Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Bottom Sniffer Beer

Don’t worry…

It’s for DOGS,  not people.

(That won’t stop some from trying though).

Check that logo visible on some of the bottles!

Bottom Sniffer Beer For Dogs

Bottom Sniffer Beer For Dogs

If you don’t recognise the label style, here’s a clue…



December 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Even worse than ‘activists’ are ‘political activists’ (or when is flyposting NOT flyposting?)

While I don’t have much time for politicians, my cup runs to empty as soon as anyone gets outed as a ‘lobbyist’, ‘activist’, or ‘political activist’.

I wouldn’t necessary like them any better if they had an attack of honesty, and just owned up to being little more than thugs, since they’re really just out to get their way by forcing their dogma on us, rather than by abiding by the democratic process.

This lot recently ‘improved’ the east end of Glasgow by plastering (fly-posting) it with signs like the one below, and pasting their message all over walls and street furniture.

Now I see they are happy to break into other people’s property, disrupt the city centre, and waste my money (taxes) and the time of police and others.

Here’s a thought for your political activist dogma…

Instead of criticising building owners who are losing money with empty property – how about YOU guys dig into your own pockets and BUY the properties that upset you so much?

After all, your logic appears to run along some fantasy that the current owners are raking in some sort of fortune from the empty properties, so why don’t you guys put up your own money and buy them, then YOU can have all those pots of cash to reinvest in more.


Of course not!

Activists occupy Glasgow city centre building in protest

I spotted these gems plastered on derelict and ruined buildings in the east end – I doubt they even have owners, or they died, or were declared bankrupt and ruined. The last few I watched ended up with council noticed warning that they would be made safe, and the bills passed on to the owners WHEN THEY WERE FOUND!

Never happened, and the next notice posted was compulsory demolition of the derelicts on safety grounds.

I’d love to have a REAL lawyer’s analysis of this, I only did a year of law, and I reckon it’s mostly, if not all, nonsense, and of dubious legality in its threats and even more so in the reality of its claims.

Check the last line for the best laugh.

(As an aside, NONE of my spellcheckers accept ‘flyposting’ as valid spelling of either fly-posting or fly posting).

If their message is so valuable, I wonder why that line was felt to be necessary?

On second thought, what does ‘NOT FOR FLYPOSTING’ even mean?

And who is it directed at? (The only people likely to be pasting these illegal fly posters up are those who printed them – unless they get stolen and the thieves paste them up).

I only managed to get this pic with a day to spare – it was ripped off the wall the next time I passed.

RISE Flyposting

RISE Flyposting


If they can’t get their way, then they’ll eventually try to force it,  and if that doesn’t work, then the threats will be along soon. You only have to have a scan of the news.

This time, just two girls in the same pic and…

Miss Iraq forced to flee country over Instagram photo alongside Miss Israel

Well, on the bright side – ALL the ‘Misses’ had to flee the UK once the feminazis turned on them.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | | Leave a comment

Winter elves are east end council gardeners

One of the strange things that happens in the east end of Glasgow is the care and maintenance of public parks.

Although there are times when I can be waking through some of them on an almost daily basis, I’ve almost never seen anyone actually working in them. The closest I usually get is sightings of piles of cut branches, or piles of chippings which show where chain saws have been in use.

There’s an example of this below, which I collected in a sortie to the shops, after the recent snap freeze we ‘enjoyed’.

While the rest of us were frozen in our homes, and the temperature plunged to -9 deg C (at least), it seems the council’s gardening elves were making the most of the quiet paths, and getting lots of work done (wonder if they a bonus for working in ‘freezing conditions’?) while nobody was watching.

Tree Cutting

Tree Cutting

Lest I be misrepresented as mocking our council gardeners, quite the opposite.

I’m actually quite grateful to them for their winter ‘advice’, and have now taken to catching all the odd tidy jobs over the late autumn, winter, and early spring periods (weather permitting), and getting to watch all my neighbours labouring to do what I had done during the period when the green stuff was NOT GROWING!

This was also a test of the ‘new’ compact camera (I really should carry the ‘old’ one for comparison shots) and proved surprising.

I’ve learnt how to leave some automation to the camera, and just forget about those aspects altogether, while I control a few key factors.

In this case, I was surprised that my (as yet untried) settings worked first time – yet when I flipped the switch and allowed the camera to make ALL the settings for the same scene, it failed totally. It wouldn’t autofocus, and when I forced it to take a shot, it couldn’t even meter the scene.

And that was odd, as I had tried this previously, and while it wasn’t as good as my semi-manual efforts, it did at least work.

I need to RTFM closer, but the detailed version has 402 pages (admittedly small pages), and that’s… boring.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Shettleston Christmas lights

Strange to say, I almost forgot about Shettleston’s Christmas lights.

But the various routes I follow at the moment nearly all avoid the centre of the main street, although I skirt all the way around it on most days.

I did ‘remember I had forgotten’, so after going to the shops I diverted and caught them.

Shettleston Christmas Lights

Shettleston Christmas Lights

I must be getting better at this, I usually have to try hard to avoid little light trails from my hand-held shots, but these seem to (thankfully) absent.


I had to dive through the back streets to get back on route to head home, and happened to look up and spot the local housing association office, ready for Christmas too.

Shettleston Housing Association Christmas

Shettleston Housing Association Christmas

Bonus 2 – Just for fun

I thought I’d include a pic that would usually be rejected…

Shettleston Road

Shettleston Road

This one is pushed just a little too far, and shows more shadow detail at the cost of noise and other naughty effects I try to minimise.

While it shows more of the street and is arguably more interesting, it also includes bins and rubbish, normally left out and collected on a Friday, these have been missed today, and will probably be removed during an extra bin lorry run on Saturday (overtime?).

As an aside, it also shows how little dazzle and overspill (light pollution) our new LED street lighting produces, effectively proving those who object to it on the basis that it ‘dazzles and blinds’ compared to the old yellow sodium lighting are just naysayers, who would probably complain that a gold bar was ‘TOO HEAVY’ if they were given one.

Shooting under LED lighting is amazing, and on the occasions where the old sodium lighting still prevails – it’s horrible!

In the pic above, for example, the street lights (LED) are almost invisible. Had they been sodium, then there would have been a series of mini-suns blowing out the upper parts, and everything would have been YELLOW!

December 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Chocolate Covered Anything Day

16 December is Chocolate Covered Anything Day.

I don’t think that demands any particularly imaginative description, and almost everyone will appreciate the excuse for a treat (commiseration to those who can’t).

But it was interesting to see how far back this… addiction… goes:

When was this delectable treat created? The history of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica. Fermented beverages made from chocolate date back to 1900 BC. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency. After chocolate’s arrival in Europe from oversea expeditions in the sixteenth century, sugar was added to it and it became popular throughout all of Europe, first among the ruling classes of the European societies, and then among the common people.

S0 – 4,000 years-ish.

There can’t be many things that have remained popular for that long.

I’m semi-glum about this one right now.

The ambient outdoor temperature in my corner of sunny Scotland is doing its best get down below -8 deg C, and for the past few weeks my kitchen has decided to follow the outdoor temperature, albeit it with some lag and heat from its surrounding, and that means its manage to make it down to 5 deg C, and is trying for lower.

This matters, why?

Just because I’ve found that various chocolate spreads (and those with varying amount of hazelnut in them) make excellent DIY chocolate digestives if spread on plain digestive biscuits – and have the advantage (like most DIY) of being cheaper than packets of chocolate digestive. I don’t spend any less on my chocolate ‘hit’, but I do get MORE.

But, at between 5 and 8 deg C, all those chocolate spreads turn into – chocolate BRICKS, trapped in the jars until spring.

However, Plan B is always ready to kick in, so there’s a good stock of packaged chocolate biscuits to fall back on.

Chocolate Facts & Myths {Infographic}

Infographic: What science says about chocolate



December 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Today is Cat Herders’ Day

15 December is Cat Herders’ Day.

No, I didn’t believe it either, but it is.

While ‘like herding cats’ has become a popular saying (amongst some) it seems to be a recent creation.

One claim is that an IT expert (Dave Platt) said “managing senior programmers is like herding cats”, and it is said that Cat Herders’ Day was invented in the past ten years.

Whatever the origin, it’s a pretty good metaphor for some tasks.


December 15, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

First Christmas tree got an upgrade

Well, if the first Christmas tree I spotted gets an upgrade…

The least I can do is feature the effort…

First Christmas Tree Upgrade

First Christmas Tree Upgrade

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

An interesting Christmas

I like to collect some of the (illuminated) garden displays that pop up around ‘my’ streets at this time of year.

Pickings have been a little sparse, thanks in no small part to me being grounded, but also due to the extreme cold snap that hit (and presumably scared folk back indoors for a few days).

This one appeared during that period.

Interesting Christmas

Interesting Christmas

One of a pair of nearby (to each other) houses that sold recently, and were extensively modified – the other was a bungalow that had its roof removed and a whole upper story added, an intriguing process to watch.

But this one was probably more interesting.

I knew it had been owned by the owner of a business I/we had done one job for.

A chance remark to a neighbour revealed (if true) that he was ‘Worth a good few million’. No reason to doubt this, knowing his business in our industrial estate, and others he had elsewhere. In a way I was impressed by his ‘normal’ house and car(s). The last genuine millionaire my work took me to had a huge house in a select area, and a Rolls heading the fleet in his private driveway.

Anyway, this one threw us out as ‘incompetent’.

We weren’t, but I reckon it suited him to be able to shift the blame for failure to complete a contract he started for a major manufacturer of electrostatic air conditioners. That job had been to provide monitors for the inline testing of every unit manufactured, and required a jig to measure multiple power supplies in the order of 20 kV.

His unit was fine, apart from a small problem – each of the five LCD digital voltmeters (DVM) used would fail catastrophically after a few minutes operation. Not cheap after a while as they were around £50 (trade) apiece.

We were called in to look at the problem, but found that the DVMs failed so fast we couldn’t test anything. A MKI eyeball on the design seemed to show the proper voltage dividers etc in place, but after we had burnt through a set of DVMs he just took the jig back and told us we were useless. The two businesses fell out at that point, we wanted paid for work to date, and he wasn’t paying ‘For nothing’.

Some years later I came across the same DVM modules being used happily in another job (‘normal’ volts this time, not kV), and when I pulled up the ‘Design and Use’ notes for the modules, guess what?

They had a specific design note advising against use in ANY HIGH VOLTAGE APPLICATION as they had been found to be highly sensitive to electric fields and would break down under such stress.

I guess our advice, had we been allowed to get that far, to “Use different indicators” would have been right.

But, on reflection, I think the speed with which we were thrown off the job means we were just used as mugs, and thrown to the dogs so his company could say ‘Not our fault, the contractor screwed up (so give us our money please)’.

Back at the house…

I’m always amazed at how much work ‘New Buyers’ will do to a house, even one owned by a millionaire.

In this case, the roofing was discarded and new tiles fitted, then all the windows were ripped out and new units fitted, the front porch was torn out too. It had been closed and glazed, it now just has two glass panels and is open. The tiling was smashed off the steps and renewed too. The wall around the property was stripped, re-rendered, and recapped. New block paving was laid to replace the existing. Some new fencing went up, and although it’s mostly hidden from the road, I could see that an extension to the rear was extensively stripped and refurbished as well.


Many thousands spent on a house that was, or should have been, in near ‘walk-in’ condition and I would have thought needed only redecoration, carpeting, and furnishing to taste.

I can understand this extent on a ‘fixer upper’, but in this case I’m left wondering why.

That said, it seems to be the norm nowadays – I’ve watched a number of housed sell nearby, and if they sell again, even if only months later, the first thing that arrives is a series of skips, and most if it is carted away each time.

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

The Legacy Hub at night

This is unusual. Evidence of life here.

I generally walk past this – The Legacy Hub – during daylight hours, but must do so on the wrong days as it always seems to be closed and deserted. Which is odd, given it houses the area’s Medical Centre.

While that appears to be open (the section to the right), I still don’t see anybody using the seated area to the left, signed as a café.

I’ve read that this smaller building/extension was part of a deal done to be allowed to parachute the big empty Emirate Arena that lies behind. I guess the name is a sop to the once often repeated ‘Lasting Legacy’ promised to residents in the wake of the silly 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Legacy Hub Night

Legacy Hub Night

Apart from taking this shot just to see if I could (remember, I don’t use a tripod, all shots are handheld), and test a lesson.

The night shot part is interesting in this case, as the sky, almost black when the pic was taken, is almost a match for the façade.

I did knock back the brightness in the café area, as it was so bright it almost blew out the internal detail.

The lesson?

Normally I insist on catching whole buildings, and avoiding cut-off roofs, corners, or ends.

That usually means having to correct the perspective later, as the camera has to be tilted.

This time, I tried to avoid my natural instinct and hold the camera level (almost – that missing upper vertex was killing me).

Well, what do you know? It works, and no perspective post-processing needed.

I left in a little converging perspective.

I see many pics that have had ALL the perspective edited out, and have perfectly vertical building edges.

I think these look horribly unnatural, as the human eye is used to seeing buildings with at least some perspective, and all natural views (what you see for real with your eyes) demonstrate converging perspective as verticals lead up to a natural vanishing point.

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restored Campbeltown Picture House reopens on 22 December 2017

I’m tempted to be naughty and say the picture house will open just in time to close again, for Christmas holidays.

However, I’m sure they want to give the fixtures and fittings, and all the toys, a trial run without any hiccup causing them to close for a day or two for snagging.

Not being negative, just practical.

The Picture House in Campbeltown was first opened in 1913.

The art-nouveau building closed in 2014 and has now been fully restored, with the interior based on its appearance in the 1930s.

The cinema will reopen 22 December with a screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. A number of other new releases will be shown in the following weeks.

Via Date set for reopening of Campbeltown Picture House


Campbeltown Picture House

Campbeltown Picture House

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

My neighbours are weird

So, it’s almost the middle of December, we’ve just enjoyed nights that have gone down to at least -9 deg C (no snow so far though), and…

My neighbours are sitting in their gardens sunbathing!

Bear In A Chair

Bear In A Chair


Bear In A Chair

Bear In A Chair

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

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