Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Two letters and two number still look good even if squinty

This was a nice surprise, spotted almost immediately as I stumbled out of Partick station recently.

68 NC on a trimmed plate fitted to a nice shiny black Mercedes-Benz C250 D AMG Line Premium + (as registered).

With the chances of me ordering a Mercedes these days, let alone an AMG variant, I’m no longer as familiar with AMG as I used to be, but it looks as if ownership of the formerly independent performance tuning operation by Mercedes in recent years has seen a marked reduction in the value of the badge.

While the true performance AMG is identified (usually) by a 2-digit model number such as C63, or a series such as the Black range, it seems that anybody and their dog can have an AMG badge tacked onto a fairly standard car to make it look better. Perhaps merely buying a set of AMG wheels is enough to qualify for the badge. I doubt if many/any of the numerous AMG badged Mercedes in my creaky old neighbours’ drives have any REAL tuning.

And they certainly SOUND nothing like the few genuine AMG C or Blacks that sometime accelerate past my front door.

So, back to Partick and my hint about something being squinty – while the plate layout and spacing is all nice and legal (thank goodness), it looks as if whoever lined up the numbers might have had little too much ‘falling down water’ before they started.

Mercedes C250d [68 NC]

Mercedes C250d [68 NC]

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

I guess Lightburn Hospital will be gone when I need it

It looks as if Glasgow’s Lightburn Hospital, which serves the east end, is finally going to succumb to closure – something which has hung over it existence for some years.

For various reasons ranging from age, illness, and through to accidents, my elders and betters were lucky enough to be tended to in Lightburn, so were never far from home,  there didn’t seem to be any problems with the staff or operation.

While I’m still some way off repeating any of the successful ploys they used to get in there, it looks as if I won’t be so lucky when the time comes, and I’ll have to find an alternative, or enjoy being transported around.

A community hospital in Glasgow’s east end, which provides rehabilitative care for older patients, has been earmarked for closure.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the service model at Lightburn Hospital no longer fitted with modern healthcare.

It said a health and social care hub would be set up with £40m.

Parkinson’s UK criticised the proposed closure and said the hospital provided essential services to vulnerable people in a disadvantaged area.

NHSGGC said inpatients across the north east of Glasgow would be served by “fit-for-purpose” facilities at Stobhill Hospital.

‘National strategy’

It said local care homes would be commissioned to provide an extended level of care to inpatients, not requiring acute facilities.

More patients would be discharged from Glasgow Royal Infirmary directly to home, with additional support if required.

Stobhill Hospital would provide day hospital and outpatient services, it said.

Finally, it said Parkinson’s services would be delivered from Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

NHSGGC chief executive Jane Grant said the proposals were consistent with national strategy to shift care from acute hospitals to community services delivered by health and social care partnerships.

“The proposed hub will give real opportunity to further integrate health and social care services to the benefit of patients and service users.”

She said the decision followed a three-month consultation, which included service users.

Previous closure plans

The Scottish government rejected proposals to close Lightburn Hospital in 2011.

Via: Glasgow east end hospital set to close

I realise that’s a long quote from the new item, and the article is even longer.

But it’s hard to see the logic after the last closure threat of 2011 was countered by Nicola Sturgeon, who was then health secretary, and said local people’s interests were best served by maintaining Lightburn Hospital and its healthcare services.

However, in August 2016, NHSGGC (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde) announced plans to consult on proposals to close or cut down on some in-patient and maternity services.

The latest decision by the health board to close Lightburn Hospital is to be referred to Health Secretary Shona Robison.

We can only wait and see if NHSGGC’s assertion that after only five years, the service model at Lightburn Hospital no longer fits with modern healthcare.

The entrance to Lightburn Hospital on Carntyne road:

Lightburn Hospital Entrance

Lightburn Hospital Entrance

I had intended to take a pic of the covered entrance to the hospital itself, as I’d sat there for many hours during visits (handy for keeping out of the rain), but as you can see, lots of greenery screens it, especially that tree at the centre of the turning circle, notably larger than it was when I was last there.

Lightburn Hospital

Lightburn Hospital

One important point these days, its car park, a place I would once have needed a season ticket for, had tickets been needed or charges made.

I mention it as a great convenience for visitors, after noting the horrendous stories about hospital parking I see in media these days, especially for hospitals in the city such as Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where there are not only charges, but it would seem a lack of spaces and poor access for those who have to attend.

While I can park some way away and walk (and have done this during recent visits), for those not so mobile, it must be hell.

When I had to take someone there for tests, I found it hard to conceive of them getting there on their own, they just would not have been capable. Fortunately, the doctor put us in touch with, and arranged, for a volunteer ‘taxi’ (someone who gave their time freely and used their own car) to provide transport to and from GRI. I don’t know hoe I’d have coped otherwise. Sure, I could have driven the person there, but what do I do on arrival? Put my car in my back pocket until I need it again? I couldn’t leave them on their own for a moment, standing lost in the street, yet had nowhere near the relevant door to leave my car (or even stop) so I could walk or wheelchair them to the door.

Lightburn Hospital Car Park

Lightburn Hospital Car Park

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Tiny mouse is sleepy mouse sunbathing on rare warm day

After yesterday’s ‘catbutt’ post which found THREE cats within a few metres of one another, it was almost a surprise to find I almost stood on this little guy why walking along the back path.

I’m usually at war with these guys as they seem to like to wander in my open back door during warm summer days, but I seem to have managed to discourage this for some years, and have worked out where to set bait and traps to deal with any unwise to try to beat my efforts.

That said, I was woken up at 4 am recently, to a strange noise, finally tracked down to one (or more) brave examples that had found a hole where various pipes head under the house at the bottom of a cupboard. I’ve never been sure if they are present, but this confirms their presence. Although the traps didn’t actually catch anything (which is fine, as they are vicious) they had been tripped, and I identified the noise that woke me as the surprisingly loud noise their plastic bodies make when dragged across the hard floor of  the cupboard.

Although I reset the traps, I also added some packing to close up the gap around the pipes, hopefully closing yet another potential invasion path.

This guy just didn’t care though, moving around slowly to fallow the Sun, and apparently not bothered by me walking past repeatedly, or even running away when I placed the coin for scale – just sat half asleep with eyes closed.

Then disappeared.

Tiny Mouse

Tiny Mouse

Tiny mouse is… tiny:

Tiny Mouse

Tiny Mouse

And safe – so long as it/they stay outside.

August 16, 2017 Posted by | photography | | 2 Comments

Still more Catbutt

We’ve actually got vaguely warm days in Scotland at the moment (although you’d be a making a BIG mistake of you left home without waterproofs or a brollie – the showers are out for revenge).

Such days bring the cats out, but don’t make them any easier to get a pic (not here, at least).

I spotted a black cat across the road, walking parallel to me and thought I might get lucky – of course, it ducked through the nearest hedge once I fired up the silly compact.

I then saw another one beside a car in a drive, but all were in shade and the same colour, so silly compact would never have seen it.

Then, almost 30 metres away and sitting in a back garden, a smart-looking tuxedo cat – zipped the compact up to 10x zoom, spotted the cat in the screen (no fast viewfinder in toy cameras), hit the shutter, and…

By the time the compact woke up, focussed, set the shot and finally fired – the cat’s sixth sense had clicked in and it was OFF!

Still, at least I got ANOTHER catbutt to add to my collection.

Another Catbutt

Another Catbutt

August 15, 2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Oh look – A Vauxhall T1 GRA

Much as I’d liked to have collected this one for myself, I’m limited to Glasgow, and this one was actually spotted some way away, and I’m grateful to the spotter for the contribution.

Not much I can add to this one by way of detail, but I do applaud the owner for resisting any suggestion to turn a nice plate into an illegal plate, and lose the space between the ‘1’ and the ‘G’.

I’m also not sure about the fate of this plate (this is not a new pic, and was captured some years ago) since I’m obviously not going to cough up the readies for a paid report, and none of the ‘free’ services or places I can enquire appear to recognise it.

Be nice if it was spotted again, and we got a hint.

Vauxhall Tigra [T1 GRA]

Vauxhall Tigra [T1 GRA]


While I was messing around and putting this post together, the procrastination actually turned out to be useful, as a very similar plate was featured online:

AstonMartin[TI GER]

Aston Martin [TI GER]

Would sit nicely on something like a Sunbeam Tiger, or a Hillman Avenger Tiger, but I doubt any Tiger owner would pay the possible asking price for this one.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Unfair to cats!

A recent sortie into the city brought some sad and bad news…

The cats of Howard Street and Dunlop Street have been largely ruined.

Glasgow Howard Street Cat Murals Boarded Up

Glasgow Howard Street Cat Murals Boarded Up

Yes, sure, they were never going to be permanent, but they were pretty good and deserved to be around for longer.

They were certainly nicer to look at than the odd face murals that were created under the bridge at Broomielaw (I haven’t been there, so no pics only for that reason), which I recently read somewhere were beginning to fall apart as water got behind the plaster they were painted on, but they might be repaired.

No such love, apparently, for the cats of Howard and Dunlop streets.

Click the pic below for the originals:

Glasgow Dunlop St cats

Glasgow Dunlop St cats

August 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dunlop’s Auto Shop Rutherglen oopsie

I’ve been a little ‘Out of circulation’ for a few weeks, so didn’t manage a quick return to Dunlop’s new Auto Shop in Rutherglen to see how it looked after (or even if) had opened.

It’s all nicely ‘tarted up’ with some eye-catching shutter murals and graphics – which I would miss if I landed here early enough to catch the shop open, so being late can have advantages as most of this is hidden when the shutters are rolled up during the day.

I see the opportunity for fun is still a feature – if you drive a Proton and are looking for parts I invite you to test their offering of “Any Part For Any Car“. While there’s no mention of any compensation for their failure to meet that promise, you will at least (provided you are not in a hurry) know that a day or two’s effort was wasted behind the counter. Then there’s always the option of a hint to Trading Standards.

But there’s actually a bigger sin apparent in this pic, now that the signwriting has been completed.

And it’s NOT that lack of apostrophe on Dunlop’s, (Dunlops’?).. or Dunlops as they put it, even though that is a pretty big sin.

Rutherglen Dunlop's Auto Store

Rutherglen Dunlop’s Auto Store

Did you spot it?

It’s only repeated three times.

This, below the windows:

Please Keep Clear Dunlops

Please Keep Clear Dunlops

Tut-tut Dunlops, a car shop should know road law better than most.

You have no more rights to the public road in front of your shop than anyone else – the clue is in the word ‘public’.

This is a personal bugbear of mine whenever and wherever I see it, like the supposed ‘Red flag to a bull’ (seems they are colour blind), ever since I parked in front of Cross’s butcher shop (now gone, and the building even burnt down a few weeks ago) in Shettleston, on my way to hand a cheque into the nearby insurance agent.

Given the ranting and raving of the butcher who came running out of his shop to shout at me to “MOVE YOUR CAR! THAT SPACE IS RESERVED FOR MY CUSTOMERS! MOVE!” you could have been forgiven for thinking I had just knocked down his prize bull, instead of just having to listen to it.

Or that he did actually own that piece of road since it lay directly in from of his shop.

Public roads are just that – PUBLIC!

For the use of everyone who paid for them with their taxes.

You are entitled to the bit you are using, and nobody else has any more entitlement, be that the road in front of their shop, or even their house. Can’t get parked in front of your own house because someone has parked on that piece of road. Sorry, you’ll have to walk a few metres.

I’ll be watching this inventive piece of signwriting in the future.

Maybe someone local will take the hump (don’t look at me, I don’t live there, I’m just an observer), and have a word with the council, roads department, or even police.

Or maybe someone thinks that little end piece of road is no longer classed as ‘public road’ since it’s been blocked off, and this is OK.

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mystery sign spotted at Barrowland – man with a barrow

It’s odd when you spot something in plain sight that you have simply never, ever, seen before.

While everybody latched on the main illuminated sign on the front of the Barrowland ballroom, I can’t recall seeing any pics of the ‘Man with a barra’ that I spotted on the SIDE wall recently.

I only spotted it as I happened to have been looking at the recent Billy Connolly mural nearby, and was still just idly glancing at building walls for no good reason.

I have absolutely no idea whether or not this is something new, relatively new, or has been up there since the beginning of time.

Similarly, given the time of year, there’s a slim to nil chance of me being around this area when it will be dark enough to learn if this sign – which clearly has wiring and neon – is ever illuminated, or even works.

I’d say it’s been up there for years, unnoticed and probably not lit for years – reason being that it was clearly once animated, with the figure have two sets of neon lights to simulate walking, but one set has clearly been gone for years. At a guess, I’d say the wheel on the barra would have a similar animation to make it appear to be rotating. The neon is all there, but does it work?

Unless there’s some reason for it to be on earlier (if it works), I won’t be seeing this in the dark until we hit November.

If you haven’t seen it, have a look up next time you pass Barrowland, or are at the Barras.

Barrowland Barra Sign

Barrowland Barra Sign

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Missed me again – but that will buff out

After I decided to let the ‘Missed me again’ joke wind down a little, and not bother with ever mangled railing that was mown down while I was not following a particular route, it seems that this has just meant the Murphy (you know who I mean, the famous Murphy of Murphy’s Law) has upped his game, and is going to try harder.

I’m back on my old Shettleston loop, which I’ve missed for a while.

Not exactly related to my ‘Missed me’ them, I’ve noticed an interesting side street where a number of white Transits are parked.

Nothing interesting about that, until you look at their wheels – nearly all have flat tyres (but only the bottom part!), and this has been the case when I’ve looked for some nights now, after spotting the first one.

Anyway, back to the real subject, and it was nice of this van to put in the effort to mark my return to some waddling along the streets of Shettleston for a while.

As an aside, I have noted a number of people look at similar crash collision damage, sneer, and point to it as an example of how rubbish modern cars are compared to the ‘tanks’ of yesteryear.

That’s a gross error and demonstrates a fair degree of ignorance.

It forgets, or ignores, that the front end of a modern or current car is designed as a crumple zone, intended to deform progressively in a controlled manner and absorb the energy of a collision rather than allow it to be passed back to the passenger compartment, and ultimately to the occupants.

Modified Vauxhall

Modified Vauxhall


They’re not going away (unlike the Vauxhall, gone the next day when I passed)!

Those Transits I mentioned are coming and going (but who can tell one or more white Transits apart?), and still have flat bits on their tyres, and still only at the bottom:

Flat Tyre Transit(s)

Flat Tyre Transit(s)

For what it’s worth, the valve caps all seem to be on, and there’s no obvious damage.

We used to have something similar in our works vans, when we visited some customers who were less than careful with the dross the their manufacturing areas and let metal shaving get carried into their yard.

We’d find our tyres kept deflating overnight, and only twigged when we found small shards of metal in the tread.

Guess what – we didn’t park in their yard any more, despite the ‘favour’.

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

I’ll never understand the selfie or selfie stick

I finally achieved and ambition recently – and I don’t have many of those these days.

I managed to catch somebody in the act of using a selfie stick!

Every time I try to catch this I’m usually too late, and they’re gone by the time I’ve stopped and grabbed my own camera.

I have to confess I’m one of those who largely doesn’t get the appeal of this thing, and if you look at most of my pics you’ll find that other than where it’s practically impossible to avoid them, I avoid having any people in them. And the idea of planting myself in them… just doesn’t even occur to me.

I do have a collection of selfie sticks, but not for selfie’s – armed with a small camera, these telescopic hand-held mini-monopods are ideal for getting pics of, and from, places that can’t otherwise be reached.

This catch in George Square didn’t do much to help explain their logic either.

Without the full context (which has been cropped from this images), this selfie looks fairly logical, and is being taken by someone on their own, a tourist who wants a memento of having made it all the way to Scotland, and to be pictured in Glasgow’s world-famous square:

George Square Selfie Stick

George Square Selfie Stick


The subject was one of a group, probably a family holiday, and there would have no problem in having someone take a better shot, as they were all carrying, and using, phones with cameras:

George Square Selfie Stick Why

George Square Selfie Stick Why

So I, at least, am not really any the wiser (but I did get a live selfie stick pic).

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

International Cat Day, 8 August – Go discover LoveMeow

Funny how the simplest of jobs can defeat you, and after starting this post on the 8th, ended up finishing it a day late and having to backdate it. Not my fault, just my usual luck and unable to get it finished on the day.

Established in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, I may be wrong, but it doesn’t seem to have a dedicated web page, so no link, just the date, 8 August.

The delay did at least let me look in my collection for a magnificent cat pic, and was also a little sad, as the examples all seem to be from some years ago. I used to get the occasional visitor, some of which wandered in the door as if they lived here, or owned the place, sometimes even curling up on a seat. But not for years now, and even those I do see are so nervous I seldom get near. As for touching them? I don’t even try now for fear that as soon as I (slowly) move a hand towards them they will take off across the road and get run over, and it will have been my fault.

No such problem with past visitor, once a regular, and happy to roll around in the dust and dirt on the ground so I could never get a velvety smooth clean pic of this little black panther.

Black Cat Relaxes

Black Cat Relaxes

Go visit LoveMeow

I have to give a mention to a cat site I came across recently:

LoveMeow Logo

In their own words:

About Love Meow: is cat lovers’ site dedicated to spreading the meowsage of love for our furry friends. We often help local shelters and rescue groups get their word out and encourage more hoomans to consider adoption. Giving a little kitty a second chance at life is incredibly rewarding.

There are some great rescue stories in there, but one warning: If it takes little to bring a tear to your eye, I suggest you go buy some boxes of tissues, or fetch a towel BEFORE diving into this one!

Sadly, our media, even in Scotland, is full of stories about people abusing and killing cats for nothing more than their warped sense of personal pleasure.

Equally sadly, the chances of their being caught are slim, as they are cowards and hide their activities carefully (and may even be organised criminals involved in illegal gambling centred on animal fights).

I should say ‘Perverse activities’ as it seems there are a number of studies published which suggest their activities are not just aimed at small defenceless animals, but are likely to be practice for their real interest, as child molesters in later life.

Seriously, if you someone who harms animals for pleasure or ‘fun’…


August 8, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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