Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

A couple of ‘City of Adelaide’ videos arrived today

There’s not much arising from the ‘City of Adelaide’ clipper (better known to those of us from Glasgow as the Carrick) these days, with the issues around a permanent location and other developments tending to be the matters that get noticed by the media.

That said, I have been pointed at little pieces of news and updates which aren’t really big enough to form the basis of a post, but show the project is alive and well, and would undoubtedly benefit from an ending of the uncertainty over a final location.

For now, just enjoy the recent videos.

The first is new/recent (26 May 2019)  is from Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and (despite the problems over a resting place) states:

The City of Adelaide clipper ship is an important part of the history of South Australia, as well as a drawcard to the rejuvenated Port Adelaide.”

The second is a little older, 29 Apr 2016, and is a documentary which I assume was made by a student as a course submission.

08/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Bargain time

Not that I’d ever even entertain the idea of buying a cake with a £12 price tag (which is priced to pay a franchise and royalties rather than cover the cost of anything special), but when there’s a clearance sale and a bargain, who’s going to say ‘No’?

I almost didn’t even bother to look at the sticker, as these usually come down to around £4 – so, good job I didn’t ass-u-me 🙂

The only downside was the size of the thing, as there was also a Peppa Pig one beside it, but I just couldn’t carry both 😦

Paw Patrol bargain

Paw Patrol bargain

08/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Cats in Vegas

Glasgow may have lost its fantastic cat murals, but it seems Las Vegas is helping make up for the loss.

Vegas Cat Mural

Vegas Cat Mural

08/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Original St Enoch Picture House will NOT be demolished to make way for more shops

Still on the redevelopment theme, AND saving of relevant old buildings, I’ve mentioned the original St Enoch Picture House a couple of times before:

St Enoch Picture House in Argyle Street


Shadows in the old St Enoch Picture House

Not be confused with the new cinemas still being constructed in the St Enoch Centre.

St Enoch Picture House

St Enoch Picture House

As can be seen, the old Picture House facade suggests that, unlike many original buildings along Argyle Street and Trongate, that the building structure is in good condition, and in use.

Howevert, it seems the owners of the St Enoch Centre wanted to demolish it (and the adjoining commercial tenement in a plan to create three flagship stores. That proposal involved demolishing the two older buildings (stuck between modern sections of the shopping centre), and developing a three-storey retail structure while retaining part of the old picture house facade.

Glasgow City Council blocked this demolition of the historic buildings.

The shopping centre now proposes to refurbish 135 to 153 Argyle Street (the former St Enoch Picture House and 1930s commercial tenement), and create six retail units at ground floor level, adding one more to the current five.

New documents submitted to the council on behalf of the centre state: “The primary goal is to maximise the extent and quality of the ground floor retail accommodation, thus ensuring the best quality tenant mix to reinvigorate this prime Argyle Street location.

“The retail occupants in recent years generally included short-term lets for continuous occupancy, rather than aggressively seeking long-term tenancy of the calibre expected in such a prominent location.

“The client is therefore keen to act quickly to seek a swift determination, enabling the necessary improvement works to be carried out quickly, and for this key part of Argyle Street to be reactivated once again, making a positive contribution to the Glasgow retail environment.”

“It is not anticipated that retail occupancy will extend above first floor level, consequently it is proposed that the second floor in the picture house, and second, third, and fourth/roof floors of the commercial tenement will be prepared to shell unit status.”

But Glasgow planners refused the demolition application. Their report stated: “Whilst it is clear from the submitted development appraisal information that the applicant could make a lot more money if they demolish and re-develop the site, they have singularly failed to demonstrate that the buildings in question are not capable of viable repair. The proposal is considered to represent an unjustified loss of historic buildings.

“Given that the buildings in question were occupied, making money and that there is no structural reason for demolition, on these grounds alone, it would seem clear that there is no justification for the removal of these buildings from the Central Conservation Area.”

Historic Environment Scotland had expressed “significant reservations” regarding the proposals. They had stated: “The buildings make a modest contribution to the Central Conservation Area and the best way of preserving the historic character of the conservation area is by retaining them in full.

“We note that the conservation area boundary was extended only six years ago to specifically include these two buildings and Debenhams, in recognition of the contribution that they make to the streetscape.

“It is not clear to us that these buildings cannot continue in their current use as shops and offices.”

SHOPPING Centre Now Planning Makeover And Not Demolition Of Old Glasgow Picture House

While some people just like to kick the council and the planning department for the sake of it, they would do better to give fair consideration to what they do.

Unlike the negative critics, the planning department provides written justification for its decisions, which include not only emotional, but also legal and related criteria.

They are also more aware than their critics are of the physical condition of the buildings.

I suggest a walk along Trongate and Argyle Street, and a good hard look at some of the (original) buildings.

Many have already gone, leaving a number of gap sites.

Quite a few of those remaining are atrocious, having been both empty and unused for years. I suspect there is more demolition to come.

But, I also suggest looking at the buildings which don’t fall into that category.

Some of those are not fully occupied, but neither are they derelict or decaying.

It can only be hoped that they’re not heading that way.

I keep thinking I should wander along and take a BIG pic combing all, or most, of the buildings as they are now, before more disappear.

How this remains is a real mystery – just looks sadder and sadder as the years pass.

Warehouse left of Peacock's Tearoom Trongate

Warehouse left of Peacock’s Tearoom Trongate

08/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Trump – a disease that ruins everything it touches

With sufficient money, you can probably get away with just about anything, for a while at least.

Even serious blatant criminals, gangsters, and drug cartels do quite well behind their millions, until they make a mistake and the authorities lock them up, or their ‘friends’ arrive packing machine guns one day.

If you’re a orange moron you can even tell your fans how the Continental Army “took over the airports” during the American Revolutionary War in the 1770s, even though there was no air travel in 18th Century America, or anywhere else for that matter, since the famous Wright brother’s flight didn’t take place until 1903.

But if your name’s Trump, historical facts are irrelevant to your ‘Alternative Facts’. YOU know better!

While his army of followers, paid commenters, and camp followers think he’s some sort of god, the rest of us just look on, shake our heads, and marvel at how his billions are protecting him from impeachment, or being brought down some other way.

Many predicted he would destroy a part of Scotland some years ago, when he bulldozed land and people to make way for his golf course.

They were dismissed, and assured everything would be fine.

That nice Mr Trump and his organisation said they cared, and would look after everything.

Golf Trump

Golf Trump

Guess what?

They lied!

But, the Trump machine has already swung into action, and is accusing SNH of being the villain.

(My bold bits.)

Sand dunes at Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort may lose their status as a protected wildlife site.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) said there is no longer a reason to protect the dunes at Menie as they do not include enough of the special features for which they were designated a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

Trump International described the move as a “stitch-up” and said SNH had hit an “all-time low”.

The designation is given to areas with rare species of fauna or flora, or with important geological or physiological features.

Friday marks the beginning of a three-month consultation on the future status of Foveran Links SSSI, of which the dunes at Menie form part.

Mr Trump was granted permission to build a golf course at the site despite concerns about damage to the dunes and Trump International Golf Links opened in 2012.

SNH said evidence showed permanent habitat loss following the construction of fairways and greens, and that the stabilisation of mobile sand “has destroyed the dynamic nature of the site”.

Sally Thomas, director of people and nature at SNH, said: “The denotification of SSSIs is unusual, however in this case we have found there is no longer a reason to protect the dunes at Menie as they do not include enough of the special, natural features for which they were designated.

“We work with developers across Scotland to ensure habitats and wildlife are protected when development work is undertaken.

“Most of the time, development can take place without damaging important natural features, but this was not the case in this instance.”

SNH said evidence showed around a third of the special habitats at the Menie section of the Foveran SSSI had been damaged.

Trump’s golf course sand dunes could lose protected status

Let’s have the whole Trump organisation’s statement…

Sarah Malone, executive vice-president at Trump International, said: “This is an utter disgrace and shows SNH has hit an all-time low.

“To make an announcement to the media before informing us, the actual landowner, shows how politically-motivated this decision is. What other SSSI landowner is singled out in this way.

“It’s a stitch-up. Before Donald Trump invested in the site, SNH had little interest in the SSSI at Foveran Links and did even less about it, and has barely been on property since.”

Back in 2009, Ms Malone actually sounded as if she cared.

I wonder what hr bank account’s like nowadays?

How much IS integrity worth?

08/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lauriston House may finally have found a future

Lauriston House is a building I’ve been watching for years, and last mentioned in February of 2018.

That’s roughly the date of the pic below, which could have been taken yesterday. I saw it recently, when taking pics of the ever taller buildings growing across the river.

When I mentioned it back then, there were rumblings about its future, but it’s taken this long for more detailed information to appear.

It’s also one if the reasons I’m usually disparaging of those who complain about building not being occupied or reused, or whine endlessly about the council not taking them over and magically filling them with… something (they never say what, or who will pick up the tab and pay the bills).

If a building like this can’t find a willing owner, what chance those that are not as desirable, or in as good condition?

Described as being possibly the most ornate Georgian townhouse in the UK.

And it is in good condition, having been acquired by the Strathclyde Building Preservation Trust who made it wind and watertight, and carried out substantial repairs with grant aiding from a number of sources. But, couldn’t find a use or owner (about twenty years ago).

See it’s entry in the Buildings at Risk Register for the full history.

Laurieston House Carlton Place

Laurieston House Carlton Place

Now, it could become 11 managed apartments with  a mixture of one, two, and three-bedroom units:

A DEVELOPER has applied to turn a “nationally significant” building in central Glasgow — that has been vacant for around 20 years — into “elegant” serviced apartments.

Laurieston House in Carlton Place is described as “arguably the most ornate Georgian townhouse in the UK.” A proposal for “adaptive restoration” of the property has been submitted to Glasgow City Council.

A statement included with the application explains: “The building is owned by MMLL Apartments Ltd whose proposals are to carefully transform these unique townhouses into elegant apartments — part of the city’s rich mix and offer for a growing business and tourist market.

“Laurieston House has been designated with a Category A listing status and is of national significance, forming part of Carlton Place, a twin-set of very long and dignified neoclassical terraces begun in 1802 (completed 1818). It is a rare and primarily intact and unique example of a Georgian townhouse.”

The statement continues: “The proposals for Laurieston House are well-timed and chime with the city’s future vision to re-establish the north/south link combining the old and new Laurieston as a singular and connected place with its own rich mix of uses and ‘South Bank’ riverside identity.

“The proposals will not diminish but will seek to add to the building’s significance, where the varied series of original and new spaces can absorb and be enriched by a variety of contemporary interventions providing comfortable residential accommodation.

“These proposals have the potential not only to adapt this much-loved building for contemporary use but to provide for its sustainability as one of the nation’s finest interior residential volumes.”

SERVICED Apartments Proposed For A-Listed Glasgow Townhouse Empty For Two Decades

Be interesting to see how this goes once the planning department has analysed the application.

A listing means originality remains paramount to any work carried out, and I hope that phrases such as “adaptive restoration” aren’t signals that the developers is seeking to circumvent the rules.

This usually fails if they try to be too clever, and the application can be thrown out quickly if it involves too many changes to the original.

Fingers crossed though, as this place is still decent despite the time it has not been in use, and that means redevelopment should be easier now, than after another twenty years.


Not really so much an update, more of an amusing aside.

This article really just goes over the same material, but interestingly relocates the building from Glasgow city centre to… Clydeside!

While it could be argued that the building lies by the side of the River Clyde, I think most people associate Clydeside (with a capital ‘C’) to be associated with that area of the River Clyde where the shipyards were concentrated, and is closer to Clydebank than the city centre.

The Clydeside property has been left vacant for years, but could soon be turned into residential accommodation.

A historic Glasgow building on the banks of the River Clyde could soon be brought back to life.

Historic Clydeside building Laurieston House set for redevelopment

Far be it from me to refer this as yet another ‘gaff’ by a supposedly local and knowledgeable media source, but it has to be said it is one of an increasing number of articles seen recently, either containing uncorrected and glaring typos which should have been caught in proofreading, or make statements that may be questioned as regards their accuracy.

The bad news (for me at least) is that those ‘nice’ people at WordPress have made yet another negative change to the blogging system, and recently removed the grammar and spellchecker, which was pretty good – and free as part of the system.

WordPress really is going downhill these days, and I’d be off in a moment had I not used it for so long.

08/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Electric bikes – do they qualify as enigmas?

Another item I almost missed last week, the arrival of electric bikes for hire.

This is just a bit of thought, as opposed to being negative (or positive) about them, but I do find them to be something of an enigma.

Probably the first (and this IS a negative) is their crazy price, significantly more than a non-electric, and has to be heavier (carrying batteries, motor, and control gear).

The electric part is limited to 15 mph, so if you’re in a hurry, you’re still going to be the power source, AND be heavier.

But they are clever now, and don’t work like electric motorbikes, so they assist, on demand, rather than removing the need to pedal.

Looking at the reviews dropped into the media, I just feel myself asking ‘Why?’.

I cycle mainly for the exercise, but have now started to travel by bike (as long as it’s dry) thanks to the growing network of routes around and through Glasgow.

I’m no kid, but can travel at 20 mph, and cover around 30 miles (my round trip to anywhere interesting) with no after effects.

That makes me wonder why (other than the technical side of modern electrics) I’d even be interested in an electric bike, as the cheapest decent one seems to be about the five times the price of my current rides, and if I press my nose against the windows of any of the cycle shops in Glasgow, I can change that five to a ten.

Think about that – I could buy nearly TEN bikes for the cost of one electric. And my bike is NOT a £99 Internet special, but an alloy framed MTB with road bike gear.

As I said from the start, I’m not pro or anti electrics, but I do find them to be something of an enigma.

See more thoughts here, based on hiring rather than buying, The capital cost is so high, it may be a better way to go:

Scotland’s largest electric bike hire scheme launched

Test ride: Glasgow’s first electric hire bike unveiled

Nextbike e-bike

Nextbike e-bike


Coincidentally, I’ve now seen quite a few electrics on my travels, and was surprised to see one just sitting on its stand when I passed through Pacific Quay recently.

I recognised the model (it has no security features), and was impressed by the owner’s faith in others as it wasn’t secured to anything, and he was on the other side of the fence along the river. Even without the electrics powered, the bike can still be ridden, and could have been heading off into the distance by the time he dropped his rod and climbed over the fence, then started running after it.

Quite unlike this one I saw recently, which DOES have inbuilt security, and could only be nicked by picking it up and running off with it – not a good idea if the owner is a few metres away, as they’re not cheap (think around three grand – they really are premium priced).

Do note, however, it’s just sitting there, not locked to anything. The owner’s in the shop, and can’t even see it.

A few seconds could see it in the back of a van, and they wouldn’t know until they came out and said “SH..

VanMoof electric bike

VanMoof electric bike


I had to add this news item on to this post, after appeared the day after it posted.

I actually know this shop, although I haven’t been in it – a look at the prices was enough to make me jump back on my own pedal bike and speed of back along Dumbarton Road to Kelvingrove!

Not sure of the story title here. It may be the only DEDICATED electric bike shop in Glasgow, but there are plenty of other bike shops selling electric bikes, so it could be a little misleading to those new to the subject.

But, this is a feature advert for the place.

And it is interesting to note that business must be going well to justify the expansion.

As I’ve said before, the whining activists and campaigners are not really helping promote cycling with all their endless moaning and complaining.

They certainly put me off riding in and around Glasgow’s roads, including the city centre.

I don’t even bother looking at any of their info now, as it’s all so negative and depressing.

So forget them, and get onto more positive stuff:

The only electric bike shop in the west of Scotland is expanding this week, after completing work on a new extension.

Love E-Bikes, which is located in Partick in the west end of Glasgow, first opened in 2018 and is now able to expand its premises.

In respect of the expansion of the premises and the increased demand for their unique product, Scott Davidson of Love E-Bikes told Glasgow Live: “We have doubled the size of the shop to include a new showroom and an open plan workshop. With the bigger shop we have doubled our stock to around 70 bikes, the biggest electric bike stockist in Scotland.

“We have also increased our number of brands to eight meaning we have the biggest and we think the best selection of ebikes under one roof in the country – all hand picked by ourselves too offer the best value for money as well as something a bit special.”

Glasgow’s only electric bike shop expands as demand for two wheels grows in city

08/07/2019 Posted by | Blogroll, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Today is Math 2.0 Day

08 July is Math 2.0 Day.

I assume this is really US rather than UK given the spelling of Math. I’ve read that’s the US way, while the UK has Maths (with an ‘s’).

This is actually an interesting day, looking at the story behind it.

I quote:

”In my school, the brightest boys did math and physics, the less bright did physics and chemistry, and the least bright did biology. I wanted to do maths and physics, but my father made me do chemistry because he thought there would be no jobs for mathematicians.”
~ Stephen Hawking

Interesting concept. Math (or Maths for the UK) is known to be important but not thought to be something you could make a living at and the rising tide of technology was even considered a fad, Math 2.0 Day reminds us that technology is here to stay and NEEDS Math(s).

Math 2.0 Day is a celebration of the blending of technology and mathematics. For many, math(s) wasn’t a favourite subject, and an entire period could be spent staring at equations and wondering what sort of mad person had designed these torture chambers on paper. Ultimately, we came to realise that math(s) is utterly indispensable in our modern world.

In reality, with computers calculating just about everything we depend on now, math(s) and its related subjects are essential.

My qualifications are in technical subjects, yet I have to admit to struggling with more advanced aspects of math(s). While I passed all the exams, and even did an extra year back in school, I still ended up having to play the ‘Resit Card’ to complete my further education.

I wasn’t all that pleased to hear that of all the courses being run, mine was the ONLY one that involved FOUR years of math(s), and like all the other subjects, only four resits were permitted, or you were out if you did not pass!

I think quantum mechanics was an easier subject, and didn’t consume a block of lectures that lasted four years either.


As a slight aside, I wonder if I am the only one (or maybe only and OCD pedant who feels frustrated every time someone says something along the lines of “Do the math(s)” when the results of a calculation are challenged? Do they actually mean “Do the math(s)” (which is the broad subject of studying quantities, and using numbers and symbols to explain then, and includes arithmetic, geometry, algebra, trig etc? Or, are they challenging a calculation, and whether the arithmetic has been carried out without error?

Cat Six Rounds Nine Lives

Cat Six Rounds Nine Lives

08/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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