Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Sphinx cat is tiny gargoyle

A bonus bit of Sunday fun.

When I say this sphinx cat sitting in a long pile carpet so its paws were hidden and its legs looked human, I couldn’t resist and had to grab some stills.

The image quality is not great since this is but a tiny part of a much larger video image, but it’s still funny and spooky too, with the eyes turning white, or ‘glowing’ as captured by the camera.

Little Gargoyle Sphinx Cat

Little Gargoyle Sphinx Cat

I had intended to add a comparison pic of a ‘real’ gargoyle – but they were all so ugly compared to this little guy I just couldn’t.

But it’s worth having an image search, as I see there are now quite a few modelled on… furry cats!

30/06/2017 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Spoilt Rotten Cat

I’m sure a funny sign I pass quite often must have been inspired by this old joke:

Stranger: Mr Smith, your son is spoilt.

Mr Smith: He is not, I’ve brought him up properly.

Stranger: I didn’t say you spoilt him, but that road roller…

Spoilt Rotten Cat Sign

Spoilt Rotten Cat Sign

I’m sure this isn’t the one I wanted to catch a pic of.

That one was bigger, and even funnier, with the longer text of…


30/06/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Good News – Clara has been found!

Good news for a change (and I, for one, need some).

Deciding to take a random late night walk to the shops, I noticed a soggy piece of paper flapping in the trunk of one the trees in a park I often cut through.

Whatever I expected to see, it wasn’t what I found, but at least it made the walk to the shops worthwhile.

A ‘Thank You’ note from Clara’s human, letting folk know the lost cat was now a found cat!

Found Clara

Found Clara




Seriously, this is great to see.

I’ve come across so many ‘Lost’ posters in recent walks, and apart from the problem of them not having a date on them (so there’s no way to tell if they are recent, or not so recent), it’s also impossible to tell if they were any use, and the cat was found.

That’s just an observation, I realise there’s not much can be done about that. After all, the humans have better things to do if there is a find, I think what I’m really just noting is that while I’ve found quite a few ‘Lost’ posters, this is the first ‘Found’ one I’ve ever come across.


29/06/2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

A poke in the eye for photo snobbery (scary spider alert)

While it may have been true in the years of film photography, I think the claim by some that a ‘Real Photographer’ would never use any of the automation provided on cameras has long had its day, and it’s probably true to say that anyone who makes that claim today does not actually take any photographs.

I’ve held this view for a few years, and trading up to a large sensor dSLR has only confirmed this as I squeeze more and more detail from the image files. Even shrinking the images down to the tiny size I usually use in this blog still shows more detail than I ever captured with my usual 400 ASA stock in the ‘old days’, and I saw little better when dropping to 200 ASA or even 100 ASA. Just to be complete, I didn’t shoot much slide material, but again, saw little more detail when examining their 64 ASA results for detail.

I was reminded of this when I decided to take some shots of a monster spider that has been watching me for a couple of day – hopefully not as its next meal.

Thinking I could take a better shot than the camera, I took over manual control so I could use a small aperture and supposedly get a better depth of field.

In reality… this produced blurred images (even with anti-shake) with shallow DoF even at f22. Yes, a tripod would probably have helped, but there was no space (for this to be used quickly). My luck was out as this is the dullest and wettest day seen recently, so shutter speeds were low and didn’t help.

After looking at those manual images, I went back and just set things to full Auto (but NOT allowing flash) and grabbed one image.

The results are below.

The top image is the fully automatic result, the lower is the best of a bunch taken under manual control.

They may look superficially similar, but look at the detail, the hairs on the legs for example, and you will see these have largely been lost in the lower pic.

Despite the small aperture, the DoF at f22 is little better than at f5.6, which auto decided to use, and while there is no shake evident in the upper pic, a close look at the lower pic reveals plenty, especially in the full-size original.

Lastly, and only evident in analysing the two originals, the histogram of each image shows the full auto image has a wider spread of pixel content than the manual, small aperture option.

And I get the same result every time I try this comparison now.

Note, I have deliberately not made any mention of brand here, as the photo snobs jump on that too, so wanted to rule that out.

Spider Pair Compare

Spider Pair Compare

Flashy curiosity

Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to go back for an auto flash shot, just to see how it compared – of course, after sitting motionless for two days, spidey had decided to walk off, and was actually watching from a hole in the window frame.

But it came back out later in the day, and I got my shot.

I should maybe add this is just using a standard zoom lens, with no macro option, and in this case, no sort of tweaking to optimise the shot. I just wanted to see what the camera could do on its own.

while things are better from the point of view of detail, where focus is achieved, the DoF is still poor, and if I was aiming for this as a proper shot, would have to try some setting to improve with the aid of flash. Or maybe some other tricks, but not today.

Spider Flash

Spider Flash

29/06/2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Curiosity is going to get me one day

Or maybe not – I like a low profile.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from as much curiosity as anyone else, and I often wonder just why some stops are made on the road.

On the other hand, many apparently random stops are based on other information, and these days with almost (but not quite) live info on VED, insurance, and MOTs being available in-car (not forgetting ANPR watching for dodgy registrations as well as the MKI eyeballs), it’s a brave or foolish driver who knowingly ventures out if not relatively squeaky clean.

So far, I’ve not seen anyone take off and try to do a runner when the ‘blues and two’ fire up.

And I’ll include myself in that, after being shocked to find myself being ‘fitted up’ for a fictitious driving offence within sight of my own front door as I returned home one evening.

Thinking an ambulance wanted to pass on our fairly narrow road I just slotted into the first available space between parked cars, only to be surprised when it pulled in behind me. I hadn’t even thought of a big white BMW police cruiser, and couldn’t see it anyway, until the blinding main beams were turned off. We see quite a few ambulances and fire engines, using our road as a feed between two main roads at each end.

As it was, I ended up being questioned about some fantasy manoeuvre I had supposedly carried out at the little roundabout on our road (seriously, I had no idea what this little kid with a big BMW was on about – I was just ambling towards my house, 150 metres from the roundabout, and he was accusing me of virtually going around a tiny roundabout virtually on two wheels).

During this sham, he noticed a laptop on the passenger seat and started asking about it.

Odd thing… when I told him it was linked to GPS (this was before SatNav!) and was recording my ground track, speed, and direction every second, his story/allegation suddenly evaporated – changing to “Don’t do that again!”

Instead, he decided he had witnessed events which gave him grounds to breathalyse me.

Needless to say, THAT came up with a big fat ZERO!

Today, I’d grab the video and the camera – but I was so shaken at the thought that bar having GPS toys onboard (I was using it all the time back then) and not being a drinker of any sort, I’d been selected as the target for a couple of young cops, and they could have done it too.

Their word against mine. If I went to court and challenged them – who’s the Sheriff going to believe?

I didn’t even have the presence of mind to take their registration number, let alone their shoulder numbers.

They certainly appeared genuine – but I’ve never seen such a car/team camped out in my road, before… or since.

So, I wonder, chance happening that night, or – Bogus police officers jailed for pulling over drivers

Curiosity Police Stop

Curiosity Police Stop

29/06/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Sandyhills Friendship Group

I think I’ll pass on this offer, spotted while out for a walk last night.

It’s funny how there really are ‘Different strokes for different folks‘, now a slightly questionable phrase which has entered clichédom.

I’d probably think about ending it all, rather than be shut in a room with folk that age whose idea of passing time was darts, cards, or dominoes. I think I must have served my apprenticeship for this as a kid with elderly relatives, and it put me off the concept for life!

That’s not to be misrepresented as some sort of slight on those that do, rather that I don’t think my brain is wired in such a way as to ever see this sort of thing as an option.

And it seems I’m completely anti-social too (although nowhere near as bad as a story I saw recently, of a woman who pretended to be blind for 25 years to avoid interacting with people).

Sandyhills Friendship Group

Sandyhills Friendship Group

Where is the Friendship Group’s Community Flat?

Somewhere in one of these four skyscrapers – the poster was stuck in the bus shelter at bottom left…

Sandyhills Flats

Sandyhills Flats

28/06/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

The golden throne of Carmyle

Some years ago I was a member of a fairly large Glasgow club where like-minded folk from the east end with an interest in amateur radio got together on a weekly basis – only one member turned up in a Jaguar, and he came from Carmyle.

The reason this came into my head a few days ago was down to something I saw while making one of my regular wanders past Carmyle, when I happened to look over a fence next to some ‘spare’ ground off Clydeford Road.

Looks like he might have been getting a makeover on his house.

I had to go back for a second look after passing this, as I thought I’d seen a glint of gold in passing, and curiosity got the better of me.

Sure enough, it was indeed a throne from the smallest room in the house, but a GOLDEN version – or at least with gold detailing.

I don’t know where the rest ended up, but it wasn’t nearby – I wonder if there were gold taps and fittings to go with it?

Guess nobody wanted to buy it, or scrape the gold leaf off.

Carmyle Golden Toilet

Carmyle Golden Toilet

28/06/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

At least shoplifters are honest crooks

I don’t know if anyone else has a lifelong hate of double-glazing sales people, but I don’t think I’ll ever see them as anything less than con artists, or at least not far off.

Down my way at least, the joke was that they were trying to sell us double-glazing to go on top of out double-glazing! When we were amused by their desperation to sell is more and more, we used to joke that our windows would soon reach out to the road if we bought all they were selling. While they no longer seem to try to sell AT the door, they STILL keep shoving their endless stream of irritating cards through the door.

Given my low opinion of the breed, it should come as no surprise that I offer my sympathies to the good folk of Dennistoun who have now lost the honest ‘Shoplifters’ in Duke Street…



Replaced by nothing less than…

Double glazing…

And even triple glazing (they must be planning to come down MY street soon). I think the current pests are the same lot than have ads on national TV, but I won’t give their name a mention (not for free at least).

Double Triple Glazing

Double Triple Glazing

Oh look!

I must be a VAMPIRE – no reflection visible in the window as I took that pic.

27/06/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Puzzle solved and shoplifting smackhead nabbed

BarcodeAn interesting trip to the shops for a change.

I seem to attract smackheads like some people attract weirdos who pick them out to side beside in an empty bus.

This time I was looking at the ‘Reduced for quick sale’ shelf when a character tried to shove what appeared to be a rag in my hand with the words “Here’s some cheap cheese I don’t want, I just wrapped it up” slurred at me.


He was back a minute later, this time a pricey chocolate cake was slipped onto the Quick Sale shelf in front of me, and I was assured it was “A bargain” he’d changed his mind about.

I noted that NONE of the stuff he was ‘Putting back’ had actually been reduced in price.

Fast forward half an hour and I’m leaving – as I step outside I meet my generous slurring ‘mate’, now firmly surrounded by two security guards and a trolley that now only has three small items in its vast storage space. I couldn’t remember what was in it earlier – he was stinking too, and I just wanted some distance – but it was not as near empty as it now was. He was giving the ‘Nothing to do with me’ speech while one of the security team describes how they watched/recorded him burst open packages inside the store before leaving.

I walk on by, deciding not getting involved will pay the usual dividend, and also happy to have learned something new-ish.

I’d often wondered why certain types of items were to be found on the ‘Reduced for quick sale’ shelf, yet had no reason to be there.

I guess this shelf is a handy place to abandon stuff for anyone shoplifting if they think they have been spotted, since the contents are random. So, unlike normal shelves, odd items don’t look out of place – and this shelf can often have a mob at it, so covers odd behaviour.

27/06/2017 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Giant hogweed – not so cocky after three weeks

I passed a recent acquaintance last night, not seen for three weeks.

Straying from its usual home of the riverbank, it looks as if the giant hogweed might be able to establish itself some distance from this damp/boggy environment (the River Clyde is only 50 metres away), but a few dry days and a lack of moisture would seem to have a fairly drastic effect on this menace.

Looking down at the river, I noticed that even those which were little more than 10 metres from the river were populated by many that had already turned a fairly bright yellow rather than their usual healthy green, and their heads were withering.

Giant Hogweed Dried

Giant Hogweed Dried

A reminder of how this used to look:

Giant Hogweed Bud

Giant Hogweed Bud

26/06/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | 1 Comment

Clara is missing in Sandyhills

Another set of posters in the area tells of another missing cat.

Having been sort of housebound for a few weeks, I kind of snapped and just went out for a mindless wander to cover a few miles, and was disappointed to find that another appeal to help find a lost cat.

I’m guessing this one has been missing for a week, but it’s never possible to be sure as the posters generally just refer to ‘last Sunday’ and omit any sort of date, so it could be a week, or it could be weeks. There’s no way to tell.

I’ve seen some of these posters up for months on some of my walks, and looking reasonably fresh if originally well made.

However, these are just plain paper, so have to be only from last weekend.

Clara Missing Cat

Clara Missing Cat

26/06/2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Lost | , , , | Leave a comment

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