Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

2018 Christmas Casualty

Keeping up with my accidental ‘Christmas Casualty’ pic(s) has been hard this year, with little seen.

That said, I think there were a lot of bin lorries flying around, so maybe the bin men were all on bonus.

Fortunately, I saw this BEFORE Hogmanay, or I might have been worried, or even had to look at what I was drinking.

Christmas Casualty 2018

Christmas Casualty 2018

I think I made a mistake here.

I was hurrying past this, and stopped to go back and catch a few pics in the dark, then carry on.

Having looked at the best one, and the others (my originals are more than 10 time larger), this is a new item – I should have grabbed it!


The other pics show others stuffed there, also looking clean and new (but not as cute).

I didn’t stop to look or think, just assumed it was rubbish dumped in the doorway (which is often occupied by ‘homeless’).

When I passed later, the bin men had been, and the street was cleared.


02/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | | Leave a comment

Do all ‘campaigners’ think people are stupid?

Am I the only person who is coming to the conclusion that many campaigners and activists have no real interest in whatever they are endlessly whining on about, and are really just frustrated little Hit dictators who’s real aim is just to TELL people what to think or believe?

I’ve already thrown a few posts in here about the tripe spouted by many cycling activists, which almost made me give up moving off my own suburban roads into the streets of Glasgow, which they claim are dangerous and polluted.

I won’t lower the tone of my Blog by using the appropriate word for their claims (or outright lies), but it starts with sh.

Now, after reading that Glasgow is the FIRST city in Scotland to enact an LEZ (low emission zone), and a schedule for its wider implementation, guess what?


Air pollution campaigner Gavin Thomson said: “The toxic, illegal levels of air pollution in Glasgow causes hundreds of premature deaths and life-limiting conditions.

“Unfortunately, the weak terms of this low-emission zone – only applying to one in five buses – won’t achieve any significant change for air quality.

“This ‘no ambition zone’ means fumes from transport in the centre of Glasgow will carry on poisoning people’s lungs for many more years.

Pollution campaigners demand more action as Glasgow launches low-emission zone

I’m sorry, but…

I’ve driven and walked through Glasgow for decades (and now even cycle), and the city is almost like a Ghost Town as regards the traffic (and I think I’d be on a safe bet if I added pollution) level today as compared to the past.

And let’s not selectively ignore the fact that the vehicles on the city’s roads 10, 20, or more years ago did not have any of the emission controls fitted to current vehicles, AND were burning LEADED petrol.

Back in the ‘Good Old Days’ I used to sit in Argyle Street, nose to tail in traffic jams that meant it took ages to get from one end to the other (and no alternatives, the side streets were all jammed too), with vehicles spewing visible muck into the air.

I don’t think I’ve seen such a thing for years.

Seriously, I cycle along Argyle Street alone, except when the red lights catch the few vehicles there, and I catch up with the group. Cycling activists’ claims of gridlocked and polluted streets are utter nonsense today.

Go look for yourself if you don’t believe me.

If claims such as this are true…

Mr Thomson said councils must be bold in their approach to tackling pollution.

“Private bus operators in Glasgow are getting a free ride while everyone else is suffering the effects of illegal levels of air pollution,” he said.

“Three hundred premature deaths are caused by air pollution in Glasgow every year. We need bolder action by the council, and bus companies need to prioritise people over profits.

Then I think there must have been a conveyor belt, or maybe barges floating down the Clyde, to ship out the thousands of bodies as people dropped dead in the street in those.

I think the reality is that that campaigners are seeing the end of a cushy wee number they enjoyed, and are keen to spread scare stories to keep themselves in a nice easy job. Alternatively, we should find out who is promoting them.

For example, after reading one apparent news article about how dirty the air is, and how good air cleaners are at dealing with it – I found a little ‘SPONSORED’ tag on the page. The writer sold… air cleaners!

Unlike the councils, which have to deliver practical, measurable solutions and work within legislation against which they can be judged, campaigners just have to open their mouths and whine, while having no legal requirements to meet, responsibility to meet targets, or provide justification that can be checked.

Seriously folks.

Question them and their claims – while not true of all (there are good people out there), they are becoming ever more dubious, and seem to be getting closer to being Snake Oil Salesmen and Quacks as the years pass, and what they were campaigning for is being delivered.

And, they get to play the ‘Shame Card’ if you dare challenge them, and retort with things like “Do you WANT people to die?

I think it’s time to give these various campaigners a run for their money, stop giving them support, and chase them.

If they were serious, they’d be supporting, not criticising…

Scotland’s first low-emission zone launches in Glasgow

Scotland’s first low-emission zone launched in Glasgow


Extra £1m for green buses as low emission zone launched

Almost makes you long for the days of running those aforementioned Snake Oil Salesmen out of town 🙂

Angry Mob

02/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Will Glasgow get a new mural for this college course?

We’ve already had this mural on show for a few years, inspired by a 1913 photograph, and telling the story of the Land-Ship, a mock navigation bridge built on the roof of the School of Navigation in the Royal College…

George Street Navigation Mural

George Street Navigation Mural

There’s an intriguing new course now on offer at the City of Glasgow College.

A new course is being launched to train merchant navy officers to navigate previously icebound polar waters.

The City of Glasgow College will use advanced simulators to offer some of the first courses of their kind in the UK.

The sea routes are opening up as climate change causes polar ice to melt.

On the bridge of this massive cargo ship, it is comfortably warm. Outside, the weather is foul.

Snow flies, visibility is poor. We must use the radar to follow the channel cut through the sea ice by an icebreaker.

We are making seven knots somewhere north of Scandinavia. Virtually.

The bridge, accurate in all its instrumentation, is at the heart of a sophisticated simulator, one of five at the college. A 360 degree video screen provides the rotten weather.

Simulators at Glasgow college open Northwest Passage

They really should find a wall somewhere, and give us a modern take on the ‘Land-Ship’.

Bridge Simulator

Bridge Simulator

With the Northwest Passage now melted open to the extent that this simulator and training course has become viable, does anybody REALLY want to be classified as a loony climate change denier?

02/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Let’s start the year with Salvador Dali

Happy New Year to everyone (except Bob Sherman).

After the break, time to get things rolling again, and I think something as significant as Dali’s ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’ makes a good starting point.

Not the usual view, but one I spotted recently thanks to the lighting arrangement used in Kelvingrove.

Painted in 1951, and (would you believe, controversially) purchased by Glasgow in 1952 for £8,200  after Dali asked £12,000. Currently estimated at £60 million, the council rejected an offer of £80 million from the Spanish Government. Having purchased the copyright with the painting, the image reportedly generates about £2,000 a year for the city.

This means Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí (which owns the reproduction rights for the majority of Dali’s work) missed out on this one.

In 1952 post-war Glasgow, people believed £8,250 (£225,000 today) could be better spent. They said it was old-fashioned and that the money would be better spent on the city’s educational institutions.

Even art students didn’t want it! They petitioned the council, opposing the purchase and insisting local artists were given more exposure in its exhibition space.

In fact, it wasn’t even being purchased with council funds.

The money came from a fund set up using profits of the Kelvingrove International Exhibition of 1901, which was used to buy numerous works of art for Glasgow’s museums.

Millions of people have come to see it over the years.

Vandal attacks

The painting has been attacked on two separate occasions.

The first was at noon on Saturday, 22 April 1961, when a mentally disturbed visitor attacked it with a large stone.

The man broke through the barrier around the painting and used a piece of rough sandstone to slash horizontally and vertically at the surface, then grabbed the canvas and pulled it down with their hands, causing a tear of around eight feet.

Newspapers of the time carried the headline ‘Dali Painting: Bearded Man is held for inquiry”, and reported that a 22-year-old man had been remanded in custody on suspicion of damaging the painting.

Kelvingrove’s brilliant restoration team used wax resin to repair the tear), and the painting was back on display within a few months.

The next attack came during the 1980s, when a protective Perspex cover placed in front of the painting was shot with an airgun. There seems to be very little information about this incident – if you come across any details, we’d love to hear about them.

There’s no perspex cover today, just a simple cord to mark the line visitors should not cross.

Four video cameras also watch over the painting and its room.

I suspect there are hidden security features too, as I overheard staff discussing security around the painting, apparently ‘things’ may happen suddenly if anyone strays past the cord – but they didn’t say anything specific.

Here, you can see the cord together with the repair to the huge tears inflicted on the canvas, highlighted by the angle of the lighting, thankfully not visible when looking directly at the work.

One of the cameras can also be seen to the left of the frame.

Repair to Christ of St John of the Cross

Repair to Christ of St John of the Cross

Another look, closer, with less glare.

Repair to Christ of St John of the Cross Closer

Repair to Christ of St John of the Cross Closer

02/01/2019 Posted by | council, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is World Introvert Day

02 January is World Introvert Day.

Runs and hides.

Crazy Cat Lady

02/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Science Fiction Day

02 January is Science Fiction Day.

02 January, the date chosen to correspond with the official birth date of famed science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, who is thought to have been born 02 January 1920, and was responsible for some incredible works of science fiction literature such as “Nightfall” and the “Foundation Trilogy”.

Coincidentally, I’ve just managed to listen to the radio  version of ‘Foundation’, which is an 8-part marathon.

I didn’t look at the length of each part, but suspect it was originally broadcast as eight 1-hour weekly episodes.

I’m always a little torn by science-fiction nowadays, and often think the old stories are more imaginative (and often plundered today) that recent offerings, which seem to be written more as excuses for studios to show off special effects, rather than tell a good story.

Also, while I can understand a certain desire to update great old classics by remaking them, I’m afraid I find that many of them only work well in their original settings, and when moved forward 50+ years just don’t work if they adhere too closely to the original.

I think they’d probably make decent films if only the writers and producers used the basic idea, wrote it for today, and forgot all mentions of remake.

Frankly, the claim of ‘remake’ just makes me judge it against the original, and that almost always bad.

But, if I ignore that, I usually find a flawed (due to too much ‘looking back’), but reasonable film.

On the other hand…

Just enjoy science fiction for what it is.

For example, I used to run to the shops for every new copy of Science Fiction Monthly, and was inspired to set an area to start airbrushing, as I loved the artwork.

By the time I got started, I also had to start working (and had, of course, come across some other problems), so that ended up being a ‘fail’, although I did keep on trying, and still might try again.

For any fans of that publication, if you haven’t found it, there is an online archive of the magazine.

I don’t have the link to hand, but it should be easy to find.

Science Fiction Monthly

Science Fiction Monthly


02/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Today is Cream Puff Day

02 January is Cream Puff Day.

Cream puffs are quite unusual pastries. They date from the 1540’s when Catherine de Medici’s pastry chef created the baked puffed shells for Catherine’s husband, Henry II of France. Although both the pastry and its name profiterole initially came from France, profiteroles are one of the main national dishes in Gibraltar.

There are many variations, so pick your favourite, and enjoy the day.

Cream Puff

Cream Puff

02/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Happy Mew Year Day For Cats

02 January is Happy Mew Year Day For Cats.

Cats are graceful, regal and all around fabulous, so why shouldn’t they have their own version of New Year’s?

And they are our feline overlords.

Happy Mew Year for Cats Day was created so cats could have their own little celebration for New Year.

There can be lots of good intentions…

Cat New Year

Cat New Year

Then there’s…

Cat New Year Start

Cat New Year Start

02/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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