Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Did I really buy an expensive Iron Man cookie jar?

Anyone reading here regularly (or who knows me) will know I have no time for any sort of branded crap, ‘designer label’ goods, or souvenirs/collectibles which carry prices that prove “A fool and their money are soon parted”.

So why did I bring home a £40 Iron Man ‘official’ cookie jar, available today, in stock, from Amazon for a mere £56, or other online sellers for between £16 and £25 – but all with ‘No stock available’ status. (That’s what was online the day I wrote this post, so will change).

Iron Man cookie jar

Iron Man cookie jar

Well, the answer should be fairly obvious – a sale!

Knowing there was a run taking place in Glasgow city centre (so loads of streets closed to traffic), plus the added disruption and delay of more nonsense bringing crowds to Parkhead, I left home really early to get to Kelvingrove for the 3 pm organ recital.

This meant I arrived early, and decided to have a wander around the museum shops.

One was having a SALE!

So, that’s how I came to have a £40 cookie jar – for which I only paid £5. (Which is all I’d pay for a cookie jar).

Iron Man sale price

Sale price

I have to give special mention to a claim on the box, which may not be clear in the oblique view above…


Here’s plain shot.

Armoured cookie jar?

Armoured cookie jar?

Have to be honest – NOT going to test that one.

This also gives me the chance to include a mention for a couple of favourites who are no longer with us.

Iron Man’s creator, and Grumpy Cat, seen together not all that long ago.


Stan Lee and Grumpy Cat

Stan Lee and Grumpy Cat


Stan Lee and Grumpy Cat again

Stan Lee and Grumpy Cat again

No, not really 😉

Stan Lee and Grumpy Cat not really grumpy

Stan Lee and Grumpy Cat not really grumpy

19/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Clutha inquiry S04

This week…

Clutha inquiry: Helicopter operators ‘concerned about fuel indicators’ before fatal crash

Faulty fuel sensors on Clutha helicopter ‘were not replaced’

Clutha helicopter operators ‘worried about fuel display’

Clutha helicopter crash inquiry: two drops of water could have caused faulty fuel reading

Clutha: Two drops of water ‘could distort fuel reading’

Clutha inquiry: Pilot warned of faulty fuel reading

The Clutha Bar 2019

The Clutha Bar 2019

19/05/2019 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Sorry for mentioning cycling again

I feel I have to apologise for some fairly frequent mentions of cycling, which I almost don’t even want to do for fear of sounding like a fan, or worse, a damned activist!

But there just seems to be a lot happening all of a sudden, and this year seems to be very busy already.

Maybe it’s just our ‘heatwaves’ bringing more people out of doors.

My usual routes are already busier than last year – I think I’ve already passed more other cyclists this year than I did last year.

Also notable is the number of Nextbikes (the hired ones), which I hardly saw in use last year, this year already seem to be all over the place.

But what I really wanted to mention was the response to the impending completion of reorganising Sauchiehall Street, to encourage pedestrians and cyclists, and discourage motor vehicles.

For the past couple of years, there was a disappointing level of negativity and adverse comment about the proposals and the work, with some suggesting it wouldn’t work for various reasons, and that it would be the death of many shops in Sauchiehall Street as people deserted it because of the changes.

Seems the naysayers (dare I say “As usual”) were wrong, and it seems that actual traders there are relatively happy.

A number of Glasgow businesses have spoken out about the ongoing Sauchiehall Street Avenues project, praising the impact it has had.

The £115 million Avenues programme, piloted in Sauchiehall Street, will upgrade at least 17 key streets across the city centre over the next six years until 2025.

Work in this area, which extends pavements and cycle lanes and reduces space for vehicles, is expected to be completed by the end of May.

Now, some of Sauchiehall Street’s main business people have praised the project, claiming it will transform the area.

Brian Fulton, co-director and co-owner of the Garage nightclub and chair of the Sauchiehall Street Avenue Project, said: “I think it’s really going to make a big difference to how we use the street going forward.

“Back before the bid started people were really negative about the streetscape in the public realm so we spoke to businesses about what they would want from a street and public realm improvements was the main, overriding thing.

“With the set up of the bid, it put us in a good position to lobby to have this as the first pilot project of the Avenues project and you can see here today the difference it’s made to the streetscape compared to how it was four, five years ago.”

The scheme, which will introduce green infrastructure, extend pedestrian walkways and reduce space for vehicles, have been separated into three blocks – A, B and C.

Block A includes the Sauchiehall Street development but will also oversee the transformation of Argyle Street, Dixson Street and St Enoch’s Centre into a pedestrian and cycle friendly city.

The Underline, which will connect the West End to the city centre via St George’s Place, Phoenix Road and New City Road, will promote similar routes.

Businesses speak out on Sauchiehall Street’s ongoing Avenues project

Why wouldn’t anyone want what this is delivering?

Sauchiehall Street was an ancient mish-mash of outdated layouts and systems until this came along – I didn’t even bother walking along there just for a look. Seeing traffic trying to use the old layout made me glad I wasn’t trying to drive there.


The current changes seem set to become still further enhances, with almost £300 k set to be released for more improvements.

Glasgow councillors are expected to support a plan to pump almost £300,000 into footpath improvements on one of the city’s main streets.

City chiefs can approve the use of the money on Sauchiehall Street , as part of the ongoing Avenues programme, when they meet on Thursday.

It has been generated from developer contributions, where private companies behind city centre projects commit funds to public realm schemes.

The £290,000 of funding, from a private development at Buchanan Street/Bath Street, will go towards footway works on the northern side of Sauchiehall Street, between Charing Cross and Rose Street.

Councillors set to back £300,000 plan for Sauchiehall Street footpaths

I was there last week, just for a look, and there’s still quite a bit of work to be completed, but most of the changes have been made and it’s possible to see what the finished street will look like.

My only gripe remains the same – that black tarmac laid for the cycle path is terrible.

The contractor should be sent back in to smooth it off, at THEIR cost.

The surface ripples make it shooglier than the block paving around it!

Sauchiehall Street Avenue

Sauchiehall Street Avenue

19/05/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Should we be mad or sad at stupid parents?

We’ve already seen the damage that a combination of lies, misinformation, and stupid people can do, thanks to the actions of one man followed by a load of anti-vaxers (and bandwagon jumping celebrities who saw a way to get a lot of free publicity by ‘educating’ their moronic fans, and advising them not to vaccinate, like them).

Years of damage need to be undone, as vaccination depends on a population participating, and the lies of one man’s discredited report have disrupted that.

If you haven’t heard, there’s no link between autism and vaccination!

There’s a similar mythology spread by some, based on belief rather than evidence, that certain types of radio emissions are harmful.

As usual, they emphasise their nonsense by claiming children are at risk, and trying to shame anyone who doesn’t support their dogma.

Reading some of their nonsense, they’ll even try to scare non-believers by listing the same hazards for non-ionising radiation (ie radio waves) as for ionising radiation (ie nuclear radiation).

It’s hard to fault uneducated parents who are confused, and think they’re doing the right thing. On the other hand, it gives the loonies credibility and traction, and as we saw in the case of vaccination, CAN cause actual harm to others.

Those of working/trained in these industries and subjects can only look on, and shake our heads as we read news such as…

Parents remove children from island school over 5G mast

I suspect a study of such reactions would show more verifiable damage from such responses than could be shown (via factual data) to be due to any of the supposed harmful effects being claimed via belief rather than independently verifiable scientific evidence.

It should also be realised that such actions could hinder testing of secret/covert projects which can’t be tested in public.

Death Ray

Death Ray

Tin foil wrapped kids

I wonder if those same ‘caring and concerned’ parents realise that we live in a world saturated by radio waves of all frequencies, covering the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Just taking them away from ONE transmitter is not going to prevent them being permeated by such signals.

See, for example: Revealed: 5G rollout is being stalled by rows over lampposts 

Maybe they don’t have any lampposts on the island 😉

I wonder if anyone has told them about Cosmic Rays, constantly bombarding us all 24/7, and which ARE dangerous if they hit a cell nucleus, and can cause mutations. Don’t tell them that despite the number, few such collisions cause harm, but they do happen. Better to tell them that nothing stops Cosmic Rays, not even the whole of the planter Earth – they just pass straight through it (and you if you’re standing in their path).

Those parents will have to wrap their kids in tin foil to protect them (even though it doesn’t work, but don’t tell them that either).

Think of the children

Think of the children

While many think wrapping things in tin foil stops electromagnetic radiation getting to them, in the belief that it forms a Faraday Cage around them, sadly, that’s not the reality, and it takes a lot more than that to do the job.

In fact, even genuine Faraday Cages, or screened rooms, don’t work unless very carefully designed, built, and maintained.

Rooms costing tens of thousands of £££ can be defeated if not.

This was one of my businesses, and we once found such a room installed in Faslane (yes, THAT Faslane) and completely ineffective.

The failure was not found by tests (which apparently the room passed on first installation) but when someone noticed the painters finishing the cosmetic part of the install were… LISTENING TO MUSIC ON THEIR RADIO!

In a screened room – no one can hear a radio.

Technically, everything was correct – apart from some corrosion/oxidisation which had developed on the edges where the walls and doors contacted one another, due to the time it took to build the room.

19/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ferries used to be fun

Years ago, I used to enjoy finding ferry stories in the news.

Even the bad ones were fun as they often brought together two sides with widely opposing views, one of which was promoted by reasonably sensible people, while the other was clearly coming from a bunch of dafties.

In other words, one side was ‘right’, while the other was (probably) ‘wrong’ (or driven by some sort of agenda it had, rather than by something sensible and logical).


No such fun, or even an easy way to determine who’s right or who’s wrong, who’s honest, or who’s being economic with the truth.

The last battery/diesel hybrid ferry story sank without trace after a while around a decade ago – last I heard of it was when someone sent me an email claiming the project had been a screw-up, and the batteries used were crap, and all had to be replaced shortly after the build was completed.

I don’t know if that’s true, as I couldn’t even track down further information about that project – so with no verification I was never able to post about it.

Sadly, there are plenty of stories online about the two newest Scottish ferries, , and all bad: MV Glen Sannox, intended to be in service on the Arran route last year, and an unnamed boat, Hull 802, intended to serve the Outer Hebrides.

It’s just embarrassing, when it should really be innovative.

Troubled CalMac ferries ‘may’ be ready next year

As I said at the start, I used to like reading/writing about out ferries.


All At Sea


19/05/2019 Posted by | Maritime | , | Leave a comment

Dogs of war get significant memorial in Angus

Interesting to note that memorials are still be raised to commemorate events dating from World War I.

In the early 1900s, Airedale terriers were trained in Scotland for World War I.

The training took place around Angus, where local people would play the part of injured soldiers which the dogs would search for. Lt Col Richardson, who lived at Panbride House near Carnoustie, eventually convinced the government the Airedale was the right breed for war work.

Wendy Turner, of the Airedale Terrier Club of Scotland, spoke of her delight at the creation.

She said: “2000 Airdales were in WW1 and that’s stemmed from Angus.

“At first for the British Red Cross, they would carry panniers with first aid equipment.

“They would also go onto the battlefield for wounded soldiers rather than dead soldiers – people that could still be helped. They would bring back a cap or anything that they could show they found a soldier who was alive, take it back to the stretcher bearers and they would follow the dogs out to collect the person.

“They were so good at what they were doing that the British army took notice and asked for them to be trained for them.

“They were used for carrying messages and also carried first aid supplies as well as being guard dogs. They were also used by the Russian army and the German army.”

The memorial was carved from a 30 tonne block of granite by Kirriemuir sculptor Bruce Walker, said to make it one of the largest of its kind in the UK.

The sculpture was funded by donations from around the world, and has been installed at East Haven beach in Angus.

Memorial unveiled commemorating Scotland’s dogs of war


The first four Airedales Lt Col Richardson and his wife trained were presented to Glasgow Police in 1905 and were stationed at Maryhill Police and Queens Park police stations in the city.

These were the first official police dogs in the United Kingdom.

The British Red Cross then used the dogs to locate injured soldiers on the battlefields and also carry first aid supplies and crates of carrier pigeons on their backs.

The breed was trained to wear gas masks and navigate the treacherous and often terrifying conditions of the front lines.

A war dog school was opened in Shoeburyness in Essex and the Richardsons moved there to manage the training of the breed.

Memorial to be unveiled to heroic dogs of war at East Haven

Bruce Walker Carving Pic Credit The Courier

Bruce Walker Carving Pic Credit The Courier

19/05/2019 Posted by | military, World War I | , , | Leave a comment

Seems there is at least one serial animal abuser out there

Not much I can add, other than to reiterate that animal abusers should be turned in.

They have problems in their heads and are NOT trivial, as studies continue to suggest that picking on animals is just practice for picking on children.

A pet cat has been shot in the stomach from close range.

Rhea has undergone emergency surgery to remove part of her gut and is now fighting for her life.

Her owners believe they are being targeted after their other cat was also injured by an air rifle.

She is now the third cat shot within a two-mile radius in Falkirk in less than a year.

The Scottish SPCA believe the shooter will commit more crimes against animals and want to catch them before they strike again.

The Scottish SPCA are now working closely with Police Scotland due to the nature of the act.

If you have any information, call 101 or the Scottish SPCA’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

Owners ‘distraught’ after pet cat Rhea shot in stomach


19/05/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Nice one one one DEB 111E

One of the downsides of spending time in the west end of Glasgow is that there’s more disposable income (compared to what the media sees as my poverty-stricken, deprived, and unhealthy east end), so cherished registrations are more numerous.

If I ‘collected’ them there as I do at home, I could be posting them all day long.

I do ‘collect’ some, but still too many to mention.

But a good catch is always worth a look, as in this spotting of DEB 111E.

Curiosity made me look a little deeper, and I can confirm that both DEB 11E and DEB 1E exist and are out there somewhere.

2017 BMW X5 [DEB111E]

2017 BMW X5 [DEB 111E]

I’ll try to post some others I’ve caught recently.

19/05/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Oh look – did Aldi make more of the beneficial dark chocolate ‘leak’ than Lidl?

I recently noted: Was dark chocolate brain benefits report leaked to Lidl?

This was after noting the sneaky way they gradually raised the price of their dark chocolate digestive biscuits just before this news was released, and even reduced the price of the less desirable milk chocolate variety (to maintain sales?).

I didn’t have a handy Aldi to visit frequently, so I couldn’t be watching the prices in the same way back then – we only got a local one recently.

I just noticed that while Lidl’s dark chocolate eventually crept up to 49 p per packet (milk chocolate being a mere 42 p)…

Aldi had been bolder, and their dark chocolate digestives are currently up at a whopping 51 p per packet.

Aldi chocolate digestive prices

Aldi chocolate digestive prices

I wonder if that is because someone knows that food faddists and health nuts are mugs who will happily cough up the cash for anything they are told is ‘better’ than something else (with or without evidence)?


19/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Dumbarton Road concrete still has serious rebar

Passed my favourite lump of concrete today, and could see it a bit better since there’s no work going on a Saturday.

While the view is only over the top of the site gate, it just adds to the mystery for me.

Archive pics show the building was only four storeys, similar to an ordinary Glasgow tenement, yet the windowless building which stood here seems to have been hugely over-engineered, with concrete that appeared to be metres thick, with a layer of decorative blocks laid around it, and the concrete being a mass of rebar – steel reinforcement bars.

I spotted the tangled rebar twisted from earlier demolition weeks ago.

This view shows the same, even after much of what was there has been broken down and removed.

There’s STILL a tangled mass of rebar sticking out of what appears to be a massive concrete base for such a relatively small building.

I really do wonder what was going on in this building.

What was its purpose?

Why did it need all that concrete and rebar?

Dumbarton Road concrete rebar

Dumbarton Road concrete rebar

The windowless building, as spotted by Street View.

Dumbarton Road Western Infirmary Building 2018

Dumbarton Road Western Infirmary Building 2018

19/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment


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