Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Any apple experts out there (before they kill me)?

I have a (usually) rather nice apple tree, which came with the back garden many years ago.

The apples are usually pretty good for eating, but some of the dry years we’ve had in the past meant they were off the menu. While it was a guess on my part, in those hot, arid years, the apples tended to crack and split while still on the branch, something I put down to dehydration and dry ground.

I never proved that thought, but the only thing I ever found that looked similar appeared be called ‘Star Disease’, and while the apples looked similar, none of the other symptoms seemed to apply, and even the online accounts were light on detail.

Our summers have now returned to their cooler and wetter days, this condition seems to have almost gone away, and I’ve been eating the apples for a few years.


This year has not been good, despite appearances.

I sampled the crop a few weeks ago – and let’s just say I was ill afterwards.

The apples seemed the most likely cause, as I wasn’t trying anything else new or suspect.

But, I didn’t believe it, and after recovering, decided to try them again.

Unfortunately, while not as much ‘fun’ as that first tasting, I can’t say the result means I’m in any hurry to have a third ‘tasting’.

Also, in the intervening period I noticed this crop is not responding well to being stored.

In previous years, I’ve kept them all the way up to, and past, the New Year, with the only downside being that by then they’re tending to dry up a bit, and the skins can look a little shrivelled.

Not this lot.

Still (in October) some two months away from the New Year milestone, this lot will never last that long.

When I checked them, I found that many had become dark, discoloured, and soft.

Others had actually gone completely rotten, turned dark and soft, and even had (white) mould on their surface.

This is new, not seen in past years, and closer inspection shows that many of the remainder already show evidence of this rot setting in already.

Not good, and it’s worth noting I wash them after collecting them. I don’t store them piled up and/or touching. I also discard any that show any damage or discolouration immediately, so they never even get stored. In past years all I do is leave them on the floor in a spare room, where they usually sit undisturbed, and I usually spot the few that have been damaged/bruised, and they get picked out and dumped.

But this lot is almost going rotten as I watch.

This pic gives an idea, although the worst were all dumped a while ago – these are just what I collected this morning, plus some tiny ones just being dumped. These all looked and felt fine a week ago.

One additional thing I’ve noted now is that they are rapidly losing any shine they once had, and are becoming matt and dull, even before they become discoloured and go soft.


Rotting Apples

Rotting Apples


October 20, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Rain don’t keep meeces away

After a few days’ respite, it looks as if curiosity killed the mouse this morning, and they’re back.

Although I’m hardly suggesting they were ever away, just not trying to get in.

We’re rather soggy at the moment, with more rain than we’ve seen in a while, and I wondered if would keep the little invaders away – clearly not.

No pic evidence of this morning’s catch – our garden bin collection was on the way (we have a selection of wheelie bins to segregate our assorted wastes into) and since I’m fed up digging graves I wanted to make sure I caught this collection since I had filled the bin and it was ready to go this morning.

However, it gives me a chance to include a pic I got from someone who was having a problem getting their ‘little friends’ to obligingly wander into the waiting traps, and they consulted a local ‘expert’ who advised the following.

Occult Mouse Trap

Occult Mouse Trap

I think…

I’ll pass on this one.

Many years spent watching education films produced by Hammer Films suggest this is actually more likely to conjure up a giant demon mouse, rather than attract any ordinary one to the trap!

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Surprise gallery find in Nicholson Street next to Sheriff Court

For various reasons I tend to shy away from the area near the Sheriff Court, but passing nearby during the weekend, when the place was shut, I decided to ‘Confront The Phobia’ and walk past the façade.

Once past, I almost missed the pale ‘sandwich board’ style sign in Nicholson Street, and with its faint print almost failed to see it was not just a piece of wood abandoned there, but had something printed on it.

Looking closer, it marked the site of a new(ish) gallery (and arts collective) that opened in 2016 – but has no sign on the building (that’s not a criticism – I assume the rules for the area prohibit such a horrible thing on those buildings).

This is my second ‘surprise’, after coming across the Civic Room in High Street.

I have to admit to being a little intrigued at this find, since most of the premises there are given over to assorted legal practices, which we are usually told make an absolute fortune in legal fees, so are the only ones able to afford the cost of being established at such an address.

I was surprised to see the gallery open, but as the area (and gallery) were deserted… I chickened out and just looked in the window rather than venture in. There’s nothing worse than being somewhere you’ve no real reason to be – and have eyes burning into your back.

16 Nicholson Street Gallery

16 Nicholson Street Gallery

The sign.

Nicholson Street Gallery Sign

Nicholson Street Gallery Sign

Find the gallery online here:

16 Nicholson Street

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

Do what cat says – cat never lies

Spotted this variation on a pic that has been circulating for a while, and couldn’t resist pairing it with another.

Press here kid, will be fun” (cat said):

Will Be Fun Cat Said

Will Be Fun Cat Said

Did the cat’s conscience bother it afterwards?

You decide:

Bad Dog Vs Bad Cat

Bad Dog Vs Bad Cat

October 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

No chance of infection in Tollcross Park, just a spot of fungus

Funny how it’s possible to wander around a place and completely miss something in plain sight.

I’d never noticed this old drinking fountain before, yet it lies near at least one path within the park.

I understand most, if not all, of these fountains have been killed off for fear of their being a potential source of infection, and sharing nasty diseases between users. At one time, they were numerous.

As can be seen, it has not only been disabled, but also smashed. Whether the latter is down to the park, or vandals, is unclear. Regardless, nobody’s going to be using this one.

Then again, it may have been a cunning plan by the scurrilous vendors of one of today’s greatest scandals – BOTTLED WATER – as they systematically destroyed all free sources of water to boost their criminal sales. But, that’s another story.

Tollcross Drinking Fountain Wrecked

Tollcross Drinking Fountain Wrecked

A wander around the remains revealed a fortunate survivor of this particular wrecking effort, including discovery of full details of the manufacturer.

Tollcross Drinking Fountain Detail

Tollcross Drinking Fountain Detail

One day, I’ll not only ready up on the definition of the difference between mushrooms and toadstools… I’ll also REMEMBER it!

So just have this bonus pic taken nearby, and we’ll settle for ‘fungus’ to save time.

Tollcross Park Tree Fungus

Tollcross Park Tree Fungus


Let’s not miss a chance to embarrass those in charge of this mess…

Which didn’t get the benefit of a SINGLE PENNY from the sham fiasco of the LASTING LEGACY of the 2014 GLASGOW COMMONWEALTH SHAMES.

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017

October 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish wild kittens (not what you think)

Not THAT kind of wild kitten.

These are probably wild about being dressed up.

I’d comment…

If I wasn’t lost for words!

Scottish Wild Kittens Shortbread

Scottish Wild Kittens Shortbread

We tracked one of the models down, and were planning an interview, asking ‘Why?’.

But, after they saw the above, we decided cuddles, treats, and counselling were probably a better idea.

Sad Kitten

Sad Kitten


October 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Barras Woman mural revisited

Curiosity got the better of me, following the original post on the ‘Woman’ mural I found I had an old pic of, and which is now largely obscured by some recently completed offices.

Sad to say, there’s little chance of this being spotted nowadays, unless by someone who knows it’s there.

It’s completely hidden from Moncur Street now, and without knowing it’s there, there’s little chance of spotting it in passing.

This was just a random shot I must have collected some time ago, when the construction of the container-based offices was just commencing.

Moncur Street Construction

Moncur Street Construction

And here’s how they ended up.

Can you see the Woman?

Moncur Street Containers

Moncur Street Containers

Here’s WHAT the containers are for.

Cultural Enterprise Office

Cultural Enterprise Office


Almost forgot…

If you head along the lane between the buildings, you can still just about catch the mural through the office’s gate.

Woman Mural Through Gate

Woman Mural Through Gate

October 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | Leave a comment

Any Scottish fans of ‘The Prisoner’ left?

I used to be a regular visitor to Portmeirion (no longer a secret that this was where ‘The Prisoner’ was filmed prior to broadcast in 1967), able to drive down during annual convention weekends. I was also a happy member of Six of One, The Prisoner Appreciation Society, until both came to an end for me some time after 1998.

Six of One imploded (as seen from my distant perspective as a subscriber), the conventions came to an end, the society appeared to lose favour with Portmeirion, and even the little Prisoner shop in the village closed. I hadn’t been able to make it there again (having to abort the next drive down as work meant I started the trip too late in the day), and later read that some attendees’ behaviour had led to apologies being issued to Portmeirion. Details never really emerged, but the invitation for Prisoner events seemed to evaporate for some years (as did my ability to get back there). As that was my last opportunity to make the trip, I ended up being glad I had aborted the trip, and wasn’t part of whatever happened that weekend.

I bumped into the former committee when the WorldCon came to Glasgow a few later, but they weren’t particularly approachable when I tried to say ‘Hello’, so that was that.

But, fast-forward a few years and The Unmutual Website (TUW) appeared.

Unusually, and unlike the acrimonious f0rmer society, there is no membership for TUW – just visit the web site and participate as you like.

I’ve done so for some years now, and the (very) nice man who runs it seems happy to hear from anybody.

Even me, with odd bits of trivia, such as this penny-farthing duo I found nearby one day.

Penny Farthing Twins

Penny Farthing Twins

I’ve followed the site for years now, and it has grown from a small start into a vast resource of wide and varied Prisoner related information.

For someone who was once there every year, it has assorted galleries of changes that have taken place in Portmeirion over the years, which helps make up for the loss of visits (and the 300 miles drive, ending with the remarkably Scottish looking final section through North Wales).

50th Anniversary

As noted above, 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of The Prisoner’s first broadcast, so this was a special year, as noted by TUW’s opening para on its report page:

‘The Prisoner’ 50th anniversary- an in-depth photo report on the event

September 29th 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the first UK screening of ‘Arrival’ (at 7.30pm on ATV Midlands on 29/9/1967).

NETWORK were the hosts and organisers of the official 50th anniversary event at Portmeirion, fifty years on, on 29th September 2017.

With The Unmutual Website advertising the event well in advance, most of the invited guests had been well publicised, as had the various screenings, so nothing less than a feast was promised. What was to follow exceeded even that, and proved to be an unforgettable smorgasbord of Prisoner delicacies!

The report continues with a lengthy and detailed description of the event, and coverage of the many members of the original cast able to attend, it was a unique picture opportunity too.

Fenella Fielding provided the Village Voice in the original series, so who better to announce each of the days events over a PA/speaker system which covered the whole of Portmeirion, caught on video – and looking amazing for 90!

A notable ‘first”reported from the event was the live performance of a Big Finish episode inside The Green Dome.

As a central location, Number 2’s residence, it was a little disappointing that this particular building was never accessible during any of the previous conventions or my visits, even it was a fantasy location that existed only as a set, and not actually under the dome. I did look closely during those early visits, and access was probably not really practical as the place was then in something of a state internally, and clearly in need of restoration, which it now seems to have had in good measure.

While you can go look up more related videos on YouTube, there’s one more I’d like to include here, and that’s the dedication by daughter Catherine McGoohan as she unveils a bust of Patrick McGoohan which will now mark his presence in the village.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Surveillance, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Briggait views

Looking at some past pics I’d collected of the Briggait – Glasgow’s former fish market – I noticed it was another building that could be hard to get a clear or undistorted view of.

Starting at the rear, it’s hard to get the whole thing in, or (without fancy lenses) avoid some aspect of distortion.

Briggait Rear

Briggait Rear

While I was guilty of holding the camera carelessly, I could edit that out, but this was still just about as much as I could capture since I wanted to be sure of including the detail at the top of the roof, and fill the frame with this part of the building.

I tried catching it from the other side, which meant stitching some multiple shots, and while it came out better than expected (you’re lucky not to be seeing the original horror), there are some weird angles in the end result, once you look closer.

Briggait Rear Stitch

Briggait Rear Stitch

Wandering round to the front… just brings a different problem.

Briggait Front

Briggait Front

Two fairly obvious issues – or one pair of scrawny trees sitting in just the wrong place (for my poor lens anyway).

Moving in closer to remover them from view just meant I had to stitch multiple shots again, this time producing a massive bulge.

Partly my fault as I had to stand in the wrong place, and while I was able to edit some of it out, it was so pronounced I had to limit the correction, and a closer look at the edges of the final effort shows these were being distorted and bent.

Briggait Front Stitch

Briggait Front Stitch

I KNOW I should just shut up, stop moaning, and be grateful I have an image at all…

But sometimes my OCD/perfectionist gene just kicks in, and won’t shut up.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | photography | | Leave a comment

Hurricane Ophelia – informational cat supplement

It’s windy out there…

Hurricane Cats

Hurricane Cats

Local weather post.

Windy Cat Post

Windy Cat Post

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Surprise, murders are up in Scotland (after seven – or is it ten – years of fall)

I’m feeling a little out of touch at the moment, as I have still to reconfigure my Firefox setup (in anticipation of the official Fx57 update due in November) to bring me my favourite local news pages (amongst others), and it just takes too much effort to go fetch them all by hand.

However, I did have this story fed just before the daily avalanche stopped for a while, and I got a rest.

Homicide figures increase in Scotland

It’s a pity that headline didn’t carry just a little more detail – intentionally or not,  giving the rise on its own it suggests a worrying trend.

When viewed in the context of seven years of falling numbers (which the article opened with), the increase becomes less alarming and more informative.

In fact, the increase given from the preceding period to 2016/17 was 6, from 58 to 64.

And, over the 10 year period, from 2007/08 to 2016/17, the number was reported to fall from 115 to 61.

(NO, I have no idea why the 2016/17 number changed from 64 to 61, or why the period given for reference changed from 7 years to 10. You’ll have to ask the BBC’s writer for those answers).

Kitchen Knife

The statistics given:

Homicides in Scotland 2016/17 – 64

  • Murders or culpable homicides
  • 67% of victims knew the accused
  • 48 victims were men
  • 47% of cases involved a sharp instrument
  • 1 person was shot

National Statistics

It was also noted that:

  • Twelve homicides took place in Glasgow during 2016/17 – 20% of the total
  • Three-quarters of homicide victims (48) were men
  • Three of last year’s homicide cases remained unsolved on 31 March
  • A sharp instrument was used to kill 47% (30) of victims – all but two of those involved a knife
  • One person was shot
  • In two thirds of cases (67%) the victim and the main accused knew each other
  • Of the 77 people accused of homicide, 22 were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both

I’m slightly surprised to see only one person reported as being shot.

Living in the east end, it feels as if incidents involving shots being fired have been on the rise, but on reflection, not all have been confirmed, and many have been reports, or claims, that shots were fired not at a person, but at a building. I usually look at the news items expecting pics of broken windows or evidence of bullets hitting the building concerned, but so far no media report has shown this, nor have I seen it the buildings concerned – of which I pass too many for my own liking.

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

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