Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Nala – another sad tale from the old collection of missing cat posters

Another post inspired by the proposals to brighten the area up, or maybe I should say ‘reminded’, since it comes from the right area.

Yet another from my collection of missing cat posters from years ago.

This one was probably collected somewhere near Glasgow Green, but I’m not sure where exactly, but before I reached Saltmarket.

There’s no year on the poster, but I can say that this was a find from 2015.

Missing Cat Nala

Missing Cat Nala

31/03/2018 Posted by | Appeal, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sad dog is sad

This guy was looking at me as if to say “Do they mean dog years or human years?”

While it may not be accurate (it’s more complex than a simple equivalence), it’s often taken that one dog year is about seven human years.

This means things are quite good for them if it’s dog years, since a dog will be in its twenties by the time it has been around for more than two human years.

But the other side of this thought is that if our dog has to wait for 25 human years – well, by then it’s going to be something like 150 dog years.

And that’s maybe the thought this little face is conveying.

Sad Dog

Sad Dog

31/03/2018 Posted by | Cold War, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Cathedral Square public toilets

(Yet) Another post inspired by the proposals to brighten the area up.

I’d forgotten about collecting these pics one day, as it was pure chance that I noticed the reason.

These public lavvies (toilets) have, like all the other underground types that once dotted much of the city, been closed for years.

Unlike many, however, the ‘TO LET’ sign suggests they are not ruinous below, have been trashed and/or vandalised, or deliberately wrecked and sealed forever.

These are quite grand, with sandstone surround and tiled entranced leading down from ground level, presumably due to their location. The more usual appearance of these ancient street conveniences (which I understand Glasgow was quite proud of, and envied for) was of a black painted wrought or cast-iron fence, surrounding steps leading below ground.

And that, I believe, was also the reason for their demise (although these facilities all seem to be closed now), but I’m sure there were many more.

Being underground, it didn’t take much for these places to flood, either by accident of there was a plumbing failure, or by intent, if the vandals got down there and decided to smash the place up a little, and block the drains.

The reason I collected these pics was spotting one of the outer gates being unlocked and open (you’ll see the other is still locked), and wandered in thinking this might allow some access and maybe some pics inside.

As you can see, this wasn’t happening any time soon, as the entrances are secured by roller shutters.

Cathedral Square Public Lavatory Entrance 1

Cathedral Square Public Lavatory Entrance 1

I’m guessing this had the usual ‘LADIES’, ‘GENTS’, or ‘GENTLEMEN’ plaques attached somewhere, but I couldn’t spot them.

Cathedral Square Public Lavatory Entrance 2

Cathedral Square Public Lavatory Entrance 2

31/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

It’s freezing in Scotland – so it must be Easter!

I haven’t managed a decent walk for weeks now, the surrounding weather is just too grim.

After looking at the forecast since I had to go out,  yesterday looked like the best bet for a while.

I was right! 24 hours later the temp has tumbled at least 5 deg C AND it has started to rain (weather forecast warned of potential for sleet/snow). At least I only had cold gusting wind yesterday, and some Sun (not seen today).

I managed around 13 miles, and made it to Glasgow Green, but on the way managed to pick up some pics of daring flowers that had taken a chance. We don’t even have daffodils showing around my own area, despite their showing in many other places nearby.

First sighting was in Tollcross Park, with some areas carpeted like this, unfortunately not the most dazzling colour, but at least showing.

Tollcross Park Blooms

Tollcross Park Blooms

More colourful, but I don’t know their name, these little yellow flowers I almost mistook for dandelions before I looked closed, and spotted the stems – which are interesting compared the smooth stem of a dandelion.

A few groups were spotted on the River Clyde at Hutchesontown, just behind the fence on the riverbank.

River Clyde Behind Richmond Park Riverbank Blooms

River Clyde Behind Richmond Park Riverbank Blooms

I wonder if the betting shops take bets on Easter weather?

I can recall enjoying sunny days in local parks some years, to ending up being frozen through when I made the mistake of using the holiday to work outside on my car, to the time I left home in a near blizzard – on my way to Manchester for work.

30/03/2018 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Must… Not… Look…

Must… Not… Look… At… Hoomin!

They say you’ve never been ignored, until you’ve been ignored by a cat.

‘Ginger’ watched me slip out my camera – then turned to stare straight ahead and sat like a statue, refusing to turn my way.

Well, I suppose it’s better than catbutt, and that probably wasn’t practical on the window-ledge anyway.

Ginger Cat Ignores

Ginger Cat Ignores

30/03/2018 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Just a reminder about… lilies and cats!

Just a little emphasis.

Lilies Kill Cats

Lilies Kill Cats

30/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Nobel Race Park Mazda

It’s not often I come across a genuine surprise, but this was one.

I’ve followed the promise of the Nobel Race Park, or perhaps I should Nobel Raceway, since its early days, when the news promised much, with videos of the facility, and advance publicity appearing to show things well underway.

Sadly, much of this was just marketing hype, and the images weren’t of actual facilities, just plans.

There was a Twitter stream, and some YouTube content, but when they evaporated I gave up.

Some material remains, but is from 2016, and even earlier. Much has been deleted or taken down, and can only be found by digging into archives.

This again looked hopeful back in February 2016 Multi-million pound music and motorsport arena mooted for North Ayrshire coast

And this web site has been up for some time, lacks any dates, so you can’t tell how old and unchanged the content is Irvine Bay Events


Back to the ‘genuine’ surprise, and that was found while I was wandering down some back streets I don’t usually venture to, when I found this lying in the street.

There seems to be a bit of an oopsie with this car as well as the park, as I checked its background (after all, it might have been abandoned) – according to the records, this is a black car.

Nobel Race Park Mazda MX-5

Nobel Race Park Mazda MX-5

I’ve been back a few times, but didn’t catch it again, although there was a nice little blue TVR sitting on the same spot, but it didn’t have any race park stickers on it.

I’ve kept this set of pics for over a year, hoping something more positive might appear about the park in the media, but it looks as if this is just never going to gain any traction, and just be another shattered dream.

Unless you know better, and can add useful comments below.

30/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Just some Tennent’s murals

Another post inspired by the proposals to brighten the area up.

Adjacent to the Necropolis, it must surely fall within the area mentioned.

I tend not to follow the crowd, but realise that this is not always the best plan…

You have seen the “I’m a bomb disposal officer, if you see me running… FOLLOW ME!” t-shirt?

So, although I’ve passed Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery on Duke Street many times, I’ve never felt motivated to take any pics of the murals adorning the brewery wall.

But it seems to have become almost a ‘Rite of passage’ for anyone taking pics around Glasgow, so I think I should get with the program (before someone decides it’s time for them to be deleted).

I like this group because of the panicked glass making its escape from the shadowy hand.

Tennents Murals

Tennents Murals

I collected this one too.

Original Tennent's Boozers

Original Tennents Boozers


Not sure if our ‘umpteen’ beats the cat’s ‘elebenty’, or vice versa (but I think the cat just wins, just for being cuter).



29/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Smoke and Mirrors Day

29 March is Smoke and Mirrors Day.

Deceit, deception, illusion, even fraudulent cunning and those we’d better not mention, plus all other types of trickery are celebrated in the festival of Smoke And Mirrors Day.

The phrase “It’s all smoke and mirrors” refers to the way magicians use distraction to make sure their audience fails to see what’s really going on. The more complex the illusion, the more successfully the magician.

The technique played its part in World War II, with many examples, the simplest being inflatable vehicles. A Boeing aircraft factory in America was concealed beneath a decoy town laid over the top, the D-Day invasion was hidden behind false radio messages from a few trucks driving around (some in Scotland! to keep the enemy from discounting the west coast as an invasion departure point), the forces to be deployed were transported under cover so the build-up would not be observed, and in more technical efforts CDL (canal defence lights) were tanks fitted with strobe lights operating around 6 Hz which confused enemy observers. Famous magician Jasper Maskelyne tested a system of rotating mirrors and lights intended to be deployed to protect the Suez Canal, but it seems that only a prototype was ever completed, and it was not used. Most of these now have more detailed accounts given online.

But it’s not just magicians that have learned and perfected this art, as we see with ‘legalese’’ an incredibly convoluted language that lawyers use to make sure that no-one else understands what’s going on.

Some say… it’s even been rumoured that politicians do the same.

One of my favourite examples of Smoke and Mirrors can be seen in the vintage TV series – Mission: Impossible, which ran from 1966 to 1973.

Trying to pick just one? Nope.

This montage is a better reminder.

29/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, World War II | , | 4 Comments

Another Glasgow police headquarters building

Another post inspired by the proposals to brighten the area up.

A post I made about the police headquarters building in Calton reminded me I had grabbed another such building, in the city’s St Andrew’s Square (apparently still classed as Calton according to its address).

Dated to only 1 year earlier than the first, 1903, the St Andrew’s building is described as an irregular plan building containing offices, court hall, cells, recreation, and reception areas, all built around a courtyard and built to conform to an awkward site. There would have been stables too.

Back in 2004 it was noted to be home to a police museum, but this moved to an alternate location a few years later, leaving the building abandoned and derelict since.

It has been decaying since then, but was sold in 2016.

There don’t seem to be any immediate plans for the building or its site, but pre-application discussions have been reported between the new owner and architects.

Oddly, there doesn’t seem to be any (easily) found recent history online regarding its closure.

St Andrews Square Police Headquarters

St Andrews Square Police Headquarters

This isn’t a particularly recent pic, but there’s still a fair amount of vegetation showing. If it’s not cleared, the roots can do considerable damage if left unchecked.


Recently passed this building and noted the entrance was barred only by wrought-iron gates, meaning the courtyard was visible.

Generally occupied by rubbish, the courtyard was originally bordered by stables, latterly used as garages.

The wall above still has the barred windows of the cells in place.

St Andrews Police HQ Courtyard

St Andrews Police HQ Courtyard

28/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Black Forest Cake Day

28 March is Black Forest Cake Day.

Rich layers of chocolate sponge cake held together with a whipped cream filling and an assortment of cherries, then coated and topped with more of the same.

Thank goodness we can refer to it as Black Forest Cake (or gateaux) rather than its formal name of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte – people would probably die, or suffer terrible injuries, if we had to wrap our tongues around that before getting to our treat.

It seems a true Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is made using a rich liquor that comes from the region for which it’s named Schwarzwälder Kirsch(wasser). There a variety of tart cherries which gives the spirit its unique flavour is grown, and this, in turn, provides a notable and local flavour to the Black Forest Cherry-Torte.

This cake is said to have first appeared in Schwarzwälder (The Black Forest) in 1915 – at least according to Josef Keller, who told this until his death in 1981. Accurate or not, it seems the cake was linked with Berlin by 1931, from where it spread throughout the world to become the famous and recognizable treat known today.

There is also a simpler Swedish variation, consisting  of layers of rich chocolate and whipped cream. This Schwarzwaldtårta is completed by being decorated with rich slivers or plates of chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder to make another delicious treat.

It may not have any relation to the cherry-torte, but who cares?

Those recipes were made to be enjoyed, not argued about.

Black Forest Treat

Black Forest Treat

For what it’s worth, as far as I’m concerned this cake should be soft, sloppy, and messy, to be at its best.

I’ve had this presented as very expensive slices of gateaux in posh restaurants, where the sponge was like cardboard, the cream was like wax, and the fruit was really fresh – so fresh it would have been nice if they had left it to ripen for a few more weeks.

28/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

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