost Scottish brickmarks

Old Bricks

Two of these finds are a little more interesting than usual:

The first one is a bit of a wanderer, and how it comes to be in Glasgow is anybody’s guess, since Sandysike and the Sandysike brickworks are described as being in Cumbria, to the north of Carlisle. Being so close to the border, for whatever reason these bricks must have been shipped as part of some contract or larger job.

Brick Sandysike


The next one is a special, larger than a standard brick, and has been glazed, giving it a white edge. One corner is also rounded (see the top left corner as seen below), and around here, this type of brick can still be seen in garden walls, where it forms the top row of bricks, capping the wall with a decorative rounded edge. Not all such walls which are finished in this way used the glazed brick, and most of them are completed using only the plain, unglazed version of the same rounded brick.

These are marked Robert Brown & Son, with the slightly indistinct lower line giving the location of their brickworks, in Paisley.

Brick Robert Brown & Son glazed

Robert Brown & Son glazed

I’ve read about pro-photographers doing odd things to make a shot work, but the glazed faces of this brick were filthy and splashed with tar, so I ended up having to wash and polish the faces before what was left of the white glaze was recognisable:

Brick Robert Brown & Son glazed

Robert Brown & Son glazed

The rest seem to be fairy standard. Broomhouse:

Brick Broomhouse



Brick Dewar



Brick Southhook


April 18, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

It’s a swan – and family to be (but not mine)

A feature post and pic from Zak’s Bute collection today, and I think it’s a beauty.

For strangers to this phenomenon, I should expand on this by noting the presence of a swan family on Bute, which resides in the area of Rothesay castle, and breeds there every year, with the moat providing a handy and safe water feature for their convenience. However, they do go down to the harbour, and to the sea, and when they do, the town can come to a momentary halt and see parents and cygnets enjoy a police escort. See them in this past feature.

April 17, 2014 Posted by | photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s a ladybird

I envy some folk I know, able to drop in pics of various birds, insects, small animals etc without apparently having to hunt them down.

I don’t seem to have that luck, and even snoozing cats seem to detect my presence, and having apparently been motionless for hours, detect the sound of a can opener and decide nap time is over, and nom time has arrived.

I’ve given up trying to catch the occasional arrogant crow/blackbird wandering around the nearby park. Although I can generally get to the point where I’m only a few feet away and ‘trusted’, the exercise generally comes to an abrupt end with the arrival of a mad dog that want to play with the formerly calm and relaxed bird – or on a bad day, I have to wait for the owner to come and detach the randy beast from my leg!

Today was better though, and as I unfolded the handle on my lawnmower, found a sleeping ladybird which was just asking to have its pic taken.

I’m not really set up to take macro type shots, and didn’t have time to spare, but it didn’t come out too bad, although just using an ordinary (zoom) lens rather than a prime lens of some sort means no possibility of an achingly sharp shot. Still, I can dream about quality glass, even if I can’t justify the expense, and it means I just get shots, and don’t get too disappointed.

That must be me reflected in the shiny wing cover.

If the crazy people are to be believed, in their minds it’s now possible to zoom into such reflections and reconstruct the detail of someone’s face, with the authorities using pics and videos from crimes scenes to pick off selected reflections from the surface of people’s eyes. While this is certainly possible with hi-def kit, the chances of it working with CCTV or cameras fitted to phones are slim to nil, and they should maybe stop watching repeats of Bladerunner ;)



April 16, 2014 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

It’s a cat

Today was the first day we’ve had around here that could actually be referred to as ‘warm’.

There was something similar exactly 4 weeks ago, and I even managed to drag out the mower and get an early trim of the grass around the back (which grows some 3-4 times faster than the front), but there’s not been a completely dry day, or one that was not blowing a gale, since then. To be accurate, there was a semi-gale gusting today, but it was not made up of near-freezing wind, so I’m not letting it negate what was an otherwise decent day.

Another factor was the appearance of cat relaxing out of doors.

Scottish cats are not stupid, and can tell what the weather is going to be like in the coming hours, much better than a human or weather forecaster, so when I see one lying around in an exposed position out of doors, well, I know the weather’s getting better.

I also learned a few more photography lessons as well…

I haven’t been able to get out and take any pics recently, and knew my battery (a special, because it’s in a dSLR) was low, but was carrying a replacement.

Not smart enough – when the battery in the camera died while I was using it, I swapped it for the spare… FAIL… although charged a while ago, it was as flat as the one in the camera.

In future, if out of action for a considerable, never mind the charge level – just charge the things before use.

Second lesson was with regard to autofocus selection – this I had recently switched to allow the camera to select the zones used, because the newest camera has so many zones, and I found it was doing a better/faster job than my semi-manual selection.

But while photographing this cat, I noticed the active zones were being picked from the wrong places – but I hadn’t used manually selected zones for so long I couldn’t remember where the menu was (pro-dSLR cost £5,000 and have lots of knobs for good reasons.) It’s also hard to do this quickly when carrying bags too – but that couldn’t be avoided, since it was the reason I was out.

So it pays to remind yourself of the location of important setting when they are buried in menus – and that batteries can go died while you are fumbling.

Still, the pic’s not all that bad, and the cat’s rather nice too (never seen this one before):

Long hair carpet cat

Cat on a bin marks spring’s real start


April 15, 2014 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

The lost part of Sandyhills Park

While writing about some of the prefabs in Glasgow, I remembered that some had been on land which became the foundation for Sandyhills Park once they were razed.

However, that was not the end of the story, and the once attractive and well laid out park (complete with a keep-fit exercise route formed within its paths) was all but destroyed when almost half of it was buried under a later housing development.

While it’s not possible to go back and document or photograph the features which were lost under this development, it is still possible to see the scar along the edge of the park, which marks the line along which the park was cut, leaving the remains to the south, and the development to the north.

In the aerial view below, Lochay Street (which can be seen running west to east across the centre of the view) marks the most noticeable feature which marks the division between the park and the development. The rest of the reclaimed area is generally bordered by what was once the perimeter of the park. Ignoring the original tenements and a few other buildings which have been there since around 1900, all the modern houses that can be seen to the north and east are built on what used to be park, and date from the 1970s.

Other features, such as Sandyhills House which was also nearby, have been lost from the area in earlier developments, and are not related to this change. Interestingly, the lodge which belonged to Sandyhills House still survives, at the corner of Shettleston Road and Glen Ogle Street, having been converted into a modern dwelling.

Fortunately, I happened to be writing the prefab item in March, when there was little undergrowth on the various paths in the park, and the council has been clearing up the dead leaves, fallen branches, and other rubbish that had built up on the ground over winter, so the timing was pretty good to head down there for a walk, and take a few pics of the scar.

I’ve never really thought about it, but I guess anyone new to the area might think things look a little odd, as the paths that used to lead into the northern part of park were just cut off when Lochay Street was built over them, so appear to come to a sudden end for no reason, other than coming to the edge of the road, which looks a bit silly once you have noticed this.

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park at Lochay Street cut

I’ve tried to show all the paths in the pics below, and how they just run into the edge of Lochay Street.

I used to think they might still lie under the road, but if we assume it was correctly constructed, then the paths would have been dug up as the proper foundation was prepared for the road.

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park Lochay St detail

Sandyhills Park Lochay St detail

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

April 14, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow Museum of Transport quietly turns 50

I’m not sure how much fuss was made of the fact that the Glasgow Museum of Transport had made it to 50, having first opened in the former tram depot located in Albert Drive, in 1964. That particular building became available for re-use after 1962, when the last tram ran in Glasgow, and it seems that a handful of enthusiasts was able to take over the building and use it to preserve some of the trams, hence the creation of The Tramway a couple of years later, and the start of a successful museum.

I believe I only visited Albert Drive once before it closed (and the growing collection moved the back of the Kelvin Hall). I didn’t even know it was there until news of the forthcoming move was publicised, and (as I recall) became an issue.)

I didn’t even know that the Apollo 10 command module was once displayed there, together with a piece of moon rock – back in 1971.

I would have been there twice, but on my second trip was waiting to turn right into Albert Drive from Pollokshaws Road – when I was involved in my first RTC (road traffic collision. I was the only car on the junction when I arrived, which is filtered, but the lane to my left was blocked by parked cars, so vehicles wishing to drive ahead had to wait behind me, and I was waiting for a break in the oncoming traffic. All was going well until I heard a bang from behind. Sure enough, there was a car with its front offside corner having an argument with my rear nearside corner. Fortunately, it hadn’t been travelling at more than a few mph, apparently cracking the rear lens cluster and making a barely noticeable crease in the bumper and body. An elderly gent was extracting himself from the offending car, and to his credit was apologising, and saying he thought he could have made it through the gap between my car and cars parked to the left – I might add that the gap he was referring to was about a foot wide!

With nobody hurt, and minimal damage, I just wanted to exchange detail and be on my way, but he insisted on trying to give me £5 to buy a new rear light lens. I explained this was not possible as the car was not mine as such, but was a company car I was responsible for, so we had to just do the insurance thing. He couldn’t quite grasp this, but eventually we did exchange details. Turns out this was a good thing for me, since the obligatory post incident check revealed that his impact had destroyed the whole exhaust system, and concertinaed all the pipes into the silencer bodies. I’d have looked a bit silly handing the boss £5 to cover that, and no insurance details.

Hillman Imp Kelvin Hall

Hillman Imp Kelvin Hall

I never managed to get back to Albert Drive before the move to Kelvin Hall, but I’m glad to say that the location of the former transport museum just across the road from Kelvingrove meant that I couldn’t even start to count the number of visits, since I visits there generally meant a visit to the transport museum as well, making a great day out.

Interestingly, I just learned that the wall of cars, which I have often seen being criticised (negatively, by people who claim the cars can’t be seen) is subject to visitor selection as regards which cars are brought down and shown at floor level. It seems that there is a touchscreen located next to it where visitors can vote for their favourites, and so far, the winner is a Porsche 911 Turbo, which was also (whenever I was there) located just at the front door of the Kelvin Hall entrance.

Coincidentally, it seems to be almost centre of the Riverside image I found below:

Much as I’d like to show something of the original museum or displays in The Tramway, it went away before I could get any – hence the Imp pic from the Kelvin Hall.

April 13, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Five Sisters Zoo survives massive fire of one year ago

Five Sisters logoWe noted the fire that which tore through the Five Sisters Zoo on 14 April last year, killing many of the animals and threatening the survival of zoo itself and even the home of the owners, who have their home on the site.

Thanks to an appeal, and the generosity of the public, more than £100,000 was raised to help with rebuilding.

Only two of the zoo’s 13 meerkats survived, and this week there was news that they had returned to their newly rebuilt home, together with four babies (I gather the correct name is pups) they had produced while waiting to return.

The STV news item includes video of the zoo, and more of the animals that were rescued and survived.

Meerkats back at Five Sisters Zoo a year after it was destroyed by fire | Edinburgh & East | News


April 12, 2014 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

David Hayman to retrace Tom Weir’s way in new tv show – Milngavie Herald

Tom WeirTom Weir, one of Scotland’s best loved walkers and broadcasters, is to be honoured in a new STV series that charts his success.

On Weir’s Way with David Hayman will be shown later in the year and is currently being filmed in locations across Scotland including Applecross, Crianlarich to Oban, Torridon and Loch Maree.

The outdoor enthusiast from Gartocharn was a regular fixture on television with his long running popular Weir’s Way programmes from 1976 to 1987.

The new series follows revered Scottish actor and broadcaster David Hayman as he journeys through some of the most stunning parts of Scotland once explored by Weir.

To commemorate 100 years since the birth of Tom Weir and almost 30 years since he was last on screen with Weir’s Way, David Hayman will follow in Tom’s footsteps exploring the communities that contribute to Scotland’s unique and beautiful rural environment and see now much it has changed over the last three decades.

Via David Hayman to retrace Tom Weir’s way in new tv show – Milngavie Herald.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 303 other followers