Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Forgotten Baillieston ice-cream pic

Remember I mentioned the return of Soaves ice-cream to the busier part of Baillieston Main Street after moving to its own ice-cream parlour on the outskirts, after it closed?

While I did manage to get a shot of the shop one day, I forgot to catch the sign on the footpath.

Then I forgot I had caught it on a miserable, dark, wet night (wonder why I forgot that?)

Since I have the pic, I might as well use it.

Soaves Baillieston Return

Soaves Baillieston Return

Incidentally (and completely unrelated to this), it seems Glasgow may be set to outlaw this sort of temporary sign, and many other objects which are scattered on pavements and footpaths nowadays.

The number has become ridiculous in some places, with a number of traders also permanently abandoning (and even chaining/locking) their commercial waste wheeled bins to street lamp and sign posts. The accumulation is reducing the available space, and disabled people, wheelchair users, and even parents with prams can find their way barred. The council has indicated traders will be fined if they block  or obstruct the footpath, and there will restrictions on when their bins can be left out for collection, with penalties if these are not followed.

I recall something similar happened a few years back (might have been Largs, or similar coastal resort) when shops started to fill the footpath with signs, and things like trees and bushes to make ‘their’ premises look better than the competition. Complaints grew – and regulation followed.

I don’t know what happened – I had to give up watching news from the resorts… it all got too miserable, and loaded with crime and violence!


June 23, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

People (still) really do the SatNav dumb thing

I still don’t get this.

I’ve used GPS (I refuse to be associated with SatNav) since at least 1998, and was covering anything up to 1,000 miles per week on the road (or just over a weekend sometimes), but I NEVER EVER even THOUGHT about following a navigation instruction that suggested driving off cliffs, into river, along non-existent roads, or along the wrong side of dual carriageway.

Stories like this, and their consequence, explain why I walk along the road more ready to knock someone senseless if they speak to me, rather than just say ‘Hello’. You just can’t tell how badly wired their heads are of they’re complete strangers.

This sort of thing also worries me when I think of some things I’ve encountered in the past, and what might have happened if a traffic cop with a sore head had happened to be nearby. For example, leaving Aberdeen on a horrible dark snowy night, I ended miles into some carriageway repairs on a closed section of road – I can only guess the cones closing the section had been lost for some reason. Fortunately I had a passenger who was as puzzled at this as me as there were no signs either, and even more fortunately we didn’t meet a large hole in the road.

An 85-year-old motorist blindly followed his Sat Nav up the wrong side of a dual carriageway.

Hamish Wedderspoon continued driving in the fast lane of the A9 for a mile as oncoming drivers were forced to swerve out his way to avoid a high-speed crash.

Wedderspoon was banned from driving for three years and fined £5000 at Perth Sheriff Court on Friday.

Pensioner blindly followed Sat Nav wrong way along A9

SatNav – pointing out idiots since 2009…

‘I was only following satnav orders’ is no defence: Driver who ended up teetering on cliff edge convicted of careless driving

No SatNav

No SatNav

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Audi in Glasgow confirms online record problem

Another of my favourite plate styles (two letters/numbers) spotted in Glasgow – 99 AR.

A 2015 Audi RS 7 V8 Quattro Auto (petrol rather diesel, thank goodness) which should have a handy 560 BHP thanks to its turbo.

I referred to and ‘online record problem’ in the title, and while the DVLA does provide anonymised data, I found that 5 online services provided different data when fed this registration number – I only stopped at 5 because that was the number I had to check before the correct car details were returned by the query. That said, even the year wasn’t definite, but 2015 is at least possible.

I hope the data used by the police for ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) is better – after all, they can confiscate your car on the spot, with little chance of changing their mind if you can’t come up with positive proof that the records are in error, and can even have it crushed a few days later if the records are not updated.

I’ve found this disparity in an increasing number of enquiries I’ve made recently, and wonder why.

Audi RS7 V8 [99 AR]

Audi RS 7 V8 [99 AR]

June 23, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building – I’m sorry I told you so

I’m sorry to see that the news regarding proper initial survey data on the post-fire remains of the Mackintosh Building are as bad as I thought the first videos suggested. I really was wondering what the folk who suggested things weren’t so bad were looking at.

The only good thing I can think of now is that summer had tentatively arrived, and we are, for the moment, not in imminent danger of seeing storms or high winds.

If such weather were to likely, I fear the decision regarding the remains and any potential to save original structure would be out of the council’s hands, and demolition on the grounds of public safety would be automatic.

As it is, things will still be subject to the stability of the remains.

At least there is still the opportunity to consider options (whatever they may be, if any).

The walls of the Glasgow School of Art have been moved six inches (15 cm) in places as a result of the fire, council leader Susan Aitken has said.

She said the movement of the building’s facade had prompted fears for public safety.

Speaking from the site, Ms Aitken said: “It is a dangerous building, there is no question about that.

“The facade has actually moved quite considerably – about six inches.

“There is an imminent danger of collapse.”

The restrictions remain as building control officers have warned people to stay away from the site of the art school fire.

They revealed concerns about the end walls of the building, which could fall into the street “without warning”.

Glasgow School of Art’s facades moved six inches by fire

This article suggests the hazardous nature of the structure means more detailed examinations will not be possible until the safety of inspectors can be ensured as they move into the remains.

The façade and standing walls remain high, and one falling stone block could result in fatality, and a collapsing wall would be disastrous if anyone was either inside, or beside, at the time.

Glasgow School of Art walls may fall ‘without warning’

Mackintosh building could collapse ‘without warning’

Glasgow School of Art fire: Warning to steer clear of damaged building

Pretty much sums thing up.

“It’s dangerous and is unstable, we can’t stress that enough.”

Glasgow School of Art moves six inches since huge blaze

Looks as if it’s just as well I can’t wander along for a look.

And now… The BAD news.

Looting of the Clutha Bar was no surprise after the helicopter disaster, and the scum just don’t give a damn.

Looters have raided a bar which was destroyed by a fire at the Glasgow School of Art.

Police were alerted to the raid at Campus on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow at 3.20am on Thursday.

Thieves went through the cordon to slam their way through the bar to steal alcohol.

Five years after three teenagers broke into the Clutha to steal alcohol, cash and charity tins following the helicopter crash.

Looters raid bar destroyed by Glasgow Art School fire

Meanwhile, seven men were executed in Saudi Arabia after being convicted of theft, looting and armed robbery a few years ago – but at the time of their offences, they were minors (around 15 years old). The usual method is by beheading.

Wonder what recent event brought that back into my thoughts?

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Loch Ness may get pumped hydro scheme

As an engineer who had to sit through lectures on this subject many years ago, any mention of hydro-electricity tends to attract my attention, especially pumped storage.

A pumped hydro storage scheme that would involve drawing water from Loch Ness could generate enough power for 400,000 homes, say its developers.

Hamilton-based Intelligent Land Investments (ILI) said the construction phase of its Red John project would create work for up to 300 people.

It has been proposed for a site south of Dores.

A 100m (328ft) underground “power cavern” and 2,650m-long (8,694ft) pipe would be built for the scheme.

Major hydro project proposed for Loch Ness

The scheme would involve pumping water between Loch Ness and a new upper head pond.

Pumped storage hydro is probably the largest and cleanest form of energy storage available at the moment.

Other forms of storage exist, and massive (gigawatt hour) have been commissioned, constructed, and are in service.

However, such things are not as scaleable as pumped storage.

Scotland was an early adopter of all forms of hydro power but… that means all the best sites were taken years ago.

But it could be that a modern take on the old idea (using newer technology) could utilise sites that were not considered practical in the past.

It’s also notable that a number of 19th century hydro schemes (not pumped storage) have been restored and returned to service in recent years.

Back to this scheme, and it’s worth bearing in mind that the description shows this is purely a pumped storage scheme, does not generate any power, only stores surplus which has been generated by others. This stored energy can then be released later, when required by demand.

It will be interesting to see if any naysayers turn up and rubbish this proposal, or make negative claims about its environmental effect.

Systems like this don’t need the huge areas and dams of hydroelectric power generation schemes (which have to collect water).

I’ll be watching.

ILI Pumped Storage - ILI Diagram

ILI Pumped Storage – ILI Diagram

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Where was 2018’s ‘Midgie Invasion’ panic story?

A story about midgies published this evening reminded me that we had not had the usual panic story from the so-called ‘midgie experts’ this year.

I’ve noted that for the past year, these ‘experts’ have been warning Scots the THIS YEAR is going to be a BUMPER YEAR for midgies for some reason or another.

And, while the midgies may have invaded elsewhere, I have to say that for the past few years, in spite of these dire warning of potential death by being sucked dry of blood by billions of midgies – they never turned up here. Maybe they can’t read, or don’t have the Internet in their damp ponds.


All that said, it would seem we have perhaps found a reliable way to deal with the wee beasties.

It seems that devices using CO2 to attract them into traps are not fantasy, and heaps of the little bloodsuckers (they don’t actually suck, lest I find myself corrected) can be collected.

So many, it seems someone wants to use them as delicacy, or just get revenge on them.

An Argyll hotelier has unveiled plans to serve burgers made with midges to his customers.

David Keat, who owns the Brander Lodge Hotel near Oban, said he would harvest the blood-sucking insects from the hotel’s midge exterminator machines.

He said the burgers would be dipped in a coat of midges, like breadcrumbs, and a special secret ingredient added.

The plans are due to be considered by Argyll Council’s environmental health department.

Hotel plan to serve up midge burgers

Seems fair – I’d support them, even if I don’t particularly feel like having one of their ‘treats’.

Anything that gets rid of midgies gets my support these days.

I don’t know what’s changed in recent years, but I seem to have become more sensitive to midgie bites recently, and find that nothing acts as a repellent, and their bites seem to have become more irritating AND last for much longer than they used.

Supposed relief treatments and potions also seem to have become less effective too.

These days, I watch the calendar (and my skin for the first bite) and retreat indoors for a few weeks, or avoid places where I know they might be flying around. Basically, if I can’t stop them, or treat them, I just have to minimise the number of bites (yes, I know the saw the skin rather than bite, but you know what I mean).

Crazy midge

Crazy midge

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Polish shutter mural (gone)

Looking through some older wandering, I found this neglected shutter pic.

Obviously the shutter and shop sign have no connection – the sign came later, after the mural, which belonged to a Polish eatery on the Gallowgate.

Since then, I think at least two different eateries have occupied the shop, but I’m not sure of the current status as I don’t pass that way nowadays.

That said, I do know it was a bookie’s before all these better uses arrived.

I can’t recall seeing the sign without that ‘E’ missing – maybe it was never there (or was pinched/fell off very early in the sign’s life).

Gallowgate Polish Shutter Mural

Gallowgate Polish Shutter Mural

As an aside, it’s maybe interesting to note that Tesco has its own ‘Polish Bakery’ which provides quite a nice range of Polish recipe breads, under this brand label. I didn’t realise it was actually their own brand/bakery until recently.

Tesco Polish Bakery

Tesco Polish Bakery

June 22, 2018 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Chocolate Éclair Day

22 June is Chocolate Éclair Day.

Another easy one.

But I have to confess to a love/hate relationship with this creamy chocolate treat.

Éclair can be translated to ‘flash of lightning’, and this is a fair description of the speed these delicacies can disappear if not well guarded.

It also describes the way a well prepared example disappears in your mouth, and good ones are gone in a flash!

The chocolate topping, cream filling, and pastry just melt together in a good one – and that’s both good and bad, all at the same time.

Oh well.

Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Eclairs




June 22, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building

I thought the media coverage might have died out today, but some items arrived later in the day, so still going.

They’re still reducing restrictions around the fire scene and building remains, and this story has detailed notes of where there is, and is not, access to roads and lanes.

I see some ‘Professional Moaners’ have found gainful employment:

Since the blaze on Friday, there has been criticism that those living or working near the site had been given little detail about returning.

Given the scale of the incident, I think they must have forth from the loins of those who had to be told “There’s a war on you know” when they wanted to know why there were no bananas in the shops during World War II.

Restrictions ease around Glasgow School of Art fire site

I noted damage to the front of the Reid Building, directly across from the Mackintosh Building on Renfrew, in the videos of the scene, and it is one of those which was cordoned off, and graduates found they were separated from work stored there in advance of a show which could affect their careers.

Art school bosses have thanked firefighters for helping students retrieve work from a building close to the fire-ravaged Mackintosh building.

Firefighters help art students retrieve work after blaze


A carpenter who lost his livelihood in the blaze which destroyed Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building has said more support should be given to workers.

A number of self-employed contractors hired to restore the iconic site after an earlier fire have been left out of work.

The carpenter, who was involved in the reconstruction of one of the Mack’s lecture theatres, lost tools worth around £2500.

“There are other people in the same position,” he said. “I was reckoning I was going to be there until the end of the year.

“There’s been a lot said about the School of Art and the students but there’s been nothing about the guys who have lost their jobs.

“To lose £2500 worth of tools in one fell swoop is hard to take. I had liability insurance but I haven’t been able to work this week.”

Blaze-hit Art School workers ‘need greater support’

Glasgow School of Art post fire

Glasgow School of Art post 2014 fire

June 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

The illegals – W3 JOX

I almost walked past this little gem, but even just shifting one letter means it’s one of… the illegals.

It’s not just owners of expensive cars that like to wave at the police and invite a fine of up to £1,000 for their doctored plates.

This 2007 Clio offers the same AND I don’t even have to try guessing at the reason why.

2007 Renault Clio Dynamique [W3 JOX]

2007 Renault Clio Dynamique [W3 JOX]

According to the small print at the bottom of the plate, I’m supposed to think ‘W3 JO X’ reads WEE JOANNE.

June 21, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Ooooooooh… Shiny!

This was an interesting find – two things I like AND can moan about.

This 2015 Nissan GT-R has been given a gold wrap and been debadged, so despite some Nismo styling, I don’t think it is (I think it;’s the Recaro model).

For those not familiar, rather than have a car resprayed to change the colour, it’s now possible to have it wrapped in an adhesive plastic film instead (which can be later removed), offering the possibility of elaborate printed designs, or as in this case, a metallic finish which could not really be sprayed. I’m told it was once a lower cost option, but it seems growing demand has seen price creep raise the cost, with some installs rivalling the cost of a respray, and the film is still vulnerable to simple tear, and can fail.

I’d add another problem (on Scottish roads at least). While sunny California might see it stay clean and shiny, sadly, even my low-res blog pics probably show this wrap already look dull thanks to a coating of road film and dust.

Does this look like gold?

2015 Nissan GT-R Front [17 NY]

2015 Nissan GT-R Front [17 NY]

I like the GT-R as well, but…

Like many, I feel the price has climbed above all reasonable increases since the original Nissan Skyline GTRs such as the R33 and its siblings.

While they set the standard and could be modified in the extreme, they avoided the silly numbers that reportedly come with the GT-R.

I think the last straw for me was seeing the cost of servicing one of the new cars, and the crazy bills for brakes and fluids, which have to be changed on schedule, or risk major failures (even more expensive). That was a year or two ago, so I can’t remember the exact numbers that made my eyes water. DIY (which I could do) makes things better, but can come at the cost of any warranties, which usually have dealer service stamps as part of their qualification.

It’s worth looking in some of the owner’s forums (or somewhere like Jalopnik)) to get an idea.

2015 Nissan GT-R Rear [17 NY]

2015 Nissan GT-R Rear [17 NY]

June 21, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

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