Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

If Dippy the dinosaur had a baby

It would be a miracle, since Dippy’s a well-known to be a boy dinosaur!

And even has a girlfriend in the original Carnegie display.

A few days ago, I saw a little green dinosaur tail disappearing through a door in Kelvingrove – didn’t come back out.

Never saw it before, never saw it since – until today, during the lunchtime organ recital.

Since I couldn’t concentrate on two things at once, I just grabbed a pic whenever mini-Dippy came into view.

Hopefully there’s a decent catch somewhere in there.

Click any image for slightly bigger (there was a processing error).

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy

Mini Dippy


23/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Kelvingrove Park’s BIG bins arrive earlier this year – amidst disturbances

Pity they weren’t there a bit earlier, they could have been filled with some REAL RUBBISH, then just sent to the incinerator.

Have to confess I thought about cycling to Kelvingrove yesterday, but the time I wasted thinking (it’s hard for me) meant I had to go the ‘lazy’ way, which turned out to be just as well, since my trip includes the cycle route that cuts through the park.

4 pm would have seen be head for home, so it looks as if I made the right choice.


Looking at last year’s post, it looks as if the BIG bins and mess didn’t really arrive until the latter part of May, after a bank holiday.

They seem to be managing without the mobile CCTV unit (so far).

Kelvingrove Park Big bns

Kelvingrove Park Big bins

Incidentally, the park was glorious today, and busy rather than crowded.

In fact, I was surprised at the above scene I pictured, as this was lunchtime.

There was an interesting article title last year, which appeared to suggest wealthy ‘West enders’ don’t consider themselves ‘Glaswegians’.

Of course I noticed this… being a poverty-stricken East ender myself 😉

‘Glaswegians make litter’ – west end resident hits out at state of Kelvingrove Park after bank holiday

However, I’m also fair, and when I read the article, despite being inserted between single quotes, the title phrase is NOT a quote from the resident, or at least does not appear in the article.

Tut tut…. surely not a bit of ‘clickbait’ phrasing in a GlasgowLive article headline?

20/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Byres Road farce defines “Too many cooks”

If you’ve never come across the fiasco that has become the Byres Road “City Deal-funded comprehensive public realm scheme”, then I suggest sitting down with a strong cup of tea or coffee (or maybe something even ‘stronger’ – you’ll probably need it), and doing some background reading of past articles online.

The get ready to keep reading for another THREE YEARS!

This scheme is CURRENTLY not expected to be completed until 2022 – and that will only happen if no more ‘cooks’ come to the table.

In the past, plans such as this were created and imposed on an area.

Not necessarily right, but at least it meant the plan was delivered, something was done, and then the various interested parties could fight it out over the years and have what they thought was ‘Most Important’ installed as a modification in later years, if they could get anyone to listen to their whining.


Now, schemes can end up delayed for years as those who think THEIR requirements are the most important, and should override everyone else’s needs and wants.

This almost happened in Sauchiehall Street, with various groups whining on and on about how THEY should get priority in the scheme to alter that street, until it just seemed to start and get built, while those people were still whining away in the background.

But Byres Road just seems to be one never-ending collection of ‘Cooks’ determined to have their say and get priority for THEIR group and demands, and stuff any other group.

I’m not even going to TRY to take a representative quote, I’d have to copy the whole article!

But, the bottom line…

The current timetable for the work shows construction starting in summer 2020 with completion in spring 2022, although the programme may be subject to change depending on the nature of objections raised during consultation required to obtain a Traffic Regulation Order.

MAJOR Byres Road Revamp Won’t Be Finished For At Least Three Years

While all these ‘Cooks’ have their fun, the rest of just have to carry on cycling on the same old roads and routes, with the same problems they say exist on them.

Somebody should bang all their heads together, and force the word ‘compromise’ into them – there’s clearly enough space in there!

On that basis, I suspect few them actually use the roads as such, and just whine about what they think they see as problems, as they stand on the pavement and study their belly buttons passing traffic, without ever being part of it.

I have to ‘borrow’ one of the pics with the article as I’ve never take a pic of ‘just’ Byres Road – apart from the find of the now closed Nardini’s a few weeks ago.

I’ll have to rectify that.

Byres Road with cyclists Pic Credit reGlasgow

Byres Road with cyclists Pic Credit reGlasgow


Seems the wider media caught on to this a few days later.

But did have anything to say, just parroted off the plan without noticing the three-year timescale, or all the wailing and moaning that’s already gone on, and might add more years to that timescale if there are objections.

Cyclists and pedestrians are set to benefit from a £9m project to redesign Glasgow’s Byres Road.

Protected cycle lanes will be installed on both sides of the road, while pavements will be widened to make more room for pedestrians and public seating areas.

Meanwhile, the taxi rank at Hillhead Underground Station will be restricted to the hours between 6pm and 2am and a speed limit of 20mph will be enforced for the entire length of the road.

Bus stop bypasses – routing the cycle track behind the bus passenger boarding area to maintain the separation of cyclists and motor traffic – have also been included in the design.

Cycle paths and 20mph limit in £9m Byres Road revamp

Well, we’ll see.

I just hope I’ve got enough time left to see this one delivered, and get to try it one day.

20/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , | Leave a comment

T.Rex in Town – busy, but not mobbed

I’m going out a limb here, but suspect Trixie and T.Rex in Town is not going to beat, or even get close to Dippy’s visit records.

At £14 for an adult, and £8 for a child (with family ticket coming in at £39.50 – two of each saves £4.50), I think I’m fairly safe with that prediction.

I suspect the organisers, or someone involved, thinks the pricing is high – this is the first time I’ve seen an exhibition come with a section that includes an explanation of the pricing, and goes to describe what the admission money will be used for.

I’m studying the rules to see which concession category I can fit myself into, and get an £8 ticket, if I decide to splash out later.

I couldn’t make the trip yesterday, opening day of the exhibition, just to see if the place was mobbed for that.

I had to make do with lunchtime today instead.

As you can see below, it was fairly described as busy, and had I wanted to fiddle the pic I could have taken one of a completely deserted corner at some times, or a mobbed corner (as those leaving and arriving got in each other’s way).  So, I just went with the average.

Inside, things were much busier at the entrance to the exhibit.

Before you complain about the comparison, I’m perfectly aware it’s an ‘Apples and Oranges’ scenario (not like-for-like), and I’m only doing it as I know many others will, and it’s better to do it honestly rather than ignoring it.

Kelvin Hall T Rex in Town

Kelvin Hall T Rex in Town

19/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Objections save interesting building from developer’s demolition plan

During a bit of a wander around the back streets near the Botanic Garden on Great Western Road I chanced across one of my favourite things – a building from the Art Deco days, with a bit of Brutalist styling.

I know anything like this gets right up some people’s noses, but I really do the geometry of such things.

I’m probably a sucker for anything with a Deco period canopy and glass bricks (proper ones, from the early 1900s, that is).

127 Fergus Drive

127 Fergus Drive

I was intrigued to see a pic of the same place just turn up online, in one of my feeds.

The above was (in the eyes of the developer at least) to be replaced by a six-storey block containing 19 flats with 6  two-bedroom flats and 13 three-bedroom flats.

Seems that 127 Fergus Drive has been lying empty and unused (signs say it was ‘Curves’ but there’s no info online, and the web site given is dead).

Apart from a pile of objections from those living nearby…

Nearly 300 letters of objection were lodged over the plan plus a 272-signature petition, also opposed.

The proposal for the site seemed to tick all the boxes for guaranteeing rejection…

Planners gave numerous reasons for refusal including that,because of its “footprint, height, scale, massing and density”, the building would be “overdevelopment” of the site and so would “not respect its historic context but would detract from the special character of the Glasgow West Conservation Area”.

They said it had not been demonstrated that the building is “incapable of viable repair and reuse”.

There would be loss of broadleaf trees which “contribute positively to the landscape character and visual amenity of the Conservation Area”.

Other reasons included lack of amenity space for residents; loss of privacy for a neighbouring house; and cycle storage not being well-designed.

I think I could have prepared a better application with my limited knowledge of what is, and is not, acceptable nowadays.

WEST End Flats Plan Opposed By Hundreds Is Rejected

I certainly couldn’t afford it (or the cost of conversion), but it looks like it would make a nice modern home if converted in a similar way to many small churches. And that would keep the trees and garden in place too, with little exterior alteration.

It doesn’t show any obvious signs of problems from the outside. The only real downside I can see here is, unfortunately, that flat roof.

They really don’t seem to do well in our lovely Scottish climate, and are often the first thing to go when such a building is ‘saved’.

17/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Will an 18-storey complex on the River Clyde get planning permission?

I will await with interest the outcome of a planning application for an 18-storey build-to-rent complex at the Buchanan Wharf development near River Clyde close to Glasgow city centre.

The development of 324 flats would sit at the corner of Kingston Street and Commerce Street, in the south east corner of the Tradeston site.

Documents submitted by architects Stallan-Brand state the building, with two 18-floor towers, “will play a key role in Glasgow’s skyline, in particular when entering the city from the south”.

AIMING High With Major Build-To-Rent Towers At Buchanan Wharf

This seems to me to be a shocking plan for the area, and I hope it goes the way of most such ridiculously high developments – and gets thrown out.

A look at the surrounding area shows that the proposed towers are about TWICE the height of most the existing building in the surrounding area.

It’s been pointed out in the past that some developers seem to determined to virtually cut off public access and public view to the river front, and create a nice little closed environment for their tenants.

Those that can afford to get to the river can enjoy it, while the rest of us end up being excluded, not only from access, but even most of the view.

Click for bigger.maps

Buchanan Wharf Development pic credit Drum Property Group via reGlasgow

Buchanan Wharf Development pic credit Drum Property Group via reGlasgow

There was one positive line.

For 324 flats…

There will be 324 secure cycle parking spaces. A ground floor car park will have 16 spaces.

I wonder how that will go down with the planning department?

Do the proposers really think there will be a mere 16 car owners living there?

Or is it more likely some 300 cars will somehow ‘vanish’ into the surrounding streets?

How about friends and visitors? Do they fold up their cars and stick them in their back pocket if they decide to visit?

16/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Organ recital – apparently both interesting and not so interesting at the same time

I’ve found the organ recitals at Kelvingrove can be a great opportunity to indulge in a little ‘people watching’.

I find it helps prevent me being carted off for occasional bouts of violent assault, as those who seem attracted to stand next to me also seem to be the ones who have no interest in the recital, and see it as some sort of opportunity to have loud discussions about something as vital as their next sh… (complete that well-known phrase for yourself).

I really don’t understand why I seem to be such an attraction for them, as a look around the balcony always seems to still mouths on just about everyone else.

It doesn’t really matter to me, as I’m a musical moron, and could go every day if I wanted to. But I do feel sorry for some people, especially some elderly/retired I have spoken to here, and who have perhaps made the visit as part of a one day trip to Glasgow and Kelvingrove.

However, it was the appearance of some useful technology that caught my eye first this week, with a large screen tablet (or maybe all-in-one PC) replacing the usual pile of musical scores sitting on the organ.

While some performers manage these well, I note that some of them end up with a pile of discards as they play, with some turning their own pages, and others employing the services of a page-turner. It’s like the stops, which some can alter while completely cross-armed and playing without missing a note, while others seem to need a break in the music, and change the stops during the silence, then resume.

This setup seemed to work well. Unlike paper, these pages don’t get stuck together, although I suppose they could be programmed to appear in the wrong order, so care is still needed.

High Tech Organ Music

High Tech Organ Music


Back on the people watching theme, I do wonder if everyone taking up space is there because they want to be.

It’s not unusual to find there are no space or seats at the start of a recital, only to find most of that same crowd has melted away before the performance has even reached the halfway point.

Somebody didn’t look to be too happy about being there.

I could be...

I could be…

On the other hand, the music could be a pleasant accompaniment to some nice quiet knitting (or similar, I couldn’t make out the detail, and she’d gone by the time I got downstairs for a closer look).

Musical knitting

Musical knitting

16/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

People’s Palace – still all there

For anyone wondering about the People’s Palace and the effects of any changes made since the closure at the start of the year – worry not.

I got there sooner than I expected to, and took advantage of the chance to get there shortly before closing yesterday.

It’s all still there (there are some unrelated changes and other fixes underway, but they don’t count), plus a new display in the temporary exhibition space upstairs.

Obviously, there’s no access to the Winter Garden/glasshouse. Corridors and doors that used to lead the public that way are no more.

New routes have been established for the lift and toilets, with the latter now directly accessed from the main entrance foyer.

Sadly, the large arched window that formerly provided a view into the glasshouse has been painted over, so is now just a plain white feature.

Peoples Palace Arched Window Obscured

People’s Palace Arched Window Obscured

The café that used to be in the glasshouse is now located in the space to the left of the doorway into the shop, where the counter can now be found.

This extends into the room/space at that side of the shop, which holds a display relating to Templeton’s carpet factory building which can be seen through that room’s window. Unfortunately, they managed to close the doors to that room just before I got my camera out.

The display was around the perimeter of the room anyway, so no changes really needed to be made to allow tables for the café to be added to the space.

Peoples Palace Old Shop New Cafe

People’s Palace Old Shop New Cafe

The temporary exhibition space on the top floor was created some time ago, and has already been home to a number of short exhibitions.

The space used to be dedicated to many of Glasgow’s industries, but sadly, for some reason best known to whoever sanctioned the change, all those artefacts were dispersed after the space was cleared and used for registration for the Monte Carlo Rally when it started from Glasgow some years ago.

Currently, it now holds a number of black & white prints from a collection of old pics taken by members of Glasgow’s camera clubs, and is well worth seeing.

The other notable change is the loss of the balcony that used to overlook the Winter Garden from the top floor of the People’s Palace, as this has been walled off.

I had been worried about access to the Viewing Gallery (or just Viewpoint) overlooking Glasgow Green and beyond, but am pleased to say that as this is part of the stairwell, when I pushed the door it didn’t set of an alarm, but still led to the gallery.

Today, the view showed the fair that was at the base of Nelson’s column was packing up and leaving.

Peoples Palace Viewing Gallery or Viewpoint

Peoples Palace Viewing Gallery or Viewpoint

Cycle parking – still there too

One of the problems I spotted arising from closing off direct access to the glasshouse was the unfortunate side effect of also blocking access to the new bike racks provided there, as they were installed immediately adjacent to the north door, so fall within the fenced off zone.

Fortunately, there is a second set of proper bike racks provided adjacent to the disabled parking area, located just to the left of the main entrance into the building.


Those paying attention may have noticed I missed something.

While I didn’t forget about spying out revisions to the emergency exits (a problem, as this was previously provided via the glasshouse doors), I did forget to pay attention to the detail, and note them.

I did notice the new corridors etc had the usual signs and arrows, after which I completely forgot I had meant to look at where they went.

Oh well… maybe next time.

16/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The Maid of the Loch will open to visitors at Easter

Nice to see the Maid of the Loch continues to progress toward the ultimate goal of sailing on Loch Lomond once more.

Following a cash injection from the Scottish Government, the tearoom will be opening with guided tours of the ship and nearby Balloch Steam Slipway will be available.

Seems the work in hand will see the addition of a lift!

That will help in getting between decks – they never had things like that when the paddle steamer was originally in service.

From Easter weekend onwards, the Maid of the Loch will open every day until the end of October. Opening hours and any closures due to works on the ship will be posted online.

Some people like to be glum, but I’ve always held out for this restoration to have a successful conclusion, no matter how slow progress may seem at times.

I sailed on the Maid as a kid, only a few years before the paddle steamer was taken out of service and disappeared, so never even got the chance to go back.

Then I was wandering around a park somewhere at the bottom of the loch, near Balloch, and came across what seemed to be little more than the abandoned hull one day.

No Internet or easy way to ask about it then, so I’m afraid I forgot about the find (I didn’t even get a pic), and it was years later, as the recovery project was made public and an appeal was made for ‘scavenged’ parts to be returned to help with the restoration, that I learned it had not been scrapped.

  • Maid of the Loch was the last paddle steamer built in Britain.
  • It was built by A. & J. Inglis of Glasgow and was launched on March 5, 1953. It entered service later that year.
  • The ship operated on Loch Lomond for 29 years, and as with other steamers, cost pressures led to the ship being laid up after a last commercial sailing on August 31, 1981.
  • A series of attempts to bring the boat back into service under a succession of owners were unsuccessful, to which it gradually deteriorated at the side of the loch.
  • Since 2016, it has been undergoing restoration work at Balloch Pier thanks to The Loch Lomond Steamship Company.

Maid of the Loch set to open its doors on Easter weekend

I intend to make a serious attempt at a revisit to see the steamer. Last time I did it things went very badly, as I was able to drive, but my car’s battery decided to expire without warning in the car park near the Maid. Rather than a nice visit, I ended up spending the rest of the day getting buses, trains, other vehicles, and long walks in order to get a new battery and rescue my car.

This time I’ll either cycle (I did just over half the trip last year, and it was easy) – even though the Glasgow/Balloch is reputedly one many try, but never finish 🙂

Alternatively, I’ve been looking at alternate transport I can afford (ie free) and found that the same route that can me to Helensburgh also goes to Balloch, so might be a nice day out.

I need a decent pic.

When I last visited and actually took a digital pic, the camera I used was so down-market (at the time, a 1 MP Olympus cost around £560 – I know because I had to buy one for work) that it only pretended to take a 640×480 pixel image. In reality, the resolution was about half of that, and it interpolated the capture to scale it to that number.

I don’t even have those image, or I do, but the barely used hard drive they were stored on failed, and fixing/recovering is a job I need to get around to one day. Before you ask, IT was the backup, and only had a few hours use before going wonky. Of course, it was also the only backup drive I’ve ever really needed , as the source did fail.


Was there ever any follow-up to the incident that occurred during the slipping of the vessel some months back?

I don’t recall seeing anything in the news after the initial report, and the media had looked as if it was going to feed well on it.

16/04/2019 Posted by | council, Maritime, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

So… THAT’S Kelvingrove bandstand

Funny thing, despite being around the area for a (very) long time, I never came across Kelvingrove bandstand.

More accurately, that was down to the place being ruin in danger of being lost until about 2012, when it was saved, and restored for 2014.

I wasn’t around much in the previous years, and it was, if I remember correctly, just a fenced off pile of rubbish, so I never really noticed it.

I only rediscovered it last year, and would you believe – I couldn’t see it!

To be more exact, the ‘Glasgow Summer Night’ music event meant the bandstand and amphitheatre were fenced in and blocked off as this is a paid ticket event.

The good thing about this is that they can’t stop the music spilling out of the place, so it was a handy excuse for a decent cycle run most evenings, to have a listen.

I went back a few weeks ago (remember the kid-on nice Spring weather we had) for a look, and found the place was open and empty, but you can’t get to it (legitimately) as it is fenced off and the gates in the fence are closed and locked.

Seems a bit of a shame, keeping ordinary legit folk out, especially bearing in mind that vandals don’t give a damn about fences and gates, which they’ll just jump over if they decide to attack the bandstand.

With the amphitheatre, it’s a wide area to photograph, and even a wide-angle lens catches very little of the total view.

However, I found that I could catch the whole view in three wide shots and, I must be getting better at framing these, as the collection stitched together almost invisibly (I added a fourth to catch the foreground), with my usual ‘mistake’ of allowing automatic exposure, instead of locking it in, to avoid shot to shot variations.

Click for bigger.

Kelvingrove Bandstand Stitch

Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre Stitch

15/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S38

No actual news this week, but I did see a related item in another article, and it is something which I don’t think has been properly reported by the media.

Rightly or wrongly, I get the impression that the only thing the media (and the Art School and its board’s detractors) concentrate on is Blame, and the Cost of rebuilding. The former for no reason other than its lust for a public hanging (it wants more heads to roll), and the latter so it can complain and whine endlessly about that cost, and who foots the bill.

I haven’t seen any mention of this (in any items fed to me)…

It has since emerged it cost the local authority £569,000 to carry out emergency repairs at the Glasgow School of Art when it burned down last June.

“It is easier to retrieve the money from the Glasgow School of Art emergency repairs which cost £569,000 as it was simpler to track the owner.”

This figure comes into public view as it seems that the simple ploy of a tangled web of owners stretching to India means the council might only recover half of £1.4 million spent on similar emergency repairs following the fire at Victoria’s Nightclub along the road.

Councillor Frank McAveety said: “The overall cost for the council to deal with the site is £1.4m which is taxpayer money.
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“At the moment officers expect to recover just 50 per cent of the cost but it is hard to get the full amount from insurers as we do not know where the owner is currently living.

“We are still trying to clarify who owns the building as it has changed hands several times. I believe the current owner is living somewhere in India.

Victoria’s Nightclub demolition and emergency repairs sees Glasgow City Council spend £1.4 million after fire

While I’ve no intention into descending into some sort of nit-picking analysis, it seems that the Glasgow School of Art is getting a lot of kickings, but will have to pay its bills (and these are not even for restoration work), while some property or club owner at a distance enjoys a substantial discount at our expense. If they are ever even identified and presented with a bill which can be enforced.

And at a time when Glasgow City Council could well do without having to squander its funds on compulsory, safety related works on private (moneymaking) enterprises, while public venues go wanting for millions to rescue them.

Just my observation.

14/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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