Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Quarry dispute STILL dragging on near New Lanark

I was surprised to see this story appear in the news tonight, as it’s years since I remember seeing the first stand-off between the heritage village of New Lanark, and the quarry owners who sought to expand their operation, and come closer to the village and its features.

I’m probably biased, so will avoid passing comment on either, just note the continuation.

I’ve known the site from the days before its restoration, when it was mostly just a derelict collection of buildings, and a relic of Robert Owen and David Dale’s social experiment.

Back then, I think the only people moving were those living in the houses, still in their original condition, and with an uncertain future.

It was years before I was able to go back, and discover that there was the beginning of a restoration project there, although it was still largely derelict, like the factory buildings. At least it survived long enough for that to happen.

I mainly went back to walk along the Clyde, and see the power station I had once managed to visit, and used to wonder what people were talking about when the enthused about the ‘Falls of Clyde’. The water was diverted to the station then, so the chances of seeing any ‘Falls’ were slim to nil, until viewing days were organised, and the water was allowed to flow to the falls. I did eventually manage to see them (and the crowds!).

I haven’t been able to visit the place for years, but at least saw most of the restoration (and that horrible hotel, sorry – it may help, but I don’t have to like it) completed. The only part that was yet to be completed when I was last able to get there was a row of houses, to the right as you enter the village by the access road. I’m guessing that’s probably done by now.

That reminds me of one of the aspects of success that wasn’t so good, not getting to drive down that access road.

Since there were so many, visitors were expected to pull into the ‘new’ car parks provided at the top of the hill above the village, and walk there. That would have been fine, but most people I took there had difficulty walking, and that hill was just bad news. Back then, there was no option on offer for those with problems. That said, I never saw more than a handful of cars in the huge car parking area, and eventually just started driving down, as I had done in the past.

Funny, I was there so many times, and took so many people to see it so often, it feels like I was there just last week, and not the decades that have now passed.

Not my pic, but kind of what it looked like when I was there.

I’ve got loads of pics, but they’re locked away on prints, yet to be digitised. Maybe one day.

From the article referred to, it looks as if we may not have to wait long for a ruling.

Will it be final?

Or will there be more appeals?

08/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s Miles Better – our best campaign, ever

Wandering through Kelvingrove I notice the small display that remember the “Glasgow’s Mile Better” campaign of the 1980s, and it reminded of an article I tripped over recently, and unfortunately immediately dismissed and forgot, as it was slightly derogatory of then Lord Provost of Glasgow, Michael Kelly.

The story seemed to promote the idea that he and his campaign were problematic.

At the time, I was well aware of who Michael Kelly was, and what he was doing to improve Glasgow, and how approachable and realistic he was.

The only problem I recall from that time was that he VASTLY improved the city’s image worldwide.

I guess that must have upset some people.

He was the patron and honorary president of our CB (Citizen’s Band radio) club, and really did have a CB rig/radio in the council’s Rolls Royce of the time (registration number G 0 ), and could actually be contacted and spoken to while being chauffeured between various events.

I spotted this gem recalling one of the campaign’s successes, born of an attempt to suppress it!

The campaign ran across UK media and was supported by extensive PR initiatives. One of the most remarkable PR stories concerned Glasgow’s rival city Edinburgh. One of the Struthers recommendations was to target tourists to Edinburgh during the Edinburgh Festival so a modest campaign was booked to run on the sides of six Edinburgh buses. In the eighties, Edinburgh buses were owned by Edinburgh Council which took umbrage at the thought of Glasgow being promoted on their buses and as a result, they banned the campaign. Within days the story of Edinburgh banning Glasgow had gone worldwide and even made the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The coverage was immense and the Miles Better campaign owed a huge debt of gratitude to the City of Edinburgh for their assistance in promoting Glasgow to a global audience.

Even so, some cheeky people still say “Glasgow’s Miles Better…than Edinburgh“.

Glasgow's Miles Better

Glasgow’s Miles Better

Apparently Glasgow then only 3,000 hotel rooms.

It’s tourist information centre was a 25-year-old hut planted on George Square.

But, the same year the campaign started, the Greater Glasgow Tourist Board (GGTB) was established, and The Burrell Collection opened in Pollok Park.

A report dated 2016 indicated there were more 7,500 hotel room in the city, with a further 1,500 to be added.

I found a nice media pic from 1984.

Michael Kelly with Sally Magnusson in March 1984 (Image Media Scotland)

TV Presenter Sally Magnusson with Michael Kelly in March 1984 (Image Media Scotland)

Bonus fact

I’ve just been told the campaign was run by a  Scottish advertising agency, Struthers Advertising.

And that, in turn was run by a neighbour of mine, commercial artist John Struthers, born in Shettleston apparently.

I’m sure he wasn’t actually a neighbour by then though. If he was running an advertising agency, he’d have moved out of the poverty and early death east end of Glasgow pronto.

08/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

So, the weather’s not so good just now – time for some old Glasgow Christmas Lights

It always amusing to think of the folk who don’t think weather forecasts are ever right.

They generally don’t understand how to use them, and can usually be found complaining about getting rained on during a sunny forecast.

I wonder if they ever see rainy forecasts, and moan if the Sun makes an appearance instead?

Our forecast is wind and rain at the moment, and I’m afraid it’s right, so I’m staying in.

Just as well, since it’s safer too: Hairdressers threatened in salon Taser raid

Taser! (assuming it was real). At least this was the afternoon, I only get to be there at night.

The west end is no better! Pregnant woman attacked and robbed in Glasgow

Since I’m not going out in wind AND rain, this is a chance to give this gallery of Glasgow’s Christmas lights from days gone by.

It seems that Glasgow had a period of innovation with its lights, but that’s no longer the case, as it’s now so easy to buy such things off the shelf, rather than come up with something

As you’ll see from some of the older pics, the lights used to be installed over considerable lengths of the city centre’s streets.

I really can remember the year when Glasgow City Council announced the end of those long street displays, and the cries of anguish from Glaswegians who though it was the complete ending of Christmas Light in Glasgow (thankfully, it wasn’t, and really just meant less would be spent).

If they look familiar, then they probably are, if you took your holidays down in Blackpool, you saw some of them long before the rest of us.

A number of displays were acquired from that sources when their ‘tour of duty’ was complete down there, and they were retired.

And that does explain the mystery of the slightly strange themes out lights had during some years.

Glasgow’s Christmas lights down the years

One sample from the gallery – check the full set at the link given.


Glasgow Christmas Lights Pic Credit Media Scotland

Glasgow Christmas Lights Pic Credit Media Scotland

08/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Mindless hysteria – not always the correct response to a demolition notice

I used to work in West Regent AND was part of forum/group that enjoyed abusing Glasgow City Council.

Both of those assertions have been false for many years. Not only don’t I work there any more, the company is long gone (as is the one that replaced it), and I’m no longer associated with that group. The latter is quite sad as we parted acrimoniously after a misunderstanding when the ‘leader’ decided to misinterpret an offer I made to volunteer some free help as some sort of takeover attempt. However, shortly after that they got really nasty toward the council, and councillors, so I’d have gone anyway. A real shame as they were (and still are) very knowledgeable on local history. I follow that side of their activity, but not the rest, and won’t identify them.

I spotted a news item about an old (1830) B listed building in West Regent Street being granted permission for demolition, having decayed internally and externally through neglect. I was slightly surprised at first, as I thought this one had gone many years ago. But, it seems this one is number 141, while the one I was thinking of was at 107.

From memory (I couldn’t find anything online) 107 West Regent Street was probably the ‘Last Straw’ that compounded the problems I was having with the group, and made me ‘walk.

This was a derelict building, similar to 141, which was vandalised and burnt down at some point and, following an inspection, had the remains declared unsafe, with demolition following.

My recollection was that ‘The Group’ launched into one of its council/councillor hate orgies, attacking some by name, on the basis that they were behind the fire, to release the site for development, and that they were to profit as they were somehow connected to builders/developers, and should be fired immediately for their part in destroying a historically significant building, which was said to have been one of (Charles Rennie) Mackintosh’s commissions.

I can’t find easy confirmation of that online, as the old historic record for 107 has been purged, so don’t know if it was true.

But that was when I gave up on the group, realising that they seemed to claim EVERY building fire was attributable to the council, or a councillor or councillors wanting a site cleared of a historic building that could not otherwise be demolished to suit their plans.

I was fed this story about 141.

CITY planners have agreed that a run-down B-listed building in central Glasgow can be demolished and replaced with a development of serviced apartments.

Officials have approved an application made by Suite Street Hotels for premises at 141 West Regent Street, on the corner with West Campbell Street.

APARTHOTEL Can Replace City Centre Listed Building

It’s interesting to look at the listing for this building.


Circa 1830. 2-storeys and basement, 5 x 5 main bays, with 2

3-bay extensions to S; 1st 2 bays from N on West Campbell

Street blind; 2nd bay from W on West Regent Street blind at

1st floor. End terrace classical block converted to offices.

Painted ashlar. Basement band. Pilastered central doorpiece

with flat block pediment to entry at head of steps

oversailing basement. Sash and case windows in architraves;

corniced at ground floor. Eaves cornice; blocking course

raised in centre. Details continue on West Campbell Street

elevation; 1 small arched window in pedimented gable,

(pediment truncated).


There doesn’t appear to be anything of particular significance there, or even a famous name attached to it.

Also, it was converted to offices, so most, of not all, of the interior was lost or damaged years ago.

I mention this because if you go online and look for more on this demolition, you will find a story which begins (from early 2018).

Historic and important building facing demolition in flats plans

I’m not linking to it, as I used to use the media source as a linked reference for many of my posts, then discovered they kept altering their links, so that all the reference link I had carefully included – all lead to dead or non-existent web pages! So sod them.

However, I read and reread that story they ran, and apart from the planning application requesting demolition, NOWHERE did the article concerned give ANY reason or detail to back up the headline claim where it had proclaimed ‘Historic and important building’.

I’ve said it before, I’ll no doubt say it again – we can’t keep EVERY old building. And, despite many people wearing rose-tinted glasses when looking at them, many were also badly built, and won’t last. Cowboy builders are NOT a modern invention.

But we DO have to be CAREFUL, and make sure we keep the good ones which we can.

Now that I’m ‘older and wiser’, rather than listen to, and accept without question, the statements of the critics, I find it much more interesting and informative to actually look at some planning application decisions, and the logic behind them (which can now be found freely online as part of public records). It seems that our council is NOT the villain some often seem to try to portray it as.

141 West Regent Street

141 West Regent Street

08/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

More graffiti scum tagging

It’s hard to convey just how much contempt I hold for so-called graffiti artists and taggers, who think the world deserves to see their crap as they vandalise and damage people’s property.

As always, this does NOT extend to those working with permission.

In this case, some worthless little tagger chose to vandalise a lifebelt alert sign AND showed extreme disrespect by doing it next to someone’s memorial tribute.

Now that I see it with fresh flowers laid, I’m guessing someone died here, either drowned in the river, possibly an accident, or perhaps a suicide who jumped from the old Polmadie Footbridge, which lay just to left of this pic (and is now the new Polmadie Footbridge).

I don’t know the details, and queried the reason for a bottle of water being tied to the railings (fence) here. Original pic and query here: River Clyde pilgrimage point

Lifebelt Sign Vandalised At Memorial

Lifebelt Sign Vandalised At Memorial

Impressive fence painting too – dribbling nicely down from the top of the sign.

08/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Lard Day

08 December is Lard Day.

Before you throw yourself off a tall building at the mere thought of consuming lard, you should do some actual research, rather be misled by its past stigma.

Lard is fat from the pig, prepared in both rendered and unrendered forms. It is a semi-soft white fat derived from fatty parts of the pig, with a high saturated fatty acid content and no trans fat.

Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, lard’s unique properties led to its partial rehabilitation among “foodies”. Negative publicity about the trans fat content of the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in vegetable shortening has also contributed to its revival.

I’d simplify things still further, and simply say that like most panics and fads about foods, they’re nearly all pointless.

Provided you don’t eat any food to excess, and maintain a reasonable balance in what you eat, you can please yourself, and there will be no problems.

And, no, I’m not even going to go anywhere near any of religious nonsense spouted about food. END!

There is also, I think, some social stigma associated with it, and thoughts of poverty.

As far as I know, it never did me any harm, and my ‘elders’ came from a time when EVERYTHING was fried and soaked in lard!

Some even used it as a spread, just like butter. (No, not me, I thought the stuff was like white car grease.)

But I do know it is used in lots of fried goodies I like, and even in their preparation, so while I might support it directly, I guess you could say I’ve kept the tradition alive.

I was stuck for the usual pic. How do you make a pic of a white brick look like something?

Then I found this.




08/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is International Shareware Day

08 December 2018 is International Shareware Day.

Sorry, but it’s also another of the crazy wandering days, set to fall on the second Saturday of December, so in 2019 it will fall on… 08 December! Yes, same date, but that’s just a coincidence. I think it will be 12 December in 2020.

It seems the first piece of software called ‘freeware’ was PC-Talk, a telecommunications program created by Andrew Fleugelman in 1982, who called the undertaking “an experiment in economics more than altruism”. The term ‘shareware’ was first used with the program PC-Write (a word processing tool), created and released by Bob Wallace in early 1983.

I have to confess to being eternally grateful for this sort of software, or I’d never have been able to get many things done.

While this type of software is low (or zero) cost, yet is often very good, the same cannot always be said for commercial software costing thousands.

I think part of the problem with that stuff is ‘feature creep’, where more and more functionality is piled into it, to justify its sometimes insane cost. It would probably work a lot better, and be a lot more reliable if it concentrated on what it supposed to do, rather than be a means to crank the price tag up and up.

Sadly, even shareware gets complicated.



08/12/2018 Posted by | Blogroll | | Leave a comment

Today is Brownie Day

08 December is Brownie Day.

I have to confess (again, if you’ve seen some of my other ‘food’ posts) that brownies, or chocolate brownies, are a treat I only discovered a few years ago.

Although I knew the name (thanks to lots of US TV series that land on our tellies), I never searched out brownies to try them, or even realised they were on sale here, and easy to get.

Another reason (in the past) was not knowing the difference between brownies and chocolate cake – and, being a fan of chocolate cake, didn’t want to try anything that might have spoiled that.

No worries (if you are unsure, there isn’t really a great difference, but the two can be distinct). Just think of brownies as EVEN MORE chocolate cake!

The main difference lies in the ingredients. Most cake recipes include baking powder or baking soda, most brownie recipes do not. Cake recipes usually include about twice the amount of flour, and less chocolate than brownies. These variations affect the texture and taste of each treat, making them distinct.

But who cares?

It just means MORE options!



08/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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