Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The Woman Mural at The Barras – lucky I had an older view

Looking through some forgotten pics I never got around to using, I noticed a mural that probably went largely unnoticed when it was new, and is even less likely to be noticed today.

Frankly, I took this pic to record Pearsons and Bill’s Tool Store, just in case ‘they’ decided to knock it down, and catching the still visible mural was just a happy accident.

Painted on a gable end visible from Moncur Street, the gable was brought into view when one of the best old buildings that made a day at the Barras fun was demolished a few years ago. In its day, this old multi-storey building was packed with stallholders, and even more packed with punters looking for a bargain. Sometimes it was hard going just to get up and down the stairs, or even reach the stalls to see what was on offer.

Today, the site has been occupied by flats which appear to made out of shipping containers, stacked so the now block this view of the mural.

As far as I know, it’s still visible from Stevenson Street (parallel to Moncur Street) and the lane joining the two.

Barras Woman Mural

Barras Woman Mural


September 21, 2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

I stopped laughing (or crying) so you could start, at this attempt to make a pic

I really thought this was a joke when I first saw it, but then realised a news service (which shall remain nameless so I don’t get sued or something) must have given the newest minimum-wage intern, or work-experience student, or whatever they are called these days, the job of making a pic of a VW Scirocco that was apparently set on fire, or maybe even petrol-bombed, or something…

What they got was a pic of the street concerned with a random VW Scirocco pasted on top, with no attempt to match perspective or… anything! Looks more like a crash. It’s not even on the correct side of the road, but would be facing oncoming traffic.

Seriously, please try not to laugh too hard at this – I’d hate to be the cause of your first hernia, or maybe aggravating an old one.

Scirocco Over Google

Scirocco Over Google

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

Good morning Mr Mouse – Goodbye Mr Mouse

Since I’ve never been able to find the ‘MICE WELCOME HERE’ sign that they’ve nailed somewhere to my house, it looks as if I’m going to have to get used my new job as Unpaid Gravedigger.

Since I hadn’t seen my traps (installed indoors) for so long, they were all fairly mucky, not from the attention of mice (since they only caught their first mice recently, but had been down for years – I’ve even discovered a fifth), but from insects and spider’s crawling over them.

I gave them all a bit of a wash and brush up, then left them to dry in a sort of outhouse at my back door.

Notably unbaited, but set, just to make sure they dried thoroughly, I unexpectedly came face to face with my enemy this morning – staring back at me, and almost hidden under my drying umbrella (of course it’s drying – this IS Scotland!)*

This is no real surprise, I was sure they liked to run around here freely, as I found one that had just dropped dead some years ago, and gave up leaving bait as I was going through buckets of the stuff, and it doesn’t come for free.

But now I know I can’t leave my back door open, so maybe I should just leave these traps here (baited) as a first line deterrent.

  • Scottish umbrellas operate in binary – they’re either getting wet, or getting dry, with no intermediate state possible.

Quantum physics also applies if they’re in a box (while Schroedinger’s Cat is out chasing mice) and their state is indeterminate until you look at them, and fix their state.

Mouse Surprise

Mouse Surprise


September 20, 2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Saltmarket ‘Pop Up Bar’

I’m not a great fan of giving silly or trendy names to things that don’t need them, just to make some sort of (pointless) point.

One such thing – in my opinion – is the supposed phenomenon of the ‘Pop Up’ shop or business.

I’m guessing that if you go looking with your hand out for money then you have a better chance of getting it if you claim to be setting up a ‘Pop Up’ business rather than simply stating you want to start a business that’s going to close not long after it opens. Few investors are likely to be impressed by THAT forecast.

But there might be some that don’t cost much, will be successful for a short, or very short period, and not cost much to start.

Such as this little ‘Pop Up’ bar I spotted inside a telephone box in Glasgow’s Saltmarket.

It was never going to last.

(Hint: NO Buckfast!)

Telephone Box Bar

Telephone Box Bar

September 20, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Inside a concrete lamppost

After yesterday’s post about a repaired concrete lamppost I thought I’d dig out a view of what’s inside one.

If you know anything about concrete, then you know it has no strength in tension, only compression, so these poles are not simply solid concrete – which would break the first time a decent gust of wind hit – but are full of rebar (steel reinforcing bar) to prevent any tension causing the concrete to crack and fail, as it would do on its own.

Concrete Lamppost

Concrete Lamppost

But they’re getting old now, and the thinnest surface concrete is failing and allowing water to creep below.

This become a self-compounding problem as it allow air and moisture to reach the steel.

Two problems follow, firstly the water can freeze and the expansion of the ice causes further cracks in the concrete, so more moisture gets in.

Then the steel starts to rust as it combines with oxygen, this also expands and cause more damage, eventually blowing the concrete off the surface, exposing the material below.

Concrete Lamppost Reinforcement

Concrete Lamppost Reinforcement

September 19, 2017 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , | 6 Comments

An actual cost-saving repair

Not seen often, but I guess this street lighting repair cost less than digging up the old lighting pole, buying a new one, and setting it in the pavement.

I’m not sure how strong or long-lasting those metal straps are – I’d have used three myself.

As it is, the failure of one (or even slackening as the concrete of that old pole erodes) will leave all the load on just one, while the addition of a third would considerably reduce loading and increase life, and be safer should one strap fail or work loose.

But that’s just me – always over-engineering.

Spotted somewhere in Greenfield.

Economising Light Repair

Economising Light Repair

I suspect the old concrete lampposts may be due for renewal or replacement – there have been some reports of their failure in the media, and a closer look at them shows the concrete is failing, revealing the steel reinforcement inside – and that exposed metal can corrode and expand, leading to further accelerated failure of the structure.

It may be coincidence, and a rogue item, but it’s only a few weeks since the upper part of a lamppost in Glasgow failed, and unfortunately struck a van passing below.

It will be a bit of a shame when they are replaced, I rather like the appearance of concrete lampposts, and we won’t see them made again.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

New feature trial – Weekly round-up: 16 October 2017

Big SeSco S

After some observations and conversations and discussions and hand-wringing I’ve decided to trial a new feature for the site/Blog – a ‘weekly round-up’.

I’m not sure of the format (that’s part of the reason for giving it a trial), but its basic aim will be a place to dump interesting stories seen during the week and which, if I had infinite time and patience, could form the basis of a nice Blog post – if I hadn’t grown accustomed to eating and sleeping.

Subjects may be more general than those with a Scottish flavour, maybe even controversial.

I’ll play with it for a while, and it will either stay if it does what I want it to, or quietly just… disappear.

I expect they’ll comprise a brief comment (AKA My Blog, My Opinion), which means they can be found by a search, plus a link to their online source, to prove they’re genuine and not made up (or in these days of ‘Fake News’ and SCROTUS ignorance and/or lies, not made up by ME).

There are some more reasons why this might be a handy feature (for the writer, not the readers), so it will be interesting to see if it satisfies them, and stays.

Weekly round-up: 16 October 2017

A fairly obvious chancer (a Spanish Tarot card reader, so the final outcome was sort of obvious) recently tried to grab a cut of Salvador Dali’s estate when she claimed she was his daughter – the result of an affair, something she said she had been told since she was young. Thankfully, DNA testing can positively discount such claims and put such claims firmly in their place. The nearest skip. The news reports her response is unknown, and fails to mention if she will be held liable for the costs of proving her potential fraud, which led to Dali’s body being exhumed (from a crypt), court time, and related costs.  Salvador Dali: DNA test proves woman is not his daughter

Dali’s response (too big for me to include – you’ll have to click the link to see it):

Scotland (Glasgow even) is becoming world famous for being the ‘Sick Man of Europe’ with (we’re told) the worst health record on many fronts, and poverty galore, especially for children. I don’t buy the latter though, as it’s an artificial line ‘drawn in the sand’ by those who want to score political points, and classes those without a mobile phone or games console as being in poverty. BUT… there was yet MORE good news for Scotland this week, as it scooped ANOTHER award and carried of the crown as: Scotland named as ‘UK’s gambling capital’

While this year seems to have seen the rise of a few disgruntled people who are now not only moaning, but getting into the news by actively disrupting events (allegedly even assaulting participants), it seems that Scotland, and local communities, are benefiting from such things, as illustrated by figures recorded over the years: Scottish production spend figures by year…

  • 2016 – £69.4m
  • 2015 – £52.7m
  • 2014 – £45.8m
  • 2013 – £33.6m
  • 2012 – £27m
  • 2011 – £29.3m
  • 2010 – £21.5m
  • 2009 – £24m
  • 2008 – £28m
  • 2007 – £23m

Source: Creative Scotland Money spent on TV and film production hits record high

Interesting that it was a Scottish team that chose to give this a try, and actually succeeded without getting stranded somewhere. Notably, the even takes place across the mountains, desert, and steppe of Europe and Asia, with no back-up, no support, and no set route. Scots couple first to complete Mongol Rally in electric car

It may not be considered as a ‘real’ ferry by some (bearing in mind some think it’s clever to say the Isle of Skye is not a ‘real’ island), but if it crosses water and gets you from A to B and your feet are dry, then being ‘free’ does not invalidate it. Incidentally, ‘free’ actually amounts to £40,000 being needed to run it, and its success and popularity may provide the basis for justifying yet another bridge across the River Clyde.  Big demand for revived ferry across the Clyde

No great surprise as Edinburghers are officially classified as being more miserable than Glaswegians – but that’s no surprise with all the Harry Potter associations that the natives of Edinburgh get lumbered with It’s official: Edinburgh is the most miserable place to live in the UK

There’s a bit of a surprise to be found in a web site called Atlas Obscura. While many similar sites have few contributions originating in Scotland, Atlas Obscura has managed to attract quite a few entries, and they’re not merely the most common or obvious ones that might be expected. For example, the two I noted most recently were for a drying green and some wallabies living on an island. See The Drying Green and Wallabies of Inchconnachan and have a search of the site for more Scottish items – it’s worth the effort.

The week ended with a feature on Glasgow’s old Lennox Castle Hospital, which also happens to be the subject of one of our most consistently popular Wiki pages, and nearly always feature in the top ten in terms of weekly views. Dating from 1936, its story seems to be a sad one, like a Jekyll and Hyde character, with some who were there full of praise (and probably earlier residents), while those held there prior to its closure in 2002 tell of an institute that lacked funding, was overcrowded, and staffed by people who were totally unsuitable, leading to abuse. “Care in the community” may be mocked by some, but seems better than the alternative The sad secrets of Glasgow’s abandoned mental hospital

A couple of industries I like to keep an eye on, wind power and nuclear power (because you get a great laugh meeting to many utter loonies spouting their ‘knowledge’ on both), managed to feature in the same story covered by a number of sources. The title tells all Offshore wind power cheaper than new nuclear

Since I mentioned nuclear power, I can now mention this excellent article about storage of nuclear waste. It’s intriguing to read the story behind this sensible approach, rather the general hysteria and NIMBY response to the subject in the UK, so beloved and fuelled by the green loonies.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the general theme of the article, there’s a lot of truth in this article When I was small the tourists poured into bustling Scottish coastal towns … how times have changed. Why don’t I endorse it fully? Simply because it whines on about deprivation AND commits the sin of blaming local politics, as if these could have changed wider influences from around the world (think personal choices of the visitors who deserted these resorts and package holidays, for example).

The above isn’t necessarily the format this feature will take, just a first effort, and I’ll (probably) play around with options for a while, and maybe see what else it can be used for.

September 17, 2017 Posted by | Weekly round-up | | 1 Comment

Neeb’s wheels 11

Spotted hiding ‘In the wild’ a while ago, this may not be one of the possible super cars some of my neighbour’s try to intimidate me with, but I would have to say that I’m rather impressed by this one. Dating from 2006, this blue BMW 525D M Sport A baulks the usual trend of not keeping a car for more than a few years.

While I’ve been in the position of being obliged to change my car every few years, with no option to retain it as the company policy is frequent renewal, I prefer to keep one I like, and look after it.

The treatment some of those cars, only a year or two old at most, got from the drivers was pathetic, and the manufacturer usually carried the can and bore the cost of their neglect and abuse. Having seen this first hand, I often wonder at the accuracy of many negative reports about some makes.

This one has lived along the road from me for years, yet I have no idea just what the significance of 234 GFJ means to the owner.


2016BMW525[234 GFJ]

2016 BMW 525 [234 GFJ]

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

Coincidentally – 2 CFG suggests property is good business

After yesterday’s mention of poor cherished registration languishing on a street advert, on the same day I collected that one I could have been forgiven I was being stalked by another.

I spent that afternoon around Alexandra Parade, and it seemed that every time I stopped and looked behind me, the same white Range Rover Evoque was there. While the driver could maybe have used the exercise, she preferred to visit (apparently ALL) the estate agents along the Parade by driving between them, a distance that could easily be walked, and probably more rapidly on foot than by getting into and out of traffic, plus the time to find a parking spot.

However, the two registrations confirm the hardly surprising conclusion that property is good business, if you know what to do.

(I did look at the same area on Google, but there’s no sign of this one).

Range Rover Evoque [2 CGF]

Range Rover Evoque [2 CGF]

September 16, 2017 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

I’m a patient man, but…

But even bountiful patience has its limits.

As one who has been said to be too patient, the end of this week is seeing my ‘Patience Pot’ heading towards ‘Empty’.

It’s almost as if the animal world decided to take advantage of me being a tad ‘under the weather’ for most of this week, and largely stuck in bed.

As noted in previous posts, I’ve had to deal with a mouse that turned into mice.

Then there was the added bonus of an unknown insect invasion that could have turned nasty had it been warmer, but I caught.

Unrelated, but today started badly as I found the supposedly leakproof batteries inside an electricity monitor had decided to dribble liquid inside the casing, meaning I had to deal with it immediately before it hit the electronics, and was followed minutes later by a fancy double-wall insulated drinking glass sliding off the fridge shelf where its kept filled with chilled water – of course, the weight of water in it meant it smashed rather than bounced when it reached the floor, so I had a load of thin broken glass to clear up immediately


The snails/slugs appear to be back!

Coincidentally, I was just discussing this one with my neighbour recently, and found it amusing that we both picked the ones with shells on their backs off our (outside) walls and launched into the road – for passing cars to deal with.

But there’s the slimy creeping ones that are real pests, able to slip through any gap and come inside the house – I once saw one appear through nothing more than the gap between two floorboards.

They appear to be immune to poison, and just slide over on their trail of snail snot.

I’ve even stood on them in the dark (and that’s NOT NICE in socks).

But tonight was the LAST STRAW – as I found one wandering on a kitchen table.

I’d declare war on them, but having done so already, and found there seems to be no poison (I can use safely, as their entry point only seems to be the kitchen) that affects them, and no sort of physical barrier that bothers them. They can slime up and over anything – even copper strips that are supposed to put them off don’t seem to deter this lot, or they will squeeze through the tiniest of gaps.

Damned Snail

Damned Snail

I think I need a levitating table – no legs, so they can’t slime their way up to the table op!

I should have stayed in bed for another day – all the above was only one day, the first up and about after being confined to bed for a week.

It’s past midnight on Friday, making it Saturday – maybe I should just stay in bed again.

September 16, 2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Sneaky sneaky mousey mousey oopsie oopsie

Even though my working life has included periods involving the preparation of procedures, and auditing systems to avoid the effects of systematic errors and complacency (say from routine and familiarity) leading to errors, it’s still surprisingly easy to get caught out be not following out even simple tasks fully, or to the letter.

After last week’s successful catch and trap of an invading mouse, the low level of evidence of its presence, and zero disturbance of any bait stations laid to reveal any activity meant I stepped down the level of attention being paid (truth be told it was rather low anyway, since I was a tad unwell and in bed most of the time).


While I had glanced at the two other traps lying close to the first mentioned above, and they had appeared to be empty, a second look this morning (while trying to track down the source of another pest) showed I had been complacent and careless. In this case, while there was no overwhelming smell, my nose was telling me something was not ‘right’ and the cupboard demanded a closer look.

While the day had started as unsuccessful insect hunt, it ended with a successful mouse hunt.

I had thought having three traps was excessive, but in this case all three did their job.

In fact, the two traps I had previously casually observed as not being triggered had been tripped BEFORE the one I mentioned earlier, but one was partially hidden and the corpse ‘end’ was out of sight, while the other one completely hidden. In both cases I made the mistake of seeing the non-trap end was clear, and assumed from this partial evidence that they had not been touched.

Once again, making assumptions or not checking evidence fully makes one an ASS and a FOOL.

Here are the little swines. While one (giant) was still presentable, I thought I’d leave the cover that was concealing the other in place, it had been there a bit longer, and was probably the first to be trapped.

I’m hoping the lack of any little unexplained noises and untouched bait (and lack of droppings trails) means this attack was limited to the three I caught – but the traps will be going back down.

Mousey Mousey

Mousey Mousey


Oh dear… Oopsie time again.

Better up that count of three traps, given above, to FOUR! (Seems I forgot about one).

Recall I mentioned my day was really about tracing a possible INSECT problem when I started, then got diverted by discovering those pesky meeces.

They were in the wrong place to be related to my intended search, and once dealt with, left me free to get back on track.

Long story short… having once found a mummified cat, I can now add finding a mummified mouse to the list.

I’ll spare you the pic this time (it’s actually quite funny, but shows some other… less than amusing sights).

I’m quite pleased (in relative terms) as I’m pretty sure this second find of the day explains my sudden insect problem of a few days ago, and I reckon I’m also pretty lucky our Scottish weather only got warm for a day or so, meaning that only a few ‘woke up’ and finished their breeding cycle. If not, I think I just might have had a major problem.

I’ve scraped, brushed, swept, and vaccuumed up all the evidence and ‘sleepers’, even cutting out a section of carpet lest anything was hiding in it, and buried the lot.

It’s funny how a change of habit can have long-term implications – after having had to work with a ‘Tidy Freak’ for a few years, even I found it was a good idea to implement a ‘Clear Floor Policy’ (meaning nothing stays on the floor unless it genuinely belongs there), which makes it easy to keep clean. But this particular corner ended up being unused, and less accessible, even if kept mostly clear.

But there wasn’t a direct eyeline to it. I couldn’t see it all with just a glance.

I guess I threw one of those traps down there ‘Just in Case’, then forgot about it.

Well, at least I found it… eventually… and at least it had done its job.

I just didn’t find it quick enough.

ANOTHER free lesson learnt!

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

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