Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Well, I TRIED to warn you about Dumb and Dumber Deer

Nice of officialdom to map out the places where dumb deer will try to kill you.

Deer hotspots highlighted in warning to Glasgow drivers

And the number… the numbers are alarming.

Deer really are thicker than two short planks, and dangerous.

It’s almost funny that the article refers to “If you hit a deer”, since their behaviour and the way they’ll bolt out of cover from the side of the road makes the reality more likely to be that one of them will hit you.

Still, it’s worth taking note of most of the advice offered in this article, but maybe not so much where it suggests drivers hit deer.

And not just drivers are at risk from these idiots. See this video.

Deer attacks innocent cyclist

Fortunately, another cyclist missed being totalled by a deer – as it totalled itself by colliding with a car!

Yes folks, again, the deer hit the car, not vice versa. See this video, and some pics.

Deer, best avoided

Deer Danger

Deer Danger


25/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Spare a thought for the old Open University TV programmes

I’ve no idea when I started watching them, but I really enjoyed the Open University programmes/lectures broadcast at odd times on BBC2.

I missed them when they went off-air too, even if they were ancient B&W productions, the subjects they covered didn’t change over time. Apparently that end came in 2006.

The Maths 101 stuff even helped when my head decided to give up on this subject at one point, and I went from understanding the stuff to barely being able to pass an exam – I still don’t know what went wrong.

I did pass the exams, eventually, and at the last permitted attempt, but it wasn’t good.

Not sure if it’s a pity the material those programmes covered moved to alternative distribution methods – I’d probably still be watching them today!

The Open University marks 50 years since its inception

Open University: Photos issued to mark 50th anniversary

Open University cult viewing

Open University cult viewing

Although I’ve managed to avoid doing this, as I might get hooked, you can search on YouTube and find a number of OU programmes have been made a available there.

Now, what was the title of that Maths 101 series?

25/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Impressive proposals for Dunoon revival

I have to give a mention to some plans being proposed to revive the fortunes of Dunoon.

A famed seaside town could be revived with cable car to take tourists up a hill, and rollercoaster to take them down, if ambitious plans for a community buyout go ahead.

The town of Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll and Bute, was once a popular spot for Glaswegians to go ‘doon the Watter’, but its fortunes diminished with the rise of package holidays abroad.

The resort, on the banks of the Firth of Clyde, has fallen off the tourist map but hopes are high it could once again become one of the biggest attractions in Scotland.

An ambitious plan, The Dunoon Project, based on a community buyout of the Corlarach forest above the town, could see it become a centre for outdoor activities.

A cable car would be installed to take passengers up the Kilbride Hill which rises above Dunoon to a cafe and observation spot at the top, according to the proposals.

Going down the hill to a base station, there would be the option of a zip-slide ride down the hill over a distance of four kilometres or a trip in an “alpine coaster” – a type of rollercoaster which follows the contours of the land.

Those of a less stalwart disposition could still take the cable car, or ride down on a mountain bike.

Plans to revive Scottish seaside town with cable car and rollercoaster

It’s an interesting plan, and certainly ticks the box for innovation and ‘Thinking outside the box’, but I fear it has missed one  or two small points.

Dunoon’s success in the days of ‘Doon the watter’ came to an end years ago, along with all the other Clyde coast resorts.

Most of those others have seen a revival in recent years, but I’d say they were luckier than Dunoon in that they are nearer, and don’t need such a long ferry trip, or drive.

I suspect that today, people seek more instant gratification, and the 2 hours or so it takes to get to Dunoon before having any fun is a potential barrier to success.

Unlike the others, Dunoon benefited immensely from the 31-year presence of a US submarine refit facility in the Holy Loch from 1961 to 1992.

That’s not coming back any time soon.

Other outdoor facilities, once popular in the area, have also failed to maintain the popularity they once enjoyed.

Castle Toward was once a popular residential outdoor centre, but once it ran into difficulties, all attempts to save it failed, and it fell of the radar.

Last heard of in 2018, it was still closed, but the grounds were open to public access.

If somewhere with an established record for activities couldn’t maintain its position (regardless of whatever politics or intrigue were, or may have been, going on in the background), that’s another reason I have my doubts about a new venture.

Sadly, I have to say I took a very quick trip to Ayr today, and looking at this sad shadow (so many empty shops, and nearly all the new/recent shopping arcades are almost empty too, with hardly any units occupied, and many of those only open for a few days, or with ‘Closing’ signs in the windows) of its former appearance, also suggests trying to revive somewhere as  far away as Dunoon is maybe a great idea, but with little chance.

I got this poster from a now defunct Dunoon web site some years ago, and have had to expand it as the image they had was very small.

This is dated 1943.

Dunoom Lido Poster 1943

Dunoon Lido Poster 1943


25/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, military, Naval, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Look at that smile

I sometime go for a quick wander while listening to the organ recitals at Kelvingrove, mainly to get a better view of the video displays relaying the performer’s feet and hands, particularly the pedal board, which can be interesting to watch.

I’d been standing beside a couple of tourists (why are they the quiet ones?) before changing sides on the balcony, and happened to look across at where I had been standing.

What a nice change from the usual babbling, sometime arguing, disinterested locals and their noisy brats who usually ruin whole sections of the recital, especially at the moment with the schools on holiday.

It’s almost a pity that the lights in the central hall have been switched off this week, as the Sun shines in, which makes the place a little darker than usual, and the poor old camera couldn’t quite cope with the marginal conditions.

Kelvingrove Smile

Kelvingrove Recital Smile

I probably smiled as much when I saw this video clip of a cat sleeping in a piano.

While it would be nice to have a Kelvingrove organ cat, I doubt even the cat would sleep through a performance if it was on the keyboard.

While the lowest notes don’t cause vibrations in the central hall, having been to a demo in the organ balcony, I now know the lowest notes are powerful enough to make the stone floor underfoot vibrate up there (well, the organ pipe do sit just behind the console).

24/04/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

How long will Glasgow’s April heatwave last? Let me get that one, not long!

Our local media asked…

How long will Glasgow’s April heatwave last? Here’s the latest Met Office weather forecast

So, here’s the actual answer, by observation.

While I wasn’t able to get out during the day yesterday, I did have a quick look outside in the evening to try to catch up on some garden tidying.

I think that was a mistake.

It was, sadly, already back to ‘Chilly weather’.

It was not only freezing (again) but this was aggravated by a pretty stiff breeze supported by strong gusts, just to make sure it felt properly chilly.

It wasn’t my imagination either, as this pair of graphs from my records confirmed this morning.

We’re basically back to things as they were last week, with the possible advantage of NOT having the really cold nights as well.


Heatwave End 2

Heatwave End 2


Heatwave End 1

Heatwave End 1

24/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

MUSTIO LOVE’S YOU – is that a good thing?


Graffiti promoting The Greengrocer’s Apostrophe now?

Mustio Love's You

Mustio Love’s You

I didn’t spot the aberrant apostrophe when I grabbed the pic, but it’s there.

I was more concerned about the meaning of the three ‘action lines’ behind Mustio’s butt.

What at they about? Has the poor mutant got a ‘gas’ problem?

More seriously, we need to help our poor, uneducated graffiti artists, and improve their grammar.

Maybe someone should start a petition to have a free course laid on for them, to avoid them being embarrassed by making mistakes like this, and embarrassing Glasgow too, when tourists see how lacking our schools and education system are.

After all, we know the psychologists and social worker will confirm that being laughed at for making such a basic error could scar them mentally for the rest of their lives.

Someone, maybe like MP Paul Sweeney, noted for supporting worthy and important causes, getting his name in the papers, making stuff up, and raising petitions in Glasgow at the drop of a hat, should start one 😉

24/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Mice will try anything to avoid my traps

Had to include this one.

I still haven’t caught or seen a mouse for ages, after the spell of regular arrivals I was suffering a while ago.

I’m not complaining – just hoping it’s not because the rats are eating them.

Or they’re evolving, and getting clever enough to EARN their survival like this one…

Trail Camera Catches Mouse Secretly Cleaning Man’s Shed Every Night

24/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Still no love for corporate futurists

It’s hard for me to describe the dislike, or just simple contempt, I have for futurists, or more specifically corporate futurists.

Seems they get paid a small fortune as big companies pay them to use their alleged skills to predict what the ‘Next Big Thing’ will be, and what people will want to buy in the future.

The only problems with this is that it gives these people the opportunity to promote their own daft ideas, not necessarily based on actual future trends 0 unless companies are smart enough to use independent analysis.

If you ever think that some stories predicting some crazy (in your opinion) ideas for future products were dreamed up by people with questionable motives, you’re probably right, and they’re down to corporate futurists, more interested in pleasing their masters, and protecting a lucrative payment plan, effectively paying them sacks of cash. And being predictions, they don’t even have to be right.

It’s not new, although the amount of money they can command is, as companies and their global markets have grown, so being first with an innovation that people flock to become more important to their survival.

Here’s a nice gallery of old futurist ramblings.

There’s a lot in there, but one example.

I picked this one as real circular runways have been proposed, however the present day proposal is sensible compared to this old idea, which probably never had any sort of practical review before it was drawn up and published.

You can just feel the class action lawsuits being raised as people are crushed in this rocket powered centrifuge! 🙂

Click for bigger.

Circle Runways

Circle Runways


I KNEW that futurologistic circle runway idea reminded me of something I’d seen before.

And there’s even video 😉

Like the comment said “What could go wrong?”.

24/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | 2 Comments

And a National Park Authority does what?

I gave up poking fun at things National Park Authorities (NPA) did years ago.

While I thought the idea was for them to protect the area under their control, they just seemed to make rules to keep themselves in a nice comfy job.

As far as I could see, there seems to be as much development (house building) after they arrived as before – but then again, I was only going by what was reported in the media.

I don’t really want to start that stream up again, but given the horrible big commercial lump parachuted onto the south shore of Loch Lomond, I never expected to see any more development down there.

Then again, maybe I was forgetting that there’s a National Park Authority in place, to limit out-of-place development.

Plans for a new £30m tourist development at Loch Lomond have been unveiled.

The proposals include a 60-bedroom apart-hotel, 32-bedroom budget accommodation, a craft brewery, boat house, leisure centre and restaurants.

There will also be upgrades to public footpaths and green spaces.

It is estimated the Lomond Banks development at Balloch would create 80 full-time jobs, 50 part-time jobs and 70 seasonal roles in the area.

Plans for £30m tourist development at Loch Lomond

Plans unveiled for £30m Loch Lomond tourist development

Plans revealed for £30m Loch Lomond tourist development with hotel, craft brewery and apartments

It’s beginning to make me think of Spain (for example), which apparently used to look nice, and was a great destination for a nice holiday. I don’t know, I’d never go there.

Until it was covered with hotels and bars to ‘Make it better for tourists’.

Reminds me of a little piece I wrote some years ago, suggesting a small theme park near Balloch might not be a bad idea – as I recall, I was not a popular person for even mentioning the thought back then.



23/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

LNT – Is this the right way to use lighter-than-air craft?

My engineering heart always sinks whenever I see some great new announcement proclaiming that someone has had a brilliant bright idea, and that they’re resurrecting the airship in some way.

The last revelation was Airlander 10, but like most of these giants, it ended up having an accident.

Since day one of this, I always pointed out that if the military (with its budget) didn’t think they could make it work, and dumped it, its chances of civilian success were slim to nil.

Airlander 10 crash-landed after mooring line snagged power cables

I’m willing to go out on a bit of limb and suggest that, with current technology at least, basic physics means that these giants are doomed from the day they are conceived.

I don’t know where the borderline lies, but the basic flaw is that their propulsion systems are limited in relation to their size.

While there is a practical limit to the force they can exert on a relative small amount of air, and impart a controlling force to the craft, as they get bigger and bigger their area (and volume rise rapidly, meaning that the effects of wind and buoyancy rise faster than any of the controlling forces available to the pilot.

The bigger the get, the slower they get, and also the lower the wind speed they can legitimately operate in.

While the financial rewards for smaller craft are less attractive for the big monsters, I’d always maintained they could be more successful if anyone dared downsize developments, instead of continually trying to make these things ever bigger.

It’s almost as if the first thing those involved do is throw all thoughts of ‘Commin Sense’ out the door.

Now, it seems someone has taken that step, and I’ll be interested to see if progress of these smaller craft leave the big monsters in its wake.

Researchers from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) have helped create a revolutionary new type of aircraft.

Phoenix is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to stay in the air indefinitely using a new type of propulsion.

Despite being 15m (50ft) long with a mass of 120kg (19 stone) she rises gracefully into the air.

She looks a little like an airship, except airships don’t have wings.

“It’s a proper aeroplane,” says the UHI’s Professor Andrew Rae.

As the project’s chief engineer, he has overseen the integration of Phoenix’s systems.

“It flies under its own propulsion although it has no engines,” he says.

“The central fuselage is filled with helium, which makes it buoyant so it can ascend like a balloon.

“And inside that there’s another bag with compressors on it that brings air from outside, compresses the air, which makes the aeroplane heavier and then it descends like a glider.”

New aircraft rises ‘like a balloon’

First lighter-than-air aircraft I’ve come across in years that hasn’t made me say “Oh no” at first sight.

UHI Phoenix Via BBC

UHI Phoenix Via BBC

23/04/2019 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

There’s a crocodile hiding under the Charing Cross bridge

I have to confess to being fairly lazy, so when I come to Charing Cross I tend to slide across the footbridge over the road rather than negotiate the multiple pedestrian crossings provided there, or worse, run across the various roads if I can’t be bothered waiting for the elusive little ‘Green Man’ to make an appearance.

I don’t usually approach from Woodlands Road either, so got to see bits of the footbridge which are usually well out of sight for me.

And that’s when I spotted the crocodile.

Since I don’t seem to have come across in any random posts about murals, I’m guessing most have missed it too, and it’s not made its way into any obvious lists either.

Same street artist as the tiger down at the Clyde, near the suspension bridge.

I should also add that it doesn’t look quite as good as this in real life.

Sadly, some moron with a can of paint added their own crap to the work, so I removed it.

Charing Cross Crocodile

Charing Cross Crocodile

23/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

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