Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Online reviews are false – seems the same is true of comments

I’ve never understood why anybody puts any faith in online reviews.

Most read like promotional literature posted by the subject, and there are too many cases reported in the media where false material intended to harm a business (perhaps by someone seeking revenge) to make positive OR negative reviews trustworthy or believable.

See this recent article if you believe any online reviews (or believe I’m making this up 🙂 ): ‘Why I write fake online reviews’

And that’s before we even get to those business who beg for positive reports and 5-star reviews.

I recently bought some camera accessories online, and was about to post a pic of the note that came with them, begging for positive reviews and 5-star ratings for the items.

Two things meant I didn’t, firstly that it would have given the seller free publicity (not from me), and secondly that they told me NOT to give a review OR rating if it wasn’t going to be 5-star.

Sure, like I am going to do ANY of those things of ORDERED to by a seller!

So, how did ‘Comments’ end up being lumped in with reviews?

If you’ve read any items where I’ve mentioned the few articles that still appear after news articles in the media, you will probably have noticed that I now generally refer to the ‘Comments section’ as the ‘Morons section, and that I will mostly be referring to that section as it appears after articles published by The Scotsman.

The BBC still offers a few online items with comments open, and these are just about as moronic (probably the same people), but I seldom mother even looking, as their comment section is hidden by default, and needs to be clicked on to be made visible, and it’s not usually worth that amount of effort.

The most recent article was a genuinely useful and informative piece on the introduction of cycle spaces on buses.

You might be forgiven for thinking such a sensible move would be relatively free of adverse and moronic comments.


I’ve been forced to use the bus (or sit at home) for almost a month, and the commenters, sorry, morons, have clearly been locked indoors for a lot longer than that, and not been on any current buses – if they’ve even seen, let alone been ON a bus in the past twenty or thirty years.

According to the moron commenters, buses are dirty, drivers unhelpful, too busy racing between stops, don’t run on time or to schedule, and a nightmare for the disabled or anyone with a pram.

In fact, I’ve been shocked to find that I could set my watch by any of the buses I’ve used. In Glasgow, they run almost to the minute, and we have digital displays on our bus stops which countdown to the bus’ arrival.

The buses are new and clean (unless a drunk ned has been on recently).

Drivers stop and help disabled people (and people with prams) get on if needed, manually dropping a ramp to the pavement – if the kneeling bus cannot get close enough or kneel down far enough. There are special places for wheelchairs and prams to sit too. I’ve seen many people in powered wheelchairs get on and off the bus unaided, apart from that ramp, if needed.

There’s no rushing between stops. As noted above, the drivers run to a timetable, and often wait at stops, or just pull in for a minute, if it is quiet and they are early.

Apparently NONE of this happens in the world, or twisted mind, of the moron commenter.

Funny thing is, as I watched the prams and wheelchairs going on and off, the he only thing I began to wonder about was bikes on buses.

And then this story appeared a few days ago…

Here’s Scotland’s first bus you can wheel your bike onto

The story’s pretty much what you’d expect, with space and racking, and supports to suit bikes, similar to that in place already for wheelchairs and prams.

The real subject though, I suggest, is a look at the comment/moron section after it.

It’s hard to believe that some people have little more to do with their time than make up the rubbish and misinformation that fills most of this section.

It’s even sadder to see that some of them are mocking even the idea, and suggesting it is stupid to provide such paces on buses.

They really don’t get out enough, or have any contact with other people.


22/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Last look at Pitt Street Police HQ

Pitt Street was a fairly well-known address for some, being the former location of Glasgow’s Police Headquarters.

If I recall correctly it also had a small museum, dedicated to the more unusual items confiscated over the years.

One item that stuck in my memory is of some really old ÂŁ5 notes (from the days when ÂŁ5 was a LOT of money), however they were not normal ÂŁ5 notes, nor were they forgeries, but they were still part of a con or scam.

Although they don’t say how it was achieved, con men of the day could split the old notes through their thickness, producing TWO notes from ONE original.

Obviously, they had a genuine print on one side, but were blank on the other, so had to be presented carefully to fool the person the split note was handed to in payment for something.

The closest answer to ‘How did they split the notes?’ I ever got was simply that they used a razor.

I consider myself reasonably handy with small items, but I don’t think I’d even try that, let alone have any success.

If true, I’m impressed.

I don’t move in the right circles to know anyone connected to it, but I did know someone who got sent there one day, to act in his official capacity as an officer for the RIS (Radio Investigatory Service). This was back in the days of ‘illegal’ CB operation, and when he got there was told he had to sign off on the destruction/deactivation of a lorry load of illegal CB radios which has been seized. This involved the radios being laid out in the car park, then being driven over by Land Rovers until they were just a layer of useless scrap, to be scraped up and dumped.

With all the changes, that went some time ago, and the site went up for sale, but it seems that nobody wanted to buy it.

I knew it was being demolished, but never noticed it happening, as I generally only got to Pitt Street itself, where the entrance was, and that’s generally unaltered (for now at least, but not for long).

They started the demolition at the other end of the building, which meant I didn’t see this until I happened to approach from the opposite direction recently.

Pretty sure this is what they refer to as ‘demolition’, and it’s well underway.

Click for bigger.

Pitt Street Demolition

Pitt Street Demolition

22/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

The media loves warm weather, and this time it may be for real

After the ‘fun’ we had last year, when the Beast from the East kept making return trips, this year has been interesting as the chilly weather seemed to have take note, and kept on making similar returns. Nowhere near as cold of course, but continually teasing with a warm day, then a chilly one – just to catch people silly enough to go out in t-shirts and shorts after that one warm day.

I still regret not trying harder to get some pics, of people dressed like that, in the same scene as those still wrapped up in big jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves 🙂

There was a run of weather stories prediction how warm Glasgow (and may even Scotland) was going to be for Easter, and since I don’t subscribe to the view that the weatherfolk could not produce an accurate forecast if their lives depended on it, I expected the weather to change ‘overnight’.

Hot weather arrives in time for Easter weekend as Glasgow faces mini heatwave

Easter weather: Glasgow tops Malta today as heatwave brings hottest day of the year so far

Glasgow enjoys warmest day of year so far as Easter weekend weather breaks records

And they were right…

Scotland has had its warmest ever Easter Sunday, with temperatures reaching 23C.

Warm air from North Africa arrived on Friday and temperatures have continued to rise.

The heat has reached 23C at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire, making it Scotland’s hottest Easter Sunday on record.

Scotland has warmest ever Easter Sunday as temperatures soar

Three of the UK’s nations have recorded their highest ever Easter Sunday temperatures, the Met Office has said.

Scotland’s peak was 23.4C (74F), in Edinburgh, while that same temperature was also the high point in Wales – coming in Cardiff.

Northern Ireland beat a 95-year-old record when the mercury hit 21C at Helen’s Bay near Bangor.

England’s highest temperature was 24.6C at Heathrow airport – just shy of the record of 25.3C.

Record Easter temperatures in three nations of the UK

Back in the real world, I’d like to note that this is does not reflect what happens indoors, as there’s a thermal lag in the fabric of a building, meaning it can lag days behind the external temperature.

At the moment, I’m ‘enjoying’ the weird experience of this rapid outdoor warmth mixed with indoor temperatures which can be 10°C behind the nice warm day outside.

Here’s the (my local outdoor) Max Min Avg for the past week.

April Max Min Ave

April Max Min Ave

And the indoor and outdoor actuals for the past month.

The most interesting things here are the sudden change in the pattern, and the regular max/min of the day/night temperatures.

At least the latter explains why I always think it’s freezing as I head out every morning – it is!

April Inside Outside Temps

April Inside Outside Temps

However, unlike the ‘warm’ spells of a few weeks ago, this graph shows a genuine rise now, so the chilly weather has gone.

For a few months.

It will be back.

Some take a little more convincing than a nice graph.

Warm Cat

Warm Cat

People are a little more trusting, and this was the first day the Sun came out.

First sunny Kelvingrove day

First sunny Kelvingrove day

I was quite concerned for this poor girl’s safety, lest she be attacked by the ‘Bikini Clad Army of Fat‘ which I had read about invading Glasgow a few days ago, and is apparently out to convince everyone that carrying around 20 stone of fat is beautiful, healthy, and normal.

Kelvingrove Lawn

Kelvingrove Lawn

What a shame place such as the asylums around Glasgow (Gartloch and Lennox Castle for example) were all closed, as there are clearly some people whose mental processes show they should be in them.

I’ll maybe listen to these disgusting women (and it always women) the day we get demands for similar legislation to stop people chasing ‘fat’ as some sort of ideal in the same these fatties have pursued legislation to stop people chasing ‘thin’.

Address BOTH.


Easter Monday carried on the trend.

Scotland has enjoyed its hottest Easter Monday on record with a top temperature of 24.2C (75.5F) in Kinlochewe in Wester Ross.

The figure beat the previous high of 21.4C (70.5F) from 2014.

It came 24 hours after a peak of 23.4C in Edinburgh broke Scotland’s Easter Sunday record.

This year, Easter fell on the latest date since 2011, meaning that warm weather is far more likely than those years when Easter is marked in March.
Image copyright PA
Image caption Six-year-old Brodie Tait cools down in a fountain in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens

The Met Office said all four of the UK nations had recorded their warmest Easter Monday on record.

Easter Monday temperature is new Scottish record

22/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Damn! Kelvingrove’s not that far from Charing Cross

I used to go for some fairly long walks, especially when I had long days to kill – 3 hours out, and 3 hours back can eat up a day, especially if you mess about while stopping to take pics.

Not sure what’s changed, but while I still walk a few miles most days, the long ones seem to have melted away as I can’t find the time for them.

One ‘extension’ I pondered, but never followed, was the stretch from Charing Cross to Kelvingrove.

I often looked along St Vincent Street, or Sauchiehall Street, but always turned around, remembering that I still had to walk back home after getting there.

I never checked the distance, but it’s only about a mile, or 20 minutes, so would actually have been fine – but it just felt a lot longer when I ran the route in my head.

I’m not sure what the walking distance would be (maybe I’ll have to step it out one day) but I do know that between the bus, or the bike, the distance travelled is between 7 and 8 miles. However, unlike those two routes, which have to wander around a bit to suit the roads, walking can be considerably shorter as it can be more direct, so would be less than either of those alternatives.

The view below shows the route I wandered along when I decided to take a wander through Kelvingrove Park after leaving the museum.

By the time I got to the memorial at the Park Circus gate (the houses right of centre), it seemed daft to head back, so I just carried on to Charing Cross.

While this was not even the most direct route, it seemed to take very little time, and would have been even quicker/shorter had I left the park at the Claremont Gardens gate, and headed to Charing Cross from there, which is almost a straight and direct route.

Kelvingrove To Charing Cross

Kelvingrove To Charing Cross

22/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maps, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Sixty Steps – by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson

I’m not sure when I came across ‘Sixty Steps’ somewhere, and learned that this was a project which was down to Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson.

It was probably about five years ago, when I think there was an appeal for help to preserve the feature, and I thought it would be an idea to find out where they were, and have a look.

Didn’t happen.

It became one of those ‘Round Tuit’ plans, and slipped to the back of my mind (so, plenty of space).

I happened to be wandering around Queen Margaret Drive (and Road), just out of nosiness, as there had been an amateur radio shop there I’d visited a few times, and was curious to see what was there now, as I knew it (Lowe Electronics) had closed years ago (along with all the others).

What I didn’t know was that the premises were up against the ‘Sixty Steps’, which lie just to the right of this view of the shops there now.

Queen Margaret Road Shops

Queen Margaret Road Shops

It was a pretty dull day, and late too, but I did catch some pics.

Sixty Steps

Sixty Steps

There’s a pair of information panels at the top of the steps.

Hopefully you will be able to read them (it got dark quick), if not, you can find the same information on the Sixty Steps web site

The ‘Steps’ are more than just a few steps, and the story behind the steps and the retaining wall, and the adjacent features is well worth taking the time to learn about.

Click for bigger.

Sixty Steps Information Board 1

Sixty Steps Information Board 1


Sixty Steps Information Board 2

Sixty Steps Information Board 2

22/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment


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