Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Beware the Giant Hogweed – Really!

While I’ve been lucky enough to avoid even accidental contact with Giant Hogweed, I walk in many places where it grows, and is often ‘giant’, with the flowering heads often being well above my head, with those growing in damp riverbanks easily managing 4 or even 5 metres.

It really is a nasty plant to encounter, and its toxic sap can be dangerous:

Giant hogweed ‘UK’s most dangerous plant’, say rivers trust

It’s not only to be found near rivers, but is so prolific it now grows happily on any nearby ‘wild’ land.

I found this example by the roadside of a bridge over the River Clyde, and saw for the first time how the head actually breaks out of protective bag where the flowers reach maturity before being exposed.

This must be a fairly rapid process, as I haven’t come across either similar bags or sacks, or a freshly flowering example such as this before – just those that have flowered.

But the important point is the presence of these giants by the roadside, where those unaware of the danger could cut them, and be exposed to the toxic sap.

Giant Hogweed Bud

Giant Hogweed Bud

Now that I’ve seen this one, I note that the ‘dead’ sack can generally be seen withering below the flowering head.

And these few inches are as close as I want to be.


Jun 4, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Hip Hop Marionettes and intrusive advertising

I hate adverts. Not all adverts of course, but I do hope there is a special Hell with eternal pain inflicted on anyone involved in creating ways to FORCE ads of any type to be viewed.

30 years of increasingly intrusive and distracting advertising on the Internet have turned me completely and irrevocably against adverts that are shoved in my face. I’m fine with ads placed where I can find them if I need them, or which don’t INSIST I acknowledge them.

Online, I use two complementary ad-blockers (oddly, neither of them is the famous Adblock Plus), and any site that I visit which demands I remove it gets permanently blocked – no exceptions – no mercy – and I will then go find a way to get free access to that site, WITH ads blocked. If I can, I’ll also alert others to boycott it as well, and make sure it gets bad reviews.

I don’t expect to find the same sort of problems with conventional advertising, but when I tried to take some pics of the ‘Hip Hop Marionettes’ mural from George Street (on a building in John Street) found that it was being spoiled by at least one massive billboard smack in front of it. From George Street, only off-centre views of the mural are possible.

You can only take a clear view by standing behind the billboard, in a car park, so need a wide-angle lens, and to be able to correct distortion from being so close.

(Sorry about the apparently ‘careless’ smudgy area at bottom centre – seems I was carrying some condensation around for a while, and it took some time to evaporate and disappear.)

First pic is such a shot, tidied up to remove distortion, then the next is just a straight view as taken when standing in George Street.

George Street Mural View

Hip Hop Marionettes

Stepping back a bit, we see what the ‘Power of Advertising’ achieves:

George Street Mural Spoiled View

George Street Mural Spoiled View

Jun 4, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment


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