Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

More cat abuse reported in the news – paint covered in Inverness

Not the first such story.

Although not related to the paint, one cat had to be out to sleep.

Two cats were found covered in bright blue paint in Inverness.

The Scottish SPCA was alerted on Sunday by the pets’ owners, who live in different but nearby areas of Culduthel and Old Mill Road.

The charity said one of the owners believed their pet had been in a fight with another cat and they had paint thrown over them to break them up.

The SSPCA has appealed for information to help find the person or people responsible for the incidents.

Injuries on one of the pets were consistent with it having been in a fight.

Inspector Aileen Ross said: “It is highly unlikely it is a coincidence that both these cats were covered in the same paint in the same city on the same day, so we are keen to speak to anyone who can shed any light on this.

“The colour of the paint is very distinctive so we are hoping someone recognises it.

“Sadly, the second cat who was covered in paint had to be put to sleep with an unrelated illness but the paint would have caused him a high degree of stress in his final days.”

Cats found covered in paint in Inverness

It’s still a form of animal abuse that is all to easy to get away with, yet time and again studies show that people who do this will tend to move up the abuse scale, so if anyone boasts about this, a little anonymous phone call would not be a bad idea.

Paint covered cat Pic - Scottish SPCA

Paint covered cat Pic – Scottish SPCA

Fortunately, not everyone is like the human dross mentioned above.

They Try to Find the Hero Who Saved Paint-covered Kitten in Dumpster

07/06/2019 Posted by | Appeal | , , , | Leave a comment

More fundraising needed to keep MV Glenachulish afloat between Skye and Glenelg

It’s hard not to be impressed by the efforts of those who keep our working maritime assets in service.

And I mean that all the way from the tiny MV Glenachulish ferry I’m about to mention here, through the PS Waverley (which won’t even sail this year die to boiler issues), The Maid of the Loch (which has persevered for years in its restoration), and even the current ferry services operated by CalMac, which seem to be rewarded with nothing but negative comments from critics.

I doubt if any of those who make negative remarks about any of the above have any appreciation of the costs involved, the low returns from ticket sales (as passengers and various ‘user groups’ shout only for more and more fare reductions year after year, while complaining that the operators don’t build enough vessels, or replace/upgrade them often enough.

While it would, I’m sure, be an utter disaster, I’d really like to see the critics handed these services for something like ten years, to see if they could do better.

OH! I should add that I WOULD NOT let them start with any of the subsidies, grants, or other financial aids which any of the current services have won over the years – let these ‘ultra smart’ critics start from scratch.

Back in the real world, it’s intriguing to note that the little ferry operating between Glenelg and Skye has been in the news a few times.

I noted Unique Skye ferry lives on after major refurb back in 2017.

And, although I only noted it in my now dropped ‘Weekly’ summary, the media noted First female skipper of world’s last ferry of its kind back in 2018.

MV Glenachulish Ferry North Stronezzzz

MV Glenachulish Ferry North Strone

As noted above, tickets alone can’t really cover the operating costs for ferries, especially as certain mouthy passengers demand ever lower fares.

Like historic building, they can ‘eat’ money.

A bid to raise £10,000 to carry out of vital works on a ferry which is the last of its kind in the world has been launched.

The MV Glenachulish is the world’s last sea-going, manually operated, turntable ferry and has plied the short route from Glenelg to Skye for almost 40 years.

Built in 1969 for service it was brought to Glenelg in the 1980s and has sailed the Kylerhea narrows ever since.

More than £200,000 has been raised in the past to bring the historic ferry to its current condition but as it prepares to turn 50 vital engine work needs to be carried out.

READ MORE: Skye residents buy land near Fairy Pools to reduce congestion

The Glenachulish Preservation Trust has launched a fundraising campaign in an effort to raise the £10,000 needed for the work.

Jo Crawford, general manager of the Isle of Skye Ferry Community Interest Company, said they are “optimistic” about raising the cash.

On a Just Giving page set up by the charity, they said: “The MV Glenachulish is the last manually operated turntable ferry in the world.

“The ferry has been in the ownership of the Isle of Skye Ferry Community Interest Company since 2007 and the Glenachulish Preservation Trust was set up to raise funds to preserve this unique piece of Scottish maritime history.

“The original Kelvin T6 engine requires some TLC and the Charity would like to ask for donations for this vital work to be carried out.”

The ferry re-entered service after an £80,000 refit in 2017.

Fundraising bid to save unique turntable ferry that serves Glenelg and Skye


07/06/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Are you safe behind a personalised registration?

After the recent(ish) stupidity (from ‘The Church’ would you believe?) in Glasgow when a registration number featuring the letters ‘FTP’ was offered for sale (I still don’t understand what is wrong with File Transfer Protocol), I’ve wondered if it’s safe to even have some numbers on your car if a supposedly responsible organisation takes that attitude to something that has been around for years. Many years in fact, as the numbers are ‘dateless’, having no prefix or suffix year letter. Numerous vehicles have been circulating on the streets (including Glasgow) for years, with no problem. Some have lived near me, but I never thought of them as being worthy of a pic, or adding to my ‘collection’.

Now, with a supposedly responsible organisation (‘The Church’) creating a fuss over nothing AND irresponsibly whipping up emotions, one has to wonder about personal safety if the likes of mad activist groups such as political extremists, or Excretion Revulsion decide to target cars/drivers if they deem their numbers as ‘unacceptable’.

A couple of examples that come to mind…

Glasgow Taxi [2 SNP]

Glasgow Taxi [2 SNP]

Anon donated pic (an email offering inspired by my ‘The illegals’ series), so no idea where this one lives…

2011 Range Rover [PO11 UTE]

2011 Range Rover [PO11 UTE]

07/06/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Doughnut Day

01 June 2018 is Doughnut Day.

I’m afraid this is another of those ‘wandering’ days, as it falls on the first Friday of June.

Oh! See also Fish and Chip Day, which also falls on this day.

(Today is a VERY good day.)

The history of the doughnut isn’t definite, but it is known is that the holy (small ‘h’) appeared in the US during the mid-1800’s.

The story is that a chap named Hanson Gregory invented them as he hated the undercooked centre and greasiness of existing shapes and options, so he used a tin pepper box to punch out the centres, this allowing the remainder to cook evenly.

Sounds good to me.

I guess I’m pretty traditional, and my favourite doughnut is the plain type, sprinkled or coated with sugar – properly cooked through of course.

Just because it is CALLED a DOUGHnut does not mean it has to be served semi-raw, with half its insides uncooked.

It seems Doughnut Day is due, in part at least, to the efforts of a doctor (Morgan Pett) serving in the military during the first World War, and who wanted to brighten the day of the wounded soldiers he was treating (with a treat).

On his first day at work in a military base, he bought 8 dozen doughnuts and gave one to each soldier he worked on. After giving one to Lieutenant General Samuel Geary (who accepted it in good humour and appreciation for the doctors work, he decided to start a fundraiser, allowing the young doctor to continue to provide doughnuts to his patients.

He also began to work with the Salvation Army which, after a fact-finding mission, determined that the many needs of soldiers could be met by creating social centres to provide various amenities, including… doughnuts. The Salvation Army sent 250 volunteers to France to help put huts together for this purpose, and these soon became a mainstay of military life. On one record day, they recorded some 300 doughnuts and 700 cups of coffee being served. Due to the majority of the Salvation Army workers being female, they came to be known as “Doughnut Dollies.”



Those machines

I can’t let this one pass without a mention for the automatic doughnut making machine.

I’m not sure when these first appeared, but I was tiny.

They were a thing of joy to watch when on holiday, or having a day at the seaside.

The baker’s shop (and later snack shops and cafés on the front) put them in their shop windows (or beside the serving hatch if they were really small snack shops), and it was amazing to see the people crowd around the windows to watch the machines steadily churning out perfect doughnuts, and they were… perfect.

They cooked one side, then flipped them over mid-trip the delivery chute, and gave them time to drain properly too, so no greasy slops or soggy dough.

If you saw one of these machines running, you saw what you were getting.

Dipped in sugar, stuffed in a bag, and still warm when you bought them.


If you REALLY like your doughnuts, you can get a bigger version of this machine.

Ladies and Gentlemen…

The Belshaw Mark 6 Robot Doughnut Machine.

07/06/2019 Posted by | military, World War I | , | Leave a comment

Today is Fish and Chip Day

07 June 2019 is Fish and Chip Day

I’m afraid this is another of those ‘wandering’ days, as it falls on the first Friday of June.

Oh! See also Doughnut Day, which also falls on this day.

(Today is a VERY good day.)

This one seems to be firmly rooted in Britain for its origin, although it has spread around the world since it became popular.

It seems that its popularity can be traced back to the workers, the late 1800s, the growth in trawl fishing of the North Sea, the resultant availability of plentiful food (in other words cheaper to get), and the hungry workers, and later holidaymakers when holidays were legislated for, meant that fish and chips was almost born to be successful.

At least this is an easy day to celebrate, either as a DIY job, or by heading for the nearest fish and chip shop – at least you won’t have far to go.

Or use it as an excuse for a day at the seaside!

Fish And Chips And Seaside

Fish And Chips And Seaside

07/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Chocolate Ice Cream Day

07 June is Chocolate Ice Cream Day.

Since I got carried away with the post about VCR Day (which also falls on 07 June), I’ll keep this short.

Chocolate Ice Cream…

No explanation needed – go eat some!

For what it’s worth, my preference is for the streaky type – I find the taste is less overwhelming than the uniform option.

While it may be hard to believe you can have TOO MUCH chocolatiness, you can, and if it’s too strong it limits the amount of chocolate ice cream you can eat.

And that’s… not a good thing.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate Ice Cream

07/06/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Today is VCR Day

07 June is VCR Day.

The VCR (video cassette recorder), or probably more accurate to say the video recorder, was around long before most people were aware of it, and dates back to at least 1956.

There were various problems which made it less than desirable for home ownership in those early days. The tape was not as everyone came to know it, but was a metal strip, and it had to move fast too (so the reels were big, heavy, and didn’t last long). If the metal strip broke, it was like letting loose a metal blade in the room. It also wore out itself and the recording and replay heads on the machine (there was even an oiler fitted to help reduce this) and the machine didn’t fit on a shelf or table.

Things got a bit better once tape replaced the metal strip, but the machines were reel-to-reel and still big.

It took until the 1970s before the technology most people would recognise in the domestic VCR and cassette tape would appear.

Then there was the VHS and Betamax format war – not forgetting others like V2000 and Video8 that most never heard of.

Then it all went away when TV went digital.

I looked in some bags lying in the street outside a house being cleared – they contained two VCRs and loads of tapes… not even considered worth selling for a few pounds, or even donating to a charity shop (no person in today’s clever, political, definition of ‘poverty would be seen dead with something that showed how poor they were).

I guess there’s not really much you can do to celebrate VCR Day now, unless you have a working VCR, a suitable telly, and some favourite tapes to shove into it.

This was the first VCR I both lusted after AND owned – the AKAI VS10 EK – note the date and the price. £700.

Today, that same £700 is equivalent to about £2,500 courtesy of inflation.

Also, today, a top of the line digital TV receiver with a 500 GB hard drive costs £145, so needs no tapes, and has no timer which needs you to find a 3-year-old to program. Just pick your wanted programs from the EPG, and the job is done, even for a complete series – but see my comments below.



You can dig up more on this VCR online, or just look here.

While it ultimately lacked stereo (still to come), the VS-10 was a terrific machine, with many features not openly mentioned.

When I added more VCRs later, they were always a disappointment when compared to it.

I’d still be using it (I still have it AND it still works fine) but for the death of analogue TV and arrival of digital.

In my opinion, the old system was actually better in many respects (yes, I acknowledge the superiority of sound and image quality thanks to digital), as I miss more programmes due to odd failures of the recording system under digital.

While it was possible to modify recording times and durations with VHS etc, my nice digital box takes ALL that away, and only lets me tell it which programmes to record.

This would be great if it was 100% reliable, but it fails to record programmes (with no way to force a recording if not present at the time), and if there is an error, then there’s nothing you can do to compensate.

For example, the original Mission: Impossible series is being shown at the moment, but I CAN’t record it if I’m not present. The broadcaster’s schedule run about 5 minutes late. This means programmes start and finish 5 minutes later than advertised. Since MI is scheduled to run from 14:00 to 15:00, but actually arrives between 14:05 and 15:05, there’s no point in setting it to be recorded. Every episode of MI climaxes in the last 5 minutes, so just as an episode is about to finish, and we get to see the team’s plan come together -the damned recording STOPS! Every time! And there is no adjustment – unlike my VS-10 I don’t have the option to just extend the recording time by 10 minutes to make sure it gets the end of each MI episode.

I’ve tried contacting broadcasters about this sort of problem, but it’s largely pointless as they’re not actually responsible for the transmission, which is contracted out to a third-party, which the viewer can’t get to.

Sometimes, references to ‘The Good Old Days’ can be correct.

07/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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