Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Abusers need to be chased down and dealt with

Interesting to see the recently passed Domestic Abuse Bill has wider implications than at first might appear.

It’s obvious reach extends to include anything an abuser might use to exert influence over their partner with, and it seems that can include threats to harm pets as well, so if the act is applied, they could gain protection too.

Partners who abuse or threaten to hurt pets will now be breaking the law after new rules came into effect in Scotland.

The new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act came into force today which will see wide ranging changes to what constitutes domestic abuse in Scotland.

Coercive and abusive control is now illegal and the act covers multiple different types of abusive behaviour, including towards pets.

Statistics from the National Link Coaltion in the US show that the abuse of animals is a major red flag and precursor to more severe domestic abuse.

Figures show 71 per cent of abused women in the USA reported their pets being harmed, killed or threatened in order to control or intimidate them.

This sort of animal abuse will now be illegal in Scotland, meaning people who threaten pets as a way to control their partner will be considered to be abusing their partner.

The act also extends to property – including pets – meaning any threat to hurt a pet dog or cat or other animal can be considered abusive.

Det Supt McCreadie said: “Behaviour can be directed towards property (including pets) and can include intentionally failing to do something or intentionally failing to communicate something.”

This can include not feeding a pet, or not telling a partner their pet is at a friend’s house or at the vet in order to control that person.

Abusing pets is now illegal under the new Domestic Abuse act

Pets are having a bad time in some places, recalling the anti-freeze poisonings reported in some areas recently.

There have been a number of cases similar to this: Cats died from anti-freeze poisoning in Livingston and one might wonder if the target was a partner’s pet, as abusers wouldn’t care about harming others.

Then there are even more recent cases of harm directed against dogs, with poisoned food, and food laced with nails being left in one area.

SSPCA issue warning to dog owners over poisoned food in Glasgow park

And then a dog thrown from a car (following on from earlier accounts of kittens being thrown from moving cars into busy traffic).

Dog seriously injured after being ‘thrown from moving car’

These are not nice people, don’t care about who or what they harm, and don’t deserve the sort of protection that thoughts of not ‘Grassing’ on them might bring.

They need to be ‘Dropped in it’ from a high as possible.

I’m not going to illustrate this with any shocking pics, that sort of tactic shouldn’t be needed.

Go see what’s popular at LoveMeow instead.



10/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Oh look! A horse drawn hearse

While I’ve heard the clip-clop of a horse-drawn hearse passing, it’s usually gone by the time I get to where it was.

No such problems this time as it looked like the equivalent of a breakdown recovery service was doing its stuff when I spotted this one.

I don’t know what happened, and couldn’t hang around long enough to see the conclusion, but I did collect a couple of pics.

I suspect this is from a nearby undertaker based in Shettleston (onty a few minutes away), who offers  not only horse-drawn hearses for special occasions, but also limousines, vintage hearses, and even motorcycle hearses.

I think they’ve all been along this road as some time, as it’s the preferred route to the local crematorium, and I’ve been in one or two of those cortèges.

Horse drawn hearse

Horse drawn hearse

Would you believe… Made in Falkirk.

Not sure if the lorry was collecting or delivering the horses. Everybody was just standing around, although there was much discussion going on via mobile phone, but I couldn’t make out a word.

When I passed again, about half an hour later, the hearse was gone, but the lorry was still there, all closed up.

The lorry does contain TWO horses, although the second is almost hidden by the shadows.

Horse drawn hearse and horse lorry

Horse drawn hearse and horse lorry

For the observant, I ‘fixed’ the pic so the subjects were aligned and level, as the camber of the road made them look decidedly odd.

If you think the house in the background is leaning, that’s why. It’s not your eyes, they’re fine.

10/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

(Young) Scots have no idea how to dress for their own local weather!

I mentioned this same subject only a couple of weeks ago, as I find it fascinating.

I gave up burning money I didn’t have years ago, in other words it would cost so much to heat my house, there’s just no point in trying.

I reckon I’m used to the cold life now, so I usually find it amusing to be out without things like a woolly hat, scarf, winter jacket (obviously over load of jumpers), gloves etc etc.

I actually wonder how people like that survive, as I break out into a sweat if it’s just a little cold (as opposed to freezing) and I try wearing a woolly hat – it usually ends up stuffed into my pocket. I also can’t understand those who wear such hats, usually paired with fingerless gloves in summer – I’d MELT if I tried that.

Yesterday may have looked nice, but unless the Sun was actually shining on you, the actual temperature stayed below 10°C.

I’d been in Largs for a while, clear blue skies and sunshine, and that meant it didn’t feel cold, but I was still amazed at the number of folk wandering around in T-shirts, some even on the beach and dangling their toes in the water. I poked a tentative exploratory finger in… it was FREEZING. That said, plenty of folk were wrapped up, a good idea since the sea breeze can be chilly.

Back in Glasgow (by then it was nudging 8 pm) I was standing in a queue beside a girl with nothing more than tiny white shorts and a vest on (and canvas shoes). She wasn’t the only one around.

I know the temperature then was  a ‘sweltering’ 8°C, and falling, and I was feeling the cold by then.

Pity I don’t dare take obvious pics, but she was standing right beside me. This is the sort of gem a phone would be handy for. Oh well.

Ah! Maybe I did catch just one example.

Compare and contrast: guy on the extreme left, with the group at Nardini’s entrance.

Click for bigger.

Largs Nardini

Largs Nardini

Not a pic I expected to take, ever.

Apart from being priced off the road, the last pics I tool of this place were of a virtual derelict that seemed to be in danger of being lost – so now you know when I was last able to get to Largs.

I can’t see any pics stored of those visits, so I guess that’s so long ago they’re locked away on film.

There are some pics dating back to 2006 and 2008 in Zak’s Gallery if you want to see this place in the past.

Comments are always fun, and while a family dispute led to the ultimate closure, it’s amusing to see someone have a dig at the council for not keeping the place (a private family business, not related in any way to the council or its budget) open 😉

10/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Kelvingrove’s da Vinci exhibition missed the secret of Mona Lisa’s smile – let me fix that

Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is currently showing the Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition.

While well attended and popular, as far as the media seems to be concerned, this event is a non-event compared to the showing of a certain dinosaur plaster cast skeleton – and I haven’t received a single news feed items about the da Vinci exhibition.

Shame on you, local media.

It would have been the ideal showcase for the unseen original of the Mona Lisa, revealing why she is smiling.

Why Mona Lisa is smiling

Why Mona Lisa is smiling

Sadly, various animal activist campaigners and PeTA laid siege to da Vinci’s home, threatening to have him burnt at the stake for alleged animal cruelty (under the guise of ‘witchcraft’ of course, due to the portrayal of a woman with her feline ‘familiar’) , so he was ultimately forced to paint out the cat, and leave the mystery of the smile.

Even back in the 15th century, those groups were already loonies 😦

It’s dark in the da Vince exhibition

I have to confess to not attempting to photograph any of the sketches exhibited in the exhibition, although I’ve seen many pointing cameras and phones at them, and I wonder what they find when they get home and take a look.

The lighting in the gallery is VERY subdued, to prevent light damage and fading of the already faint sketches, already almost 500 years old, and never intended to last, being working drawing for the artist, rather than final works.

I might collect some later, if/when things are quieter.

For the moment at least, despite being largely ignored by the media, this exhibition is actually well attended by visitors.

I only wander in for a look on weekdays, and to catch the two videos on Leonardo’s life, and techniques.

I did try the same thing at the weekend, but the gallery is small (to control environment and light), and it doesn’t take long for a queue to form at popular times.

Kelvingrove da Vinci queue

Kelvingrove da Vinci queue

That’s not the queue on the right, those are just the usual folk seen milling around the shop area.

The queue actually extends further to the right, and the museum entrance on the lower ground floor.

*Disclaimer on Mona Lisa’s cat – nothing to do with me, sadly, it’s part of ‘Fat Cat Art’, a larger series and is The secret of Mona Lisa’s smile revealed!


10/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , | Leave a comment

What’s better than a Dippy Volunteer? (One million visitors?)

One Dippy Volunteer

One Dippy Volunteer

Two Dippy Volunteers! 🙂

Two Dippy Volunteers

Two Dippy Volunteers

Or even more on some days, but not the day I was taking some pics/

The volunteers started to appear after a while, and help families get pics of the visit.

Generally, the person taking the pic is missing, or the camera (more usually phone) gets handed around, but that still means one person is missing.

The volunteers can offer to take the pic, so the whole family/group can be included, and the group can use the framing cards the volunteers are carrying.

Dippy Volunteer frame

Dippy Volunteer frame

And this is an ‘Action Shot’.

Dippy Volunteer at work

Dippy Volunteer at work

It’s weird, even the main gallery in Kelvingrove, where Dippy is located, is actually quite dark for taking pics. Visually, the eye compensates for this so you don’t really notice, but when you look at the numbers (a real camera shows these, plus settings, all the time) it can be surprising. The above shots had the camera locked to avoid going over ISO1600, or it would, meaning the shutter speeds were low since I lock out the flash too. It really is dSLR territory where I can use those more extreme settings, but it’s not so convenient to carry all the time. At this time of year, it can also be ages before I can start taking pics since I don’t arrive by nice warm car. Condensation on the large glass elements can be slow to clear once I get indoors with the cold dSLR and lens. The compact warm up a lot faster.

I hope they got a bit of training – the first time somebody handed me their smartphone to take their picture… I didn’t have a clue!

Not only was there no shutter release (so now I know a ‘virtual’ button appears over the image on screen), but the thing had real buttons along the edges, so unless you were careful where you held it, the thing went nuts.

Update – Dippy’s seen ONE MILLION visitors

Too late mention in the original post…

A few minutes after it published, I got a tweet from Kelvingrove announcing that Dippy had just passed the ONE MILLION VISITOR mark.


I can believe that.

The place was mobbed yesterday, as I dropped in for the 1 pm organ recital.

But, when I take pics on such days (this wasn’t yesterday), they just don’t seem to make the place LOOK as if it’s busy, even if it looked that way to the eye, before I took the pic.

I must be doing something wrong – maybe half the people are camera-shy, and run away in the split-second before I hit the shutter release.

Kelvingrove busy?

Kelvingrove busy?

Don’t take this the wrong way, but despite the success, I’m longing for days when there might only be two or three people in a shot like the above.

(Reading this some weeks later, I think I should be clear – this was 1 million in total, for ALL the venues to date, not Kelvingrove alone.)

10/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Pity nobody thought the NC500 through – and the consequences if it was a success

I’ll admit to not seeing the success of the NC500 coming, at ll, or so soon – The North Coast 500 is a scenic road/driving route around the north coast of Scotland, created in 2015, which starts and finishes at Inverness Castle, linking many features in a single touring route.

I was familiar with a lot of its coverage, having driven many parts over the years. While I might be an ‘Old Hand’ at driving some of Scotland’s quirky roads, I had my doubts about directing tourists on to them, having met a few wanderers in my time. If it’s quiet you can just get out of their way and leave them to it. I also know to avoid certain locals, who know those roads well, don’t expect any policing, and drive like mad people. Again, best just to duck into a ‘Passing Place’ when you spot them in the distance.

But, the thing that surprised me most about it was that ANY official organisation would promote a plan that encourage MORE driving – aren’t official bodies supposed to working to reduce driving miles, congestion, and pollution?

Yet here we have an official tourist body promoting route that not means every participant driving at least 500 miles on it, plus probably at leas the same just reach it, the producing (allegedly) loads of pollution by indulging in Stop/Start driving as they stop to admire the attractions take pics, then take off again.

I honestly was (and still am) surprised that the Green Loonies did not, and have not, formed human chains across the road to stop drivers following the NC500, and been petitioning local councils and the Scottish Government to have it shut down.

But, I guess I figured without the effect of ‘viral’ stuff online, and some sort of ‘Lemming Effect’ that draws people to roads we’d be better off if they avoided.

It’s intriguing to see how slapping a name on something that’s been there for years, which nobody has bothered about, suddenly draws crowds to it.

As someone else has noted, the same effect can be seen in things such as the West Highland Way. No real changes, not created, but once it had a name to make it easy to refer to, suddenly the Lemmings descend on it.

A shame there is no obvious ‘fix’ for the problem this tourist attraction has created.

Maybe they should add another 500 miles to the contract for dualling the A9?

Cat driving

10/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Clutha inquiry, day one, pretty much as expected

No surprises about what media homed in on.

But the AAIB has at least tried to make the purpose clear.

Philip Sleight, deputy chief inspector of air accidents at the AAIB, told the court that the AAIB’s purpose was to investigate the circumstances of an accident and make recommendations with the intention of preventing a reoccurrence.

He said the focus of the AAIB was “encouraging safety” not “apportioning blame”.

Clutha helicopter pilot given five low fuel warnings

Helicopter attended false alarm call before Clutha crash

A different quote came in another article, about the FAI.

Phil Sleight, deputy chief inspector of air accidents, told the inquiry there had been new documents presented but none of them were considered new or significant enough.

The purpose of the FAI is to determine the cause of the deaths, establish whether they could have been prevented and enable the sheriff to make recommendations that could prevent fatalities in similar circumstances.

Clutha FAI: Helicopter pilot received five low fuel warnings

Clutha helicopter crash inquiry: pilot ‘received five low-fuel warnings’

Another reminder was given.

The Crown Office has previously said there is insufficient evidence for criminal proceedings.

It’s easy to make ‘knee jerk’ judgements, but that would be wrong, since the media articles are just samples of proceeding, and those involved are privy to much more material than can make into these tiny articles.

Plus, as noted, there is something in the order of 3 to 4 months’ worth of material to be looked at, and that will probably take about six months, so nothing is going to happen soon.

When you sit on something like this, it can be amazing to see one small detail can take up a most of a day when being reviewed.

Clutha crash site

Clutha crash site

10/04/2019 Posted by | Aviation | , | Leave a comment


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