Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

City of Adelaide Clipper gains children’s activity book

Strangely, if you ever listened to the ramblings of one poor individual from Sunderland, it seems the fortunes of the hull of the City of Adelaide clipper which went to live in Australia a few years have been good, and so far at least, it has not spontaneously combusted, or disintegrated under the fierce Australian sun, nor has the rescue project foundered.

It’s actually rather nice to see it amble along slowly, step by step.

Far better than many I watched arrive with great fanfare and promises/demands of many millions – over-ambitious and doomed to failure if the promises fall short. Over the past decade or so it’s become clear that projects which limp along with a steady cash-drip and avoid sensational claims are much more likely to be around for years.

This looks like one of those ‘small steps’.

SEAFARING adventures are swept off the page in a new children’s activity book about the clipper ship City of Adelaide.
The ship’s restoration project director, Peter Christopher, and Meredith Reardon — a descendant of its captain — have teamed up to create Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Facts and Figures.

More than a quarter of a million Australians can trace their ancestry through passengers and crew who sailed on the City of Adelaide, which made 23 return voyages from English ports between 1864 and 1887.

Mr Christopher said the 40-page book had been specifically written for children — a deliberate move as most of the material available about the historic ship was geared towards adults.

Via New City of Adelaide clipper ship children’s book opens maritime history to new audience

He and Ms Reardon, a teacher, first had the idea for the book two years ago but it wasn’t until they received a grant from an anonymous donor that they were able to publish it.

Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Facts and Figures is now on sale for $10 at the ship at Dock One.

It will soon also be available in selected newsagents and book stores.

City of Adelaide

City of Adelaide lying at Irvine on 07 February 2012 © wfmillar


March 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | 1 Comment

Today is World Sleep Day

Good luck with this one!

16 March 2016 is World Sleep Day, but it’s not always on the same date as it takes place on the… Friday before Spring Vernal Equinox.

Worrying about getting that right should be enough to keep anyone that CAN’T sleep awake.

While I’m not going to be worrying about it, I will probably be awake for most of that, and most other nights.

I reckon I must have done all my sleeping as a baby. From stories, it seems that while all the other babies in the hospital were screaming, crying, and other spending their own (and apparently everyone else’s) night doing anything but sleeping, I was curled up fast asleep. Unless it was feeding time, at which point somebody had to make sure dinner was to hand when my eyes snapped open, or I’d be the loudest baby in the ward and wakening anybody that had managed to fall asleep by then!

Later, sending me to bed was pretty pointless, and compared to other kids, I was always up late.

By the time I was out of school and at university, same story, and I’d be studying into “The wee small hours”.

Now I’m ‘old’ and supposedly my sleep requirements should be reducing.

Well THAT’S not really going to be happening, I already see too many dawns arrive during summer.

Contrary to popular mythology, those classed as insomniacs don’t stay awake 24/7 – they just don’t sleep much, and don’t seem to suffer for it. Well, those of us who do it naturally don’t – but those who are truly sleep-deprived do, and probably have another problem that needs diagnosis.

I think the people who REALLY suffer are those who try to adhere to the “8 hours of sleep MUST BE HAD!” routine, as they try to force themselves to get those 8 hours by any means necessary, including doping and drugging themselves.

I’ve never even though of going down that road.

As far as I’m concerned, your body will tell you when to sleep, and if you want a guide, look out the window and see if it’s dark – if so, probably a good time to go lie down, don’t fret or worry about getting those damned ‘8 hours’ and just catch what your brain/body take.

Humans were sleeping long before clocks and hours were invented, and I suspect got along just fine.

Get advice here, but don’t get hooked on some detail, just go to bed if you are sleepy:

World Sleep Day

On a more light-hearted note, it’s a pity imgur galleries don’t work in WordPress blogs, so although this is pretty accurate, especially the last graphic, you’ll have to click on the link below to see it at all.

How to sleep “properly”

I say it’s accurate, but only if you start off your night following the steps in the opening graphics, trying those methods just seems to generate anxiety, and that starts off a self-fulfilling loop, as you begin to worry about not falling asleep. So, as I noted, I just don’t bother, and leave it to nature to knock me out when I’m ready, not when I ‘should’.

There’s another gallery I’d like to have stuck in here, but same problem, so this is one of the sleep ‘experts’ as seen there.

So, you’ll have to click this link for the full set.

I Can Sleep Purrretty Much Anywhere

Sleeping Door Cat

Sleeping Door Cat


March 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Water Bus sign

Digging back into the archives for an unused ‘rainy day’ (freezing day?) pic, I found one I spent so much time fiddling with I forgot to use it.

I’d taken a few that day, and had suffered a bad attack of ‘Tilted Camera Syndrome’, and couldn’t settle on a final version or edit that looked any way half decent or square. Although I whittle the mess down to this one, I forget to finish the job.

While a quick look trawled up some reference to a Clyde Water Bus running for a few years up to 2012, I’m pretty sure the Water Bus refers to something that ran some years before this.

I can’t (quickly) find anything online referring to this, nor can I recall much more than a vague memory. It didn’t seem to cover any routes or destinations that made it of any use to me, so I never had the opportunity to play on it, and then it was gone.

If you know or remember more, a comment below would be nice.

But this quite nice entrance has survived. A bit faded perhaps, but otherwise substantially OK.

Water Bus Sign

Water Bus Sign

Find it on the Broomielaw, at the corner of King George V Bridge, and the junction with Oswald Street.

Wider view, for a bit of context. (Click for a little bigger).

Water Bus Sign Wider

Water Bus Sign Wider

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Stephen Hawking is gone

Hearing the news of Professor Stephen Hawking’s passing this morning was almost as much of a surprise as a shock.

I was beginning to think he had a ‘Grim Reaper Not Welcome’ sign or doormat that worked!

I was disappointed at the poor quality of some of the attempts at humour, and the attempts I saw by some conspiracy theorists to make mileage from his death was typical of their disgusting hobby.

But, at least when I looked in later, there was some better finds to be made with some more light-hearted responses that weren’t offensive.

Hawking 1

Hawking 1


Hawking 2

Hawking 2

Obituary: Stephen Hawking

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | | Leave a comment

Signs of the spring cycle appear

Caught this in the city centre a while ago, but thought it was more appropriate to keep for an early spring pic.

That’s all.

Spring Bicycle

Spring Bicycle

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Today is No Smoking Day

14 March is No Smoking Day.

No Smoking Day began in 1984.

It’s simple – Cigarettes/smoking are highly addictive and harmful to the person who smokes as well as the surrounding people.

It’s a disgusting filthy habit. Probably as disgusting as the retarded people who still see smoking as a ‘right’, not an addiction or disease/illness.

And it was built on outright lies from the big tobacco companies, who managed to get doctors to back their product on the basis that it was healthy, and then hid all the research that showed it was a deadly, addictive habit.

Over the last few decades, it has become ever more clear how dangerous smoking is. The toxins it releases cause many forms of cancer from the mouth to the lungs. What is also important to know is that while it may be a personal choice to smoke or not, when one smokes near another person – or even a pet – the second-hand smoke is just as dangerous to them, so it really isn’t just a personal decision. The protection of people who do not want to be affected by second-hand smoke has led to new laws in most communities that ban smoking in most public spaces.

I consider myself lucky, having been surrounded by ‘elders and better’ that smoked like chimneys, and apart from one (female) all succumbed to horrible later lives with various debilitated circulation/organ problems (now known to be related to smoking), or died young from similar problems.

Despite being steeped in this environment, I was never attracted to what I saw as a dirty, smelly habit – and this was BEFORE any anti-smoking campaigns began. I WASN’t their teenager!

Phillip Morris Teenager

Phillip Morris Teenager

Celebrate the day by not even thinking about smoking if you are not a smoker.

If you are, then get some sort of help to give up, or move to a harmless, or less harmful, alternative, especially one that avoid creating secondary smoke, so you don’t force your problems on innocent others.

It’s amazing to see anyone attracted to this, and a testament to the success of the tobacco company’s continuing efforts to get people hooked, as they transfer their sales campaigns from advertising to other, more insipid ways to get people hooked. It’s not against the law to gave away cigarettes, and this how they get ‘New Blood’ overseas, in developing countries – hand them out to kids.

I listen to quite a lot of OTR (old time radio) and a lot of the recordings from the day still have the disgusting cigarette adverts included, and by far the worst of them must include Camel. This brand not only promoted cigarette smoking as healthy, but fronted its campaigns with doctors endorsing the idea, and even making a virtue of Camel’s ability to stave off ‘throat burn’ so you smoke more of them!

The radio campaigns were backed up by advertising which echoed the same lies.

Nice healthy Camels.

Healthy Camels

Healthy Camels

Doctors loved them.

Live To 100 Years

Grow To A Hundred Years


Doctors Smoke Camels

Doctors Smoke Camels


Doctors Smoke Camels

Doctors Smoke Camels


March 14, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Science Education Day

14 March is Science Education Day.

I mention it in appreciation of those who staff museums, zoos, aquariums, observatories, planetariums, science centres, nature centres, outdoor education centres, rocket parks, and any other formal or informal science setting.

I guess it’s also a reflection of ‘Where did I go wrong?’ thoughts as well.

This was brought home with a bang recently when I saw someone post a pic of one the accelerators at CERN, and noted they had “Just started my dream job”.

Oh well… Too late now.

Maybe NEXT reincarnation, if I don’t come back as a cat.

One of the detectors there, open for maintenance – spot the step ladders to get an idea of scale.

CERN Detector Maintenance

CERN Detector Maintenance

Just in case that was too morbid, we’ll lighten things up a bit.

CERN Humour

CERN Humour

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Today is Pi Day

14 March is Pi Day.

That’s 3.14 if you’re not a fan of numbers.

Circles are round, pies are round, and the ratio of circumference over a diameter is… pi, or π.

If 3.14 is a little short of digits for your needs, you could try…

One million digits of pi

The quest for pi is sometimes seen as a fool’s errand by some, given that it appears to extend to infinity and at no point has the pattern ever been found to reliably repeat itself.

Pi is a transcendental number – that’s a number (possibly complex) that is not the root of any integer polynomial, meaning that it is not an algebraic number of any degree. Every real transcendental number must also be irrational, since a rational number is, by definition, an algebraic number of degree one.

There’s only one way to celebrate Pi Day… PIE!

Pi Day

Pi Day


March 14, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Baillieston’s old Airdrie Savings Bank conversion underway

An unplanned jaunt through Baillieston provided a number of updates.

Biggest surprise was a big banner on its Lidl, warning everyone it closes in a few days, for a MONTH! Apparently it’s getting a major makeover to make, yes, you guessed it… BETTER!

Next was Chamber’s old shop, where I last noted the demise of the little side building that used to be home to a little barber’s shop. A concrete base has been laid on, so they’re going to be using the space released by this little bit of demolition,

But the most interesting development was at the old Airdrie Savings Bank building, where work was underway even though it was well past normal stopping time (I hope UNITE or the RMT is not involved, or the nation could be on strike soon).

Although the windows are still too high to see in over, you can see in past the edges of some very badly fitting plywood panels jammed in place of the original opaque glazing at the bottom of the main window, but there’s nothing to see.

I did notice the hole where the cash machine once lived had been worked on, but there was just some wooden shuttering over it, to close the hole.

I’ll look again next time I pass.

Airdrie Savings Bank Works

Airdrie Savings Bank Works

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Feline paralysis – recognise the symptoms

Feline Paralysis

Feline Paralysis

Plan ahead!

More important than leaving snacks and drinks nearby…

Stuff kitty litter down your pants – you’ll need it sooner than them when this strikes 🙂

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Bennie Railplane display – Kelvingrove

Digging into the ‘cold weather archive’ again, I came across the display for Bennie’s Railplane which can be found in Kelvingrove.

The panel (click for bigger) gives enough details for anyone who is unfamiliar, but that’s not what I have in mind.

Bennie Railplane Description Kelvingrove

Bennie Railplane Description Kelvingrove

The idea was good enough in itself, and if we look overseas then a number of monorails can be found which have succeeded.

But the missing aspect was proper consideration of the engineering and costs – had Bennie been in business with someone who had reeled him in, and ensured the system had been approached in a way that addressed its flaws, then the outcome could have been different.

Using a propeller to drive a land craft was not a good idea, but would have seemed like a good idea by following speedy aviation and streamlining ideas which were popular concepts, and innovation would attract funding. In reality, the losses of a propeller driven carriage, and resultant high fuel consumption would have ruined the operating economics, and demanded a change to some sort of mechanical drive (like other systems of the day).

Then there was the hugely impractical suspended track, intended to be built over existing railways.

However, an honest look at its complexity, and the amount of material consumed compared to the rail tracks which would lie below should soon reveal the dubious wisdom of that part of the system too. There probably wasn’t much that could have been done then to reduce that, barring a complete redesign of the structure, and with the steel and construction methods of the day, there would have been problems.

There’s another aspect – that test track only has one line. Two would really have been needed to provide a realistic service in both directions. Or there would have to have been some way of shuffling railplanes back and forth, and around one another on a single track. Given how often single track trains crashed in those days due to signalling errors, can you imagine how long it would have been until the first truly high-speed collision occurred if that had been tried?

I guess the lack of any subsequent projects along the same lines (unless we count the Hyperloop, which is yet to become a reality anywhere) is as good an indication as any that Bennie may have had an idea, but that while it looked good, it couldn’t deliver.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

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