Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Weekly round-up: 06 January 2018

(To my own surprise, I’ve decided to keep this page running, for purely personal reasons, for a while at least. The format might change, but even with a huge reserve of great  pics to feed it, the footer that it carried last year won’t carry on.)

Scotland’s extreme firearms law continues to deter only the law-abiding, and a thief risks death (his gun would be assumed to be real, police would react accordingly) for the few pounds in charity tins ‘Despicable’ armed thief steals charity tins

Maybe you shouldn’t sniff the morning air TOO heartily in a few months, if it’s coming from the west US reverses ban on experimenting with deadly viruses despite warning it could cause ‘accidental pandemic’

Pellets against overhead power lines? “risk of sparking house fires or damaging appliances” – Good soundbites but I think alarmist rather than actual. Somehow I think we are missing the facts behind this Vandals put lives at risk by firing pellets at power line

Wait for it… Animal activists will want the centre closed and the animals released because of this death Camperdown wildlife centre closes after monkey death

Poor lad, probably just offering to carry her heavy bag as a new year treat Woman, 80, attacked and robbed in Edinburgh

A few weeks of worry ahead Polar bear born in the UK for first time in 25 years

Always being tucked up in bed at 7:55 am has its advantages, I may be here often, but not at that time Security guard attacked with machete in Forge ATM raid

I said it was coming Orkney ferry workers vote for industrial action

It’s a pity we can’t jail or fine people who can’t support a pet, yet decide they’re having one Food bank aid highlights plight of pet poverty

Don’t forget kiddies… the Cold War is over What makes Russia’s new spy ship Yantar special?

Why do I class the WWF as just another Green Looney? It has no grasp of reality (Scotland is already further advanced than many in renewables and that means fossil fuels are being dropped) and I suggest is losing followers with its extreme views Scotland ‘should abandon oil’ 25 years on from Braer spill

I hear a union squealing! Glasgow Subway will have first unstaffed trains in UK

Never heard of them (but I rather hate all corporate ‘burger-pushers’). Goodbye Burger chain Byron closes its restaurant in Glasgow

GMB IQ = Trump IQ if it sees redundancies arising for end of jobs is a problem it needs to comment on. It should just call a strike Doosan Babcock engineering workers face redundancy

Police time wasted on oil platform ‘gun’ enquiry, while this is becoming more common – someone needs to stop and THINK! Couple threatened in Bearsden house attempted robbery

Seriously? In cash-strapped 2018 THIS is where we spend money set aside to fund the police and courts? Man who allegedly filmed his Nazi-saluting dog faces hate crime charge


06/01/2018 Posted by | Weekly round-up | | Leave a comment

Christmas Casualties 2017 (2)

The weather’s been great here since Hogmanay – for DUCKS!

It has rained continuously, and last night was my first dash to the shops this year, as the deluge finally relented.

I managed to collect another set of ‘Christmas Casualties’.

Even sadder than the first offering, this even included the poor old Christmas Tree, dumped with all the rest of the annual rejects.

If anything looks familiar – yes, this is indeed the SAME spot.

Christmas Casualties II

Christmas Casualties II

06/01/2018 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Just a test, but…

It’s not a great pic (not for me anyway) and the full-sized version looks no better than this little blog version, but it managed to avoid any shake as I balanced amongst some trees, and will become a rarity one day, as sodium street lighting is slowly consigned to history.

Although it’s not a great pic, it is interesting to note the difference in colour where the houses on the right have recent downlighters installed, and they are probably white LEDs.

Night Test

Night Test (Compact)

06/01/2018 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Fabulous phablet

I was mildly surprised to see this, since the media never seems to stop bleating about how scared ‘silver surfers’ and the elderly are (in its ‘valued’ opinion) scared of modern tech and the Internet.

I’m more used to seeing phablets and the like being used at events, where the pesky owners feel the need to wave their wonder-toys over the heads, and make sure anyone behind them has their view ruined.

At least there was plenty of space here.



It might be the start (discounting some earlier pics from the same place) of me breaking my phobia about candid shots, and including people  – something I normally HAVE to avoid doing while taking scenes where the main subject is a place, object, or building, and I don’t want distractions.

I also think I might have earned myself a Gold Star, and (shock!) grown up a bit.

I used to indulge in the odd bit of sarcasm, but decided it was too much like hard work once the Internet became pervasive, and some people just don’t have a sense of humour. So much as it can be an easy and cheap source of laughs, I don’t need death squads on my tail.

Doesn’t mean I won’t try for the odd laugh though, if somebody jumps up and down and waves their arms to attract such attention.

But a nice gent taking pics at Christmas?


06/01/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Unconcerned cat is…


Still from this video clip.

If you have never seen the studies, the cat is in more danger from the vehicles on the road below if it does fall, than from the fall itself.

Provided they are high enough to twist their bodies get their feet below them, then their natural ‘suspension’ should protect them from the landing.

They are more likely to be injured if they are too low to complete the twist, and can’t turn to land on their feet. Their terminal velocity in air is also much less than a human’s (we manage about 120 mph at least, which is not good for our landings), and being much lighter, cats also have a lot less energy to dissipate.

Their tails are major players in this game too, as they use their tail as part of their reaction effort, so they twist in two actions, using their tail to rotate one pair of legs (tail one way, legs the other), then repeat this in the opposite direction for the other pair.


High Cat

High Cat

06/01/2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Today is Apple Tree Day

06 January is Apple Tree Day.

I’m told Apple Tree Day started as a celebration of an old apple tree almost two centuries old, but has grown to become a celebration of the apple itself.

This time around, I see it’s rather ironically also suggested it be called ‘Put a Doctor Out of Business Day’, on the basis of the fruit’s claimed health benefits.

I say ‘claimed’ as last year’s crop from my good old apple tree turned out to be anything but healthy.

I learned of something called ‘The Yeasties’ in the comments after this post made last year.

Apparently, a yeast mould can make its home on your nice healthy apple, and turn it from healthy to unhealthy with little or no obvious signs.

My apples usually make good eating, although they were more likely to have been stewed for some years, just from habit.

But last year was a disaster. It took three sessions of “I don’t feel good” spread over some weeks (fortunately I only tried one apple each time) before I decided the timing was too exact, and there was nothing else suspect.

While not a severe issue (presumably since I had only been trying one apple at a time), once the yeast was inside, I reckon it was a lingering irritation as it seemed to hang around, before it was killed off completely, which seemed to take weeks.

I’m pretty sure this was the problem – normally I can dump the crop in a dark store, and separated from one another, and at winter temperatures it will stay edible into the following January.

But the 2017 crop was never going to last that long – in fact, as I checked them each week I could collect and dump examples that had gone soft and mouldy, and were even turning black in that short time. After a few weeks of this nonsense I decided I was being silly since I would never eat another of this lot, and binned them all.

On reflection, there is ONE sign of the problem to alert eyes.

My apples are usually quite shiny when new, but when I think back to the time I was collection this lot, there was no shine, and they were all dull.

They didn’t look as bad as this when picked, but this was only a few weeks later.

Rotting Apples

Rotting Apples

This is from the same tree in past years.

Apples 2007

Apples 2007

I’ve had odd things in the past, but those without these star cracks were fine, and stored just fine too.

Apples 2013

Apples 2013

06/01/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Today is Shortbread Day

06 January is Shortbread Day.

Don’t know if this is good or bad timing, since we Scots at least have just feasted on plates of shortbread over Hogmanay and New Year’s Day!

Not that I’m complaining – a really good all butter shortbread that melts in the mouth after an initial crunch and crumble is a real treat.

Sadly, some producers don’t seem to be able to manage that, and their shortbread is little more than an ordinary biscuit, all crunch and no melt.

It seems the first printed recipe for shortbread was published by a Mrs McLintock in 1736.

Seems fair.

Unfortunately, the 6th is too far from the 1st, and I don’t have any left to mark this day with.

While shortbread comes in many forms, I still think a good, plain, all butter finger is hard to beat.

Shortbread Fingers

Shortbread Fingers

Not actually convinced by the examples in the pic! I prefer to see a nice rough side on each finger, showing each has been broken from a larger cake – these look as if they have been individually formed in moulds.

I’m not a fan of additional flavouring (and odd ‘perfumes’ some seem to add), nor do I favour the rounds or triangles, which may be baked from a great recipe, but are often drowned in sugar, as in TOO MUCH SUGAR!


06/01/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | 1 Comment


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