Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Ask Grumpy Cat

Could be a regular feature – ‘Ask Grumpy Cat: Your Problems Solved’.

Actually this was just a coincidence, and these two pics happened to come up online in different places around the same time, yet they just seemed to be made to go together, so why not?

The Problem:

Cat Piglet Prob

Cat Piglet Prob

The Solution:

Piglet Prob Solved By Grumpy

Piglet Prob Solved By Grumpy

Seems legit:


August 31, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Dyson – Not ALWAYS bagless!

Apart from slightly odd failure, I’ve been spared the problems many seem to have suffered with Dyson vacuum cleaners _ IF those people are being truthful, and not just trolling the online review services.

I admit to being almost first in the queue to by the DC01 upright when it was launched, and then watched glumly as all the later revisions appeared fixing all the bugs it came with. That said, it did a surprisingly good job of cleaning – despite being rather asthmatic in the ‘suction’ department. That clear container always gathered a surprising  (alarming?) amount of muck every week.

I was also at the head of the queue for the first DC02 cylinder machine when it arrived – and found it had a very odd flaw…

After using it for a few minutes, the exhaust would start to melt the wheels!

I checked it for blockages or other problems, but it was all clean and clear – yet every time I tried to use it, the wheels (to be more accurate, the ‘tyre’ fitted to the wheel) would start to melt.

Credit to Dyson service though, phoned the service number, no silly argument, just an apology and request to box it up (without the hose and tools) and they would have a lorry with me the next morning with a replacement.

Sure enough, the new machine arrived (with another hose!) and worked perfectly from the start. I guess somebody made a mistake and used the wrong type of plastic to mould a batch of tyres.

I suffered the same ‘Early adopter’ misery with the 02 as the 01, and watched all the later revision arrive, fixing all the bugs I found.

Strangely, and also like the 01, the 02 was decidedly ‘asthmatic’, yet it too still managed to collect a load of muck every week.

After suffering the ‘Early adopter’ misery with both the 01 and o2 I decided that was it, and no more.


A short-lived catalogue clearance shop opened nearby, and had a single new Dyson multi-cyclone ‘Animal’ cylinder vac with permanent washable filters and HEPA filtration. I’d seen this in the shops, way over £300, but was sitting as a clearance item for £150 – for all of 5 minutes after I saw it.

While they mean ‘Animal’ to refer to this cleaner’s use around pets, I say it refers to its POWER.

I’ve not used a vac anything like this one (apart from a little red monster of a Dirt Devil, but it needs a bag). It grabs and lifts any carpet tiles that are not glued down, and woe betide any curtain that flaps loosely near the head – it’s gone in an instant, into the container if it was light, or jammed in the tube or hose if heavier, and activating the two pressure bypass valves this has to protect the workings if the hose is blocked.

So, why the title hinting at Dysons with bags?

Just this scene I came across recently:

Dysons… with bags!

Dyson Bagged

Dyson Bagged

I guess the old DC01 is not that popular – I got lucky when I bumped into somebody that wanted one, and traded me a portable TV in exchange.

But, it looks as if you can’t even give them away nowadays.

This isn’t the first example I’ve found sitting in the street:

Free Dyson DC01

Free Dyson DC01

That note – ‘FREE WORKING’.

Even though Tollcross Road was in darkness, I still wasn’t tempted.

August 31, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Billy Connolly Dixon Street mural – Vettriano original (almost)

Although I’d read about the originals of the murals made to Celebrate Sir Billy Connolly’s 75th being exhibited, with my memory any clue as to where they were going soon evaporated.

So it was a nice surprise to trip over one of them, the one by Jack Vettriano, as I wandered through Kelvingrove recently.

Only thing was… I was wrong, and it seems the original in question is actually in the People’s Palace, and this is only a study, per the label:

Vettriano Study Label

Vettriano Study Label

We can still compare the little yin to the big yin…

Vettriano Mural Original

Vettriano Mural Original Study


Billy Connolly Mural Dixon Street

Dixon Street

There’s an irritating shadow cast along the top edge of the study, but the real problem with reproducing this image lies in the very ‘warm’ lighting used in Kelvingrove. Not visible to the eye, it produces a very warm image.

While I corrected for this, and it looks fine seen on its own, I think it still looks a little too ‘warm’ when seen in close proximity to the larger mural, obviously shot out of doors and under natural light.

It’s a while since I made it into the People’s Palace, so this means I’ll have to wander along there sometime soon, to get a look at the real original.

August 30, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kelvingrove is on fire. You can save ONE item. What do you grab?

I’ve seen this hypothetical ‘Fire’ question posed by others, and while wandering through Kelvingrove on one of my now rare visits (I used to be able to drop in at almost any time) found the same dilemma arose as I considered the time that now grows between my subsequent visits.

Given that most of my long-standing favourites are impractical candidates as they are simply too large or too heavy to lift and run with, I was beginning to think I’d posed a question with no single answer, then I realised I was looking at it.

It’s a long time since I first saw Regina Cordium. In fact, I was at (secondary) school, and the reason I noticed it was because of a remarkable similarity to a girl I sometimes saw there (I should add not in my year). But I would emphasise that it was purely a ‘similarity’, yet so striking it made this one of my favourite exhibits, and I reckon I’ve been lucky as it’s also one that is a permanent exhibit, and does not disappear as part of the museum rotation of the more than 1 million artefacts it holds.

Even luckier, this image was used on a large poster to publicise an exhibition some years (got that), and on the cover of an accompanying book (yup, got that too).

Another feature that struck me back in the day was how timeless the painting was, and I really did have to look twice when I looked at the plaque which was once fixed to the frame, and discovered it was painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1866. Granted I was ‘young and stupid’ at the time, but if I’d been asked to make a guess, I’d have been utterly and completely wrong as I’d probably have had a stab at a 20th century date. I’m probably a bit of a perfectionist too, and the execution of the brushwork and detail is also worthy of note. While I enjoy impressionism, I’m much more likely to be drawn to what is now referred to as photo-realism.

So, that’s my choice, and if you ever see someone running through flames at Kelvingrove (sounds like a good name for an exhibition!) with Alexa Wilding – that will be me.

Regina Cordium

Regina Cordium

I’m guessing it’s been reframed since I first saw it, and the gilded plaque would seem to be long gone, replaced by this stylish, two-tone, printed card:

Regina Cordium Label

Regina Cordium Label

August 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I fixed the hidden mural in Partick

I only get to places like Partick and Dumbarton Road occasionally nowadays (once used to be there every week), so get taken by surprise by some changes.

This one came as I turned round to take some pics of Partick Library, and found a new (to me at least) mural had appeared on the gable end of a building, and was yet another that follows a recent trend of apparently placing these deliberately in places where they cannot be seen properly. It’s like many that have appeared on the Glasgow City Centre Mural Trail, often placed on walls in narrow lanes where they cannot really be seen.

I’m afraid I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and find such placements tend to spoil these images, as they only allow the viewer to see them at an angle, imposing unavoidable perspective distortion.

I’m not sure if the murals themselves are painted so as to try to compensate for this, but after playing with perspective correction of this Purdon Street mural, and finding it problematic, I think they do. In this case, when I had the correct geometry of known objects in the image, I found the proportions of the girl’s body to look very unnatural, and had to re-apply the correction to get a natural appearance.

This is the least distorted view of the mural, as spotted when I was about to take a pic of the library:

Partick Library plus Mural

Partick Library plus Mural

I suspect the image has been created taking into account the enforced viewing angle, as the girl’s body, I think, would appear narrower due to perspective it had been painted normally.

This is my best attempt at correcting for the viewing angle, where I feel I had to balance the degree of correction and set the amount of correction by eye, rather by referring to the known geometry of fixed objects in the scene:

Purdon St Mural Fixed

Purdon St Mural Fixed

Might be interesting to try the same trick on other examples of these recent murals.

Historic precedence

This isn’t some sort of magical revelation I had, but is inspired by prior knowledge of the work of early Glasgow sculptures, responsible for many statues to be found on elevated locations around the city.

They distorted their creations to take account of the foreshortening which would take place when the viewer was looking up at the statues from the street far below.

Partick Library

I never actually got that pic of the library, the one I’d meant to get.

I had a lot of bits, so stitched them together for a panorama – it almost worked too.

If only Dumbarton Road was not so busy, and there had been no traffic, it would have been fine:

Partick Library Pano

Partick Library Pano

August 28, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Modern demolition clears a path to an old listed works building

I can’t get used to wandering around some places I’m more likely to be passing through in the dark than the light, so keep spotting surprises that shouldn’t really be (surprises).

Case in point, this derelict yet still attractive works building I spotted through some trees as I wandered into Cambuslang.

I should have seen it before, but the usual combination of dark nights, and our lovely wind and rain usually mean I’m hiding beneath a nice umbrella and comfy hooded jacket. Not helped by the modern buildings (now demolished) which used to screen this turn of the century (c.1900) building from sight in more recent years (visible on aerial images).

Rosebank Works

Rosebank Works

If I’ve identified it correctly, this is the Rosebank Works (Engineering) (Ceramics/Brick Making: brickmaking machinery), of James Mitchell and Son, which seems to have survived until the 1980s – when I note documents relating to it were archived.

That probably explains the decorative brickwork frieze seen towards the top of the front wall, and the central columns made of the light-coloured bricks.

I’ve passed the gate where I took the pics below from many times, but always in the dark, and had no idea this gem was lurking in the distance. All I can usually see here are the signs warning of dire consequences for anyone who dares to enter. There’s not many left, but I do have a vague recollection of many some time ago, presumably when the modern ‘shed’ that once stood in front of this surviving gem was being removed.

It’s a shame, but seeing this one is a rather sad reminder of how few and far between such surviving relics of our industrial heritage are these days.

I probably don’t really need to point out that there is large area of derelict land only a few metres to the west of this building, past a football ground, where NOTHING survives, yet was once the site of a giant Hoover factory employing more than 2,000, but production ended in 2005.

It was a factory of its time (late 1940s), and something of a shed too, so let’s enjoy this earlier design:

Rosebank Works

Rosebank Works


Rosebank Works

Rosebank Works

This post reminded me of how dull and boring walks around this area have become.

Like many, there seems to have been a deliberate effort to purge the area of anything that reminds people of its past, or dare to have an untidy or just ‘old’ building left standing if it can be razed, presumably just to make the place look ‘Nice and Tidy’ for tourists, visitors, investors, or smart young people with money to move into, away from the problems of city living.

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

Yet another list – this time words you’ll hear in Glasgow (maybe)

I spotted yet another listing presented on the basis of helping visitors to Glasgow, and wasn’t really going to bother about, as the content is so ordinary for a local, or anyone who uses doesn’t actually need help with “23 words and phrases you need to learn quickly if you’re planning a trip to Glasgow”.

Then I noticed Number 13… ‘Yaldi’.

Where did that come from.

Been in Glasgow all my life, went to a number of schools too, yet have never heard this – EVER!

I though they meant ‘laldi’, meaning to sing or do proudly; with great gusto. As in ‘Gie it laldy (Give it laldy).

But no, they define it as something different.

Not sure if Number 16 works in my part of the east end either, but I may have heard (if not understood) it.

So these two might be ‘Glasgow’, but localised, and not common in all geographic areas.

Oh well, live (so far) and learn.

  1. Blether – To talk. Example: “I met your granny doon the street and we had a right good blether.”

  2. Wheesht – A call for silence. Example: “Will ye wheesht, you pair! Ma heid’s loupin.”

  3. Greet – To cry or weep, not to say hello. Example: “Stop greetin, it wasnae that sair.”

  4. Crabbit – Meaning grumpy and bad tempered. Example: “Yer a crabbit get, so ye are”.

  5. Eejit – An idiot, simpleton or one not possessed of all their mental faculties. Example: “Yer aff yer heid, ye eejit.”

  6. Mingin’ – Meaning gross or disgusting. Example: “He’s absolutely mingin’!”

  7. Swatch – Meaning to have a quick look at something. Example: “Gie us a swatch of yer paper.”

  8. Glaikit – Meaning stupid, foolish or not very bright. An insult, such as “Wid ye look at the glaikit look on his coupon (face).”

  9. Aye right – A phrase used when you don’t believe something that you are told. Example: “You’ve just won the lottery? Aye right!”

  10. Fouter – Somone who muddles through or a fiddly, tiresome job. Example: “This is a right fouter, this.”

  11. Peely wally – Meaning pale skinned due to lack of sunshine, something that applies to the majority of Scots, in Scotland.

  12. Clatty – Meaning dirty, not clean. Example: “Yer hoose is pure clatty.”

  13. Yaldi – An expression of excitement or joy. Example: “I just gubbed ye at FIFA. Yaldi!”

  14. Taps aff – To remove one’s shirt due to the slightest hint of sunshine. Example: “Sun’s oot, taps aff!”

  15. Hoachin’ – Meaning busy or heaving. Example: “The toon was hoachin’ the day.”

  16. Hacket – Used to describe an ugly person. Example: “That bird fae the other night was pure hacket!”

  17. Swally – Meaning an alcoholic beverage or slang version of “a swallow of.”

  18. Mad wae it – The art of being very drunk. Example: “Aw man, ah wis pure mad wae it last night!”

  19. Geein me the boak – When something makes you feel sick. Example: “That curry wis pure mingin’ man. It wis geein me the boak. “

  20. The dancin’ – A term for a nightclub. Example: “Ye goan to the dancin’ at the weekend?”

  21. Sound – Used to describe when something is cool, or that a person is okay. Example: “Did ye meet Wee Baz last night? He wis pretty sound.”

  22. Wean – The term for a child. Example: “How many weans huv ye got?”

  23. Skelped – To slap someone. Example: “If you don’t stop misbehavin’ wee man, then yer gettin’ skelped!”

August 26, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Relief model of Glasgow spotted at Kelvingrove

This was a bit of a recent surprise (for me at least) and was, unfortunately, tripped over in the midst of a rather wet day of heavy showers when I couldn’t dress appropriately for such things.

Spotting it depends on which road you take to Kelvingrove, and this is not my usual path, so I might never have seen it. Thanks to the weather, I couldn’t really stop for a closer look, so it was really just a case of grabbing some pics to make sure I remember it in future.

Glasgow Model Outside Kelvingrove

Glasgow Model Outside Kelvingrove

Thanks to the falling rain, I couldn’t make out the description on the plaque at the foot, and this also made pics almost unreadable too, so I’ll have to get back some day (or track it down online).

The actual features of the model are impossible to see in the above pic, so here’s a closer look at the top:

Glasgow Model Outside Kelvingrove Detail

Glasgow Model Outside Kelvingrove Detail

I hope it IS Glasgow, since I’ve just assumed this.

Given the sparse nature of the city, it has to be based on early maps, which I’d guess from around 1800 (very roughly) but would have to dig out some of my old history books to more certain or accurate about.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Maps, photography | , | Leave a comment

Listed Partick pumping station defaced by poodle graffiti

In context, yesterday’s fun poodle graffiti effort turns out to be nothing more than vandalism of one of Glasgow’s iconic red sandstone buildings, the 1904 Partick Sewage Pumping Station in Dumbarton Road.

These criminals (usually shoplifters – have you seen the price of ONE tin of spray paint, let alone a selection of colours, I needed a seat to recover when I made the mistake of almost buying one recently) whine about being ‘picked on’ for just having a bit of fun, but I recently saw the bill for restoring a rail carriage, they had ‘decorated’ during the night recently, and while they believe they’re not damaging buildings such as the pumping station (or more likely just don’t care so long as they are first to ‘tag’ a piece of clean wall with their mark), the reality is that sandstone WILL inevitably be damaged, either by the chemicals or solvents needed to removed their muck, or by the various forms of pressure-washing that may be used to avoid chemical use.

The damage can be slight, but as was seen after the mass clean-up of the black soot that once covered many building in Glasgow, damage and accelerated erosion can follow even when care is taken.


It’s bad enough that legitimate refurbishment and modernisation of a working structure means we now have electric motors powering the pumps here, instead of the visual show the original three inverted vertical triple-expansion pumping engines with plunger pumps could be providing today.

Smelly Poodle Graffit Context

Smelly Poodle Graffiti Context

Why ‘Smelly Poodle’?

If you have to ask… you have never walked past this working sewage pumping station!

August 25, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Down again – the bollard with a season ticket to the repair shop

I’m beginning to realise that this concrete and steel reinforced bollard is no match for the delivery lorries to the small row of shops nearby, and my first thought that it was never repaired was wrong too.

Far from just lying broken, it looks as if this poor bollard is just victimised, and doesn’t survive long before the lorries gently ‘persuade’ it to go away.

I used to think it was just neglected, but after paying closer attention and taking the odd pic, it seems this one just enjoys the repair cycle, and only lasts a few weeks after each repair, before it throws itself under another lorry.

One of my route changes brought me here last night, although I had already noticed this guy had been beaten up and left lying at an angle last week.

Bollard Again

Bollard Again

Last time:

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August 25, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Fourth list found – this time Glasgow facts

Fourth day of our list themed lunchtime posts, and this time it is “12 interesting facts you probably don’t know about Glasgow”.

It’s always interesting to see what somebody else thinks is… interesting.

It’s certainly not my list or choice, so don’t expect much – it manages to range from “Good point” all the way down to “WHY?”

  1. We’re a flashy bunch
    Glasgow City Chambers has more marble than the Vatican, at least that’s the claim, but it has been used as movie stand-in more than once. Sad to say, it seems that few born and bred Glaswegians visit and take the daily tour of this magnificent building – and to this day I’m ashamed to say that I’m no exception to this rule. So, I haven’t actually heard this bonus fact first-hand, that it originally cost £578,232 to build back when, that would be £40 million today. Er…
    According to MY inflation calculator, £40 million from the build era of the City Chambers (which date from 1880) would be around £64 million today (2017). Still, what’s a mere £15 million?
  2. We invented the tikka masala
    Seriously? What it this list-makers obsession with curry? I STILL just think it looks like a pile of runny dog poo on a plate.
  3. Glasgow University packed up and moved
    I know this one is true, as I have some old pics of the place before it moved. Originally built at Glasgow Cross in 1451, the university moved west around 1870, and while the landmark Gothic building seen on the skyline today is new (as in 19th century new), the Lion and Unicorn staircase to its chapel is original, and was moved there brick by brick.
  4. Kelvingrove is the wrong way round
    I think this is my favourite myth about the story, and falls into the ‘I love to hate this story’ category. The story goes that the architect made a big mistake and leapt to his death from one of the gallery towers because the building was built ‘back to front’. Happily, neither of these mythical ‘facts’ is true. The building faces the way it was always meant to, and the architect went on to die in his bed, at home in West Hill, Highgate, Middlesex, on 30 March 1933 (he was born in 1858). As for the building, in reality, the museum was built and opened in 1901 to coincide with the Glasgow International Exhibition in the surrounding park – so it was designed to have its frontage facing the river. However, today, most people enter from Argyle Street.
  5. Sir Roger, a Glasgow boy stuffed in Kelvingrove
    Sir Roger is said to be one of Kelvingrove’s oldest and most popular exhibits – he’s an Asian elephant if you don’t know. Sir Roger came to a Glasgow zoo in the late 19th century, but by 1900 and aged 27 had become rather cranky and aggressive. It seems this is not unusual with such animals, too much testosterone and no mate. It was decided he would have to be put down. One morning the poor old man was given his breakfast to keep him busy, and his handlers shot him.
  6. We used to have a castle to rival Edinburgh
    The Bishop’s Castle once stood to the left of Glasgow Cathedral in the city’s medieval quarter. It’s the reason Castle Street got its name (surprise?). Sadly, all traces of it were destroyed in 1792, and today the site is occupied by Glasgow Royal Infirmary. All we can do now is imagine the grandeur of it all – and cry over the loss of one more opportunity to argue about which is best between Glasgow and Edinburgh. On the other hand, if we take account of the ruins of Crookston Castle on the south side, recently discovered remains of two castles in Partick, and others, it turns out we were once quite well provided for. It’s just a shame we seem to have lost them all.
  7. The real Stone of Destiny is here
    According to a claim made by The Arlington Bar. History records that four students from Glasgow University students tried to steal the stone from Westminster Abbey in 1950. However, the story is said to have a twist in the tale, in that the one they handed back was really a replica, and the real stone was hidden under a seat in the bar while they drank a toast to their day’s work. Well?
  8. It’s the real city of romance
    Forget Paris, Glasgow is the real city of romance, and it has the bones of the original St Valentine to prove it. The Church of Blessed St John Duns Scotus holds the relics. Find the church in Glasgow’s Ballater Street, where you can see a gold casket marked “Corpus Valentini Martyris” – the body of St Valentine, Martyr. The relics are permanently on display in the entrance to the church and as February 14 approaches the Friars decorate the area around the casket with flowers and a statue of St Valentine. On St Valentine’s Day special prayers are said for those in love and out of it – those “experiencing difficulties through separation or breakdown are also remembered”.
  9. There’s plenty to see
    Glasgow is home to some 20 museums and art galleries, and this is actually the largest civic arts collection in Europe, including stars such as Dali, Van Gogh, Degas, and Monet. Almost more significant and important than that is the fact that we don’t have to pay to see them, as our public galleries are free of charge (not counting that our taxes pay the bills). Seriously, as a Glaswegian who has enjoyed being able to drop in and see these collections as often as I like, and not had to dip into their pocket for some of the exorbitant admission charges encountered elsewhere, just get through some museum doors ONCE, this could almost be the best reason to live in Glasgow.
  10. So much, in fact, that we leave artwork out in the open
    The visual feast in not just restricted to our indoor collections. Take a moment to wander around Glasgow with your eyes OPEN, and don’t forget to look UP! The city is filled not only with many statues and ornate carving decorating many of its building, but it also hosts a number of installations in its parks and other open areas which have been provided by famous artists.
  11. It’s the home of international football
    The first official match was played in Partick in 1872, on the lawn of the West of Scotland Cricket Club between Scotland. The result was a draw, 0-0 (which I suspect the average Scot or Glaswegian will take as a win, on the basis of ‘We wuz robbed’).
  12. We gave the world Stan Laurel
    This is actually one of my favourite lesser known facts about Glasgow. Born in Ulverston, Cumbria, Laurel’s family moved north to Glasgow when he was still a boy.A month after his 16th birthday, Laurel persuaded the owner of Glasgow’s Britannia Panopticon to give him a slot during the music hall’s amateur night. It’s was notorious, and his song-and-gag routine got a mixed reception, but the experience clearly helped him on the road to stardom.The duo later visited Glasgow (twice) and stayed in the Central Hotel.

Another list ‘reviewed’ and I rather liked this one and the subject it mentioned (well, most of them).

It’s probably times like this that I really do miss having the sort of memory that conjure up such collections without stressing (I seem to ‘know’ about lots of features, and can waffle about them once prompted, but can I bring them to mind without being so prompted in some way? Nope!).

So, I guess I’ll just have to keep looking at other people’s lists, and suppress the feelings of envy.

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

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