Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

DON’T tell me how to review you!

While I don’t have anything to do with social media, I know it is a curse.

You only have to look at unmoderated reviews of just about anything to see how toxic and useless these are.

Trolls love to live in that space, and everybody that thinks they’ve been ‘done’ uses it to attack the business concerned – since their complaints are usually so ridiculous nobody will listen to them, and lawyers etc burst out laughing when they hear the problem.

So, I can understand when a supplier begs buyers NOT to go running to some social media outlet BEFORE informing them there is a potential problem, or giving them the chance to resolve it. Some people are just TOO KEEN to generate ‘Likes’ or hits, and forget what they’re doing.

I was unwrapping some goodies this morning, when a slip of paper fluttered out of the package.

This is what it said.

Click for bigger to read.

Review Instructions Nope

Review Instructions Nope

I’d have been perfectly happy if it had just said something along the lines of ‘Please don’t rush to post about a problem on social media before contacting us and giving us a chance to fix things”.

But it doesn’t!

It goes on to tell me to “leave is positive feedback and do a good rating… don’t leave Neutral feedback”.

And then “please do a 5 Stars Review”.

I’ll do my own reviews, thank you, AND decide how many stars you deserve!

As it is, they’re not getting ANY because of this slip of paper, and its ‘orders’.

On the bright side, I’m not going to be nasty either, since the goodies they supplied WERE spot-on.

They were delivered a day late, but that was the carrier’s fault (which I watched via the online parcel tracker), and the Christmas run-up, so I wouldn’t even have moaned about that anyway.


Dec 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Getting to be glad I’m stuck indoors just now

Last week I was thinking it was just as well I wasn’t wandering around as usual, as I might have been in Baillieston.

Hairdressers threatened in salon Taser raid

This week, it was somewhere I might be found a lot more regularly, but again, was glad I’m still stuck indoors.rime

Tollcross Park cordoned off as man rushed to hospital following assault

Both were daytime too.

Lots of Buckfast to be found there.

Tollcross Park Buckfast

Tollcross Park Buckfast


Dec 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S29

Possibly a little late, STV brought three varied stories from the edge of the fire.

A quote from one’s not enough, and I can’t lift the whole article which is relatively long, so this is just the link.

Probably the sad thing I see in this is the ‘Then and Us’ emotion, rather than some understanding.

There’s been a lot of devastation, it’s a shame there seems to be a continuing rift between some of those involved.

Lives turned upside down by Glasgow Art School blaze

Business are to receive assistance.

Almost £2 million is being used to give business rate relief for companies affected by the fires at the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building and Victoria’s Nightclub.

The Scottish Government has announced approximately £1.85 million of its Fire Recovery Fund will be used by Glasgow City Council to provide business rates relief and support recovery efforts following the fire in June.

No business in the immediate fire cordon area, or eligible companies in Sauchiehall Street, will have to pay business rates for the period of January to March.

Some 200 businesses in the eligible area have already received more than £3 million from the £5 million fund, which was announced by Economy Secretary Derek Mackay in July.

The recently renovated Mackintosh library had been due to reopen next year.

In addition, a £150,000 grant will be given to the Centre for Contemporary Arts to assist with its recovery plan.

The Scottish Government has already offered £20,000 of financial support to businesses directly affected by the fires and £10,000 to others in the area impacted by a reduction in shoppers.

It has also expanded its contribution to hardship rates relief and in partnership with the council has created an emergency fund to support displaced households.

Mr Mackay said: “Having already provided a great deal of assistance so far, the Scottish Government is now making the remaining balance of its Fire Recovery Fund – some £1.85 million – available to Glasgow City for further business rates relief.

Businesses affected by Sauchiehall Street fires get £2m relief fund

Mackay said: “This relief will provide much-needed breathing space while businesses resume trade and allow them to focus on the commercial opportunities of the festive period in the knowledge that they will not face any additional business rates liabilities related to the period between January to March.

“The devastating fires at the Glasgow School of Art and near Victoria’s Nightclub have had a significant and lasting impact on businesses, residents and the Sauchiehall Street economy alike.

Government to give £2million to businesses affected by Art School fire

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “The Sauchiehall Street fires had a huge impact on the city, most especially on those who live and work in the vicinity.

“In response to these tragic and traumatising events, and in partnership with the Scottish Government, we ensured local businesses received the support needed at a crucial time.

“Businesses are the lifeblood of Sauchiehall Street and stability continues to be their overriding priority.

“There has been a real acceleration in the physical improvements in the area and this announcement will complement and make a significant contribution to our aims and ambitions for a 21st century Sauchiehall Street.”

Businesses hit by Sauchiehall Street fires get £2m boost

Sauchiehall Street Fire

Sauchiehall Street Fire

Dec 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

25 years of Ford Mondeo

It was a bit of a shock to hit the phrase “More than 25 years since its launch” in a light review of the latest Ford Mondeo.

Ford Mondeo: ‘Where is Mondeo Man when you need him?’

I was lucky enough to be looking after our company’s vehicles when the Ford Mondeo was launched, so a couple of us got an invite to the dealer to have a test drive in one just before the actual launch.

I was impressed even by that early version, and surprised to find that my more hard-headed colleague also got out of the car making positive noises.

I’m not sure what it was about that early car we liked, but it just seemed to do what it did very well, and didn’t seem to have any objectionable features or habits when we drove it. Driving various company cars, we usually jumped into two or three different cars in a day, and it wasn’t unusual to quickly spot something you didn’t like.

The Mondeo managed to avoid this instant ‘fail’.

While I never had one as such, shortly after that test drive I did end up living with one for a few weeks, courtesy of a moronic teen in a baseball cap, driving a Fiesta Turbo – who was so busy having a laugh with his mate in the passenger seat he didn’t even see me waiting to turn right at a junction.

It had the smallest engine (a 1.6 I think) and I expected it to be slow (I’d had a 1.8 Sierra, which WAS slow), but it wasn’t, and I was sorry to see it go.

I was favouring BMWs around that time, and knew somebody who made a factory trip and took the tour.

He made a comment in the design department, about the Mondeo and how much better he thought it would be to be designing BMWs – and was left in no doubt that the folk in the BMW design department actually wished they had the freedom that the Mondeo designers had been given when they came up with their new car.

It’s interesting to look at its world-wide aspect now, and its existence as the Fusion in the US.

There have been a lot of changes too (although electronics mean all cars have changed markedly in the same time), it’s now available as a hybrid too, but the front of this car has changed a LOT.

While Ford played with Aston Martin for a while, I’m still a little surprised they’re allowed to have the new front end design since the two almost parted company, but it retained an 8% stake, so I guess that’s enough.

Ford Mondeo

Original Ford Mondeo

Dec 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | | Leave a comment

Archibald McLellan is in Kelvingrove

I noticed the post scheduled for this morning was another in the small run of occasional pics I’ve grabbed of the currently semi-derelict or abandoned McLellan Galleries in Sauchiehall Street.

It’s really sad seeing the place like this (even if there is usually an admission charge, which peasants notice), as I can recall making a trip there to see a James Bond Exhibition once, and also another which featured artistic robotics. There was one gem in that show, an exhibit reminiscent of something like The Terminator – it comprised a number of disconnected humanoid body parts, all animated, which just dragged themselves around the floor all the time.

I was wandering through the Glasgow section of Kelvingrove, which really is quite good and deserves a close look rather than a quick glance. It’s surprisingly detailed in places.

I spotted the McLellan name, and found it was attached to a large portrait of the man himself – one Archibald McLellan of McLellan Galleries fame.

Archibald McLellan

Archibald McLellan

And his plaque.

Archibald McLellan

Archibald McLellan

Dec 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

WHAT? Surely not ANOTHER cycling initiative from ‘useless’ Glasgow City Council

It’s almost as if I was attracting stories about Glasgow City Council which will be rubbing the cycling activists’ noses in their whines about the council not being much use with regard to improving things for cyclists in the city.

This time it is something which has been largely overlooked in the past, but I have seen being tackled by a number of authorities/cities recently, the last one being Edinburgh.

This has actually been raised before, but this seems to be the beginning of action to address this issue.

Glasgow City Council has launched a feasibility study to assess opinion on its plans to introduce new secure covered on-street cycle parking for residents of the city.

The provision of such parking, the council feel, will help remove one of the major barriers to the uptake of cycling, namely the ability to conveniently and securely store a bike.

In the first instance, the council are looking to provide facilities at 50 locations across the city.

And in doing so they will prioritise those areas of Glasgow where housing includes tower blocks, flats and tenement properties.

Glasgow City Council announces plans to introduce secure on-street cycle parking

I’m lucky in that I have my own secure space, and don’t have to negotiate stairs (just an irritating convoluted path) to get to the street.

But recently, while standing in Anderston, was intrigued to see quite a lot of bikes being stored on porches or verandas outside flats, four or five storeys up. That has to get boring after the first few hundred trips up and down!

I also see quite a lot of people with bikes in halls, or even living rooms, sometimes hung on walls to keep them out of the way.

I have to confess to wishing there were bike parks, like car parks, which were more secure than the usual street bike parking rack, or handy pole!

I have seen a few secure, on-street bike parking enclosures similar to the one pictured, one of which can be found at the rear of Glasgow Women’s Library.

Unfortunately, these would have to be maintained, so there is a cost associated with them, which is currently estimated to be about £1.50 per week.

Secure Cycle Shelter Image Glasgow City Council

Secure On-street Cycle Parking Image Glasgow City Council

Dec 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , | 3 Comments

63 e-bikes arriving in 2019

Another ‘poke in the eye’ for the pesky cycling activists who whine incessantly about how Glasgow City Council is doing nothing for them.

ELECTRIC bikes are due to be added to Glasgow’s cycle hire fleet by August 2019, as use of the Nextbike network continues to grow at a massive rate, contributing to a reduction in city centre traffic.

Glasgow City Council has agreed to press ahead with a £350,000 project to introduce e-bikes to the Nextbike scheme. The council has accepted £176,000 from the Energy Savings Trust (EST) for the initiative and will pay the other half of the cost from its Cycling Strategy budget.

A fleet of 63 e-bikes will be purchased and electrical facilities will be provided at 21 of the current 63 cycle hire stations.

GLASGOW Pressing Ahead With Electric Bike Hire Fleet

I find the whole Nextbike thing a little bizarre, seeming to me to be a pretty expensive way to get on a less than perfect bike, and no use to anybody without a mobile phone.

Then again, the nearest Nextbike station is still almost a 2-hour walk away from my front door in the depths of the east end of Glasgow – I need a bike to get to there!

Buying a cheap bike from Halfords seems like a better idea if it’s your own money – but, I’m and engineer (apparently our brains are wired differently).

I guess I’d have to say I find electric bikes a little bizarre too, but then again, I ride more for health/fitness than transport, but the latter is a bonus. Electric doesn’t offer me anything, especially when the ridiculous price of e-bikes is considered.

Nextbike has at least provided me with a few smiles.

Unlocking my own bike in Argyle Street, I bent down to pick up the loose end of the chain – and a Nextbike and rider went sliding along the ground past me, separately, on their sides, towards St Enoch Square. No idea what he did, but I had seen him riding towards me along the road, and he looked fine then.

He seemed OK, picked himself and his Nextbike up, and walked away as if nothing had happened.

Then, nearly the same place, I thought one of Glasgow’s finest winos was about to strike up a conversation with me, but it was an elderly gent who wanted a closer look at a Nextbike next to mine. I’ve never even touched one, so couldn’t answer his questions, but he wasn’t impressed, and moaned about the material, the shape, all the stuff hung onto it, the weight, the tyres – I was beginning to feel sorry for the poor Nextbike he had picked on!

I shouldn’t really start on the terrible cycling of some of their riders, mostly with no helmet, or clue about traffic. I honestly don’t know how some of them survive what they do. (That’s NOT to meant, or taken, as a generalisation of Nextbike riders, just that there’s a good chance of seeing something bad if you watch out for the bad ones, just like with cyclists, and drivers, and pedestrians, and taxi drivers, and… )

As an aside, Nextbikes in Glasgow look pretty boring.

I’ve seen the Nextbike web sites abroad, and they have quite a choice, including MTBs that look fairly mean and well spec’d!

Regardless, the main point is that Glasgow is clearly NOT all mouth and  no trousers when it comes to cycling.

As usual, I suggest ignoring any whining or moaning cycling activists, and find out what’s happening in Glasgow for yourself.

Sadly, I also have to suggest digging deep, as info is still a bit sparse if you don’t dig, and just make general queries online.

But that has improved through 2018 – so I guess it can only get better.

I really wanted to track down a pic of one of their e-bikes at a charging station, but there seem to be none, and only a scarce few pics of the e-bike itself. I was curious to see how they managed the connection, but I guess I’ll have to wait.

You can identify them by the larger enclosed hub around the cranks.

Back tyre in this pic…

Nextbike e-bike

Nextbike e-bike

Dec 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Chocolate Covered Anything Day

16 December is Chocolate Covered Anything Day.

It seems the history of chocolate began in Mesoamerica, and there were fermented beverages made from chocolate back around 1900 BC. The Aztecs believed cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and they were once considered so valuable they were used as a form of currency. When chocolate arrived in Europe via oversea expeditions in the sixteenth century, sugar was added and it became popular throughout the whole of Europe, first among the ruling classes, then among the common people. Jose de Acosta, a Spanish missionary who lived first in Peru and then in Mexico during the latter part of the 16th century, said of chocolate:

Loathsome to such as are not acquainted with it, having a scum or froth that is very unpleasant taste. Yet it is a drink very much esteemed among the Indians, wherewith they feast noble men who pass through their country. The Spaniards, both men and women that are accustomed to the country are very greedy of this chocolate. They say they make diverse sorts of it, some hot, some cold, and some temperate, and put therein much of that “chili”; yea, they make paste thereof, the which they say is good for the stomach and against the catarrh.

The name of the day tells you what to do today 🙂

I can even provide an instructional video to help you, should you need help, prepared by one of my countrymen.

I might add, this is not his usual material – if you are even remotely interested in tech stuff, then you really should be watching him.

For those with weak stomachs, I should perhaps warn you it could look as if he’s making poo lumps, or turds.

The cheese coating didn’t go to well in the first video, due to overheated chocolate.


Here’s a later video, with chocolate coated cheddar.

Just one more…

DIY chocolate biscuits.

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

Interesting images of the early M8 in Glasgow (Updated)

Some nice pics of the M8 in Glasgow in the 1970s.

I would say footage, but so far all attempts to view that offering just return a ‘Try Later’ message.

Unseen footage shows Glasgow’s M8 motorway in 1970s

Strange as it may seem to anyone who might think I tend towards liking only the older stuff, I don’t have any problems or issues with the changes that the M8 brought to Glasgow, and am probably more disappointed that so much of the original plan for the motorway was dropped as work progressed, and the objectors became more active and vociferous.

I tend to think things could have been better, and we’d have less jams today had much of the earlier work been allowed to progress as planned, and instead of having to spend later years fixing what we were left with, the same effort could later have been expended improving a developing system, instead of applying ‘sticking plasters’ to an incomplete solution.

We’ll never know of course. The noisy folk got their way, and much was scrapped to shut them up.

Now, we are still seeing ‘sticking plaster’ being applied to the M8.

This time, it’s in the form of a great big ‘plaster’ to be stuck over the motorway…

A roof garden with a landscaped park area will be created over the M8 near Charing Cross.

Currently the motorway drops down at this point with Bath Street Bridge over the top.

But Glasgow City Council want to ‘cap’ the motorway and create a park area in the gap so that people can easily walk over the top of the motorway from North Street to Newton Street.

The plan is part of the Sauchiehall and Garnethill Regeneration framework which was presented to councillors on Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee today.

The overall aim of the framework is to link Glasgow City Centre with the West End and remove the barrier created by the M8.

Ambitious plan for roof garden over M8 to link city centre with west end

That said, I kind of like standing on the road over the motorway here, and watching the traffic speed through below me.

All good fun.

See more of this concept here…

Plans for M8 roof park to begin by summer

Note: “A council spokesman said the image was just indicative, and the planned location of the park was closer to the top of Bath Street in front of Tay House.

M8 Garden Image Keppie

M8 Garden Image Keppie


Still can’t get the BBC video to run for some reason.

But one of out local sources has it.

Enjoy almost 10 minutes of archived footage on offer here…

(Sorry, you’ll have to click the link. WordPress is pretty fussy at embedding anything but the common stuff.)

Watch amazing unseen footage of Glasgow’s M8 motorway in the 1970s

Oops, my mistake.

So busy trying to fix the BBC problem (which was being caused by something else), I didn’t notice this film had been made available on YouTube.

Dec 15, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Late attempts to win this year’s Darwin Award


Are we supposed to be sorry for them?

Pupils seriously ill after drinking vaping fluids at school

I wonder if it really was vaping fluid though.

This is mainly water, flavouring, maybe nicotine if it is that type, VG (Vegetable Glycerin) a base that forms the stuff, together with PG (Propylene glycol).

Propylene glycol should not be confused with diethylene glycol,  a main ingredient in antifreeze. Alarmists wilfully confuse the two.

PG is a common food additive, and is used in medicines.

Diethylene glycol is poisonous, but unfortunately sweet tasting, and why anti-freeze can be dangerous, and has been used to poison cats. It should NOT be found in vaping fluids. Reputable sources should be safe, but there are unscrupulous/cheap sources.

Reading up on the toxicity of the stuff is initially alarming, with warnings to wash it off skin if splashed, and potential fatality if ingested.


These warning turn out to be for the fluid which contains nicotine (which is toxic), and the actual hazard presented depends on the concentration, so it’s impossible to be specific without knowing that.

On the other hand, you don’t really want any sort of nicotine to be absorbed, or ingested.

Look up a material hazards sheet for it to find out why. It’s just not nice stuff, and can kill. Doses between 30 and 60 milligrams, can be fatal, making it more dangerous than both arsenic and cyanide.

I’m not particularly interested in this, but just had my head filled with interesting vaping info after studying the electrical and electronic side of e-cigarettes, the cute sensors they have, and how they use and abuse the LiPo cells which power them.

Reminded me of…

They weren’t lucky, the train driver was – driver’s lives can be ruined if they meet people like this, and can only watch them turn into strawberry jam in front of them since a train cannot stop in an instant.

Darwin Train Line

Darwin Train Line

Dec 15, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Isolated fuel station – apparently not just a Scottish thing

It’s something that goes back few years for me (needing petrol in a remote location), but as someone whose natural habitat was the city, and who had never had any problems when venturing further afield, the distance between fuel stations when driving around the north west of Scotland was an interesting discovery.

The distances involved weren’t really the main issue, assuming you were planning ahead and knew where you were going.

Alternatively, there was the even simpler plan of ‘Fill The Tank!’ every time you came across a fuel station. The distance between them generally meant more than half a tank at each stop during the day.

And ‘day’ was the important word.

Most (nearly all when I was there) operating normal hours, and were open around 9 am, and closed around 6 pm.

Turning off the normal roads, taking a long diversion, or getting delayed could mean arriving back in civilisation to find the station closed.

And I did sometimes decide to sleep in the car, rather than run the risk of running out of fuel by carrying on. That only works when you are sure of where the next stop is.

However, it seems that it’s NOT just the far reaches of Scotland that have remote fuel stops, or fuel station that matter to small places.

Fuelling Communities

I think what’s NOT MENTIONED or referred to in this article is even more interesting now.

Not a word about charging stations for electric vehicles, or the coming fall in fuel sales.

I hope these locations learn from their experiences with fossil fuels, now on the way out, and move faster than they did in the past, and get ready for the next generation.

Petrol Station Unfenced

Petrol Station

Dec 15, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | | Leave a comment

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