Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Two letters and two number again

That was quick – and lucky I shoved the compact in my pocket on a pouring wet day or I’d have missed it.

I’m really not sure about the so-called Mini, which BMW may have retained the rights to the name, if not the original spirit of Sir Alec Issigonis’ original creation.

While it seems to be a fine car with references to the original, that’s really as far as it goes, as from what I hear/read, is considered a step on BMW ownership ladder for those a little short of the readies to buy something with that actual badge attached.

However, the car is neither ‘mini’, not cheap, as in following the low-cost philosophy of the original.

I think the size is thing that spoil it for me.

If you see claims that the new Mini is the same size as the original Range Rover – I’m sad to say that this is neither a myth nor made-up story.

It’s TRUE!

Dig out the original dimensions of the fledging first Range Rover and compare them to the new Mini – while an exact comparison will reveal that the comparison is not wholly accurate, the difference is mere centimetres.

While you might speed an original Mini through a gap that the original Range Rover would have squeezed through, you will have to squeeze a new Mini through that same gap unless you don’t mind losing some paint.

Mini Cooper [79 SG]

2011 Mini Countryman Cooper [79 SG]

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Go-ahead for £1.5 million Barras area refurbishment

Barras Sign

Following quickly on from the news that an area of Sauchiehall Street is to be refreshed, it seems the area of The Barras is to enjoy a similar spot of ‘Spit and Polish’.

While it’s better than the fate which befell Paddy’s Market, I can’t quite work up the same enthusiasm for this announcement.

Don’t take that the wrong way, the area is in serious need of refurbishment. While much tidying has taken place around it, the core which was once the centre of The Barras has been left behind, and leaves much to be desired.

However, if we leave to one side the market area below and behind the Barrowland Ballroom (and that is sadly much deserted when I have taken a walk there in recent months) then the remaining area of The Barras is a virtual desert, with most of the buildings having been demolished in relatively recent years, leaving only a few of the more substantial structures still standing.

As I have noted in posts made a year ago, it can be alarming to arrive there in the afternoon, say 2 or 3 pm, and find the remaining stallholders in the street clearing up and getting ready to go home, while the few indoor pitches (who now label themselves as ‘Antique Dealers’) are pretty much deserted too.

And one of the oldest original “McIver’s Markets” (the founders were McIver, Margaret to be specific) buildings is really sad now (the one with the bikes on sale outdoors at one corner). While one corner still has some decent books and memorabilia on sale (from some real old original marker ‘characters’ too), the rest of the area is just dead and derelict stalls with broken junk piled up on them, gathering dust. The last few times I dropped in, even that ‘interesting’ corner seemed to have been abandoned, and was covered over with dust sheets.

Maybe I just go on quiet days, or at the wrong time of day.

Frankly, a visit to The Barras these days, for me at least, is actually a visit to Bill’s Tools Store (for any bargains on offer) and a check on Pearson’s, to make sure that’s still there too.

Work on a £1.5 million renovation of Glasgow’s Barras market is set to begin next month after the plans were approved by city councillors.

The plans, which form part of the Glasgow City Region Deal, will see the development of underused space aimed at attracting new businesses and creating a “key gateway” to the East End.

• READ MORE: What does the future hold for Glasgow’s Barras markets?

A report that went before the Glasgow City Region City Deal cabinet said: “The revitalisation of this area is both critical in overcoming barriers to wider development of the whole Collegelands Calton Barras (CCB) area.”

It added: “The overall CCB project will deliver sustainable economic growth in Glasgow and the city region. This will enable the regeneration of sites which are not suitable for development in their current state, including attracting investment that supports high value industries.”

Having been given the green light, the project is targeted for completion by March next year.

Via: Glasgow’s Barras market to get £1.5m revamp

I can only hope they have at least partial success in some sort of revival.

Or maybe we should just be honest, and say The Barras is gone, and has been for years.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Even a skip can be a mural

Another from my collection of wall art or murals for businesses, this time for skip hire.

To be honest, this is actually an old pic from a set I’ve had lying around for a while, put to one side as it’s not possible to get a decent, square, or head-on view.

But I’ve now mastered perspective adjustments, and with a touch of patience can sort most horrible squinty pics.

This one is still in place, if a little worn, and not just an offensive ad.

And, more importantly, it’s THEIR wall, so they have not stolen or vandalised space or property that belongs to someone else.

Christie Skip Mural

Christie Skip Mural

Update

I happened to pass the same spot a few days ago, and grabbed a new shot to compare, and see if it had become a little ‘tired’.

While the photo makes it look a little better than the reality, it’s not that bad for a bit of weathering.

Skip Mural Wider

Skip Mural Wider

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Kinloch Castle makes the news yet again

I’ve waffled about Kinloch Castle before, more than once it seems.

It’s funny how some stories/appeals only seem to need one or two appearances in the media, and there seems to be a virtual army lined up behind them, while others seem barely even to evoke a response, and when it does appear, it’s apparently hostile and negative.

As someone who lives in an area where many a fine mansion was built in the 19th century, and who has in more recent years learnt that nearly all of them have been razed and lost without trace, I see the loss of any examples that have survived so far, and might yet be saved, as worthwhile.

In my own case of the area between the River Clyde and the east end of Glasgow, I can’t believe just how many ‘Big Houses’ once lay in the area, built by wealthy merchants who favoured the river view, have been wiped from the land, leaving little or no trace to show they ever even existed.

The only way I know of their past existence is through finding illustrations/photographs of them in books giving accounts of the area.

The most recent, which I actually saw, was on the grounds of Belvedere Hospital and referred to as the Doctor’s House. It was systematically stripped then ultimately demolished and erased as a new housing estate was partly built in an attempt to profit from the dopey 2014 Commonwealth Shames. My guess is that the developer was out to make a quick buck from the mugs expected to come and witness this folly, and thought the houses could be let to them at vastly inflated rates. I also guess this never happened, and to this observer at least, work appeared to stop early, the site was abandoned with only about half the area cleared being built on, then the contractors, plant, and machinery disappeared. The remainder of the building site was landscaped, and is now just flat grassland.

The derelict roofless shell of Belvedere House eventually disappeared too.

(Sad, and embarrassing, to say, although I collected one or two pics of this over the years, I can’t lay hands on any of them today, so the pic that SHOULD here, isn’t. Sorry. I’ve searched and searched for them, but they seem to have disappeared too.)

While there are a few who are keen to preserve Kinloch Castle and see it as an asset in a remote place which has little to attract the tourist’s wallet (and lighten it for the benefit of the local community), if the comments after this media article is to be believed, the community “Don’t want none of that!”

Via: Campaigners plan bid to save Kinloch Castle from demolition

Kinloch Castle

Kinloch Castle © Ashley Dace via geograph

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Celtic clearly chose the wrong planners

My first thought on seeing a story about Celtic FC building a hotel and museum was to wonder why the proposal was to have it near the apparently empty Emirates shed built for the dopey 2014 Commonwealth Shames.

I’ve yet to walk past this huge hangar and see anything happening there.

It’s surrounded by a vast car park that lies empty too, with only a handful of cars to be seen whenever I walk through the deserted space.

The only useful thing I’ve seen there is an EV charging spot, but even that has never had a vehicle present when I’ve been there.

I’ve seen more activity in the waste management site across the road from this place, which produces a lovely ‘odour’ that wafts across the road to the arena when the wind is in the right direction!

Celtic FC hotel and museum ‘would create 120 new jobs’

But the saddest part of this news release was the part when it became clear that the planners chosen did not have a clue about the area, as they stated:

The statement continued: “The direct creation of over 100 new employment opportunities will be a major boost to the area and will clearly contribute towards the key planning aim of achieving sustainable economic growth.

There is currently no quality hotel accommodation within the area between the city centre and Tollcross despite the key attractions of Celtic Park and the Emirates Arena.

“The current lack of hotel accommodation in the vicinity means that everyone attending events at the football stadium or the arena requires to travel on the day of the event, adding to traffic volumes in the surrounding area.”

It added: “By locating the proposed hotel immediately beside the stadium and arena pressure on the local transport network will be reduced, particularly at times of peak movement.

“Experience elsewhere also demonstrates that hotel restaurant and cafe/bar facilities adjoining a football stadium can help to spread the timing of trips over a greater time period avoiding peak periods.”

Seriously?

These planners clearly failed to do their homework, and take note of The Bellgrove Hotel, just a short distance away, in the Gallowgate.

Seems ideal to me.

Bellgrove Hotel

Bellgrove Hotel

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Anybody lost a drunk celebrity?

Harrods Booze Bag

Harrods Booze Bag

When I came across this tacky Harrods bag at the side of the south-bound lane of the A74 dual-carriageway, complete with the broken glass of a bottle of booze (label unfortunately ruined and unreadable) and a plastic bottle of something to mix with it…

All I could think of was the image of some drunk, waste-of-skin celebrity, embedded in the front of a London-bound lorry they had staggered in front if in their stupor.

But – probably not.

And we’re not supposed to think such thoughts anyway, since humour from such a scenario, probably fatal, is not allowed these days.

Let’s forget that though, and just imagine the removal of one celebrity as illustrated by this Vietnamese police officer, who tried to ticket a coach, only to the find the driver was having a bad day:

Vietnam Coach with Police Attached

Vietnam Coach with Police Attached

Just picture your (least) favourite waste-of-skin holding on like that for the 400+ mile jolly down to London.

Sad to say, not likely these days since the M74 extension opened nearby, and took most of this traffic away.

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Perth City Hall designs go on show

It’s a far cry from the first headline about Perth City Halls being proposed for demolition:

Plans to demolish Perth City Hall unveiled

Now the building has a number of proposals for its future:

Proposals for the re-development of one of Perth’s most historic buildings have been unveiled.

The B-listed Perth City Hall, which was built in 1911, has lain empty for more than 10 years and had been threatened with demolition.

However, it was saved after those plans were blocked by Historic Scotland.

It is now hoped the building will help boost Perth’s visitor attractions, with plans to transform it into a venue for the visual arts.

The council said the hall would become a major new venue, displaying museum and art collections alongside iconic loans from elsewhere and touring exhibitions from the UK and abroad.

It will also provide community and learning spaces.

Via: Architects’ designs for Perth City Hall unveiled

No hurry though – The final decision on the design will be made in the summer, with construction expected to begin in 2019.

Perth City Hall shortlisted designs - top Richard Murphy, bottom left LDN, bottom right Hoskins

Perth City Hall shortlisted designs – top Richard Murphy, bottom left LDN, bottom right Hoskins – Images via BBC News

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , | Leave a comment

If it’s stopped, it’s parked XIII and XIV – Baillieston bonus

Being in Baillieston can (or could) be a gold mine for collecting pictures of bad, dreadful, or just plain lazy or selfish parking.

I’m sure if the police were ever short of their ticket quota, then they’d only have to go for walk from the local station and they’ve be able finish a book most days/evenings. And I generally don’t bother looking, or even deliberately leave the camera at home, or I’d have to start another blog dedicated to the abysmal parking often seen there.

But some are so bad, and unnecessary, that it’s worth the effort of recording them.

It’s worth noting the possible offences:

  1. no vehicle should stop on the crossing;
  2. no vehicle should overtake in the “controlled area” of the crossing (usually indicated by zig-zag lines); and
  3. no vehicle should park in the “controlled area” of the crossing.

Offences can earn a fine up to £1,000, 3 penalty points, and discretionary disqualification from driving.

So, is getting a hot meal justification for this:

Baillieston Crossing Parking

Baillieston Crossing Parking

I make that TWO of the three possible offences:

  • STOPPED on the crossing;
  • PARKED in the “controlled area” of the crossing.

Worth noting that these are ‘offences’ and not just parking tickets or PCNs (Penalty Charge Notices).

One way ignorance

There are two notable one-way streets in Baillieston, and I’m not sure if the regular offenders in them are strangers who don’t notice the signs, or arrogant locals who just ignore them. See Dyke Street and Martin Crescent.

Two narrow side streets were made one-way years ago, both feeding INTO the main street. This means they LOOK like two-way side streets from the main street, and the high mounted ‘No Entry’ signs are not the most visible due to their location.

In the past, I have been forced to run out of the way of angry drivers mistakenly turning from the main street into these side streets while I have been crossing them, and in their opinion ‘NOT PAYING ATTENTION’ – yet they were the ones committing the offence by turning into a one-way street AGAINST the direction of travel, and either driving or parking in them facing the wrong way.

If you think I’m exaggerating or just making this up, here’s just one example from my collection – a car parked facing the wrong way in Dyke Street at Baillieston Library:

Baillieston One-way Parking

Baillieston One-way Parking

In some respects I don’t really even blame the driver – the sign is poorly placed due to the wide and angled nature of the street, even if there are other clues to alert drivers, it’s position and the direction it faces does not help. I’ve also been gestured at by angry drivers here, as they turn into the street and I am crossing and apparently ‘In their way’.

I could probably collect stuff like this every day/evening I walk along the main street.

If  only I got a cut of the fines issued – it could be a nice little earner.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Sauchiehall Street set for much needed refresh

Until recently, I wasn’t able to get into Glasgow – something of a penalty for someone who not only worked in the city centre, but was also a frequent visitor.

I don’t know how long I was unable to have anything more than the odd obligatory visit on business, but after more than a decade of not really seeing the place, the changes can come as a bit of a shock, and I don’t mean just the demolition and rebuilding seen in some areas.

While those (as I was) who see the place on a daily basis, incremental changes, decay, and just general wear and tear can go unnoticed.

For that reason, I was pleased to see:

MULTI-MILLION pound plans to re-develop Glasgow’s famous Sauchiehall Street to be debated by city councillors.

Members of the city region cabinet have been recommended to approve proposals brought forward by the City Deal team.

Sauchiehall Street as it looks at the moment. Picture: John Devlin

The plans would result in more cycle paths, additional pedestrian walkways, less traffic and more opportunities for businesses.

Work, if approved, would start on the section of road between Charing Cross to Rose Street.

Via: Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street set for £7.2m revamp

I’m sure there will be negative voices against this, but I also suspect they will come from the usual ‘Naysayers’ (those whose response to any suggestions is an automatic ‘NO!’ regardless of the benefits), and from those who see the area on a daily basis, and have just noticed that while it may not be fair to say it is ‘Run down’, it is tired after years of uncoordinated work.

Sauchiehall Street Transformed

Sauchiehall Street Transformed – Image from Glasgow city Council

June 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

The illegals – AB11 LTN

I’m not really sure what this is supposed to be.

If this is supposed to be read as BILL, then as a ‘new’ style number I don’t think it’s worth whatever it cost, or worse, the chance of a pull by the police and the resulting fines etc for the illegal spacing of the letters and numbers.

I wish someone would come along with a ladder one day, and fix that PDSA sing on the lamppost. Sorry about the focus, but it was a grey and grimy day when I grabbed this one.

It’s been pointing the OPPOSITE way from the  actual PDSA centre for years – I think it’s loose, as it sometime points in different directions when its windy.

BMW M135I  Auto [AB11 LTN]

Grey BMW M135I Auto [AB11 LTN]

June 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Sir Billy Connolly – honourable mention

Although I managed to grab some pics of his birthday murals in Glasgow, I didn’t get a chance to watch the BBC documentary Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime about their creation, or of the stories behind their artwork until last night.

It also means a trip to the People’s Palace is in order, as the originals are on show there.

And while it may not have been the subject of the programme, my lasting memory of will be a clip from one of is recent stage shows:

I’ve got Parkinson’s Disease. I wish he’d fuckin’ kept it!

Now it’s Sir Billy Connolly

I’m not a great follower of the news these days, populated as it is by too many people trying to get noticed, or absurd opportunist politicians trying to score some sort of points over their opponents – frankly, my Bullshit Detector can’t handle it all, so I just don’t bother.

Bull Det MkII

Bull Det MkII

But I do watch the ‘Bullet Point’ headlines, and the first one I saw this morning was:

‘Hairy rebel’ pleased to be Sir Billy Connolly

Scottish comedian Billy Connolly said he was “pleased and a little embarrassed” to get a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The 74-year-old Glaswegian said he did not know much about what it would mean.

The star told BBC Scotland: “It won’t really dawn on me until Glasgow people start calling me ‘Sir Billy’ or whatever they come up with.”

He said it felt strange to be welcomed into the establishment as he still thought of himself as a “hairy rebel”.

Unlike some (who are thankfully long forgotten) he didn’t make a great fuss, or protest his hatred of ‘The Establishment’, but simply said:

It’s an honour and I’ll accept it honourably.

The only problem I might possibly see with receiving such an honour these days… is some of the rubbish you have to share it with. there’s some real dross in there this year.

But, forgetting them, it’s really nice to see Sir Billy, who earned hos honour over the years.

Also, I’m not sure who was first, or if they both have ‘Imaginative and original’ writers on their staff (or perhaps neither do), but I saw the appearance of a pair of similarly ‘Inspired’ (Ha!) headlines later in the day:

Arise, Sir Billy: Big Yin gets knighthood in honours list (STV)

Arise Sir Big Yin as Scottish comic icon Billy Connolly awarded knighthood (Daily Record)

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

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