Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The Illegals – EG06 ONE

Having seen the zeal with which the English Police Interceptors (seen on TV) seem to pull over illegally formed registrations/number plates, it seems very much to a casual observer that Police Scotland don’t see this as an offence worth dealing with on this side of the border.

I have a little collection of such plates, so might as well share.

BMW 640d M Sport Auto convertible.

Illegal spacing:

BMW 640d M Sport Auto Convertible [EG06 ONE]

BMW 640d M Sport Auto Convertible [EG06 ONE]


February 28, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Porsche and bonus Porsche

Getting into Glasgow a bit more often is helping compensate for my neighbour’s new fascination with Q-cars and aversion to buying ‘interesting’ cars, and I can still collect some more attractive vehicles, and their registrations.

Also, a word of appreciation for the LED street-lighting conversion program instigated by Glasgow City Council. It’s like wandering about taking pics in daylight, even in the dead of night. And all my pics are hand-held. What a change from only a few years back, when everything was dissolved in a yellow sodium monochrome mush, and hand-held shots meant blurry shots.

I managed to collect a pair of Porches as I left the city centre bound for home, both sporting ‘2-number 2-letter’ plates.

I’ll never really have any love for the ‘shed-on-wheels’, SUV, 4×4, or Chelsea Tractor, but unlike those who slate Porsche (and others) for having them in their range, I DO appreciate that these things bring in the money for the more exotic end of range.

This one came first. Devoid of badges, a quick dig revealed a 2013 Porsche Cayenne V6 D Tiptronic.

What can I say? I had been becoming impressed by diesel development until… Dieselgate! The VW testing cheat scandal. Oh dear.

Porsche Cayenne [63 BB]

Porsche Cayenne [63 BB]

Then I spotted the second, just across the road, while trying to catch the front view of the first (no go, due to bad lighting).

A 2016 Panamera 4S D S-A. Oops… another diesel.

Porsche Panamera {77 HK]

Porsche Panamera [77 HK]

While I don’t have much to say about the Cayenne, I think I do have to speak up for the Panamera.

I’m tired of so-called ‘Car Reviewers’, usually grossly overpaid TV celebrity types, who despise the Panamera.

All I can think of is that Porsche is refusing to give into them with sufficient freebies and handouts.

Rather like a former BBC TV host who was forever slating the Vauxhall Vectra – yet it really was pretty good, and undeserving of his hate campaign.

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Daffodils and snowdrops arrive

Just a silly observation, but interesting nonetheless.

A keen photographer I know always annoys me (unintentionally) by posting pics of flowers such as daffodils and snowdrops in his area, often many weeks before I even have green shoots poking through the surface, let alone any flowers, yet he is only a few miles away. Then again, he does stay in a place where the Gulf Stream hits.

But I’ve noticed something else in recent years – while my sheltered plants arrive late, the same varieties are already flowering only a matter of metres away.

The difference?

All I can see is that they are in roadside plots, and are smothered by traffic fumes.

But shouldn’t that be detrimental, being bathed in the noxious fumes the Green Loonies tell us are ‘terrible’?

Or does the slight heat of all those passing engines keep those roadside plants warm and cosy?

Oh well – for once I actually came across some early flowers I could grab a quick pic of for a change, some snowdrops in a park, and some daffs behind a fence, hiding at the back of a local church. Yet there is not a even a shoot be seen in our gardens.

They’re probably tough enough to survive, but I see the weatherfolk issued a warning to gardeners not to make the mistake of seeing a few warm days as the arrival of spring, and that we will see more slow, cold days, and even a few storms before then.



February 27, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Dead ratchet

Just a bit of fun, noticed while I was walking near Bridgeton.

I was semi-lucky a while back – while waiting to cross the road I happened to look down and was surprised to see a bundle of assorted ½″ ratchet drives and extensions. All told there was a ratchet (two different types on closer inspection), an extension, a breaker bar, and even some sockets attached. Handily, these were 10 mm (I seem to eat 10 mm sockets), but after still closer inspection were found to be GLUED on to the square drives.

Odd, but like most glues, the application of a little heat let them all be dismantled, serviced (they were not previously owned by someone who cared about their tools, no great surprise if their boss had to glue their sockets to their drives), and added to my reserves as spares, or for nasty jobs.

I wasn’t so lucky this time, no ‘free’ tools this time.

As can be seen, this ratchet is a dead ratchet since all its guts have gone, and it’s rusty after being driven over, ruining its chrome plating.

Dead ratchet

Dead ratchet

It was probably forgotten while somebody was working underneath a car.

I remember assisting with some tests on my own car, and was surprised when the engineer tapped on the door and handed me a couple of spanners. When I asked him why, he replied that he guessed they were probably mine… he’d just taken them off the rear brake fixings!

They were – I’d just finished the assembly before driving to the garage, and clean forgot to remove them,  and they hadn’t even fallen off during the drive. At least I didn’t lose them, even if I was just a little embarrassed.

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

Carntyne bridge works – not so impressive

When I saw all the diversions for the recent works on the stone-clad hill that use to support the bridge over Carntyne Road at Todd street, I was expecting to see a lot  more changes made by the time they were finished.

As it is, it seem they were only removing ONE of the clad hillsides, and the rest remain as they were.

Maybe part of a bigger plan – more later?

Bar cleaning up the mess, and a bit of landscaping, it seems they’re done (for now).

Carntyne Rd Todd St works

Carntyne Rd Todd St works

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 2 Comments

Jim Clark Museum granted planning permission

Jim Clark

Jim Clark

It feels as if I’ve been watching stories about plans for a museum dedicated to racing driver Jim Clark for years, but it’s not really been that long.

While there have been a few objections about its appearance, and fear of a few extra cars needing to park nearby, it seems that they have been overcome, and planning permission has been granted.

It is hoped the development could be completed by 2018 – the 50th anniversary of Clark’s death at Hockenheim in Germany, aged just 32.

A proper facility seems like a good idea. Despite being aware there was a small collection of some sort there, The Jim Clark Room, I never got around to finding or visiting, even though there were times I was in the area regularly.

All they need now it the funding – the £1.65 million has a £300,000 crowdfunding campaign, while Scottish Borders Council has pledged £620,000 towards the museum, with a similar sum being sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Via Green light for Jim Clark museum project in Duns

Pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Surprise funeral directors

This was something of a surprise, and a reminder that unexpected things can happen when you are not watching – in this case while my regular walking route happened to be in another direction for a while.

Building seen has been abandoned, or more accurately unoccupied, for years.

A long long time ago it was a car dealer’s, might even have been built for that use originally. That eventually closed, then it was a Job Centre for a while. I’m not sure if it was before or after that, but I think it was some sort of office for a while, but was fairly anonymous, so I have little recollection.

It looks as if the agents have decided to divide it up into smaller units, with the funeral directors having established their presence while I was absent, and another premises (no clues yet) being fitted out next door.

Given how long this place has lain empty, I hadn’t expected to ever see anything there again.

Shettleston funeral directors

Shettleston funeral directors

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s old meat and cattle market is ‘At Risk’

While I was shopping in Duke Street I happened to turn around while climbing the stairs/ramp to one shop and noticed the slightly raised location provided a view over the now almost completely empty site of Glasgow’s old meat, cattle market, and abattoir.

Now little more than an empty field with some remaining covered pens in the distance, the only remaining building is a sub-station, on the left foreground. Not visible behind the covered area are flats built on that part of the site, which also allowed a significant amount of façade to be retained. The covered area was latterly used as a car auction/market, and having been taken there when tiny, imagined I would be able to go there on my own when I was ‘grown-up’. Well, I was wrong about that!

It seems to have closed in 2001, suffered arson in 2003, then was razed in 2005.

The land has been up for sale for years, since the market was demolished – no takers yet.

I was surprised to see that the canopied area and adjacent façade were considered to be ‘Buildings at Risk’, given how little it represents of the whole site, but then again, why not?

For more details, see Building at Risk: Moore Street Meat and Cattle Markets, Bellgrove Street, Calton

One interesting point was the finish of the walls around the market which, when they surrounded the entire site, matched exactly the finish on the small section of facing still surviving on the front of that sub-station.

Glasgow meat market site

Glasgow meat market site

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Oh dear… ANOTHER weather forecast was correct

I used to argue and fight with that sad class of person which was not happy unless moaning and whining about how ‘Useless’ weather forecasts and forecasters were, and how much of a waste of time they all were.

They were usually people who could not, or refused, to understand the concept of probability (yet often loved to throw their money at the gee-gees in the local bookies), and loved the sound of their own voice as they presented their  ‘evidence’ to show that the last weather forecast had been ‘stupid’ since it did not rain in ‘THEIR’ street – carefully ignoring the fact that most surrounding areas  were dripping wet.

A couple of days ago we got a warning about Storm Doris, and chilly weather, set to arrive on Thursday.

I could almost hear the naysayers laughing at this foolishness – we were at the time of that forecast enjoying the warmest day of the year so far.


Today is Thursday, and at 7 am I looked out the window – nothing interesting, just the usual rain (remember, this is Scotland).

Two hours later, another glance out of the window, and…

More snow in Feb

More snow in Feb

Be interesting to see how long it falls, and lasts for, since the preceding warm days mean the ground absorbed some heat, and the ambient temp has not fallen to freezing, or below.

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

Revisited: The odd metal post base in Carntyne’s Hogarth Park

I took the opportunity of a spare moment, and an almost dry day, to wander along to Carntyne’s Hogarth Park and try for a closer look at what appeared to be an odd metal post base near the pyramid near the medical centre. Just as well, as it was already turning cold, wet, and windy on the way back, getting ready for Storm Doris to arrive.

Before heading for the object itself, I walked the perimeter in case any further examples lay nearby – nothing was found.

Forgot to take a scale, so a discarded bottle had to stand in, and give an indication of the size.

Base size indication

Base size indication

The top has an internal conical or tapered thread.

Internal conical thread

Internal conical or tapered thread

Below this threaded section, flats for a square wrench have been crimped into the tube, presumably to allow whatever was screwed above to be securely tightened without torquing the base below, possibly damaging it.

Square wrench crimp

Square wrench crimp

Looking down into the tube, it can be seen that this is not solid, and there is a large opening at the bottom.

Significantly, this seems to extend far below ground level – the longest stick I could find nearby was about 1 metre long, and did not meet any resistance when inserted into the hole.

Internal view

Internal view

Referring back to the first view (with the bottle for scale), I did take some tools to clear what I thought was just going to be some grass/earth over a concrete base, but this proved to be completely wrong.

As can be seen in the pic, I cleared the grass only to find there was no concrete below the earth. In fact, it appears to carry on with nothing solid below – probing with stick suggested at least another 0.5 m of earth.

Digging would seem to be the only way to find more – and I’d probably get ‘lifted’ if spotted doing that in a public park.

It’s probably a drill pipe from a land survey

Thanks to a suggestion (from Ray) in the comments below, it looks as if this is just an abandoned section of drill pipe.

And that, sadly, means it has no real connection to the history of the original site.

Looking at land survey drilling rigs, this matched one of the drill pipe sections illustrated, with the narrower drill pipe leading to the larger diameter drill collar, as seen in this illustration:

Drill parts

Drill parts

Sizes vary, but photographs of drill operators with various pipe sections showed this was a typical example.

And does, thankfully, explain why I had the constant niggle and feeling I had seen something similar, but could just not place it accurately enough to identify it.

Since my original conclusions lead to another find nearby, I’ve just left them below.

Conclusions – probably not…

These initial conclusions probably rank more as ramblings now, but since they still provide some more info and another nearby find (by the long gone rail track), they might as well stay.

I had two thoughts based on this little info:

I had wondered about the possibility of an old gas light if the base proved to be hollow, as was found, but this seems unlikely. Why only one, and why there?

On the other hand, the old gas lights were fed from below, via hollow poles which connected to the gas supply below ground, to the lantern on top.

And a conical, or tapered, thread IS used for connection under pressure.

The only support for this might be the presence of a path that seems to lead there (the pyramid can be seen in the background, but this path does not lead to it) – but this path might not even date from the same period, so it not really any help since I can’t find it on any maps either. It also just seem to come to an end at the bend, and does not lead to base, some 30 m away.

Hogarth Park path and pyramid

Hogarth Park path and pyramid behind

My second thought is based on maps of the area, which show an unnamed Chemical Works on this land c. 1900.

This ‘post base’ could in fact be the top of some tank or container left over from the works, hence the hole and unknown depth.

Possible rail connection?

By chance, I came across a third option, and almost fell into it!

A rail track passed about 30 m to the west, as evidenced by this view of the long cleared track, now with a tree in the middle.

Carntyne rail track cleared

Carntyne rail track cleared

The reason I wonder if it may be connected arises from the spot I took the above pic from – where I almost went down a hole covered by undergrowth (cleared away for the following pic).

It looks like a manhole, adjacent to the path of the track, now with no cover, leading to some sort of culvert, now filled with rubbish.

Exposed rail track hole

Exposed rail track hole

Closer view confirms manhole or access.

If you’re wondering why more of the undergrowth wasn’t cleared for better pics – I couldn’t!

I’d only taken some very small hand tools to clear what I thought was just some grass overgrown on the base – but trying to shift the earth found there meant that by the time I’d found this manhole… I had developed some huge blisters on my hand from the earlier effort. At least I had secateurs, and had been able to cut the thorny stuff away (after thanking it for stopping me falling down there while it was hidden).

Carntyne former rail track manhole

Carntyne former rail track manhole

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 2 Comments

Changing times – this used to be a risky spot

Funny things people – one minute they’re there… then they’re gone!

When I grabbed the pic below, there were TWO families with multiple kids getting ready to go home after playing on Glasgow Green, but when the shutter opened, they had somehow all managed to disappear behind the entrance pillars – I couldn’t have done this deliberately if I’d been offered money to make the shot.

I’d actually wanted them visible here (I generally avoid having bodies in my pics), at the spot where the much travelled McLennan Arch once stood, to illustrate how this is now a place where families are more likely to be found than questionable ‘ladies’.

In day gone by, they would not have gone there in the dark, and it was best avoided unless looking for ‘business’. I once made the mistake of cutting through there as a short-cut one evening when I worked nearby, only to get chased by a half-naked ghoul in a mini-skirt lurking at the corner opposite that entrance with her ‘sisters’, who looked as if she had just been dragged out of a grave. Sad to say, she was probably 20 (or more) years younger that she looked. If you’ve come across those pics of addicts that American anti-drug campaigners love, then you’ll know what I mean,

Today, I can walk there, play at low-light photography there, and all I have to watch out for is folk walking their dogs, or their kids.

Glasgow Green

Glasgow Green

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

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