Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Helensburgh handcuffs

With the disappointing, but not unexpected, changes to the front of Helensburgh, I seem to find the side and back streets have become more interesting.

Most of the shops I used to like to look at have gone since I was last there, and had lasted so long I almost expected them to stay. But, I’m not that silly, and saw this first on Bute (which I visited more regularly), when I realised my usual walk around the town began to miss the ‘old format’ shops, which had very different arrangements of entrance ways and window compared to later shop. Today, they maximise floor space. In the past, they concentrated more on window displays, and even quite small shops would have long entrance corridors leading from the pavement, flanked by long windows along their sides where shops would display their goods. That’s gone, probably everywhere, unless you trip over a shop that has not been ‘modernised’.

This, however, is not about a shop, it’s about a Police Office, or as we’d say nowadays, a Police Station.

Helensburgh’s original Police Office is now just a historic remain, abandoned and up for redevelopment.

But, there still a fairly impressive stone carving in place above the main entrance. There are other entrances to the side, since the office housed a number of related facilities.

It wasn’t really the large carving that caught my eye at first, but the two cute pairs of handcuffs carved into the detail.

I’m afraid this pic is a little incomplete – I’m doing a lot of switching between dSLR and compact at the moment, and while a dSLR viewfinder actually shows about 90% of the image to be recorded (so there’s a slim border around the edge, with more image than seen), the compact viewfinder shows 100% of the final image – so there’s no ‘safety net’ of extra image around the edge. Fine if your brain remembers, not so fine if you’re not fully alert to which camera you have in your hand.

Excuse the ‘missing’ bits.

Helensburgh Police Office

Helensburgh Police Office

I think this building is dated to 1906, but the record I found was not specific.

The carving has survived well, given its location in a seafront (or side) building, with much detail still to be seen.

The composition of the stone used was well suited to the site, which would be exposed to damp salt air from the sea.

I’ve come across many examples of stonework in Glasgow which have only had (industrial) air/rain to contend with, where some blocks of stone have dissolved and lost all their structure, yet may be located beside other pieces of stone which have survived with almost no evidence of weathering.

This can be seen easily in some of the carvings on Alexander ‘Greek’ Thompson’s well-known Free Church in Glasgow’s St Vincent Street, where some have been reduced to featureless blobs, while adjacent examples of the same work, but on different blocks, remain almost complete.

04/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Oh-oh… Looks like my unhappy opinion of the NPA might not be the only one

I’ve said before that I’ve long given up on passing comment on the NPAs (National Park Authorities), especially since I lost the option of being a regular visitor to the Loch Lomond area some time ago.

So now you know I think they’re (around Loch Lomond at least) useless,

I spotted news of a proposed major development at Loch Lomond, and it seems to pretty much fall into line with the negative things I think about NPAs.

This sounds kind of what like I was saying years ago, and the NPA still seems to be letting developments be added.

So much for preserving the place, unspoilt.

More than 50,000 objections have been lodged against a new £30m tourist development at Loch Lomond.

The proposals include a 60-bedroom apart-hotel, 32-bedroom budget accommodation, a craft brewery, holiday homes, leisure centre and restaurants.

But the Lomond Banks development at Balloch has proven controversial with strong local opposition.

Campaigners fear the project will spoil the scenery and limit access to the shoreline for locals.

Alannah Maurer, of the Save Loch Lomond campaign, told BBC Scotland’s The Nine: “A national park is a theme park in its own right, a natural theme park and in this time of climate change we should be looking at conserving that natural theme park.

“Those buildings will dominate the scenery, they will dominate the village of Balloch.”

Anger over £30m hotel and leisure complex for Loch Lomond

They (the developers, and the objectors) can’t both be right, so this will an interesting confrontation between two fairly outspoken groups who would seem to be unlikely ever to agree.

Benidorm pic still seems appropriate, so…



04/05/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Kelvingrove repairs continue – and an unusual bonus view

The size of the repair job for Kelvingrove’s failed cornice is growing.

There’s more stuff there now, and the previous view is obscured by plastic sheeting.

Probably won’t be much to see until the job is done, and the screening is removed.

Kelvingrove Cornice Repair

Kelvingrove Cornice Repair

An unusual view was noted

I noticed something I haven’t seen for weeks.

The visitors standing in the central hall were nearly ALL watching the organist.

Since Dippy occupied the hall, the seating that was laid out for visitors was removed, as was the café (temporarily relocated upstairs).

During recitals, the hall has generally been taken over by mobs of schoolkids (large and small varieties), and people ogling Dippy.

During one of the breaks in the recital I happened to look down, and suffered a “What’w wrong with this pic (or view)” moment,

There were no kids rolling around on the floor, or thronged masses of schoolchildren milling around the dinosaur.

Just people standing and watching the organist.

This was such a break from the usual scene I didn’t realise it at first, so I didn’t think to take a pic until later, when there were fewer people.

This was as wide a shot I could take, and missed all those standing at the entrance to the right. Sorry, but I wasn’t wandering off to one of the ends of the hall during what was a very good recital.

Kelvingrove Adult Visitors

Kelvingrove Adult Visitors

Recently, this would have been the more likely view.

It’s interesting – I noticed that last year, if parents and children did this then, staff would approach and gently shoo them off the central area and into the side. There was no hassle or confrontation, and nobody seemed to object.

That seems to have ended, and this sort of ‘picnic view’ is now common.

Kelvingrove Family Visitors

Kelvingrove Family Visitors

I was wondering if there was maybe a midget secreted in that pushchair, casually left against the ‘Donation’ box.

These days, I wouldn’t put it past someone to organise something like that, and be using a piece of bent wire to fish out fivers and tenners (or a magnet for coins, since they became ferrous) whenever attention was diverted elsewhere 🙂

04/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Today is Petite and Perfect Day

04 May is Petite and Perfect Day.

Although I technically don’t qualify (being a tad over the defined height), I think I still qualify and the spirit of day as I’ve never broken the 10 stone barrier.

And I will never qualify for Short Girl Appreciation Day!

It seems the official number is under 5’4″.

Below (or I’ll say close to) that, and we can celebrate that lack of height and the advantages it brings. We can, for example, squeeze into small spaces, not bang our heads on low ceilings, and maybe fit into kid’s’ clothing, which allegedly saves money! I have my doubts about the latter nowadays, as kids demand designer label crap, and brand names writ loud on the junk.

However, there is better news – apparently short people live longer than their longer counterparts.

Try this for a list of pros and cons…

Tall vs short: Which is it better to be?

Short Tall

Short Tall

04/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Free Comic Book Day

04 May 2019 is Free Comic Book Day.

But be careful, this is another of those ‘wandering’ days that moves around from year to year, as it falls on the first Saturday of the month.

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN. A time of free comics for all to enjoy. Come to your local comic book stores for free comics from different companies/titles just being given away.

And it’s global!

Free Comic Book Day – First Saturday in May

Free Comic Book Day 2019

Free Comic Book Day 2019

Find your local/nearest shop in their:

Store Locator

While this is a blog that will kick any ‘Nationalist Loonies’ as far is can see them, that doesn’t preclude me for noting that their ‘International Store Locator’ option does actually include an option for ‘Scotland’, not just the more usual ‘UK’.

(As an ‘equal opportunity’ discrimination site, Unionist Loonies and all other similar crackpots will be despatched with similar over-zealous vigour.)

I have to confess that although I discovered Free Comic Book Day some time ago, and who doesn’t like ‘FREE’ (especially if one of the peasant classes), I’ve (still) never actually taken a walk to one of these events.

04/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment


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