Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Oh look… a little gargoyle

I was haunting the dark streets of Hillhead one late afternoon (really, not evening, even  ourafternoons can be dark when the clocks are moved back), and was alerted to something ‘maybe interesting’ as some laughter came out of the darkness.

Turned out a couple of girls had found the fellow seen below, and were trying to take pics of themselves posing beside him, using their smartphones and the pseudo-flash these create using LEDs to light dark scenes. This may work from a few centimetres away, but I have my doubts about their effectiveness from over a metre or more away.

Once they’d cleared off I decided to give it a try, albeit I wasn’t going to use flash, and just try to push the sensitivity up.

I wasn’t expecting much, or even success, as the nearest streetlight was dead, so there was only some distant spill from the rest of the street.

Two of the tries weren’t too bad – the rest were just too long, and blurred/shaky. Had to rely on autofocus too – the viewfinder was just blank.

I should be fair to ‘him’, and take his pic in daylight 🙂

Then again, maybe he looks better in the dark, with sodium yellow shading.

Hillhead Gargoyle

Hillhead Gargoyle


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

The ‘poverty’ farce

(Just to be absolutely clear, this post refers to poverty as defined by the politically motived, not people in real poverty).

How can people in ‘poverty’ be driving?

A few days ago I began writing a post about the farcical definitions of ‘relative’ and ‘absolute’ poverty now being used by various political sources to score Brownie Points against one another.

The details don’t really matter, sufficient to say that they generally claim that anyone getting less than 60% of the average wage is in ‘poverty’, and they currently say that average about £24 k. Silly, isn’t it?

I didn’t intend to post it, just get it out of my head.


There was another article which supposedly tells how expensive it is for poor new young drivers to get on the road in Glasgow.

Startling statistics show how much it costs to get on the road in Glasgow

Here’s what it said for my address (notice that they forgot to include the cost of fuel – so this driver isn’t even going anywhere):

Cost of driving

Cost of driving

Let me help with this…

Reduce £7,414 to a ‘mere’ £2,663 by NOT buying a car – drive a car already in the family (this story is about parents helping), or go buy a trade-in from the nearest car dealer!

That’s what I had to do – and we were skint! Things really were cheaper in ‘the good old days’.

I also only had insurance during summer, and it cost nothing like it does now, I think around £30 (no V12 or 200 mph top speed then), and I was driving to school too.

However, there’s a more important question.

If we believe the politicians and their cries of ‘POVERTY’, and that everyone on less than 60% of £24 k is in ‘Poverty’, and that the above claim of “The average young adult in Glasgow City earns £9,744” is accurate…

Why are people £4.7 k BELOW the ‘poverty’ line even thinking about getting on the road?

They should be more worried about starving!

I didn’t make any of these numbers up, but did you notice an intriguing coincidence?

The cost of the car in the GoCompare data (£4.7 k) is the same as the amount by which “average young adult” is below the supposed ‘poverty’ line.

I hope you can see why I never actually publish the posts I write about ‘Supposed Poverty’ as defined by political motives.

But sometimes do have to write the post, even if I delete it rather than publish it, just to get the ‘boiled snow’ out of my poor head!

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

The organist’s tail

This is a slightly odd pic I’ve been playing around with for a while.

I like the way Dippy’s tail curled around the organist above.

The reason for the delay in using it is down to a peculiar optical illusion it seems to display.

I framed the shot reasonably carefully, standing on the centre line of the main hall and centring the image with equal parts on either side.

But, when I came to process it, found it looked both off-centre and rotated clockwise.

This was only to the eye, as making measurements and comparisons showed it was a near as could reasonably be to being aligned and symmetrical.

Things looked even weirder when two identical versions were placed side by side for comparison (while processing), but this is a known optical illusion that appears when views with perspective such as this are placed adjacent to one another.

I gave up, and concluded the eye was being influenced by a couple of details in the pic…

The dinosaur’s tail appears only in the right-hand side of the pic, and spirals down then up from right to left.

The lights hanging from the ceiling are not at the same height, and the one on the right hangs noticeably lower than the one on the left.

It seems these two difference are enough to make the whole image look as if it is rotated clockwise, although it is not, and is quite square.

Probably explains why I’ve had so much trouble lining up similar pics I’ve taken here in the past, but not paid the same attention to.

Kelvingrove Organist Dippy Tail

Kelvingrove Organist Dippy Tail

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

Daft report concludes it’s quicker to cycle than drive in cities

You’ll find I often mention the saying “There’s lies, damned lies, and statistics”, NOT because it’s in the slightest way true, but because it reflects the way people with their own agenda will ‘cherry pick’ the numbers to arrive at the result they want.

While numbers, and the analysis of them, are neutral and merely report facts, HOW that data is manipulated and presented CAN make a difference.

In a way, I can’t really comment on this as I was priced off the road years ago, but I do know how long common trips took me, and what influenced them.

(The following has nothing to do with favouring or decrying any travel method, and is just me moaning about the analysis.)

I find it utterly pointless to compare cycling, where a route can be varied at a moment’s notice (primarily due to the size of rider and machine, and even the ability to get off and walk/push), to driving a car, where a route is difficult to vary, especially if there is any sort of incident on the route.

However, I’m also willing to accept the metric may provide a figure that can be used for comparison, even if it is unreliable.

The source can be found in this link, so you can have a look and come to your own conclusions about the validity or relevance of the numbers to reality…

It’s quicker to cycle than drive in UK cities, says report

What I can comment on is my own recent discovery that it’s quicker to cycle than use the bus.

A recent change of circumstance meant I had to start using the bus to get from home to Kelvingrove, rather than get there by cycling.

While I COULD time this journey in various different ways, and come up with a number of different comparisons, I decided the fairest way would be to consider the trip as a whole.

I define this as how long it takes from the moment I decide to make the trip, to the moment I step through the door of Kelvingrove.

In order to be sure of arriving there before the start of the 1 pm organ recital, I need to start getting ready at 11:15 am.

Without going into too much detail, the travelling time on the bike is less than the travelling time in the bus – preparation for riding the bike takes longer than getting changed to walk to the bus stop.

The routes are quite different, but run in parallel from their start points to their finish

Interestingly, BOTH take about twice as long as it used to take me to drive to Kelvingrove.

However, when Kelvingrove reopened after its long refurbishment, and came back with a Pay & Display car park (which I refused to use), that time went up considerably as I had to find street parking, and walk in from wherever that might have been, so extending the time taken.

Oh look!

My recent pics caught a bit of the car park.

Kelvingrove Kelvin Stitch

Kelvingrove Kelvin Stitch

There’s a cycle rack too.

And a nexbike station, which is remarkably busy, with a steady drip of arrivals and departures if you take the time to watch.

Kelvingrove Cycle Rack

Kelvingrove Cycle Rack

Above was a relatively unusual quiet day. It was almost as if everyone had run away when I walked it the building, then glanced back out the window.

It’s normally looking more like this.

Kelvingrove Bike Park

Kelvingrove Bike Park

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

Lost computer games

Classic, lost, computer games the world has probably spent far too much time trying to beat/play.

As usual, the problem with WordPress is that it doesn’t allow any imgur galleries to be embedded, and since the whole point of these gems is visual, I’ve had to grab them.

The huge original images really are very good, with more detail than these small grabs reveal.

The originals can be found here:

Lost Computer Games

Lost Computer Games

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

Today is Tell a Lie Day

04 April 2019 is Tell a Lie Day,

Ironically, that’s ALMOST a lie in itself, as this is another of those days that can fall on a different date each year, being defined as falling on the first Thursday in April.

There are times when the whole ‘being honest’ thing can be a real problem so on Tell a Lie Day you get a ‘Free Pass’. For the record, this one DOES NOT apply to criminals.

Dishonesty surrounds us everywhere, from the media selling us its version of events, to kids who tell you the dog broke that lamp.

This entire day should serve to remind us that there is a danger to lying constantly, that you cannot trust anything anyone else says, and that there is danger in a lifetime of duplicity.

While we tend to believe that most people are honest more often than not, extensive studies show that the average person lies several times a day. This is a day to reflect on that, and ask yourself some important questions. What’s the worst lie you ever told? Have you falsified something to improve your chances? These are all moments where we tell small lies to big ones to get through the day. That’s just life.

There are two types of psychological conditions that can lead to lying to those around you. These two types are the sociopath and the compulsive liar, and the differences between them are profound.

A sociopath is someone who has a target in mind, and their lies are always focused on getting their way, no matter what the cost to others. They are notoriously charismatic and self-centred, and it can be difficult to see their negative sides, they’re just that good.

A compulsive liar is quite different,  having developed the habit of lying in a way that is as addictive as cigarette smoking. It may have started as a way to protect themselves from things they’ve done, but as time goes by they start building the habit. Eventually it becomes impossible for them to stop, the truth actually becomes incredibly difficult for them to tell, and even when it’s something they have no need to lie about, they do. Unlike their sociopath counterparts, they are neither charismatic nor cunning, they are merely are incapable of telling the truth.

Remember also that lying needs a good memory, a VERY good memory.

If you are telling the truth, you only have to remember facts, or recall things which actually happened, so it’s generally easy to be consistent.

However, if you are lying, you have to remember what lies you told before, and keep those stories consistent, without any facts to keep them that way. If you have to think about what you said last time, and make up something to go along with that, the chances of being caught out grow with time, and you mistakenly add to the fantasy.


Honesty Day WILL be along soon.

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


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