Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Union Street bus gate sign

I got the chance to take a couple of quick pics related to the new bus gate I mentioned recently. Appropriately, both were taken from one of the buses which should benefit from the gate.

I grabbed the first as we were negotiating the cheeky dog-leg that sees the bus travel north against the normal one way traffic flow to the south in Jamaica Street, as it transits from Howard Street into Midland Street, on the left. Both Midland Street and Howard Street (at this location) are two-way, and the two flows have to alternate as these streets are narrow. In fact, the entry into Midland Street is so tight that if any dopey/impatient car driver stops on the cycle area ahead of the vehicular stop line, the bus usually can’t make the turn, and the offending driver has to find a way to back up out of the bus’s way. And that’s not always easy if a queue has stopped behind the eejit.

It’s also a good idea to remember the oncoming buses if you are cycling along Midland Street, and keep to the left if the lights are at red, otherwise you’re going to be face to face with around 8 tonnes of bus – and that’s just best avoided, even if it is moving at walking pace.

The second pic was sheer chance in Union Street, when I saw the warning sign about the impending arrival of the bus gate, and tried to catch it as the bus passed.

I only had one chance, and I’m surprised I even caught it, given the ‘wake-up’ time of the camera.

Union Street Bus Gate Sign

Union Street Bus Gate Sign

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19/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Partick pigeon feeder defies Tweeter’s demand

I had to grab this pic while I was on Dumbarton Road this evening.

The reason being a Tweet I received this morning, from someone demanding that everyone ‘STOP FEEDING THE PIGEONS!‘ on a number of major Glasgow roads.

Well, if you’ve read this blog for long enough, you’ll know my opinion of the endless stream of habitual Naysayers we have to live with nowadays – people who are already forming the word ‘NAW!’ on their lips before you’ve even had a chance to ask for something.

Although this gent had half a loaf in hand when I spotted him, by the time I crossed the road it had already gone.

Partick Pigeon Feeder

Partick Pigeon Feeder

I’m pretty sure the few people who get some pleasure from feeding the flying rats make little or no difference to the population, and they gain far more sustenance from the rubbish and scraps dropped by those who seem to suffer from worms or something, have to gnaw on something all day, and generally just drop their leftovers and litter at their feet as they walk along the street.

19/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Unsustainable’ Carfin Grotto announces closure

It’s always sad to see something established by a dedicated few being lost, but it seems this is the fate of Carfin Grotto, a shrine described as being ‘built by hand and opened in 1922’.

Plans to close the Pilgrimage Centre at Carfin Grotto, in Motherwell, which is home to the national shire to Our Lady of Lourdes, were announced last week.

Every year it attracts thousands of visitors – but the Diocese of Motherwell announced it was no longer ‘economically viable’ to continue operating the site, including a gift shop and cafe.

A petition urging for a rethink has been signed by 5,000 worshippers.

But a spokesman for the Diocese of Motherwell said those campaigning to save the centre should have spent more cash there when they had the chance.

“Unfortunately, as its losses show no sign of improving, it continues to cost the Diocese a substantial amount of money.

“If all those commenting on this difficult situation had themselves spent regularly on the goods and services offered by the centre and encouraged others to do the same, its future may have been different.

“Ultimately, the diocese has a responsibility to all its parishes and it simply cannot justify the continued substantial subsidies.”

Carfin Grotto Pilgrimage Centre no longer ‘economically viable’ with closure to go ahead despite petition

The grotto is not near me, and I don’t do pilgrimages, but I did once pass the door when visiting a colleague’s home for work – I did intend to go back for a look, but good intentions often fail miserably.

I wish I had, as I only have photos taken my others to gain an impression of the site from.

I suspect (from those pics) that the place is a victim of its own success (and I have to add, bad management), since it can’t have lasted for some ninety years if it wasn’t viable for most of that time.

I suspect over-ambitious development and expansion over the years, and the creation of a place much larger than it ever needed to be, and costs arising, which are the real reason it is now being declared ” no longer ‘economically viable'”.

Someone should be taking the lead and rescuing the grotto, or should have done so some years ago, when the subsidies being paid were signalling future problems.

All the superfluous extras and staff that it had become attached should have culled, and the grotto restored to its original purpose – a place of pilgrimage, not a glorified tourist attraction.

Closing this place will not make it disappear overnight, unless someone is already planning to send in the bulldozers and raze it.

Once closed, there may be an option for volunteers to move in and take over the important and relevant parts, even protest against any developer or similar that wants, or tries, to take over, and build flats or shops on the site.

It could become interesting.

This pic, taken back in 2013, shows what I think is the real problem (not a lack of generous visitors), and is referred to in the original caption it was given then “The Grotto site has fine expanses of gardens with beautifully maintained lawns”.

They had already forgotten the reason the place was there, and were squandering donations on vanity!

The sin of pride?

Carfin Grotto - Anne Burgess via Geograph

Carfin Lourdes Grotto
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Anne Burgessgeograph.org.uk/p/3626633

 

19/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , | Leave a comment

Might Glasgow follow Edinburgh’s anti-tourist lead?

There were some intriguing media articles concerning the ever-increasing tourist numbers arriving in Edinburgh year-on-year, especially during the days of the Festival and the Fringe.

I can confirm the effect, although it’s many years since I was a regular visitor there, either on a random basis, or during festival time, and it could be busy enough and disruptive with the numbers I joined them. I can only imagine what it’s like there now, with significant growth in both the tourist/visitor numbers, and the matching growth in performers who have to be accommodated as well.

The locals are becoming hostile…

EDINBURGH residents left frazzled by the Fringe are snapping up passive-aggressive T-shirts aimed at getting tourists out of their way.

The bright yellow garments are emblazoned with the slogan: “Please, MOVE, I live here.”

In a bid to make sure on Edinburgh residents wear the £20 T-shirts, they are delivered free to anyone with an EH postcode. Outsiders have to pay a £30 delivery charge.

Edinburgh firm Print By Hand created the T-shirt to help locals navigate their city during August, when the world’s largest arts festival comes to town.

“Please, MOVE, I live here.” Edinburgh locals snap up anti-tourist T shirts

Apparently, Festival organisers are taking note, and adopting a ‘Not our fault’ stance…

Edinburgh is at risk of being seen as ‘anti-tourist’ in the wake of campaigners raising concerns about the impact of festivals and events on the city, the chief executive of the Fringe Society has warned.

Shona McCarthy hit back at critics of what is claimed to be a growing “festivalisation” and “exploitation” of the city centre for major events, describing some of the criticisms that had been raised as “a bit weird”.

She insisted the Fringe should not be held responsible for the management of tourism numbers in the city centre, but warned the city’s welcoming reputation was “seriously in danger” due to an ongoing debate about the impact of the industry.

Edinburgh is in danger of becoming an ‘anti-tourist’ city, Fringe chief warns

While I’m happy to let them work out their own blame allocation and solution strategy, I wonder if this might pre-empt a similar response in Glasgow?

I noticed disruption last year while passing through Glasgow Green, due to the numerous large scale events held there, although I tended to be there once they were over, so only saw the after effects,

However, this year I’ve found that the Green was completely closed at one point, and I was forced to cross over to the other side of the River in order to continue my journey.

And I’ve had my access to the city centre, and even bus journeys disrupted as the streets have been closed for significant periods to allow various events and sports to be carried out.

On the one hand, this doesn’t affect me much as I don’t live or work there – on the other, if I’m only there occasionally AND have my day disrupted, then as a percentage of my time there, that become a significant number.

So…

If the claims I’ve heard by some, that what happens in Edinburgh eventually happens in Glasgow, will an anti-tourist movement  rise in Glasgow?

It may be nice to bring all these things to the city, and that includes the growing numbers of film shoots (which lead to days of street closures and ogling celebrity watchers), but I suspect that, like Edinburghers, Glaswegians may have a tipping point, and the patience of some may run out.

Media sources such as GlasgowLive now carry regular list of street closures for these events

They affect people whether they’re interested in these things, or not.

Just a thought.

Please Move t-shirt

Please Move t-shirt

Update

So, it may not be tourism, but only days after the last closure(s), it is yet another event that’s closing the streets in the city centre, and inconveniencing those who are not interested – or just fed up being diverted.

Several roads will be closed across the city as Glasgow City Council host a free environmental event.

The Evolution Green fleet will be taking place at the City Chambers on Friday and Saturday – showcasing the Government’s strategy to improve air quality across the UK.

Road closures in Glasgow – Council ‘Clean Air Strategies’ environmental event to take place in city centre

How long until the next set of closures?

19/08/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Photography Day

19 August is Photography Day.

I’m almost tempted to pass on Photography Day, but I’m not quite as jaded as some (yes, I’m looking at you Win Wenders), and while I do think it’s true, to some extent, that having a camera in every phone, has cheapened the idea of photography by placing it in the hands of many mindless morons, that does NOT detract from those who care about taking photographs.

Rather, many who would not have had the chance to enjoy photography were it still a costly chemical based process have been enabled as a result of the arrival of digital photography.

Morons will be morons regardless, and it’s unfair to punish or criticise good people because of their actions.

How on earth do you choose a pic to celebrate photography day?

I’m going to use two – not because they’re amongst my best, but because I was able to take them at all.

And, because I was able to use them the moment I got home, and process them myself – not wait days while the film was sent somewhere for d&p (developing and process, if you don’t know that term).

Also, because I’d probably not even have been able to take them with film – both are hand held low light night pics, the BMW in particular being a long lens (almost 250 mm in 35 mm terms) shot at ISO5000, and only 1/20 of a second. A catch taken as I looked down a side street I was passing. I’d never have done that with film! (I used to try – believe me, this in film would have been horrible).

BMW i8 Low Light

BMW i8 Low Light

And this one, later the same night, again hand held, and impossible to do in film.

Shots like this needed tripods, and if the exposure was too long, the colours would not be recorded accurately.

Doulton Fountain Peoples Palace

Doulton Fountain Peoples Palace

Looking at this, I think I’d like to go back and try this with my ‘real’ camera – this one was taken with my clever little compact, but while it can do clever tricks, it still doesn’t have a large sensor (it has one on the option list – but it also multiplies the price three or four times, and that’s NOT an option for me). But, the compact CAN always be to hand.

Nikon Cat

19/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Aviation Day

19 August is Aviation Day.

Aviation Day celebrate the development of aviation, commemorating and falling on the birthday of Orville Wright.

It seems Federal buildings in the US may be required to fly the US flag on this day (at presidential whim, but probably only if the president is not an Orange Moron) in order to promote the day.

I never understood why I never had any urge to get involved in aviation (as a job), but suppose I managed to satisfy at least some of my interest by flying (or trying to fly) RC helicopters almost as soon as they became practical, and more importantly, affordable.

That said, I find aviation industry fascinating when the safety rules are considered.

These days, it’s intriguing to consider the extent of the various rules and regulations in place, and how people are usually the weakest link in the safety chain since they can choose to ignore them, or perhaps not be aware of all that apply.

And it can be remarkable to look at some of the analysis in what appear to be single events, yet which can be analysed to find some extremely obscure causes.

Early Aviation

Early Aviation

19/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | 1 Comment

Today is Potato Day

19 August is Potato Day.

It seems potatoes were first cultivated by man in Southern Peru and the Northwest regions of Bolivia sometime between 5000 and 8000 BC, then spread around the world to become a staple of many diets.

Ireland was once so reliant on the potato as a food crop that a potato plague brought about a famine that almost starved the entire country. It’s said there was plenty of food being grown there at the time, but 5 full ships sailed out of the country each day, to feed England, which then ruled that country.

But Russia found the best (according to some) use for the potato, and made a distilled product from it. You may have heard of this distillate, usually referred to as ‘vodka’.

Funny thing, I don’t eat many tatties these days. But I’ll bake them (microwave is great for this IF used properly – DON’T follow common instruction to blast the poor spud on full power for ages). Either given them full power for only a couple of minutes at a time, with a minute or two between these blasts, until ready. Alternatively, use a low power setting, and leave them in the microwave for about 20 minutes, or until ready.

Just blasting them on full ruins the potato (especially if it’s a nice big ‘un), as the heat can only flow to the centre at a set rate, so the outer part cooks, then overcooks while the centre is still cold, and has to catch up.

Chips are good too, but I gave up making them as the fumes from frying them made such a mess of the kitchen over time.

These days, I seem to prefer to use potatoes as the basis of a nice hot vegetable soup.

I’m so lazy I just keep throwing stuff into the pot with potato until it makes a decent meal – I can’t be bothered cooking other stuff separately, then dirtying more plates. Just give me the pot and a spoon!

Potato Soup

Potato Soup – with other stuff

19/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

   

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