Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Sad to see – Maid of the Loch hits major funding hiccup

It’s been odd watching the slow but relatively steady restoration of Loch Lomond’s Maid of the Loch paddle steamer over the years.

I still have the image of my first discovery the rotting hull abandoned at the side of the loch many years ago, some time after retiral.

All I knew then was that the paddle steamer fallen out of service a few years after I’d been on board, and could have been scrapped.

As it was, the image of the white, but rusty, remains was burned into my memory by shock and surprise.

Sadly, I don’t think I even owned a camera back then, and it never even occurred to be to take pics, or take a closer look.

In fact, I forgot all about the find.

Then I spotter news of the restoration, and have tried to follow (from a distance) ever since.

I did manage a trip back during an early Doors Open Day, but not long after that, let’s just say things did not go well, and I ‘forgot’ about this subject again.

Restoration isn’t cheap, but over the years, despite slow progress, there has been steady progress – until, it seems, the biggest hurdle was reached, restoring the boilers and getting the steamer underway.

As an observation (as opposed to a criticism), like nuclear fusion, this always seems to have been just “A few years away”.

I’m concerned about the future of the project, and the suitability of those in charge now, as their failure to secure Lottery funding is being treated as a failure by the Lottery to come up with expected funds, as if it was somehow guaranteed.

Unfortunately, there are many other seeking substantial handouts from HLF (Heritage Lottery Funding), so there will ALWAYS be winners and losers at every round.

That any group should base its future on such success, especially of substantial and critical, is unwise, and even if creaking and slow, should have a Plan B (C, D, and more) in abeyance.

To say that any funding application failure pits a whole project in ‘jeopardy’ – that’s just not good enough.

I’d normally give a quote, just to spark interest and not be the sole source of content, but in this case, I’d have to copy both the chairman’s statement, and the HLF response, and that’s just too much. Excerpts or clips could be taken out of context, and I dislike that too.

Read them in full here:

Lottery funding blow jeopardises paddle steamer project

Maid of Loch in ‘jeopardy’ after £3.6m funding refused

Maid of the Loch 2017

Maid of the Loch 2017


03/10/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Cats in the news – and a Scottish SPCA appeal for disinfectant cleaner

Important stuff first!

The Scottish SPCA has launched an appeal for supplies of Anigene.

Its Cardonald Centre needs a large amount of the disinfectant to help fight animal infections.

Every year, the charity cares for thousands of animals that have been abused, injured, or abandoned throughout Scotland, and needs a large amount of the disinfectant to ensure it fights all types of animal infections.

The Scottish SPCA receives no government funding and relies on donations.

Anigene can be donated to our centres through our Amazon wishlist, or by purchasing on a third-party site such as Viovet and having it delivered to our centres. Alternatively you can drop any donations into one of our animal rescue and rehoming centres in person.”

Scottish SPCA Ginger Pic Credit Peter Devlin

Scottish SPCA Ginger Pic Credit Peter Devlin

Next, still serious, but maybe a solution to a mystery

Cat killer mystery solved

While this story originates in Croydon, the subject has no boundary.

It was the murder mystery that kept police guessing and struck fear in the hearts of pet owners.

Now, Scotland Yard says the so-called Croydon cat killer, thought to have bludgeoned and decapitated cats across the UK, never existed.

Instead, cats were being run over and their dead bodies mutilated by foxes, they say. So what can you do to keep your cats out of trouble?

Cat killer mystery solved, but how do we keep our pets safe?

I have to say I’m surprised we don’t have a similar investigation underway up here, if this solution to the so-called Croydon cat killer is accurate.

Here (in the burby east end of Glasgow) we are inundated with foxes, so either the foxes don’t like them, or our Scottish cats are more road savvy than their English cousins.

I do walk a lot, and have not come across a lot of roadkill – although I’d also say that wandering cats are the exception nowadays.

But in recent years, I seldom go out and don’t spot a fox, either directly, out of the corner of my eye, or just by the disgusting cries they make while hidden in undergrowth and gardens. It really is a horrible noise. Sometimes I can pass as many as three or four in an hour.

I never get a pic though (unless they’re dead), as they may not be all that shy, but you can’t generally raise a camera and still have them in view if they’ve wandered out in front of you.


Ever spot outdoor spots and floods in gardens, apparently coming on at random during the night?

I used to think ‘wandering cat on rounds’ – now I know better (they’re probably too small, and too furry) and have seen that this is usually a fox.

If only… that had been a Buckfast bottle!

Happy Boozy Fox

Happy Boozy Fox


He’s behind me, isn’t he?

Goodbye world.


He’s behind me

And lastly, ‘Odd News’

Cat incident is last straw for man abused by wife for 60 years

After sixty years of controlling behaviour and physical violence, Jim changed his blood-stained shirt and walked back to his wife who was making them a coffee after smashing him in the face.

He had asked her to let the cat in while he cut the grass outside.

But instead of turning left to the kitchen, he turned right, walked out of the door and kept on walking away from his life of abuse.

With only the clothes he wore, he didn’t look back, and at the age of 78, he started his life again.

Jim is one of a growing number of men telling other men it is okay to admit to being abused by women.

‘My abusive wife battered me over letting the cat in’

There are some things I just “Don’t get”.

Amongst my sins are loyalty, and a resistance to change.

But after the first hit/abuse incident, I’d be off and the abuser (if an abuser, as opposed to ill) would be being collected by an ambulance and/or the police.

(I do speak from experience, but that’s all you get.)

This could all have been resolved years ago, if only they’d left the cat out during a winter night…

Cat Sleep Kill Repeat

Cat Sleep Kill Repeat

03/10/2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Creeping development – ‘Excitement’?

We moved into a house which backed onto (abandoned) farmland.

Then, “A Home of Your Own by John Lawrence” (I think that was their motto in the day) snapped it up, and we ended up in the middle of a ‘new’ housing estate.

We had an estate made of postwar prefabs nearby – they were eventually razed, and replaced by a nice park.

Then most of the park was flattened, and we got another housing estate tacked onto the edge of the Lawrence original.

Another one filled in the space between our original (1900) buildings and the nearby main road.

Recently, a number of development plans have been placed before Glasgow City Council, some large, some small, and some on unspoilt land adjacent to the River Clyde – the outcome is yet to be known, but I see from the web site a number of strident objections from people who are really upset by this creeping land grab by developers trying to take over this part of the east end.

We used to have a DIY warehouse on some industrial land, first called Dodge City, then bought out by B&Q.

It was handy, being colloquially ‘at the end of the street’ – until B&Q ran into difficulty, and it was closed.

The warehouse was never taken over, eventually demolished, and spent a short time as a yard for a nearby company, then they abandoned the ground.

It was bought by a developer recently, and became a place of ‘Excitement’.

Aye, right.

I think this is the worst word play I’ve seen in years, maybe ever.



Isn’t this… EXCITING!!!

Hamilton Road Development

Hamilton Road Development

I did try taking some pics once, but it’s kind of hard to take pics of a former warehouse site that’s just been flattened and left empty, and make it meaningful.

For reference, this pic was taken from the footpath to the left of the lamppost in the above pic, with the entrance road being just to the right.

As you can see, they have trashed the long established trees that screened this former industrial site from the road, which is a shame.

I wonder if they had, or needed, permission to fell those trees, or just accepted a possible fine for destroying them?

Razed B&Q site

Razed B&Q site

03/10/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment


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