Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Trevor Baylis is gone

Trevor Baylis Pic Credit BBC

Trevor Baylis Pic Credit BBC

Sad to read that Trevor Baylis had suffered a period of illness before he died.

The inventor of the wind-up radio, Trevor Baylis, has died aged 80, the manager of his company has confirmed.

David Bunting said Mr Baylis from Twickenham, south-west London, died on Monday of natural causes after a long illness.

Mr Baylis invented the Baygen clockwork radio in 1991.

He was appointed CBE in 2015 after campaigning to make theft of intellectual property a white-collar crime.

He said chatting with the Queen at the ceremony was “like catching up with an old mate”.

Mr Baylis had also worked as a film and TV stuntman and an aquatic showman.

He had been seriously debilitated, having suffered from Crohn’s disease, Mr Bunting said.

Via Trevor Baylis: Wind-up radio inventor dies aged 80

I always found his success in promoting his wind-up radio intriguing, and wondered if it was an example of not ‘what’ you know, so much as ‘who’ you know.

Back at the time of its promotion, and the campaigns raised regarding its use in Africa, I struggled to find an overwhelming advantage of his design versus similar wind-up devices which were around at the time. None really seemed to run for that long from a single wind, and although I never did the sums, I always wondered if they could have been bettered, by using circuits that consumed less power. Today, it seems they are a thing of the past already, with the mechanical clockwork/spring replaced by newer rechargeable cells, and hand-cranked generators. Then there’s steadily improving solar, small wind generators, and even thermal.

I’m NOT knocking his radio, rather I’m still thinking the same today, where we have BEVs (battery electric vehicles) that are as heavy and bulky as conventional fossil-fuelled vehicles, and seem to have made little or no concession to lightweight designs and size reduction to increase range for a given battery capacity. While there have been a few designs that DO maximise weight reduction, and were also smaller, they were also very odd vehicles, which the general public disliked and would not buy.

I wonder how he’d get on today, as digital radio packed with yet more power-hungry processing apparently eat even high-capacity batteries.

Anyway, he did seem to know a lot of ‘names’, and had contacts, all important in getting inventions accepted.

Missed seeing him pop-up occasionally, and it was a shame illness got him.


11/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , , , , | Leave a comment

Red squirrels get assist from pine martens

As someone who only gets to see grey squirrel vermin swarming around the trees and bushes in the east end of Glasgow, it’s always nice to see stories that report successes in the re-establishment of our native red squirrel in the face of the pox-ridden invader.

It doesn’t seem to be all that long ago when I made a few notes regarding the return of the pine marten, and increased numbers of sightings in the wild.

Now, it seems the pine marten is helping the red too.

The pine marten has emerged as an unlikely ally for the beleaguered native red squirrel in its battle with the grey squirrel.

This is according to scientists at the University of Aberdeen, who carried out an in-depth forensic study of the relationship between the three species.

The pine marten is a predator of the reds, but in areas where it thrives, the number of grey squirrels reduces.

The findings are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The journal study suggests that the pine martens reverse the “typical relationship” between red and grey squirrels, where the red always loses out, according to lead researcher Dr Emma Sheehy.

“Where pine marten activity is high, grey squirrel populations are actually heavily suppressed. And that gives the competitive advantage to red squirrels,” she said.

“So you see lots of red squirrels and you see them coming back into areas where they hadn’t been for quite some time.”

Via Red squirrel numbers boosted by predator

The story is also a pretty good warning to be wary of ‘Armchair Experts’ who spout their (usually) misguided wisdom and (often) seriously flawed logic in many comments sections offered after media stories.

I can imagine the replies that would follow this story if it was open for comments, after the statement that pine martens are red squirrel predators.

Once a place to find reasonable discussion, comment areas today seem to be populated by morons, cretins, activists, lobbyists, and every frustrated political wannabe driven from other places, and who turns almost every comment area from its actual subject into a soap box for their demented campaigning.

Red Squirrel And Pine Marten

Red Squirrel And Pine Marten

11/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | 2 Comments

I think I need a bigger mousetrap

Things have been quiet over the cold weather, and while there was one mouse caught on its way indoors  during the winter, once the weather combined cold, wet, windy, frosty, and snowy together… the arrivals stopped.

While the system (of trapping just outside the door) seems to be completely effective, and it seems I can at last leave my back door open once again, I did have a quick look online for any new developments.

I think I’ll have to think about building something bigger, just to be sure.

They’re evolving!

I might keep this one 🙂



Russian genetic engineering?



No comment (but I will be getting a ‘humane’ trap).



11/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Riverside Museum gains Tesla Model S

I was going to start by noting that I wished I could afford to give away my old cars to a museum such as Riverside – then I realised I could (or should).

I’m not going into details, but since I was priced off the road a few years ago (there were other reasons too), I just ‘collected’ my cars and stored two of the three that could go into a museum, but my thoughts were that I’d use at least, instead of a fourth cheap runabout I was using. But, such is the bill for just keeping a car legally on the road, I ended up storing that one too, and none of them can be used.

There’s an intriguing aside to this. I don’t know what recent car paint is made of, but the one that had to live outside, uncovered, while I was elsewhere, was found to get dirty in the rain, but when inspected was found to have moss in the dirt. However, after this was cleaned off a couple of times there was an unwanted surprise – the moss had eaten into the paint, and when it was removed, a layer of paint came with it.

I’m not sure, I haven’t researched this, but wonder if it’s a consequence of the dropping of the old traditional cellulose based paints, and the switch to ‘green’ or water-based products.

Back to the Tesla:

Glasgow’s Riverside Museum has been gifted a Tesla to showcase alongside its alternative fuel vehicles.

The Model S P85+ electric car was gifted to the popular visitor attraction by Chris Clarkson.

It will form part of a display which reflects advances in technology and explore the development of more environmentally friendly vehicles.

The car will be prepared for storage, before it goes on display at Riverside Museum in 2019.

Glasgow Museums confirmed it will form part of the city’s James Watt Bicentennial celebrations.

Via Businessman gifts Tesla electric car to Riverside Museum

I’ve only spotted one Tesla on the roads around Glasgow while wandering the streets, and that went flying past while I was standing near a junction – just my luck the lights were green, so no time even to reach for a camera, or even read the badges… it was gone almost as soon as I recognised the shape. The UK wallows embarrassingly around 5 years or so behind the US on EV (electric vehicle) acceptance, where I follow their progress in detail, so, even though we don’t have many, I can recognise one easily.

As someone who could cover around 300 miles a day while at work (that’s just one trip to Aberdeen), with its range, I always lusted after a Model S, since it would have eaten my more normal commutes and only needed charging once or twice a week (but would have been topped up most nights, so not an issue), and would have dealt with my longer trips too.

Be nice to see one in Riverside – cars have changed radically since the days of true ‘Classics’, and that when things get risky, as people forget to preserve current examples.

And I don’t just mean cars. I suspect there may be a number of articles from recent years which it would now be hard to find examples of.

Unlike my stock Model S image below (which I had to ‘convert’), I see the example to be donated is already right-hand drive.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

11/03/2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Stone faces in Baillieston Road

Don’t really know why I’ve never pointed a camera at these three characters before, I’ve both seen and passed them often enough.

Collecting something else, I decided today was their day, and grabbed a couple of shots as I walked past.



I’d never even really looked at them, but they obviously all of different faces, each quite different, and if modelled on actual faces, probably would also be recognisable.

There’s no lettering, and I’m guessing there’s a fourth face hidden away on the side that can’t be seen.

That ‘flaw’ alone is enough to make it clear the carving is not an original part of the house where it lies now.

I wonder what its story is, and where was originally located?

11/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment


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