Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Coincidence? Two CRT posts in a row!

I should plan this stuff, it would be easier than finding subjects.

Yesterday saw mention of an odd CRT abandoned outside a house, and suggested that while I had no idea why it was lying there in these days of LCD, if it was mine, I WOULD (know).

And, as if by magic, I fulfilled my own prophecy the very next day.

Seen below is the (Samsung) CRT from a Compaq V75 17″ computer monitor.

I’m not really sure how I came to acquire this one, although I’m also pretty sure I didn’t purchase/requisition it (I used to buy Targa).

Sad to say, of the 17″ and 19″ monitors I still use on a daily basis (why waste money on LCDs when they are still performing flawlessly), this is the only one that has failed, and did so some years ago.

I’m not a great fan of ‘TV repairs’ having been around when tales of people being killed by a moment’s carelessness around the live chassis of the early B&W sets were still a reality, and some of the old sets we still had around were more lethal than most, being giants of their day. One was 23″ and came with a quarter-inch toughened safety-glass screen in front of the CRT. That one lasted long enough for me to have to poke around inside it, to retune the channel selector – NOT fun as everything around it was LIVE! That safety screen lives on, as a glass work table, dead flat and never going to bend. Another B&W TV system had a 2″ (yes, I did type 2-inch) CRT bright enough to project a 4 foot x 3 foot picture on a wall or screen (and I later learned was used as back-projected radar display almost the same size). There must have been an impressive HT voltage floating around that chassis, which was also live.

I digress.

The Compaq gave up a while ago, and was shelved as a ‘Must look at one day’ project as I suspected the fault was simple (part of the sync failed, and the image was there, but the relevant adjustment would not bring it back into lock), but with no circuit or info to hand, didn’t know where to start looking (although I did open it for a look, just in case something obvious had ‘popped’, but no).

I tripped over it last night while trying to clear some space in the skip known as a ‘Spare Room’.

Unfortunately for this Compaq, it’s not been missed, weighs a ton as ‘dead’ weight, so it pulled the short straw, and was scrapped and stripped of goodies to make space (for newer junk).

Compaq V75 CRT

Compaq V75 CRT

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

Cat power – covers more than the Internet

Another spooky coincidence…

After seeing yesterday’s ‘King of the Internet’ cartoon – another arrived that seems to suggest that cat’s influence extends just a tad further than that.

(I wonder if I am being used?)

Cats May Be Universal

Cats May Be Universal

I suppose it would depend on which one said “Take me to your leader”.

Or if the phase “This belly ain’t gonna rub itself” was uttered instead.

Sorry, but again this came cropped as seen, so I can’t offer credit to the creator, but it wasn’t me.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Scotland’s weather in 2107 so far – glum and damp

I don’t usually stoop so low as to use the weather as inspiration (it’s too soft a target to be fair in Scotland – favourite joke: “Don’t like the weather, just give it ten minutes and something different will arrive“), but when I saw the pic below, well, it just seemed to sum up 2017 so far.

Actually, it sums up quite a few recent years.

Something over ten years ago, a change in my job meant I could walk to work instead of having to take the car every day, in case I was called out to a site. I’d wanted to walk, just for the exercise, but being expected to shoot off to visit clients meant it wasn’t an option.

Back then, although I didn’t notice it at the time, I was able to walk there and back at the start and end of the day wearing a suit, and seldom needed a showerproof jacket or even had to carry an umbrella.

More recently, I don’t dare leave without one or both, or find I come home soaked to the skin, and this year has been a pain. Not only does it often rain once I’m out, we now also seem to get heavy showers which feel as if someone is standing over you and chucking buckets of water at you.

This is in marked contrast to what I used to think of as ‘wet weather’ a few, when it may have rained fairly constantly at times, but the rain was NOT coming down as if it was attacking. I often went out walking, and even if out for an hour could come home and find the falling rain had not actually penetrated what I was wearing. Nowadays, if I get caught out in the rain I often find everything is soaked through (yes, including the skimpies).

No wonder somebody looks lost.

Nessie In Glasgow

Nessie In Glasgow

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

That’s odd – a dead CRT

I know why I might have a CRT lying around on its own (being a tech of sorts, and trying hard not to spend on LCDs for as long as possible), but I can’t really think of any good reasons for ‘normal’ people to have a bare CRT lying near their front door.

‘Normal’ people discard their TVs whole, unlike idiots like me, who tend to pull them apart in the hope of finding some decent scrap, or bits and pieces we might want, and which would be slightly hard to source, or buy easily.

It’s been stripped of everything external (coils, ferrites, wiring), and looks as if the neck has been broken off and the guns are gone too.


Just something I wouldn’t expect to see today.

Odd CRT Spotted

Odd CRT Spotted


August 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

King of The Internet

King Of The Internet


Pity whoever decided to share this little gem managed to crop out the signature or source.

Deserves proper credit.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment


Spotted an unusual sight while walking home last night.

A hedgehog sitting on a wall at the side of the road.

It reminded me that this is yet another thing that was once quite common, but is now a rarity.

I can’t even remember the last time I saw one, but think years, and use two digits. I don’t think that guess would be far out.

We used to find them crawling around the garden, and would even feed them a little snack,  but that’s a distant memory.

This one was making strange noises (I think they often do), but went silent when I got closer – I had been trying to see which end was which, but both were just spines.

Going by the profile, I think the head is buried away somewhere on the right, but wouldn’t bet on it.

Just my luck this was not near any decent street lights, but maybe not as they are sodium here, so I had to try to remember how to activate the flash on the silly compact. Guess it was not so bad as it avoided the yellow image that would have resulted from the monochromatic yellow of the street lighting.

Hedgehog On Wall

Hedgehog On Wall

August 18, 2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Eye see not every picture turns out as expected

I doubt many who have only ever used digital cameras have any REAL appreciation of the ‘smarts’ built into their little ‘Point and Shoot’ marvels, especially camera phones, which I regularly see taking pics under circumstances I would have struggles to record a black and white images, let alone a reasonably rendered colour version (doubt anyone remembers, but colour film could suffer colour shifts under various circumstances).

My own ‘proper’ camera has various corrections built-in, which can be commanded to apply themselves to the recorded image, and correct for distortion, too bright, too dark, and who know what other ‘problem’ areas before the final image is recorded. These work well, and although I kept the previous model of the camera which has none of these, I stay with the new one, and have its predecessor as an emergency backup (although the chances of needing it are slim).


It’s easy to forget what’s happening, and make a casual mistake.

The pic below is one example, and worth remembering the lesson it contains.

While one might recover underexposed pixels – OVEREXPOSED pixels are gone for good.

It’s a simple fact that dark areas of pics are not usually 0% and can be amplified and recovered to at least some degree – but when an area is 100% saturated white then there’s nothing left to recover. While backlighting is seldom a problem thanks to digital exposure control, an overexposed 100% saturated white area is STILL lost, and can’t be recovered, at least not meaningfully.

Case in point, this pic of an illuminated optician’s sign rescued from Glasgow and cleverly displayed in Kelvingrove.

I passed the arch, and stepped back to grab a pic in passing, without thinking – oops!

While the human eye can cope, even a good digital sensor can’t see the same – and we have a decent background, but most of the eyes in the glasses are burnt out by overexposure. What can be recovered is of little use.

Still, it’s nice to see there are still some shots that need a little SKILL to capture – and I will have to remember this the next time I manage a visit.

I’ll be honest and say that even though I am used to spotting scenes where the human eye can catch the extremes of exposure that a camera can’t, this one didn’t really look like one, so I was at least a little surprised to find the ‘fail’ when I got home and reviewed the day’s collection – but the illusion is probably down the museum favouring lower light levels to reduce damage to the exhibits from bright light.

The challenge has been issued – capture this with BOTH the background AND the eyes properly exposed.

Kelvingrove Opticians Sign

Kelvingrove Optician’s Sign

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

Two letters and two number still look good even if squinty

This was a nice surprise, spotted almost immediately as I stumbled out of Partick station recently.

68 NC on a trimmed plate fitted to a nice shiny black Mercedes-Benz C250 D AMG Line Premium + (as registered).

With the chances of me ordering a Mercedes these days, let alone an AMG variant, I’m no longer as familiar with AMG as I used to be, but it looks as if ownership of the formerly independent performance tuning operation by Mercedes in recent years has seen a marked reduction in the value of the badge.

While the true performance AMG is identified (usually) by a 2-digit model number such as C63, or a series such as the Black range, it seems that anybody and their dog can have an AMG badge tacked onto a fairly standard car to make it look better. Perhaps merely buying a set of AMG wheels is enough to qualify for the badge. I doubt if many/any of the numerous AMG badged Mercedes in my creaky old neighbours’ drives have any REAL tuning.

And they certainly SOUND nothing like the few genuine AMG C or Blacks that sometime accelerate past my front door.

So, back to Partick and my hint about something being squinty – while the plate layout and spacing is all nice and legal (thank goodness), it looks as if whoever lined up the numbers might have had little too much ‘falling down water’ before they started.

Mercedes C250d [68 NC]

Mercedes C250d [68 NC]

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

I guess Lightburn Hospital will be gone when I need it

It looks as if Glasgow’s Lightburn Hospital, which serves the east end, is finally going to succumb to closure – something which has hung over it existence for some years.

For various reasons ranging from age, illness, and through to accidents, my elders and betters were lucky enough to be tended to in Lightburn, so were never far from home,  there didn’t seem to be any problems with the staff or operation.

While I’m still some way off repeating any of the successful ploys they used to get in there, it looks as if I won’t be so lucky when the time comes, and I’ll have to find an alternative, or enjoy being transported around.

A community hospital in Glasgow’s east end, which provides rehabilitative care for older patients, has been earmarked for closure.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the service model at Lightburn Hospital no longer fitted with modern healthcare.

It said a health and social care hub would be set up with £40m.

Parkinson’s UK criticised the proposed closure and said the hospital provided essential services to vulnerable people in a disadvantaged area.

NHSGGC said inpatients across the north east of Glasgow would be served by “fit-for-purpose” facilities at Stobhill Hospital.

‘National strategy’

It said local care homes would be commissioned to provide an extended level of care to inpatients, not requiring acute facilities.

More patients would be discharged from Glasgow Royal Infirmary directly to home, with additional support if required.

Stobhill Hospital would provide day hospital and outpatient services, it said.

Finally, it said Parkinson’s services would be delivered from Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

NHSGGC chief executive Jane Grant said the proposals were consistent with national strategy to shift care from acute hospitals to community services delivered by health and social care partnerships.

“The proposed hub will give real opportunity to further integrate health and social care services to the benefit of patients and service users.”

She said the decision followed a three-month consultation, which included service users.

Previous closure plans

The Scottish government rejected proposals to close Lightburn Hospital in 2011.

Via: Glasgow east end hospital set to close

I realise that’s a long quote from the new item, and the article is even longer.

But it’s hard to see the logic after the last closure threat of 2011 was countered by Nicola Sturgeon, who was then health secretary, and said local people’s interests were best served by maintaining Lightburn Hospital and its healthcare services.

However, in August 2016, NHSGGC (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde) announced plans to consult on proposals to close or cut down on some in-patient and maternity services.

The latest decision by the health board to close Lightburn Hospital is to be referred to Health Secretary Shona Robison.

We can only wait and see if NHSGGC’s assertion that after only five years, the service model at Lightburn Hospital no longer fits with modern healthcare.

The entrance to Lightburn Hospital on Carntyne road:

Lightburn Hospital Entrance

Lightburn Hospital Entrance

I had intended to take a pic of the covered entrance to the hospital itself, as I’d sat there for many hours during visits (handy for keeping out of the rain), but as you can see, lots of greenery screens it, especially that tree at the centre of the turning circle, notably larger than it was when I was last there.

Lightburn Hospital

Lightburn Hospital

One important point these days, its car park, a place I would once have needed a season ticket for, had tickets been needed or charges made.

I mention it as a great convenience for visitors, after noting the horrendous stories about hospital parking I see in media these days, especially for hospitals in the city such as Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where there are not only charges, but it would seem a lack of spaces and poor access for those who have to attend.

While I can park some way away and walk (and have done this during recent visits), for those not so mobile, it must be hell.

When I had to take someone there for tests, I found it hard to conceive of them getting there on their own, they just would not have been capable. Fortunately, the doctor put us in touch with, and arranged, for a volunteer ‘taxi’ (someone who gave their time freely and used their own car) to provide transport to and from GRI. I don’t know hoe I’d have coped otherwise. Sure, I could have driven the person there, but what do I do on arrival? Put my car in my back pocket until I need it again? I couldn’t leave them on their own for a moment, standing lost in the street, yet had nowhere near the relevant door to leave my car (or even stop) so I could walk or wheelchair them to the door.

Lightburn Hospital Car Park

Lightburn Hospital Car Park

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Tiny mouse is sleepy mouse sunbathing on rare warm day

After yesterday’s ‘catbutt’ post which found THREE cats within a few metres of one another, it was almost a surprise to find I almost stood on this little guy why walking along the back path.

I’m usually at war with these guys as they seem to like to wander in my open back door during warm summer days, but I seem to have managed to discourage this for some years, and have worked out where to set bait and traps to deal with any unwise to try to beat my efforts.

That said, I was woken up at 4 am recently, to a strange noise, finally tracked down to one (or more) brave examples that had found a hole where various pipes head under the house at the bottom of a cupboard. I’ve never been sure if they are present, but this confirms their presence. Although the traps didn’t actually catch anything (which is fine, as they are vicious) they had been tripped, and I identified the noise that woke me as the surprisingly loud noise their plastic bodies make when dragged across the hard floor of  the cupboard.

Although I reset the traps, I also added some packing to close up the gap around the pipes, hopefully closing yet another potential invasion path.

This guy just didn’t care though, moving around slowly to fallow the Sun, and apparently not bothered by me walking past repeatedly, or even running away when I placed the coin for scale – just sat half asleep with eyes closed.

Then disappeared.

Tiny Mouse

Tiny Mouse

Tiny mouse is… tiny:

Tiny Mouse

Tiny Mouse

And safe – so long as it/they stay outside.

August 16, 2017 Posted by | photography | | 2 Comments

Still more Catbutt

We’ve actually got vaguely warm days in Scotland at the moment (although you’d be a making a BIG mistake of you left home without waterproofs or a brollie – the showers are out for revenge).

Such days bring the cats out, but don’t make them any easier to get a pic (not here, at least).

I spotted a black cat across the road, walking parallel to me and thought I might get lucky – of course, it ducked through the nearest hedge once I fired up the silly compact.

I then saw another one beside a car in a drive, but all were in shade and the same colour, so silly compact would never have seen it.

Then, almost 30 metres away and sitting in a back garden, a smart-looking tuxedo cat – zipped the compact up to 10x zoom, spotted the cat in the screen (no fast viewfinder in toy cameras), hit the shutter, and…

By the time the compact woke up, focussed, set the shot and finally fired – the cat’s sixth sense had clicked in and it was OFF!

Still, at least I got ANOTHER catbutt to add to my collection.

Another Catbutt

Another Catbutt

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

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