Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Forgotten Baillieston ice-cream pic

Remember I mentioned the return of Soaves ice-cream to the busier part of Baillieston Main Street after moving to its own ice-cream parlour on the outskirts, after it closed?

While I did manage to get a shot of the shop one day, I forgot to catch the sign on the footpath.

Then I forgot I had caught it on a miserable, dark, wet night (wonder why I forgot that?)

Since I have the pic, I might as well use it.

Soaves Baillieston Return

Soaves Baillieston Return

Incidentally (and completely unrelated to this), it seems Glasgow may be set to outlaw this sort of temporary sign, and many other objects which are scattered on pavements and footpaths nowadays.

The number has become ridiculous in some places, with a number of traders also permanently abandoning (and even chaining/locking) their commercial waste wheeled bins to street lamp and sign posts. The accumulation is reducing the available space, and disabled people, wheelchair users, and even parents with prams can find their way barred. The council has indicated traders will be fined if they block  or obstruct the footpath, and there will restrictions on when their bins can be left out for collection, with penalties if these are not followed.

I recall something similar happened a few years back (might have been Largs, or similar coastal resort) when shops started to fill the footpath with signs, and things like trees and bushes to make ‘their’ premises look better than the competition. Complaints grew – and regulation followed.

I don’t know what happened – I had to give up watching news from the resorts… it all got too miserable, and loaded with crime and violence!


June 23, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

People (still) really do the SatNav dumb thing

I still don’t get this.

I’ve used GPS (I refuse to be associated with SatNav) since at least 1998, and was covering anything up to 1,000 miles per week on the road (or just over a weekend sometimes), but I NEVER EVER even THOUGHT about following a navigation instruction that suggested driving off cliffs, into river, along non-existent roads, or along the wrong side of dual carriageway.

Stories like this, and their consequence, explain why I walk along the road more ready to knock someone senseless if they speak to me, rather than just say ‘Hello’. You just can’t tell how badly wired their heads are of they’re complete strangers.

This sort of thing also worries me when I think of some things I’ve encountered in the past, and what might have happened if a traffic cop with a sore head had happened to be nearby. For example, leaving Aberdeen on a horrible dark snowy night, I ended miles into some carriageway repairs on a closed section of road – I can only guess the cones closing the section had been lost for some reason. Fortunately I had a passenger who was as puzzled at this as me as there were no signs either, and even more fortunately we didn’t meet a large hole in the road.

An 85-year-old motorist blindly followed his Sat Nav up the wrong side of a dual carriageway.

Hamish Wedderspoon continued driving in the fast lane of the A9 for a mile as oncoming drivers were forced to swerve out his way to avoid a high-speed crash.

Wedderspoon was banned from driving for three years and fined £5000 at Perth Sheriff Court on Friday.

Pensioner blindly followed Sat Nav wrong way along A9

SatNav – pointing out idiots since 2009…

‘I was only following satnav orders’ is no defence: Driver who ended up teetering on cliff edge convicted of careless driving

No SatNav

No SatNav

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building – I’m sorry I told you so

I’m sorry to see that the news regarding proper initial survey data on the post-fire remains of the Mackintosh Building are as bad as I thought the first videos suggested. I really was wondering what the folk who suggested things weren’t so bad were looking at.

The only good thing I can think of now is that summer had tentatively arrived, and we are, for the moment, not in imminent danger of seeing storms or high winds.

If such weather were to likely, I fear the decision regarding the remains and any potential to save original structure would be out of the council’s hands, and demolition on the grounds of public safety would be automatic.

As it is, things will still be subject to the stability of the remains.

At least there is still the opportunity to consider options (whatever they may be, if any).

The walls of the Glasgow School of Art have been moved six inches (15 cm) in places as a result of the fire, council leader Susan Aitken has said.

She said the movement of the building’s facade had prompted fears for public safety.

Speaking from the site, Ms Aitken said: “It is a dangerous building, there is no question about that.

“The facade has actually moved quite considerably – about six inches.

“There is an imminent danger of collapse.”

The restrictions remain as building control officers have warned people to stay away from the site of the art school fire.

They revealed concerns about the end walls of the building, which could fall into the street “without warning”.

Glasgow School of Art’s facades moved six inches by fire

This article suggests the hazardous nature of the structure means more detailed examinations will not be possible until the safety of inspectors can be ensured as they move into the remains.

The façade and standing walls remain high, and one falling stone block could result in fatality, and a collapsing wall would be disastrous if anyone was either inside, or beside, at the time.

Glasgow School of Art walls may fall ‘without warning’

Mackintosh building could collapse ‘without warning’

Glasgow School of Art fire: Warning to steer clear of damaged building

Pretty much sums thing up.

“It’s dangerous and is unstable, we can’t stress that enough.”

Glasgow School of Art moves six inches since huge blaze

Looks as if it’s just as well I can’t wander along for a look.

And now… The BAD news.

Looting of the Clutha Bar was no surprise after the helicopter disaster, and the scum just don’t give a damn.

Looters have raided a bar which was destroyed by a fire at the Glasgow School of Art.

Police were alerted to the raid at Campus on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow at 3.20am on Thursday.

Thieves went through the cordon to slam their way through the bar to steal alcohol.

Five years after three teenagers broke into the Clutha to steal alcohol, cash and charity tins following the helicopter crash.

Looters raid bar destroyed by Glasgow Art School fire

Meanwhile, seven men were executed in Saudi Arabia after being convicted of theft, looting and armed robbery a few years ago – but at the time of their offences, they were minors (around 15 years old). The usual method is by beheading.

Wonder what recent event brought that back into my thoughts?

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Loch Ness may get pumped hydro scheme

As an engineer who had to sit through lectures on this subject many years ago, any mention of hydro-electricity tends to attract my attention, especially pumped storage.

A pumped hydro storage scheme that would involve drawing water from Loch Ness could generate enough power for 400,000 homes, say its developers.

Hamilton-based Intelligent Land Investments (ILI) said the construction phase of its Red John project would create work for up to 300 people.

It has been proposed for a site south of Dores.

A 100m (328ft) underground “power cavern” and 2,650m-long (8,694ft) pipe would be built for the scheme.

Major hydro project proposed for Loch Ness

The scheme would involve pumping water between Loch Ness and a new upper head pond.

Pumped storage hydro is probably the largest and cleanest form of energy storage available at the moment.

Other forms of storage exist, and massive (gigawatt hour) have been commissioned, constructed, and are in service.

However, such things are not as scaleable as pumped storage.

Scotland was an early adopter of all forms of hydro power but… that means all the best sites were taken years ago.

But it could be that a modern take on the old idea (using newer technology) could utilise sites that were not considered practical in the past.

It’s also notable that a number of 19th century hydro schemes (not pumped storage) have been restored and returned to service in recent years.

Back to this scheme, and it’s worth bearing in mind that the description shows this is purely a pumped storage scheme, does not generate any power, only stores surplus which has been generated by others. This stored energy can then be released later, when required by demand.

It will be interesting to see if any naysayers turn up and rubbish this proposal, or make negative claims about its environmental effect.

Systems like this don’t need the huge areas and dams of hydroelectric power generation schemes (which have to collect water).

I’ll be watching.

ILI Pumped Storage - ILI Diagram

ILI Pumped Storage – ILI Diagram

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Where was 2018’s ‘Midgie Invasion’ panic story?

A story about midgies published this evening reminded me that we had not had the usual panic story from the so-called ‘midgie experts’ this year.

I’ve noted that for the past year, these ‘experts’ have been warning Scots the THIS YEAR is going to be a BUMPER YEAR for midgies for some reason or another.

And, while the midgies may have invaded elsewhere, I have to say that for the past few years, in spite of these dire warning of potential death by being sucked dry of blood by billions of midgies – they never turned up here. Maybe they can’t read, or don’t have the Internet in their damp ponds.


All that said, it would seem we have perhaps found a reliable way to deal with the wee beasties.

It seems that devices using CO2 to attract them into traps are not fantasy, and heaps of the little bloodsuckers (they don’t actually suck, lest I find myself corrected) can be collected.

So many, it seems someone wants to use them as delicacy, or just get revenge on them.

An Argyll hotelier has unveiled plans to serve burgers made with midges to his customers.

David Keat, who owns the Brander Lodge Hotel near Oban, said he would harvest the blood-sucking insects from the hotel’s midge exterminator machines.

He said the burgers would be dipped in a coat of midges, like breadcrumbs, and a special secret ingredient added.

The plans are due to be considered by Argyll Council’s environmental health department.

Hotel plan to serve up midge burgers

Seems fair – I’d support them, even if I don’t particularly feel like having one of their ‘treats’.

Anything that gets rid of midgies gets my support these days.

I don’t know what’s changed in recent years, but I seem to have become more sensitive to midgie bites recently, and find that nothing acts as a repellent, and their bites seem to have become more irritating AND last for much longer than they used.

Supposed relief treatments and potions also seem to have become less effective too.

These days, I watch the calendar (and my skin for the first bite) and retreat indoors for a few weeks, or avoid places where I know they might be flying around. Basically, if I can’t stop them, or treat them, I just have to minimise the number of bites (yes, I know the saw the skin rather than bite, but you know what I mean).

Crazy midge

Crazy midge

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Today is Chocolate Éclair Day

22 June is Chocolate Éclair Day.

Another easy one.

But I have to confess to a love/hate relationship with this creamy chocolate treat.

Éclair can be translated to ‘flash of lightning’, and this is a fair description of the speed these delicacies can disappear if not well guarded.

It also describes the way a well prepared example disappears in your mouth, and good ones are gone in a flash!

The chocolate topping, cream filling, and pastry just melt together in a good one – and that’s both good and bad, all at the same time.

Oh well.

Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Eclairs




June 22, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building

I thought the media coverage might have died out today, but some items arrived later in the day, so still going.

They’re still reducing restrictions around the fire scene and building remains, and this story has detailed notes of where there is, and is not, access to roads and lanes.

I see some ‘Professional Moaners’ have found gainful employment:

Since the blaze on Friday, there has been criticism that those living or working near the site had been given little detail about returning.

Given the scale of the incident, I think they must have forth from the loins of those who had to be told “There’s a war on you know” when they wanted to know why there were no bananas in the shops during World War II.

Restrictions ease around Glasgow School of Art fire site

I noted damage to the front of the Reid Building, directly across from the Mackintosh Building on Renfrew, in the videos of the scene, and it is one of those which was cordoned off, and graduates found they were separated from work stored there in advance of a show which could affect their careers.

Art school bosses have thanked firefighters for helping students retrieve work from a building close to the fire-ravaged Mackintosh building.

Firefighters help art students retrieve work after blaze


A carpenter who lost his livelihood in the blaze which destroyed Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building has said more support should be given to workers.

A number of self-employed contractors hired to restore the iconic site after an earlier fire have been left out of work.

The carpenter, who was involved in the reconstruction of one of the Mack’s lecture theatres, lost tools worth around £2500.

“There are other people in the same position,” he said. “I was reckoning I was going to be there until the end of the year.

“There’s been a lot said about the School of Art and the students but there’s been nothing about the guys who have lost their jobs.

“To lose £2500 worth of tools in one fell swoop is hard to take. I had liability insurance but I haven’t been able to work this week.”

Blaze-hit Art School workers ‘need greater support’

Glasgow School of Art post fire

Glasgow School of Art post 2014 fire

June 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building

Oops – THAT was a mistake!

I thought the media coverage had died down yesterday, but was wrong.

The stories hadn’t dried up, and I found my news feed had decided to update during the late afternoon, rather than the evening (when all the had-working journos go home).

This could be a long post as I play ‘catch-up’ (who needs sleep anyway?)

I don’t think ANY of these articles have today’s date (20 June 2018) on them, so the main media seems done with this already.

The cordon around the buildings affected by the fire is to be reduced, but not removed, as the stability of the remaining structures is still under assessment, and stabilisation, or other work, may be required to make the area safe.

Just as well I can’t dash in for a quick look, visibility from the nearest streets is limited.

Glasgow School of Art cordon to be reduced following fire

Expect some waste-of-skin celebrities and PETA to arrive in Glasgow soon, protesting about the rights of all the rats displaced by the fire, and being victimised by nasty pest controllers, rather than given new homes and compensation for being disturbed.

More seriously, I found it intriguing to learn the cause of the displacement was attributed to the drains filling with water as the fire service fought to control the blaze.

Roaming rats reported after Glasgow Art School fire  

Both the preceding story, and the one referenced in the next link, are sad – because they already have a number of nearby business whining about lost business because of the fire, and how they could go under… if someone does not put money in their already outstretched sweaty hands.

No business continuity plans in place lads? Or suitable insurance?

My business was required to have this sort of thing in place, as our clients expected us to honour their contracts even if our premises vanished in the night.

Most of this article is disappointing.

Oh, there was one high point…

A cat also had to be rescued from a home after being stranded over the weekend.

Businesses fear trading hammer blow after Art School fire

Somebody is optimistic.

The chairwoman of the Glasgow School of Art board Muriel Gray says the building will be back, but it will just “take more time”.

Muriel Gray: Glasgow art school is going to come back

She could be busy.

A survey suggests that while there’s overall support for rebuilding the Mackintosh Building…

That support wants it to be done with ‘Magic Money’, with a half of the supporters saying public money should not be used, and only around a third of them prepared to dig into their own pockets and contribute.

Support for Art School rebuild but not at public expense

Looking at the numbers, which are of course wholly speculative at the moment, and given as a nebulous ‘Maybe at least £100 million’ for any (unspecified form of) rebuild, it’s interesting to compare today’s speculative rebuild cost (or even the £35 million of the last partial rebuild following the 2014 fire) with the original build cost at completion in 1909.

That was £40,000.

In term of today’s money, inflation makes that figure equivalent to something in the order of £4.5 million.

When completed in 1909, the bill came to £40,000.

More details on the building’s history and cost are given here.

Art School: Mackintosh’s masterpiece touched many lives – A brief history of the building dubbed ‘a work of art in which to make works of art’

I’m not suggesting there’s anything suspect in today’s cost, and anyone involved in the sort of restoration which is involved here already knows the problem is that the construction industry is vastly different today, with few skilled in the old methods.

Plus, in a project such as this, it’s not an empty site, but has to be cleared and made good before any actual construction can even be started.

I thought I’d run out of pics already, but found I had one from 2013 – so actually predates the problems.

Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow School of Art


June 20, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh video update – and what happened next door

Sad to say, comments on my Mackintosh observations are not going to be allowed.

While I’d quite like to see reasoned debate or consideration of developments, if you care to look at the comments area of ‘The Scotsman’ then you’ll see the usual scum and political morons see this as a place to publish their tripe.

I don’t have the time, and I definitely don’t have the patience, especially to deal with those who have not even had the courtesy to READ the current new reports before using my space for their nonsense.

So, today we were provided with a better video of the remains, which was both good and bad.

I see materials damaged by extreme heat (no surprise), and while I see worrying distortion in both heat affected steelwork and walls, some of this seems less extreme than it first appeared in videos taken while the fire was still in progress. While these need to be properly surveyed, seeing this fresh video has made me feel a little less concerned about the integrity of the remaining structure.

Aerial footage shows scale of the Glasgow School of Art fire

Watch: Drone footage shows aftermath of Glasgow School of Art fire

I have to confess to having little (or no) knowledge of the damaged building adjacent to the Mackintosh Building.

While I know some of the more well-known theatres and cinemas of Glasgow, I was never a patron, so those I know I only know from studying registers of buildings at risk or lost, or which I have come across by noting interesting architectural features which have led me to identifying their presence.

This article takes a closer look at the unfortunate venue.

Glasgow fire: How the O2 ABC entertained a city for 143 years

Although the headline of this article remains to be qualified on the basis of investigations and surveys of the damaged building, it does at least seem to indicate a consensus of positive opinion and cooperation between those who normally argue just for the sake it, regardless of whether the argument is sane or reasoned.

Glasgow Art School ‘will be saved’ after devastating fire

And finally, from today’s articles, possibly an example of what I alluded to in opening.

Despite clearly stating the criteria with respect to any public enquiry that may (or may not) be held regarding this fire, it seems that the message did not get across, nor did clarification regarding the status of a sprinkler system which was being installed as part of the work following the 2014 fire.

No backing from David Mundell for public inquiry into art school fire

Bearing in mind the fact that the fire service had to draw water from the Clyde, and the building’s location near the top of Garnethill, almost the highest point in Glasgow city centre, I wonder how effective and how long a sprinkler system would operate there.

Clearly, the head of water from the mains would be tending towards its lowest (meaning problems with supply pressure and volume, and I’m guessing this would mean dependence on water tanks to supply the system.

And that means the system could be time limited in its effectiveness, and operating duration.

I don’t suppose I’ll ever see it, but I would be interested in seeing the system spec, and what the installation’s stated aims were. To suppress a fire long enough to allow people to escape (ahead of the arrival of the fire service), or to control or even extinguish a fire before the service arrived.

June 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Todat is Cherry Tart Day

19 June 2018 is Cherry Tart Day.

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

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

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

Cherry Tart With Custard

Cherry Tart With Custard

June 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | 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

June 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: