Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

No chance of infection in Tollcross Park, just a spot of fungus

Funny how it’s possible to wander around a place and completely miss something in plain sight.

I’d never noticed this old drinking fountain before, yet it lies near at least one path within the park.

I understand most, if not all, of these fountains have been killed off for fear of their being a potential source of infection, and sharing nasty diseases between users. At one time, they were numerous.

As can be seen, it has not only been disabled, but also smashed. Whether the latter is down to the park, or vandals, is unclear. Regardless, nobody’s going to be using this one.

Then again, it may have been a cunning plan by the scurrilous vendors of one of today’s greatest scandals – BOTTLED WATER – as they systematically destroyed all free sources of water to boost their criminal sales. But, that’s another story.

Tollcross Drinking Fountain Wrecked

Tollcross Drinking Fountain Wrecked

A wander around the remains revealed a fortunate survivor of this particular wrecking effort, including discovery of full details of the manufacturer.

Tollcross Drinking Fountain Detail

Tollcross Drinking Fountain Detail

One day, I’ll not only ready up on the definition of the difference between mushrooms and toadstools… I’ll also REMEMBER it!

So just have this bonus pic taken nearby, and we’ll settle for ‘fungus’ to save time.

Tollcross Park Tree Fungus

Tollcross Park Tree Fungus


Let’s not miss a chance to embarrass those in charge of this mess…

Which didn’t get the benefit of a SINGLE PENNY from the sham fiasco of the LASTING LEGACY of the 2014 GLASGOW COMMONWEALTH SHAMES.

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017


October 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish wild kittens (not what you think)

Not THAT kind of wild kitten.

These are probably wild about being dressed up.

I’d comment…

If I wasn’t lost for words!

Scottish Wild Kittens Shortbread

Scottish Wild Kittens Shortbread

We tracked one of the models down, and were planning an interview, asking ‘Why?’.

But, after they saw the above, we decided cuddles, treats, and counselling were probably a better idea.

Sad Kitten

Sad Kitten


October 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Barras Woman mural revisited

Curiosity got the better of me, following the original post on the ‘Woman’ mural I found I had an old pic of, and which is now largely obscured by some recently completed offices.

Sad to say, there’s little chance of this being spotted nowadays, unless by someone who knows it’s there.

It’s completely hidden from Moncur Street now, and without knowing it’s there, there’s little chance of spotting it in passing.

This was just a random shot I must have collected some time ago, when the construction of the container-based offices was just commencing.

Moncur Street Construction

Moncur Street Construction

And here’s how they ended up.

Can you see the Woman?

Moncur Street Containers

Moncur Street Containers

Here’s WHAT the containers are for.

Cultural Enterprise Office

Cultural Enterprise Office


Almost forgot…

If you head along the lane between the buildings, you can still just about catch the mural through the office’s gate.

Woman Mural Through Gate

Woman Mural Through Gate

October 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | Leave a comment

Surprise, murders are up in Scotland (after seven – or is it ten – years of fall)

I’m feeling a little out of touch at the moment, as I have still to reconfigure my Firefox setup (in anticipation of the official Fx57 update due in November) to bring me my favourite local news pages (amongst others), and it just takes too much effort to go fetch them all by hand.

However, I did have this story fed just before the daily avalanche stopped for a while, and I got a rest.

Homicide figures increase in Scotland

It’s a pity that headline didn’t carry just a little more detail – intentionally or not,  giving the rise on its own it suggests a worrying trend.

When viewed in the context of seven years of falling numbers (which the article opened with), the increase becomes less alarming and more informative.

In fact, the increase given from the preceding period to 2016/17 was 6, from 58 to 64.

And, over the 10 year period, from 2007/08 to 2016/17, the number was reported to fall from 115 to 61.

(NO, I have no idea why the 2016/17 number changed from 64 to 61, or why the period given for reference changed from 7 years to 10. You’ll have to ask the BBC’s writer for those answers).

Kitchen Knife

The statistics given:

Homicides in Scotland 2016/17 – 64

  • Murders or culpable homicides
  • 67% of victims knew the accused
  • 48 victims were men
  • 47% of cases involved a sharp instrument
  • 1 person was shot

National Statistics

It was also noted that:

  • Twelve homicides took place in Glasgow during 2016/17 – 20% of the total
  • Three-quarters of homicide victims (48) were men
  • Three of last year’s homicide cases remained unsolved on 31 March
  • A sharp instrument was used to kill 47% (30) of victims – all but two of those involved a knife
  • One person was shot
  • In two thirds of cases (67%) the victim and the main accused knew each other
  • Of the 77 people accused of homicide, 22 were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both

I’m slightly surprised to see only one person reported as being shot.

Living in the east end, it feels as if incidents involving shots being fired have been on the rise, but on reflection, not all have been confirmed, and many have been reports, or claims, that shots were fired not at a person, but at a building. I usually look at the news items expecting pics of broken windows or evidence of bullets hitting the building concerned, but so far no media report has shown this, nor have I seen it the buildings concerned – of which I pass too many for my own liking.

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

Whitevale 2015 and Whitevale 2017

It’s been a while since my wanderings took me along that part of the Gallowgate that passes the remains of the old Whitevale Baths building.

By coincidence, I noticed I had passed the same spot almost exactly two years ago to the day, and taken a pic of the demolition of the high flats in the background coming to an end. Although I collected quite a few pics back then, I’m afraid I never got around to using any of them, but the ‘Top Down’ demolition process was interesting to watch. I have little doubt that Fred Dibnah would have been pleased, ad he didn’t see, to be too impressed by the dynamite men, and was happier to start at the top with his hammer and chisel, working his way to the ground.

However, it’s not really the flats that interested me on this occasion, but the clearance that has taken place on the former baths’ site in the foreground.

I always find this area slightly alarming (as regard my age and the fact that I still appear to be alive), as I can remember when the area in the foreground (the grassy bit between the footpath and the baths) was developed as a small row of flats with parking for the residents in the courtyard behind. Also, although not visible in either of these pics, there was also a small area of housing development built on the land to the left, bounded by the Bellgrove Hotel.

I find it hard to believe that BOTH have been razed. NEITHER was ‘old’ in terms of building life, and I wonder WHY they were vanished.

I would probably not have noticed this disappearance but for the fact that the bus I travelled on stopped in front of the small flats I mentioned, and I had noticed that the owner of a unique Classic car lived there, and their example of that car was one of only a handful that then remained on the road in Scotland. By the time I was old enough not be ‘Some daft kid’, the flats had gone, so I never even got the chance to talk to the owner.

The marque concerned was bankrupted in the early 1960s, but was reborn a couple of years ago – I might do a post about it one day, as it is succeeding in re-establishing itself.

Whitevale 2015-2017

Whitevale 2015-2017

I took this façade pic some time ago, but never used it – it was horribly skewed and distorted. I must have moved before the shutter fired, or just got it wrong.

But I’ve began to get the hang of perspective correction, so did a quick fix, and now it’s presentable.

As always… nice coat of arms

Whitevale Baths

Whitevale Baths

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Isle of Ulva is on offer – six residents interested

I usually spot islands going up for sale, but I don’t think the initial offer made the major papers (it was in the Oban Times, and I spotted it in some of the larger titles, but not ones I get feeds from).

The Isle of Ulva went on the market for around £4.25 million back in July (I think).

It lies not far from the mainland, only a few hundred metres over the Sound of Ulva from the settlement of Ulva Ferry on Mull to the pier on the Ulva.

In terms of size it is about 7.5 miles long, 2.5 miles wide, and a little over 4.500 acres.

Ulva House was built in 1950, to replace its predecessor after a fire, and is B-listed.

Ulva House

Ulva House

There’s also a sporting lodge, a church (by Telford), a small restaurant and tea room let on commercial tenancy, a restored blackhouse, and nine other assorted residential properties


But perhaps more interesting than the fact of the sale itself is the reference to the Land Reform Act (2003) and how that is said to have allowed the North West Mull Community Trust to register an interest in buying the Inner Hebridean island, hoping to attract new residents and increase economic activity. A mere six residents are reported today, while there were some 500, two hundred years ago, and 800 at peak occupancy.

The Act is by no means new, but this appears to be the first case in which it has been cited in the purchase of an island.

Via First step in Isle of Ulva buyout approved

I think I’ll wait until another appears, one of the smaller bargains at around £250 k.

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

Clyde Tidal Weir – still working

Sad to say, this is actually the first opportunity I’ve had to get anywhere near the Clyde Tidal Weir since its recent disaster.

Not that there was really anything new to see, since it was repaired within a few days.

There might have been more to see if I’d remembered about the damage reported to the nearby south bank (near the distillery and flats), but I was concentrating more on the road home, thinking I was going to be close to walking 20 miles by the time I finished the day, and not wanting to overdo it by adding another couple (turns out I could have, as my estimate proved to be a couple of miles light after I saw the GPS log).

Still looking good, especially with that nice clean stonework (and no more soot to turn it black).

Clyde Tidal Weir From West

Clyde Tidal Weir From West


Clyde Tidal Weir From East

Clyde Tidal Weir From East

These pics (or the originals, and the top one, from the west) were weird when I processed them.

Although I would have sworn both were perfectly level when I hit the shutter, the originals are way off the horizontal (15-20 degrees).

Don’t know about anyone else, but I find this often to be the case, and I should perhaps be clear that I’m referring to the camera (or pic) being at an angle to the horizon or horizontal, NOT converging verticals or similar perspective distortion (which I deal with separately).

While the second pic looks just about right, the first one was a real problem to correct.

It was taken off-centre, standing near the left bank.

When I aligned the vertical, the image looked worse than the slightly rotated original, and the alignment still looked ‘off’.

Although it was not horizontal, I tried setting the top of weir horizontal – this actually looked better, and the weir no longer appeared to be trying to slide out of the pic – but the building and chimney were now lying at an angle.

Time for a compromise – I split the difference, with the bias being on the verticals. Well, verticals HAVE to be vertical, don’t they?

In this case, they lean a little to the right, but when I made them true verticals, the slope of the weir seemed to create the illusion that it was at the wrong angle.


October 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maritime, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Instant karma – St Enoch Centre cyclist

Since I expect to be treated decently when I’m being a cyclist, I take a dim view of any cyclist whose behaviour means I might be assumed to be some sort of related moron.

I haven’t been in Glasgow’s St Enoch Centre for months, but decided to cut through it, just to get an idea of how it looks as I read changes may be on the way.

I’d gone to the upper floor to get a better look, and was looking at the ground floor layout when I was slightly surprised to see a guy on bike weaving through the shoppers on the ground floor – not the best of behaviour, and unlikely to help convince most people that cyclists are not arrogant morons.

Not much I could do from the floor above, I assumed he’d got away with it.


A few minutes later, I arrived on the ground floor and turned around after stepping off the escalator, to see…

Instant karma – cyclist on left, centre security on right.


Karma At St Enoch

Karma At St Enoch


Woman standing up to cyclist who smashed into her on Centennial Trail

The guy involved IS a moron:

“I think its a ruse to try to sue me,” Haller said. “Just because you have a nice bike doesn’t mean you have a million dollars.”

Haller said he calls it a good day when he makes it home without an accident. “I’ve broken 25 bones,” he said. “When I lived in LA, a doctor asked me if I was a stunt man.”

Imgur galleries won’t embed, so you’ll have to click the link:

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

University of Strathclyde – Technology and Innovation Centre

I saw some recent pics of this place, and noticed how the angle that is forced on most photographers means that most pics are taken from the same place, and most pics show the emphasised height seen in the front vertex. It’s not only down to the enforced viewing angle, as this building it triangular in plan, so the corner is much sharper than normal, being closer to 60° than the more usual 90°.

This building is quite wide and, while not any sort of skyscraper, doesn’t have any potential vantage point for casual photographers to catch a full frontal view. Facing it across George Street are office buildings (actually the Graham Hills Building), so no way to get far enough back, unless with a crazy expensive wide-angle, or fisheye lens. There’s always the option of getting into those offices across the road, or even onto the roof – but that’s not going to happen anytime soon for the casual passer-by.

I guess just about everybody does the same – walks along George Street until the building fills the frame of the widest lens they have, then takes the (same) pic.

I guess this would be a good place to use a real (not toy) drone with a hi-def video camera (say a dSLR not a wide-angle action-cam), and carry out a scan of the whole façade, then process the result into a single flattened image – but I’m only guessing based on the work of others, and they may know a better way.

The skewed view could just be straightened of course, provided there were enough pixels, otherwise the result would be poor.

The building was just being completed when these pics were taken, so we got a handy description.

Technology And Innovation Centre Sign

Technology And Innovation Centre Sign


Technology And Innovation Centre

Technology And Innovation Centre


Probably with apologies to anybody who has decent editing software, I was poking around with some other images elsewhere, and couldn’t resist the temptation to see what fiddling with the above view, to flatten out the front elevation, would do.

It’s amusing, if nothing else.

Tech And Inno Edit

Tech And Inno Edit

To make up for the preceding, here’s a somewhat later view, taken once all the works, barriers, and fences cluttering up the area had been cleared away. I was going to dump this pic, taken when I was suffering repeated condensation inside my lenses (courtesy of Scotland’s lovely weather at the time).

I actually feel more than a little envious of those who are now able to benefit from what’s on offer here, and maybe wish it had been around in my day.

Technology And Innovation Centre Cleared

Technology And Innovation Centre Cleared

October 8, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Be grateful you are not American and comfortably retired

Home CellA few years ago I came across a Scottish case which intrigued me. In summary, and under the right conditions, it revealed that anyone who notices a property has become derelict can make an application to legally claim it for themselves, provided no-one challenges their claim. There were a few such cases in the news at the time, and not long after I noted that someone stuck a letter on the wall of a site that had been cleared of a small cottage. I didn’t touch it, but could see it was addressed only to ‘The Owner’. Obviously there was no owner, so I assumed this was the start of the process I’d read about. A few months later the builders arrived, and a new house was built on the site.

Now imagine if something similar could be done with old/retired people – that someone could arrive on their doorstep, claim they were incapable, stuff them in a home, and collect their property and belongings as their own.

Sounds impossible?

Apparently not in America, with the help of some less than ethical courts, and someone who has the morals of… a thing with no morals.

It’s a long read, a VERY long read in fact, but I think it’s worth spreading around.

That it legitimate at all, even when carried out legally and to the letter of the law, seems to be an appalling injustice to those affected.

This quote should get you interested enough to read the rest:

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and reap a profit from it.

On the Friday before Labor Day, 2013, the Norths had just finished their toast when a nurse, who visited five times a week to help Rennie bathe and dress, came to their house, in Sun City Aliante, an “active adult” community in Las Vegas. They had moved there in 2005, when Rudy, a retired consultant for broadcasters, was sixty-eight and Rennie was sixty-six. They took pride in their view of the golf course, though neither of them played golf.

Rudy chatted with the nurse in the kitchen for twenty minutes, joking about marriage and laundry, until there was a knock at the door. A stocky woman with shiny black hair introduced herself as April Parks, the owner of the company A Private Professional Guardian. She was accompanied by three colleagues, who didn’t give their names. Parks told the Norths that she had an order from the Clark County Family Court to “remove” them from their home. She would be taking them to an assisted-living facility. “Go and gather your things,” she said.

Rennie began crying. “This is my home,” she said.

One of Parks’s colleagues said that if the Norths didn’t comply he would call the police. Rudy remembers thinking, You’re going to put my wife and me in jail for this? But he felt too confused to argue.

Parks drove a Pontiac G-6 convertible with a license plate that read “CRTGRDN,” for “court guardian.” In the past twelve years, she had been a guardian for some four hundred wards of the court. Owing to age or disability, they had been deemed incompetent, a legal term that describes those who are unable to make reasoned choices about their lives or their property. As their guardian, Parks had the authority to manage their assets, and to choose where they lived, whom they associated with, and what medical treatment they received. They lost nearly all their civil rights.

Without realizing it, the Norths had become temporary wards of the court. Parks had filed an emergency ex-parte petition, which provides an exception to the rule that both parties must be notified of any argument before a judge. She had alleged that the Norths posed a “substantial risk for mismanagement of medications, financial loss and physical harm.” She submitted a brief letter from a physician’s assistant, whom Rennie had seen once, stating that “the patient’s husband can no longer effectively take care of the patient at home as his dementia is progressing.” She also submitted a letter from one of Rudy’s doctors, who described him as “confused and agitated.”

Rudy and Rennie had not undergone any cognitive assessments. They had never received a diagnosis of dementia. In addition to Freud, Rudy was working his way through Nietzsche and Plato. Rennie read romance novels.

Parks told the Norths that if they didn’t come willingly an ambulance would take them to the facility, a place she described as a “respite.” Still crying, Rennie put cosmetics and some clothes into a suitcase. She packed so quickly that she forgot her cell phone and Rudy’s hearing aid. After thirty-five minutes, Parks’s assistant led the Norths to her car. When a neighbor asked what was happening, Rudy told him, “We’ll just be gone for a little bit.” He was too proud to draw attention to their predicament. “Just think of it as a mini-vacation,” he told Rennie.
After the Norths left, Parks walked through the house with Cindy Breck, the owner of Caring Transitions, a company that relocates seniors and sells their belongings at estate sales. Breck and Parks had a routine. “We open drawers,” Parks said at a deposition. “We look in closets. We pull out boxes, anything that would store—that would keep paperwork, would keep valuables.” She took a pocket watch, birth certificates, insurance policies, and several collectible coins.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

The Paternoster refuses to die

If it’s not obvious, I’m something of a fan of the Paternoster, see My Pontecorvo Building mystery solved

Also noted here Taggart (for S5 E11 Flesh And Blood Sep-05-1989).

I’ve always hoped someone who has access to the Pontecorvo Building might have chipped in and let us know the fate of the Paternoster there, but no luck so far, and an online search provides very little on the building, its history, or present state. So bad is the online info, that after my last search (a few years ago) I expected to see the site razed when I next passed, but it was still there.

It seems there is at least ONE living Paternoster in the UK, as detailed here:

One of the last doorless, continuously moving elevators still in use in the UK. Paternoster Lift at the Arts Tower, Sheffield, England

This one managed to get itself on the BBC, and also managed to embarrass a modern lift by beating it in a little test:

And to think, SOME people suggest the extinction of this item is… progress!

October 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

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