Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Any apple experts out there (before they kill me)?

I have a (usually) rather nice apple tree, which came with the back garden many years ago.

The apples are usually pretty good for eating, but some of the dry years we’ve had in the past meant they were off the menu. While it was a guess on my part, in those hot, arid years, the apples tended to crack and split while still on the branch, something I put down to dehydration and dry ground.

I never proved that thought, but the only thing I ever found that looked similar appeared be called ‘Star Disease’, and while the apples looked similar, none of the other symptoms seemed to apply, and even the online accounts were light on detail.

Our summers have now returned to their cooler and wetter days, this condition seems to have almost gone away, and I’ve been eating the apples for a few years.


This year has not been good, despite appearances.

I sampled the crop a few weeks ago – and let’s just say I was ill afterwards.

The apples seemed the most likely cause, as I wasn’t trying anything else new or suspect.

But, I didn’t believe it, and after recovering, decided to try them again.

Unfortunately, while not as much ‘fun’ as that first tasting, I can’t say the result means I’m in any hurry to have a third ‘tasting’.

Also, in the intervening period I noticed this crop is not responding well to being stored.

In previous years, I’ve kept them all the way up to, and past, the New Year, with the only downside being that by then they’re tending to dry up a bit, and the skins can look a little shrivelled.

Not this lot.

Still (in October) some two months away from the New Year milestone, this lot will never last that long.

When I checked them, I found that many had become dark, discoloured, and soft.

Others had actually gone completely rotten, turned dark and soft, and even had (white) mould on their surface.

This is new, not seen in past years, and closer inspection shows that many of the remainder already show evidence of this rot setting in already.

Not good, and it’s worth noting I wash them after collecting them. I don’t store them piled up and/or touching. I also discard any that show any damage or discolouration immediately, so they never even get stored. In past years all I do is leave them on the floor in a spare room, where they usually sit undisturbed, and I usually spot the few that have been damaged/bruised, and they get picked out and dumped.

But this lot is almost going rotten as I watch.

This pic gives an idea, although the worst were all dumped a while ago – these are just what I collected this morning, plus some tiny ones just being dumped. These all looked and felt fine a week ago.

One additional thing I’ve noted now is that they are rapidly losing any shine they once had, and are becoming matt and dull, even before they become discoloured and go soft.


Rotting Apples

Rotting Apples


October 20, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Black Cats Matter

Something a bit odd, and the result of not only a chance find in the street, but also seen more often than I’d like in posts made in a large image sharing site I spend (far too much) time in.

As someone who has had their home graced by the presence of one or two black cats, or ‘house panthers’ (brilliant name), I’m at a complete and utter loss to understand the apparently real and continuing lack of love that seems to be perpetuated by some supposed ‘cat lovers’ against this variation.

It’s bad enough that there are still people out there with tiny minds who see the black cat as somehow being ‘inherently evil’ – you can find the same sort of people who hold the same view about anyone who doesn’t have white skin – but hearing of gorgeous cats being left to languish in shelters is really not acceptable, and not what anyone who merits the description ‘cat lover’ would do.

This came to mind when I tripped over (and really did ‘trip’) a page from a paper (I hesitate to use the full term ‘newspaper’) that somehow seems to have survived since 7 October 2014, just lying in the street:

Black Cats Matter

Black Cats Matter

According to this 2014 article, some 70% of the cats abandoned at the RSPCA were BLACK!

And it was reported that a number of residents had been dumped because their captors hadn’t considered them to look good enough in SELFIES!

Have you ever seen my thoughts on selfies and the people who take them? (They’re not nice thoughts, so I won’t repeat them).

Black cat looks better than any person ever seen in a selfie…

Black Cat

Black Cat

Activist Black Cat would like to meet some of them personally:

Dumping Black Cats You Say

Dumping Black Cats You Say

October 15, 2017 Posted by | Appeal | , | Leave a comment

On Friday the 13th never forget that…

Groucho Marx Black Cat

Groucho Marx Black Cat


If that’s too subtle, then…


Friday The 13th Black Cat Awareness

Friday The 13th Black Cat Awareness

Black Cat Alarmed

Black Cat Alarmed

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Long lost cat (Parkhead)

Filing away some recent pics (the lost cat posters), I came across an old one and since I’m on a lost cat poster roll, guess I should mention it.

I didn’t get around to using it after noticing it was dated – and the date was ONE YEAR earlier than the day I noticed the poster and tool a pic when I passed it. This was on Springfield Road, near the houses that had been built there recently (recognisable behind the pic of the cat).

The cat was lost for a year (since July 2015), but the poster and the tape looked brand new in July 2016 when I took the pic.

Coming across the pic again (I’d forgotten all about it) more than a year later, I guess this one was not found.

Long Lost Parkhead Cat

Long Lost Parkhead Cat

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Geri – missing in G32 since July 2017

I seem to have ‘collected’ quite a few missing cat (posters) recently, but I think most of them are a little old, and are either being spotted as I wander around places I haven’t managed to get to for a while or, like the one below, seem to be repeated appeals.

It’s only a couple of days since I used this gate at Tollcross Park, and I don’t think even I am dozy enough to have missed this one, and I saw it right away yesterday.

It’s fresh and clean. With the recent rain and wind, I doubt it would have been so clean when spotted, hence the assumption it’s a repeat.

The web site address is not too obvious (lots of mention for good old Facecrook though) so this is Animal Search UK which is associated with Cats Protection:

See also Cats Protection

I’ll need to dig through recent pics, and do posts for others.

Geri Missing Cat Tollcross

Geri Missing Cat Tollcross

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

What was behind this mystery gate in Duke Street near Parkhead?

I’ve been passing the red gate (well, mostly red, now faded, plus rust) for some years, and had expected to trip over some reference or other which might explain why it was there, or what it belonged to.

No luck so far.

In my time, there’s never been anything on the land behind, apart from the occasional pile of rubbish, and the fenced area has always just been a piece of ‘spare ground’. Recently, the only activity ever witnessed there has been the opening of a larger locked gate (out of sight, to the right) and display of a sign offering car-parking for a few pounds, on big match days at Celtic Park.

In the hope of digging something up I recently combed the online historic records for the area, and pulled up aerial imagery for the surrounding area. The former listed nothing for the spot, while none of the freely available aerial imagery even shows a building there.

I found some B&W aerial views that show the various steel and chemical works which occupied the surrounding area in the past, and even oblique views which date back to the 1930, including Carntyne Stadium (there was a stadium entrance immediately to the left of this gate – but separated from it by a wall/fence), but even then, the land on this spot still appears to be completely bare.

The old stadium entrance arch survived until a few years ago, when it was razed along with a small factory and business that lay to its left, leaving the land clear, with no other evidence of its use other than the perimeter fence. As far as I know, the industrial premises to the left was Tubular Scaffolding Ltd, said to have been founded around 1929 and described as the oldest scaffolding company in Glasgow, run by a family called Cole-Hamilton.

So. my usual resources all seem to have come up empty.

Do YOU know better?

Duke Street Mystery Gate

Duke Street Mystery Gate

Here’s a closer look at the hardware fitted to this gate.

As can be seen, these articles are fairly modern.

There’s a lock fitted to the gate which has an electrically operated release, and an intercom which visitors could ‘Ring the bell’ and speak to those inside and request entry, being ‘Buzzed in’ if they were granted access.

There’s also a metal ‘post box’ over to the right, so the postie didn’t need to gain access to deliver letters.

The original lock has long ago been burst, and the gate secured with a fairly robust chain.

Mystery Gate Hardware

Mystery Gate Hardware

Bonus note

Just for completeness, this a view of the former Carntyne Stadium entrance (and the wall of TS Scaffolding’s premises to the left) – when they were still standing a few years ago..

The gate in question lies a few metres to the right, out of shot.

Carntyne Stadium Duke Street

Carntyne Stadium Duke Street


The original pics are oldish, and more recent snaps from the same place betray the fact the NOTHING is beyond the attention of the Glasgow ned, not even a wrecked gate/door intercom.

As can be seen below, even the remains of that dead item were later stripped off their place next that gate.

The chain still survives, so far…

Stripped Panel

Stripped Panel

September 28, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, photography | , , , , | 2 Comments

Time for a worldwide boycott of L’Oreal folks


Since I would never give a company like L’Oreal a penny of my hard-earned anyway, all I can do is drop a hint.

I’ve just read that the world’s biggest cosmetic company is threatening to sue a tiny soap-making firm in Fife, as the giant claims to own the term ‘naked‘.

To be fair and more specific, the company claims not to own the term, but its use in relation to cosmetics. Such details are often carefully omitted when the media, and others, try to whip up support for campaigns against actions such as this.

Paris-based L’Oreal reportedly issued the Naked Soap Company in Dalgety Bay a ‘notice of threatened opposition’ on Tuesday. The notice, on behalf of L’Oreal S.A, whose head office is based in Paris, states: ‘I confirm that I wish to file this notice of threatened opposition and that a copy should be sent to the Trade Mark applicant.’

Sadly, I also have to warn you not to visit the Naked Soap Company web site, as it currently has an autorun video that I couldn’t see any quick way to stop, disable, or silence, so can’t recommend looking at it. As far as I could see, the controls only appeared AFTER the embedded video had run to its conclusion, which is NOT an acceptable form of enforced advert presentation. And to me at least, totally counterproductive, as I was so busy trying to shut it up I never looked at anything else on their web site before closing the page to get rid of it.

The monster slap company has a capitalisation in the region of £88 billion.

According to Forbes, Liliane Bettencourt, principal shareholder of L’Oreal, is the richest woman in the world, and fourteenth richest person in the world with an net worth of approximately US $44.3 billion.

Via Tiny Fife soap-making company sued by cosmetic giant L’Oreal over ‘naked’ range

And Small firm faces legal threat from L’Oreal over Naked name

Some articles state that an MSP has a petition in place regarding this issue, but do not give a link to access it.

Unfortunately, a quick web search failed to find it under the name given, “Stop L’Oreal” – this finds a number of other petitions, mainly addressed at L’Oreal demanding the company cease animal testing of cosmetics.

If anyone does ever find it, it would be nice to have the location added via the Comments section below.


It seems being the richest woman in the world does not buy immortality – even if you are the principal shareholder of L’Oreal.

Despite all the anti-ageing creams and gloops, together with all the crazy pseudo-scientific claims and promises on sale for silly money, slapping their stuff on will not make you live longer.

Only a few hours after publishing this post…

L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt dies at 94

To be clear, I am not directing any sort of mockery at this lady – only the company she had shares in.

In fact, she is quite a sad case, apparently suffering dementia, also estranged from her daughter (but latterly reconciled), and possibly exploited to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by her entourage.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Increasing support reported for petition to save Tollcross Winter Gardens

I’ve been highlighting the shameful behaviour of Glasgow City Council, which squandered million on its vanity project – the 2014 Commonwealth Shames – spent a wad of cash on the leisure centre in Tollcross Park (which a local solicitor assured me is not used by locals, but by people who drive there from outside the area – and claimed that local kids are kept away by gangs, shocking if true).

Yet while throwing all that money around, the council couldn’t find a relatively small amount (compared to the amount wasted for a few days of games) to repair and re-open the winter gardens, which was somehow not seen as an attraction that the supposed thousands upon thousands of spectators coming to see the shames would have been drawn to, even though they would have been only a few metres away while attending events in the enlarged puddle (swimming pool and extension) that was added to the leisure centre so that a few privileged swimmers could splash around in it, and maybe get sponsors.

I’ve photographed and blogged about the shameful neglect and ongoing damage and vandalism the winter gardens (and the ‘new’ visitor centre that was tacked on when it was last rescued and restored.


Although a petition was raised over a year ago, and has attracted a number of signatures in support, it is only now, in September 2017, reaching the 5,000 needed to have it submitted to the council.

In fact, it’s only a few hundred away from that figure this morning.

Go and give it the final nudge, here:

Save the Tollcross Winter Gardens before It’s too late

See these past posts (I’m really just repeating myself time after time, so seldom write about this disaster, it’s too sad):

The sorry story of Tollcross Winter Gardens just goes from bad to worse

Tollcross Winter Gardens – Shame of the 2014 Commonwealth Games ‘Lasting Legacy’

Tollcross Winter Gardens – a ‘Lasting Legacy’ to betrayal

Tollcross Winter Gardens refurbishment 2013

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017

September 3, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Study suggests nine lifestyle changes can reduce dementia risk

Old And Isolated

As someone touched by dementia within their family, I think anything that might reduce the risk of falling victim to this affliction has to be worth a mention.

According to an international study in the Lancet., one in three cases of dementia could be prevented if more people looked after their brain health throughout life, and it lists nine key risk factors including lack of education, hearing loss, smoking, and physical inactivity.

These risk factors, described as potentially modifiable, make up 35% of the total risk – the remaining 65% is thought to be potentially non-modifiable.

  • Mid-life hearing loss – responsible for 9% of the risk
  • Failing to complete secondary education – 8%
  • Smoking – 5%
  • Failing to seek early treatment for depression – 4%
  • Physical inactivity – 3%
  • Social isolation – 2%
  • High blood pressure – 2%
  • Obesity – 1%
  • Type 2 diabetes – 1%

Depending on your own lifestyle and circumstances, some of those may or may not be easy to alter positively, but I think the relevant factor is that people be made aware of them.

It’s no secret that some of the items listed are clearly not good for their health, but many people ignore that already – perhaps coming into contact with people affected by dementia (victims and their families) might be something that would help persuade them to review their life choices.

Via: Nine lifestyle changes can reduce dementia risk, study says


The report, which combines the work of 24 international experts, says lifestyle factors can play a major role in increasing or reducing an individual’s dementia risk.

Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before,” said lead author Prof Gill Livingston, from University College London.

Acting now will vastly improve life for people with dementia and their families and, in doing so, will transform the future of society.


July 31, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | | Leave a comment

This is your street. Not your personal bin.

It looks as if Glasgow is having another go at its litter louts with a new campaign.

Wandering around various burbs, I’ve come across the following sign placed high on many lampposts:

Litter Campaign Sign Not Your Personal Bin

Litter Campaign Sign Not Your Personal Bin

While I like the sentiment, I suspect the people who will really like it are the residents who are fed up with those who litter, while those who litter will just laugh at it, and pay absolutely no attention whatsoever.

While I was raised not to drop litter, and don’t – ever – anything goes in my pocket or a bag to be disposed of later, I see very few children who have been taught not to litter. And they become the adults that also have no care regarding litter.

It’s sad to walk along the street, especially with shops, and watch the behaviour of people as they leave shops.

Those leaving convenience stores, newsagents, and fish & chip shops are amongst the worst offenders.

Often unwrapping cigarette packets, the wrapping is discarded instantly without a second thought.

But the saddest sight is that of the kids, especially the smallest ones, as they come out with packets of sweets or similar treats, and these are already being opened and unwrapped as they leave the shop, and you can see they have NEVER been taught not to litter, as the wrappers are dropped as soon as they come off, without as much as moment’s thought about what they are doing. They don’t even know they are littering. Putting the wrappers in their pocket does not even occur to them.

And if the council, a community worker, or police officer DARES to pull anyone up, or issue a fine?

THEY are slated as the ‘Bad Guys’, unreasonable and oppressive, just out to make money and pick on people.

If they wanted to do that (make money), they’d be better to collect all the discarded McDonald’s packaging that fills our streets (buyers of this muck are amongst the worst, just opening their car doors after visiting a drive-through, and dropping the lot on the road), return it to source and charge them for each piece of branded litter they return.

I can dream.

July 23, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council, photography | , , , | 1 Comment

Good News – Clara has been found!

Good news for a change (and I, for one, need some).

Deciding to take a random late night walk to the shops, I noticed a soggy piece of paper flapping in the trunk of one the trees in a park I often cut through.

Whatever I expected to see, it wasn’t what I found, but at least it made the walk to the shops worthwhile.

A ‘Thank You’ note from Clara’s human, letting folk know the lost cat was now a found cat!

Found Clara

Found Clara




Seriously, this is great to see.

I’ve come across so many ‘Lost’ posters in recent walks, and apart from the problem of them not having a date on them (so there’s no way to tell if they are recent, or not so recent), it’s also impossible to tell if they were any use, and the cat was found.

That’s just an observation, I realise there’s not much can be done about that. After all, the humans have better things to do if there is a find, I think what I’m really just noting is that while I’ve found quite a few ‘Lost’ posters, this is the first ‘Found’ one I’ve ever come across.


June 29, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

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