Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Free film and TV location guide dedicated to memory of John Logie Baird

VisitScotland has produced a free brochure/booklet describing many film and TV locations in Scotland.

The publication has been dedicated to the memory of inventor John Logie Baird

A new guide to TV programmes which have either been filmed in Scotland or have Scottish links has been dedicated to John Logie Baird.

The Helensburgh-born inventor became the first person to demonstrate a working television in 1926.

Tourism body VisitScotland has dedicated its free book, TV Set in Scotland, to Baird to help mark the 130th anniversary of his birth.

It contains details on more than 60 programmes.

Baird’s son, Prof Malcolm Baird, said he was delighted the guide was dedicated to his father.

He said: “Television will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2026 and I am currently in touch with an independent producer and an experienced screenwriter, both based in Scotland, about a possible film or TV series on the life of John Logie Baird.

“If the project goes ahead, there will be no shortage of Scottish locations.”

Prof Baird said these location could include Helensburgh, which he said had kept much of its character from the time his father lived there.

He added: “Between 1906 and 1914 he studied at Glasgow’s Royal Technical College, now the University of Strathclyde, where an historic plaque has been placed in the electrical engineering department.

“A few blocks away, another plaque recalls his long-distance transmission of television in May 1927, from London to a room in the Central Hotel, now the Grand Central Hotel.”

New TV guide dedicated to inventor John Logie Baird

Baird Wonder Wall Wider

Baird Wonder Wall at Strathclyde University

31/08/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maps, photography | , , | 1 Comment

First commercial rocket launch in Scotland

Almost mentioned so quietly by the media that I almost missed it, news of the first commercial rocket launch in Scotland, preparing the way for ‘our’ future spaceport’s arrival.

It’s interesting to see this being done in a sensible way too, starting small and working up to larger craft as experience is gained, rather than dumping some huge and complex rocket in an unprepared field, and being surprised when the whole lot goes ‘phut’ and fails to launch first time, or just blows up.

They’re doing better than the STV writer, who managed the comical conversion of Mach 1.45 to “more than 110mph” (and even that is wrong, as there should be a space between 110 and mph). It’s not as if getting units right is rocket science – or is it in this case?

Same mistake in their presentation of “2.5 metre (9ft)”, but worse, 2.5 m is actually only 8.2 feet when converted, a number that doesn’t even round up to 9ft (or even 9 ft). Even my spellchecker got the conversion right (and I didn’t even know it checked conversions until it picked this one up and threw it back at me!)

(Sorry, but I was a technical author, and this sort of sloppiness just bugs me as it is so unnecessary and easy to avoid.)

The first commercial rocket launch in Scotland has taken place as part of efforts to gain work at a planned spaceport in the Highlands.

Skyrora saw its 2.5 metre (9ft) projectile reach altitudes of almost four miles after taking off at the Kildermorie Estate in Ross-shire.

Known as Skylark Nano, it accelerated to Mach 1.45 – more than 110mph.

The Edinburgh-based rocket developer was trialling technology for use on full-scale vehicles, as it bids for a contract for the forthcoming facility.

Daniel Smith, director of business development, said: “This was a small but important step for us in our bid to become the go-to satellite launch provider at a future Scottish spaceport.

“Huge positives can be taken from this – from the success of our portable ground control systems, trajectory analysis and ability to capture the launch with on-board HD cameras.

“We will use the lessons learned in the next stage of our test launch programme, where we’ll be going to a far more significant altitude.

“For us it’s all about taking careful steps to de-risk and gain experience as we quickly evolve through sub-orbital tests towards our future orbital launch ambitions.”

The commercial element of the flight was done in partnership with social media site

Scotland’s first commercial rocket launch hailed a success

Rocket known as Skylark Nano. Pic: Skyrora

Rocket known as Skylark Nano. Pic: Skyrora

Later, but arguably better (and error free), story appeared.

‘First’ commercial rocket launched from Scotland

31/08/2018 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Adelaide beats Glasgow in glasshouse restoration

Glasgow (and even Scotland) has a dismal record regarding the preservation and maintenance of the few historic glasshouses (or winter gardens) in its care.

Examples such as Springburn Winter Gardens have long lain in ruins, and although I can’t get there now, was sad to learn that the glasshouse in Ayr’s Bellisle Park had been closed in 2005, and I saw the sad sight of it boarded up, but thanks to local efforts had been restored and reopened in 2016.

Surely the worst case (since it was rescued but then dumped only a few years later) now has to be Tollcross Winter Gardens (not forgetting its once new Visitor Centre).

In summary, the Winter Garden glasshouse in Tollcross Park was last rescued and refurbished in the period 1999/2000, having then lain derelict for at least a decade, and at risk of being lost at worst, or left to be vandalised or rot at best. However, £1.7 million was raised to save it then, when it also gained an adjacent Visitor Centre, café, and play area.

But, having suffered storm damage during the winter of 2010/2011, it was simply closed and left to rot, with lack of cash being given as the reason.

While Glasgow City Council squandered more than £300 million paying to host the farcical 2014 Commonwealth Games, and spent freely on ‘upgrades’ for the Commonwealth Pool in the sports centre only a few metres from the stricken glasshouse, not a penny could be found to restore what would have been a better tourist attraction – since it would always be there, unlike the ten days or so of sporting madness of the dopey games that were ‘Here today, gone tomorrow’.

Since the hull of the clipper ship ‘City of Adelaide’ (aka The Carrick) went there, I get automated news updates, which include articles relating to Adelaide.

This story about what would appear to be the only such glasshouse in the southern hemisphere was just highlighted, and puts Adelaide ahead of Glasgow in this particular race.

Being a sole survivor of war is a burden few ask for, but when you fall under the weather and weigh 22 tonnes, you can be sure to draw attention.

The Palm House in Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens is undergoing its second restoration in about 25 years, with a team of painters and builders treating it for salt damp and rust incursion.

Plants have been moved out and cracked glass panes are being replaced, as workers utilise a huge freestanding scaffolding structure that took a week to build inside and around the 1877 structure.

Originally built in Bremen, Germany in 1875, the Palm House was shipped to Adelaide and reassembled, although the glass panes were all broken by the time it arrived.

Following the devastation of subsequent wars in Europe, it remains the only known German-built glasshouse from the era and is Australia’s second oldest.

Andrew Carrick from the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium said there were similar examples of iron and glass botanical houses around the world, such as the Crystal Palace and the Kew Gardens palm house in London.

“They are the same style with the cast iron, and obviously at a much grander scale, but ours is probably the only one in the Southern Hemisphere,” he said.

It is also possibly the only surviving example of a prefabricated glasshouse, and was originally used for tropical plants until rust incursion in the early 1990s led the gardens to change its use to dry plants from the southern and western tips of Madagascar.

Palm House at Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens stands alone as example of German glasshouse design

Compare and contrast…

The Adelaide glasshouse scaffolding supporting… restoration.

Photo: The palm house was built in Adelaide during 1877 after prefabrication in Germany. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

Photo: The palm house was built in Adelaide during 1877 after prefabrication in Germany. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

The Tollcross Winter Gardens scaffolding supporting… what’s left.

Tollcross Winter Gardens ruined

Tollcross Winter Gardens scaffolding

31/08/2018 Posted by | Appeal, council, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Missed this Rutherglen event

I’ve had these pics for a while, but never seem to find the opportunity (or good reason) to post them, but the odd find should be included.

I’d been wandering in Rutherglen for a while, when the rain sent me heading for cover as it turned from just a bit of rain, into a steady downpour that just decided not to let up.

I headed into a derelict industrial unit near the road, and found some unexpected goodies left there. Sure, it had very little roof, but even some roof is better than no roof at all when it’s absolutely chucking it down.

I don’t get there very often, but I’ve never seen anyone else around here when I have been here (even in much better weather.

Hopefully the pics are readable – I haven’t spent any time fettling them, just resized and corrected automatically to make them suit the blog, then dumped the set in here.

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

Rutherglen Oddness

31/08/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Who might have the initials JK?

For a moment, I thought I might have chanced upon someone famous having a wee visit to Glasgow, with the initials JK.

But then I realised that wasn’t very likely, as a dollar billionaire author probably wouldn’t want something as worn out as a 10 year old Bentley GTC.

Not that I’d complain, as anything with 550+ bhp as standard won’t be all that bad, and I do rather like these, and the way the exhaust note changes from ‘Shhh… don’t disturb anybody’ to ‘WAKE THE HELL UP WILL YA!’ when my neighbour decides he’s in hurry.

2007 Bentley GTC

2007 Bentley GTC

30/08/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Ferry stories – don’t you just love them?

It doesn’t seem to matter what the subject is, ferry stories always seem to be good for a few laughs, or should that be tears?

This all seems rather odd to me, from a business point of view at least.

While I wouldn’t look too kindly on calls for more money where a standard, or repeat, build was concerned, I cannot for the life of me see why there should be any problem with the builder/yard going back to the client and asking, or even demanding, payment for work arising from additional developments, not specified in the original contract.

While we (involved in developing custom electronic control system) often had to sit down with a grumpy client and ask for more money, they did at least capitulate and pay up when presented them with the original spec as per the contract, and highlighted the addition they had made.

Why this should be an issue when the builder of a new type of ferry, which is being developed as the build progress, is beyond me.

Even the F-35 combat aircraft, unwisely built and developed in full public view (instead of having the same done in secret behind closed doors, as this was done before), received proper payment for that type of work, while rectification to specified work was paid for by the contractor.

And the same comment applies to delays – if the builder fails to complete as per schedule, fair enough.

But if the principal changes the spec and ask for additional items and makes more demands – how is that the builder’s fault if the delivery date is later than originally specified?

Ferries – a whole new type of madness.

Ferguson Marine owner says cash needed to finish ferry contract

Enjoying Insanity

Enjoying Insanity

30/08/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

High voltage/power plates

While I’ve no idea what this registration is intended to refer to (if anything), it’s still one of a type I’ve always considered.

While 4027 KV might not mean anything in the electrical engineering world, together with the KW suffix, this pairing is one I’ve always thought about. For the non-engineering or tech-oriented, KV represents kilovolt, while KW represents kilowatt (technically kV and kW – but you don’t get lowercase characters in registration numbers).

These might be paired with standard numbers such as 440 or 32 in the power distribution world.

I’ve seen a few over the years, but they’re a bit specialised, so I never really considered them.

A recent sighting reminded me I haven’t seen any along these lines for years, then I passed this one at the shops.

2006 Chrysler 300C 5.7 Hemi V8

2006 Chrysler 300C 5.7 Hemi V8

I’ve also had a soft spot for the car too, although I never had the chance to pick one up.

When this one first came out, it was just about the same time Bentley changed their body shape, and I hadn’t seen any decent pics, and kept thinking this was it, until I got close enough to see the badges.

Intriguingly, it seems I was not (and it appears others still are) the only one led astray by this styling, and today you can actually re-badge this car with model-specific badges to make it appear to be a Bentley.

For a long time (until I got used to the ‘new’ Bentley GT profile), I preferred the 300C#s appearance – but the GT has matured nicely, so that’s a thing of the past.

I have some pics of such cars, and should dig them out one day.

For what you get, this car is a bargain, and does not come at a high premium price, possibly let down only by the quality of the material used, which may work in its home country of the US, but sad to say, are not so happy or long-lived when subjected to Scottish weather.

I’ve seen quite a few of these kitted out with the factory fit ‘shiny bits’, only to watch them deteriorate as the weather gets to them. It looks as if a number of apparently metal parts are made out of shiny plastic, which are affected by water, and probably the salt and suchlike scattered on our winter roads. On one car, I was surprised to see that the polished or chrome finish to the rims was only a plastic trim, and the ‘chrome’ turned grey after only a year.

Now, I’m beginning to wonder where those KV/KW plates have gone, given how long it is since I last saw any of them.

30/08/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S15-II

I had to disappear before all of last week’s stories appeared in the news, so have to play a little bit of ‘catch-up’ with a Part II appendix (rather than wait until Sunday).

Some residents affected by the cordon around the fire-ravaged Mackintosh building have returned to their homes for first time in more than 10 weeks.

A large no-go zone has been in force since a blaze ripped through the renowned Glasgow School of Art (GSA) property on June 15.

People living in more than 30 properties close to the site had been refused entry to collect items including passports, car keys, medicines and clothes since the fire, representatives have said.

Glasgow City Council said the Sauchiehall Street cordon was pulled back at 9.30am on Saturday, after building standards officials assessed the area.

Residents on Dalhousie Street were given access to their properties for around 30 minutes on Saturday, while a path will reopen on Monday morning.

A local authority spokesman said: “The cordon on the southside of Sauchiehall Street was pulled back as planned this morning to allow access for business owners and residents who wished to begin any work needed to restore their premises to normal.

“Dalhousie Street residents were given controlled access for around 30 minutes along with representatives from Charing Cross Housing Association to gather any essential belongings and assess the condition of their homes.

“It is expected the footway on Dalhousie Street will be fully reopened on Monday morning.

“Additional refuse collections have been put in place for the area to support any clearing out work undertaken by businesses and residents.”

Residents affected by Mackintosh blaze return home

I get reminded of a phrase from World War II: “Do they know there’s a war on?” (was that ever actually said, or is a line made up later for films and plays”) when I see articles about people complaining about Glasgow City Council’s efforts. Do they know there was a major fire?

Why are business owners apparently expecting compensation for their failure to take out appropriate insurance?

You don’t get compensation for ‘stupid’.

You have to sue your insurer, or insurance advisor, for not providing adequate cover – or just suck it up for choosing not to take out adequate cover. (And, yes, I did happen to have a substantial business, and my eyes bled when I looked at the size of our ‘Business Continuity’ premiums every year).

A number of businesses that have been denied access to their premises have approached Govan Law Centre to look at what legal avenues might be open to them to secure compensation because they believe their individual insurance policies are unlikely to fully cover them for their losses.

Businesses count the cost of art school fire

Spotted this, which is not really a look behind the cordon, but more like spying on the residents by the media as they get behind it.

Residents and business owners in Garnethill were finally allowed access to their properties – 10 weeks after the Glasgow School of Art fire.

People living in more than 30 properties close to the site have been refused entry, even to collect essential items including passports, car keys, medicines and clothes since the fire, which broke out on Friday June 15 and destroyed the historic Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed building.

However, this morning residents were allowed behind the cordon and into their homes for the first time.

Business owners were also given access, with many beginning the long process of cleaning before reopening.

Pictures taken from the scene earlier today show a number of residents moving suitcases and boxes to and from their properties.

First-look behind the cordon as residents get back into homes after art school fire

I happened to pass the place on Sunday, so grabbed a couple of pics of the side streets – but was out of luck, so no ‘Money Shots’ of residents and belongings.

I’ve added the pics I took back then, after the recent ones, for comparison.

Dalhousie Street

Dalhousie Street


Mackintosh Dalhousie Street from Douglas Street

Mackintosh Dalhousie Street from Douglas Street


Scott Street

Scott Street


Mackintosh Scott Street from Pitt Street

Mackintosh Scott Street from Pitt Street

29/08/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Electric shock collar ban set to be widened at long last

I’ve always said I have no problem at all with electric shock collars for pets…

So long as they come with a proportionally larger and more powerful version which the owners have to wear, and delivers the same ‘encouragement’ to them as to their pets when activated.

Seems only fair.

Electric shock collars for cats and dogs will be banned in England, the government has announced.

The training devices deliver up to 6,000 volts of electricity or spray noxious chemicals to control animals’ behaviour.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said this causes unacceptable “harm and suffering”.

Wales and Scotland have already taken steps to prevent the use of electric collars.

Animal charities, many of which had campaigned for the change in the law, welcomed the move.

A survey by the RSPCA found that 5% of dog owners reported using shock collars, suggesting that hundreds of thousands of animals would be affected by the ban.

Electric shock collars for pets to be banned

That they were ever even legal has always been a puzzle to me.

While so-called ‘stun guns’ are not only illegal’ they fall under firearms legislation, which suggests they are taken seriously and considered dangerous. People are fined and jailed if found smuggling them into this country, many being disguised to look like mobile phones.

Yet people are allowed to legally have a similar device, designed to deliver an electric shock to a living being, and there was no problem.

I wubs u mum (please don’t zap me again – I’ll say anything you want me to say)…


Look Happy Or Get Zapped Dog

Wonder how high the power could be turned up?

Doggie Oops

Doggie Oops

29/08/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Oh look! BAE Systems

Although I’ve seen plenty of other pics of BAE Systems facility on the Clyde, it’s not somewhere I’ve been, and from past trips down the river, was sure it far down it compared to my usual haunts.

I was having a bit of an explore last night, just a little bit further from my usual reach, and decided to look at some new flats along from Riverside (transport museum).

I was more than a little surprised to find they faced the BAE sheds I was used to seeing in the news – not so far down the River Clyde at all!

I guess I must have spent too much of my time wandering around the likes of Yarrow’s and John Brown’s in the past, and had just made a mental assumption that this place was somewhere near those sites, and had never even bothered to check.

Chalk up another success for the warning “Never assume, it will make an ass out of u and/or me“.

I’m guessing this is the Royal Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Tamar. Designed for a crew of 60, HMS Tamar has a maximum speed of around 24 knots and can go 5,500 nautical miles without having to resupply. The ships is also equipped with 30 mm cannon and a flight deck capable of accommodating a helicopter.

River Clyde BAE Systems

River Clyde BAE Systems

One of two OPV’s being built on the Clyde for the Royal Navy (beside HMS Spey), part of a manufacturing and support contract worth £287 million. Both will be in service by 2021.

According to the Ministry of Defence, work on the new vessels is currently sustaining 800 jobs at shipyards on the Clyde.

29/08/2018 Posted by | Naval, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Today is Individual Rights Day

29 August is Individual Rights Day.

I believe this is an American Day, as opposed to an International Day.

The day honours John Locke, whose philosophical writings argued for the rights of each single human being, and falls on the date of Locke’s birth. According to Locke, “Anything that a man has as a matter of human rights or civil rights is to remain inviolably his,” and although Locke conceded that humans surrendered some natural rights in exchange for the collective protection afforded by societies, he held that basic individual rights include life, liberty, property, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to petition government.

It was started by the founder of the Objectivist Party, Dr Tom Stevens, a supporter of Locke’s philosophies regarding the rights of society’s smallest minority and basic unit – the individual.

I’m probably going to upset fans of the day when I say WHY I gave this non-internation day a mention.

And that’s because I’m fed with people who seem to be able to learn two words – and those are ‘My Rights!’

They don’t seem to be quite so good when presented with two others…

“Your Responsibilities!”

I couldn’t find a really good illustration. Most were too specific to a given situation, eg patients, consumers, employees and suchlike.

However, this one, clearly from a school, was probably the closest to something approaching more general thoughts.

Rights And Responsibilities

Rights And Responsibilities

29/08/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

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