Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Dr Stuart Waiton of Abertay University’s School of Social and Health Sciences – should resign

Spotting an item on a Holyrood committee taking evidence on the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill, which is set to remove the defence of “justifiable assault” in Scots law, which currently allows parents to use physical punishment on children, I was fairly shocked to read the views of someone who should, I would have thought, known better.

MSPs heard evidence first from a panel of four, including Dr Stuart Waiton, of Abertay University’s School of Social and Health Sciences.

He told the committee the bill “criminalises parents”.

He argued that the concept of children having rights was “nonsense”, adding: “Children don’t have the same framework of rights as adults, they have protections.”

Asked by Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP if he also supports physical punishment of women, he said “adults and children are very different”.

He said MSPs were “living on another planet” if they thought smacking was “a form of violence that harms them”.

Dr Waiton said a smacking ban could mean cases of children being “seriously abused and battered might get lost in a sea of complaints by caring professionals who are now reporting every smacking incident”

He expressed concern that if the government was to be “logically consistent” then it would eventually end up banning parents from grounding their children too, because the smacking ban bill could lead to problems around “almost any form of discipline whatsoever”.

Dr Waiton added: “I would suggest you think again before making this a criminal offence.”

MSPs hear plans to ban smacking ‘criminalises parents’

He sounds like a dinosaur (which would probably be smarter) from the days when children were to be “Seen and not heard”.

I wonder if he would change his views if subjected to a few good rounds of ‘smackings’ from an overzealous parent who lost control, but was excused on the basis of the beating/assault not being considered any sort of offence since it was called a ‘smacking’ and not a ‘beating’ or ‘assault’?

Aren’t we told that child abusers like to excuse or hide their activities by giving them innocent sounding names to hide the truth by calling them something else?

Violence Is Not The Answer


28/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Loch Katrine aqueduct construction really was remarkable

While I’ve never really dig into the history of Glasgow’s water supply derived from Loch Katrine, it’s one of those things I’ve always known about all the bits that make it up, but never looked at altogether.

One of the pleasures I used to enjoy was driving to Stronachlacher, or Inversnaid, as the single track road from Aberfoyle leads past some artefacts and memorials to the construction. I’d show you a pic or two, but those are on film.

Two articles appeared today, both reporting on the lucky save of some glass slides holding photographs of the construction, showing some of the works being carried out, and which were almost lost in a clear out.

Those declutterers I mentioned recently are a real danger to historic gems, and hanging really is too good for them!

There’s a short video in this first linked article, which gives you an idea of just how bad Glasgow’s water supply was before these works, when water was collected from wells if you were lucky, and rivers if not. Don’t forget, in those days rivers which ran through cities, such as the Clyde through Glasgow, were little more than open sewers.

One woman, on seeing the fresh water from Loch Katrine, is said to have complained that it had “No colour, no smell, and no taste!”

Remarkable images show construction of Katrine Aqueducts

This second article shows a sample of the ‘found’ slides, and show how extensive the engineering was.

The system still works today, with little or no assistance, being designed with a constant, but gradual, fall (I used to know the figure, but like all such things, I forger the exact number now) to ensure the water runs down from the loch to the city’s waterworks.

Old photos show Katrine aqueduct being built

I’m not sure of the material this trench is cut through, but looking at the man for scale, it’s pretty scary, with those wooden beams being all that is keeping the sides apart.

I would not want to stand there.

Lock Katrine Viaduct Works Pic Credit Scottish Water

Lock Katrine Viaduct Works Pic Credit Scottish Water

28/02/2019 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Decay at Tollcross Winter Garden just goes on and on and…

I decided not to bother with a January 2019 ‘Annual pic of Shame’ of the derelict Winter Garden in Tollcross Park this year, for no other reason than that I could use ANY recent pic from the past few years to show how sad this once beautifully restored structure had become, despite the wondrous and magical promise of a ‘Lasting Legacy’ from the farcical and disruptive 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Who knows how much money was poured into the useless swimming pool lying only a few metres from some REAL Glasgow heritage (see below for the answer), or into yet more upgrades made there later.

However, when I stopped by the glasshouse a few days ago, I noticed that the rot was now REALLY beginning to set in.

It can only be a matter of time before it reached a state of decay which forces the city’s planner to order its demolition – it is now starting to FALL apart.

This is the pic I originally stopped to take, and you can see that the east ridge of the glasshouse has now started to collapse into the interior.

Click for a little bigger. Compare to pics from 2015.

Tollcross Winter Garden Glasshouse East Ridge Collapse

Tollcross Winter Garden Glasshouse East Ridge Collapse

At the same time, I noticed that an assault by vandals, which I suggested was imminent in a recent post, on the glass doors and walls of the adjacent Visitor Centre, had probably taken place too, as the whole of the Visitor Centre was now clad in wood shuttering. Since there had only been a few sheets raised over the years, I can only assume these were added after the glass panels that make up the doors and walls were attacked.

Click for slightly bigger.

Tollcross Winter Garden Visitor Centre Wood Shuttering

Tollcross Winter Garden Visitor Centre Wood Shuttering

There’s not really much to say.

I’ve seen poster asking people to attend meetings, but I only see these after the event, so have no idea if anything productive comes from this, or they are just ignored.

It’s such a shame that this building was both restored AND had the Visitor Centre added for less than £2 million.

That alone shows how little of the £340 million (probably more) that was squandered on the ‘Lasting Legacy’ would have been needed to save this feature, which could have been promoted as a 2014 tourist attraction, being so near to the swimming pool event.

I wonder how much WAS spent on that already supposedly world class swimming venue?

According to reports, “The Tollcross Swimming Center underwent a nearly-$20 million (£13.8 million) upgrade ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Would you also believe that back in 2014, the (clearly corrupt or moronic) Commonwealth Games promoters were actually using the ALREADY CLOSED AND DERELICT Winter Gardens ‘hothouse’ as part of the attraction they were ;selling to visitors in their advertising and promotional rubbish

Fast facts

Tollcross International Swimming Centre is located in Tollcross Park. The park covers 83 acres and the land was purchased for £29,000 in 1897. The park’s opening ceremony coincided with Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Tollcross Park has many outstanding features, including a Children’s Farm, International Rose Garden and refurbished hothouses known as the Winter Gardens.

You could not make this sort of stuff up and expect to be believed, but thanks to the Internet and their web pages this can be quoted and referred to (until they are embarrassed, and delete the evidence one day).

Let’s not forget another £25 million just frittered away to attract YET ANOTHER sporting event.

Maybe somebody should suggest hosting 5-aside games, or ping-pong, or maybe just World Tiddlywinks in the glasshouse, and ask for funding!

28/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

The cats of Kelvingrove

I started off with one of those silly thoughts while I was in Kelvingrove a while ago.

Do they have a Scottish wildcat? (Stuffed type, that is.)

After wandering around all the usual wildlife displays, it seems the answer is… No.

For once, that’s maybe a pity, given that the species is now at such risk, if not already lost in terms of purity.

However, I did at least find it got a mention in some displays, so is, at least, not forgotten,

The search also found a couple of cats on display.

Cats can sleep anywhere!

Kelvingrove Cat

Kelvingrove Cat

I’ve mentioned this one before, but not with a decent pic as the first sighting was surprise – in the display relating to… birds!

I might add, this is NOT the (stuffed) cat I recently queried with regard to its disappearance from the People’s Palace tenement. It looked quite different, at least as far as I can remember.

Kelvingrove Domestic Cat

Kelvingrove Domestic Cat

Never sure about the number of birds claimed as kills – that would be a pretty big pile of more than a million per week, which critics also claim the cats don’t eat, and just kill to be cruel.

It’s like the anti-wind turbine nutjobs’ claim of millions of birds being killed by wind turbines every year, based on one being seen flying into a wind turbine in a video on YouTube. I think they think each replay of that video is a different bird each time, or is maybe even a live feed!

Seriously. I live in the burbs, and while I see quite a few catbutts, have seen very few bird corpses, and most of them are birds that have dropped dead in the street.

Kelvingrove Domestic Cat Plaque

Kelvingrove Domestic Cat Plaque

Then there was the Wally Cat, presumably created to go with the Wally Dug (pottery dogs, often in pairs, used as home decoration).

This one is probably mortified after being placed between a pottery lion called ‘Nero’, which looks more like Groucho Marx than a lion, and a pottery dog.

Kelvingrove Wally Cat

Kelvingrove Wally Cat

I think that’s the lot, but it’s always hard to be sure in Kelvingrove, as the place is so big and has so many galleries.

28/02/2019 Posted by | Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Chocolate Soufflé Day

28 February is Chocolate Soufflé Day.

I have to be honest and say I don’t think I’ve ever eaten ordinary soufflé let alone chocolate soufflé,

It’s just that the opportunity for this particular treat has never arisen. Plenty of quiche, which I suppose is more ‘common’ and maybe considered less upmarket. I can hear ‘soufflé’ being ordered in the sort of restaurant I used to visit, but ‘quiche’ in the places I might end up in nowadays (if they were cheaper).

Soufflé is believed to have originated in La Cusinier Moderne, by Vincent La Chappell, published back around 1742, and is a type of cake made from a custard base with egg whites beaten to a soft peak which can then be flavoured as desired.

Of course, it always seems to feature in boringly repetitive TV chef/cooking programmes as some sort of test of ability, and opportunity for standard regurgitated jokes about oven doors and collapsing soufflés.

I don’t really care what it is – if it has chocolate/custard/cake then just bring it!

Chocolate Souffle

Chocolate Souffle

28/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Off we go again – yet more ‘local’ violence

And again…

A few quiet days, then the madness is back.

I pass this store, fairly often sometimes, not this late in the day, and fortunately have little reason to drop in.

A teenage boy and an elderly woman have been injured after a disturbance broke out near a city centre supermarket.

Police Scotland officers were called to Tesco on Sauchiehall Street around 7.50pm last night after reports of ‘youths shouting and carrying baseball bats’.

When officers arrived a teen was found with an injured arm, and an elderly woman had fallen.

Teen and elderly woman injured after ‘disturbance’ outside city centre supermarket

Seven youths charged over disturbance at city centre supermarket

Police reassure public as seven youths charged following disturbance at supermarket

Violent crimes

Violent crimes

27/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Daffodils – finally seen in Glasgow

I’ve been watching pics of daffodils taken on the Isle of Bute for almost two weeks, confirming that here in Glasgow it’s cold, since we’ve barely even got green shoots at the same time (our current ‘heatwave’ doesn’t count, as that’s just warm air wafting over us for a few days – recall we were enjoying the ‘Beast from the East‘ at this time last year), the ground etc is still cold, and plants aren’t fooled as easily as people.

I get to do this every year, and it merely confirms that the Isle of Bute enjoys a slightly higher ambient temperature (compared to Glasgow, far inland) as it is usually bathed in the warmth of the Gulf Stream. Not for nothing is the Clyde Cost referred to as the Scottish Madeira.

However, the ground here has finally caught up, and while I’m sad to say that I couldn’t take pics of the daffs in Kelvingrove Park earlier in the day (vandals, or lovely little kids, had ripped all the heads off those that had bloomed, and thrown them on the paths – not one was left to take a pic of), I did fare better later as I sped through Tollcross Park, when a flash of yellow caught my eye through one of the hedges along a main path.

A quick diversion confirmed the daffs deeper into the park were indeed just starting to bloom, so I did finally get an early pic.

Tollcross Park Daffodils

Tollcross Park Daffodils

It may be a simple pic, but I was glad to have actually caught it as it happened.

If not, I’d have been forced to go with the masses of snowdrops, and they’ve been around for ages.

Tollcross Park Snowdrops

Tollcross Park Snowdrops

Make the best of the view – according to the weatherfolk, this sunny spell is due to end in a day or so, and while we may not freeze, it will be back to colder, more seasonal weather, and of course… RAIN!

27/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Morris on the Green

Just a lucky catch seen at Glasgow Green one day,

Registered in 1969, a tidy Morris Minor 1000.

1969 Morris Minor 1000 [CWB 99H]

1969 Morris Minor 1000 [CWB 99H]

26/02/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | 1 Comment

Is this what they mean when they refer to a ‘garden fork’?

I’ve been passing this scene for a number of years, and as it changes from year to year I’m sure I’ve grabbed more than one pic, but somehow never got around to using any of them.

Time for a change, and to ask the question in the title…

“Is this a real garden fork?”

Sometimes there’s more than one, so I’ve wondered if they are maybe planting one, and collection a small crop later in the year.

Garden fork

Garden fork


Bet you thought I was kidding when I said there could be more than one, or maybe even a small crop later.


I found the pic to prove what I said…

There’s FOUR.

Garden forks

Garden forks

25/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Albanian bunkers of the Cold War

Apart from any other irritating diversions I’ve enjoyed recently, I ended up with too much spare time, and too little paint to watch drying.

This let me reflect on the gradual disappearance of items related to the Cold War, said to have ended in 1989 (but I think really just changed to something else (unfortunately MUCH less obvious and observable, but just as dangerous), together with many of the people I used to be able to exchange comments and observation with on the subject.

That process was so gradual I didn’t really notice it happening, but have realised that all those people seem to have disappeared completely – no contact responses, plus their emails and nearly all their related web sites have gone, or gone dormant (no changes for years, if they are still online/visible).

One aspect that came up in the past was how some countries really embraced nuclear bunkers.

Not the type we would recognise in the UK, or perhaps the US, Russia, or even Canada, and related to government or mass population, but smaller structures, more associated with individuals, or families.

I’d all but forgotten about them, and how pervasive they were where they appeared, and it was nice to see this article about a book of photographs showing what happened to those in one country.

Photographer Robert Hackman has created a photo book that documents the many bunkers that were built in Albania between 1975 and 1989 amid fears of the Cold War.

Estimated to number up to 500,000, some bunkers are in states of dereliction or have been converted into cafes, homes, restaurants, swimming pools, barns, bridges and water tanks.

The Albanian bunkers built in the midst of the Cold War

I’m not a great traveller (and I certainly don’t have the funds to support this sort of fun), but I’d kind of like to be able to go look for stuff like this today, just to see what survives.

Hopefully this sample pic will give you an idea of the size of these things.

Albanian Bunkers Pic Credit Robert Hackman

Albanian Bunkers Pic Credit Robert Hackman

Britain’s remains from World War I

This reminded me of an article run just after the turn of the year, which reminded me of an explore I actually almost managed to make some years ago.

I’d been making quite a few work-based trips down to London, which had to be completed by car as I was ‘hand-carrying’ some fairly sensitive electronic gear which could not be entrusted to a carrier, or even someone not technically competent in handling the kit.

As I had to do this at least twice per annum, and each trip was double (I had to take the stuff down there, then go collect it a few weeks later), so I always organised it for the end of the week, so didn’t have to return immediately.

While I managed to visit a few interesting places on the south coast (of England) I never quite managed to create an effective route to the south west coast, which is surprisingly further away from the Glasgow-London route than it looks.

Unfortunately, while working on the best route for this trip, that particular piece of work came to an end – killed by ‘modern’ electronics and the retiral of the old precision gear we used to use.

Denge Sound Mirrors

Denge Sound Mirrors

They’ve appeared on some TV programmes, but not recently, and seem to be forgotten again.

I’d liked to have seen them up close.

It’s also a shame they were rendered obsolete by RADAR, so never benefited from any development work.

They weren’t particularly successful or effective (apparently), but didn’t benefit from any electronics (at least not as far as I’m aware), being dependent on stethoscopes and tubes to carry the sound to an observer.

Being made of concrete didn’t help either, as it would have been hard to build many prototypes quickly, to determine the best design to develop.

That said, later pics can be found of portable devices (at least if you had a trailer) which were intended for use in the field, and had huge trumpets which were pointed skyward to listen for aircraft.

Maybe it’s just as well RADAR came along!

24/02/2019 Posted by | Cold War, photography | | Leave a comment

Virgin Galactic rocket pilot is from Helmsdale

While most of the stuff seen in the news these days is just tripe, there is still the odd gem there to bring a little surprise.

Virgin Galactic has pushed its Unity rocket plane faster and higher than it’s ever been.

Chief pilot, Scotsman Dave Mackay, and co-pilot, American Mike Masucci, took the vehicle to almost 90km in altitude above California’s Mojave Desert before gliding back down to Earth.

Mr Mackay, from Helmsdale, Sutherland, becomes the first Scottish-born pilot to travel to space, by Virgin’s preferred definition of that term.

“It was thrilling yet smooth and nicely controlled throughout, with a view at the top, of the Earth from space, which exceeded all our expectations,” he said after landing back at Mojave airport.

Virgin’s Unity plane rockets skyward

Pity the more generally accepted altitude for ‘space’ is 100 km or 62 miles, although it is just a line in the sand, er… sky.

Maybe next time.

Virgin Galactic Chief Pilot, Dave Mackay Image courtesy of Virgin Galactic Press FTP

Virgin Galactic Chief Pilot, Dave Mackay Image courtesy of Virgin Galactic Press FTP

24/02/2019 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | | Leave a comment

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