Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

George Square goes pedestrian on 20 July for Clean Air Day

After the previous news of suggestions and support to ban traffic from George Square, it seems Glaswegians are to get a taste of what the square would be like if traffic restriction were put in place, and the area was pedestrianised.

Glaswegians will be given a preview of tentative plans to pedestrianise George Square this week as traffic is banned from entering the area.

In celebration of Clean Air Day, Glasgow City Council will be forbidding traffic from entering the city centre location this Thursday (June 20) from 9am to 4pm.

George Square east will be closed in its entirety for the day, while George Square south will allow no waiting, loading or unloading from 3pm on Wednesday (June 19) to 4pm on Thursday.

Several companies will be in attendance at the event to promote public transport and leaving the car at home. They will range from bus operators such as First or Stagecoach through to smaller companies such as bike-only delivery start-up, Eco Runners.

There will be musical performances, displays of electric vehicle, car clubs and an electric taxi. People will be able to try out eBikes and conventional pedal cycles and there will be details of the ‘City Ways’ cycle paths initiative.

Picnic tables will be set out on George Square east with it closed to traffic, allowing people to eat out in front of the City Chambers.

City centre road closure offers a preview of a pedestrianised George Square

George Square (not) Grass

George Square (not) Grass


19/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Garfield The Cat Day

19 June is Garfield The Cat Day.

Obviously, this one is not getting past without a mention.

Garfield was created by cartoonist Jim Davis and first appeared in a cartoon strip on 19 June 1978. Garfield’s ‘owner’ is Jon Arbuckle and his doggie friend is Odie.

Garfield Starts

Garfield Starts

Now known around the world, the comic strip is set in Muncie, Indiana, and has featured many topical subjects such as: obsessive eating, love for lasagne, and adverse reaction to Mondays. Davis basically took the human we don’t like discussing and anthropomorphised them with the help of our favourite ginger feline.

There could have been an IP (intellectual property) case!

(Probably would have needed too much effort.

Grumpy Garfield

Garfields Mondays

Garfields Mondays


Now I see why there wasn’t an IP case…

Garfield And Grumpy

Garfield And Grumpy

19/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Is this what they mean by ‘politicat incorrectness’?

I couldn’t really let this one pass.

No interest in the politics – but maybe political stuff would be better with cat filters on all the time 🙂

Cat filter accidentally used in Pakistani minister’s live press conference

Politicat incorrectness

Politicat incorrectness

18/06/2019 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Apparently Shawfield Stadium still hosts dog races

Claealy, I pass through Shawfield at the wrong times.

There are times when I pass the stadium fairly often, heading to Rutherglen, or to Glasgow Green depending on where I’m going or where I’ve been, and have sometimes been to neighbouring Halfords so often I felt like a member of staff (when it took them weeks to get me a replacement wheel from the makers).

During all those passes, I’ve NEVER seen the place in use.

The closest was when I once saw in the open gates.

I almost expect to see protests about the place being closed and demolished, but that wasn’t what just appeared in the news.

Even though I think greyhound racing is “outdated and cruel” (and apparently a few other people think so too), it seems that it’s still taking place at Shawfield, and attracting protests.

Calls for the sport to be banned have been stepped up after UK-wide figures showed that almost 1,000 dogs died within the racing industry last year.

Governing body, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), insisted the numbers were a small fraction of the overall participation.

Protests are held on a weekly basis at Shawfield Stadium in Glasgow.

Greyhound racing is part of the multi-million pound gambling industry and is watched by hundreds of thousands of people in Britain each year.

Fresh calls for end to greyhound racing in Scotland

So, that last line probably means the protesters are going to be gathering at Shawfield for some years to come.

On a positive note, they are able to target 100% of the greyhound racing tracks operating in Scotland 🙂

Shawfield Stadium

Shawfield Stadium

18/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Here come the spaceport naysayers

I wonder why it’s taken so long for the spaceport ‘Naysayers’ to break cover?

And why is it the Green Loony MSP that’s promoting them too?

At least it’s in keeping with my general observation that no matter how apparently ‘good’ something is, you can always be sure there will be Naysayers pouring cold water on it.

Sadly, it also seems to be becoming the norm for objectors to be backed by Green MSPs too, who just seem to latch on stories that will get them noticed in the media.

However, the research by Prof Mike Danskin, of Heriot-Watt University, and Geoff Whittam, of Glasgow Caledonian University, casts doubts on claims that 40 “high-quality jobs” would be created by the scheme, suggesting “the jobs which will be available to local people have been stated as housekeeping and security”.

The academics also express concern that far from bringing jobs and prosperity to the area, the spaceport would obstruct the development of more appropriately-scaled businesses.

The paper questions the focus by Highlands and Islands Enterprise on the A’Mhoine site over others and suggests a previous report overstated the level of community support while not paying enough attention to infrastructural issues and environmental designations.

Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie said: “I hope Highlands and Islands Enterprise reflect on this important study.

“It casts doubt on the purported economic benefits that constructing the spaceport at A’Mhoine will bring and highlights that it could cause considerable environmental damage.

Experts cast doubt over Highlands spaceport plan


These proposals did not appear overnight, or even a few months or years ago.

Where have these experts (and their supporters) been during that time?


The answer is no

18/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Sooooo close – ET might have been in the back!

I couldn’t pass this one, which was SO close to the source.

2012 VW Caddy [CA11 HME]

2012 VW Caddy [CA11 HME]

18/06/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

If this is the price of chocolates – I’m even more out of touch than I thought

I was never one for spending on luxury items, and tended to stay away from any of them.

I was entertaining a client who had come over from the US some years ago, to oversee some tests we were carrying out on his products, and couldn’t even answer his question of “Is £100 a lot for meal if eating out?”. Around the same time I was staying in decent hotels for about £30 per night, and less than half that for a meal in the restaurant.

That’s all well behind me now, so no more living off expenses.

I had a bit of an eye-opener when I was in Largs recently, and took a look in the window of one the sweet shops.

I won’t bother to tell you how many weeks (yes, weeks) I can feed myself for, for the price of one of their hampers.

Pricey sweets in Largs

Pricey sweets in Largs

Incidentally, a rough count of the chocs in that ‘Gift Hamper’ comes out around 60 – so those sweets are about £1 each.

That noise you hear is me running to Poundland!

18/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Today is International Panic Day

18 June is International Panic Day.

First time this one has been spotted, unfortunately it doesn’t come with any source as to its origins,

Described as the one day of the year when it’s (almost) considered to be okay to go postal on whatever it is that causes stress.

Probably still best to take care though, in case your uninhibited response to some small ‘situation’ brings a SWAT team down on your head.

Maybe use it as an excuse to panic about everything under the Sun, or take the day to evaluate your priorities and eliminate anything that causes you stress and anxiety.

I did learn that the word panic is derived from the Greek word associated with the Greek shepherd god Pan, who mythology tells us amused himself by striking fear among travellers in the woods.

Stress is not always a bad thing, being the body’s response to threats. Stress hormones released in the body increase heartbeat and the flow of oxygen to the brain, and help an individual appropriately react and respond to the threat. However, long-term, anxiety and stress can be harmful. Chronic stress can negatively affect the heart, the immune system, and the digestive system, make you more likely to suffer from aches and pains, and be at a higher risk of heart diseases, stroke, type II diabetes, and cause a weak immune system.

I really don’t know why I never invested a few pennies in one of these nice key caps for my keyboard in the days when I was a system administrator.

Panic Button

Panic Button

18/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Cherry Tart Day

18 June 2019 is Cherry Tart Day.

But be warned if you want to celebrate every year, this one wanders around the calendar as it is defined as falling on the third Thursday of every June.

And be doubly careful, as you don’t want to confuse it with Cherry Pie Day and miss the chance to enjoy both.

To avoid confusion, we asked an expert what the difference was:

  • Pies are usually round while tarts have more freedom of shapes (oblongs, oval, squares, and even some irregularly formed).
  • Pies are baked using ceramic, Pyrex, or metal pans while tarts often use metal pans.
  • Pie crusts can cover the top of the pie while tart crusts rarely cover the top of the pastry.
  • Pie crusts are flakier, lighter, and crisper while tart crusts are firmer and crumblier.
  • Pies are usually immediately served using the actual pie pans used in baking them whereas tarts are first cleanly removed from the pan and then placed on serving plates.

I have to confess I avoided the cherry tarts in my local supermarket as they always seemed to have a surplus they were clearing cheap.

I don’t know why, after I grabbed a few and found they were delicious, especially when combined with custard.

Maybe they just knew they could sell lots, and really just made too many.

Cherry Tart With Custard

Cherry Tart With Custard

18/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

LNT – RFI is real

RFI, or radio frquency is apparently real.

To be fair, as a radio amateur I always knew it was, as various odd things interfered with my reception of very low power signals, but that was usually just a nuisance since all it did was make odd noises that prevented me from hearing the signals I was interested in.

However, this is first time I’ve had a data transmission rendered useless by the effect.

Some time ago I was given a wireless, digital, home power and energy consumption meter.

While these gadgets are useful enough, their accuracy is dreadful, at least where low powers are concerned, but not having a live wire hanging around is very handy.

If you can find, let alone read, the specs, then this is confirmed as their accuracy is within a few percent for devices which draw amps, but climb to the tens of percent where only tens of mA are involved. This is fairly common for domestic devices such as this. You have to use much more expensive lab or professional devices if you want accurate measurements.

I tend to use it more as a warning device, in case something fails, or draws more power than it should. I know it reads anything from 2 to 4 times more than any low power devices actually consume, and can’t really be trusted for numbers until something rated around 500 W or more is connected.

I recently picked up another one, same operating principle but a little newer and from a different manufacturer. Although second-hand, it cost only a few pounds and was effectively brand new and unused. It still had the original shrink-wrapped batteries for the current transmitter.

Interestingly, after using it for a while I found it was considerably more accurate at low powers than the first.

As an example, if the new one indicates around 150 W (in the right ballpark), the old one will be showing around 300 W

It has an unfortunate downside though, and only updates its display once every minute – the older one has a real-time display.

That led me to sit them beside one another, to get the best of both. One two indicated instantaneous load changes, the other (after that delay) to read the value.

As always, this simple plan failed miserably.

When the new display was placed next to the old one – the reading on the old almost fell to zero!

Obviously, the signal being transmitted to the old display is being blocked by the electrical noise emitted by the new one.

When I separated them, the old one soon began to read normally.

I’m not sure how far apart they really have to be to prevent this, but I’m keeping a minimum of half a metre between them, which seems to be adequate.

Wireless power monitor

Wireless power monitor

17/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Best thing about living in Glasgow – you don’t have to do it for too long

It’s been a while since I last saw one of my favourite subjects featured by the media, but all is well, and it’s back – alive and well 🙂

Increases in life expectancy have stalled in Scotland.

Even worse, in some areas the amount of time you can expect to live is going backwards.

Between 2001-2003 and 2012-2014, life expectancy at birth in the region steadily rose from 73.5 years to 77.1 years for men, and from 78.8 years to 81.1 years for women.

But since then it has remained largely unchanged, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Total life expectancy was 77.0 years for men and 81.1 years for women in 2015-2017.

Glasgow has the lowest life expectancy in the UK for both men, at 73.3 years, and women, at 78.7 years. The area has also seen increases in life expectancy stall in recent years.

When it comes to how long you can expect to live in good health, men in Scotland can expect 62.3 years and women can expect 62.6 years.

Glasgow has the lowest life expectancy in the UK for both men and women

I thought I’d slightly revise one of my Glasgow city centre pics in honour of this story (while I’m still here) 😉

Death in Glasgow

Death in Glasgow

If old doesn’t get you, somebody will probably just stab you in the head, with pair of scissors, since we can’t have knives now.

17/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: