Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Mackintosh Building S29

I was going to suggest that a new director had been found for the Glasgow School of Art (after, in my opinion, the previous director was ‘persuaded’ to fall on his own sword as a sacrificial offering to the baying hounds demanding a head) surprisingly quickly, such appointments often seem to take a ridiculous amount if time. I’ve never really understood this process – my gut tells me such positions should be filled by someone with intimate knowledge of the job, promoted from within, and selected on the basis of the experience in lower positions in the chain of command.

But I’m generally wrong in that thought, as will be seen if the occupants of such posts are looked at in the case of large companies.

Cynics might suggest in such cases that this is an élite, closed club, where such directors take up such posts for only a few years, as part of a cunning plan. Once they’ve held the post long enough to satisfy their contractual terms, the get a massive ‘Golden Handshake’, and move on to the next one, and so on, until they retire.

However, for the next year at least, it looks as if my preference for someone internal to be promoted to this post is generally satisfied.

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) board has appointed Prof Irene McAra-McWilliam as the school’s new director.

The professor will fill the role for one year before the GSA undertakes a full candidate search.

Along with Prof Ken Neil she has been acting as joint interim director since 16 October.

Prof McAra-McWilliam joined the School of Art as head of School of Design in 2005.

In 2016 she was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list which recognised her work in higher education, innovation and design.

That same year she was appointed deputy director (innovation).

The professor also established the schools Highland Campus at Altyre and created The Innovation School as the GSA’s fifth academic school.

However, the key phrase in that report suggests she could be out after a year, as some ‘high-flyer’ is found, and parachuted into the role of director.

On the other hand, maybe she’ll do such an outstanding job in that year, and her position will be made permanent.

We’ll have to wait and see.

New director for Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow School of Art has appointed a temporary leader following the sudden departure of director Tom Inns in the wake of a storm of controversy over its stewardship of its iconic Mackintosh Building after it was devastated by two major fires in the space of four years.

Former head of design Irene McAra-McWilliam has been appointed director for the next year by the art school’s under-fire board.

Prof McAra-McWilliam has been a deputy director at the institution since 2016, the same year she was awarded an OBE.

The interim appointment has been announced less than a month after the resignation of Prof Inns amid growing questions over the fire protection measures which were in place when the two blazes broke out.

A statement from the art school said its board would be carrying out a “full candidate search” for a replacement for Prof Inns, previously head at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, who was appointed in May 2013.

It added: “The board wishes Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam every success in her new role and is confident that the Art School will continue to be a successful, independent and internationally highly esteemed art school under her leadership.”

Glasgow School of Art appoints new director as fire recovery continues

As usual, this Scotsman story has attracted the usual moron into it comment area, with this gem appearing there.

Antoine Bisset

“…as fire recovery continues”
What world of insanity is this?
The GSA is a pile of rubble. A pastiche may be built, but that’s it.

Far from promoting any of those associated with the place, they should all be jailed for the rest of their lives.

Read more at:

As I said in the opening above… “the previous director was ‘persuaded’ to fall on his own sword as a sacrificial offering to the baying hounds demanding a head“, only Antoine wants ANY of those associated with the place jailed for the rest of their lives. Does that include the cleaners, the kitchen staff, any students that studied there?

Me, for visiting, looking at the place, taking pics, and writing about it?

I can picture Antoine, at the head of the posse and lynch mob, picking out the best tree for the rope 🙂

Quite what this idiot means by finishing with ‘Read more at:’ is indicative of their level of intelligence, since it’s the link to the SAME article their informed and oh-so-helpful comment is posted after.


02/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

After last year’s Bottom Sniffer Beer for dogs – it’s Pawsecco Wine for Cats

While scoping out the stock (or lack of it) in our new Aldi, I came across the partner to last year’s offering for dogs (Bottom Sniffer Beer), it’s Pawsecco Wine for Cats (and Dogs apparently).

So, the Sales and Marketing Department’s opinion of the nation’s favourite pets is… Dogs go around sniffing backsides, while judgemental Cats sip wine and watch them.

Cat Judge

Cat Judge

Pawsecco is described as a specialised blend of Elderflower, Nettle, Ginseng, Lime flower and carrot, created with the advice of veterinary experts.

The treat is said to be non-alcoholic, non-carbonated and grape-free, since grapes can be dangerous for pets.

Suitable for all dogs and cats over the age of 4 months.

Instruction say to ‘Pour over food’.

You probably won’t want to share this along with your pet – unlike your tipple, this one is laced with chicken!

Comes as ‘Pet-House White’ and ‘Pet-House Rose’.

Aldi Pawsecco Cat Wine

Aldi Pawsecco Cat Wine

Although I spotted this in Aldi, after looking online, I see you can pick it up in other shops.

In detail, in case you want to be sure it’s OK.

Pet-House White Composition – An infusion of Elderflower, Linden Blossom, Ginseng, Water, Caramel (Natural), Citric Acid. Preservative: Potassium Sorbate.

Pet-House Rose Composition – An infusion of Elderflower, Linden Blossom, Ginseng, Carrot, Water, Caramel (Natural), Citric Acid. Preservative: Potassium Sorbate

Massive pic fail

I did take a pic of this stuff in our new Aldi – and failed miserably.

I don’t really know what went wrong here, autofocus should preferentially lock onto the nearest item, with a bias towards the centre of the frame.

I have absolutely no idea why this shot is perfectly focussed on the bottle in the background!

Pawsecco In Aldi

Pawsecco In Aldi

My best guess is that in my haste, and having the camera on its side (while those taking pics with their phones seem free to snap away all day, those of us with ‘real’ cameras seem to be frowned upon if we try the same thing in shops, or anywhere), I half-pressed the shutter button and triggered the exposure/focus action before I framed the shot.

02/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

West Boathouse on the River Clyde

After seeing the story about the restoration work set to be carried out on the West Boathouse on the River Clyde, after thinking it might have been derelict, I thought I should really take a chance and try for some pics before anything changed.

This place is long (or wide, depending on how your brain is wired), so there’s no way to get a shot without something expensive, or you have to stitch multiple shots together. I’ll let you guess what I do.

Yes, it was late, not dark, just dusk – I’m surprised this came out so well, even with the low contrast.

Click for bigger.

West Boathouse Stitch

West Boathouse Stitch

There’s no problem if you’re far away, so I reshot the night shot from the previous post.

West Boathouse From Bridge

West Boathouse From Bridge

Then wandered along for a view from the opposite bank. Again, no problem with the length of the building.

Note the shoring on the left.

West Boathouse From Opposite Bank

West Boathouse From Opposite Bank

One end.

West Boathouse East End

West Boathouse East End

And the other – that shoring has been there for years. Another reason for thinking ‘derelict’.

I don’t know if the crazy angle of the boathouse in this pic is down to me, or if it really has subsided to that extent.

But, look at the fence, and the edge of the other building caught in this pic.

West Boathouse West End Shoring

West Boathouse West End Shoring

Not a bad catch, but for the dusk, lack of contrast, and little colour.

But it’s December.

02/12/2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

eBay’s Weegie howler lives on in Argyle Street

eBay’s unwitting derogatory advert to Glaswegians lives on in Argyle street days after it was highlighted by local media.

I suppose that’s what happens when you splash out so much cash on such a thing (it can’t be cheap to have an ad on 50 Argyle Street) – you either get it right and it’s worth it, or you play the “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” card, pretend you meant it, and try to keep a straight face.

(Is that Santa doing his Christmas shopping in Glasgow?  Look at the guy caught bottom left corner of the pic 🙂 )

eBay Weegie Advert Mistake

eBay Weegie Advert Mistake

This is so good…

I thought it deserved a bigger pic.

eBay Glasgow Weegie Advert Howler

eBay Glasgow Weegie Advert Howler

02/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

New Shettleston Aldi opened without me

Hard to believe, I know, but they went ahead with the opening of the new Aldi in Shettleston on Thursday, even though I made it known that I wouldn’t be going out that day, thanks to storm Diana dumping her load on us then, and giving us a couple of days of steady rain.

Oh well.

Things had dried up by Saturday though (I know it’s traditionally fun to mock weather forecasts, but I seriously suggest you mock anyone who does – they really are accurate IF you don’t misinterpret them), so I was out for the day as it was set to be dry (OK, with the odd spot of rain drops).

I was out in the daylight (strange stuff) and stopped as I passed the new Aldi, curious to see if anyone was there.

Not only were there people there, the car park was full to overflowing!

I guess they’ve learned they should have opened here sooner.

I never visit these stores (Aldi and Lidl) during the day, as they are far too busy now.

Late night shopping is the trick with them, and you can have the place almost to yourself.

I dropped in later the same night, and the first thing I noticed was the massive width of the aisles – I can’t see them leaving the place like this. Maybe they do this until they see how sales are going, then add more if the store shows it is busy. They could easily add more shelves and STILL have wide aisles here.

This was actually noticeable in the range of stock, which to my eyes was LESS than in the other three Aldis that can be found within a few miles of this new one.

I had to hunt for some of my usual goodies I wanted to stock up on, and even found a few were missing from the shelves.

As I left, a container lorry loaded with more goodies arrived, and I got treated to a nice display of trailer reversing into the delivery bay – straight in first time. Some drivers are really good.

OH! One other small point.

Aldi provide decent (very) solid bike racks – a trick Lidl hasn’t learnt, even at its newest stores, or recently upgraded older ones either.

By way of comparison, Tesco provides racks, but Morrisons doesn’t.

I find the omission strange these days.

Shettleston Aldi Opened

Shettleston Aldi Opened

02/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Today is Fritters Day

02 December is Fritters Day.

I’m told all you have to is batter something and fry it to make a fritter.

That was a nice short post!

Although it does beg the question (here at least)… is a deep fried Mars Bar a fritter?

That aside, I’m going to confess that although I rather like chip shop fritters (those with a Spam-like filling, although I dread to ask what it actually is), I didn’t find out about them until I was quite grown up.

The revelation came one evening, when a club I was in had an ‘Away Day’ and we were driving home after a long day when it was suggested we make a detour to a chip shop that made ‘The best fritters’. I couldn’t really say ‘No’.

And that was when I got hooked on them – they really were very good.

I sometimes buy similar fritters, but don’t deep fry them (shocking, I know) as I’ve gone over to hot air frying, and it really is better if done properly). Obviously these are being heated rather than cooked from raw – even I know the batter would run all over the inside of my air fryer if I was cooking from scratch.

I did (unavoidably) mention a certain trade name above, and had no idea they actually sold their own fritters.

I found a packet just about to past its ‘Sell Buy’ date a while ago, and snatched it up for a whole 10 p.

What can I say? Delicious, and 10 p well spent.

Spam Fritters

Spam Fritters

02/12/2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment


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