Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Clutha inquiry begins 08 April

Like my Peter Pan Moat Brae House string of posts, which wasn’t really expected to on for so long, but since I’d started, I had to finish, my long-standing interest in helicopters seems to have landed me with something the same as I watch out for mentions of the Clutha inquiry, which began with the incident almost five years ago.

Oh well, at least that first long stretch taught me to keep these posts short (and let the media sources provide the ‘long read’ via links).

Clutha inquiry to start with minute’s silence and tributes to victims

Clutha inquiry to begin with ‘moving’ tributes to victims

Clutha inquiry to begin with moving tributes to crash victims

Clutha crash site

Clutha crash site


03/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Oh joy, school holidays and museums full of little kids

I’d been largely enjoying regular trips to Kelvingrove to catch the organ recitals – until the school holidays started this week.

I don’t know which is most disappointing, how the kids are allowed to behave, or how the parents with them behave, but having either land beside you during the recital means things are probably going to be ruined. And this is before we even consider those running around wild and unchecked in the galleries.

I was really sorry for an old couple who had sat themselves on the balcony, only to have 20 minutes’ worth of constant “Don’t put your head through there, you’ll get stuck” and “Don’t climb up there, you’ll fall” from one lot which, when no doing that, was constantly running into the back of my legs as if I was invisible.

Rather than moan, and I know that those with those kids will be outraged that I am daring to speak out (it’s not very PC, is it), I think I’ll just dedicate some clips I came across to those nice little ‘innocent angels’.



I think I might buy a box of these toys, and carry a bag of them… and hand them out to any that stand near me 🙂


03/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

The Dippy story nobody seems to have mentioned or noticed

While there have been plenty of mentions for the display of ‘Dippy the dinosaur’ in Kelvingrove, there’s a related part of the exhibition which has, sadly, not been widely publicised or, as fas I’ve seen, noticed by the ‘professional’ reviewers of the exhibit.

In fact, I haven’t even spotted any links or mentions of it around the main display of the skeleton (cast) itself.

And that’s a shame, as this small gallery actually tells the story of how Dippy and his ‘brothers’ came into being, as part of a world peace initiative by Andrew Carnegie. There were so many requests for casts “that only the request from the head of the state will be considered.”

Casts were made and sent to museums around the world; Berlin, Bologna, Buenos Aires, St. Petersburg (now in Moscow), Madrid, Mexico City, Munich (never set up, still in storage), Paris, and Vienna. Together with the cast in the British Museum, this was a large program which allowed researchers from all over the world to study the sauropod.


One day in October 1902, King Edward VII paid a surprise visit to Skibo Castle. The King, who apparently wanted to see how Andrew Carnegie managed to incorporate the most modern of technologies in his castle, apparently saw the picture and made either (here stories tend to be in conflict) an offhand request or a special request for a Diplodocus for the British Museum.

Andrew Carnegie, always on the lookout to improve his standing worldwide, immediately went to work. A second original would be hard to find and recreate so the second best option was chosen; a duplicate. Molds were made of the bones and a plaster duplicate was made of every bone. First under the supervision of J.B. Hatcher and, after his untimely death, Dr. Holland.

Diplodocus Carnegii is probably the most copied and accessible large dinosaur in the world. People may wonder; why did Andrew Carnegie donate so many casts and why did he demand requests by heads of state in order to obtain a cast? It was not all vanity and fame. It was also building up useful connections for peace. Andrew Carnegie was, besides a shrewd businessman and philanthropist, also active in the peace movement, paying (among others) for the construction of the Peace Palace. The peace movement had been active for many years and influencing public opinion was much easier than influencing politicians and the national elites. Using his casts as gifts, Andrew Carnegie came into contact with heads of state. Through these personal connections, he promoted peace and the peaceful settlement of disputes through arbitration.

Diplodocus Carnegii, Peace Diplomacy by Dinosaur

Dippy background story in the Community Gallery

This small, but I think significant, part of the Dippy exhibition and story can be found in the Community Gallery, located in the arch towards the back right of the Expression Gallery (the one with the big heads).

Kelvingrove Expression Gallery

Kelvingrove Expression Gallery

A short video summarises Carnegie’s world peace project (and others), telling how he used the dinosaur casts as a means of gaining access (for himself or his representative) to major world leaders.

Dippy Video Plaque

Dippy Video Plaque

The video only a few minutes to run, plays continuously, and is well worth taking the time to watch.

Using the offer of one of the dinosaur cast to as a route to meet world leaders and discuss world peace only failed in one instance, when Tsar Nicholas ll of Russia accepted the cast, but declined the meeting and discussion.

The display case on the right contains a few related artefacts from the time.

Kelvingrove Community Gallery

Kelvingrove Community Gallery

There’s an original photo in the case, which shows that (the real) Dippy did not stand alone in the Carnegie Museum, but had a lady friend for company, Louisae.

Dippy and Louisae

Dippy and Louisae


Dippy and Louisae plaque

Dippy and Louisae plaque

If you take a look at the other items in the case, you’ll find a sketch showing Dippy standing beside a tall building, on his hind legs, to give people an idea just how long he was.

03/04/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Riverside’s car wall – was it a good idea and does it work?

Anyone who can recall the opening of Glasgow’s new transport museum, Riverside, back in 2011 should probably have memories of the slightly controversial ‘Car Wall.

This replaced the conventional floor display of the cars in a representation of an Arnold Clark car showroom.

If I recall correctly, there were general thoughts from the public which suggested the wall was not popular as it took all but the bottom row of cars into the air above the visitors heads, with the second row so far above that it was said the cars could not be seen properly.

The response, again relying on my memory, was that those responsible said visitors would get used to change from a horizontal floor based display, and the vertical display on the wall.

I have to be honest…

I don’t think so.

It’s 2019, and while I’m familiar with some of the cars on the bottom row, just above floor level, I’ve no idea what is in the second row (already above eye level and head height), and know even less about the third row, well above head just not clearly visible from the ground.

I only managed to see a little part of the second row when I climbed onto the viewing platform for a South African locomotive just across from the wall.

But that platform is only a few metres long, while the car wall extends for a long way in either direction,

I stitched this panoramic view from six shots taken from that platform.

Click for bigger.

Riverside Car Wall Stitch

Riverside Car Wall Stitch

While it was maybe a good idea back at the start, I don’t think it has worked.

I’m sure I remember this being mentioned:

Periodic rotation of the cars on the wall, so they would all take a turn at being shown at ground level (sorry, but I can’t recall seeing this happen).

What’s missing is some sort of gallery or raised area where visitors could get up to see the cars on display on the wall.

As it is, the locomotive’s raised platform barely gives a view of the wall, with only the centre three cars of the first row gaining a clear view.

I wonder if they get any comments/complaints about it, or if nobody notices?

This is a more normal view, taken from the upper floor, and not close to the wall.

Riverside Show No Show

Riverside Car Wall

Just a thought, after climbing onto that loco platform, and realising how much of the car display  I was missing out on.

03/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

So, how was the weather today?

Might as well finish as I started today, and babble mindlessly about Scotland’s weather.

When I stopped rambling on about it this morning, I headed out, and there was another small fall of hail.

What was more interesting was travelling through Glasgow, and observing that EVERYBODY had learned their lesson yesterday (when the sunny early morning had tricked them into donning T-shirts, shorts, and short skirts.

Now, EVERYBODY was well wrapped up (well, except one guy, but there’s always one 🙂 ).

When I surfaced again, mid-afternoon, this was the view of the clouds over Glasgow, as seen along the Clyde from Riverside (museum of transport).

Clyde clouds

Clyde clouds

I was back indoors for another few hours, before getting back outside and heading for home.

I’m not sure what the weather had been doing while I’d not been able to see it, but two things were obvious: It must have rained (or hailed) HARD, as there were big puddles everywhere; the temperature had not fallen much, and was hovering within a degree of 7°C most of the time. While that’s still not warm, it was noticeable that we see seemed to have lost the cuttingly cold wind.

After getting home, the sky cleared a bit, and since the temperature had stayed about the same, I decided to take a walk to the shops (having seen some wet cyclists, the bike was still staying under cover!).

This walk was almost a mistake!

I got lucky – a few drops of rain showed up while still about 5 minutes from the shops, and I thought I was going to get wet.

But, no, as it immediately turned into a mini hail storm, I was still actually completely dry when I got to the shop, even though this was what I walked through, and was still falling.

Evening hail

Evening hail

Tomorrow should be fun – since it was predicted to be the worst day.

The temperature record for the day confirmed my thought about it being a little ‘warmer’ than the day before.

But it doesn’t really show how much better it felt, without the icy wing cutting through the air.

April 2019 temps start

April 2019 temps start

03/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Today is Chocolate Mousse Day

03 April is Chocolate Mousse Day.

I don’t know how many ‘chocolate days’ we’ve had already, but apart from having to stop to write a post… I’m not complaining (I’m just enjoying).

Deeply rich, a thick creamy substance of that most decadent of flavours, chocolate.

In French, ‘mousse’ means ‘foam’, and that’s a pretty good description for this dessert, light and frothy, or creamy and thick, depending on how you prepare it. The origins of this delicacy are largely unknown, although it is known to have been a popular dish in 18th century in France. But the first written record of its appearance is said to have been found in an exposition in New York City in 1892.

I’d only say one thing…

Keep it simple!

Too often I’ve had chocolate mousse wasted by having to many ‘extras’ added, or things with rough textures.

More chocolate never goes amiss, but it has to be a chocolate cream, or very soft melt-in-the-mouth chocolate flakes.

Fresh cream or a really smooth custard usually doesn’t go wrong either.

Simple Chocolate Mouse

Simple Chocolate Mouse

03/04/2019 Posted by | Cold War | | Leave a comment


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