Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Was this electric bus headline just clickbait? (Updated)

While I don’t mind fun clickbait headlines, I find opportunist clickbait on serious issues to be very, no, make that VERY, irritating, and even counter-productive.

When I saw this story, I assumed the story was going to be some sort of political or policy related negativity ranting regarding BEVs (battery electric vehicles).

Plug pulled on Glasgow’s pioneering electric bus service

In fact, it’s no such thing, and far from being a decision being made to cancel this electric bus service, it was actually about the service having to end as the warranty on the bus and gear had come to an end, potentially rendering it uneconomic.

Glasgow’s only electric bus service is to be scrapped just two months before the start of a crackdown on the most polluting buses in the city centre, The Scotsman has learned.

The operator of the service between there and the Riverside and Kelvingrove museums said costs had risen significantly because the four-year-old vehicles’ warranty had expired.

(It would be interesting to know the numbers, but obviously I don’t have access to the contract, so it’s not possible to make sensible comments about this, but it is worth adding that the economics of running this type of vehicle are completely different from those of a fossil-fuelled equivalent.)

Although this has NO RELATION whatsoever to Scotland’s first low emission zone (LEZ), the media used the withdrawal as a link, and usual moronic political opportunism was tacked on.

The four-year-old link will end next Saturday, seven weeks before the launch of Scotland’s first low emission zone (LEZ) in the city centre.

That will phase out all but the cleanest engine vehicles over the next four years.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said “The service was ahead of its time, providing the only zero-emission buses in the city, but it is ironic Glasgow’s pioneering electric buses will disappear shortly before the LEZ comes into being.

“Sadly, the warranty issue means Glasgow’s first modern electric buses will not be part of the bus revolution Glasgow will see over the next few years.”

Martha Wardrop, Greens council environment spokeswoman said: “The SNP council is showing their commitment to sustainable transport is just hot air by axing the city’s only electric bus service.

“Even the cleanest diesel buses still burn climate-wrecking fossil fuels. This is backwards thinking from a carbon-timid SNP administration.”

Nice one politicians. Green council environment spokeswoman is an utter farce/embarrassment making the statement “axing the city’s only electric bus service” (the rest of her diatribe is little better).

All out there too busy scoring points – and forgetting the REAL issue.

100 service at Riverside Picture Garelochhead Coaches

100 service at Riverside Picture Garelochhead Coaches


After the offending (to me at least) article was published, another story followed a few days later.

An electric bus scheme is among more than a dozen projects sharing £6m from a green economy fund.

The £20m fund, established by SP Energy Networks, supports low-carbon transport and heating schemes.

The first round of funding has seen £1.5m awarded to establish Glasgow’s first permanent electric bus routes, the M3 First Glasgow service.

Two electric buses, manufactured by Alexander Dennis, will operate between Milton and the city centre, serving an estimated 200,000 passengers a year.

The council-operated 100 service connecting the Riverside Museum with Kelvingrove, the SEC and the city centre will meanwhile receive three months’ funding of £25,000.

Andrew Jarvis, managing director of First Glasgow, said: “The award will allow for the purchase and operation of our first electric vehicles in Glasgow while also future-proofing our depot for more widespread electric bus operation.

New electric buses get motoring on Glasgow routes

Things seem to move fast in this sector nowadays.

And… now for some FUN!

Almost as fast as this little electric milk float!

Yes, that IS a BEV (battery electric vehicle), the ‘Tesla Model 3 Performance’ which has just been given a new ‘Track Mode’.

Specifically for closed circuits (a warning screen that users must agree to before engaging Track Mode cautions about narrower safety margins with a pointed warning: “Do not use on public roads”), it’s primarily a series of updates to the vehicle dynamics controller to allow more ‘steering’ of the vehicle using the front and rear motors., and includes stronger cooling for the vehicle’s power systems, and higher regenerative braking levels.

Don’t worry though, this milk float will not be crawling around our roads for some time, getting in your way and holding you up. in your super fast diesel tank SUV.

14/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Is the mighty McD immune from planning permission?

It’s no secret – I think McDonald’s is disgusting, from its food to its business, which probably (hopefully) covers the whole toxic operation.

From the pretence of ‘Healthy Meals’ to their franchise model (driving actual small businesses such as cafés and snack joints off the street) and aggressive policies (sending rabid legal dogs after legit eateries that might give one of their meals a remotely similar generic name to one of theirs), I’d probably dance in the street if it (and its clones) went out of business tomorrow.

They’ve almost crept up to my front door in recent years, and despite the feeling that I can’t move for their premises, I see permission being sought for YET ANOTHER ONE.

They’ll eventually have to call them ‘Walk-Thru’ rather than ‘Drive-Thru’, as they’ll soon be so close it won’t be possible to get cars next to them.

But they’ll have to get those cars in, since the customers HAVE to be able to drive to them, as they probably CAN’T WALK that far before collapsing.

Plans have been submitted for the opening of a new McDonald’s Drive-Thru restaurant in Glasgow’s east end.

Maccie D’s is hopeful of opening up on a site in Easterhouse, near the Fort Shopping Centre, by Auchinlea Way.

Plans have been submitted to Glasgow City Council for the fast food chain which will see a two-storey building developed on the site.

New McDonald’s Drive-Thru planned for Glasgow’s east end

I’m sure the application is just a formality – who would DARE block one of these places, and have the franchise’s corporate legal team arrive on their doorstep a few nanoseconds, serving fat lawsuits/challenges, after the refusal was made public?

Be nice to see it though, since the council does say it is looking for ways to tackle fat obesity.



I did two very basic searches for planning permission refusals, and while I can’t claim they were accurate, found that adding ‘Glasgow’ to the search string didn’t return any, although London had quite few, and both Ireland and Wales were listed for more refusals.

There were refusals in Scotland, but not directly, as they applied to branches in shopping centres which had been refused planning permission.

I did see one interesting refusal down south – where the application was rejected due to the proximity of three schools to the site.

Nice one An Bord Pleanala 🙂

14/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

Old Dyson bonus pic

I don’t use pics that have been used as the basis of a post before, unless referring to something, or it’s a different story.

This pic hasn’t been used before, but I lost it back in time, and had to use its poor cousin in this post.

Dyson – Not ALWAYS bagless!

Back then, I wasn’t really sure about the note stuck on it, or how I came to be so positive about what was written on it.

Having just found the better lit version. Now I know!

Tollcross Road Free Dyson Working

Tollcross Road Free Dyson Working

Clean as it looked, I didn’t take it, for various reasons.

It looks like the earliest version, which I did have almost as soon as they appeared.

It had a number of design defects (contrary to the claims of the saintly James Dyson about his exhaustive development and testing of thousands of prototypes), and having traded it for a TV, don’t need spares, or want another of these upright cleaners.

It was odd – despite both sounding and feeling distinctly ‘asthmatic’ as regards its suction, thanks to the clear bin, it could be seen that it was in fact very effective, and the claim about not losing suction ‘as the bag filled’ was justified. But it was just too big and clunky, and I replaced it with cylinder versions, much better. The DCO2 was similarly asthmatic, but again, the consistent suction meant it operated in the same surprisingly effective way, and was fine if you judged its operation on what it lifted, as opposed to how ‘powerful’ it sounded.

I’ve since supplemented that by one of their ‘animal’ grade cylinder models, and it almost rips the carpet off the floor!

But, going back to the original DC01, by far its most irritating design failure was the lack of any protection against jamming of the brush bar, if something like an errant sock, towel, or bed sheet/blanket was pulled in.

The drive belt ran straight from the motor shaft to the brush, so if the brush stopped rotating for any reason, the full shaft power was dropped onto the stalled rubber belt, which promptly got hot and melted through in about 1 nanosecond. There was no point in even thinking about trying to turn the power off – the belt melted almost the instant the brush bar stopped.

I went through a load of belts (not cheap) as it seems to be impossible to prevent SOMETHING from being caught and stopping the brush, even pieces of loose string, or heavy thread.

Later models had a clutch, intended to disconnect the brush if it stopped, but I never had one of those types, so have no idea if it worked, or not.

14/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

FAL 63 on a Falcon

I don’t like showing classic cars when they’re identifiably resting at home, but since this one moved long ago, it’s probably OK.

I’d passed this car fairly often, but it was usually obscured and couldn’t really be seen, and never out of its garage.

But, I did eventually get lucky, and at least get a pic of the rear end.

According to the records, It’s a 1966 Ford Falcon of 4.2 litres (V8).

Described by Ford as 260 cu in or 4.3 litres, the lazy state of tune of the factory engine can be seen its power output of barely 165 BHP. For comparison,  later European V8 engines produced twice that power – and were still fairly lightly tuned, and able cruise the Autobahn at over 150 mph (ca. 241 km/h) in 1980.

Things are just silly now, with crazy powers possible (in ‘ordinary’ production cars) thanks to advances in cylinder head design, valve operation, fuel-injection, mapping, and of course, bolting on turbo and superchargers. On the one hand… nice. On the other, a shame, as it seems to be so easy to do what used to take custom tuning.

If I read the ‘DET’ sticker correctly, then that refers to Detroit.

1966 Ford Falcon [63 FAL]

1966 Ford Falcon [63 FAL]

14/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Just a couple of Glasgow’s pedestrian direction signs, and an observation

I highlighted one of the sign installed a few years ago, for pedestrians and cyclists travelling around the Glasgow area, as it had a bit of an anomaly regarding how long it might take to walk from it to the entrance to Tollcross Park.

I wasn’t sure if they were to be permanent fixtures, or just installed for an event, but it looks as if they’re there to stay, so I thought another couple of examples might be in order, especially since one of them raised another question.

Both examples are just chance grabs, when they caught my eye one day.

The first is pretty simple, but still makes me wonder about some of the detail.

In this case, showing 7 minutes to the Forge Shopping Centre, and 10 minutes to Parkhead Cross.

That’s a difference of 3 minutes. Granted this is a small time interval, but you’d have to trip and fall a few times if you tool that long to get from the Forge to the Cross.

Glasgow Direction Sign

Glasgow Direction Sign

The second one caught my eye after I noticed the time difference between walking to Glasgow Cross, and then on to the City Centre, as seen on the highlighted sign on the right.

A difference of 12 minutes, or around half a mile – just doesn’t feel ‘right’.

This is actually more or less matched by the first sign, which I later noted shows 28 minutes to Glasgow Cross, and 40 minutes to the City Centre, also 12 minutes.

Glasgow Direction Sign

Glasgow Direction Sign

I guess the simple explanation is that a local thinks of these destinations as areas, rather than points (on a map), so perceives those time and distances in terms of reaching the edges of those areas, while the times on the signs are calculated between fixed reference points.


14/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maps, photography | , | Leave a comment

I LIKE furry Pikachu (updated with film location info)

While it’s a long time since I enjoyed watching Pokémon, that doesn’t mean I forget it.

I was amazed to read that some people not only don’t like the furry rendering of Pikachu, they’ve gone so far as to label the little guy “gross”, “grotesque” and “disgusting”.


I saw the pic first, and thought ‘great’ – being just like the image formed in my mind years ago.

Detective Pikachu: ‘Gross’ furry Pokemon divides fans

I doubt those complaining are actually fans, but are really just social media whores, out to drive clicks to their sad, dying accounts.

Looking good Pikachu 🙂

Furry Pikachu Image Warner Bothers

Furry Pikachu Image Warner Bothers

I expected the folk who play with pics to have played with this, but only a couple appeared.

Pikachu Evolution

Pikachu Evolution

Oh well.

Pikachu Fur

Pikachu Fur

Did I really just make a post about Pikachu?


I don’t actually follow this sort of stuff, just catch in interesting news feeds, so I didn’t know this…

Pokemon Detective Pikachu movie filmed in Highlands

Scenes for the upcoming Pokemon Detective Pikachu movie were filmed in the Scottish Highlands, it has emerged.

Parts of Glen Nevis and the surrounding area were temporarily closed to the public in March this year for an unnamed film production.

A trailer released this week for the Pokemon movie includes scenes shot in Glen Affric.

Local Highland councillor Margaret Davidson said the crew were “good neighbours” during the filming.

She said: “They were good users of the landscape and they got on well with the people in the area, even leaving a little bit of money for local projects.”

Ms Davidson, who is also leader of Highland Council, said: “We will have to wait and see what impact the Pokemon movie has on the Highlands.

“But through the years some other films, and television programmes, have left a lasting legacy.

“Plockton is still remembered for Hamish Macbeth, and Glenfinnan for Harry Potter.”

It’s intriguing to see Scotland becoming an increasingly popular destination for film-makers, and while I never expected it to keep on growing, I have watched with interest, if not even amazement, over the years, still haven’t seen anyone come up with a reason.

At risk of ‘bursting the bubble’ (nah, I won’t give names), I can think of at least one location on this island that has very similar locations (I feel really at home there, or did, when I could spend a day or two there).

Thinking of reasons…

I think the Scottish locations are actually easier to get to than some of the alternative places I have in mind – and that can make a big difference if you have to transport a film team and all of its equipment there.

14/11/2018 Posted by | Appeal | , | Leave a comment


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