Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Do I move around in a different Glasgow from everyone else?

I’ve already made few recent posts about how fed up I am seeing whining cycling activists/campaigners moan about non-existent gridlock and aggressive motorists in Glasgow, and now see the council is proposing to end free parking on Sundays, supposedly to deal with a lack of available spaces which in turn causes congestion and brings an unnecessary level of pollution to the area.

I must live in a different Glasgow from all those people.

Free parking spaces could be axed on Sundays in Glasgow

Plans to scrap free street parking in the city centre on Sundays – here’s what you need to know

Apart from the run-up to Christmas and the sales, when the streets got a little busier, I like getting into Glasgow (by bike, if that’s not clear) on Sundays as the place is even quieter than it is during the week.

I have to be clear that while I’ve not driven into Glasgow for some years now, I still watch the roads for changes, and if there are parking problems, then I strongly doubt it is down to the number of cars.

I’ve noted controlled (ie PAY for it) parking spaces creep into areas, and onto streets, where there were no restrictions in the past.

I’ve also noted numerous places which USED to have parking bays no longer have them.

In many cases, these just disappeared, to be replaced by areas marked for disabled or blue badge holders, but even those vanished later, to be replaced by yellow line (which blue badge holders can often still park on).

What I’m saying is that I may be more observant than many, and while most people don’t watch these changes, I see what would now be described as ‘Stealth Tactics’ being employed in order to introduce changes in small, almost imperceptible steps, to suit various policies.

I’m not suggesting this is necessarily a bad thing, as it can make transitions smoother by avoiding large, or step, changes.

However, I do find it objectionable if these are misrepresented as changes being brought about by traffic and congestion problems, which I simply don’t see on Glasgow’s streets – an observation I make as someone who cycles on them.

Nor would I suggest there is NEVER any congestion, or any problems – just that this is not the norm, or only appears at peak traffic time, which is surely to be expected.

I don’t think I’ll even bother commenting about the crazy pollution claims being made nowadays.

Frankly, they make about as much sense as the claims (by some) that hundreds of thousands of people died after Chernobyl, which is sheer speculation, as opposed to the actual documented number (which is 35 if you have never checked). Realistically, taking into account the spread of radiation, statistics suggest an additional 40,000 cancer deaths, but that’s by 2065. By then millions of people will have died of cancer that has nothing to do with Chernobyl.

I’d much rather the council just came clean and stated clear and simple policies on driving cars out of the city, or that it just wants to milk the motorist for cash 7 days a week.

Of course, the problem with that would probably be outrage from shops, and hassle for the council.

Christmas peak hour evening  traffic in Trongate 🙂

Gridlocked Glasgow Trongate

Gridlocked Glasgow Trongate


17/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Should this have been marked as a ‘Promotional’ or ‘Sponsored’ article

I probably wouldn’t have even noticed, or commented, on this story, but for the fact that some people I know have recently come in for some considerable ‘stick’ for accepting ‘Free’ items from vendors to produce review videos for, and for seeking sponsorship to provide funding to allow them to carry out technical ‘teardowns’ of various pieces of electronic hardware, allowing it to be reverse engineered to evaluate it operation.

If you’re unfamiliar with this sort of technical review, I should add that many mass-production methods mean that most of the hardware is damaged during this process, often beyond repair, or at least compromised, so this sort of entertainment is not cheap to provide, and if finding out of your own pocket is really equivalent to just emptying your pockets/purses/wallets straight into the bin.

I’m not going to go into depth, but having read a few news/media articles in recent weeks which I thought were skewed or biased, or eventually descended into little more than blatant sales pitches, I was glad to see that they also carried, albeit in tiny print hidden away at the end of the article, a statement which declared they were ‘Promoted’, and the source was business or service being promoted.

I wasn’t pleased after spotting this article…

Owners in Glasgow unaware of unhealthy ingredients in their pets’ food

It could be having serious consequences on their animal’s health

And feeling it was generally very disparaging of pet food, except…

That made by the one company referred to and linked at the end of the article.

The same company was also given as the source of survey data quoted in the article, with no indication of how independent or unbiased the conduct of the survey had been.

I’m certainly not identifying them, or giving them a plug.

But I am going to say I’m not happy I read an article that appeared to be relevant to the health of pets based on their diet, but was based on a survey by a company selling pet food which supposedly overcame all those problems, and had no indication as to its promotional status.

That’s all.

Judgemental cat


17/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

The Hunterian’s high voltage tube display

Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum is a bit of a treat for techie types.

While it has never reached the level of the many displays and exhibits it had on show during the year it celebrated 100 years of the electron (way back in 1997), I still recognise items I first saw then. And wonder where the rest went.

Most of us like high voltage (and there is a large Wimshurst Machine there I’ve never really looked at properly, and one of the display cases houses a selection of high voltage tubes/valves, both modern and historic.

The only negative comment I can make about this is that there are no cards or plaques describing the objects on display, so it’s OK for those of us who know what we’re looking at, but a shame that the casual visitor remains uninformed.

The Hunterian Tube Display

The Hunterian Tube Display

Let’s take a closer look at one or two of the items on show.

This first one had me puzzled for a while, due to the liquid filling, but once that’s ignored for a moment, the old memory kicked in and I realised they were really just old gas discharge tubes, specifically Geissler Tubes, which date all the way back to the late 1850s.

Hunterian Geissler Tubes

Hunterian Geissler Tubes

They led to the better known neon tube most people are familiar with, and is a gas discharge tube, evacuated to remove the air, which is replaced by a rarified gas or, as seen above, a liquid which will fluoresce (glow) as the high voltage strips electrons from the molecules within, emitting light when they recombine.

While they were largely novelties of the period, they did contribute to the discovery of the electron and the invention of electronic vacuum tubes, or valves, which included the X-Ray tube, such as this example, which is a rotating anode type.

The dark grey section on the right rotates, driven by an external magnetic drive outside the evacuated tube.

This is interesting to read about, as there are various ingenious methods and materials used to ensure the anode will rotate freely inside the evacuated, very hot, glass tube, with materials being chosen to avoid thermal stresses (which would lead to strain and breakage) as the material expand due to the heat generated during operation of the tube.

Hunterian Machlett X-Ray Tube

Hunterian Machlett X-Ray Tube

A closer look at the label confirms the manufacturer and type.

Worth having a look at Machlett’s history, as they produced (back in 1967) the “Radarange,” the world’s first microwave oven designed for home use – provided you had a BIG kitchen.

Hunterian Machlett X-Ray Tube Label

Hunterian Machlett X-Ray Tube Label

The next tube was harder to identify.

Hunterian Coolidge Tube

Hunterian Coolidge Tube

But the marking was eventually found to be for a GE CRT-1-2 Rotating Anode Coolidge C-Ray Tube, also a rotating anode tube capable of very high output. This is presumably why the glass envelope has become discoloured.

Again, the grey section is the rotating anode, which you can see has been drilled to remove material and carefully balance the component to avoid it settling in one favoured position, where it might eventually become jammed.

Screws have been ‘punched’ to lock them in position, since they cannot be reached once the tube has been completed.

See a similar device here, where the anode track has been damaged by overheating. If the quantity of heat delivered during an individual exposure exceeds the track capacity, the anode surface can melt. Operating temperatures can reach 2,500°C.

Damaged Anode Pic FromL amps And Tubes Web Site

Damaged Anode Pic From Lamps And Tubes Web Site (Copyleft)

This shows the numbering.

Hunterian GE CRT-1-2 X-Ray Tube

Hunterian GE CRT-1-2 X-Ray Tube

If you look carefully at the area to the bottom right of the widest section of the tube, you can see a thinner section where a window has been ground into the glass wall of the tube, where the greatest strength of X-Rays will be emitted.

I was glad I managed to get more detailed pics of these exhibits, as past efforts with lesser pics had not provided enough detail for proper research and identification.

I wonder if I once worked on an X-Ray machine that contained one of these tubes?

I never saw the tube, buried inside a massive Van de Graaf generator I helped service once.

It was contained inside a pressurised steel vessel, charged with sulphur hexafluoride insulating gas.

Originally a hospital X-Ray machine for treating cancer, it found a second life being used to X-Ray large castings in a forge.

Very dangerous – it was mounted in a room lined with interlocks and emergency stop buttons, to preclude activation if anyone was in the room, which was fitted with 10 tonne lead doors. It also had a concrete maze (to avoid a direct/reflected path from you to the emitter) where you had take refuge if it was ever activated and you were shut/trapped inside.

17/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Remember how I always say you can’t satisfy ferry campaigners?

Although I no longer get to use Clyde ferries, I still watch the news about ferry campaigners and activists, and have done so for well over twenty years, over which time I have come to conclusion that NOTHING can be done which satisfies them.

They just love to spend their time whining and complaining.

Years ago it used be RET (road equivalent tariff), with endless calls for its adoption to reduce ferry fares and increase visitor numbers to increase tourist visits and bring more money to the islands.


Ticket prices on some ferry services could be increased to help mitigate high demand at peak times, the Transport Secretary has said.

Speaking at Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on Wednesday, Michael Matheson said peak-time pricing could be introduced to better manage capacity.

Increased tourist numbers during the summer period have been highlighted as a key concern for island residents, who have previously indicated difficulties in acquiring a ticket to travel during busy spells.

Higher fares could be introduced on Scottish ferries to manage tourists

Oh joy.

Now we can all sort of whining and claims that fares have been increased on the wrong routes, that some community or another is being disadvantaged, or even deliberately targeted to ruining it in preference to another.

The possibilities are endless.

We need…

A user survey.

Free Sheep Ferry

Free Sheep Ferry

I’ve told the sheep ferry story somewhere else in the blog, where you can find it.

17/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maritime, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

What does File Transfer Protocol have to do with sectarianism?

Sometimes I think those who make up claims they are subject to abuse can be worse than those who actually carry out such abuse.

Take this silly case of the Catholic Church which has just call for a crackdown on licence plates which it has suddenly decided are’sectarian’.

It might be worth noting that they’re a bit late making up this one, since these registration numbers have been around for years, LOTS of years. And, I might add, been driving around Glasgow for years, apparently without issue – until today.

This is really a case of people with too much time on their hands, LOOKING for things to make a problem of, and CAUSE problems.

The Catholic Church have called for a ban on “sectarian” licence plates after one bearing the letters FTP went on sale in Bearsden.

The reg S6 FTP was advertised on Gumtree by a seller near Glasgow for around £1000.

The ad – which has been taken down– suggested it would appeal to Rangers supporters, according to the Daily Record .

It added that the plate was originally on a fans’ minibus.

A spokesman for Call it Out, who campaign against anti-Catholic and anti-Irish hate crime, said: “It is clear from the sale of a number plate bearing these three letters that both seller and buyer recognise the value they have for those who wish to showcase their intolerance in this fashion.”

Catholic Church calls for crackdown on ‘sectarian’ licence plates after FTP one goes on sale in Glasgow


These registrations have been around for years, clearly visible on cars all around the UK.

This is NOT about the registration.

It is about a SAD response to a Daily Record article, written as almost malicious, trouble-making clickbait, which the church, and its supporters, should not have risen to, or taken up with the Daily Record, whose writing and intent were clearly to stir up trouble, or at least a reaction.

Involving, or targetting the DVLA was a silly move.

Thanks to the Church, and the Daily Record, there’s probably a load of genuine bigots looking for these plates (who would not have bothered before) now that they know the Church’s reaction, and that it is worth the effort/cost.


I just had a look at one of my cherished registration number dealers.

The have some 200 similar letter plates on offer.

And that’s just ONE dealer.

Genuine H8 Plate

Given its hysterical reaction to the innocent S6 FTP on offer.

What might the church’s response be to this genuine H8 plate, coincidentally currently on offer for £700.

H8 FTP Yours for £700

H8 FTP Yours for £700

17/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

First abandoned cat story of the year

First story I’ve seen of abandoned cats this year, and it’s an odd one.

Two cats were abandoned, in carriers, behind metal gates at Hillend Quarry, Airdrie Road, Caldercruix, and found on Sunday after being ‘spotted by a member of the public’ who contacted the Scottish SPCA.

I don’t know this area, so don’t know how accurate the Scottish SPCA’s suggestion that “they were mostly hidden away behind the fence, gate and a small stone wall” may be.

Fact is they were spotted, and by someone who was driving, so couldn’t have been that hard to see.

Unless the circumstances suggest some effort to cause deliberate harm to abandoned animals, I tend to wonder about the circumstances of the owners, and what problems they may have encountered to lead to this. Not ALL abandonments are just down to cruelty.

Sadly, the Scottish SPCA wins regardless. If locked in carriers, it can claim animals were left to starve. If not, they can say they were left in danger of roaming free, and could be killed on the road. I’m sure there are further options that make the former owner look bad, rather than raise concerns about their circumstances.

I’m NOT having a pop at the Scottish SPCA, or that all those who abandon animals be excused, just that a bit of thought should be exercised, rather than just knee-jerk reactions.

Cats locked in carriers and abandoned at roadside

Abandoned Cats dumped at side of road Scottish SPCA

Abandoned Cats dumped at side of road Scottish SPCA

17/01/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Insomnia visualised!

It’s 1am, and I came across this pic which does a fairly good job of showing what insomnia feels like.



In fact, there wouldn’t be much point in setting that 5am alarm, unless I really just wanted a reminder.

17/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Today is Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day

17 January is Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day.

Kind of obvious, The history of this day is said to be as old as New Year’s Resolutions. In the inebriated and hopeful light of the dawn of a New Year, it’s easy to convince yourself and believe that the next year is going to be different, that you won’t go back old habits, or let things continue as they are. Unfortunately, year after year, New Year’s Resolutions often turn out to be about as effective as a chocolate teapot, or an ashtray on a motorbike.

It’s the equivalent of a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card for some, so make the best of this day.

Sad to say, I didn’t need it this year, not even a little bit.

New Year Resolution

New Year Resolution

17/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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