Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Weekly round-up: 17 June 2018

Bad start to the week, combining two of my sad observations – that you never know what sort of loony you might be next to in the street, and how smackheads will happily cause thousands in damage just to get something they can sell for a fiver.

Followed this case since it first appeared, these details make grim reading Man accused of cutting off disabled woman’s hand

A man has appeared in court accused of cutting off the hand of a woman in a wheelchair to steal her ring.

Prosecutors allege Stephen Brisbane, 33, severed Sandra McGowan’s right hand with a knife at her home in Dundee in February.

Mr Brisbane is accused of taking away the 62-year-old’s hand in order to steal her ring after entering her home uninvited.

At least detail in this ‘odd’ report render it understandable Man avoids jail after leaving dead aunt in bed for months

On a lighter note – Pity WordPress doesn’t show Twitter embeds – the canal mentioned is the Forth & Clyde…

Two drunk men sailing up the canal in a paddling pool. Beer in hand shouting abandon ship!

Depressing, I used to wander through this often Man’s body found in Glasgow park

Better start saving for a new car if you want to actually DRIVE into Glasgow city centre in the near future Older cars face Glasgow city centre ban

The sad thing about this story has to be the sanctimonious whining from Friends of the Earth Scotland (and Glasgow Labour as it attempts to score Political points and rubbish the incumbent SNP in that article), complaining about the level of pollution in Glasgow and lack of ambition in this plan. Where were all these concerned people a few decades ago when the streets of Glasgow were packed nose-to-tail with vehicles carrying little or no emission control measures? Compared to those days, the city is deserted most of the time (I know, I go there).

Sure, there can be busy spells, but they’re quite different from those days gone by. Today. When light go from red to green, the traffic clears between changes. Back then, traffic was so dense junctions seldom cleared.

I’m sorry, but for me, ALL the environmental groups have lost credibility through their alarmist claims. They really need to wind back and stop this, but I’m sure they never will. Like all lobbyists, they have to get noticed, and not being alarmist means not getting noticed by the media.

Interesting Glasgow urged to focus on pedestrians and public transport

Since I’m (apparently) not psychic, I didn’t know this ‘Connectivity Commission’ was appear the following day.

I’m intrigued by the comments about Glasgow’s ‘street grid’ and suggestions for ‘The expansion of walking and cycling areas’ – especially the claim that “the city’s grid system means there is far less space for pedestrians with 25% of land in the city centre taken up by roads, more than double the percentage in Edinburgh“.

I’m not suggesting it’s wrong, rather that I’d like to know what area was attributed to pedestrian space, and what was taken to be road. There are many lanes in that grid which are really only used for vehicle access, and I seldom see anyone (other than me) dare walk along them, although they are almost always deserted. Are these lanes counted as ‘road’, which means they are not counted as ‘pedestrian’.

The grid system APPEARS haphazard and poorly used or designed (as a one-way system) and I have often found myself cursing it when obliged to follow the rules of the road, feeling as if I am being sent on a ‘grand mystery tour’ just to get around a corner barred by a No Entry sign. They might as well close a number of those streets and hand them over to pedestrians, for all the difference it would make.


17/06/2018 Posted by | Weekly round-up | | Leave a comment

Glasgow Green’s Penny Farthing Bike Rack (mystery?)

A while ago, I got one of those anonymous ‘hints’ (aka an email with no details) telling of a ‘Penny Farthing themed bike rack’ somewhere on Glasgow Green. I’m not sure if this was offered in light of my interest in Glasgow, or in things related to The Prisoner.

Over the years I’ve probably crawled over most of the Green, yet this came as a complete surprise – so I had to investigate.

After going online, I eventually came up with the following photographic confirmation, captured by the very helpful Thomas Nugent back in 2008 – all of 10 years ago!

Cycle racks in Glasgow Green

Cycle racks in Glasgow Green
Penny farthing shaped racks in Glasgow Green, near the adventure playground.

This at least explained why I hadn’t this rack over the years – I’m a little past the ‘adventure playground’ stage.

But I do know the place, so off I went for a look, TWO looks in fact – BOTH failed, although they were both late evening detours (kind of dark), and covered all the area around the playground.

What’s not clear from the above is that the playground lies adjacent to a Cycle Training Centre

I’d taken a few pics back in 2017, and when I examined them I got a surprise – I already had a pic of the penny farthing rack!

Penny Farthing Bike Racks

Penny Farthing Bike Racks 2017

So, they were still there, but I still couldn’t explain why I hadn’t seen them a few day earlier, hence the hint of (mystery?) in the title – I really did look at the cycle training area, this being the obvious place to look. Maybe it was just too dark, and they couldn’t be seen from the perimeter fence (the place was locked by the time I got there).

I checked the centre’s own pics, and found this view, bear in mind their pics are probably ‘old’ as it opened in 2011.

Detail From Free Wheel North Pic

Detail From Free Wheel North Pic

Note that the two ‘old’ 2010/2011 pics show the racks sunk into the block paving.

Fast forward to 2018, and my third visit – this time directly to the area in front of the Portakabins in the cycle training area.

There was no problem finding the racks this time (or even seeing them from the perimeter fence, which I checked before heading for them).

If not immediately obvious, it’s worth noting that the racks no longer lie in their original location – sunk into an area of block paving.

They’ve been lifted so their base is no longer buried, and now just lie freely on the ground.

That could mean they’re fair game for scum metal thieves.

It also means they may not have actually have been out on show when I was there earlier, and had been stowed in the training area’s containers for safety during the dark evenings.

Let the pics begin…

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Zoom

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Zoom

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 2

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 2

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 3

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 3

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 4

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 4

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 5

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 5

17/06/2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow School of Art – names to remember, and The Art Lover’s Eye

It’s sad to see the appearance of political opportunism surface so quickly after the devastating fire suffered by the Mackintosh Building of the Glasgow School of Art.

With NO investigation, report, or survey even started, let alone completed, a damned politician is ALREADY trying to make personal capital from the event, and is already pointing the finger of blame:

Labour MP Paul Sweeney raised concerns about the role of the contractor, Kier Construction.

“I have to say it’s extremely worrying that within the space of four years, this could happen again,” he said.

“Questions have to raised about the contractor and how the contractor who had responsibility for the site has managed that site if the security had been sufficient, and so on.”

I can just picture this guy running around his village in the Middle Ages, or up to the worst period for witchcraft trials in the 17th century, pointing at people and shouting “WITCH! WITCH! WITCH!” every time he suffered some mishap.

The correct response, not what this example of ‘pond life’ is suggesting, and is more like someone forming a lynch mob than showing any concern for events, is provided by those who have a closer grasp of reality, and are not seeking some form of personal gain:

Meanwhile, Scottish Secretary David Mundell ruled out a public inquiry into the blaze “unless someone can bring forward some exceptional reason”.

He said various investigations would be held into the cause of the fire – as with any other similar incident.

Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop was also asked about the possibility of a public inquiry on BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland.

She said: “I understand people want a lot of questions answered but clearly we have to have the fire investigation first, and we have to give them the time to carry out this very responsible duties to best effect.”

Reality versus Hope

There also a worrying example of reality versus hope in the same article.

A construction expert sees much the same as I’m worried I see in the aerial views:

Billy Hare, a professor of construction management, said there was a “growing consensus” the globally-significant building may have to be pulled down.

It came as fire crews spent a second day working to extinguish the blaze, which also damaged the 02 ABC venue.

Fire chiefs said the fire had largely been contained.

Thermal imaging cameras are being used to identify any remaining hotspots.

Prof Hare, deputy director of The Beam Research Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University, warned that the building could be structurally unsound.

Understandably, this view is not shared by a conservator:

Miles Glendinning, a professor of architectural conservation, told BBC Radio Scotland that “remarkable” record-keeping during the restoration process following the 2014 fire meant the art school still exists in digital form.

Speaking to Good Morning Scotland, he said: “I think it should be restored and it will be restored.”

“A Glasgow School of Art project team [made] a digital recording reconstruction of the whole building, not just the bit that was affected before, down to the nearest millimetre, outside and in, using photos and measured drawings.

“So the building still exists digitally even if the inside is for the moment physically absent.”

He said he would be “very surprised” if the building had to be knocked down and rebuilt, saying the walls could instead be reinforced.

All quotes from Glasgow art school blaze: Expert warns it may have to be demolished

The Art Lover’s Eye

I found this charcoal drawing by Fiona Wilson, an artist who studied at the Glasgow School of Art.

The rose in the eye echoes the work of Mackintosh’s wife, Margaret Macdonald, seen in a number of pieces she produced, and used by Mackintosh.

I have to confess that it’s times like this I sometimes wish I had perhaps followed an art-related career, and not been lured away by the technical/engineering/science options. I might even have ended up at the Glasgow School of Art, rather than one of the nearby halls of learning in Glasgow.
While I have no problem in recognising artistic features and keys such as the one ‘Eye’, I feel I can’t imagine or create such things on a blank sheet of paper, and that always seem to trigger feelings of regret.

17/06/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

View from Rottenrow

Something nice for those suffering from the bad news about the Glasgow School of Art.

I’m guessing I’m not the only local wondering just who the Mackintosh Building offended.

Anyway, This is just a nice view taken one evening, looking from Rottenrow over Rottenrow Gardens, built on the site of Glasgow’s former maternity hospital, and quite unintentionally ending up with ‘The Big Safety’ planted dead centre of the image.

For those not familiar, I should probably add that this is a sculpture in memory of that hospital, and remembers all the nappies than must have been used there over the years.

The Royal College (now the University of Strathclyde of course) lies to the right, while the building behind the big pin is the McCance Building, the library in ‘my’ day (this has been resited in a new, purpose-built building nearby), it now seems to be a massive Admin Centre for the university.

Rottenrow Evening View

Rottenrow Evening View

17/06/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The illegals – R10 XYL

I’ve spotted this one only rarely (despite it ‘living’ not that far away) and missed catching a pic for ages, so finally made the effort to go catch it.

With naughty spacing in BOTH the numbers and the letters, ‘R10XY L’ seems to be immune to attention or the potential £1,000 fine it could attract.

I’m not sure, but I think this Mercedes C180 just might have been ordered with the ‘Badge Delete’ option ticked.

2003 Mercedes C180 Komp Classic SE [R10 XYL]

2003 Mercedes C180 Komp Classic SE [R10 XYL]

Funny thing about this one is that every time I see it I think of it as a BMW first!

It’s not that I mistake the shape (although the de-badged rear could be mistaken with a quick glance), but I think is down to spending some years inside a BMW that had a dealer badge stuck on the inside of one of the windows, and that dealer’s name was… ROXY (I think they disappeared years and years ago, but I still have that badge).

Same at the front – that grille looks REALLY small.

2003 Mercedes C180 [R10 XYL]

2003 Mercedes C180 [R10 XYL]

17/06/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Today is Eat Your Vegetables Day

17 June is Eat Your Vegetables Day.

This one’s pretty obvious, so no explanation, other than to remind everyone that they’re the healthy option, and that there’s no need to make a fuss over them, or have them to the exclusion of all else.

I’ve never really understood the aversion to vegetables, even by children, and suspect much of this is down to portrayal in comics, and a means of defying the grown-ups, since turning down the veggies and refusing to eat them (as per the comic typecasting) seems to be an easy way to wind them up.

Since I never had this sort of nonsense take place in my life, I can say that a plate of assorted veggies is fine by me, with my only demand being that they are properly prepared, which for me means being cooked until they are soft and edible, NOT threatened with some hot water for a few seconds, given some fancy name, and served up raw and hard as bricks.

If that’s how they’re presented to kids, I don’t blame them for just saying ‘NO!’

Seriously, I’ve been served the assortment shown below, supposedly cooked, yet more like a plate of wood and bricks.

FORGET the nonsense about cooked vs raw veg, just prep it to be edible, and the arguments and complaints disappear.

Mixed Veg Meal

Mixed Veg Meal

17/06/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Tessellation Day

17 June is Tessellation Day.

Not just because I had to lots of maths, I just like tessellation – the effect encountered when the similar shapes can be repeated again and again to fit perfectly against themselves. A tiled kitchen floor is a tessellation, but the patterns that can be fitted together can get much more complicated than that. Their beauty comes from their precision, and the fact that there is no space between the interlocking patterns.

Tessellations have been celebrated for a long time, a very long time, and tessellating patterns can be found in many ancient art and interior designs. The earliest known example of tessellating patterns is from the Sumerians in about 4000 BC. Tessellating patterns can also be seen in mosaic form in ancient eras, usually used in borders of friezes and around the floors of temples.

They became a part of mathematical study around 1891 when crystallographer Yevgraf Fyodorov proved that there are only 17 possible wallpaper groups which can tile a Euclidean plane (in simpler terms,  every possible tiling of a flat surface will feature at least one of 17 possible groups of isometries. (Oh, an isometry (or congruence, or congruent transformation) is a distance-preserving transformation.)

I could have gone with nice, simple, kitchen floor example, but I really have to go with something clever, from the clever Mr Escher.

Escher Tessallation

Escher Tessallation


17/06/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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