Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Little 7-week old kitten found on Edinburgh bus

I usually mention ‘lost cat’ stories on the off-chance that the owner or a friend might recognise the subject, and be reunited.

But that’s probably not so in this case, as the subject is a little kitten, said to be only 7-weeks old, and which turned up in a number 3 Lothian Bus headed to Longstone.

This one’s just included on the basis of massive amounts of cuteness.

Named ‘Ticket’, this one is possibly too young to have an owner, and somehow strayed onto the bus – although it’s reckoned that the platform is just too high for it too have jumped on by itself.

So it’s a bit of a mystery.

Ticket was taken to the Scottish SPCA‘s Edinburgh & Lothians rehoming centre.

Seven-week-old kitten found on number 3 Lothian Bus in Edinburgh | Edinburgh & East | News

Bus kitten Ticket

Bus kitten Ticket pic via Scottish SPCA

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Nikola Tesla Day – July 10

I can’t recall coming across this particular memorial before, and when I looked at the related information sites for Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943), while they mentioned the efforts made to create this day, and they showed various letters and representation dating back to 2002 (where I looked), none of them appeared to show any document that confirmed which year July 10 was officially confirmed as being Nikola Tesla Day.

(Having done some more reading, after writing the above, I think that 2014 might have been the inaugural year of the day).

Nikola Tesla Time cover of 1931

Nikola Tesla Time cover of 1931

I had intended to pick some interesting links and articles to share with those who are still unaware of just who Nikola Tesla was, and why he is so important to those of us involved in any sort of electrical and/or electronic engineering, but to be brutally honest, most of the web sites are simply just an embarrassment to his memory.

I don’t normally suggest referring to Wikipedia for information, not because there is anything wrong with it, and I am an advocate of the creation, but I usually consider sending anyone to a source they could obviously look at for themselves to be lazy. It is a reference, not a source of original information (which many people seem unable or unwilling to understand), and links should normally be given to sources, not references, if for no other reason than they can change over time, while original sources should not.

But in this case, I will point those unfamiliar with Tesla to the Wikipedia article: Nikola Tesla

And I do so because it does not dwell on the fringe lunacy which unfortunately pervades any specialist/fan sites claiming to honour the man, but which do the opposite.

I also have to include: Tesla Memorial Society of New York

Unfortunately, not allowed to be embedded in WordPress, the film given in the link below dates from 1980 and I believe gives a good account of Tesla’s life and work:

Nicola Tesla – 1980 Yugoslav film

This serious article from The Smithsonian also caught my eye recently, not least because it concludes with the sad decline of Tesla and his mind towards the end of his life.

It mentions the Wardenclffe Tower, Tesla’s downfall project which many of the loonies and ‘free-energy conspiracists’ cling to so desperately today, quoting and referring to it as if it was some sort of suppressed technology, rather than a fundamental mistake. The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics effectively demonstrate the errors of the concept, and quosh any thought that power could be distributed around the World by such a tower – but facts have no place with such advocates, who think power can be magicked out of thin air.

The Rise and Fall of Nikola Tesla and his Tower | History | Smithsonian

I’m not going to name any other sites, merely refer to the general disrespect many sites which claim to be dedicated to Tesla actually display, as they concentrate not on his career, work, developments, patent, and the many problems those brought, but on the last few years of his life, where I believe it is clear that all those problems and disappointments affected his mind, and when he was no longer working productively. Then, he turned to more fanciful and imaginative thoughts, ideas, and projects, such as death rays and wireless transmission of electrical energy.

Sadly, it is often for these last items that his name is used, and conspiracy theorists speak of his work being stolen and suppressed, and his research destroyed.

Funny how it’s all the controversial stuff that not only disappeared, but cannot be reproduced or repeated even today, yet all his earlier work can, as is all the development that followed it.

Nikola Tesla c. 1890

Nikola Tesla c. 1890

Sadly, I can’t make the loonies that have hijacked Tesla, his work, and his memory for their own selfish purposes and agenda, and use his name to give their failed theories and ideas some sort of credibility by association. Significantly, when pressed for evidence, their response is usually something mumbled along the lines of it having been stolen (by the government or some secret agency acting on its behalf or instructions). Assume for a moment we join their flight from reality – If all these wonderful inventions were indeed stolen (as they put it) by government, or other, agencies – they have they never used or developed them? If the resulting devices they supposedly produce were in existence, then whoever had them would hold considerable power, yet no-one appears to be in such a position, or even be threatening to deploy any of the stolen technology.

Why not? Could it be that it exists nowhere other than inside the heads of these people? And that they are little more than con-artists, getting funds on promises, or selling their useless device to the gullible? Their devices never seem to work, and they tend not to hand them over to real laboratories for independent testing. So, I know what I think of them.

But if I can do nothing else, I can ask that when you read items about UFOs, various forms of ‘Infinite energy devices’, Free energy devices’, non-existent death rays and the like, and when the authors use Tesla’s name as some sort of justification for their silliness, ignore them, and treat them with the contempt they deserve for stealing someone’s good name and reputation for their own disreputable purposes.

Read more on Tesla and current events

There’s not much point in me doing yet another summary of some of Tesla’s achievements, or even recounting the problems that came between Tesla and Edison.

On the latter point, I tend to agree with the suggestion the we need BOTH Teslas and Edisons. Both are needed in order to innovate and move things forward. That they might disagree and end up head to head – that’s just the way life happens.

The Tesla Museum is set to become a reality, and this is no small part to recent appeals, and Elon Musk, who named his company’s electric car after Tesla:

Elon Musk Donates $1 Million to New Tesla Museum

Notably, he assisted with the original campaign to save the original museum at Wardenclyffe. Now there will be a NEW museum on the site.

Photos: Tesla’s Lab at Wardenclyffe

Happy 158th, Nikola Tesla! Strange Facts About the Inventor

Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison: Who Was the Better Inventor?

A mention for Teslamania, Toronto, CanadaTeslamania

A little too far for me to have a look at, but just got word of:

TeslaMania 2014 – Nikola Tesla Festival and Expo

Described as four days to “Celebrate the Visions, Inventions and Life of Nikola Tesla”, this takes place from July 10 to July 13, 2014.

I have to say I don’t have any first hand experience of this event, but the agenda suggests it revolves around the more serious aspects of Teslas’s work.


July 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Anstruther exhibition honours fishermen killed in the First World War


World War I was not confined to the more well known venue of The Front, but also extended into the sea, with German submarines deployed in order to disrupt supplies – fishermen working off the coast were potential targets:

A new exhibition has been launched to honour the fishermen who died in service during the First World War.

Anstruther was one of the fishing communities affected when war broke out, as fishermen were called to fight.

Many men from Scotland’s fishing industry went to fight in the conflict, and fishing regions were highly affected by the injuries and casualties they suffered.

David Christie from Anstruther sank a German U-boat in 1918. His granddaughter Davina Knox has the casing of the shell and his medal.

She said: “They were on a drifter patrolling the Irish Channel and they only had one gun on board the ship and this U-boat must have come up and they had a wee battle seemingly and they fired a direct hit and they took the 36 men prisoner. There was no loss of life.”

David Christie’s story features in a new exhibition at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in the town.

via Anstruther exhibition honours fishermen killed in the First World War | Dundee & Tayside | News.

The First World War had both personal and collective impacts on those involved, whether they were away fighting or at home.  In this exhibition we explore the specific effects that the war had on those who made their living from the sea.  Using objects from our collections and individual stories of those affected we paint a national picture of the war in Scotland’s coastal communities.

At the beginning of the war many fishermen entered the services and swapped the familiar hazards of life at sea for the dangers of the trenches or naval work.  For those who stayed at home fishing became severely restricted.  Fishermen were left with very small areas left to fish in and many boats were requisitioned for the Navy.

Exhibition Dates:

28th June – 26th October

Entry : included in museum admission, accompanied children FREE

A Shared Experience · What’s on · Scottish Fisheries Museum

June 30, 2014 Posted by | Maritime, military, Naval, Transport, World War I | , | Leave a comment

Map of Scotland’s wild land published

I’ve been watching this map being drawn together for some years, and confess that I’m not entirely sure what it will be used for, so am interested to see the comments made by SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage) and will be watching the media to see where it is mentioned in the coming years.

If not familiar with ‘wild land’, then some idea of what is meant can be gained by referring to this publication: Scottish Planning Policy (paragraph 128) which states: “The most sensitive landscapes may have little or no capacity to accept new development. Areas of wild land character in some of Scotland’s remoter upland, mountain and coastal areas are very sensitive to any form of development or intrusive human activity and planning authorities should safeguard the character of these areas in the development plan.”

In publicising the availability of this new map, the media noted:

Scottish Natural Heritage has published its final version of a map showing where Scotland’s wild land is.

The 42 areas include large parts of the Cairngorms and Wester Ross and also places in Argyll, the Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland and south of Scotland.

In total, the areas cover 19.5% of Scotland and the new map replaces one published last year.

The map has been produced to support the Scottish government’s new National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy.

SNH said the map identified the most extensive areas of the “highest wildness in Scotland” that were considered nationally important.

Ian Jardine, SNH chief executive, said the map would guide development in areas recognised as wild land.

He said: “The planning documents launched today do much more than recognise the importance of the wild land resource.
Stac Pollaidh Scotland’s landscape has been described as a key asset

“They also recognise the extensive role of nature and landscape in the wider sense, and people’s enjoyment of it, in achieving sustainable economic growth.”

Via: Wild land map published for Scotland

This is the link to the map itself:

Mapping Scotland’s wildness – Scottish Natural Heritage

Wild Land

Wild Land – Crown Copyright image

June 23, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Maps | , , | 1 Comment

Now Ayrshire potatoes seek Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status


Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is something we’ve covered before, and seems to becoming quite the thing these days, which is both a good thing, and a bad thing.

I’d say it’s good because it shows the status is available, and is being used (how effective is, I don’t know, because I can’t recall seeing any cases in the media – yet).

On the other hand, it’s a bad thing (the occurrence, not the status) because it shows that there are unscrupulous people out there who are happy to piggyback their counterfeit businesses on the back of the genuine success of others, and steal their reputation.

A BID for Ayrshire potatoes to be given the same special status as Arbroath smokies and Stornoway black pudding is being backed by both the Scottish and UK governments.

Producers are expected to announce they are to apply for Ayrshire early new potatoes – also known as Ayrshire earlies – to be awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.

If successful, it would mean only selected potatoes, grown in the region and which were harvested in the period May to July, could be officially branded as Ayrshire earlies.

Such a move could help raise awareness of the potatoes throughout Europe.

The application has been worked on by the Ayrshire Growers Group, Girvan Early Growers, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Albert Bartlett, who supply the potatoes through the Scotty Brand.

Via: Holyrood, Westminster back Ayrshire potatoes bid – The Scotsman

June 22, 2014 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sir jackie Stewart chosen to advise on motorsport safety

I was pleased to see that Sir Jackie Stewart was chosen to assist with a review of motorsport safety after the recent tragedy in the Borders:

MOTOR-RACING legend Sir Jackie Stewart is to give expert advice to the Scottish Government’s review of motorsport, set up to examine safety after the loss of life at the Jim Clark Rally last month.

The former Formula One world champion has spent much of his life fighting for improved safety at motorsport events.

Sir Jackie, 75, began his campaign after witnessing the deaths of fellow competitors including Scot and world champion Clark, who died at Hockenheim, Germany, in 1968.

Via Jackie Stewart to advise on rally safety review – The Scotsman

(Apologies if you see a blank box below, it seems that Getty has changed its coding, and their shared library images are no longer appearing as expected.)

While Sir Stirling Moss is often the name quoted, even today, when motorsport is referred to, his views are generally less than relevant or sensible, as he seems to be stuck in some sort of male-dominated macho past, where risking your life is essential to the nature of the sport, and he has also managed to put his foot in his mouth on at least one occasion, when referring to women’s place in this venture.

While I wouldn’t be too interested in taking his (Sir Stirling Moss’s) safety advice – if he were to offer it – Sir Jackie Stewart has been noted for is relevant views on the matter, and his own move out of the sport while he was still alive, and it was possibly at its most dangerous.

As regards observing at rallies, it’s something I’ve had the opportunity to do on few occasions, not because of lack of interest, but because I always thought I could see more by watching the televised reports. Being there in person may offer the experience, but is also limited to the spot you can visit, while the stages cover a much greater distance.

I did visit Ingleston to see the last appearance of the Group B cars before they were banned, and where they put on a great show of their power.

And I watched a stage that took place in Strathclyde Park, where I was reasonably close to becoming a victim in a corner incident – one car failed to negotiate a turn and came of the park road, spun, and took out the 4×4 wooden barrier which marked a pedestrian crossing, where a photographer had set up his tripod and had to run for his life. I was standing a few metres behind. I even got some pics of the aftermath, but they’re on film so I can’t slip them in here. On the other hand, they don’t show much, just the broken barrier stumps in the ground.

I never liked attending rallies, and did so only a few times, as the way many spectators ignore their own safety (and that of the drivers) by getting onto the road until the last moment (possibly in order to get a ‘great’ pic) was very off-putting, and I was always worried by those antics. I much preferred Knockhill.

However (and this is no reflection or comment on the Borders incident, of which I have no knowledge), it’s hard to see what you can do to protect people from themselves, without being overly protective, or even closing the stages.

The outcome will be interesting.

June 21, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

A sub on the Clyde

I always mean to share these sub pics (hard to find something that better links to ‘secret’), but always seem to get diverted by something or other, so decided to ‘try harder’ this time.

One reason I usually fail is because I like to identify things I mention, but in the case of the subs that show up on the Clyde, I don’t seem to have any obvious reference to check with in order to find out which one is on show – so I didn’t even bother this time.

As always, pics like these are courtesy of Zak, and you can see the rest for this day at: 20th June photo – Zak photos at

June 20, 2014 Posted by | Naval, photography | , | Leave a comment

Hall’s reclaims World Record title for haggis


Frightening to think what this haggis would have looked like if it been met in the wild, being the size of a small elephant:

The record for the world’s largest haggis has been broken by a massive 1.01 ton pudding.

The haggis was made and cooked at Hall’s in North Berwick before being put on the back of a lorry and taken to the Royal Highland Show for the all-important weigh-in on Thursday.

It tipped the scales at 1.01 ton, or 2227lbs – a whopping 993lbs heavier than the previous record.

Measuring more than 2.5m long, 1m wide and a metre high, the recipe included 750lbs of oats and almost 90lbs of onions.

The attempt was overseen by Mark McKinley from Guinness World Record, who confirmed it had made it into the record book.

After the weigh-in, Cameron Hill, 15, from Kilmarnock performed the address to the haggis before it was dished out.

The haggis, which took 25 and a half hours to cook, will be sold in individual portions to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and a selection of children’s charities.

Via: One ton pudding breaks world record for world’s largest haggis | Edinburgh & East | News

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

Approval of outline designs for Rothesay Pavilion

While I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was worried about the future of Rothesay’s iconic Art Deco pavilion, that doesn’t mean I don’t still harbour some concerns.

Although I don’t see the building as being at any particular risk, in the sense that we will see it become abandoned, derelict, and lose its roof, I do worry slightly about the time everything takes to progress from stage to stage, and how the funding is slow to be secured (that’s not to misread as any criticism of those securing it).

However, things do keep moving forward, and the latest news of approval for designs for the building which will go forward to form the basis of a business plan, and planning and funding applications, is good to hear.

And comes with a projected date of mid 2017 for the renovated building to open its doors.

I’ll be watching that date, and hoping it doesn’t slip.

The plans include upgrading of the main hall and facilities, with a goods lift to the lower floor.

Creation of new space for performances, and extensions on the roof for office space and other use.

A new café with improved facilities., including a lift to all floors.

The building to be refurbished inside and out.

More details:

Rothesay Pavilion design scheme approved – The Buteman.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

My Garden (says the cat)

Another one of those roads I’ve not been along for a while, it looks as if might have new occupants in at least one house – I don’t recall seeing any of the subjects in the pic before.

I saw the sign first, and thought it was unusual, then I saw the white splash on the lawn as walked past. When I walked back for a second look, the white turned out to be a sleeping long-haired cat.

Like most (all?) cats it paid no attention until I dig out the camera and got it to my eye – then the head came up and I was being watched.

All thoughts of framing the shot to avoid the fencing were abandoned, and as soon as could get the cat and sign in the clear, grabbed the shot.

I’ve missed too many cute shots as the cat realises what is happening and makes its escape while I am still fiddling with the shot – this may not be ‘perfect’, but it’s better than nothing!

My Garden Cat

It’s My Garden

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


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