Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Remember I always say you can NEVER satisfy ferry users

Ever since I started watching the whining CalMac haters take to the web to play their game of complaining about ANYTHING in order to put down the ferry operator, I’ve thought that no matter what is done, such people will never be satisfied.

Since I’ve had to give up travel, and don’t have the opportunity to enjoy a ferry trip any more, I’ve stopped watching so closely. From memory, I think the last ‘Silly Story’ I saw that lot try to promote was a complaint about the “Wrong kind of tea” being served in the onboard cafe on the ferry I used to use. But that was typical, with another on the same route being whining about the last ferry not being late enough for their friends, so they wanted extras, later sailings. But always neglected to mention this would probably only have seen a handful of travellers, IF they used it.

(Incidentally, the particularly nasty little bunch I have in mind once formed a ‘User Group’ to coordinate their mostly moronic complaints – which I’m pleased to say was only able to hold itself together for a year or two, then evaporated. It was a joy to go looking for their web site one day, and find a 404 instead.)

A few years ago, they also got together and argued for RET or Road Equivalent Tariff, a mechanism for reducing ferry fares based on the cost of making the same trip by road.

And enough people got behind this to eventually get it forced on the operator, and fares came down.

(Now cue the people who love to complain about the level of subsidy the ferry operator is awarded every year, and want the directors to have their pay cut as they consider these company execs to be raking it into their bank accounts.)

Now that RET is almost in place across all the ferry routes – guess what?


Now, the problem is that reduced fares are attracting so many people onto ferry routes that there aren’t enough spaces for them.

On some routes, the only way to get a space is to book well in advance.

So, now, the Itty Bitty Ferry Complaints Committee is demanding more ferries!


I told you that no matter what they get, they will ALWAYS find something to complain about.

Tourists forced to cancel Hebrides holidays as ferries prove too popular

Call for more capacity on Western Isles ferry routes

A Ferry Somewhere

A Ferry Somewhere

You’re absolutely right, that’s NOT a CalMac or Scottish ferry, just a library pic.

I daren’t use any of my pics of such craft lest a humourless, professional ferry complainer should recognise it, and think I am picking on them, rather than indulging in a bit of light-hearted and general comment.


31/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | | Leave a comment

New Police Scotland building in Dalmarnock

While it may seem that I favour only old building as I collect the odd image or two around Glasgow, this is not actually true.

What is true is that I actively seek anything that has managed to survive, and record it before it disappears for whatever reason.

What is also true is that there are few modern buildings worth effort of ‘collecting’ in the east end of Glasgow. Most offerings are just mass-produced flats or housing, generally following the pattern of previous years, and perhaps only differing in the material and methods used. I just don’t get to the areas where the new building are going up around Glasgow, and the city centre. On the few occasions I’ve seen the city centre riverside area, I barely recognise it – I wouldn’t know what to treat as ‘new’.

I will grant exemption to that generalisation to the buildings constructed for the ‘Athletes Village’ for the silly Commonwealth Games of 2104. Although I did collect pics of a number of those new building once the security cordon was raised and the people of Glasgow were allowed back onto their own land, I never got around to pulling the collection together and using the pics.

I was probably still suffering the effect of having to keep walking past the disgusting ‘Red Shed’ aka Emirates Arena dumped on Parkhead. Still looks like a ghost town down there, with vast, empty car parks – and the only possible benefit being a health centre stuck on the back, part of the deal for building the shed, and razing the existing community facilities to make space.

Moving past that, there is something a little nicer, and probably more useful – a new (or not so new now) Police Headquarters building, delivered to replace the Pitt Street premises that were in the city centre, which was probably not ideal.

Apparently I should be referring to this as ‘Riverside East’ (is that ‘Sales & Marketing DepartmentSpeak for Dalmarnock?), perhaps trying to connect the lowly east end with Riverside in the west end, where Riverside Transport Museum lives.

Planned while the Scottish police were still Strathclyde Police and before Police Scotland arrived, the building is home for around 1,100 (police officers and civilian staff), and cost around £24 million.

Police Scotland Clyde Gateway Building

Police Scotland Clyde Gateway Building

Despite the appearance of four ‘layers to this structure, it actually has five floors within.

I’m sure this building will not be to everyone’s taste, but I like its simplicity, and easy appearance to the eye.

I don’t know any structural or operating details of the building, but assuming the environmental aspects have been adequately addressed, with all that open glazing, it must be nice to work in, and have a view.

In my time, I’ve been landed with too many laboratory and controlled environments, buried deep inside buildings, with absolutely NO connection to the outside world, let alone a window!

Police Scotland Clyde Gateway

Police Scotland Clyde Gateway

31/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Polmadie Footbridge Update 7

Unplanned, but a trip to Rutherglen meant passing the south end of the bridge, so a quick diversion was unavoidable.

It’s all quite different from the last time I saw this, and the approach is virtually complete.

Polmadie Footbridge South Approach

Polmadie Footbridge South Approach

Down by the river, it’s all much improved there as well.

Last time, it was little more than ploughed up grass and earthworks.

Now, it’s been landscaped, some stone wall added, and tarmac paths laid, giving access to the path along the river (below the bridge), and another path leading up to the bridge above.

Polmadie Footbridge South Bank Access

Polmadie Footbridge South Bank Access

Poking around for information on this new bridge eventually explained the triangulated sections I referred to earlier, which were not actually part of the bridge, and disappeared while I was not able to wander along for a look at progress there.

In fact, these were sections of a giant crane (130 m) brought to the site, and used to lift the five 25 tonne deck sections into place.

I found this pic of the old bridge, demolished in 2015 after becoming unsafe, now replaced by the new crossing which cost £1.8 million, after an additional £500 k was granted by SUSTRANS (on top of the original £.3 million from Glasgow City Council) earlier this year, to improve disabled access and encourage walking and cycling.

Former Polmadie Footbridge 2005

Former Polmadie Footbridge 2005

I never saw this. First time I arrived here, all that remained were the piers.

31/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

Oscar is missing in Oatlands

Another of the ‘professional’ quality missing cat posters was seen on my wanderings yesterday, this time in part of Richmond Park being redeveloped in the midst of new build houses in Oatlands.

I always plead for people to include dates on these, so we know if we are looking at a recent poster, or one that has been left up for ages.

See also Oscar is Missing

He’s 3 years old, and while he has a chip, it seems he doesn’t have his tail!

Oscar Missing Cat

Oscar Missing Cat

31/07/2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Lost | , | Leave a comment

Today is Raspberry Cake Day

31 July is Raspberry Cake Day.

This was a bit of a surprise, since raspberry cake seems to be pretty common and ordinary, it hardly seems to merit a ‘day’.

On the other hand, it could be argued that that’s a perfectly good reason for this cake to have its day.

So, just enjoy it.

I like mine plain, just a sponge sliced, and filled with cream and some sort of raspberry filling.

With tea.

Raspberry Cake

Raspberry Cake

31/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Let the Scottish spaceport fantasies begin!

It’s been interesting, and even intriguing, to read some of the thoughts which have popped into people’s minds following the announcement of a Scottish spaceport.

UK Space Agency Spaceport

UK Space Agency Spaceport

There was even a story about an alternative plan being underway.

But I wonder how many have actually READ about what is being projected, and just how small things like Cubesats, and microsatellites are?

We already have suggestions which imply the spaceport is set to become a hub for space tourism, which would be interesting, considering the size of just one human body (without even a space suit or life support) compared to a few Cubesats. The contract the space tourist might be required to sign, mitigating any liability the carried might have for their continuing life, would make interesting reading.

There’s now a suggestion that this opens the door so that:

Scots can take one giant leap into the new space age with asteroid mining

This article ends with:  “Andy Campbell is a manager at Elevator, which works across Scotland to help new and existing businesses by providing expert business advice.”

I’d get my business advice elsewhere, where there’s no evidence of magic mushrooms, sniffing noises, or smoke with an odd odour floating around.

Asteroid mining is a long long long long (add as many ‘longs’ as you like here) way off in the future.

It still costs a fortune to put anything into space if it is more than a few kilos.

Mining suggests workers (plural) accompanied by suitable tools and machinery to extract ores or similar.

And no suggestion they just take a pick and shovel. They need to carry all their air and food, so not only have to survive a two-way trip, but be quick once they arrive, as they can’t stay long.

Automation might help, but let’s just stop for a moment and consider what happens when we sent a robot probe to collect samples in space.

I’m actually sorry to see apparently sensible people and financial advisors apparently offering serious advice on this today.

Maybe in the future – but only if the costs fell (a lot) and didn’t make the material unaffordable.

If you want to be serious about this…

Ask why nobody has yet developed systems, or is operating a significant company, that can extract and sell all the mineral and elements contained in seawater.

And you can get that without launching rocket to collect a few very expensive kilos at a time.

We have to be wary of viewing science fiction as a prediction of the future.

For example, some people actually make serious proposals that ‘Space Prison’ be set up, to get rid of dangerous criminals and dump them on moons.


We can barely keep things such as the International Space Station running, with a handful of people.

Imagine supporting a community of thousands, or hundreds in space jail. Where does the money come from?

Rockets to transport the inmates.

Then feed them, provide them with food and water, and air!

And then think of settling the families claims when you let any of them die – just think of what happens when ONE person dies in prison today.

Articles such as the one mentioned above run the risk of making Scots look like fools, rather than imaginative.

This is reality: Asteroid Mining Sounds Hard, Right? You Don’t Know the Half of It


Now I know WHY this story ran.

They’ve already parted a fool from their money with promises they’ll never deliver.

Scots aerospace firm to launch asteroid mining mission

I’m not going to ‘Talk up’ something that is (currently) foolish just because Scots are involved.

Nor do I wish to be misrepresented.

This may pay off in the future, the distant future.

By which I suspect anyone reading this today will be dead and buried by the time it becomes viable.

But I suspect a few people will get rich from this ‘mining’ long before then.

30/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

The illegals – J100 OOB

This one’s quite an eye-catching novelty, even if it is illegal, it could almost be worth running the risk of that potential £1,000 for having the characters illegally spaced.

I had to look twice (or at least pause for a moment and think) to work out the actual registration number on this 2003 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior.

2003 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior [L100 OOB]

2003 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior [J100 OOB]

30/07/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Today is Cheesecake Day

30 July is Cheesecake Day.

I have to confess that cheesecake is another of those gems I was late to discover.

Like some other I have mentioned, I found the thought of combining cheese with various cakes and fruit… disgusting.

But, I’m happy to admit that pre-judgement, and lack of giving the thing a fair tasting, was just plain wrong, and that cheesecake can be one of the best treats around.

In fact, I’ve tended to try just about all the flavours found on the shelf, and been surprised at just how many of them are not just delicious, but how some them are amongst the most delicious combinations of flavours I’ve ever come across.

I’ll enjoy anything from the simplest plain vanilla creation, to horrendously expensive items featuring Belgian chocolate.

Nor am I fussy, as a cheesecake that looks like a mess is probably going to be nicer than one that is rigid and formally laid out.




30/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Weekly round-up: 29 July 2018

Disturbing run-on story from one that was noted last week.

Graham Ogilvy: Brutal attack on much-respected lawyer may be tip of iceberg

More joy as we get to see the anti-wind power morons and trolls try to sound sensible in the moron comment area after this article.

UK’s offshore wind output to double as Government backs industry

Not sure why this advice is aimed specifically at Dumfries; patients, and denied to Glaswegians (and others) but having just ‘enjoyed’ a period of (weeks of) enforced immobility, I can only say the sooner you get moving the better, and it’s a PIG to recover lost strength.

‘Get moving’ message for Dumfries hospital patients

More moronic responses, after a ‘driverless’ bus article that does not even suggest the buses will be on the public road, yet at least one moron revels in “I mean it’s not like a bus could hurt anyone.” Can you imagine trying to have a (meaningful) conversation with such cretins?

Stagecoach to trial driverless bus that could ‘transform’ travel

In last week’s Round-up I was pleased to mention the Sutherland spaceport proposal. Sadly, this week I have to report that the morons, sorry, politically motivated, have hijacked it.

The sooner we build this spaceport, and use it to build our own version of the Golgafrincham B Ark, and load all the politically motivated on to it, the better!

The B Ark featured in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, and was technically named “Golgafrincham Ark Fleet, Ship B”. The Golgafrincham civilization planned to eliminate its society of its most useless members. They created a legend that their world was about to be destroyed so three arks had to be built. Ark A would carry all the high achievers. Ark C would carry the blue-collar workers, those who build and make things. Ark B was for what was left – so that’s where the political types would go.

The B Ark was the first to be completed and launched – but was actually set to fly into the Sun.

There never was an A or C ark.

Scots spaceport a reason to reject independence, MPs hear

Interesting… I wonder if any Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) will apply to any of the overseas of land and property in Scotland? I’ve visited a few ‘Big Houses’ over the years, and was intrigued to learn where the absentee owners were from. Not that I’m pointing at them, since they have invested and saved the estates the took overs. Just wondering about others I don’t know.

Harrods big spender fights to keep mansion

What is with the disgusting ice-cream flavours? Last time it was square sausage, now… (give is a break, you’re just seeking attention for free publicity).

Scottish ice cream parlour divides opinion – with mayonnaise flavour

Sadly, it’s not just The Scotsman’s comment area that becomes ‘Moron Central’ when an article has such an area, and it seems the dross which was attracted to a story about a giant gold nugget found in a Scottish river was so bad that a number of decent commenters were moved to mention just how bad they were. By the time I’d read just a few of them to get an idea of what was being said, even though I knew the legal position regarding such finds, I was completely lost after reading so many ‘expert’ opinions on the matter – they really don’t have a clue, and I pity anyone who might actually ever listen to them.

Giant gold nugget found in Scottish river

Wildcat kittens in the news again, which can’t be bad, with two born at the Alladale Wilderness Reserve in Sutherland.

It’s good that the cats can get on with what needs to be done, while two competing groups are more interested in arguing about which has the right approach to saving the Scottish wildcat from extinction.

Wildcat kittens born at reserve in Sutherland

29/07/2018 Posted by | Weekly round-up | | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S12

Hadn’t expected much in the news, but there’s almost a ‘brick-by-brick’ (or stone-by-stone) summary.

The south section of the east gable has been taken down to match the level of the south wall and steel roof beams on the north east corner were safely removed and lifted to ground level.

Most of the material removed this week was too badly damaged to be retained but a limited amount of material was in a good enough condition and taken from the building for recording before removal to off-site storage.

Further work this week includes further reductions to the height of the south façade, removal of debris from the second floor level, and down taking of existing scaffolding around the north east corner of the building.

Glasgow School of Art dismantling progress continues

The outstretched paws will be feeling a little warmer after this news.

The emergency funding announced by the Scottish government is for firms who can show hardship as a result of the fires.

It will be made available to Glasgow City Council for distribution to businesses within the cordons, and to those in the Sauchiehall Street area who can show hardship from the impact of the fires.

All businesses within both the Mackintosh Building and Victoria’s cordons will receive £20,000 of direct financial support, with other businesses in the area who have been impacted by a fall in footfall eligible for £10,000 of support.

Glasgow City Council will administer the funding with applications for all businesses open from 31 July. Eligibility criteria for those outside the cordon will be set out ahead of the opening of applications following discussion with local business advisers.

Following the fire at the Glasgow School of Art, the Scottish government and Glasgow City Council have already delivered 100% rates relief for affected businesses and grants of £3,000 made available to households in the cordoned off area.

The council has so far made 44 payments relating to 47 individuals in 33 properties.

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay said: “The terrible fires at the Glasgow School of Art and Victoria’s are having a significant impact on many local businesses who are either closed or unable to access their premises. Given the scale of the on-going disruption, I am making up to £5m available immediately to support those businesses affected.

“The Scottish government has already increased our contribution to hardship funding from 75% to 95%, and made available £1,500, matched by the Lord Provost’s Trust for vulnerable citizens (so it’s really £3,000), to residents displaced from their homes by the Mackintosh building fire and will extend that to businesses facing the same impacts as a result of the fire at Victoria’s.

Hisashi Kuboyama, from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “Many businesses in Glasgow city centre are likely to be facing short-term cash flow difficulties as a consequence of the recent fires. This additional funding is hugely welcome – and should help more businesses survive this difficult period.”

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce welcomed the announcement of the fund.

Businesses hit by Glasgow School of Art and Victoria’s fires given £5m fund

Fund of £5m to help businesses hit by Art School fire

Nice to see The Scotsman’s moron area delivers as usual. (I’m sure there’s a better way to address any inquiry regarding insurance relative to grants.)

Firms hit by Glasgow Mackintosh fire get access to £5m fund


While it’s not exactly about the Mackintosh Building, the fire which destroyed nearby Victoria’s nightclub back in March also led to fairly extensive road closures as plant and machinery was moved in to place, and the building was demolished.

Work to reopen a busy Glasgow street partly shut since a fire in March is beginning as demolition work ends.

A cordon was set up on Renfield Street following the blaze at Victoria’s nightclub on Sauchiehall Street on March 22.

The block housing the club was demolished following the fire for public safety.

Glasgow City Council said rubble from the demolition has been cleared away and heavy machinery has been removed from the site.

Work will begin on Thursday to move the cordon on Renfield Street back to the pedestrian precinct on Sauchiehall Street.

It will allow traffic to move between Renfrew Street and Bath Street and pedestrians to use pavements on both sides of Renfield Street.

The pedestrian precinct on Sauchiehall Street will remain closed to the public while utility companies reconnect essential services, however.

Renfrew Lane will also remain closed and hoardings are being put up.

The local authority hopes that all work will be completed by August 3 but the cordon may be moved back further before then.

Busy Glasgow street to reopen after nightclub blaze

Busy Glasgow street to re-open after Sauchiehall Street fire

Sad to say I didn’t even notice this as I seldom have any reason to pass through that end of Sauchiehall Street now.

Unless there’s a noticeable gap site, since I wasn’t able to make it in earlier, I won’t get to see this at all, if I try to get along that far later.

29/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The fading Glasgow taxi of Mitchell Street

I can’t remember catching this before (and I’m too lazy to check), and think I always get distracted by the giant girl further along Mitchell Street.

I don’t usually walk down this street (towards Argyle Street) either, so this change in routine meant I was walking towards this taxi, so couldn’t miss it.

Sad to say, it looks as if it’s getting a little tired and worn, with the paint peeling off the wall in places.

I’ve given it a little processing to liven up the contrast and colours a little, so be aware that in real life it doesn’t really look as good as this pic suggests.

Maybe now that the Glasgow Mural Trail is a promoted tourist trap, it should also be maintained?

Quite a few of the early creations are beginning to look faded, and some have even been lost completely (for various reasons, not their fault).

Glasgow Taxi Mural Mitchell Street

Glasgow Taxi Mural Mitchell Street

29/07/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

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