Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Christmassy fun

A couple of oddities/observations as I wandered around last night.

First was in the St Enoch Christmas Market, where there seemed to be an odd, selective, power failure.

I thought one stall was just setting up as it was in darkness, but then noticed a lot of them were dark, with the stallholder just standing around. Not good for food stalls.

I’m guessing that the power distribution was allocated randomly, or perhaps just as stalls were completed as the market was being set up.

It all looked a little odd, as the stalls were dark, but the attached decorations were lit, as seen below.

It’s also a little odd seeing it all so quiet – but closer to Christmas, if it’s like last year, this scene will make a sardine tin look half empty as the punter pack into the space.

St Enoch Market Power Fail

St Enoch Market Power Fail

Then there was Hanover Street, which was closed at the George Square end while the square was being set up for the lights and fair.

This was the shot I wanted.

Hanover Street Closed

Hanover Street Closed

Could I get it, quickly and easily?


Despite signs and cones at the other end of the street informing drivers that it was closed at George Square, a steady stream of morons kept arriving at this barrier (which at least demonstrated their skill at performing 3-point turns – probably because they get plenty of practice!).

Serious thought – instead of picking on the elderly, people with glasses, or other easily identified and targeted groups to ban from driving for no good reason, why not use the CCTV cameras and ANPRS to identify ACTUAL PROVEN motoring morons such as the one seen below, and serve them automatic bans, or retests, before they are allowed back on the road?

Drivers like this, wandering around without a clue about what is going on around them, not paying attention, are a greater danger than any group which is simply picked out because of some visible feature. I seem to recall that method was used to fill… concentration camps!

Hanover Street Moron

Hanover Street Moron

20/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Surveillance, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

When Larry the cat couldn’t knock on the door

This story reminded me of another cat.

My apologies for this being a link rather than the actual embedded video.

Sadly, there seems to be a bug in WordPress’ code that means a preview of such BBC embeds shows them to be operational, and showing the expected embedded video.

But, when it is actually published online, the code that embed the video from the link has been stripped off by WordPress.

So, You’ll have to make the effort, and click on the link below for the full feline fun.

But I’m not deleting it after having had a smile myself – you deserve to see it too, regardless of WordPress’ heavy hand.

The ONLY sensible thing I’ve ever seen about Brexit, and probably the last!

Brexit Cat

Brexit Cat

20/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Surprise find in The Works

I dived through one of ‘The Works’ shops the other day – and was ‘shocked and stunned’ by one of the items I saw on sale.

A Science Club Crystal Radio!

Science Club Crystal Radio Kit

Science Club Crystal Radio Kit

I really never expected to see such a thing on offer today.

Possibly the lowest form of technical ‘magic’ ever, it was the last thing I thought I’d see on offer for little mites who come out of womb practically clutching a mobile phone.

I’m almost tempted to reach into my junk box and put one together, just to see if these things still work.

I gave up on amateur radio years ago, when it became a ‘cheque book hobby’, and all I saw was ‘amateurs’ competing to see who had the newest, most expensive, factory produced ‘box’ with the most features.

I also gave up just listening to radio as users went digital, and most of the interesting stuff went silent.

We even lost the joy of listening to Soviet and Communist State propaganda when the Iron Curtain fell, the Berlin Wall came down, and the East vs West short-wave broadcasts were silenced.

Apart from our national broadcasters with their high power transmitters, I wonder what such a receiver delivers nowadays?

Sad to say I don’t even have a radio set in the house that has been used for decades now – I get all my ‘radio’ via the Internet.

Last time I could be bothered to power up one of the old ‘real’ radios, the bands were so quiet I almost thought it was bust, but it wasn’t.

I used to waste hours trying to pick out English language from the mush, align the aerial, and try to identify where the broadcast was originating from, to work out how far away the source was.

But not now.

And now, the DIY version

If £5 seems to much for something that might not be worth the effort, how about making your own?

I found this gem while checking on the the above commercial item.

DIY Crystal Set

DIY Crystal Set

Details here:

Building a simple crystal radio.

Worth having a look at the other projects shown there, for example:

A 10 minute railgun

Military should take note, they could have saved billions 😀

20/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Purrple Cat Cafe sign 2

A few days ago I mentioned spotting a second sign attached to the Purrple Cat Cafe, but given it was dark and I was hurrying home, I had no chance of a closer look, or a daytime pic to see what it really looked like.

That situation has now been remedied.

First, a decent daytime pic to show what I’d missed earlier. As per the pics in the post mentioned above, it is almost invisible, being edge on as you cross the road towards the café. Then, when you are there, it’s above your head, so unlikely to be spotted, unless you’re watching for flying cats.

It’s obvious if you approach from the side – but that’s not my usual route.

Purrple Cat Cafe Sign 2

Purrple Cat Cafe Sign 2

A few hours later, it was dark – and the night shot was even better.

Purrple Cat Cafe Sign 2 Lit

Purrple Cat Cafe Sign 2 Lit

Interestingly, this shot was taken with the compact camera, not the dSLR (which was packed away and too hard to reach).

But it had the advantage of being set to compensate for the illumination, and somehow was shooting in the dark at ISO80, which I had not set.

Clearly, this has come out a LOT better than Purrple Cat Cafe sign – (problems!).

What’s that crowd for?

When I looked around the corner, I spotted a crowd gathered at one of the café window.

Fighting my way to the front, I found that the café kittens were putting on a show, as their enclosure had been placed on the window ledge.

They’re hard to get decent pics of, as the grids and stuff on the windows upset the autofocus, plus reflections of course, but one shot worked.

And, of course, by the time I get there, they’re tired out and having a rest.

Purrple Cat Cafe Kittens

Purrple Cat Cafe Kittens

20/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

George Square Christmas lights

So, to follow up on the George Square lights post, I did a quick divert and collected the George Square Christmas lights, trying to stand on the same spot.

As can be seen, after my observation that the square was a little bare compared to the same time last year, the explanation is now obvious – the space has been left for the shows, that’s fairground if you’re not local.

Unlike previous years, the square has been kept closed by perimeter fencing after the big Switch on, while the fair is being built.

If you don’t already know, you can watch the square live via the council’s webcam

George Square webcam

George Square Christmas Lights

George Square Christmas Lights

And this was my try for the second pic.

That seems to be one FAT tree we’ve been gifted from Norway this year.

George Square Christmas Lights 2

George Square Christmas Lights 2

The multiple Christmas trees along the edges of the square look good when they’re aligned.

George Square Trees

George Square Trees

Did I mention the barriers? There are barriers.

George Square Trees

George Square Trees

Alternate alignment.

George Square Christmas Trees Aligned

George Square Christmas Trees Aligned

I couldn’t resist one more ‘chance’ shot as I was walking away.

This is the area where the Christmas Fair will be erected next week, but at the moment is just being used as a muster area since it can’t be used for anything else.

George Square Christmas Fair Area

George Square Christmas Fair Area

I mentioned trying new settings for my low light hand-held pics, mainly moving down from the high ISO numbers I let the camera wander up to.

It seems to work quite well where things are bright, but the shutter speeds suddenly disappear down a hole when it gets darker, and shots become a lot harder to catch.

And ‘grab’ shots in failing light are very hit-and-miss, since it’s not possible to hold the camera still long enough for most of them.

I tried to catch a couple of interesting cars – not even close! But the old setting would have delivered a rough, but at least useable, image.

Maybe I should just get a smartphone.

20/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Splitting Hairs

Another from the shutter mural collection (glad I never featured them all together, they come in handy when the weather is dire, or I have nothing current to hand, but that never happens now – TIME is the real limiting factor).

It’s another of those slightly weird concepts, a bit freaky and psychedelic.

A couple of observations…

That looks like TWO CCTV cameras on the fa̤ade Рclearly, you can NEVER have too much CCTV!

I’m surprised the sign doesn’t have at least one apostrophe randomly thrown in somewhere – there are just so many opportunities.

And now I can add a new ‘find’ I made recently, when I discovered ‘Gents’ is not generally considered to be an acceptable abbreviation for ‘Gentlemen’, but refers to a public convenience, aka Public Lavvies, or even ‘bogs’.

I’m sure you can extend the list 😉

Splitting Hairs Shutter Mural

Splitting Hairs Shutter Mural

20/11/2018 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Today is Entrepreneurs’ Day

20 November is Entrepreneurs’ Day.

I’m afraid it’s another of those wandering days, not celebrated on a given day/date, but on the third Thursday of November each year. So, next year will see this day fall on 19 November 2019.

Beginning in 2010, this is an annual event to recognise those who have very possibly created an empire from absolutely nothing, sometimes making themselves rather wealthy in the process, but that’s not guaranteed.

If things go wrong and you’re lucky, they might just end up where they started, after lots of effort.

If not, they could end up with nothing.

Many end up with so-called ‘lifestyle’ businesses, which is not all bad, meaning they run at ‘break even’, and their business funds life for them and their family, maybe even comfortably so if things go well.

I’m trying not to drop into ‘Cynical Mode’, having had a few goes at this (with others), only to find that so-called ‘friends’ were plotting in the background each time. The only good thing about that was that we could see what was coming once they broke cover and showed their true colours so, although we couldn’t thwart their plans, we were able to get out before they got our money as well.

Pity, as it’s kind of nice to be your own boss.

And that’s WHY I bothered to mark this day – to post a warning to anyone going down this road.

Be sure your friends ARE friends, and not using you as a step up in their own advancement.

It’s something that can be both hard to see in advance, and hard to believe.

I was looking for a clever graphic to go with this post, but they were all too long and patronising  –  so this simple one will have to do.

Betrayal Trust

20/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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