Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Glasgow ‘gridlock’ and damned cycling activists!

I hinted at the increasingly irritating attitude I see being displayed by ‘activists’ in many fields these days.

Regardless of any improvements in their pet subject, they carry on making grossly exaggerated claims to further their aims, as if they were afraid that the simple act of acknowledging and praising any achievements made will some endanger any future progress.

I made a specific reference in a recent post Fascinating survey and report on Glasgow cycling spotted

In that, I quoted one person who stated, “She added: “Now that I have a young daughter, I have become even more aware of the poor air quality on Glasgow’s streets and cannot believe that the city centre is still gridlocked with cars.

As I said in that post, I’d like to know just where this city centre that is “still gridlocked with cars” is.

Before anyone has a go, I don’t deny that both the Kingston Bridge and the Clyde Expressway are gridlocked at peak times (an only those times), but they are NOT the city centre. And if the parts they feed into are jammed, that’s not a city centre problem – it’s suffering the effect of having a huge volume of traffic directed into it.

I took a couple of pics this weekend, December 02, at 17:15, a Saturday evening on the fourth weekend before Christmas.

That should be a busy time.

This was the view along Trongate.

Traffic is indeed at a standstill, but that may have something to do with the traffic lights.

Gridlocked Glasgow Trongate

Gridlocked Glasgow Trongate

I actually cycle this road every week, around 17:00 to 18:00 and later, and before anyone jumps in and says this is not typical – IT IS!

The road is so quiet I can understand why other cyclist often ignore the red lights (I value my life more than them).

It’s a pig, as the reds are timed to catch a cyclist at EVERY set from Stockwell Street to Glasgow Cross. I wait at every set alone, as the cars clear the junction well ahead of me.

I was scared to come here a few months ago, after I read the ‘Cycling Activists’ web sites and blogs about their ‘Near Death’ experiences on streets such as this.

In reality, you could probably fall asleep from the sheer boredom of cycling here.

I turned the camera into Stockwell Street.

It was completely blocked – with pedestrians!

Gridlocked Glasgow Stockwell Street

Gridlocked Glasgow Stockwell Street

Reality check

I hear some calling FIX!

And, to a degree, they’d be correct, in so far as the pics are ‘cherry picked’.

BUT, what would have been the point of showing a static pic with a load of traffic in each direction? I could have snapped that just a few seconds later, and claimed it was ‘gridlock’. Until someone pointed out the distance between each vehicle, which is larger in moving, as compared to static traffic, and showed that claim to be false

I suppose I should shoot video.

I could also have taken pics a few minutes earlier when I was crossing Hope Street from Waterloo Street.

The place could be made to look like utter gridlock in a still pic. It’s busy at this time of day, but not gridlocked or jammed (unless you get the idiots that insist on blocking the junction by not waiting until it is clear before driving on to it, so blocking it when the lights change).

But this is really only the effect of the traffic lights stopping the traffic.

I stand by my pics as being honest, and able to stand up to questions about them (to anyone prepared to listen to the answers).

As you cycle through this junction (it is now a cycle route with its own lights giving priority), you realise what appears to be very busy is actually a side effect of the traffic lights halting flow in each direction, causing traffic to back up, and when you cycle through it, it;s suddenly quiet and ‘deserted’.

As I wait in the cycle lane on red, I see many cyclists ignore all the lights (including the Green Man on the pedestrian crossing phase) and just cycle through here regardless, as there is no traffic moving – but that’s due to the lights, NOT gridlock!



03/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

George Square’s naughty reindeer, and neat Nativity

Since a break in the wet weather let me take a quick look at George Square now that the setting up is finally done, the reindeer were an obvious target, as they’re kind of awkward to picture, being made up of white LEDs – they just morph into a single mass if you don’t choose your angle well.

But the problem was different this time.

One was clearly suffering from a hangover, and its head was flashing off and on (more ‘off’ than ‘on’).

I had a few tries at catching the whole thing lit, but gave up as the time ‘on’ was so short.

I almost caught it once.

Reindeer On

Reindeer On

I know it looks ‘off’, but of you compare it to this fully ‘off’ head, then you can see I did almost manage to catch it.

Reindeer Off

Reindeer Off

But, I had better things to do, so gave up.

It was still relatively quiet, although the Christmas Market had already gone from reasonably quiet, to absolutely mobbed shortly after 6 pm. I’d walked in to it just before 6, and had been enjoying a quiet wander, and didn’t notice it had filled up like a sardine tin once the shops closed (at 6), and the crowd had just migrated. It took me nearly 10 minutes to shuffle out through the mob.

They weren’t bothered with anything else, so I took the chance of a quick pic of the Nativity scene.

George Square Nativity

George Square Nativity

I think I’ve been luckier than in past years here.

It’s lit (I’m sure there have been problems with its lighting in the past) so you can see what’s inside the glass box – added after somebody thought it would be clever to steal the baby one year!

Even the reflections from the lights in the Square aren’t obscuring the interior, and I didn’t have to avoid the throngs of doting parents wanting pics of their sprogs standing in front of the crib.

Getting there early seems to have advantages.

It’s odd, with the slightly different camera setting I’m playing with this year, as even the compact (all I can carry at the moment, most of the time) is producing half decent captures that I don’t have to process (other than for framing) to alter the exposure.

Previously, I’ve processed the exposure for almost every night or low-light pic, and it’s odd to find that even trying this only for curiosity just produces a result I don’t like, and I go with the pic as taken.

03/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

GoMA Christmas project?

I’ve passed GoMA (Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art) quite a few times since it’s Christmas lights went up.

I’ve taken a few pics too.

But I don’t seem to be happy with any of them.

When I get home and look at what I’ve caught, they just seem to lack something I saw when I was there.

Could GoMA be this year’s ‘project’?

Last time, I felt that the right view just couldn’t be caught without standing in the street, and that’s not really a good idea here, especially in the dark.

Prior to that, I thought it was hard to get a clear view as people keep stopping on this corner, making it hard to get the whole width included without someone’s head or back in the way, obscuring a lot of the view.

And the overall width is large, even a reasonably wide lens can’t catch the whole scene from edge to edge.

I’m trying to avoid stitching images, and the distortion that brings, which I cannot correct.

I tried a different viewpoint, and found that it was possible to get into the doorway of one of the buildings, and avoid the columns standing there, so almost manage the whole scene.

But it also had to be corrected for perspective distortion, as the camera also has to be tilted a lot to get the top of the tower in (so ignore the black bits, I didn’t edit them out).

GoMA Christmas

GoMA Christmas

This almost works, except for that damned lamppost!

I guess I could use Photoshop (if I was wealthy), it has a tool to combine pic to deal with such things, I believe.

I will have to try to keep this view in my head, and try to find a better position based on it, to get the whole width in, and have all the light from side to side.

03/12/2018 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Sauce in the Square – Haggis and Buckfast, and even more Buckfast

After noticing reports of Mac and Cheese with Haggis and Buckfast sauce being on offer in George Square’s Christmas Market, I got lucky, the weather dried up, and I got in to see it for myself.

It’s true!

Mac And Cheese And Haggis And Buckfast

Mac And Cheese And Haggis And Buckfast

I’m clearly out of touch with reality, or something, as I wouldn’t even think of coughing up £7 for takeaway ‘mac & cheese’ (regardless of Haggis and Buckfast sauce). Aldi and Lidl sell a WHOLE TIN of mac & cheese for 40 p (and I wouldn’t be worrying about needing a toilet soon after eating it).

The stall has the evidence on display.

Haggis Tin And Buckfast Bottle

Haggis Tin And Buckfast Bottle

I don’t know about the Buckfast (still hasn’t passed these lips – in either direction), but I can thoroughly recommend the tinned haggis.

I’m sure some puritans wouldn’t even consider the stuff, and taste it let alone eat it, but I promise you, it’s better than many so-called ‘real’ haggis sold in pretend casings for you to boil or steam yourself. I’ve had some of those that were so bad I didn’t even get as far as tasting them, as I almost threw up from the smell of the hot contents when I cut into them.

Tinned haggis, reliable AND tasty.

Buckfast is not in hiding in George Square, and made another appearance at a Mulled Wine stall, in plain sight.

George Square Market Buckfast Mulled Wine

George Square Market Buckfast Mulled Wine

03/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Roof Over Your Head Day

03 December is Roof Over Your Head Day.

I think this is the second year I’ve noted this day.

Last year’s post noted some details, (so no need to just repeat them here) and even a roof themed incident not far from me.

One unfortunately noticeable feature that has grown in Glasgow over the years has been the similarity it now has with London, specifically the number of people sitting in the street and waving a paper cup at passers-by, or simply walking up to people and asking for money.

When my work used to take me down there for extended periods (in other words I was living down there for short periods) that was one of the novelties I was glad to leave behind, as we didn’t have that up here (then).

It’s grown, a lot, and the shame (to me) is not the homeless, but the professionals who mingle with them, and appear to be able to make a good living by pretending to be homeless. When I worked in Glasgow, I could spot them as they made the same plays to punters time after time. I even had them run away from me sometimes, since I could remember their faces, and ask them embarrassing questions as they approached me multiple times on the same day.

I was approached as recently as last night, probably by someone genuine, who had clearly been coached to be polite, reasonable, and non-provocative (sadly, they still looked like a scary crack-head), even giving their name, which I doubt was real as it would better have suited a ‘celebrity’.

It’s funny, in the non-funny sense, but I feel I’m not that different from someone like that nowadays – but I’m not going into my circumstances. I’ve said too much already.

Crucially, I have managed to keep a ‘Roof Over My Head’, thanks to making a ‘worst case plan’ a long time ago, and sticking with it.

Unfortunately, it comes with a Council Tax demand in perpetuity.

Roof Over Your Head Day

Roof Over Your Head Day


03/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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