Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Mackintosh at The Willow formally opens for business

I mentioned the imminent opening of the restored Willow Tea Rooms recently, when there was a preview.

Now, the tea rooms are fully open.

A team room designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh has opened its doors after a £10m restoration.

The 200-seat Mackintosh restored Willow Tea Rooms building is expected to welcome at least 360,000 visitors a year.

First opened in 1903, the building at 217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, is of international significance.

Mackintosh tea room reopens after £10m restoration

Given recent events, I hope they have the appropriate safety plans in place.

I used to visit a factory in Eaglesham (now closed and gone) which was interesting to have lunch in.

It had a small canteen which really catered for the tea-breaks during the working day, but it did offer small meals at lunchtime – with one qualification.

Whatever was on the menu had to be cold (ie salad), or be something that could boiled, poached, or stewed.

I usually had to take an apprentice with me, and the ‘youngsters’ could grasp this concept, and kept asking for chips.

I thought one of the lads was going to get thumped by the cook one day, after being asked the same thing for the umpteenth time, but she just drew a deep breath, and explained slowly and carefully (while not quite throttling him into unconsciousness)…

Hot food in here is soup, or anything that can be stewed, poached, or boiled. The safety rules in this old place prohibit frying anything from an egg to chips. Can you not understand that son?

‘Son’ enjoyed mince and tatties after that (once his throat eased off).

Just kidding – but it must have been a close thing, since she had no frying pan to hit him with.

Mackintosh at the Willow Pic Credit: PA

Mackintosh at the Willow Pic Credit: PA

02/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S08

Not really anything significant notable or new, as confirmation of the start of dismantling the building is given.

It’s impossible to make any predictions about what will be found as this proceeds, so the timescale is nebulous, with suggestions that the site may remain unsafe for up to three months.

Work to dismantle Glasgow School of Art building to begin

Glasgow School of Art (GSA) said its expert structural engineers, David Narro Associates, and contractor, Reigart, have prepared the methodology for the work which needs to be undertaken on the Mackintosh Building, which has been shared with Glasgow City Council Building Control and Historic Environment Scotland.

GSA said: “Over the weekend work to assess the condition of the Mackintosh Building continued with further drone footage collected.

“Preparation work for the managed dismantling of the elements of the building that have been deemed dangerous got under way, on schedule on Monday.

“The main crane has been relocated to the corner of Sauchiehall Street and Dalhousie Street, and a second crane is expected to join it on Tuesday.

“The work to begin dismantling the south facade will start as soon as possible following approval of the methodology by Glasgow City Council Building Control.”

The cordon for the whole site, which includes the O2 ABC and Jumping Jacks, remains under the control of Glasgow City Council.

Engineers set to dismantle Mackintosh building after fire

Ah well, I suppose I can take something positive from that, and on that schedule, should hopefully be able to get back into Glasgow before all the preliminary work is complete.

02/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Statue unveiled in memory of Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown – Britain’s Greatest Test Pilot

I have to confess I had no idea this statue existed, let alone was complete and set to be unveiled.

I came across Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown’s name on numerous occasions whenever I was investigation aviation related stories, and my attention became all the greater when I learned he was a Scot from Leith.

I did raise a page to his achievements in our Wiki, but it was really only a token gesture, so I could avoid being accused of not noticing him. There’s just too much to mention.

He even met Yuri Gagarin, and learnt how Gagarin ejected from his spacecraft and parachuted to Earth separately – something denied by the Soviets, and not revealed officially until some years later.

Episode 40: April 2nd 2011: Gagarin in London : Captain Eric Brown

As well as the summary, there are a couple of short video clips featuring him.

Eric Melrose “Winkle” Brown

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled a statue of Eric “Winkle” Brown, Britain’s greatest ever test pilot.

The life-sized bronze sculpture outside the terminal was funded by former pilots from the Edinburgh University Air Squadron.

Prince Andrew revealed the statue on Monday (01 July 2018).

Sir Jon Elvidge, chairman of Edinburgh Airport, said: “Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown is someone who is synonymous with RAF Turnhouse, and is in turn a key figure in the history of what is now Edinburgh Airport.

“His achievement (sic) speak for themselves and the fact his remarkable career is still held in such high regard after all these years is testament to the man himself.”

Statue of Britain’s greatest ever test pilot unveiled

02/07/2018 Posted by | Aviation, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment


While it may, at least, have avoided catching a case of ‘The Uglies’ (which many lesser marques seem to suffer) when it jumped onto the SUV bandwagon (Maserati and Porsche seemed to avoid this too, with Jaguar just scraping through too), Bentley still succumbed to this disgusting trend.

Usually, if someone offered to show me a 6-litre, 600 BHP, W12 powered car I’d be pleased, but with the Continental GT and Flying Spur to hand, I just have to say “Why?” when shown a Bentayga.

Even the name Bentayga sounds more like a sad parody of the famous Bentley name, although it is seriously founded in a portmanteau of Bentley and Taiga, the world’s largest transcontinental snow forest.

If they want to use names like that, they should take some lessons from Maserati.

At launch, it was claimed as the SUV with the highest top speed 187 mph (301 kph), and as the most expensive production SUV.

I’m beginning to think people are just kidding themselves on with these so-called ‘crossover SUVs’, having seen a number of ordinary owner (by which I mean NOT reviewers or writers for any sort of motoring publication) express dissatisfaction after trying to buy a hatchback or estate, only to be told they can’t because “The car makers no longer make them because everybody wants SUVs”.

Having left the dealer’s with their supposedly lusted after SUV, they report that they find less space inside than in the type of car they just gave up, or wanted. They say their SUV may look bigger, but the reality is that all they’ve really gained is height and headroom, with no real benefits in terms of floor space.

That doesn’t surprise me.

Vehicles can’t really be made much wider without causing owner’s problems (I can confirm that, with a very wide car I used to take on Scotland’s single track roads – you can do it, but it’s not a lot of fun); and length increases aren’t really practical either. People are already getting tickets from over-zealous traffic wardens for overhanging marked parking bays, which also seem to be shrinking as cars get bigger!

So, that only leaves increased height, which is not really a lot of use, unless you want to be a prat and sit high, lording it over all the ‘little people’.

2016 Bentley Bentayga [7 CCL]

2016 Bentley Bentayga [7 CCL]

Jaguar’s effort to maintain some semblance of style, rather than a giant notched brick also worked better than most. Like the Bentley, it manages to preserve a semblance of their car origins.

2016 Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport [61 JK]

2016 Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport [61 JK]

The F-Pace seems to have become popular with my neighbours – one even has a pair of them!

This is one reason my Neeb’s Wheels collection has dried up in recent years.

02/07/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Thick as a Kilmarnock brick

Just for fun – a brick.

This has been lying around for a while (together with its curved sibling), so I eventually decided it (they) deserved a wash and brush up, they have to be around a hundred years old, so this is long overdue.

I should have shoved an ordinary brick beside it, but it really is ‘Thick’, larger than a normal house brick, and more notably, is white glazed.

Having looked at info for the Southhook brickworks, I see that they dealt with specialised bricks and clay products, so it’s no surprise to see their mark on this one.

Bricks always come in handy, and this is often very handy, since its extra size and weight means not having to grab two ordinary bricks to space stuff, or weigh stuff down.

Southhook Glazed Brick

Southhook Glazed Brick

02/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Joanna Dee’s nightclub

Another one I’d class as forgotten and unnoticed over the years.

I woke up one day, and realised it was time to grab a pic of this place after passing it for years without realising it.

I think the reason I never got around to taking a pic was down to expecting it to disappear before I got back to it. I’m sure I saw the place open, as a pub, but I have no idea what it might have been called during that phase of its existence.

I probably didn’t even notice when it slipped into being an abandoned derelict, since I would pass in the day, and a nightclub opens at… night!

I just began to notice it was decaying one day, and a number of scummy businesses were using as a placeholder for their scabby adverts.

Maybe it’s not abandoned and derelict – I wouldn’t know!

I dug around and discovered it was variously named ‘The Jigging’ (or Jiggin’), and The Netherfield Bar (Nerry or Nelly in various forum discussions).

In discussion, it seems to have been described as one step up from ‘scary‘, which would appear to be ‘mental‘.

Seems it was the scene of murder, and accidents, as noted here…

The Jiggin. (Netherfield), 1071 Duke Street, Glasgow. G31.

I know why old pubs used to manage to survive, standing isolated on their ground while tenements and shops around them were razed, but this, one of the few relics I would describe as a genuine eyesore with nothing to redeem it, one’s survival is a mystery, especially given the reported failure of pubs these days, as many choose to drink at home, rather than socially. It’s hardly sitting in the middle of a thriving community, and the proximity of a college (Glasgow Kelvin College) is unlikely to see it reopen soon.

I’ve got my pic, they can take it away now.

Maybe I’ll get a pic of the cleared site one day, or, being Glasgow, the burnt out shell. I’m surprised the latter has not appeared sooner.

Joanna Dee's Nightclub

Joanna Dee’s Nightclub

02/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Today is I ForgotDay

02 July is I Forgot Day.

Thank goodness I write these things in advance of the day, and schedule them to publish themselves – if I had to remember to do them on the day, well, there wouldn’t be many posts in here.

I’d tell you the history of this day, but I seem to have forgotten it.

While there are plenty of tools and ideas intended to help those who can’t remember stuff, I have to be frank, and say most of them are useless – you either have to remember to check them (or have them to hand), and if you forget to set them up in advance, they’re not a lot of help.

I would genuinely impressed by those who can remember everything, and never forget anything, only most of them seem to ignorant, and offer no understanding of those who can’t do the same, so I’m afraid I feel far too much joy on the rare occasion they do slip up and forget.

Two famous ‘Forgets’.



02/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: