Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

I look forward to the promise of a few warmer days

I’d been looking at the forecast for next week (which happens to be Easter) and noted the possibility of a few warmer days around the same time – although I also noted that the peak fell to more normal levels within a few days too.

I see that this has been picked up on by the media, which homed in on the same figures with:

Glasgow set for Easter ‘heatwave’ as Met Office predicts temperatures warmer than Barcelona

I don’t see any comparison for Moscow, which might be more useful since Glasgow is at a similar latitude.

I’m still fed up with the current chilly weather – it just seems to go on and on.

I started some grass cutting on Thursday, but had to abort (not weather related).

That had been a nice evening, and I could only get back to finish that job this evening.

I’d hoped it would warm me up, as I’d been freezing all day. Fat chance, I was colder after finishing the job than when I’d started, just gave up, and threw on another layer of warm clothes.

As usual, I had a look at my local temperature record, and it just confirmed we’re not actually getting any warmer.

We do have some higher peaks, but they are cancelled out by colder, cloudless nights. I am, for information, looking at only +4°C outside as I type, with a fall rate of -1.2°C/hour being calculated and displayed.

From The start of March, to date, the temperature has not really risen at all, and for the past few days, has even gone down a little.

Temp March - mid-April

Temp March – mid-April

As you can see, it won’t be hard for ANY increase to happen and be noticed at Easter.

This March/April Max/Min/Ave plot reveals a slight increase, but also show the extremes.

When it gets warmer, it also gets colder, at the moment.

March April MinMaxAve

March April MinMaxAve



13/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

The Glasgow Tenement – long time no see

It’s a funny thing, although I’ve been close to, and almost passed the door of the Glasgow Tenement or Tenement House many times in recent years (even if just counting the times I’ve made a detour past the fire damaged Mackintosh Building alone), it’s never occurred to me to take a look. I seem to forget all about when I’m at the nearby Hill Street or Garntethill viewpoints, but something usually happens to divert my attention.

In fact, I’ve only been there once, when it was open for free for some special event many years ago.

Even that was a fluke, as I had heard about the house, created when the owners left it as a sort of well preserved ‘time capsule’, virtually unchanged until their death, but not known exactly where it was. This was in the days before you could find anything easily online, and if you didn’t know someone who knew where a place was, then it could be hard to find.

I seem to recall that I made a special effort to find it that day, and decided to hike up and down all the streets in the area, looking at every close entrance and window until I found it.

I have to confess that I wasn’t too pleased after I did find it – seems that even that far back it was popular (very popular, I think, as it was still relatively ‘new’), and the opportunity of getting in for free meant it was not just mobbed, but REALLY MOBBED.

I always meant to go back, but just never got around to it.

The Tenement House is in the news again, having apparently had a bit of makeover, to gain more exhibition space and facilities.

The National Trust for Scotland’s Tenement House has enjoyed a spruce up in time for spring.

The museum, in Garnethill, has a new retail space created in what was once the exhibition area and the old gift ship has been turned into an improved exhibit with new engaging objects and activities.

There are interactive exhibits which include a type writer – just like the one Miss Toward, past occupier of the Tenement House, used to use – costumes and props for the perfect selfie and a wide selection of handling objects from the period; including 1930s board games.

The Tenement House, in Buccleuch Street, provides an authentic time capsule of life in early 20th-century Glasgow.

Tenement House unveils new look as museum undergoes spring refurbishment

I might try for that revisit I haven’t managed so far.

But I hope I won’t be disappointed if I do.

The attraction of the original was its preservation of the interior as it was when the owner passed away.

If it’s too refurbished, revamped, and squeaky clean, then its reason for being will have been lost.

I was lucky, and happened to be nearby, which was very handy as I didn’t have a proper (exterior) pic of the place.

This turned out to be a ‘mystery tour’ – they’re just finishing new, modern flat builds to the right of this pic (hence the palette and traffic cones), and have blocked some of the roads, so a simple 10 metre walk between streets turned into a wander around a couple of tenement blocks just to get to the same place!

I’ll have to actually visit the place next time.

The Tenement House

The Tenement House


13/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

LNT – Russell Hobbs flat element kettle revisited

I covered what I THEN thought was the repair of an ancient Russell Hobbs Millennium kettle I had owned from new out-of-the-box, but which had never worked reliably from day one.

Why my new kettle NEVER worked properly

Once I rewired it and replaced the offending ‘boil switch’ I though the job was done.

But, I still thought it didn’t work ‘First Time, Every Time’, however, I attributed this to imagination.

I was wrong!

Despite the obvious failure of the ‘boil switch’, it seems this kettle held a second, equally destructive deeper fault.

Like most expensive kettles, this Russell Hobbs was fitted with over-temperature switches to kill the power if it boiled dry, or some idiot turned it on with no water in it. Unusually, it has TWO.

While I did make the filling/empty mistake a few times, I usually caught the slip (as this noisy kettle didn’t make the usual noises), and got into the habit of checking.

I assumed I had ‘Got it wrong’ one day when it didn’t boil, and I found very little water inside. Normally, the thermal switches reset when they cool, and you just carry on, but on this occasion it was completely dead. I assumed (wrongly) one or both switches had tripped and not reset.

I didn’t have any similar switches lying around, so just bought the cheapest kettle from Asda, assuming I could pull the part from that (at around £5 this is cheaper than buying just a switch online!).

That didn’t actually work out as planned – these supermarket plastic kettles are now so cheap they don’t have any safety features. Look at these pics…

First, just looking inside, plastic kettle should really have a metal plate at the bottom, to help dissipate heat if the automatic switch fails and they boil dry.

I was amazed to see this is no longer fitted. You can guess what happens if this boils dry, or you don’t fill it.

Asda Kettle Inside - no metal plate below element

Asda Kettle Inside – no metal plate below element

Things got worse when I went to dismantle it and collect the thermal switch I expected to find.

There wasn’t one – or apparently any sort of thermal cut-out to disconnect the power in the event of overheating.

I stopped short of dismantling the element, which connects directly to the power in the corded base, as it might have a thermal fuse inside, but since I wasn’t going to be cannibalising this new kettle after all, I wasn’t going to ruin it either.

There could well be a fusible link in there – I just don’t know. I have my doubts, as I’ve dismantled some very similar element bases, and they just go straight from those contacts to the element.

I’m amazed UK regulations allow this. It’s the sort of omission I expect to find inside Chinese home market goods, not export items.

Maybe the mains fuse (in the plug) is expected to blow if the element overheats with no water cooling it?

The two yellow wires go to power indicator fitted to the switch.

Asda Kettle Wiring - no obvious thermal cur-out

Asda Kettle Wiring – no obvious thermal cur-out

Oh well – back to the old Russell Hobbs, which I decided to investigate as I had started dismantling it in anticipation of repair.

This turned out to show my thoughts were ENTIRELY wrong, and it revealed the second ‘out-of-the-box’ failure it had come with.

I pulled the base of the kettle, and quickly found BOTH of the thermal cut-outs were perfect fine, as was the switch I’d fitted last time.

I checked all the wiring, which was fine, leaving only the flat element as the only part that could have been at fault and open circuit, but it looked perfect, as it was completely visible and I could see all the tracks were perfect, with no ‘blown’ or damaged spots to be seen.

I was puzzled now…

The element looked OK.

The wiring had checked out as continuous from the mains input to where it met the element, and all the switches were working perfectly on test.

That left only ONE possibility – was the wiring actually connecting to the element?

A plastic moulding covered the actual interface.

Stripping that out and removing the element revealed the cause.

The wiring did not connect directly to the element, but was terminated in a spring-loaded contact that was forced against the metal surface of the element.

A totally daft idea for a relative high current connection, with the inevitable result that one of them had failed, probably from the first time the kettle was ever used! Recall my first post noted that this kettle only worked two or three times before becoming intermittent and unreliable.

This is inevitable if there is any dirt, a poor or oxidised surface, or the spring fails for any reason to press the contact points together securely.

You can see from this pic that while one contact is still good, the other had completely burnt away, and it’s a wonder it ever worked.

Russell Hobbs Millennium Flat Element Burnt Connector

Russell Hobbs Millennium Flat Element Burnt Connector

Obviously, I can’t even attempt a repair – there’s nothing left to repair.

As everything else is fine, I will try permanently fixing the wire. Soldering should work in this case as the base can’t get about 100°C (unless the kettle is boiled dry or empty), but that substrate below the printed element track is at least 1 mm steel, so heating to make the connection will need care.

Another job for when I get around to it.

13/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Partick sewage pumping station

Since the wide shots of some well-known buildings seemed to be going so well, I thought I’d try another one.

This time it’s the Partick sewage pumping station.

Sorry to be so specific, but I thought it was a water pumping station, until I looked up the details (and I think your nose might confirm this occasionally, depending on how the wind is blowing against the building).

Again, it won’t fit into a single shot from a reasonable lens, and needs two to be combined to get it into a single view covering the whole façade.

After I’d finished fiddling with it to tidy up the final view I realised I’d made a little mistake.

The other buildings had been taller, so the standard/default size of image used here was fine for them, but the pumping station is only a single storey, and when displayed at that size looks a little too small.

Too late (I wasn’t going to redo the processing), but I will be more careful next time.

Partick Pumping Station

Partick Pumping Station

To make up for that slight slip, this is a view of the plaque fitted to the pumping station, which can be spotted to the right of centre.

Partick Pumping Station 1904 Plaque

Partick Pumping Station 1904 Plaque

By way of comparison, I took this single shot from what is probably the only spot you can get the whole façade caught with a normal, reasonably wide lens, standing as far back as possible at the moment. That distance may change in a while, as the university area behind (the photographer)  is currently a building site, with paths and roads currently closed, but which you might be able to get further back into, and get a better view in future.

Partick Pumping Station Single Shot

Partick Pumping Station Single Shot

That isn’t a party from the ‘Society of Sewage Pumping Station Worshipers’ bowing and kneeling to pay homage at the wall – it’s the painter’s, scraping the old paint and rust off the original cast iron fence, to get it ready for a nice new coat of paint.

13/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment


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