Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Billy Connolly Wire Mural – and follow-up to his 75th birthday murals

When (Sir) Billy Connolly was given a series of three giant murals spread around Glasgow city centre, I was (for once) quick of the mark and went off to collect a set of pics for myself.

More on that later – this post is really about another ‘mural’ I discovered while tracking down the three new works.

While I might describe this installation more as a sculpture than a mural, I have to yield to the description to be seen on the plaque that accompanies it, and shows I missed this 2011 event.

Billy Connolly Wire Mural Plaque

Billy Connolly Wire Mural Plaque

I’m not sure if I knew about it at the time, back then my chances of getting there for a look probably ranked in the region of ‘slim to nil’, so while I might have seen it announced in the news at the time, chances are it would have ‘Gone in one ear, and out the other’.

But, I did find out about it, and exactly where to find it, and even managed to get there and grab a pic.

My collection is compete!

Billy Connolly Wire Mural

Billy Connolly Wire Mural

Although the plaque seems to fail to mention it, one of the reasons this installation was placed here is because Billy Connolly was born in Dover Street, Anderston – but that was demolished in the 1970s, so they couldn’t really put it there.

75th Birthday mural updates

While the birthday murals created in 2017 remain unchanged, I noticed that they had received small descriptive plaques.

Well, to be accurate the Gallowgate and Old Wynd murals have plaques, but I couldn’t find one for the Vettriano creation in Dixon Street.

See the pics here: (Sir) Billy Connolly’s 75th birthday murals got some plaques



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

Today is Running Day

06 June is Running Day, actually seems to be Global Running Day, just to make it a bit bigger.

Apparently there is a ‘Running Month’ as well (seems to have been May, so probably too late to start now).

But the month is probably a good idea, since just running for ONE day isn’t likely to do anyone any good.

Jogging and sprinting are both considered forms of running, but are distinctly different from a standard ‘run’.

(Good luck finding a workable, agreed, distinction between them though).

Seems humans couldn’t always run. Along long time ago, when Australopithecus (our first upright ancestor) was evolving, we gained the ability to have a long striding run. That was around 4.5 million years ago. It was vital to our existence as a species as we had to engage in what is known as ‘persistence hunting’, where catching our prey often involved days of hunting to track and wear it down to the point where it could no longer flee, and collapsed from pure exhaustion.

I gave up running years ago – we took on new premises for our work, vastly larger than we needed, and mostly empty, so (for some inexplicable reason) I decided to have a go running around it one evening.

Supposedly ‘young, fit, healthy’ me was just about crippled for most of the following week! I could barely walk the next day.

Seriously, how far (and how fast for that matter) can you run round a factory unit – that really put me off the idea.

I walk (a lot) now (I don’t notice 15-20 miles in a day), but decided this was too relaxed, and decided to start running  couple of years ago.

Supposedly ‘old, decrepit, sedentary’ me started small, but found that running (it must be running since I pace at 6 mph and I spotted a note about 6 kph or less being jogging) 3 miles or about 5 km isn’t even noticeable, or even hurt the first time I went out and tried it. I could go further, but by then, always get bored – my local streets are kind of… uninteresting. And my local parks too small – running round them is only 800 m or so.

Weird, after that first indoor stint almost had me take the day of work thanks to the after effects.

There can be only ONE image to use on this day.

Running Sonic

Running Sonic

06/06/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Yo-Yo Day

06 June is Yo-Yo Day.

This one makes me kind of sad.

While I found the ‘secret’ of building up a small collection of ‘Pro’ yo-yos, and even mastered (sort of) some of the basic moves, I could never move past these into the more complex combinations.

Historically, it seems that the yo-yo has been around for some 2,000 years when they were known as quizzes, or bandalores, or maybe other names. Their origin seems to lie in the Philippines, and the earliest entry of the word appears in a Filipino dictionary from the early 1860s.

I try to practice to improve my skills, but generally lose out in the battle between pain threshold and the area of my finger where the loop lives. I don’t seem to be able to avoid injury if I practice long and hard, and the exercise become futile as the pain breaks any possible concentration, and I have to give up.

Various tricks and aids are supposed to help with this, but none seem to work for me, so I just have to limit time spent yo-yoing.

Still, I did at least learn that toy yo-yos aren’t much good (unless you are very good with yo-yos) and without throwing silly money at over-priced nonsense, it pays to buy a good yo-yo from a specialist.

I also found that while some come with fancy mechanisms to allow them to ‘sleep’, it better to think of them as gadgets, and look for good balance and proper bearings to cut down friction, so they’ll tend to spin for longer.

This helped me no end, as I seem unable to generate the initial high energy spin/flick that the best yo-yo users can make, and have their yo-yo spinning at speed from the start. With decent bearings, I at least got enough ‘spin time’ to play some tricks.

My favourite was (is?) still Henry’s Viper, probably because I’m an engineer and this one really did stand out from the mere ‘toy’ types. Still around today, and seemingly with even more variations and tuning accessories. Expensive? Yes. But not in the ‘silly money’ class.

It has an anodized aluminium hub with large, removable rubber shells which give it its characteristic butterfly-shaped body profile. If you are familiar with the diabolo, it’s like a little on. 65mm in diameter, it was one of the largest yo-yos of its time when it was introduced

Its axle features a ball bearing for long spin times, and O-rings that form the “Quicktrick” gap adjustment mechanism. This allows the user to widen or narrow the string gap by simply twisting the body halves inward or out.

Those rubber shells also had another advantage – no pain when a high-speed spinning yo-yo crashed back into your hand when your timing was out!

Henrys Viper

Henrys Viper

Back in the day, I found a little shop near the Grassmarket in Edinburgh that specialised in circus goodies, diabolos, and of course yo-yos, and was good for parts.

I haven’t been there for years, and a look on StreetView seems to show it is long gone.

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


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