Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Hurricane Ophelia – informational cat supplement

It’s windy out there…

Hurricane Cats

Hurricane Cats

Local weather post.

Windy Cat Post

Windy Cat Post


October 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Surprise, murders are up in Scotland (after seven – or is it ten – years of fall)

I’m feeling a little out of touch at the moment, as I have still to reconfigure my Firefox setup (in anticipation of the official Fx57 update due in November) to bring me my favourite local news pages (amongst others), and it just takes too much effort to go fetch them all by hand.

However, I did have this story fed just before the daily avalanche stopped for a while, and I got a rest.

Homicide figures increase in Scotland

It’s a pity that headline didn’t carry just a little more detail – intentionally or not,  giving the rise on its own it suggests a worrying trend.

When viewed in the context of seven years of falling numbers (which the article opened with), the increase becomes less alarming and more informative.

In fact, the increase given from the preceding period to 2016/17 was 6, from 58 to 64.

And, over the 10 year period, from 2007/08 to 2016/17, the number was reported to fall from 115 to 61.

(NO, I have no idea why the 2016/17 number changed from 64 to 61, or why the period given for reference changed from 7 years to 10. You’ll have to ask the BBC’s writer for those answers).

Kitchen Knife

The statistics given:

Homicides in Scotland 2016/17 – 64

  • Murders or culpable homicides
  • 67% of victims knew the accused
  • 48 victims were men
  • 47% of cases involved a sharp instrument
  • 1 person was shot

National Statistics

It was also noted that:

  • Twelve homicides took place in Glasgow during 2016/17 – 20% of the total
  • Three-quarters of homicide victims (48) were men
  • Three of last year’s homicide cases remained unsolved on 31 March
  • A sharp instrument was used to kill 47% (30) of victims – all but two of those involved a knife
  • One person was shot
  • In two thirds of cases (67%) the victim and the main accused knew each other
  • Of the 77 people accused of homicide, 22 were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both

I’m slightly surprised to see only one person reported as being shot.

Living in the east end, it feels as if incidents involving shots being fired have been on the rise, but on reflection, not all have been confirmed, and many have been reports, or claims, that shots were fired not at a person, but at a building. I usually look at the news items expecting pics of broken windows or evidence of bullets hitting the building concerned, but so far no media report has shown this, nor have I seen it the buildings concerned – of which I pass too many for my own liking.

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Whitevale 2015 and Whitevale 2017

It’s been a while since my wanderings took me along that part of the Gallowgate that passes the remains of the old Whitevale Baths building.

By coincidence, I noticed I had passed the same spot almost exactly two years ago to the day, and taken a pic of the demolition of the high flats in the background coming to an end. Although I collected quite a few pics back then, I’m afraid I never got around to using any of them, but the ‘Top Down’ demolition process was interesting to watch. I have little doubt that Fred Dibnah would have been pleased, ad he didn’t see, to be too impressed by the dynamite men, and was happier to start at the top with his hammer and chisel, working his way to the ground.

However, it’s not really the flats that interested me on this occasion, but the clearance that has taken place on the former baths’ site in the foreground.

I always find this area slightly alarming (as regard my age and the fact that I still appear to be alive), as I can remember when the area in the foreground (the grassy bit between the footpath and the baths) was developed as a small row of flats with parking for the residents in the courtyard behind. Also, although not visible in either of these pics, there was also a small area of housing development built on the land to the left, bounded by the Bellgrove Hotel.

I find it hard to believe that BOTH have been razed. NEITHER was ‘old’ in terms of building life, and I wonder WHY they were vanished.

I would probably not have noticed this disappearance but for the fact that the bus I travelled on stopped in front of the small flats I mentioned, and I had noticed that the owner of a unique Classic car lived there, and their example of that car was one of only a handful that then remained on the road in Scotland. By the time I was old enough not be ‘Some daft kid’, the flats had gone, so I never even got the chance to talk to the owner.

The marque concerned was bankrupted in the early 1960s, but was reborn a couple of years ago – I might do a post about it one day, as it is succeeding in re-establishing itself.

Whitevale 2015-2017

Whitevale 2015-2017

I took this façade pic some time ago, but never used it – it was horribly skewed and distorted. I must have moved before the shutter fired, or just got it wrong.

But I’ve began to get the hang of perspective correction, so did a quick fix, and now it’s presentable.

As always… nice coat of arms

Whitevale Baths

Whitevale Baths

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Isle of Ulva is on offer – six residents interested

I usually spot islands going up for sale, but I don’t think the initial offer made the major papers (it was in the Oban Times, and I spotted it in some of the larger titles, but not ones I get feeds from).

The Isle of Ulva went on the market for around £4.25 million back in July (I think).

It lies not far from the mainland, only a few hundred metres over the Sound of Ulva from the settlement of Ulva Ferry on Mull to the pier on the Ulva.

In terms of size it is about 7.5 miles long, 2.5 miles wide, and a little over 4.500 acres.

Ulva House was built in 1950, to replace its predecessor after a fire, and is B-listed.

Ulva House

Ulva House

There’s also a sporting lodge, a church (by Telford), a small restaurant and tea room let on commercial tenancy, a restored blackhouse, and nine other assorted residential properties


But perhaps more interesting than the fact of the sale itself is the reference to the Land Reform Act (2003) and how that is said to have allowed the North West Mull Community Trust to register an interest in buying the Inner Hebridean island, hoping to attract new residents and increase economic activity. A mere six residents are reported today, while there were some 500, two hundred years ago, and 800 at peak occupancy.

The Act is by no means new, but this appears to be the first case in which it has been cited in the purchase of an island.

Via First step in Isle of Ulva buyout approved

I think I’ll wait until another appears, one of the smaller bargains at around £250 k.

October 15, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Black Cats Matter

Something a bit odd, and the result of not only a chance find in the street, but also seen more often than I’d like in posts made in a large image sharing site I spend (far too much) time in.

As someone who has had their home graced by the presence of one or two black cats, or ‘house panthers’ (brilliant name), I’m at a complete and utter loss to understand the apparently real and continuing lack of love that seems to be perpetuated by some supposed ‘cat lovers’ against this variation.

It’s bad enough that there are still people out there with tiny minds who see the black cat as somehow being ‘inherently evil’ – you can find the same sort of people who hold the same view about anyone who doesn’t have white skin – but hearing of gorgeous cats being left to languish in shelters is really not acceptable, and not what anyone who merits the description ‘cat lover’ would do.

This came to mind when I tripped over (and really did ‘trip’) a page from a paper (I hesitate to use the full term ‘newspaper’) that somehow seems to have survived since 7 October 2014, just lying in the street:

Black Cats Matter

Black Cats Matter

According to this 2014 article, some 70% of the cats abandoned at the RSPCA were BLACK!

And it was reported that a number of residents had been dumped because their captors hadn’t considered them to look good enough in SELFIES!

Have you ever seen my thoughts on selfies and the people who take them? (They’re not nice thoughts, so I won’t repeat them).

Black cat looks better than any person ever seen in a selfie…

Black Cat

Black Cat

Activist Black Cat would like to meet some of them personally:

Dumping Black Cats You Say

Dumping Black Cats You Say

October 15, 2017 Posted by | Appeal | , | Leave a comment

Weekly round-up: 14 October 2017

Although the Weekly round-up is really for my own benefit (well the original concept was, but as noted last week, if I trip and fall behind then it eats time while trying to catch up), and has not been going long, getting no feedback even after including some intentional provocation suggest it’s either no use for generating interest, or I really do need a better format.

This week hasn’t provided any spare time to play with it, and I see other diversions arriving which will mean no spare time for the next few weeks, (translation… you won’t be seeing another round-up for a while).

Things have been surprisingly quiet as regards new add-ons for Firefox 57 (as many of the existing add-on are not bases on web extensions (WE), so will cease to function with the official 57 release in November), with few replacements for some of the best Legacy add-ons.

But this week saw a number of WE versions arrive to replace them, which was great since many developers had said they would  not make the move to WE, having clearly taken offence at the change which killed their existing hard work. But, it looks as if they are not willing to let their creations go, and have been working on Firefox 57+ compatible version.

They’re all new and very much beta, so can be buggy, and that means dependent on mugs (sorry, brave beta-testers) to take a chance and run with them, reporting any hiccups or disasters they find.

I’ll be doing this for a while, so no Weekly round-up, not, at least until things settle down and become stable.

What can happen? Try this, a new version of some code meant the current tab I was on crashed every time the mouse pointer touched an image – that get boring VERY quickly. Fortunately, the problem was solved within a day.

Since I depend on some of the old add-ons (thankfully now with WE replacements just arrived) to keep a lot of info I get delivered online up to date, I need these working reliably. It makes more sense to help that process than struggle along without them, and collecting info manually.

It’s only when you use a tool that ‘looks’ at between 50 and 100 web pages for you every day, and then suddenly lose it, that you realise just how much it helps.


As per last week, I’ll close this for now with a present for the apoplectic octogenarian who sees swastikas in his slippers…

I’ll be trying to arrange for these nice ladies to pay him a little ‘comfort’ visit.

(Relax, they won’t actually arrive. You have heard of Photoshop, haven’t you?)

Fuhrers Witness

Fuhrers Witness

There’s so much innocent swastika use out there, and so many people ignorant of its history (they think/believe Hitler ‘invented’ it) that I might return with a series of genuine pre-1900 examples.

Or maybe more Chinese uses, where many have no idea what it means outside their border.

An amusing fact that even applies to English words – Chinese (kids especially) will just plaster English words on their t-shirts and cars with no idea what they actually mean.

Don’t believe me?

I’m making it up, you say!

Try this for starters:





Just to finish with yet another contribution dedicated to  – sadly, no info at all came with this one. At a guess, it’s for kids to play with (or be indoctrinated), and painted on the ground (texture gives an idea of its scale):

Fun Swastika

Fun Swastika

Ridiculing an old man who shouts at clouds could become a weekly treat, if any more ‘innocent swastikas’ turn up.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | Weekly round-up | | 2 Comments

Clyde Tidal Weir – still working

Sad to say, this is actually the first opportunity I’ve had to get anywhere near the Clyde Tidal Weir since its recent disaster.

Not that there was really anything new to see, since it was repaired within a few days.

There might have been more to see if I’d remembered about the damage reported to the nearby south bank (near the distillery and flats), but I was concentrating more on the road home, thinking I was going to be close to walking 20 miles by the time I finished the day, and not wanting to overdo it by adding another couple (turns out I could have, as my estimate proved to be a couple of miles light after I saw the GPS log).

Still looking good, especially with that nice clean stonework (and no more soot to turn it black).

Clyde Tidal Weir From West

Clyde Tidal Weir From West


Clyde Tidal Weir From East

Clyde Tidal Weir From East

These pics (or the originals, and the top one, from the west) were weird when I processed them.

Although I would have sworn both were perfectly level when I hit the shutter, the originals are way off the horizontal (15-20 degrees).

Don’t know about anyone else, but I find this often to be the case, and I should perhaps be clear that I’m referring to the camera (or pic) being at an angle to the horizon or horizontal, NOT converging verticals or similar perspective distortion (which I deal with separately).

While the second pic looks just about right, the first one was a real problem to correct.

It was taken off-centre, standing near the left bank.

When I aligned the vertical, the image looked worse than the slightly rotated original, and the alignment still looked ‘off’.

Although it was not horizontal, I tried setting the top of weir horizontal – this actually looked better, and the weir no longer appeared to be trying to slide out of the pic – but the building and chimney were now lying at an angle.

Time for a compromise – I split the difference, with the bias being on the verticals. Well, verticals HAVE to be vertical, don’t they?

In this case, they lean a little to the right, but when I made them true verticals, the slope of the weir seemed to create the illusion that it was at the wrong angle.


October 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maritime, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Sheldon – another missing cat from long ago

Hunter Street is not (for me at least) a Glasgow street name that rolls off the tongue with any sort of immediate familiarity.

In fact, most days I would have to go find it on a map (which I had to in order to work out where I saw this old missing cat poster).

I’ve no idea how old this one was when I first saw it, unfortunately the rain had got at, despite it being firmly attached with duct tape – it might still be there!

Spread the word…

DATING these posters helps.

To be FAIR – this one does carry the date (9 September), but I’ve no idea if that refers to the year I spotted it,  as I didn’t spot it in September, but some time later, and think the original year was 2015.

It’s interesting to note that most of those I’ve seen recently, and included here, have mostly carried a date to show when the cat went missing, so the idea seems to be catching on.

Sheldon went missing on the old railway in the area of Calton/Bridgeton – I wonder if he was found?

Missing Cat Sheldon

Missing Cat Sheldon

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Closer look at Celtic (and Emirate shed) EV charging

Since I had some old (unused) pics lying around, I thought I might as well look at EV (electric vehicle) charging at Parkhead.

I won’t go techie, mainly because the last time I did this the end result was just to attract the sort of moron who spends their day telling folk they are wrong (even when they are right – I CAN read electrical standards).

There are actually some more (I haven’t mentioned before) down at Dalmarnock, but that’s not Parkhead, so maybe later.

This was sparked (sorry) off by the sighting of a privileged vehicle being charged in Celtic’s little car park, and it made me curious.

This turns out to be an electrical enclosure mounted OUTSIDE the car park, and fitted with 2 x 32 A 400 V and 2 x 16 A 230 V connectors. I assume isolators are mounted inside the enclosure (otherwise Glasgow neds would have their houses plugged in!) and ‘protected’ by the keys mentioned on the labelling.

Me? I’d check all those cables dropping from the bottom of the enclosure, and make sure they’re all legit, and that none of them run to any nearby houses.

Celtic Car Park EV Charging Rear

Celtic Car Park EV Charging Rear

With no good reason (ever in my lifetime) to be inside such a place, I can only take my best legal shot from a public place, the street, so this is the connection INSIDE the car park.

I’m guessing it’s just a conventional (but weatherproof) 13 A mains socket.

No fast(ish) charging here unless you have a Tesla and suitable adapter for the 32 A socket outside the fence.

Celtic Car Park EV Charging Spot

Celtic Car Park EV Charging Spot

Meanwhile, across the road

I hinted that the car park behind the big empty shed (they tell me it’s the Emirates Arena), across the road from Celtic Park had real EV charging stations that ANYBODY could use, not just someone with Celtic parking privileges.

And it appears to be free to use (after you cough up £10 for a card to let you access all such stations in Scotland).

Sure enough, I still have the pics from my wander across the vast empty expanse of that car park.

I wish I had an EV.

Charging Bays

Charging Bays

EV Charger

EV Charger

October 13, 2017 Posted by | photography, Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

On Friday the 13th never forget that…

Groucho Marx Black Cat

Groucho Marx Black Cat


If that’s too subtle, then…


Friday The 13th Black Cat Awareness

Friday The 13th Black Cat Awareness

Black Cat Alarmed

Black Cat Alarmed

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Long lost cat (Parkhead)

Filing away some recent pics (the lost cat posters), I came across an old one and since I’m on a lost cat poster roll, guess I should mention it.

I didn’t get around to using it after noticing it was dated – and the date was ONE YEAR earlier than the day I noticed the poster and tool a pic when I passed it. This was on Springfield Road, near the houses that had been built there recently (recognisable behind the pic of the cat).

The cat was lost for a year (since July 2015), but the poster and the tape looked brand new in July 2016 when I took the pic.

Coming across the pic again (I’d forgotten all about it) more than a year later, I guess this one was not found.

Long Lost Parkhead Cat

Long Lost Parkhead Cat

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

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