Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Police attend tragic Buckfast disaster in Glasgow city centre

Police rushed to attended at the scene of a tragedy in Glasgow city centre, when a 70 cl Buckfast bottle was broken, and the contents lost before they could be finished.

Here, officers can be seen on ‘Suicide Watch’, comforting the distraught owner while waiting for specialist Buckfast Loss Councillors to attend the scene, mitigate withdrawal symptoms, begin therapy, and start the former owner on the road to recovery from his loss.

Buckfast Accident Scene

Buckfast Disaster Scene

Closer look at the real victim, just gone to pieces.

Broken Buckfast Bottle

Sad Buckfast Bottle is really sad


Why me

Why me?

Yes, the pics are mushy, but I wanted to be as far away from this as possible.


September 22, 2018 Posted by | Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

So, there really was a storm called Helene

Just kidding, I did notice the storm that passed a few days ago, and was intrigued to notice that my own weather station saw gusts of 36 mph, and an overall wind speed of 31 mph on the day. From memory (never a good thing with me), I think this differs from past observations where the gusts have been higher, but the wind speed was much less. I’m sure this means something for the sort of damage both types could inflict – a higher peak force could bring down less massive items which could resist a smaller, but longer lasting sustained assault, and vice versa.

It was also intriguing to watch a plot of the local pressure, which really did dip as the ‘eye’ passed Scotland, then rose back to its former level – and that wind/rain returned. The forecasters also suggested that it would make things warmer, they were right about that, but all the warms have gone.

I’d forgotten about this until I went for a late evening walk, and got cooked inside too many clothes!

But I was also reminded when I started tripping over fallen trees.

I thought we’d seen the last of these for a while, here at least, as so many were brought down in the worst of the storms we saw in the past few years, and the park folk had also taken down others at the same time, as they looked weak.

Maybe I was right about the higher sustained wind speed, doing different damage than high peak speeds.

I also noted a warning that at this time of year, lesser winds can do more damage to trees that are still in leaf, as they present a greater area to the wind than they do later, when they have lost their leaves.

I just walked past one of the local parks, and spotted this unfortunate, the only tree blown down in the park, and you can see how the trunk just failed. This park is quite open, and I noticed there was not a lot of debris (broken branches) lying around.

First Downed Tree

First Downed Tree

Next find was on a green in front of some sandstone mansions. Fortunately this debris had blown down onto the green itself, and not the other way, where a main road passes by. Obviously not the whole tree, but still sizeable branches – you would not have been happy if any of those had landed on your head. Then again, you would probably never have known.

Second Downed Tree

Second Downed Tree

Next park, I just stepped in and found my path almost blocked by the next fallen tree.

I’ve been walking for a while now, and it’s getting dark.

Third Downed Tree

Third Downed Tree

I was here a few days later, much later at night, but with a proper camera, and was curious to see how a pic would turn out.

Of course, the sodium lighting still surviving here means the pic is yellow.

But this is made up for by the detail, rather than the mush that passes for leaves in the other shots.

Fallen Tree Night

Fallen Tree Night

Round the other side, the break is obvious.

Third Downed Tree Break

Third Downed Tree Break

This view gives an idea of the size of this tree.

Third Downed Tree

Third Downed Tree

The trees are still quite dense in the park itself, despite losses and thinning in recent years, and a lot of smaller branches had been blown down, covering the paths and making it hard to avoid the odd trip or two in the dark

As a parting shot, when I left the park I found another branch had broken, larger than it looks in this pic, caught on the fence at the side of the path, and most of it has landed in the garden on the right.

It landed on the lighting cable, and although it didn’t break, it looks as if the wires have been pulled out or shorted, as none of the path lights were working.

Storm Damage Path Tree

Storm Damage Path Tree

That was it, around here at least.

I did wander a little further, but all the other groups of trees I know here seemed to be standing with no fallen comrades among them.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

They always do stuff when I’m not looking

Got a (pleasant surprise) when I returned to Parkhead Cross recently.

Having becomes so used to dodging the scaffolding at the bottom of this building in recent years, it took a while for me to work out what had changed!

The missing scaffolding at ground level was the obvious difference, but then I realised the rest had gone. I’d become so used to the frame added to the top of the tower I’d stopped looking as it was so depressing to see it up there.

Now it’s all gone, and we can see this very attractive red sandstone building in the clear once more, without obstructions.

Parkhead Cross Restoration

Parkhead Cross Restoration

A closer look at the top of the tower, no longer decorated with scaffolding to hold it together.

Interesting to note they’ve lined the compass points with the sides of the building, which is quite close to reality, but I believe it should be a touch clockwise (as seen from above) to have them correctly aligned.

But it’s still near enough to be just fine for anyone that does look at it, and believes it.

Still, it’s better than it was, as the older pic (below) shows this feature was previously even further out, and rotated anti-clockwise from its new alignment.

Glasgow Parkhead Cross Restoration Detail

Glasgow Parkhead Cross Restoration Detail

From the archives, a view of the same thing with ‘extra bits’ – added after (if my memory is at all correct) a bit fell off, fortunately not hitting anyone just before it reached the ground.

Parkhead scaffold

Parkhead scaffold

When I checked, I found this was actually a B listed building, with some notes about the corner.

Crawford and Veitch, 1905 (dated). 4-storey and attic corner tenement with renaissance ornament and decorative sculpture, square corner towerv with distinctive bell-shaped cupola of Scots renaissance type.

I’ve never looked, but there also mention of surviving Art Deco tiles in one of the closes.

The scaffolding in the street was always in the way for a clear view, but I will have to have a closer look at the closes (sorry) to see if those tiles are on view, or sealed behind the security door most tenement closes have gained over the years.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day

21 September is World Alzheimer’s Day.

Alzheimer’s disease is the cleverest thief because she not only steals from you, but she steals the very thing you need to remember what’s been stolen.


Millions of families struggle with challenges arising from Alzheimer’s disease.

World Alzheimer’s Day is dedicated towards raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia/Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer Disease International (ADI), because of this, organizations around the world come together on this day to support finding a cure for this sorrowful disease.


This day was originally part of World Alzheimer’s Month, when organizations coordinate to create global messages about dementia.

The decision to hold this event over a whole month was made to enable national and local Alzheimer associations worldwide to extend the reach of their awareness programs and events.

The single day was launched in 1994, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Alzheimer Disease International (ADI), an association which empowers other organizations with research and updated knowledge about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

ADI is the international federation of Alzheimer associations around the world, and officially linked to  the World Health Organization (WHO). It holds international conferences, and the Alzheimer University, a series of practical workshops intended to help staff and volunteers, and to help educate people about the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and what they can do about it.



September 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Tasty Treats are better than Disgusting Diablos in Tollcross

I hate to admit it, bu there are some things I’ll simply NEVER change my mind or opinion about.

I’m not sure if that’s sad (I’m sure some will think it is), or just marks me as ‘individual’ rather than ‘sheeple’.

In this case it’s ‘tramp stamps’, which I think is a much better name than tattoos, or the trendier kewl reference to ‘ink’.

I find the whole concept disgusting, and sad that people today find some need to find comfort in a degrading practice (think slavery, criminals, and those in concentration camps in World War II).

With this in mind, I was really pleased to see ‘Tasty Treats’ open in Tollcross recently.

Tollcross Tasty Treats

Tollcross Tasty Treats

Much better than ‘Disgusting Diablos’ (who didn’t even get the apostrophe correct in their own sign).

Disgusting Diablos

Disgusting Diablos

In case anyone wants to misrepresent me – I have no problem with body art, some is absolutely fantastic.

I love looking at the reports from some of the contests held around the world every year.

I just have a problem with the invasive and permanent nature of tattoos, the risks associated with them, and the pain and suffering so many people end up going through after getting what they wanted.

Places like Diablo’s win both ways, as they offered laser removal too.

Paid to put the stamp on.

Paid to take the stamp off too!

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

An oldie in Oswald Street

I once thought it would be a nice idea to catch views of some the old surviving buildings in Glasgow.

That was so long ago, cameras only had film in them, and the electronic bits only controlled the exposure.

But even that far back, I gave the idea up after only two weeks (or weekends to be accurate) since it quickly became obvious, even then, that most of the crusty, wrinkly, old buildings were long gone, leaving (mostly) those that had survived with some sort of use, or those that were abandoned, derelict, and featureless. Utilitarian types with nothing to distinguish one from another. The type where a pic of one is a pic of all.


It’s still possible to find a few surprises, such as this fragment I spotted by chance in Oswald Street.

There’s a nice sandstone building to its left – but much of the rest is gone now, with new builds having taken most of the street over in recent years.

This is close to being a gap site.

Oswald Street Remnant

Oswald Street Remnant

It shows another ‘feature’ I once thought of wandering around the city and collection from old buildings, but I was too late for that one too, most having weathered to the extent that they were almost invisible to the camera, even if the eye could still make them out.

Almost gone, this is only visible evidence of the once common signs painted on many of these buildings in their day.

I looked at the rest of the façade, but the decayed surface had lost any details that might once have been visible.

Oswald Street Sign Remnant

Oswald Street Sign Remnant

The shop unit on the right hasn’t seen a decent/real occupant for years, and remains unoccupied.

I suspect if the two remaining units ever go, this would soon become a proper ‘gap site’ which would be easier to sell.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Floating car (it wasn’t really)

It may come as some surprise to learn that I sometimes don’t know what I’ve photographed.

It’s one of the up (or is that down) sides of pursuing hand-held low light photography – you can take pics of things you can’t actually see properly.

In this case, an evening wander took me past a scrapyard I haven’t seen for a while – I had to go back for a second look. I’d seen a car raised off the ground, but couldn’t see what was holding it up.

It was quite far from the road, so it was a long shot, but helped by having a fence to steady the camera against. But I couldn’t make out any detail, and had to wait until I got home and could look at the processed image on a larger screen. One pic came out very well, and the obvious answer became apparent.

Scrappers now have to be able to show they are not polluting the environment, so have to capture and dispose of fluids from vehicles. Since they’re not worried about a little damage, rather than invest in a post or platform lift, they can just use a forklift, to drop the vehicle onto a raised platform for access.

In this case, in the half-light of evening, it was just too dark to see (by eye) the vertical edges of the grey platform frame against the grey background and vertical ribs of the enclosed work area.

Be interesting to go past a little earlier (when they’re open and working) – that’s a fine crop of high-power LED floodlights installed just inside the roof of that enclosure.

My experience with LEDs dates back to their first appearance for sale – and in those days a candle was probably brighter than most of them. Today, I’ve been on sites where you can suffer temporary spot blindness, such is the power/brightness of recent LED floodlights.

My only query about those is their life, and I wonder if they are so grossly over-driven that their once legendary operating life (once slated to put the LED lighting industry out of business once everyone had a bought a few, since they were going to last tens of thousands of hours, and seldom need to be replaced) is actually going to be less than that of the incandescent filament lamps they have replaced.

Floating Scrap Car

Floating Scrap Car

September 19, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

New lamppost – Old lamppost

Nothing special, just a nice coincidence.

I happened to look up (advice I often give, as not enough people ‘Look Up!’) and caught this coincidence of a pair of Glasgow Lampposts, one recent, one not so recent.

Worth considering the two different designs of their day, ornate from the past, efficient and utilitarian from the future.

New Lamppost Old Lamppost

New Lamppost Old Lamppost

September 18, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Charles Frank 67 Saltmarket

I wrote a post a while ago, which seemed to get a bit of interest following the news that Maplin had folded, and was closing (everything).

That post had been about the earlier demise of electronics retailers in Glasgow, specifically RME in Stockwell Street.

Responses to those thoughts included mention of Charles Frank, an optical and scientific instrument maker who, together with his son Arthur, had shops in the city’s Saltmarket, and later, Ingram Street.

That venture came to an end in the 1970s, with the shops finally closing their doors for the last time in 1974.

In his time, Frank designed, sold, and repaired photographic and scientific apparatus from the Saltmarket premises, with Ingram Street being described as a more upmarket showroom for the sale of his scientific instruments.

While I was never aware of the Ingram Street venture, I was dragged along to his establishment in Saltmarket, which had become an outlet for various sort of surplus just before it closed. Seems it was fuelled by a flood of high quality ex-military optical and photographic equipment in the postwar years. Frank Ltd took advantage of this by buying at public auctions held by the military which had no use for the items, and then reselling them to the public.

I have (as a child at the time) some memories of the shop and stuff stacked in it. Some large reels of quarter-inch recording tape were bought, and maybe some assorted slide rules, but that’s all that stuck in my mind. I’d always imagined going there when I ‘Grew Up’ – but neither of those ever happened.

See the note at the end of this post – my useless memory had the wrong Saltmarket shop tagged as Frank’s.

I’m amazed at being so wrong for so long – when the dumb strikes, it strikes hard!

I just learnt of my mistake after noticing the ’30’ above its door – Frank’s shop was 67.

Time to start hunting for confirmation, and I did find this old B&W pic on a number of sites, credited to the Jewish Archive, but I couldn’t track down the original, they were all ‘re-use’.

CH Frank 67 Saltmarket Jewish Archive Pic

CH Frank 67 Saltmarket Jewish Archive Pic

That made the hunt a lot easier to complete, and we can see the same shop today.

It’s a slightly bigger image than usual, so you can click for bigger.

67 Saltmarket Gilt Edged

67 Saltmarket Gilt Edged

Intriguing changes – there are now FIVE assorted electrical/electronic control gear boxes planted on this short length of street; the low wall in St Andrews Street (on the left) has been considerably heightened; and the close entrance which sat in the middle of shop (to the right) has had its original width reduced, and is now considerably smaller than it used to be.

My mistake

As noted above, tiny memories are not always reliable memories, and I walked past a derelict Saltmarket shop for years, sadly thinking (wrongly) of it being the remains of Frank’s.

I always thought it was this one, just across from the long-established pet shop in Parnie Street.

(Just how long has that pet shop been there anyway?)

Not Former Charles Frank Shop Saltmarket

Not Former Charles Frank Shop Saltmarket

When this group of shops was ‘modernised’ some years ago, I was here regularly, and was sad to see a (presumably original) stained glass window above the door to number 30 was gone when the shutters came down to reveal the ‘improved’ premises. I’ve always wondered what happened to that panel, undamaged for as long I watched it. Skipped, or ‘liberated’ by some lucky builder or salvager?

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, military, photography, World War II | , , | 3 Comments

Weekly round-up: 16 September 2018

Interesting comment on a new bypass in Aberdeen, which seems to have forgotten about cyclists. Bad idea nowadays. A bit like Lidl, which has completed new or revamped shops around Glasgow recently, yet has provided no bike stands in these new works . Morrison’s has also failed in this respect. But Aldi and Tesco have provided stands.

Cyclists protest over dedicated Aberdeen bypass paths

This appeared at the same time, and shows the problem of advocates for EITHER side, as Nick Freeman demand top much legislation to control cyclists, and Jodi Gordon demand all bias to be in favour of cyclists. Hopefully, less biased heads (either way) will make more balanced changes.

Jodi Gordon: Road traffic law tinkering doesn’t go far enough

A lot of words, but not much is actually said in this article about a subject I’m pleasantly surprised to see becoming reality. Sadly, the usual moron appears in the comments, and just HAS to be a miserable naysayer who wants to see this venture fail… or maybe not even get off the ground.

Lauren Payne: Feet on the ground before launching space satellites

So, Scotland has the ‘Highest Hedge in the World’, yet a private individual is expected to foot a £90 k bill to maintain a tourist attraction they cannot generate funds from? Time to pop into the local garden centre and buy a chain saw and wood chipper.

Owner of the world’s highest hedge facing £90,000 bill for getting it trimmed

NOPE! Rengelov is NO Scottish Elon Musk. This carefully written propaganda piece for hydrogen attempts to paint it as ‘better’ than electricity for vehicles, concentrating the reader on its environmental credentials (which are good) but neglecting to provide the full story by considering the (non-existent and costly) hydrogen infrastructure needed to support it. I suggest anyone interested ready up.

Glasgow’s ‘Elon Musk’ hoping to revolutionise passenger transport

Glasgow’s iconic gasworks at Provanmill and Temple have had their listed status confirmed. Provan was built in 1904, and Temple in 1871. Scottish Gas Networks had labelled the decision to grant two gasworks listed status ‘illogical’, claiming the status would have a massive economic impact on potential use of the sites.

Listed status secured for Glasgow’s two iconic gasworks

is it just my hearing, or has anyone ever heard the word ‘Responsibilities’ uttered by creeps like this as they whine about their rights and ‘Free Speech’ as they spew their bile over the rest of us?

Man fined for Nazi pug video invited to speak at European Parliament

Never comfortable with publishing details (esp with pics) like this so prominently before evidence reviewed, or conviction confirmed, but since I noted this appear last week.

HMS Queen Elizabeth: Police reveal why six British sailors were arrested

For a moment, I really thought someone would throw a spanner in this nice little cinema project – but it’s made it.

Cromarty cinema plan gets go-ahead

I see Glasgow is on the 200% list – guess I better move the luxury flats (two big cardboard boxes) I left near the road!

Double council tax for 15,000 empty homes


September 16, 2018 Posted by | Weekly round-up | | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S18

Not seen in the main media, but it looks like bad news for CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts) as a potential access date of mid-September has been lost after inspections during the removal of scaffolding on the south-west side of the damaged building found more work needed to be done.

All but two of the main fire exits from CCA are opposite the south-west corner of the Mackintosh Building and the former ABC O2 venue, and entry to the property is dependent on the safety of that area of Scott Street. According to a representative for the Glasgow School of Art, full public opening to venue will not be possible before early October.

On a positive note, access was arranged to fix water ingress to CCA.

At the end of the week we got.

Traders on Sauchiehall Street fear years of disruption as a result of the fire at Glasgow’s School of Art.

Thirteen weeks on since the blaze ripped through ‘The Mac’ many businesses are still being denied access to their premises.

And among those that have reopened, some are reporting a 75% downturn in business.

At Friday morning’s meeting of the Sauchiehall Street Traders group, which was set up in the wake of the fire on June 15, one businesswoman said: “We want people to know this isn’t over. Just because some of us are back in, and we have had a lump of funding, it’s not problem solved.

“We will have repercussions for a long, long time. The result of this fire could go on for years, not just months. There is no ending in sight.

‘Even when the facades of buildings are sorted, we then have to wait for the street repairs to take place so Sauchiehall Street won’t be back to the way it was for a long time.”

Traders fear years of disruption after art school blaze

September 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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