Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Where does the real problem lie?

I saw this story a while ago, but it has lingered in my mind after initially deciding not to bother mentioning it.

Then I saw the Comments Section after it (which you probably know I prefer to refer to as the Moron’s Section), and it changed my mind.

Being in Glasgow, I have to confess to having no idea, or experience, of this business, which I probably wouldn’t touch, but only because it’s a private venture with no accountability, and appears to want lots of ID and personal data.

But I read through more of the ‘comments’ than I really wanted to, and began to wonder what’s wrong with the British (or those that are motivated to spout their bile in comment sections. Has our climate, and ‘Nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ mentality made it almost impossible for us to regard a lack of clothes as meaning only one thing?

I know quite a few people from Continental Europe, and as a cold Scot in a Cold Scotland, I do get surprised with the ease at which they shed their clothes. I’ve become used to it (so this Edinburgh thing didn’t really catch my eye at first, until I saw the comments), and I suspect our Continental cousins would think it a little silly.

In light of that, I think I’d be more worried about being alone with most of the commenters who expressed their ‘shock and horror’ at this Edinburgh novelty business, than with anyone from the business.

As for the business?

Well, I did use the word ‘novelty’ for a reason.

If the initial interest in its novelty aspect wears off, it will disappear since it won’t be sustainable, and all ‘shocked and horrified’ people can trawl the news for something else to comment on.

Otherwise, it will be interesting to revisit the venture in a few years, and see if those expansion plans for Glasgow (seriously?) and Fife have materialised.

The idea is hardly new, but I don’t know if it’s been tried in our chilly and poor land. Hasn’t she read the news, most of Scotland is reportedly queuing up at food banks, and the kids are living in poverty. Unless… the media and politicians are making it all up.

A new naked cleaning business has launched in Edinburgh offering services in the buff for up to £80 an hour.

Glimmer strips back the hassle of household chores by supplying cleaners to carry out tasks such as ironing and hoovering while completely naked.

The company, set up by 25-year-old beautician Victoria Murphy, also has a lingerie and topless option, and has a number of male and female cleaners on its books of all age, shapes and sizes.

Clients are not allowed to touch the cleaners, take pictures or videos or have anybody else in the house for the service, with the price depending on how many clothes the employee has on. The nude cleaning service will set the client back £80 per hour. A cheaper alternative is for the cleaner to be wearing lingerie (£55) or be topless (£65).

Victoria told the Evening News: “There is a certain element of this business that is sexual. But there is a fine line of being in the adult industry and not. There is no sex involved. Glimmer is primarily a cleaning service with all our employees having past experience.”

Clients have to fill out a form and give photo ID before arranging a date and time for a cleaner to attend to their needs. Terms and conditions also need to be accepted ahead of their visit with the cleaner having the option to leave if they are made to feel uncomfortable.

After a positive start in the Capital, Victoria, of Murrayfield, is hoping to expand the business throughout Scotland.

She added: “I’m enjoying establishing Glimmer in Edinburgh and the Lothians but I see huge potential in this and I’m looking to push into Glasgow and Fife in the near future.”

Edinburgh woman, 25, starts up new Scottish naked cleaning business

Groundkeeper Willie

24/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

More vandalism – Skye meteorite raid

The earlier post about scum using the train to get to the old IBM site to vandalise the remains, and my mention of the disappointing surprises I found when exploring historic sites in supposedly deserted and remote places in the far north of Scotland reminded my there was yet another recent story along similar lines.

The same sort of selfish people who do things like endanger the survival of bird species by collecting eggs destroy historic and scientifically significant sites by collecting (stealing) material from them. No less than the birds, once these sites are raided and destroyed (for one person’s satisfaction), they’re gone, forever.

In this case, it was yet another raid on a significant site of special interest on Skye.

Efforts are to be made to protect part of a 60-million-year-old meteorite impact site in Skye.

Geologists believe deposits from the meteorite were dug up and taken away by meteorite hunters earlier this month.

Dr Simon Drake, who discovered the impact site with colleague Dr Andy Beard in 2017, said he was appalled by the damage.

He said plans were being made to shield the affected area, which is only a few metres across, with reinforced glass.

A tiny amount of rare minerals, measuring less than the diameter of a human hair, have been found at the so-called ejecta desposit (sic) site.

One of the minerals, a brown crystal called niobium rich osbornite (TiNbVN), had never been recorded until Drake and Beard’s discovery last year.

The TiNbVN was found together with another mineral, vanadium rich osbornite (TiVN).

On the damage caused to site, Dr Drake said: “Up to a cubic metre of rock has been removed.

“The right-hand side of the outcrop has been cut into using a mini digger and picks and shovels.

“Four or five hundred fist-sized pieces of loose rock have also been taken.”

Meteorite hunters dig up 60 million-year-old site in Skye

Skye is being targetted by these thieves – back in 2014, an incident from 2011 was referred to:

In 2011, tonnes of rock were disturbed at a Jurassic site in what has been described as one of Scotland’s most reckless acts of fossil collecting.

Rock was dug away from cliffs near Bearreraig Bay in an apparent organised search for valuable specimens.

Dr Nick Fraser, keeper of natural sciences at National Museums Scotland, said: “We are excited by the opportunities to work together to bring Skye’s remarkable fossil heritage into greater prominence.

“This is a precious resource which, with support from the wider community, will benefit generations of islanders.”

Dr Neil Clark, of the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow, said Skye’s internationally important fossils included “very rare” dinosaur remains.

He added: “Skye is the only place in Scotland from which dinosaurs have been found and has more than 10% of the world’s Middle Jurassic dinosaur species and more than 15% of the Middle Jurassic dinosaur sites.

“It is important that we look after and properly document these rare and globally significant fossil remains for future generations to study and enjoy.”

‘Reckless hunters’ threaten Dinosaur Isle fossils

Steal Anything

(I even stole that quote!)

24/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish pilot’s secret Spitfire found in peat bog

A remarkable story regarding one of the ‘Pink Spitfires’ of the PRU (Photographic Reconnaissance Unit), and its Scottish pilot, appeared in the news.

The remains of a Spitfire shot down while on a mission to photograph the WW2 German battleship Tirpitz have been recovered from a Norwegian peat bog.

Auchterarder-born pilot, Flt Lt Alastair “Sandy” Gunn, had flown the aircraft out of RAF Wick in Caithness on 5 March 1942.

Gunn was captured, interrogated, imprisoned and later executed after the Stalag Luft III “Great Escape”.

His plane, Spitfire AA810, is to be restored and flown again.

Finding the aircraft, which crashed on a mountainside near the village of Surnadal, south west of Trondheim, has involved months of research and days of painstaking recovery work.

Mr Hoskins paid tribute to Flt Lt Gunn, who was 22 and had flown 32 operational missions when was shot down.

He said the Scot, along with other pilots of the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit, faced huge odds on their missions from Scotland to Norway to find and photograph the Tirpitz.

The pilots chances of survival were extremely low, flying in aircraft stripped of guns and armour to make them lighter and also to carry additional fuel.

Mr Hoskins said: “The pilots’ only defence was evade and escape using the speed and agility of the aircraft.

Scot’s secret mission Spitfire found in Norwegian peat bog

I learned of the PRU many years ago, when looking for old aerial images at the National Museum of Scotland (before Google Earth!).

Quite a unit, as noted the aircraft were unarmed and lightened, and pics they came back with from sorties sometimes show them being chased by enemy aircraft, with following weapons fire splashing into the sea behind them.

Sadly, after being shot down and captured:

The pilot, who refused to give details of his missions, was later moved to Stalag Luft III in Poland and was a key figure in the prisoner of wars’ escape tunnel digging.

Flt Lt Gunn was among those to escape the camp, but he was captured after two days on the run and shot. He was 24.

The recovery of the aircraft will also feature in BBC Four’s Digging for Britain.

This image of a PRU aircraft shows the light colour (intended to aid concealment against the sky) and lack of weapons.

PRU Spitfire

PRU Spitfire

24/11/2018 Posted by | military, photography, Surveillance, Transport, World War II | , , | 1 Comment

Giant chainmail box begins around Mackintosh’s Hill House

I didn’t realise I’d made the mistake (way back at the start) of referring to the protective box being erected around Mackintosh’s Hill House as a ‘glass box’.

I hadn’t originally meant it literally, as the initial stories clearly referred to the box as allowing ventilation, meaning that it would protect the house from further wet weather damage, while allowing the water damaged structure to dry out slowly/naturally, while remedial work was carried out.

But the idea stuck, and I did reinforce it by referring to another protected house, in Argentina, which actually is in a real glass box.

The project is now underway, and the much better description of a ‘chainmail box’ has been applied.

I don’t think the initial stories gave that sort of detail, but it does make the plan clearer now.

(I really must try to get a proper look since I have no excuse not to. The train to Helensburgh passes not that far away.)

The first pieces of a pioneering plan to save Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s domestic masterpiece from the driving West Coast wind and rain have been put in place with work now underway on the giant chainmail ‘box’ that will protect the property from the elements.

For more than 100 years, The Hill House in Helensburgh has been absorbing the worst effects of the weather putting the building and its unique interior at risk.

Now, a unique chainmail structure is being built around the property which will allow conservation work to continue and the property to remain visible to the public.

This semi-permeable metallic mesh pavilion, designed by architects Carmody Groarke, will allow the building to dry out over a number of years while conservation work continues.

The public will be encouraged to come onto the site and see how the project is progressing, with a community hut to open over the winter.

The work has been possible due to a public fundraising campaign which has generated £1.3m since February 2018.

A push to find the final £200,000 required to complete the work is now underway.

The total cost of the Box project is £4.5 million.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House gets giant chainmail ‘box’

As usual, The Scotsman’s ‘Comment Area’ after this story would be better described as a “Moron’s Area”.

I’m beginning to miss the days when my clever adblocker used to interpret the comment service used as ‘dangerous’ and blocked it.

Maybe it should have a setting for ‘useless’, and I should let it block the comment again, on that basis.

Hill House Enclosure Via NTS Image

Hill House Enclosure Via NTS Image

24/11/2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Someone has a sense of humour, or massive optimism, at Poundland

Passing through Poundland recently, I spotted some 3-drawer storage units, stacked almost out of sight in a corner next to the shelved stock.

Looked handy for some stuff I am currently storing by the method of ‘making a pile’, so I picked up a couple.

This is what they look like.

Pictured like this, they could be quite sizeable (but don’t forget, this cost £1, or about 33 p per drawer, plus that supporting framework).


Poundland 3 Drawer Storage Unit

Poundland 3 Drawer Storage Unit


And this is the label attached to them.

Note the line: Handy for clothes, etc!

Hmmm… clothes?


Poundland Storage Unit Label

Poundland Storage Unit Label


I thought I’d try the drawers for size before I started stuffing clothes into them.

I may have made a mistake, by carelessly almost filling a couple of the drawers with watches, rather than clothes.

Maybe I could squeeze in one or two ‘trainer socks’.


Poundland Storage Unit Reality

Poundland Storage Unit Reality

Sad to say, they actually lose a lot of space to that clunky frame around them, and they’ve turned out to be just too small for even the little electronic goodies I had intended to tidy into them.


I’ll have to… repurpose them.

24/11/2018 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

At least SOME people are open to forward thinking

I have to confess to being a reasonably well-qualified electrical/electronic person, so I find it hard to understand the general negativity and hostility I get whenever I dare mention electric or battery powered vehicles.

The response, before even considering the subject is almost always the joke about milk-floats, or the the media hyped lack of range (aka the wonderful invention of ‘range anxiety’ which is about as useful a concept as ‘road rage – both give the media a tag to hang stories on, but mean nothing), followed by the claim that there’s nowhere to charge a BEV (battery electric vehicle), so you will be stranded with a dead car if you dare go further than the end of your street.

I just don’t bother arguing, especially when they start quoting the loony claims about how EVs will NEVER work, and, since I can’t afford a car of any sort, don’t have the option of countering with, ‘Here, look at mine’.

I generally feel we’re around 5 years behind the US in this, which is a shame, but probably not a surprise in a country now famous for having great engineering ideas, but failing to capitalise on many of them.

Glasgow is at least trying – as I find myself saying all too often, Glasgow City Council comes in for a lot of negativity, but the reality is that this is ‘institutionalised’, probably from the same few disgruntled sources (with their own agendas, or personal issues), and has little basis in fact. The council may not be perfect (what council is?), but I suggest not listening to its detractors, who have had years/decades of fun at it’s expense, and use your own brain, not theirs.

MORE than 60 new charging points for electric vehicles are to be provided in Glasgow over the next six months.

Glasgow City Council has started work on an electric vehicle strategy and was recently awarded £625,000 from Transport Scotland to further develop the charging network.

There are currently 101 public charge points at 36 locations throughout the city. This is to increase to around 165 by the end of March

During the last 12 months (November 2017 to October 2018), nearly 33,000 charging sessions were initiated by more than 2,530 distinct users in Glasgow.  This was a 15 per cent increase in the number of users compared with the previous 12 months (up from 2,200).

A report updating councillors states: “This trend is set to continue and, if local trends follow national projections, this figure will rise to approximately 25,000 users over the next five years.”

The charging sessions over the 12 months consumed more than 281,000 kilowatts of electricity, enough for nearly one million miles of emission-free travel.

GLASGOW To Get Plugged Into Becoming An “Electric Vehicle-Friendly Destination”

Oh look…

Same charging site as in the quoted story, but a different charger! (I think mine is older – I got there first 🙂 )

Electric Charging

Electric Charging

24/11/2018 Posted by | council, Transport | , | Leave a comment

School hours AND a grumpy wee Jobsworth

I had to go into Glasgow to pick up some forms.

I didn’t realise the place I had to go to operated on ‘School hours’, so my first trip was a waste of time as I arrived there 5 minutes after it closed. My fault, so no problem.

While the revisit a few days later was fine in terms of time, I was less impressed when I was thrown out, and not with a nice “Sorry, would you mind waiting while I deal with this client?”

I don’t recall the exact order I was given, as I was taken by surprise.

I stepped back out, had a little ‘fume’, and took a pic to show why.

Concessionary Travel  Card Unit

Concessionary Travel Card Unit

TWO signs warning visitors that they should only enter when the green light is showing.

My colour vision may be the usual poor male version, but I’m pretty sure that’s a green light showing.

Since I know I’ll be back here some time soon, I really did just bite my lip, NOT point to the illuminated green light, smiled, and asked for some forms – I almost expected to be refused more than one, and be told I could only have one.

I didn’t ask, but got a lecture about the forms’ requirements.

I’m wondering how my next visit here will go.

Both the gentleman above, and his predecessor (both clearly more than old enough to qualify for a concessionary travel card – and walking with sticks too), came out of the unit scowling and swearing, none to complimentary about the person behind the desk.

I wonder if I should buy some ‘Bravery Pills’ from eBay before I go back?

And keep my crash helmet on.

No, better not. I’ll probably get thrown out if I do that.

24/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

At least this IBM story did not refer to ‘UrbEx’

I knew the old IBM plant quite well at one point, both as IBM and the later buyer (I forget their name, sorry). Our engineers used to do quite a lot of work in there, and I had to go check this sometimes, or evaluate new contracts.

Originally a name I knew from the electronics boom that brought IBM to the area, I was probably one of those who could have been described as ‘shocked and stunned’ as the industry collapsed, and IBM began to close down and withdraw, and sell of part of the plant to others.

I recall being there while some parts of the place were being demolished, while other were being rebuilt/remodelled to suit the buyer who had taken over part of the site.

I was intrigued to read that vandals were using the local train service to get to the old place, and cause trouble.

All trains are to stop calling at IBM station in Inverclyde to prevent yobs alighting to cause trouble, The Scotsman has learned.

Hourly services to the station on the Glasgow-Wemyss Bay line will be suspended from 9 December.

It served the recently-demolished IBM factory in the former Spango Valley, which closed in 2016.

Fewer than 800 passengers a year – around two a day – still use it.

ScotRail said the station “was becoming a centre for antisocial and criminal behaviour”.

It said the move had been requested by local people and backed by British Transport Police.

The train operator said it would continue to maintain the station, and would review the decision next year.

It said services could resume if the factory site is redeveloped.

Trains to skip stop IBM station to curb ‘anti-social and criminal behaviour’

I’m glad the media seems to have fallen out of love with UrbEx (Urban Exploration) stories at the moment, which it usually likes to report on negatively, with talk of trespass and damage (which actual UrbExers are not involved in), or the exact opposite, as it splashes UrbEx pics over it pages as a ‘feature’ (sadly, according to one or two UrbExers I know, without paying for permission or honouring copyright, and ignoring them when challenged).

I used to be dismayed when I visited historic sites in places such as the far north of Scotland, many of them in desolate areas (chosen for their isolation). I found it hard to believe that vandals were even prepared to make the effort to get to these places, and be carrying fuel etc in order to set fire to them and burn them out completely. I used to think being in the middle of nowhere, miles from roads or paths would give them some protection.

I thought they’d be too attached to their beds, and booze, to even travel so far from those home comforts.


I think sites closer to populated places and people are probably safer, at least that was what I eventually found.

So, on this occasion at least, UrbEx was not listed as part of the problem.

IBM Halt Notice

Interestingly, this notice was pictured there back in April (this year, 2018).

Pity abellio/ScotRail CAN’T SPELL!

I hope the area has a nice time when it goes out with the station.

See A world without outwith

IBM Halt Notice

IBM Halt Notice

24/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

An unusual Christmas lights pic (for me)

I had to be in Glasgow yesterday, during daylight!

I passed George Square, which is STILL being ‘assembled’, despite having had the Christmas Lights Switch On last weekend.

So, I had to have an unusual, for me at least, daytime pic of the Christmassy stuff going on there.

George Square Daytime Christmas

George Square Daytime Christmas

I didn’t know I’d be back a few hours later, so there’s more, and brighter.

The lit thing on the left is an eatery in the Christmas Market, which is also being installed now. I think they’re doing to have to work hard AND fast – the market is due to open in only a couple of days, on Sunday 25th!

Last year I thought it was one of the fairground rides, as the bottom was obscured and couldn’t be seen until the market opened, and I learned better!

George Square Nightime Christmas

George Square Nightime Christmas

I’m still being surprised when the compact produces decent night pics.

It really does ‘fall off a cliff’ as the light falls at higher ISO, and the images suddenly get mushy and ‘noisy’, but until that point they come out well, and I was even able to lift shadow detail from this one, without the noise becoming objectionable.

24/11/2018 Posted by | council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Today is Sardine Day

24 November is Sardine Day.

I had no idea that so many people think sardines are ‘gross’, which is why I’m giving this day a mention.

It’s not something I’d even thought about, I just eat them like any other fish because they’re a source of things not generally found in other food, such as B12 and Omega Fatty Acids.

Not much more to say.

I thought I’d go with this pic – frankly, I couldn’t find an actual pic of an open tin of sardines that looked anything like an actual tin!

Dumb Smart Sardine Pic

Smart Sardine Pic

24/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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