Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Demand the numbers to justify glass bottle use instead of plastic!

I spotted a story about dairies returning to glass bottles as a means of cutting down on the number of disposable, or ‘single use’ plastic bottles being used to supply milk to their customers.

There is NO ANALYSIS given for this change, other than the implication that it is better to use glass bottles since they can be reused, while plastic bottles are not reused, therefore this cuts the number of plastic bottles being discarded into the environment.

While that may sound like a good and honourable intention, it may be not be the environmentally sound gem it is presented as.

We need FULL disclosure of this scheme, and proof that it not only cuts plastic bottle numbers, but also has no other adverse effects on the environment, which could negate those apparent savings.

Some years ago I was doing some work for a major Scottish drink supplier.

One of the perks was a tour of the factory, which at that time was brand new and just being commissioned, to replace their old plant in Glasgow, which they had just moved from.

On seeing the plastic bottle manufacturing and bottling area, I asked about their glass bottle lines.

I learned that this was not an option in the new factory.

In designing the new plant, they had analysed the energy/waste/pollution fingerprint of their glass bottles (which were then being reused), and found that it was more economic, particularly in terms of energy/fuel costs to use plastic bottles.

The WHOLE LIFE cost of glass, despite being reused, was greater than that of plastic, with breakages, additional transport and handling, and the energy demands of remelting broken glass driving this figure up.

And this was before CO2 was really taken into account, so the energy used to make new bottles, or to recycle old glass, wasn’t really taken into account then.

All I’m saying is that this story makes a lot of noise about cutting the number of plastic bottle by using glass.

But, says nothing about any other aspect of using, or reusing glass instead of plastic.

We should have the FULL account of the impact of this change.

Do you think they may all have been so happy about the rise in glass that…


It wouldn’t be the first time something ‘obvious’ turned out to be wrong.

A dairy firm has seen a huge surge in demand for glass milk bottles as more people try to reduce their plastic waste.

Over the past year, Kerr’s Dairy in Tayside has seen sales for glass bottles triple.

Bosses reckon the soar in demand is due to a rise in documentaries and news reports on the effects plastic has on the environment.

Director of Kerr’s Family Dairy, Kelvin Kerr said: “Attitudes have changed in the way people use plastic.

“I think it’s because there’s a lot of stuff on TV about how plastic can damage the environment.

“Milk is a household need so by switching your plastic to glass it’s a good way to start helping the environment.”

Kerr’s Dairy has seen the uptake in glass soar over the last year.

Kelvin added: “Even if we just look at the last two weeks our sales for glass bottles have gone up by 700 bottles this week alone.

“Over the last year our sales for glass bottles have tripled.”

Glass milk bottles make comeback in bid to cut plastic use

Glass Bottle Memories

Glass Bottle Memories

I don’t know the answer to this one, just that I had my eyes opened by a big company that would have jumped on glass had it been right for their drinks.

It’s a complex issue, where variables like number of bottle journeys, weight, energy to manufacture, pollution (no only from disposal, but also manufacture), transport of material, storage, costs, and many more need to be taken into account for each case.

All I’m saying is it should be done, not just assumed.

19/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Crazy Cat Ladies – making great pics since 1978

And before, of course.

Came across the pic below, which led back to its source, and that turned out to be a treasure trove of… Long-forgotten pictures capture escape and discovery in the city’s parks.

Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78

Click for bigger.

New York Park 1978 Crazy Cat Lady And Cats

New York Park 1978 Crazy Cat Lady And Cats
D. Gorton
Tender Vittles, Cats on Parade, Central Park??, #1109, September 1978, D. Gorton

Six months ago, a conservancy official cleaning out an office came across two cardboard boxes that had been sitting around for decades.

Inside were 2,924 color slides, pictures made in parks across New York City’s five boroughs late in the summer of 1978. No one had looked at them for 40 years.

Until now, none of these images have ever been displayed or published. A selection of them are here and in a special print section. More will be on view from May 3 through June 14 at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, 830 Fifth Avenue, near 64th Street.

These images were the work of eight staff photographers whose pictures normally ran in The New York Times, but who were idled for nearly three months in 1978 by a strike at the city’s newspapers.

Not long after the strike began that August, a contingent of the photographers — Neal Boenzi, Joyce Dopkeen, D. Gorton, Eddie Hausner, Paul Hosefros, Bob Klein, Larry Morris, and Gary Settle — met with Gordon J. Davis, the city parks commissioner.

They proposed to wander the city and make pictures of the parks and the people in them.

“I was skeptical,” Mr. Davis said, “but what they came back with made me cry.”

The city was a financial ruin and stuff was busted and it seemed it would be that way forever.

No one is sure, any more, how long the photographers worked or how much they were paid. Probably not long and not much.

Mr. Davis, then less than a year into his job as commissioner, remembered the emotional jolt of reviewing a few sample frames. “Then they all disappeared,” he said.

I couldn’t resist a clip from the source.



Can you imagine the same thing ever happening in a Glasgow park?

Somebody trailering four cats around a park, or even taking them there in such a way.

Be nice if they did though, I’d make the trip just for a look every now and then 🙂

Closest I’ve seen to anything like that in Glasgow was a young woman on a bike fitted with trailer, and carrying a couple of toddlers/babies behind.

I was amazed at the sight as this was near Kelvingrove – not the quietest traffic area to be found in Glasgow, but I was still having the life scared out of me by foolishly listening to ‘cycling activists’ at the time, and their biased nonsense.

Now I know every cycle path and segregated route around Kelvingrove, and now know she wasn’t as crazy as I thought when I first saw her.

However, I’m still not convinced at the wisdom of carrying such a precious cargo behind, completely out of sight, should something go amiss.

19/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Have the mice moved on?

Regular visitors may have noticed a lack of mouse-related pics in recent times.

This isn’t because I gave up posting them.

There just have been any since the last one appeared some time ago.

I had cleared away all the greenery and stuff they might have been hiding in, or using as a covered route, but had been disappointed as they carried on arriving. However, it looks as if that clean up might have been successful after all, and just needed the ones that knew the path to die off, or be trapped.

There just hasn’t been even a single one, not even if I happen to leave the doors open overnight.

I just wish I could find something as apparently successful and effective to deal with the damned snail now.

They just seem to appear from nowhere – although I did find one colony had taken up residence behind the rendering on my house. Unfortunately they’re the type with shells, can’t be reached without tearing the rendering off the wall, and leave their shells behind when they die, so have slowly pushed it out and away from the wall.

That’s not going to be good one day. That rendering was already replaced a few years ago. Turned out to be a crap job – I saw the builder concerned pictured in the local paper shortly after the work was done – on his way to jail for 5 years for fraud, after taking money from pensioners.

Oh well, a little reminder from someone who has the tools for dealing with recurring mice, to mark the end of the year and their apparent departure.

Cat And Mouse

Cat And Mouse

19/12/2018 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Bottled water is beyond me, but this is noteworthy

If I first say that there’s no issue where bottled water is the ONLY solution to getting, or having, clean drinking water at some place, that’s out of the way.

I simply can’t understand why ANYBODY would choose to pay money (and it’s often silly money for some overpriced ‘brand names’) for bottled water.

Even less understandable since it comes in highly polluting, single use, plastic bottles, often not recycled or disposed of responsibly, but merely thrown away in the street, even more worryingly is the fact that many have had only a mouthful consumed, and are nearly full if examined.

There’s just no reason for it, especially in Scotland where we can have as much as we want on tap, since it’s a fixed cost in our rates, and not (usually) metered. And it’s good clean water too, probably better than most of the unregulated muck found in bottles, not subject to legislation and monitoring.

I’ve never found the need to carry a bottle of water anywhere in Scotland.

The worst sad case I met was in a supermarket late one night – a (young) woman was in serious distress as she didn’t know which bottled water to buy, and asked me for advice.

Ironically, she had just been given a flat by the council as her home had just been flooded!

Yet she was more worried about buying water than moving.

Could’ve tried this for free, had it not been a few years ago…

A new top-up water tap was switched on in Glasgow’s bustling Buchanan Street today to keep festive shoppers hydrated in the countdown to Christmas.

TV personality Jennifer Reoch was the first to fill her reusable bottle from the Style Mile Top up Tap, handily located at the junction with St Vincent Place.

Glasgow City Council Leader Susan Aitken welcomed the switch on, as she announced the Council’s intention to introduce further Top up Taps in the future to complement the city’s Avenue’s Programme.

The latest high-tech unit – the third to be installed since Scottish Water announced its intention to create a network of 30 across the country – will offer people of Glasgow access to fresh, clean drinking water at the push of a button.

Free water tap fitted in busy city centre street

For further information visit

I stayed in today, and stayed dry.

This opening pic from Buchanan Street suggests I was right to stay in – it looks as wet outside the tap as it is inside!

Buchanan Street Tap Pic Credit GlasgowLive

Buchanan Street Tap Pic Credit GlasgowLive

Has to be a good plan if it cuts down on plastic bottles being dumped all over the place.


As I said, I’ve never found the need carry any sort of drink (or even a bike bottle), but I have some collapsible touring cups that can be slipped into a pocket or bag, and I just might do that now.

After all, I’ve already paid for the water going into these so-called ‘free water taps’, so I might as well use them if I’m passing.

Maybe they should have scanners on them, so they only work for Scots/residents who have actually PAID their rates, and are deactivated for non-payers, and tourists 😉

Of course, there is another problem…

There are no (or virtually no) public toilets!

19/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

The Red Mutant of Anderston is DEAD!

It took a while for this one to sink in, as I passed under an access ramp in Anderston, and thought things didn’t look quite ‘right’.

I was… right.

The Red Mutant of Anderston had been evicted!

All the ramp supports had been treated to the same coat of anonymous grey paint, removing any moronic graffiti and tagging of the local brain-dead, but unfortunately also evicting the rather nice and friendly looking Red Mutant I had recorded there a few weeks earlier.

It really was quite well executed, unlike most other unofficial offerings, and should have earned a place on Glasgow’s growing Mural Trail.

While we need an active clean-up team removing the disgusting rubbish that defaces many public spaces, similarly, we would seem to need some sort of rules or guidance to spot and retain material that is not offensive or illegal, or which causes distress to owners of private property if their walls and/or doors are vandalised by the disreputable cum side of this art.

No More Red Mutant Of  Anderston

No More Red Mutant Of Anderston

Goodbye, Red.

We will always remember you.

The Red Mutant Of Anderston

The Red Mutant Of Anderston

19/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

There should be a special hell for people who dump their cats

Reading LoveMeow regularly (follow on Twitter), I’m regularly shocked and saddened to read of people who decide their cat is simply ‘Surplus to requirements’, and dump their ‘designer accessory’ into the nearest shelter, or worse, kick it out into the street (or even worse, which I won’t expand on, but you know what I mean).

It’s something I can’t understand.

Having looked after a pet that was supposedly dear to them, and a companion, they find some fault with it, and out it goes with the rubbish.

I just can’t comprehend the mental attitude, as I’d have done just about anything for any cat I’ve looked after, regardless of its nature, habits, disposition, attitude, problems etc. They’re all part of the deal, like them or not.

Just look at this guy – can you believe the owner dumped him because he was a lap cat?

Jacque was three years old when he was dropped off at Michigan Cat Rescue. His previous owner no longer wanted the ginger cat because he constantly sought attention from her.

“All he wanted was a lap to sit on. She didn’t want him to cuddle with her and she didn’t want him any more,” Michigan Cat Rescue shared with Love Meow.

After a year, he was turned away and given up. The ginger boy was confused by the sudden change in surroundings, but as soon as he got to curl up in a warm lap, he started purring again.

They shared his story on their Facebook page, in the hope of finding him a perfect home. Soon, hundreds of adoption applications came flowing in. People were stunned by how a sweet cat like Jacque became “unwanted.”

“Sad that he lost his home, but glad has a chance at a home that will forever love him… with a lap to snuggle on,” Siobhan commented on the page.

“If he is a lapcat that’s what I’m looking for. I will apply for him,” Abby added a comment.

“Who in the heck doesn’t want a lap cat? He is so handsome,” Brandy wrote on the page.

“A giant cat that is orange and demands to sit on laps? Sounds like a dream come true,” Cathy added a comment.

Cat Who Was Rejected for Being a Lap Cat, Finds Family that Loves Him and Can’t Stop Cuddling


Most folk I’ve ever known who had cats would have PAID to have a cat like that!

Isn’t THIS what you WANT your cat to do?

Jaque Michigan Cat Rescue

Jaque Michigan Cat Rescue

THAT face.

How could anybody throw it out after living with it FOR A YEAR!

Jaque Michigan Cat Rescue

Jaque Michigan Cat Rescue

Disgusting owner, as are all who take a ‘Designer Pet’ and dump it when it no longer suit their current whim or fashion.

On the other hand, Jaque is better off being separated from them, and in a loving home.

It’s just a pity the original owner can’t be dumped somewhere equally appropriate!

19/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Coincidence? After Nessie goes missing, we get a record year of ‘sightings’

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Nessie myth and its associated tourism bonus.


Please don’t try to convince there is actually some long-lost creature in Loch Ness, or that any of the sighting are ‘real’.

I’ve noted that it’s strange how the number of cameras pointing at Loch Ness has to have increased radically in recent years, thanks to camera phones, and even digital camera ownership – yet instead of suddenly seeing a massive jump in the number of pics being taken of Nessie, she seems to have gone all camera shy, and that jump has actually become a drop.

Cynics might suggest that has something to do with the small fact that pics in the past were taken by ‘lone wolves’, people who luckily caught a pic, and were the only ones around with a camera.

Today, there’s a slight problem – there are loads of cameras, and if only ONE person pops up with a pic, the rest of us just might be tempted to suggest the lack of any other pics makes theirs dubious, maybe even, shock, horror, a fake!

After a few quiet years, it seems Nessie’s back, and posing for her fans 🙂

Let the fun return!

More people than ever before are reporting sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, official figures show.

Statistics released on Tuesday revealed the legendary monster was spotted by 13 people in 2018, up from 11 in 2017.

There have been a total of 1106 sightings of the mythical monster since it was first spotted by St Columba over 1000 years ago.

The first sighting of Nessie this year was back in March when American Dakota Frandsen reported seeing a large dark shape, roughly 40 feet in length, moving about in the water near to the Urquhart Castle jetty.

She said the shape seemed to purposely avoid the boat traffic but when a black speedboat passed by, it briefly surfaced showing its grey skin which resembled that of a hippopotamus.

Dakota, who was on holiday to Scotland from Idaho, claims it then started swimming towards the shore opposite the castle before finally disappearing.

Nessie: Record year for sightings of Loch Ness Monster

I say she just got lost in all the wet weather we’ve had – and she’s just finding her way back home now.

Nessie In Glasgow

Nessie In Glasgow

19/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

FINALLY! Electric vehicles are assured of success

It’s been a while in coming, but at last we have positive confirmation that electric vehicles will be a complete success.

President Tiny Brain himself, Donald Trump, confirmed this today when he announced:

Electric cars “not going to work”

Actually nothing to do with science, engineering, or anything relevant – the moron just wants to punish GM for not playing according to what HE says.

When GM made the announcement in the end of November, Trump vowed retaliation against the company, and he reiterated that stance last week. “I don’t like what she did,” Trump told Fox News, referring to Barra. “It was nasty. To tell me a couple of weeks before Christmas that she’s going to close in Ohio and Michigan, not acceptable to me. General Motors is not going to be treated well.”

Via Electric cars “not going to work,” Trump says of GM’s plan

Then again, he’s not a fan of electricity.

He’s more into pollution, with his ‘clean coal’ and ‘dirty mouth’.

Trump Poisonous Emissions

Trump Poisonous Emissions

19/12/2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Oatmeal Muffin Day

19 December is Oatmeal Muffin Day.

This is an odd one, and not seen be me before.

Also notable as I have, as far as I know, never even seen an oatmeal muffin.

I’ve read some long story about the difference between the type of muffin these are bases on, and ‘ordinary’ muffins, but the important point seems to be that these muffins are bases on something more like batter, as opposed to a firmer dough.

That means they need to be baked in moulds or cases of some sort, to hold the material.

Here’s what…

  • One Cup of milk
  • One Cup of Quick Cooking Oats
  • One Egg
  • 1/4 Cup of vegetable oil
  • One cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • Two teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Here’s how…

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (about 218°C)
  • Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners
  • In a small bowl, combine the milk and oats; let soak for 15 minutes
  • In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and oil; then slowly stir in the oatmeal mixture.
  • In a third bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, just until combined.
  • Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups until the cups are 2/3 of the way full.

Bake in preheated oven for twenty to twenty five minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Oatmeal Muffins

Oatmeal Muffins

19/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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