Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

It’s gone

It’s taken a while, but it seems that a familiar sight (for me at least) has just disappeared.

First seen about two months ago, the ever so slightly bent Corsa is no longer taking up road space.

Went for the bus the other day, looked across the road, and… nothing!

Vauxhall Corsa - not

Vauxhall Corsa – not

Reminder, of a few weeks ago.

Bent Vauxhall Corsa

Bent Vauxhall Corsa

30/06/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

Tympanum relief on Anderson College Of Medicine in Dumbarton Road

I noticed this a while ago, but was a little disappointed to find that the usual reference I look to for details of buildings around Glasgow referred to this detail as little more than “Notable sculpted panel by James Pittendreigh MacGillivray to Dumbarton Road”.

It looks far more interesting than that.

I had dig a little, but found it to be “Tympanum relief group depicting the 16th Century physician Peter Lowe and his Students”.

That’s better.

Anderson College of Medicine tympanum

Anderson College of Medicine tympanum

It took me so long to dig that crumb up I almost missed the rest of the features, but the delay gave me a chance to go back and collect them before finalising this post.

High above the main door is a date stone which also identified the building.

Andersons College Medical School Date Stone 1889

Andersons College Medical School Date Stone 1889

Due to the demolition works surrounding much of this building at the moment, the next subject was almost hidden as it’s not visible from Dumbarton Road, and I only discovered it while looking at a more detailed survey of the building’s decorations.

It’s only visible from the east, and only from below, unless you have a handy cherry picker in your back pocket.

It may be revealed once the demolition work is completed, but will be semi-hidden if a new building is constructed next door.

If I can remember, I might watch for a chance for a direct line of sight, and a better pic.

This view was taken with my back against the perimeter fencing of the adjacent site, and is as far as you can get from the carving. You would need the aforementioned cherry picker, or a scaffold platform to get up to, and level with, this sculpture to get a decent view or shot.

Click for bigger.

Andersons College Medical School Window Surround Carving

Andersons College Medical School Window Surround Carving

29/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Camera Day

29 June is Camera Day.

Insert history of the camera from 1825 (taken to be the date of the first known heliograph, or photograph) until today. (That was easy 🙂 ).

It’s probably also worth mentioning the standardisation of JPEG and MPEG in 1988, a surprisingly smart move which allowed images and video files to be compressed for storage.

Just imagine if this had seen the same stupidity as befell video, which eventually settled on VHS, but there had been Betamax, 8 mm video, V2000, and others most people were fortunate never to have heard of. And that’s forgetting the separate world of professional video which had even more ‘standards’.

I’ve got far too many cameras lying around now.

I thought I could be done with this nonsense after buying my (film) Canon A1. This had all the modes, and manual of course, and unlike many others, steered clear of silly toys like programming cards, barcode readers, and other modes that sound great, but are useless in the real world. With a small Olympus zoom pocket camera, and a good 110 on hand if I need something small I thought I was covered.

I’d even collected a couple of really REALLY small Minox ‘spy’ cameras for special occasions.

Of course, that didn’t last, and things kicked off again when genuine autofocus arrived, so the lot ended up being retired and replaced, this time Canon EOS.

Still not done, as digital photography arrived, and we were off again.

I’ve run through compact cameras, bridge cameras, and eventually dSLRs, with the latter not being ‘collected’ until the price became reasonable – there were times I thought it was never going to come down, but dSLRs did reach mass production levels, and the price fell appropriately.

The good news these days is the tech has become fairly mature, so the improvements are marginal, meaning that ‘new model’ envy doesn’t mean a lot if you are more interested in taking a decent picture than having the latest gadget.

It’s a while since I saw anything that would significantly better what I have at the moment – and even (independent) professionals who review new models are suggesting that if you have the ‘old’ model, there’s little point in dumping it for the latest version.


Nikon Cat

29/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

How old is Glasgow?

Depends on what you mean.

If you want to be strict, then you’ll find yourself back in 1700s and looking at settlements along the trickle that was then the River Clyde.

But that’s not the question I had in mind.

In this case, I’m thinking of more recent history, and of the buildings and streets we generally find ourselves wandering around today.

As a guide, I tend to answer the question by thinking of 1900 as a reasonable target, give or take a decade or two.

That covers most surviving buildings I come across, which have date stones, and can be found all the way from the city centre to the burbs of the east end.

You can find older, but not usually much older, as most structures from earlier periods have been swept away, often being pretty shoddy, and probably slums.

I recently mentioned the Beco building in Tradeston, dated back to the 1870s.

However, I happened to notice this one in Trongate (at the corner of Albion Street), looking great, and where my advice of ‘Look up’ showed it dates from 1855 (completion).

J T Rochead, 1854. Large Baronial 3-storey with attic building housing shops, offices and warehousing, built for City of Glasgow Bank. Long irregular 14 window elevation to Trongate, regular 24 window elevation to Albion Street. Tower feature to corner rises to 5 storeys with dormers in high saddle-back roof. Painted ashlar. Modern shops to ground destroying original design.

That’s from the A listing note, so this one’s not going to turn into a gap site any day soon.

But it has to be said that many remaining building are looking sad (and empty) with no takers for their ‘To Let’ signs in the upper storeys, and even the ground floor units are being deserted.

60 Trongate

60 Trongate

I took a closer look at the date itself.

60 Trongate Date

60 Trongate Date

Very crisp, very clean. I wonder if the numbers have been restored at some time?


28/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Tapioca Day

28 June is Tapioca Day.

Not to be confused with Tapioca Pudding Day. That will be coming along in a few weeks, on 15 July.

I have no idea how this stuff got honoured by having two days dedicated to it, but they are suitably distinct.

Leaving the pudding option to its own day, this day celebrates tapioca alone.

Derived from a plant, and source of the translucent beads in the pudding, its origins lie in Brazil, where the cassava plant is called the mandioca, and the starch extracted from it is called tapioca.

Be careful with it – when extracted from the green branched variety of the plant, it seems it is the source of a potent cyanide based poison, and must be processed to remove this before it becomes edible. Once this is completed it can be processed in different ways, to become the familiar little spheres, or others as seen below.

This processing also explains those little white balls in tapioca pudding. They’re just a carefully moulded form of the starch extracted from the cassava plant, and basically just made of the of flour from it.

Tapioca options

Tapioca options

28/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Little known Glasgow Cross Station marker

I may be wrong, but I don’t think many people have ever noticed a large plaque installed on the base of the arched ventilator which was mounted over the gap left behind when Glasgow Cross Station was demolished following the closure of the station in 1964.

Glasgow Cross station site

Glasgow Cross station site

While its presence is not obvious in the wide shot seen above, a closer view reveals its presence, a little lost in the years of weathering, and less visible in the pic than in real life.

Click for bigger.

Glasgow Cross station marker

Glasgow Cross station marker

There’s a bus stop almost in front of it – I wonder if anyone waiting there has ever looked across the road, and seen this?

27/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Today is Chocolate Pudding Day

26 June is Chocolate Pudding Day.

Is it just me, or do we seem to have a whole load of days dedicated to chocolate in some form or another?

Not that I really care about all this decadence – any excuse will do for chocolate.

These puddings come in all shapes and sizes, some are simple, yet others seem to need complex recipes. It seems they can even trace their history as far back as the 17 century.

Interesting – that’s just about when trials for witchcraft reached their nasty peak. I hope there isn’t a connection!

Chocolate puddings can be hot or cold, but to be honest, I like mine hot and melty.

The messier, the better too.

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

26/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Catfish Day

25 June is Catfish Day.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan opened a presidential address by speaking about the culinary pleasures of eating catfish, and farmed catfish in particular. He went on to explain how catfish farming was creating both a stable income for farmers and an affordable food source for Americans.

Thinking of people referred to as ‘President’, does the third one down remind anyone else of Donald Trump?

Apparently, I’m doing it wrong 😦



So, I found some exotic catfish – but WordPress won’t allow imgur galleries to be embedded, so I had to clip small versions so I could include them.

Exotoc catfish

Exotoc catfish

And, a nice ‘Deep Dream’ version of the last one (you’ll have to search for that if you don’t know what it means).

Deep Dream catfish

Deep Dream catfish

25/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Colour TV Day

25 June is Colour TV Day.

The source for this day claims European broadcasting systems lagged the US in adopting this technology, and that it took until 1967 before such broadcasts became regular, and it took until the 1980s before it became common, with another 5 years passing before it became prevalent around the world.

I can’t really comment, as ‘we’ were late to this in our home.

Part of the reason was down to the poor rendering of colour in those days. While we did make the change from 405 to 625 line TV quite early (so early, we had a switchable 405/625 set), the cost of a colour TV (and the licence of course) just didn’t seem worth it.

This seems to be more of a US than a global day, and most of the info tacked onto it is based on US systems, so rather than go into more detail, and maybe upset UK readers (plus US, and maybe many other since so many were involved with early television development), and those who have a detailed knowledge of the work being carried out by John Logie Baird, I’m not going to dive into those waters.

However, the strathwonderwall has a section depicting Baird’s electronic colour television of 1940, a 600-line system which he developed after the more widely known and earlier mechanical television system. Even that had been demonstrated with colour back in 1928 – it was purely experimental but showed the principle of using red, green and blue images to create a colour image.

Baird strathwonderwall mural

Baird strathwonderwall mural

25/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Still there

The slightly crumpled Vauxhall Corsa I’ve been watching from a bus stop (since the end of April) has added yet another week (and more) to its residency at the side of the road.

Lucky it’s not somewhere it could be collecting parking tickets every day.

However, as has been noted in the blog not that long ago, vehicles that sit on streets around here are being watched by the council, and if they don’t move (plus whatever criteria they use), then they get a warning letter stuck to them, giving the owner a set time to move it, otherwise it will be assumed to have been abandoned, removed, and crushed.

Bent Vauxhall Corsa

Bent Vauxhall Corsa

24/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S44

I think it’s fair to say that some people think that recovery after the fire involves more than ‘bricks and mortar’.

This dates back to November (2018), but only seems to be getting a mention now.

See the absolutely wonderful comment by Glasgow Kelvin MSP Sandra White, at the end of the quote.

I have an excuse for not knowing about this until today.

What’s theirs?

A 28-year-old master’s degree student has set about one of Scotland’s toughest repair jobs.

Harriet Simms is working to rebuild trust between Glasgow School of Art and its fire-disrupted neighbours.

She says she has had to tread carefully but is already encouraged by the reaction of many people.

“It has been mainly positive but some people are still really angry, and that’s why I have been slow and considered and not gone in all guns blazing,” she told the i paper.

“I have been mindful to respect people and to say this is a long-term and considered role.”

One year on from the fire that devastated the world-renowned Mackintosh building for a second time, the area is still in upheaval.

An investigation is ongoing and many questions remain unanswered, foremost being what caused the fire.

Dozens of people who were forced out of their homes for several months are still suffering hardship and trauma.

Street protests held in the weeks following the events of June 15 targeted the Art School and city council for lack of communication and delays in getting people back into their homes.

Several businesses either moved or closed due to the chaos and loss of trade.

She is carrying out research into community participation and design alongside her role after completing a master’s degree at the Art School.

She said: “When I started there was a lot of anger, and a lot of valid anger, because of the trauma of last year.

“For a lot of people it was less about blame, it was more about ‘I want to get on with my life and get back to normal’.”

She has attended local council meetings and helped organise a community fete in the local park.

A multicultural centre has benefited from her input with new furniture, and was gifted student art works thanks to her involvement.

Local resident Uli Enslein said: “It now feels like someone cares – someone is interested in the local people who live here.”

Glasgow Kelvin MSP Sandra White said: “It may seem a bit late in the day for some people, but I see this appointment as a positive way forward.”

A GSoA spokeswoman said: “Harriet’s appointment is a long term commitment on our part and we look forward to working in partnership with the communities around the School on many future projects.”

How Glasgow School of Art is building bridges with ‘angry’ neighbours after fires

Mackintosh Building Scott Street

Mackintosh Building Scott Street

23/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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