Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Archive pic shows how Percy Shaw’s cat inspired cat’s eyes

Couldn’t resist this piece of fun after being shown a pic online a few days ago.

As usual, no context supplied, but it is a great pic.

Cat's Eyes

Cat’s Eyes

Cat’s eyes (the famous ones installed in roads around the world) were invented by Percy Shaw of Boothtown, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, in 1934, when he saw his cat (above) and he patented his invention (patents 436,290 and 457,536). On 15 March 1935 founded Reflecting Roadstuds Limited in Halifax, to manufacture them under the trademark name Catseye.

At first, they tried using cats as shown in the pic – but the cats eventually got wise to the fact that they were being used, and kept closing their eyes whenever a car came along the road, causing many crashes.

Just kidding (about the cats).

But compare that pic to this (thankfully pd) one of a road with his Catseys installed.

Percy Shaw Catseye

Percy Shaw Catseye



25/04/2019 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

School’s in, and it shows

I couldn’t make the lunchtime trip to Kelvingrove on Tuesday, but things were better on Wednesday.

But there was something wrong…

I stepped inside and there was nobody there, and it was quiet (both terms are relative to the past few weeks, when the place was crazy busy).

I guess that means the current run of school holidays is over, and I better say no more in case someone takes me seriously šŸ˜‰

But it really was completely different, with no crowding, and no elevated voices echoing around the galleries. It was almost uncannily quiet.

I had to grab a couple of pics, just to prove I wasn’t imagining it.

And perhaps a little reminder for anyone intending to go see Dippy, but who hasn’t got a Round Tuit.

This exhibition ends on 06 May 2019.

That’s less than two weeks away, if you have to make plans (rather than just keep falling in the door, like me).

Kelvingrove Dippy After School Holiday 1

Kelvingrove Dippy After School Holiday 1

The bright patches of sunlight really do mess with the exposure, and make it hard to balance the exposure – the interior really is quite dark (deliberately so in most areas, to prevent light damage to the exhibits).

Kelvingrove Dippy After School Holiday 2

Kelvingrove Dippy After School Holiday 2

25/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

If you haven’t noticed, bus travel has changed a little in the past thirty years

After my post of a few days ago, where I suggested that the moronic comments made in response to an article about the first buses in Scotland able to carry bicycles, only confirmed that such comments were probably as false as online reviews, I chance upon a pic opportunity that refuted most of them in one go.

Like most comments nowadays, the morons making them had been generally derogatory of not only the subject, the bus bike racks, but also chose to insult the bus drivers, stating they were unhelpful, only interested in getting along their route as fast as possible, and that their schedule meant they didn’t help disable passengers.

The moron’s comment MAY have been true twenty or thirty years ago, but I refuted them all in that post. Those people really are contemptible, and just spread lies and poison.

I didn’t have a valid pic to go with that post, but collected on yesterday, in Ayr.

This is the X77 which goes between Glasgow and Ayr in about an hour, so the driver has plenty of time to help disabled passengers, and does not have to ‘race’ to complete the journey on time. Even with evening ‘rush hour’ traffic in Prestwick and Glasgow, the journey was made on time.

The ‘bus’ is a luxury coach with reclining seats, even seat belts, overhead racks, double glazing, tinted windows (even a toilet at the rear), and aircon. If the graphics don’t make it obvious, it’s the norm on this route, not one I was lucky to jump on. Even the doors on the luggage compartments are powered and operated remotely.

While ‘ordinary’ city buses have a manual ramp that takes the driver all of 5 second to deploy, the coach has a powered ramp system that hides away completely, and the driver (apologies for the unflattering view of the lady driver in this case, who moved as I grabbed the pic and I only found out later when processing the day’s pics) can use it to board wheelchair users, and raise them to the elevated level of the coach deck.

Bus driver wheelchair access

Bus driver wheelchair access

Dare I say a happy driver who only has to press a few buttons to achieve this, and also a happy passenger, who gets easy an entry onto this coach, as do similar passengers on city (and rural, since they have the same manual ramp) buses.

Most people using buses regularly today probably already know this, but the moronic commenters really just want to spread disinformation and misery with their false comments.

In fact, in a solid month of almost daily bus travel around Glasgow, using two or three different buses each day, I haven’t seen a single case of a driver who hasn’t made me want to ask if attendance at an ‘Anger Management’ class (and successful pass) is part of their training and qualification. They’re all so laid back and calm at the wheel I’m almost tempted to ask if I can have some of what they’ve had before starting their shift.

One (who I have to say was coloured for this tale) suffered a torrent of abuse from a drunk, racist bigot, who treated the driver and the passengers to a stream of the usual “Go home, go back where you came from, stop taking our jobs, you black… etc”, all the way from Shawlands to the city centre. I was impressed that he didn’t respond in any way to any of the provocation directed towards him, and just carried on driving calmly as if the drunk wasn’t even there

A couple of mothers tried to tone him down for his language in front of their children, he just abused them, and only quietened down (a bit) when one big workman who’d got on the bus later indicated he wasn’t frightened of him. But he was so drunk he’d forget and have to be reminded every few minutes.

Sad to say, I had to get off at the same stop as the nice drunk man, and he absolutely reeked of stale pee and alcohol.

25/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Well, I TRIED to warn you about Dumb and Dumber Deer

Nice of officialdom to map out the places where dumb deer will try to kill you.

Deer hotspots highlighted in warning to Glasgow drivers

And the number… the numbers are alarming.

Deer really are thicker than two short planks, and dangerous.

It’s almost funny that the article refers to “If you hit a deer”, since their behaviour and the way they’ll bolt out of cover from the side of the road makes the reality more likely to be that one of them will hit you.

Still, it’s worth taking note of most of the advice offered in this article, but maybe not so much where it suggests drivers hit deer.

And not just drivers are at risk from these idiots. See this video.

Deer attacks innocent cyclist

Fortunately, another cyclist missed being totalled by a deer – as it totalled itself by colliding with a car!

Yes folks, again, the deer hit the car, not vice versa. See this video, and some pics.

Deer, best avoided

Deer Danger

Deer Danger

25/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Spare a thought for the old Open University TV programmes

I’ve no idea when I started watching them, but I really enjoyed the Open University programmes/lectures broadcast at odd times on BBC2.

I missed them when they went off-air too, even if they were ancient B&W productions, the subjects they covered didn’t change over time. Apparently that end came in 2006.

The Maths 101 stuff even helped when my head decided to give up on this subject at one point, and I went from understanding the stuff to barely being able to pass an exam – I still don’t know what went wrong.

I did pass the exams, eventually, and at the last permitted attempt, but it wasn’t good.

Not sure if it’s a pity the material those programmes covered moved to alternative distribution methods – I’d probably still be watching them today!

The Open University marks 50 years since its inception

Open University: Photos issued to mark 50th anniversary

Open University cult viewing

Open University cult viewing

Although I’ve managed to avoid doing this, as I might get hooked, you can search on YouTube and find a number of OU programmes have been made a available there.

Now, what was the title of that Maths 101 series?

25/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Impressive proposals for Dunoon revival

I have to give a mention to some plans being proposed to revive the fortunes of Dunoon.

A famed seaside town could be revived with cable car to take tourists up a hill, and rollercoaster to take them down, if ambitious plans for a community buyout go ahead.

The town of Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll and Bute, was once a popular spot for Glaswegians to go ā€˜doon the Watterā€™, but its fortunes diminished with the rise of package holidays abroad.

The resort, on the banks of the Firth of Clyde, has fallen off the tourist map but hopes are high it could once again become one of the biggest attractions in Scotland.

An ambitious plan, The Dunoon Project, based on a community buyout of the Corlarach forest above the town, could see it become a centre for outdoor activities.

A cable car would be installed to take passengers up the Kilbride Hill which rises above Dunoon to a cafe and observation spot at the top, according to the proposals.

Going down the hill to a base station, there would be the option of a zip-slide ride down the hill over a distance of four kilometres or a trip in an ā€œalpine coasterā€ – a type of rollercoaster which follows the contours of the land.

Those of a less stalwart disposition could still take the cable car, or ride down on a mountain bike.

Plans to revive Scottish seaside town with cable car and rollercoaster

It’s an interesting plan, and certainly ticks the box for innovation and ‘Thinking outside the box’, but I fear it has missed oneĀ  or two small points.

Dunoon’s success in the days of ‘Doon the watter’ came to an end years ago, along with all the other Clyde coast resorts.

Most of those others have seen a revival in recent years, but I’d say they were luckier than Dunoon in that they are nearer, and don’t need such a long ferry trip, or drive.

I suspect that today, people seek more instant gratification, and the 2 hours or so it takes to get to Dunoon before having any fun is a potential barrier to success.

Unlike the others, Dunoon benefited immensely from the 31-year presence of a US submarine refit facility in the Holy Loch from 1961 to 1992.

That’s not coming back any time soon.

Other outdoor facilities, once popular in the area, have also failed to maintain the popularity they once enjoyed.

Castle Toward was once a popular residential outdoor centre, but once it ran into difficulties, all attempts to save it failed, and it fell of the radar.

Last heard of in 2018, it was still closed, but the grounds were open to public access.

If somewhere with an established record for activities couldn’t maintain its position (regardless of whatever politics or intrigue were, or may have been, going on in the background), that’s another reason I have my doubts about a new venture.

Sadly, I have to say I took a very quick trip to Ayr today, and looking at this sad shadow (so many empty shops, and nearly all the new/recent shopping arcades are almost empty too, with hardly any units occupied, and many of those only open for a few days, or with ‘Closing’ signs in the windows) of its former appearance, also suggests trying to revive somewhere asĀ  far away as Dunoon is maybe a great idea, but with little chance.

I got this poster from a now defunct Dunoon web site some years ago, and have had to expand it as the image they had was very small.

This is dated 1943.

Dunoom Lido Poster 1943

Dunoon Lido Poster 1943


25/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, military, Naval, Transport | , | Leave a comment


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