Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Modern tools seem to be rubbish

While I accept that I often buy cheap tools in the knowledge that they are rubbish and to be treated as expendable, or even disposable, for use in awkward situations, I don’t extend the same low expectations for those I consider to be of reasonable quality.

Cheap copies are usually easy to spot, especially some items on sale in ‘Pound shops’ which can be less than useless once unpackaged and handled. That said, I’ve also picked up some surprisingly good items, which I suppose make up for the outright disasters.

My best and most reliable hand tools are probably post war industrial items, and can be used hard without any fear of breaking.

But I’m finding that even a decent modern tool doesn’t like to be stressed. Some very expensive wire-cutters (for PCB use) started to throw off chips of metal from their edges, even though they were only used for trimming copper wire on electronic components.

More recently, while using a pair of new(ish) angled pliers to attach some instrument springs, one part just failed outright and failed. They weren’t even large hand tools, so I couldn’t exert that much effort. Pretty sure there must have been a flaw in the metal.

Irritating, as I had found them to be quite an effective shape, since another problem with modern tools is often poor design, and shapes that don’t work well, or are awkward to use or hold.

Broken Pliers

Broken Pliers

Maybe I just have to remember that not ALL my tools are as robust as the few Snap-on examples I own. While I don’t treat them as indestructible, the seem to be, as I used to have a friend with a small car repair business. It was quite impressive to watch him abuse his Snap-on tools, use them as levers, or hammer sockets as if they were drifts, yet they appeared undamaged, even after being hammered mercilessly with a mallet.

April 28, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

If it’s stopped, it’s parked XI

It’s unfortunate that those who seek fame on the scourge that is ‘Social Media’ and try to create ‘viral’ content have found popularity by making the most trivial of parking errors into something to be seen as some sort of Mortal Sin or major crime. Instead of using it to log serious offenders, they have succeeded in making any parking transgression a matter that needs vigilantes to ‘key’ or otherwise vandalise offender’s cars, or take some other action against them, even though all they may have done is park over a line in a car park – usually where there are many empty spaces to be seen in the background, so nobody has been inconvenienced or troubled.

Equally strangely, those same vigilantes seem to see such parking as a major offence – yet seem to think they are justified if they (deliberately and knowingly) park one – or more – of their vehicles to block the first vehicle in, or block the driver’s access to it.

Strange logic – unless you are a bully, thug, or someone out to win ‘likes’ or create a viral pic or video.

Meanwhile, in the real world, they seem unable to see genuine offences on the road and footpath.

For example, this doesn’t look to bad at first glance, but look closer at the kerb:

Barrachnie Parking Vauxhall 01

If it’s stopped it’s parked

Seen from the other side, the problem becomes more obvious:

Barrachnie Parking Vauxhall 02

If it’s stopped it’s parked and not legit

Sadly, this is the sort of thing that is leading some people (not me, I just take pics in public places) to seek new laws to make it easier to fine those who park like this.

I don’t agree incidentally, since this is already an offence – vehicles may not drive on the footpath, other than to cross it for access.

But this law is seldom enforced – yet we supposedly need another!

A little further along the road, we had a more blatant example.

I suspect the driver thinks this makes them immune from the double yellow lines on the road, since they are off the road and on the footpath.

Not so!

Check the law and you will find that the enforcement area of the yellow lines extends to EITHER SIDE of them – so parking on the footpath does not escape their enforcement, and ADDS a further offence, of driving on the footpath.

Baillieston Tesco parking

If it’s stopped it’s parked

April 27, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Change – Progress – Development

As a car nut who has not lost touch with reality, I’m able to enjoy the changes that have taken place in their design over the years – unlike some I have rubbed shoulders with and describe any changes as a betrayal to their favourite marque.

I’ve never quite understood this, as the implication is that once the model they like was put into production, it seems they would have liked the manufacturer to stop development, halt progress, and set that design in stone.

In a sense, I can appreciate their view, but it’s also a dead-end and would lead to the death of the company they supposedly like so much.

Even Morgan, which some may consider to be set in their ways, has moved on, even if (some of) its cars appear largely unchanged.

In my own case I can look at my own little collection, and while one late 1950s model was amongst the fastest normal production cars of the day (excluding exotics), and was able to cruise the Autobahn at 75 mph all day, it’s 0-60 mph time was in the region of 22 seconds.

By way of contrast, my 1980s example would do the same cruise at 150 mph, and sprint to 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds.

In the currency of their day, the first was around £2 k, while the latter was 16 times that, and over £30 k (and had climbed to a whopping £80 k when production ended almost 20 years later).

The other difference would be their handling – something that has advanced out of all recognition today.

It’s no exaggeration to say that a bog-standard present family day car will out-perform a sports car from latter part of the 20th century (again, exclude the handful of exotics – but many of them would actually struggle too).

I spotted this pic, which probably sums this up – both are great, but if you think the manufacturer should have stopped developing and stayed with the one on the left, you need help, or the opportunity to bet your life savings, house, and family, on being able to catch the one on the right while driving it.

Porsche 1964 to 2016

Porsche 1964 to 2016

While I’ve never found anyone that let me drive the one on the left, I have managed to get my hands on examples of the one on the left.

Having driven other cars from 1964-ish, and being aware of that era’s 911 reputation, I can say that the later version is actually stunning, and despite trying to provoke the ‘handling faults’ of the rear engine layout found this impossible in anything like sane driving.

Special mention for that engine too – floor the throttle in any gear and it will take-off as if a ghost had just been seem.

At anything over 20 mph I found the effort of changing down to accelerate was almost a waste of time/effort.

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Trust in rust

Before jumping to any conclusions…

NO – that’s not me in the pic (or even one of my pics to be honest).

I came across this pic in a American thread sharing thousands of old motoring pics (no source given) and recognised the Jeep.

While it’s probably not identical, it is very similar to one I had – with the emphasis very much on had.

We moved home, and the pedal-powered Jeep ended up being ‘parked’ behind a garden shed… and forgotten. Not only forgotten, but lost from sight as the area was left to become overgrown and forgotten too.

Fast forward about 30 years, and muggins was tasked with clearing the garden of its undergrowth – yes, there was a lot.

The job was done a few years ago, but this pic reminded me of the abandoned Jeep, and its loss.

I should perhaps add, clarify, and emphasise… TOTAL LOSS.

I’m not sure what I found during that clear up, obviously some part that had not rusted or not rotted away over the years, and was sufficient to remind me of the existence of the Jeep, but whatever tiny part it was, it was the ONLY part that survived the effects of being left outside and forgotten for all those years.

Of the little Jeep’s body, panels, or pedal mechanism there was absolutely NOTHING found on the spot where it had been left.

Pity, they can be worth reasonable money these days.

Pedal Jeep

Pedal Jeep

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | | Leave a comment

Finally got a pic of The Barn in Shettleston

The Barn Social Club Advert 1972

Sometime something simple and straightforward can elude you for years.

Like ‘The Barn’ in Shettleston Road, a former social club, and as I later learned, a cinema before that.

I always forget about this place as it is really little more than an anonymous brown door between a close and some shops, and while I have seen it open, that must have been years ago as it has lain behind a ‘For Sale’ sign for years. And I’ve never been in it.

I also had no idea what it was like behind, until I saw it described as “A small back-court cinema” and looked closer on Google Earth (903 Shettleston Road).

It’s nothing more than a single storey pitched-roof extension tacked on the back of the tenement building – yet it was a cinema more than a century ago: “Premier opened in 1912, and originally sat 432. It closed in 1948.

Via Premier, Shettleston

According to another source, it has also been a Catholic church, bingo hall, and dancing school.  Although the information is undated, it showed the advert to the right, and dated that publicity for the opening to 1972.

I’ve tried to grab a pic for some years, but have always been out of luck with either various vehicles blocking the view, or semi-comatose can/bottle-clutchers propping themselves up in the doorway. Then again, these days there’s also the equally irritating smoker, social outcasts banished outdoors with their stinking weed, and always skulking beneath any available shelter from the rain.

I must try to remember to wander around the back one day, to see if there is any view of the extension/building itself.

The Barn Social Club

The Barn Social Club

I don’t know if anyone actually uses any of the directories or listing services published online, but when I tried to find details of the sale of these premises (and failed) I found that all those sort of listings still show The Barn Social Club complete with telephone number, address, and other details as if it was still open and in business.

I find these listing useless, never look at them, and would wipe them all off the Internet as all they do is clog up the first page of most business searches with out-of-date ‘information’ that is often wrong anyway, and has probably never been checked since the day it was first copied and pasted into these worthless parasitic web sites.

April 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday time for night shots

Looking at some pics I hadn’t bothered processing recently reminded I had, I think, mentioned that I was glum as the chances of night shots have gone for the next 6 months or so.

With no car to take refuge in nowadays, or to reach nice dark places in relative safety, I just don’t feel secure wandering around with a camera in the dark.

I’ve quite enjoyed the ‘dark’ city this year, as the death of the dreaded monochromatic yellow sodium street light arrived with a vengeance, and the place is covered with white LED lighting. Even the main roads around my home saw them arrive, and I just noticed that new lampposts have been installed on some lesser roads, heralding their arrival there.

Now that I have ‘mastered’ low light photography again (under certain circumstances!) and can take hand-held with my dSLR I’ll miss this for a while – but I have autumn to look forward too.

Just for fun, I grabbed a couple of comparison shots when I was somewhere I dared to stand still long enough to set up for a long exposure.

OK, I’m not saying identical, but given it would have been impossible to take such a shot a few years ago, the hand-held shot doesn’t really compare badly to the ‘classic’ long exposure. And you can even read the destinations on the motorway sign – in BOTH! Even the high ISO. Try that with 400 ASA colour film. That has to be a tribute to both the sensor’s ability AND the anti-shake system.

And now we can choose light trails, or NO light trails!

But still… ORANGE SKY!

In case you were wondering – the ‘castle’ above the trees on the right… it’s just a water tower.

M8 Night Slow

M8 Night Slow

 

M8 Night Fast

M8 Night Fast

April 23, 2017 Posted by | photography | | Leave a comment

Cat murals abroad are different (from ours)

I caught some local ‘official’ murals in Glasgow some time ago (3 years ago!), as seen in Glasgow’s graffiti cats, and they’re still there – and I rather like the term that has been coined by some to describe them online, ‘murder mittens’.

Here’s s reminder:

Glasgow Dunlop St cats

Glasgow Dunlop St cats

One thing I’ve noticed is that our murals tend to the realistic, and that’s not a complaint. As a failed artist (despite being told by an art teacher I could and should paint and draw as I had the ability, I still think anything I attempt is fit only for the bin) I love the realism and accuracy of the work, and believe another thing my teacher told me, that cats are a real test of ability – and if you can portray them realistically, you are lucky and talented.

That said, I was browsing through a photo site that just collates random pics it thinks are great, and I spotted a couple of cat murals in a recent dump.

Unfortunately, it just collects the pics, not any of the details, so I have no idea where these are located, but from the ‘feel’ of their environment and surroundings, I’d say they lie on foreign soil.

But it’s really the stylised nature of their depiction of cat faces that caught my eye.

While I love the realistic murals that have appeared in Glasgow over the past few years, and are ‘Tourist trails’, even hidden in odd places so they are hard to find, and a surprise when they are spotted, I also think our artists need to develop some imagination too, and dare to move outside the borders of pure reality, and move into some more stylised and abstract work:

Foreign Cat Mural 1

Foreign Cat Mural 1

 

Foreign Cat Mural 2

Foreign Cat Mural 2

 

Foreign Cat Mural 3

Foreign Cat Mural 3

It’s not that we don’t have them at all, but this example (the only one I have of such a thing) is located on a wall facing AWAY from the road AND behind a wall. It’s only visible to people walking the path along the side of the River Clyde, or who may happen to look across from the opposite bank, from a place that is largely deserted.

Big Fire Cat Clyde

Big Fire Cat Clyde

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Black paint and fancy tyres make things interesting

I don’t know anything about this, other than the obvious.

It’s a van, it was made by VW, it’s black, it’s got fancy wheels and tyres, and a nice personalised registration (which I’d rather like in my collection).

I didn’t even have time to look at it properly as I was on my way to pick up goodies from the DIY store of which this is the car park.

And, of course, when I came back out – it was gone (never to be seen again).

Black VW Van [956 DG]

Black VW Van [956 DG]

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

Burrell Collection building refurbishment gains planning permission

While it would have been a rather odd result, it is nice to see that plans for the £66 million refurbishment of the Burrell Collection building and display areas have gained official planning permission.

Planning permission has been granted for a major refurbishment of the Burrell collection museum in Glasgow.

The £66m project to upgrade the building and provide more display space also received listed building consent.

Glasgow City Council recently approved funding of up to £27.3m towards the cost of the refurbishment.

The Burrell collection has more than 8,000 artefacts, but fewer than a fifth of them have been on show at any one time.

In April 2015, the council provided £5.7m to kick-start the building’s revamp, which houses treasures donated to the city by collector Sir William Burrell in 1944.

Via Planners approve Burrell collection revamp

Burrell building

Burrell Collection, Pollok Park, Glasgow © Iain Thompson via Geograph

While the building will receive a much-needed upgrade to its structure and services, the greatest benefit for the visitor has to be the release and creation of a vast amount of exhibition space – so much of the large collection was formerly locked away in storage, but will be able to brought out and placed on display – the old space only allowed 20% of the collection to be on show at any one time:

When it re-opens to visitors in 2020, the basement of the Category A listed building will become part of the exhibition space, so that 90% of the objects can be viewed by the public.

A dedicated space will also be created for special exhibitions and offices will be converted into galleries.

Now, there only seem to be two problems for me… one, to make it to 2020, and the second, to work out a reasonable means of getting to the Burrell from my hovel in the east end of Glasgow. Banished to public transport, I can’t see a direct route and the various bus and train combination I can find seem to need the patience of a saint to follow, and take forever.

Maybe I should buy a new bike, and make up a flask and sandwiches.

April 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

They day a giant yellow dog drove past me

Not much I can really add to this.

But it’s not every day you look up while waiting to cross the road, and see a giant yellow dog drive past!

Giant Yellow Dog's Trust dog

Giant Yellow Dog’s Trust dog

Explanation – The Dog’s Trust built its new headquarters for this area not very far from here a few years ago, and while I’ve never seen this parked there when passing, I guess they must keep it there occasionally when it not doing its business.

There’s also a charity shop not too far away as well, in Tollcross Road.

I waited to see if a giant ‘pooper scooper’ followed, but no luck 😦

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

The intriguing plans for Glasgow’s neglected lanes

It’s a shame that so many people are ready to cast scorn on any initiatives proposed by Glasgow City Council out of hand, without the slightest consideration of their merit. Granted, the council has suffered (and in some cases still does) from the possible existence of ‘Ego Projects’ at the behest of some councillors, but such dismissal is probably as bad as those wayward proposals.

I know, I used to be a member of a forum that enjoyed attacking the council regardless – but then I realised this was just mindless hate on the members’ part, and left.

I’m sure they’ll be having a little ‘hate orgy’ this week, and dancing around burning copies of the Glasgow City Council’s draft strategy and public consultation documents for the improvement of some 90 lanes within the city centre.

That would be a mistake.

While I was initially sceptical after seeing stories about the strategy in the media, actually looking at the detail for myself revealed a sensibly researched review and proposal within this strategy, and one which I hope will eventually come to be financed and adopted.

In fact, the strategy runs to some 90+ pages in a well presented document:

Draft Lane Strategy for Public Commnet (pdf document)

Council approves next stage of strategy for Glasgow’s city centre lanes

I’m familiar with many of Glasgow’s lanes (and seldom venture into them, and certainly not in the dark), and those that come to mind at first are not appropriate for the plan, being the back of many business, or access to their services. They also suffer from one of our good/bad ideas – giant wheelie bins for their waste. Admittedly better than the piles of black bags and waste, they still take up space, and can ‘go walkies’ since few lanes are level – I used to work near West Regent Lane for example. As can be seen, it’s needed for access, and the lane surface is old, failing, and on an incline.

West Regent Lane

West Regent Lane

Similar, but not on an incline, is Renfield Lane, but it has a fine crop of business related wheelie bins:

Renfield Lane

Renfield Lane

These are NOT the lanes of the plan, although it suggests that improving their condition would still make for a better, cleaner environment, provide improved access, and help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

In fact, taking the time to look at the proposals without an ant-council bias shows the selection of a small number of lanes in areas where they could be developed as attractions, and turned into public spaces with shops, restaurants and bars.

This has happened in other areas of the city, and those lanes have become favourites with both locals and visitors.

With this in mind, it’s now worth reading the media coverage:

Glasgow’s back lanes in line for Melbourne style revamp

World-inspired revamp for Glasgow’s 90 city centre lanes

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

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