Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Weekly round-up: 07 October 2017

(You guessed it – STILL got no idea how to get this the way I want it. Instead of saving time, I’m wasting more while I decide what to keep and what to dump. Oh well…)

Strange week… I’ve no idea what I’ve been doing (apart from too much time online), but found myself at Thursday night with not a thing in the round-up, and an accumulation of almost 100 item notifications to look at. Oh well…

I am a completely unashamed and uncompromising user of adblockers and tracking killers. Any site that DARES to block my adblocker, or attempt any sort of blackmail to force its deactivation is DEAD to me, and I pass it on to others to avoid and take action against. Seems that as ad-revenue theft falls, some are sneakier that others at stealing our time and money Ads don’t work so websites are using your electricity to pay the bills

I find it almost unbelievable, but there are some companies that have their main web presence on Facecrook, with only a small web site (probably just to park the relevant domain). I wouldn’t trust anyone on Facecrook, let alone send them money, but it seems some would – and they pay the price! Duped mum warns over fake caravan holiday scam

Following on from the preceding Facecrook con, this guy is a champion Scam baiter: Why I risk death threats to expose online cons He regularly receives death threats, and his website, Scam Survivors, is often subjected to attempted DDoS attacks – where a site is maliciously hit with lots of web traffic to try to knock it offline.

It’s a shame that even participation in the BTCC hasn’t helped break xenophobic/racist hate of MG’s Chinese rescuers, and I can only think of a mere two I’ve seen on our roads. The 2018 MG6 was announced recently, thankfully not another SUV monster, it’s much more pleasing to the eye, and maybe the wallet, price here not known but the Chinese number converts to around $18 k.

2018 MG6

2018 MG6


Seems you can never please Green Loonies. The North Coast 500 would appear to have been a success – unless your a fully paid up member of that select group of ‘geniuses’ Concern over environmental impact of North Coast 500 route  Frankly, ALL the Green Loonies have probably lost any credibility they ever had. While they once RIGHTLY made a fuss at the excesses of the past, making the SAME horrible whining noises today, and pointing accusing fingers, has merely become tiresome. Leader comment: Don’t halt tourism drive on North Coast 500

This story was a little sad (and possibly an actual example of climate change as opposed to weather variation) UK’s longest-lasting patch of snow melts away But, the real reason I’m moved to mention it not that, but the fact that Stirling-based Iain Cameron (recorder of such things apparently) is pictured HOLDING the artefact. He should know better, and that such things should not be touched. I used to hate visiting little-known sites, only to find the contents had been re-arranged by someone to ‘make a nice picture featuring them’. Shame.

There used to be a web site that kept a running total of the estimated fatalities arising from the loonies that refused to have their children vaccinated (some due to the liar who claimed vaccination caused autism – it seems that the news he was a conman is just ignored by the loonies, others due to conspiracy theories and government plots), like many others, it’s evaporated. However, it was nice to see a Michigan mother jailed for refusing to vaccinate her son

Sad to see someone who hates a WHOLE nation (claims made in her story are probably best not commented on) Holly Alexander’s mother: ‘I hate Scotland’

A change in their provider has re-opened the ‘Comments’ section of many media/news sites to me, (thankfully) previously blocked by my adblocker, and I was in no hurry to restore them. Seems I was right to enjoy the enforced break, as this recent coverage of electric buses in Edinburgh shows. Instead of sensible comments, all I see is political rhetoric, council-bashing, and hate being spouted against the tram system – I think I’ll blacklist the comments, or just avoid scrolling past the end of the actual articles in future. Also, a look at some of the comments after the preceding vaccination story provides still more justification for not letting the loonies near such a forum.

Oh dear. Looks like this one has to come off my list of things To Do Safety warning over old hospital site in East Fortune

I’ve followed this case since it hit the media, and remain amazed at the patience of the court, but then again, the final decision had to be arrived at formally. The biggest disappointment is that it didn’t end up with him behind bars. But the good news is that it’s not over for him as the sheriff said Russell may have committed criminal offences, and intends to send a report to the Lord Advocate for consideration Teacher wins legal battle against parent over 10 years of harassment

Interesting claim: Green man crossings ‘too fast’ for people with arthritis I wonder at the prof’s accuracy: “Prof Martijn Steultjens said pedestrian crossings were set with an assumed walking speed of 1.2 metres per second”, and if it refers specifically to the solid Green Man time, or includes the time when he is flashing to warn that the crossing is about to change priorities. I perceive crossing times as being variable/inconsistent – some seem to provide loads of time, while others seem to expect an Olympic sprinter to be bounding across. I may wander out and time some… one day.

Fortunately (for me) this happened at a time of day not likely to see me there – because I cross this on an almost daily basis. A bit odd, as the layout tends to mitigate even red light runners, and I can’t recall ever seeing a collision Two people cut free from car after crash in Glasgow

And, just along the road in Baillieston, I’m told (not seen online) that someone opened there door one night, to find two armed thugs (baseball bat and a knife) who forced their way in and demanded money – but then left with nothing. Like the collision, that’s getting just too close.

Just to finish with yet another contribution dedicated to the apoplectic octogenarian who sees swastikas in his slippers – sadly, no info at all came with this one. At a guess, it’s for kids to play with (or be indoctrinated), and painted on the ground (texture gives an idea of its scale):

Fun Swastika

Fun Swastika

Ridiculing an old man who shouts at clouds could become a weekly treat, if any more ‘innocent swastikas’ turn up.


Oct 7, 2017 Posted by | Weekly round-up | | Leave a comment

Be grateful you are not American and comfortably retired

Home CellA few years ago I came across a Scottish case which intrigued me. In summary, and under the right conditions, it revealed that anyone who notices a property has become derelict can make an application to legally claim it for themselves, provided no-one challenges their claim. There were a few such cases in the news at the time, and not long after I noted that someone stuck a letter on the wall of a site that had been cleared of a small cottage. I didn’t touch it, but could see it was addressed only to ‘The Owner’. Obviously there was no owner, so I assumed this was the start of the process I’d read about. A few months later the builders arrived, and a new house was built on the site.

Now imagine if something similar could be done with old/retired people – that someone could arrive on their doorstep, claim they were incapable, stuff them in a home, and collect their property and belongings as their own.

Sounds impossible?

Apparently not in America, with the help of some less than ethical courts, and someone who has the morals of… a thing with no morals.

It’s a long read, a VERY long read in fact, but I think it’s worth spreading around.

That it legitimate at all, even when carried out legally and to the letter of the law, seems to be an appalling injustice to those affected.

This quote should get you interested enough to read the rest:

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and reap a profit from it.

On the Friday before Labor Day, 2013, the Norths had just finished their toast when a nurse, who visited five times a week to help Rennie bathe and dress, came to their house, in Sun City Aliante, an “active adult” community in Las Vegas. They had moved there in 2005, when Rudy, a retired consultant for broadcasters, was sixty-eight and Rennie was sixty-six. They took pride in their view of the golf course, though neither of them played golf.

Rudy chatted with the nurse in the kitchen for twenty minutes, joking about marriage and laundry, until there was a knock at the door. A stocky woman with shiny black hair introduced herself as April Parks, the owner of the company A Private Professional Guardian. She was accompanied by three colleagues, who didn’t give their names. Parks told the Norths that she had an order from the Clark County Family Court to “remove” them from their home. She would be taking them to an assisted-living facility. “Go and gather your things,” she said.

Rennie began crying. “This is my home,” she said.

One of Parks’s colleagues said that if the Norths didn’t comply he would call the police. Rudy remembers thinking, You’re going to put my wife and me in jail for this? But he felt too confused to argue.

Parks drove a Pontiac G-6 convertible with a license plate that read “CRTGRDN,” for “court guardian.” In the past twelve years, she had been a guardian for some four hundred wards of the court. Owing to age or disability, they had been deemed incompetent, a legal term that describes those who are unable to make reasoned choices about their lives or their property. As their guardian, Parks had the authority to manage their assets, and to choose where they lived, whom they associated with, and what medical treatment they received. They lost nearly all their civil rights.

Without realizing it, the Norths had become temporary wards of the court. Parks had filed an emergency ex-parte petition, which provides an exception to the rule that both parties must be notified of any argument before a judge. She had alleged that the Norths posed a “substantial risk for mismanagement of medications, financial loss and physical harm.” She submitted a brief letter from a physician’s assistant, whom Rennie had seen once, stating that “the patient’s husband can no longer effectively take care of the patient at home as his dementia is progressing.” She also submitted a letter from one of Rudy’s doctors, who described him as “confused and agitated.”

Rudy and Rennie had not undergone any cognitive assessments. They had never received a diagnosis of dementia. In addition to Freud, Rudy was working his way through Nietzsche and Plato. Rennie read romance novels.

Parks told the Norths that if they didn’t come willingly an ambulance would take them to the facility, a place she described as a “respite.” Still crying, Rennie put cosmetics and some clothes into a suitcase. She packed so quickly that she forgot her cell phone and Rudy’s hearing aid. After thirty-five minutes, Parks’s assistant led the Norths to her car. When a neighbor asked what was happening, Rudy told him, “We’ll just be gone for a little bit.” He was too proud to draw attention to their predicament. “Just think of it as a mini-vacation,” he told Rennie.
After the Norths left, Parks walked through the house with Cindy Breck, the owner of Caring Transitions, a company that relocates seniors and sells their belongings at estate sales. Breck and Parks had a routine. “We open drawers,” Parks said at a deposition. “We look in closets. We pull out boxes, anything that would store—that would keep paperwork, would keep valuables.” She took a pocket watch, birth certificates, insurance policies, and several collectible coins.

Oct 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

The Paternoster refuses to die

If it’s not obvious, I’m something of a fan of the Paternoster, see My Pontecorvo Building mystery solved

Also noted here Taggart (for S5 E11 Flesh And Blood Sep-05-1989).

I’ve always hoped someone who has access to the Pontecorvo Building might have chipped in and let us know the fate of the Paternoster there, but no luck so far, and an online search provides very little on the building, its history, or present state. So bad is the online info, that after my last search (a few years ago) I expected to see the site razed when I next passed, but it was still there.

It seems there is at least ONE living Paternoster in the UK, as detailed here:

One of the last doorless, continuously moving elevators still in use in the UK. Paternoster Lift at the Arts Tower, Sheffield, England

This one managed to get itself on the BBC, and also managed to embarrass a modern lift by beating it in a little test:

And to think, SOME people suggest the extinction of this item is… progress!

Oct 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

More vehicular electrickery – at Celtic (car) park of all places

You could be forgiven for thinking I was looking for electric vehicle related tales yesterday, but it really was all just chance.

While the previous posts were all city centre finds, this was miles away, and I almost missed it. It can occasionally be a place to find expensive cherished registration, if a footballer makes it there before being breathalysed.

I didn’t look closely, but think it’s an Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid) as these seem to be popular.

What’s more interesting is the presence of the mains connection, so far from the parking spot it needs a warning board lest anyone fall over the cable and sue the club for millions! I don’t really need to mention where it is – locals will be well aware.

Seems a little badly thought out, there are walls with closer parking spots, so no real reason for the hazard. Or they could have marked the area appropriately, and allowed/placed qualifying vehicles parallel to the fence. That footpath is hugely wide, and the gate on London Road is permanently locked, never used, and probably rusted shut or seized. Interestingly, Google’s satellite view dates from this year (2017) and has sufficient detail to show (possibly the same) a vehicle connected to the socket.

Still – that a really tall kerb, and it’s debatable if a modern SUV like that one could climb anything so high, and get next to that fence (irony).

There are public charging stations installed in the car parks of the (deserted? – does anything happen in this giant shed?) arena across the road, but whenever I check I have enough water on hand, and trek across their vast empty expanse, not only are there almost no vehicles in the car parks themselves, I’ve never seen a charging station in use.

Mitsubishi Celtic Charge

Mitsubishi Celtic Charge

Oct 7, 2017 Posted by | photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

Another EV (REX) surprise as I trip over an Ampera

After being haunted by multiple BMW i3 sightings, on the same day I got another electric car surprise, when I came across a Opel Vauxhall Ampera (sorry, as noted before, my info usually come from US sources, rather than generally moronic coverage of cars with battery power, so I recognise this as an Opel Ampera). To be even more honest, I really see it as a Chevy Volt, which is what it was originally developed as, years before it went on sale.

This is not a pure EV, but a hybrid, or REX (range extended) vehicle. From memory, you have around 50 miles of battery only range, then a 1.4 litre engine kicks in to extend the range. I’ll say no more – having read all the arguments and debates about HOW that system works, other than to note you can have the battery charged by the engine, or plug it in,

I have to confess to watching the Ampera on the forecourt of the dealer around the corner, when it was introduced, and thinking about conning them out the test drive on offer, but chickened out. Although I’d done this a few times when picking a new car, I didn’t feel like finding out what they did when I turned up on foot, without a current car to leave behind when I drove off in their demonstrator.

Oh well.

The Ampera is quite striking in appearance, and I’ve never seen in the wild, although as you can see, they been around for over three years at least.

Vauxhall Ampera

Vauxhall Ampera

Oct 7, 2017 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Not the plate this time, but the car

Some things are weird.

While my occasional wanders into Glasgow mean I’m getting used to seeing PHEVs (plug in hybrid electric vehicles) quietly charging on the city’s streets (yet never once to be seen on a charger in the burbs), I can only count one neighbour’s Leaf, and one Tesla Model S that took me by surprise as it passed me at Parkhead, as the only real EV (electric vehicle) sightings, until the past week or so.

Suddenly, it’s “i3s, i3s everywhere!”.

A week ago, one surprised me as it came out of a pub car park (full of football supporters).

And in the past couple of days, two walks into Glasgow netted at least another four more, usually moving, but the one below was parked.

I was a little surprised to see this was a 2015 plate. While I haven’t really been paying close attention (much as I might like one, an EV is not within current budget plans), most of the mentions I’ve come across for this car have been from the other side of the pond, and based on US buyers (they are way way ahead in this respect).

Interestingly, EVs come with ‘magic’ installed as standard. For example, one of the i3s I came across was stopped on one of our steeper hills, pointing uphill at traffic lights. While the ‘normal’ vehicles  generally did their usual ‘hill start’, EVs just don’t care, and the electric motor controller just holds them stationary with static motor torque, no real effort needed by the driver – who just presses the pedal to move off when desired. No drama, no throttle/brake/clutch juggling, no sliding backwards.



Oct 7, 2017 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | 1 Comment


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