Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Bespoke cat furniture is a thing!

I was lucky recently, and just managed to catch this pic before someone jumped in and it drove away.

There’s not much I can really add to this, the sign on the van tells you all you need to know, and there are plenty  of pics on their web site.

Crrailiso Cats

Of course, I had no way of knowing it at the time, but the nice lady that jumped in was the “mad cat lady” (interesting variation on the more usual ‘Crazy Cat Lady’) behind this business, and her other half was driving, as I learnt after visiting their web site to see the goodies on offer, and their cats of course.

Not sure where, but also from reading their story, it seems their workshop is somewhere in Glasgow.

I’m not as smart as I sometimes mistakenly think I am – despite a pic of gate to their unit, I don’t recognise the surrounding area, so it’s probably not on one of my walks. Beside, the sign on the gate is big enough to wake me up from the semi-trance I wander around in.

Crrailiso cats van

Crrailiso cats van

I know the question in yours minds, so here’s quote from their 2017  site:

There is not a set price as each creation is different. The cost depends on the material used, the size, complexity of the design and time taken to create it.  As a general guide, a 6 foot  tree is in the range of £375 – £525.

31/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Taggart murder location spotted

It’s not always easy to spot a location used in Taggart, especially if they have changed over the years.

Luckily, given my memory, we saw an episode entitled ‘The Wages of Sin’ recently, and I had spotted one of the location used as a jeweller’s shop, in Osborne Street, so the scene of some of the murders that took place there was still reasonably fresh, with a taxi driver and the jeweller (who denied knowing the driver) meeting their ends here:

A taxi driver is found murdered in his cab outside a jeweller’s, leading Burke and Fraser to investigate the shop’s owner and his family, who deny all knowledge of the deceased.

The family also lived there, in the flats above the shop.

Per the signs in the window on the left, this is now a property letting office.

Wonder if I can remember any others? I’m probably passing quite a few without even realising it, as the setting can be altered to make them look different during shooting (the episodes, not the victims!)

Taggart jeweller shop

Taggart jeweller shop

30/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Templeton’s revisited – clear shot thoughts

Passing Glasgow Green, I remembered my recent passing pic of the Templeton Carpet Factory façade and moaning about the number of poles and trees poking up and in the way of a clear shot. With a little time to spare, I thought I’d take a look at what might be possible by closer, and inside the barrier created by those objects.

Anywhere to the right is not much good, due to the trees growing close the right hand side of the façade.

The left option is much better, being raised and closer to the mid-line of the structure, and clear of obstacles, if you don’t count the inevitable parked cars.

Being closer, and using my necessarily cheap glass means distortion is an issue, and most experiments failed.

In fact, a simple, single shot turned out to be the best, probably because of the acute angle messing with multiple shots when trying to stitch them together.

Anyway, it looks like a reasonably clear shot is possible, with a little care.

The first shot is a lightly tidied original (this was dusk/evening), while the second was a “Just for fun, let’s see” effort, with the perspective being corrected. While there are clearly ‘errors’ in the view, I was pleasantly surprised at how acceptable this view turned out.

I’m quite liking the evening view, as the lit interior can be included in the shot, rather than just plain, dark windows.

Templeton facade clear

Templeton façade clear


Templeton facade adjusted

Templeton façade adjusted

Looking at this result has suggested another view option which I might be able to adjust for some of the resulting distortion, if I take the right set of originals to stitch it from.

I should add I can only afford ‘free’ software to play these games with, and while the full packages this is derived from has options that probably simplify this (I don’t have linear stitching for example), it can still provide effective results once you understand what it can, and cannot, do.

30/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Little Barrowland sign at the People’s Palace

I recently chanced across the Barrowland sign all lit up one evening, which for me at least was interesting since I had no idea it even worked let alone was maintained and used – I’m simply not usually there when it’s dark.

I’d largely forgotten the Barrowland display in the People’s Palace – while it occupies a corner it’s kind of dark, and hidden behind a column that reaches to the ceiling.

The column is home to a small reproduction of the Barrowland neon sign, which can be seen best from the stairs leading to the next floor up. Sad to say, while this is a genuine working neon sign, when I noticed it recently only the main word ‘Barrowland’ was lit. The stars were not working, although the pic might suggest they are. This is just an effect of the phosphors being slightly excited by nearby lighting.

I’ll have to remember to watch this one in future, and try to catch it all lit one day.

People's Palace Barrowland neon sign

People’s Palace Barrowland neon sign

29/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas 2016 makes it to end of January 2017 in Shettleston

Since the chances of the lights being disconnected over the weekend, it looks as if the 2016 Christmas lights I spotted still lit in Shettleston have made it to the end of January 2017.

I passed them tonight and they were still on.

Guess I get to watch out for them if I’m there during February’s dark evenings too, and see if/when they go out.

Shettleston 2016 Christmas lights Jan 2017

Shettleston 2016 Christmas lights Jan 2017

28/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Big fluff

I suspect this big lump of fluff is not so much fat as just enjoying ‘big fur’ for the winter season, it was freezing.

Given that most of out local cats have the ability to teleport, or become invisible, when approached, I decided to catch the pic rather than disturb anyone – you can’t take a pic of something that is no longer there.

I’m guessing the closed steel gate (not visible in the pic) is what gave this character the confidence to stay still and undisturbed while I stopped for the shot – but any closer, and the step would have been empty.

That cheeky little peak in the fur at back!

Fat cat

Fat cat

28/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | 1 Comment

Bentley Continental GT

The Bentley seems to be considerably more popular than the Rolls Royce around here, while I see the former with some regularity, I can only think of seeing one Rolls when I was wandering through Uddingston, and that was some time ago.

Last one was a Speed variant, this time it’s just a standard GT, but despite being a 2011 model, this white option looks as if it just came out of the showroom. Much better than the one I also referred to last time, which was so neglected it was showing rust on the external metalwork, and the inside looked like a rubbish tip (still regret not having camera handy that day).

Performance is really marginally less than the Speed, and no doubt deliberately engineered to keep it below the 200 mph benchmark (these are current figs, and may not be true for the 2011 range):

Max power: 590 PS / 582  bhp / 434 kW @ 6,000 rpm
Max torque:720 Nm / 531 lb.ft @ 1,800 rpm
Engine capacity@ 5,998 cc and from a twin-turbo W12
Acceleration:0 – 60 mph 4.3 seconds, 0 – 100 km/h 4.5 seconds
Max speed:198 mph / 319 km/h
And always worth remembering this is with a kerb weight of 2,320 kg / 5,115 lb – which will be higher once loaded with essentials. Bentley give the gross weight as 2,750 kg / 6,063 lb.
Bentley Continental GT

Bentley Continental GT

27/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | 1 Comment

This pony’s apple treats have ended

I get a reasonable crop of apple from an old tree in my garden, and even munching through quite a few each day find that they’re not that appetising by the following January.

I tried giving some away (some neebs make jam, but turned them down), and once just threw them away once they reached this stage.

Then I remember a couple of ponies not to far away, and tried giving the apples to them – they were happy!

There’s only one in the field now, the other one disappeared a few years ago, but I still take a bag along and have a walk every day or so, and the remaining pony still seems to enjoy the treat.

This was the last bag over the wall yesterday, by which time the pony was used to the arrival, and was straight over as soon as they hit the ground.

Better weather this year, previously the ground has been covered in snow when I was dropping them off.

Pony and apples

Pony and apples

27/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | 2 Comments

Mount Vernon Stadium gets a by-pass

It’s probably getting to be far enough in the past that most people won’t even remember Mount Vernon Stadium.

For example, I lived just along the road from it, and never even knew it was there – in fact, the first I heard of it I went for pics, and as you can see from that trip, it was at least 2007 before I managed that:

Mount Vernon Stadium

There is some video on that page which shows how things looked as far back as 1998, but even then it was already abandoned and derelict.

At least there was something to find back around 2007/8, today there is nothing to speak of, and recent changes in 2016 have even taken away the road that ran past it, and even the last few steps that led from the road to the entrance area.

Below is a wide view of the former stadium area – no building (foundations can be found), no track hardware, and now only what amounts to a ‘greasy spot’ where the track was, as quad-bikers run around the remains.

Mount Vernon Stadium ground

Mount Vernon Stadium ground

As noted, the road that ran past it has now largely gone, and been subject to re-alignment so widening Daldowie Road and making it meet the A74 Hamilton Road both with a much safer view of oncoming traffic from the east, and with traffic lights too. I’m surprised I never found a horrible collision here in all the past years I have gone walking here.

Although this has just been completed, aerial views via online mapping already show the work in progress.

Daldowie Road realigned

Daldowie Road realigned

The stadium was just to the right(off the pic), and you can see the old road to the rear of the car emerging from what is now the access road to the Glasgow Dog’s Trust building, hidden by the mound. The gate visible on the right is not related to the stadium, but was the entrance to a waste disposal facility which closed a while ago, and was cleared.

26/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Passed a Nissan GT-R last night

I took a walk to Cambuslang last night, and passed the same Nissan GT-R at least six times.

Despite a number of changes over the years, Clydeford Road is still a bottleneck, so anywhere near ‘peak time’ travel and it turns into a car park so, although it whizzed past me under the M74 bridge, it wasn’t long before I caught up with ahead of the first roundabout on this road – and walked past it at least six times after I started counting.

This particular beast is a 2009 Nissan GT-R Black Edition, and has one of those intriguing registrations that makes you want to tap the window and ask what it refers to.

But the main thing it brought to mind is that while it may be a very clever and very fast car (even if not a wise choice for cyclists, as Chris Hoy crashed one he was given to drive at Goodwood a few years back, despite all the handling computer it has), the engineering is no that impressive.

While supercars and top end sports cars twenty years its junior can approach its performance, they do so with fairly normal servicing routines and none of the expensive exotic material and fluids demanded by this car.

This Nissan is more like a Ferrari. I’ve just read about a collector who bought an 80’s Ferrari and found it had just had a in excess of $20,000 spent on two engine services, since it failed after the first one. In the 90’s I know one company owner who bought a new Ferrari as a treat, and spent the first year fighting to get the company to cough up a new transmission after his failed… and he got a bill for £30,000 to replace it as they said he broke it, so not warranty.

The original article I read about the GT-R has gone now, but I found an excerpt:

an oil filter for $6.95, six quarts of Mobil 1 Synthetic oil for $9.38 per quart. All pretty standard. Then you get to the GT-R-specific automatic transmission fluid. The lists price? $114.98 per quart. Yup, you read that right. Want to know how many quarts it takes? How about 10 quarts! Luckily, Edmunds Inside Line only needed eight and they got their tranny juice at a discount — only $84.24 per quart. But that still helps them get to a horriful (yup, there’s that new made-up word again) price of $2,009.67

Original source

Then there’s more owner’s stories I’ve read about mandatory parts changes and services based on time, even if the car doesn’t turn a wheel during the interval. And then brakes at $1,000 per corner.

All seems a bit silly to me.

And makes such as BMW and Mercedes (and other Germans) look cheap, if you had been thinking they were expensive compared to more ordinary marques.

And to think, I once baulked when told I should replace my water pump (then £140) at each 10,000 mile service (and this was on a 155 mph 1980 car).

If  really want to choke on you breakfast, I suggest you dig up the ‘Cost of ownership’ for a Bugatti Veyron!

There’s a nice hint in the background of this pic – “The all-new Audi A5“.

Nissan GT-R at night

Nissan GT-R at night

Sorry Nissan, your GT-R may be very nice and very clever, but I’m willing to bet you could probably have been even smarter and designed it with less exotic parts and materials, made it more reliable and cheaper to own as a result, and lost little performance.

26/01/2017 Posted by | photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

People’s Palace Viewing Gallery is an official thing now

The recent closure period of the People’s Palace Winter Gardens ended up having a positive result.

I found the ‘new’ Viewing Gallery that had been created at the top of the stairwell.

People's Palace Viewing Gallery doors

People’s Palace Viewing Gallery doors

This really was a surprise for many reasons, not least of which being my recent fixation with the closed Winter Gardens.  This meant that even though I would be standing right beside these doors when on the balcony that overlooks the garden area, I never turned to look at these doors. The balcony is just off the top floor gallery, reached via the main stairs, so I never use the internal stairway behind these doors.

As it was, I only saw the inviting ‘VIEWING GALLERY Please Enter’ sign  because the garden area was unlit and in darkness, so my eye was drawn to the brightly lit stairwell area behind the doors.

I have to confess to… ‘sneaking’ into this area for some years (as in 20+), although not for some time, since I’m sure it became a dumping ground (sorry, storage area) for ladders and cleaning equipment, also some years ago, and it became awkward to get into (if my memory is wrong about this, I apologise).

Today, it is clear and clean, provided with seating, and has a number of pictures on the wall, showing the area’s past.

Viewing Gallery seating

Viewing Gallery seating

The seat is not as low as it looks, the image is a little bit squished due to the lack of space to take a complete pic at one go.

Viewing Gallery

Viewing Gallery

I did have a word with the staff about it…

They told me the gallery had been formally created over a year ago, but weren’t really sure exactly when.

They also assured it had always been ok to go up there for a look, and that the area had just been made more friendly and convenient for visitors since strangers would not be aware it was there, only locals or regular visitors would have realised the stairs went a little way past the top floor itself, and offered the opportunity of the view.

There is, as always, just one tiny problem – the bright and clean area makes taking a pic from this gallery tough, as the bright lighting makes reflections from the multi-angled windows almost impossible to avoid, as the following views show. Only one came out, and I’ve no idea how I largely avoided the reflections in that one.

Ignore the black bits, they’re just a result of creating the panorama.

Gallery view reflection left

Gallery view reflection left


Gallery view reflection right

Gallery view reflection right


Gallery view reflection minimal

Gallery view reflection minimal

Maybe best to wait for summer, or just get there earlier – these shots may not all look ‘dark’, but street/path lights are all lit, so this is late in the winter day.

Complimentary binoculars are provided too, at height for adults and children, so no need to remember them (the binos, not the children).  I’ve inset the plea for care, at the base of each mounting.

Viewing Gallery binoculars

Viewing Gallery binoculars

Just to round of this item, here’s a view I was beginning to think I was never going to see again.

Peoples Palace clock balcony

Peoples Palace clock balcony

Looking back up at the balcony where I’ve been forced to take pics of the closed Winter Gardens from for months.

The Viewing Gallery is just behind the lit circular window towards the top left.

Although the clock is possibly not far off the actual time, it’s actually broken and stopped at the moment, as confirmed by looking at the relative positions of the hour and minute hands – ten to five (or is it six) never looked like that on a working clock!

25/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

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