Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

There’s always bl**dy one!

I tend to have my cameras in various states of readiness while wandering around, but even that doesn’t always work.

Nor is it an option with any sort of compact – usually lacking anything resembling a viewfinder, they turn on their battery draining rear screens the minute they’re turned on, so can’t be kept on and ready for a grab shot.

I usually don’t power anything up until I’m far from home, why waste battery charge if a shot is unlikely.

But I should know better – having already missed TWO Lamborghini Diablos (probably the same one twice) while strolling along Tollcross road.

This time, something made me turn round and I spotter a flash of Ferrari red in the line of traffic.

Lined up the shot… then realised the day had not ‘started’ and the camera wasn’t ready to go.

Frantic switch flick, reframe, and fire.

But it still almost got away, and the camera was still half asleep and the autofocus said ‘Go’ even though the pic was far from focussed.

This might have needed TWO passes through an image sharpening routine to change fuzz into recognisable shapes, but at least I got a pic this time, unlike the previous Diablo fails. To get an idea of just how bad this pic was before processing, just compare the rear light on the right-hand side of the Ferrari with that on the left.

According to my spies, it’s a Ferrari 599 6.0 V12 F1 GTB Fiorano 2-door with a sequential transmission first registered in April 2008 (they also suggest it was black).

It was the brand’s two-seat flagship, replacing the 575M Maranello in 2006 as a 2007 model, and replaced for the 2013 model year by the F12berlinetta. It could be had with a traditional 6-speed manual transmission, or Ferrari’s 6-speed sequential called “F1 SuperFast”.

By the numbers: 620 PS (456 kW; 612 hp) @ 7600 rpm and 608 Nm (448 lb ft) @ 5600 rpm.

Which Ferrari said gave:

0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.2 seconds
0-200 km/h (124 mph) in 11.0 seconds
Top speed: over 330 km/h (205 mph)

Note that at the time of its introduction, this V12 was one of the few engines which produced more than 100 hp per litre without using any form of forced-induction such as supercharging or turbocharging.

Tollcross Ferrari

Tollcross Ferrari

While the rear features match other pics I have of this model, I haven’t been able to dig up a match for the extended centre section as seen below the rear number plate. Most simply have a black area between the exhausts. This variation may be a UK tweak to provide a rear fog light (visible below the plate) as required by our law. Most pics online are US cars.


December 17, 2017 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Bottom Sniffer Beer

Don’t worry…

It’s for DOGS,  not people.

(That won’t stop some from trying though).

Check that logo visible on some of the bottles!

Bottom Sniffer Beer For Dogs

Bottom Sniffer Beer For Dogs

If you don’t recognise the label style, here’s a clue…


December 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Weekly round-up: 16 December 2017

(This is getting bigger instead of smaller! Maybe it’s just the time of year…)

Good start to the week, with not one, but two incidents on ‘my’ streets – at least I’m never likely to be here at 4 am (almost though, since I once lived here) Man suffers stab wounds in fight with two men on street But this one does fall in the ‘Too close for comfort’ zone, as I can be near here around 1 pm on Saturdays (but not in the pub) Man hit in face with bottle during attack at Glasgow pub

I guess the locals are trying to shake of the opinion that Glasgow no longer has ‘Mean streets’.

CalMac haters arrange ‘Away days’ ‘Worrying rise’ in abuse of CalMac ferry staff

Only Orkney? RMT usually spoil Christmas and New Year for more RMT members at Orkney Ferries back strike action

Good old dependable RMT. Always has the same present ready for Christmas traveller every year Virgin rail strike to cause disruption for passengers

If he qualifies, at least you will know everyone will disappear if you pay up front ‘for material to get started’ Student robbed shops to fund dream of becoming architect

I’m confused. Air crew can see drones at 100 metres and describe them in ‘near misses’, yet prison staff can’t see flocks of them flying back and forth over walls Ten sentenced for smuggling drugs into prisons by drones

Of course it failed, you cannot entice people to buy ‘early’ then expect them to carry on as if they still had the money they spent Black Friday failed to boost November retail sales

(It’s like two directors I managed a company with, and was overruled as a ‘dumb engineer’ since they had MBAs – these financial geniuses attempted to inflate every month’s sales by closing the books a few days later every month. They could not understand why this ‘smart move’ never raised monthly sales.)

We must keep out coal mines banks open regardless of cost PM urged to call for halt to RBS closures

Never do anything sensible Can ‘banks on wheels’ replace bricks-and-mortar?

I’m always surprised cases like this are relatively rare (and I wish they would stop pushing easy option of ‘speed’ being cause of incidents,  this diverts attention from failure to catch bad drivers dangerous at ANY speed) Vandals trash Glasgow speed camera

Nice, but I’m a little surprised more sites are not now being revealed through satellite imagery (who has time to look?) 60 million-year-old meteorite impact found on Skye

Are they serious? Is anybody dim enough to actually think the farm names on labels are actual farms? The pig farmer taking on Tesco

Impossible! The Scottish Government ended this by enforcing air gun licences, and destroying all unlicenced air guns. Didn’t it? Attackers threatened to blow man’s head off with airgun

The list of deep-fried treats continues to grow Chip shop serves up deep-fried mince pies for Christmas

This argument comes as no surprise as I was once in the middle of a similar one, and the truth is apparently that there is no ‘one’ Gaelic that is authoritative Gaelic speakers claim Visit Scotland has misinterpreted Còsagach

Why bother warning? Remember the ‘Get stuffed’ response when the same warning was issued over a Bonspiel Icy conditions spark frozen loch warning

Take note Good Samaritans! This nice man reportedly committed a crime while helping by removing the forgotten items from the car Homeless man guarded car with money inside

(NOTE that there is no definition given of what crime he committed: “he actually committed a crime by taking stuff out of the car“, and that even stealing – or I should say ‘taking’ – a car is not theft if the accused can show they did not intend to deprive the owner permanently.)


And finally, if you ever thought The Grinch was a fictional character, just look at the negative comments tweeted regarding the path an A320 used on a test flight @Airbus turned a standard pre-delivery test flight for a new A380 into something a bit more festive

(And there was me stupidly being impressed by the accuracy of the flight path, when I should really have being miserable and moaning about stuff.)

Just to finish with yet another contribution dedicated to the apoplectic octogenarian who sees swastikas in his slippers -this one dedicated to keep him happy every time he looks at his Christmas tree (if we could find these and send them to him as his ‘Secret Santa’).

Swastika Baubles

Swastika Baubles

I’d actually forgotten all about these, first seen some time ago, but a seasonal reminder was received.


December 16, 2017 Posted by | Weekly round-up | | Leave a comment

Even worse than ‘activists’ are ‘political activists’ (or when is flyposting NOT flyposting?)

While I don’t have much time for politicians, my cup runs to empty as soon as anyone gets outed as a ‘lobbyist’, ‘activist’, or ‘political activist’.

I wouldn’t necessary like them any better if they had an attack of honesty, and just owned up to being little more than thugs, since they’re really just out to get their way by forcing their dogma on us, rather than by abiding by the democratic process.

This lot recently ‘improved’ the east end of Glasgow by plastering (fly-posting) it with signs like the one below, and pasting their message all over walls and street furniture.

Now I see they are happy to break into other people’s property, disrupt the city centre, and waste my money (taxes) and the time of police and others.

Here’s a thought for your political activist dogma…

Instead of criticising building owners who are losing money with empty property – how about YOU guys dig into your own pockets and BUY the properties that upset you so much?

After all, your logic appears to run along some fantasy that the current owners are raking in some sort of fortune from the empty properties, so why don’t you guys put up your own money and buy them, then YOU can have all those pots of cash to reinvest in more.


Of course not!

Activists occupy Glasgow city centre building in protest

I spotted these gems plastered on derelict and ruined buildings in the east end – I doubt they even have owners, or they died, or were declared bankrupt and ruined. The last few I watched ended up with council noticed warning that they would be made safe, and the bills passed on to the owners WHEN THEY WERE FOUND!

Never happened, and the next notice posted was compulsory demolition of the derelicts on safety grounds.

I’d love to have a REAL lawyer’s analysis of this, I only did a year of law, and I reckon it’s mostly, if not all, nonsense, and of dubious legality in its threats and even more so in the reality of its claims.

Check the last line for the best laugh.

(As an aside, NONE of my spellcheckers accept ‘flyposting’ as valid spelling of either fly-posting or fly posting).

If their message is so valuable, I wonder why that line was felt to be necessary?

On second thought, what does ‘NOT FOR FLYPOSTING’ even mean?

And who is it directed at? (The only people likely to be pasting these illegal fly posters up are those who printed them – unless they get stolen and the thieves paste them up).

I only managed to get this pic with a day to spare – it was ripped off the wall the next time I passed.

RISE Flyposting

RISE Flyposting


If they can’t get their way, then they’ll eventually try to force it,  and if that doesn’t work, then the threats will be along soon. You only have to have a scan of the news.

This time, just two girls in the same pic and…

Miss Iraq forced to flee country over Instagram photo alongside Miss Israel

Well, on the bright side – ALL the ‘Misses’ had to flee the UK once the feminazis turned on them.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | | Leave a comment

Winter elves are east end council gardeners

One of the strange things that happens in the east end of Glasgow is the care and maintenance of public parks.

Although there are times when I can be waking through some of them on an almost daily basis, I’ve almost never seen anyone actually working in them. The closest I usually get is sightings of piles of cut branches, or piles of chippings which show where chain saws have been in use.

There’s an example of this below, which I collected in a sortie to the shops, after the recent snap freeze we ‘enjoyed’.

While the rest of us were frozen in our homes, and the temperature plunged to -9 deg C (at least), it seems the council’s gardening elves were making the most of the quiet paths, and getting lots of work done (wonder if they a bonus for working in ‘freezing conditions’?) while nobody was watching.

Tree Cutting

Tree Cutting

Lest I be misrepresented as mocking our council gardeners, quite the opposite.

I’m actually quite grateful to them for their winter ‘advice’, and have now taken to catching all the odd tidy jobs over the late autumn, winter, and early spring periods (weather permitting), and getting to watch all my neighbours labouring to do what I had done during the period when the green stuff was NOT GROWING!

This was also a test of the ‘new’ compact camera (I really should carry the ‘old’ one for comparison shots) and proved surprising.

I’ve learnt how to leave some automation to the camera, and just forget about those aspects altogether, while I control a few key factors.

In this case, I was surprised that my (as yet untried) settings worked first time – yet when I flipped the switch and allowed the camera to make ALL the settings for the same scene, it failed totally. It wouldn’t autofocus, and when I forced it to take a shot, it couldn’t even meter the scene.

And that was odd, as I had tried this previously, and while it wasn’t as good as my semi-manual efforts, it did at least work.

I need to RTFM closer, but the detailed version has 402 pages (admittedly small pages), and that’s… boring.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Shettleston Christmas lights

Strange to say, I almost forgot about Shettleston’s Christmas lights.

But the various routes I follow at the moment nearly all avoid the centre of the main street, although I skirt all the way around it on most days.

I did ‘remember I had forgotten’, so after going to the shops I diverted and caught them.

Shettleston Christmas Lights

Shettleston Christmas Lights

I must be getting better at this, I usually have to try hard to avoid little light trails from my hand-held shots, but these seem to (thankfully) absent.


I had to dive through the back streets to get back on route to head home, and happened to look up and spot the local housing association office, ready for Christmas too.

Shettleston Housing Association Christmas

Shettleston Housing Association Christmas

Bonus 2 – Just for fun

I thought I’d include a pic that would usually be rejected…

Shettleston Road

Shettleston Road

This one is pushed just a little too far, and shows more shadow detail at the cost of noise and other naughty effects I try to minimise.

While it shows more of the street and is arguably more interesting, it also includes bins and rubbish, normally left out and collected on a Friday, these have been missed today, and will probably be removed during an extra bin lorry run on Saturday (overtime?).

As an aside, it also shows how little dazzle and overspill (light pollution) our new LED street lighting produces, effectively proving those who object to it on the basis that it ‘dazzles and blinds’ compared to the old yellow sodium lighting are just naysayers, who would probably complain that a gold bar was ‘TOO HEAVY’ if they were given one.

Shooting under LED lighting is amazing, and on the occasions where the old sodium lighting still prevails – it’s horrible!

In the pic above, for example, the street lights (LED) are almost invisible. Had they been sodium, then there would have been a series of mini-suns blowing out the upper parts, and everything would have been YELLOW!

December 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Chocolate Covered Anything Day

16 December is Chocolate Covered Anything Day.

I don’t think that demands any particularly imaginative description, and almost everyone will appreciate the excuse for a treat (commiseration to those who can’t).

But it was interesting to see how far back this… addiction… goes:

When was this delectable treat created? The history of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica. Fermented beverages made from chocolate date back to 1900 BC. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency. After chocolate’s arrival in Europe from oversea expeditions in the sixteenth century, sugar was added to it and it became popular throughout all of Europe, first among the ruling classes of the European societies, and then among the common people.

S0 – 4,000 years-ish.

There can’t be many things that have remained popular for that long.

I’m semi-glum about this one right now.

The ambient outdoor temperature in my corner of sunny Scotland is doing its best get down below -8 deg C, and for the past few weeks my kitchen has decided to follow the outdoor temperature, albeit it with some lag and heat from its surrounding, and that means its manage to make it down to 5 deg C, and is trying for lower.

This matters, why?

Just because I’ve found that various chocolate spreads (and those with varying amount of hazelnut in them) make excellent DIY chocolate digestives if spread on plain digestive biscuits – and have the advantage (like most DIY) of being cheaper than packets of chocolate digestive. I don’t spend any less on my chocolate ‘hit’, but I do get MORE.

But, at between 5 and 8 deg C, all those chocolate spreads turn into – chocolate BRICKS, trapped in the jars until spring.

However, Plan B is always ready to kick in, so there’s a good stock of packaged chocolate biscuits to fall back on.

Chocolate Facts & Myths {Infographic}

Infographic: What science says about chocolate



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

Genetic engineering at its best

Some people thing genetic engineering is a bad thing.

They could be wrong.


Baby Catbird

Baby Catbird

On the other hand…

They grow up so quick.

Maybe no so much want…

Adult Catbird

Adult Catbird

See more here:

Cat Birbs

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Changeable weather – but Glasgow Green was nice a few days ago

While I’m not the world’s greatest fan of panorama shots (or anything other than a good plain reasonably honest photograph), there are occasions when a wider view (devoid of any gimmicks) can still be appreciated.

Standing near Nelson’s thingy, I thought the view looked decent enough to chance grabbing a series of shots, just to see how they might come out when stitched together for a… panorama!

The result turned out to be quite pleasing, and takes you from the old fish market, or Briggait (obscured by flats, but you can see the clock tower), all the way to Templeton’s.

And I spotted enough mistakes in it to have benefited from the exercise too.

While I had enough shots to fix it, I also learned something to watch for at the planning stage – don’t do this when a cyclist is hurrying across the view, unless you want to have twins or triplets in view.

As this is a little bit wide, you’ll have to click on the thumbnail for the full size view.

Glasgow Green Pano

Glasgow Green Pano

December 15, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Cat Herders’ Day

15 December is Cat Herders’ Day.

No, I didn’t believe it either, but it is.

While ‘like herding cats’ has become a popular saying (amongst some) it seems to be a recent creation.

One claim is that an IT expert (Dave Platt) said “managing senior programmers is like herding cats”, and it is said that Cat Herders’ Day was invented in the past ten years.

Whatever the origin, it’s a pretty good metaphor for some tasks.


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

First Christmas tree got an upgrade

Well, if the first Christmas tree I spotted gets an upgrade…

The least I can do is feature the effort…

First Christmas Tree Upgrade

First Christmas Tree Upgrade

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

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