Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The illegals – E11 EBF

It’s funny, even though I could be driving around with my name on my number plate, I wouldn’t add almost individually identifiable details.

So far, our vehicle licencing doesn’t allow private individuals (only questionable businesses) to identify vehicle owners/keepers from registration numbers via the DVLA. In some countries, you can go to the licencing authority, given them a vehicle registration, and they’ll given you the details of the person connected to it. Given some of the utter loonies we share road space with, that doesn’t seem like a very good idea – let’s make sure that sort of detail stays with the police, and that one day, DVLA will be forced to stop selling it too.

Anyway, more information than I’d normally note, but in full public view on the plate, I know this one is property of Ellie Baird, as ‘E11E BF’ has so far avoided attracting a ‘pull’ and a possible fine of up to £1,000 for illegal character spacing and grouping.

Just doesn’t seem like a good idea to share that info, and that the owner is female too.

Citroen DS3 [E11 EBF]

Citroen DS3 [E11 EBF]


August 18, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Not on Glasgow’s Mural Trail – Alexandra Park

While you’ll find tourists being guided around the Glasgow city centre and a mural trail, they’ll miss some nice work in the surrounding area.

In this case, within Alexandra Park, and one of its buildings.

One end of the building is devoted to the park’s Bike Club, and has been decorated with an appropriate mural, in two parts set on either side of its main door.

Alexandra Park Mural 1

Alexandra Park Mural 1

The remainder lies to the right (of the door), plus another above.

Alexandra Park Mural 2

Alexandra Park Mural 2

The rest of the building serves as the club house for the Park’s golf course, with the local vermin (invasive grey squirrel as opposed to native red) depicted as a mischievous character – guess the artist just used the local view, since there’s a lot of these bushy-tailed ‘rats’ running around the park.

There’s even one on the roof!

Alexandra Park Mural 3

Alexandra Park Mural 3

August 18, 2018 Posted by | council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow 2018 bribe?

So, was this ‘free and unticketed’ event really just a bribe by the organisers to divert the people’s attention and make them think they were getting ‘something for nothing’?

They (or I should say ‘we’) lost free access to many parts of Glasgow (and still have in some places, as it has yet to be restored) to give priority to races on our roads, and even this ‘free’ event led to a large part of Glasgow Green being closed off by a perimeter fence manned by security personnel at all times, and only accessible via controlled access points even though ‘free and unticketed’.

I have no idea how well attended this was as I only ventured onto the Green in the evening, arriving around 7 pm or later, to ensure I could get through it without having to alter my usual route too much. Although even then, a number of access points were still denied by closed fencing, and those ever-present security staff, who at least had seats and didn’t have to stand all the time.

Glasgow 2018 Bribe

Glasgow 2018 Bribe

Just make it all go away now – please!

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Russian mystery satellite? What mystery, it’s obvious

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the following story, and the portrayal of the Russian satellite’s behaviour as ‘mysterious’.

A mysterious Russian satellite displaying “very abnormal behaviour” has raised alarm in the US, according to a State Department official.

“We don’t know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it,” said assistant secretary Yleem Poblete at a conference in Switzerland on 14 August.

She voiced fears that it was impossible to say if the object may be a weapon.

Russia has dismissed the comments as “unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions”.

The satellite in question was launched in October last year.

“[The satellite’s] behaviour on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities,” Ms Poblete told the conference on disarmament in Switzerland.

Mystery Russian satellite’s behaviour raises alarm in US

Surely the solution to this supposed ‘mystery’ is obvious, and our American friend need only look to the north of Scotland to learn why the Russian satellite is moving to an odd position.

It’s angling to keep an eye on the upcoming…

Scottish spaceport

The fantasy view (as a vertical launch facility for microsatellites, it won’t look anything remotely like this fanciful artist’s impression).

Think more along the lines of a portacabin and a lump of concrete.

UK Space Agency Spaceport

UK Space Agency Spaceport

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Cold War, military, Surveillance, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Proposed Compulsory Sales Order seems less than helpful

While many moan and whine about abandoned and derelict land and buildings, few seem to be able to come up with anything that might actually help deal with them.

The situation is not helped by the righteous morons who simply say that the owners (if known, alive, or maybe even if dead) should be fined, or even the land or property taken from them.

A CSO, or compulsory sales order, is proposed in order to move things along.

This can be summarised by:

Local authorities already have a number of policy instruments – including compulsory purchase orders – that can be used to help regeneration.

But the commission found these policies required a clear plan in place as to how the land or building in question would be used.

In many cases, public authorities and communities do not have a specific end use in mind for problematic sites but simply wish to see them used for some productive purpose.

In some ways it’s hard to see how the CSO helps.

It forces the owner to put the land/property up for sale by auction, if it has been derelict/abandoned for three years. Three years seems to be a typical period accepted in such things, but it could vary.

But then the buyer (as opposed to the current owner) has to have a plan in order to be a valid bidder – and it may also be that the they are speculators (wanting to sit on the property or land, in which case there may be a compulsory time period (of three years) after which another CSO kicks in.

I’ve read some of the documents (they are online) arising from this idea, but get the feeling this idea is one which is more like ‘passing the buck and keeping it moving’, rather than actually solving the problem.

I’ll be interested to see how this develops, if it ever moves from being anything more than a proposal, and if does eventually become an option, an analysis of how effective it is.

New power could tackle blight of abandoned buildings in Scotland

I’m genuinely curious to see if this ‘power’ would make any difference.

This building has lain empty for years.

It’s swallowed a ton of money being made secure and sealed against the weather.

But it still lies unused.

How would forcing the owner to sell it change that?

British Linen Bank Gorbals Street

British Linen Bank Gorbals Street

I could easily wander around Glasgow and find more of these, many in poorer condition.

Forcing the current owner to sell to a new one is fine if the new owner has funds and a plan, and they’re sustainable.

But if it was so easy, why doesn’t the current owner just do whatever that may be – and change the place from a money pit into something useful.

I await developments.

But this CSO just seems to be a compulsory purchase order by another name, or the back door.

I’d like to proven wrong – and see load of CSO subjects blooming around the city in a few years.

Will I?

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , | Leave a comment

Another ‘secret’ box spills its story for us

Not that long since we last saw inside one, this ‘secret’ box on the side of the road in Rutherglen decided to give us a look at that which is not normally seen.

Better than most, it came complete with labelled breakers and isolators, and even a complete circuit diagram.

What more could we ask for?

This one’s clearly had a bit of a refurb in its life, with a nice enclosure fitted to carry the stuff that we’ve seen just mounted directly inside the larger outside box in other examples – although they didn’t manage to get the fuses in the new area.

Still, it’s a lot better looking than any we’ve come across so far.

Rutherglen Road Secret Box

Rutherglen Road Secret Box

Interesting items on the breakers.

I’d be intrigued to see the actual difference between the ’24 HR’ circuit, and what the ‘BY-PASS’ option actually by-passes, although it’s probably obvious.

I wonder if there’s a thermostat on the ‘HTR’ (heater) circuit, or if it’s just a big power resistor or real heater element that just cooks the interior all the time.

‘PEC’ will be a photoelectric control circuit that should ensure the street lighting only activates during hours of darkness, unlike the old street lighting circuits, which had timers to switch them on during ‘Lighting Up’ hours.

The two switches above this are an ‘OVERRIDE’ on the left, and a ‘MAIN SWITCH’ on the right.



Nice (partial) diagram.

At least this one is photogenic – the first and last one I came across a while ago had actually faded thanks to the weather, so  couldn’t be pictured.

Interesting to see the test values recorded, also both the poles with lamps, and those with no lamps (‘REST POLES’ used to support the overhead cables on their routing) are identified individually.

Rutherglen Road Lighting Box Diagram

Rutherglen Road Lighting Box Diagram

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Today is Vanilla Custard Day

17 August is Vanilla Custard Day.

I have to confess that simple, plain, vanilla custard is one of my favourite treats.

It just seems to go so well with just about anything, and enhances the taste.

It may even be true to say that there is nothing quite so tasty as vanilla custard, with its rich creamy texture, and its light and delicious vanilla flavour. Custards are one of the most amazing and versatile desserts ever created, and can be eaten on their own, used to fill pies, and even injected into doughnuts.

I could waffle about its history, but let’s just say it goes back at least as far as the Roman Empire.

This day is the perfect excuse to indulge yourself with this classic.

Vanilla Custard

Vanilla Custard


Oh dear…

It seems there’s a bit of a problem with REAL vanilla.

Ever heard of a ‘vanillionaire’?

Fighting the vanilla thieves of Madagascar

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day

17 August is Black Cat Appreciation Day.

It’s hard to believe, but because of stupid the superstitious beliefs in some cultures, black cats are sometimes associated with bad luck and, sadly, are more likely to be put to sleep or wait a long time to be adopted from shelters.

Black Cat Appreciation Day was launched to show people that a black cat could be the perfect cat for them, and help raise awareness about black cats in general.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that campaigns to legalise the putting to sleep of those who victimise black cats were successful, so we can’t celebrate the say by inviting them to… special ‘sleep-ins’.

I’d like to say this was my cat, but it wasn’t.

Just a regular visitor a few years ago, when we used to have cats that would come and say ‘Hello’ around here.

Black Cat

Black Cat

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Yes, that whining noise you hear DOES mean Scottish ferries are back in the news

Off we go again.

I love the way ferry users complain when they don’t get what they want, and still complain when they do.

For years, it was complaints about the high price of ferry tickets in Scotland, the lack of RET (road equivalent tariff – I’m not explaining it any more, go search), and stifling of tourist trade and visits to the islands.

Guess what?

Now that we have RET and ticket prices are falling…

Yup, you guessed it – STILL complaining!

Rising visitor numbers are creating pressures for places on ferries to and from Scotland’s islands.

Locals and businesses are feeling the pinch while the Scottish government say they are working to improve services.

Should locals get priority on ferries?

And it doesn’t end there.

It may come as a surprise to some, but you can’t just go to ‘The Ferry Shop’ and buy a new one off the shelf.

They last something like 20-30 years, and have to be commissioned when new ones are needed and built. They always cost a lot more, and not just because of inflation, but because legislation changes, get stricter, and these days have environmental/energy requirements to meet.

This means that each generation of ferry is effectively not only a new-build, but also new-tech.

If there’s something similar being produced in the yards, chances are you’ll get an on-time delivery.

But if you order something special, reality check says you should plan on it being late.

Or you can stick your head in the sand, and look shocked and surprised when it’s late.

Writing on my favourite subject is making me late, so I’m just going to stop there.

Or add one more little observation – it’s a contract to build a new ferry type.

So how come the comment moron section is full of demented political rambling?

Latest CalMac ferry now delayed by a year

I’m REALLY beginning to favour only the BBC’s generally ‘moron section’ free articles nowadays.

(And beginning to understand why a few hundred morons went to protest at the BBC’s HQ recently, if they can’t get posting their stuff there as much as after other media sources.)

Further delays to delivery of new CalMac ferries

Not even going to waste a nice ferry pic on this one.

Have some free advice instead.

Whining Solution


August 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Cute EV charging lead reminder

I’m pleased to see that (despite the naysayers) electric vehicle charging is both being provided and used in Glasgow.

It seems some people CAN think for themselves.

The only downside being that if it’s no longer a novelty, I can’t use it as an excuse for a pic.

However, we do have a car-sharing scheme in Glasgow, and one of the options is electric cars.

I’ve never bothered to look too closely, but a label hanging from the charging lead stuck into one of them said “Come closer… Look at me… READ ME!” as I shuffled past.

Interesting Car Charging West Campbell Street

Interesting Car Charging West Campbell Street


I wonder how many they’ve lost?

Cute Label

Cute Label


Given that the information available online could see you receive a visit from the boys with ‘Chequered Bunnets’, and maybe even have your car seized and destroyed if you cannot prove your case with 14 days, I’m a little concerned to note that this is clearly an electric Renault (I didn’t look at the details), and is WHITE.

According to ALL the (free – including DVLA’s own checker) online vehicle databases I can access this is…

Model Clio Dynamique Medianav
Fuel Petrol
Colour Grey
Year 2015

Emissions 127 g/km
Tax Band D
Registered 30 April 2015
Engine 1149 cc
Power 75 bhp

Somebody somewhere has made a – GASP – mistake!!!


August 16, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Stonehaven fish and chips – apparently still lovely stuff


At number 31 on the list, fish and chips is the UK’s top entry, with the experience at Stonehaven particularly recommended.

The guide states: “Sailing boats bob in the harbour; rockpools teem with crabs and sea stars; gulls ride on the breeze; and in the distance, the leaden horizon of the North Sea.

“Completing the scene, halfway along the beach is The Bay Fish & Chips, whose fish is wild-caught from Marine Stewardship Council-certified stocks.

“Considering the setting, the sustainability and the beautifully cooked fish, is it the best fish and chip shop in the world? The constant queue suggests so.”

Fish supper in Stonehaven rated top global food experience

I have to say that fish and chips in Stonehaven used to be one of the advantages of living in Glasgow, and having to work in Aberdeen at a moment’s notice.

While my colleagues would hunt out an expensive restaurant to charge an evening meal to on their expenses, I much preferred to stop in Stonehaven on my way home, and collect a fish supper, to enjoy while sitting in the one of the car parks overlooking the bay.

Didn’t matter if it was summer or winter either, as the view is great regardless of the season (but I’d rather not be lashed by a semi-storm, but being in the car, it didn’t really matter).

And all the fish and chip shops seemed to pretty good too. None could really afford to be sub-standard, as they’d be dumped and avoided by the customers, so they have to be good, or they’re gone.

It’s just a pity we can’t have them in old newspaper – I preferred it to the cardboard or plastic boxes we have to have now.

Fish And Chips

Fish And Chips


August 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

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