Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Tree lined avenue surprise

By sheer chance, I made a VERY surprising discovery while wandering around a few days ago.

Some nearby land is being proposed for development (houses), and there has been some upset about this as the land has some very old trees on it. I don’t know how this is progressing. After some initial publicity about objections, there’s been silence.

The land was fenced off, having once been used for animals, but this seems long forgotten. Although I did actually find some related buildings and other evidence was still there, were a house used to stand, and the land had been used for a riding school.

While wandering along some recently made paths alongside this piece of land, I noticed the fence was completely gone at a number of spots, and decided that if the local kids could go there and have little bonfires and drinking parties, I could go for a walk there – during daylight of course, when the little angels are not to be seen.

I know the land belonged to a ‘Big House’, but that was lost some time in the 1930s (leaving only a lodge on the land), and the land was then cut through by a new road some time around 1960.

I hadn’t expected to find anything of interest, but as I wandered through the trees I DID!

The tree-lined avenue that would have led from the entrance to the grounds of the Big House to its forecourt was STILL in evidence, and the avenue suddenly became apparent as I crossed its path and the trees on either side suddenly lined up.

This was a complete surprise.

I really should go back and take some more pics, in case that development gets planning permission.

I only grabbed one view, so I could dig out Victorian era maps of the estate, and see if the avenue and its trees were shown as I believed I had found them.

They were.

Big House Tree Lined Avenue

Big House Tree Lined Avenue

I think this is only the third such example I have ever come across when on the land of one of Glasgow’s many ‘Lost’ Big Houses.


Jan 12, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, Maps, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Do people really need to be TOLD not to…

Leave their cars idling in the street?

Well, yes, it seems that some are so thick they DO need to be told…

Police are warning motorists to take care when defrosting cars on cold winter mornings.

Officers say they have received numerous reports of attempted thefts of vehicles which have been left running to defrost.

They are reminding drivers to be vigilant and are urging them never to leave cars unattended.

A Police Scotland statement reads: “Opportunist thieves operate in residential areas on frosty mornings looking for cars left unattended with the engine running. It takes a matter of seconds for someone to jump in and drive off.

Drivers warned about leaving cars to defrost after rise in attempted thefts

I find it hard to believe, but as I walk most place now, can confirm the shocking number of cars I pass which are left idling in the street, with no driver nearby, or even in sight sometimes.

I’m pretty sure not many of them (more likely none) are fitted with systems that allow the key to be removed to allow ‘warm up’, and will kill the engine if any of the controls are operated before the key is inserted.

That said, I do remember reading of one Mercedes owner who WAS fined for this some years ago even though his car was secured by an automatic system so it could not be entered or driven. A passing police officer noticed the exhaust, and would not accept that the car was secure/undrivable, and issued a £30 fixed penalty notice when the owner/driver refused to accept that his car was not secure and had been left that way in the street with the engine running.

I wonder what he would have done with one of my cars, fitted with a fuel powered heater that would start on a timer, and have the car nice and toasty warm for you. It had an exhaust! But the car engine wasn’t needed.

It’s got to be on a stupidity par with the folk I see pull up at the kerb and jump out of their car and run into shops, leaving the engine running. On the other hand, I’ve yet to see any of them lose their car as some passing opportunist jumps in as soon as they get into the shop, and drives their car away.

I’ve always thought about trying it, but I’d prefer not to face the consequences.

Anyway, this pic made me laugh, supposedly and example.

Frosty Car Theft

Frosty Car Theft

Clearly NOT a frosty morning, look at the rest of the cars in the pic!

Manchester police did a bit better…

Operation Frosty Ice Bandits

Operation Frosty Ice Bandits

I do like the ‘Ice Bandits’ reference.

Then there’s the law

What surprises me is the fact that this story has advice from the police, but fails to mention that it is an offence to leave a vehicle with the engine running while unattended.

Stationary idling is an offence under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The Act enforces rule 123 of the Highway Code, which states: “You must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.”

Doing this can incur a fixed-penalty fine under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2002. Doubled if unpaid within a given time frame.

I also note that a driver who left a car parked on the road unattended, running, with the keys in the ignition was committing an offence of ‘quitting’.

The offence is against S42 of the RTA 1988.

This section deals with Construction & Use offences.

Quitting is dealt with by Regulation 107(1) of The Road Vehicles (Constriction and Use) Regulation 1986 (SI 1986/1078 ).

And let’s  not forget Glasgow’s by-law on idling, which will get you a fine even if you are in the vehicle and doing so unnecessarily.

I’ve noted that the council’s own web site has (or had) a section that gave the number of such fines issued, so it does happen.

No Idling

No Idling

Jan 9, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Die Affäre Borgward – a treat for Classic Car fans

I’m not going to go into any great detail about this one.

In fact, the only reason I’m making the post is to make those who may be interested aware of this German docudrama film online.

I should also add it is a German production, so is in German with no dialogue translation.

That said, those familiar with the story won’t really need it.

This little summary of the end is pretty close, and is what this film is about…

The end of the Borgward Group is a shameful story. The Government of the state of Bremen (where Borgwards were built) claimed that Borgward was insolvent,and then effectively compulsorily acquired the company. They then side-stepped all schemes which might have saved the firm, putting the cars out of production and selling up the assets. All creditors were paid in full, proving that the company had never been insolvent after all but governments that act improperly are always above the law. Borgward died a broken man in 1963. There is some evidence that other car makers were involved in the plot to destroy Borgward, but the full truth has not yet been revealed.

Die Affäre Borgward 87 min.

Der Name des Automobilherstellers Carl F.W. Borgward ist noch heute ein Synonym für das westdeutsche Wirtschaftswunder. Für Hundertausende ist die “Isabella” das erste Auto nach dem Krieg. Doch 1961 geht das Unternehmen überraschend pleite.

The name of the car manufacturer Carl F.W. Borgward is still synonymous with the West German economic miracle. For hundreds of thousands, the “Isabella” is the first car after the war. But in 1961, the company is surprisingly broke.

I’ve no idea how long the link given will stay live.

So, if interested, I suggest watching soon.

As seen in the film, Carl Borgward stands in the road beside his car, seconds after hearing the news about his company over the car radio.

Borgward News

Borgward News


I had feedback about the link given above, with some problems viewing.

I received an alternate link which seems to have worked for those having a problem with the first.

Die Affäre Borgward

Now on YouTube

This link turned up a few days later.


There was a Borgward dealer for Scotland, operated by the Burns Statue Square Garage in Ayr.

I’m always zooming into pics I find of the square, in hopes of finding the garage shows some evidence of this, but have never found anything.

If you have a pic you are willing to share that does show this, I’d love to hear about it.

Jan 9, 2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Lost, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Hourstons closure in Ayr marks the loss of another traditional shop

Sad to see news of the closure of Hourstons shop in Ayr.

One of Ayr’s oldest high street stores is to close after more than 100 years with the loss of 81 jobs.

Staff at Hourstons on Alloway Street were told on Monday that the department store would shut on 7 February.

The shop, which first opened its doors in Ayr in 1896, is the latest in a series of town centre stores to close in recent years.

South Ayrshire Council leader Douglas Campbell described the news as “truly heartbreaking” for the town.

He added: “Hourstons is synonymous with Ayr high street and its loss will be felt throughout South Ayrshire and beyond.

Ayr store Hourstons to close after 100 years with 81 job losses

As a ‘tiny’, I must have spent countless hours just wandering around this shop in the past, as we holidayed in Ayr every year, and it was a great place for a kid to explore.

Not sure if I’d have been left alone to wander as I did in those days – the way kids behave in shops nowadays I’d probably have been watched for a few minutes, then ejected before it was assumed I was filling my pockets with random goodies from the shelves.

It’s no great surprise.

A wander around Glasgow soon shows that most of the traditional department store type shops have gone.

The rest are probably, as we say, on a shaky nail.


Ayr store Hourstons confirms closure with 81 job losses

Hourstons Ayr Image Google

Hourstons Ayr Image Google

Jan 8, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , , | Leave a comment

They killed the Hip Hop Marionettes

Well THAT wasn’t much good.

After clearing the view of the Hip Hop Marionettes mural…

They just knocked it down!

Spotted recently as I slipped through Glasgow and headed home via George Square one night.

Although I know there was a load of redevelopment underway at the top end of John Street, I hadn’t realised it stretched all the way down to George Street.

I guess that means an end to students getting grabbed in John Street to act as witnesses for weddings in the former John Street registry office. I remember getting the warning about that one – then carelessly letting myself get caught one day.

Well, there are worse things that can happen.

George Street Hip Hop Marionettes Gone

George Street Hip Hop Marionettes Gone

Jan 6, 2019 Posted by | Lost, photography, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

2018 Christmas Casualty

Keeping up with my accidental ‘Christmas Casualty’ pic(s) has been hard this year, with little seen.

That said, I think there were a lot of bin lorries flying around, so maybe the bin men were all on bonus.

Fortunately, I saw this BEFORE Hogmanay, or I might have been worried, or even had to look at what I was drinking.

Christmas Casualty 2018

Christmas Casualty 2018

I think I made a mistake here.

I was hurrying past this, and stopped to go back and catch a few pics in the dark, then carry on.

Having looked at the best one, and the others (my originals are more than 10 time larger), this is a new item – I should have grabbed it!


The other pics show others stuffed there, also looking clean and new (but not as cute).

I didn’t stop to look or think, just assumed it was rubbish dumped in the doorway (which is often occupied by ‘homeless’).

When I passed later, the bin men had been, and the street was cleared.

Jan 2, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | | Leave a comment

Some goodies from George Square

Since I was in George Square shortly before Hogmanay, it seemed like a good idea to catch a pic or two.

The first thing I noticed was some of the keen folk who wanted to make an early getaway.

Fork lift and white vans ready to go!

George Square Clearout Squad

George Square Clearout Squad

Back at the mulled wine stall, it looks as if the trade in ‘Mulled Buckie’ must have gone down well.

Even the bottles couldn’t stand up straight!

Mulled Buckfast Aftermath

Mulled Buckfast Aftermath

The next one is interesting (to me at least) as it shows the column in the middle of the square (with Sir Walter Scott, or his statue at least, at the top) has NO strobes illuminated.

These were operating before, and it seems they can be a bit of a pig to keep working if they get wet. Moisture and high voltage generally don’t play well together, and they have had a reputation for committing suicide in the past.

But I think the problem here is somebody just forgot to set them, or the fuse blew, since they’re ALL off.

Sir Walter Scott Column Strobes (Not)

Sir Walter Scott Column Strobes (Not)

And finally (maybe)…

Since I’d given up wandering into Glasgow before this happened, I didn’t know (until I checked) that the George Square celebrations had been scrapped by the council back in 2011, following years of complaints and weather-related cancellations.

See? THAT’S what happens if you just whine about something that organisers have no control over – they just say “Fine”, and return the favour.

I’m being quite serious about this. I got the date from a news story about the cancellation, and it’s probably a fairly safe bet to make that the same people who added a load of insulting comments regarding the members of Glasgow City Council (for ending the organised celebration) were exactly the same people who piled complaints into the council when the weather led to year after year of cancellation just before the big night.

I looked in on the George Square web cam, to see if any of those same whining and insulting individuals had the initiative just to go to the square (where people did just turn up to greet the New Year), but no surprises there, and the place was largely deserted.

It was hard to be sure, since some moron had left a floodlight pointing right into the web cam, and the glare was hiding most of the view.

This was the scene (somewhere behind all that glare) at seven minutes past midnight on Hogmanay.

George Square Web cam 2019-01-01 00:07:08

George Square Web cam 2019-01-01 00:07:08

I have to be honest… I’ve seen it busier.

Jan 1, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

Hogmanay traditions. Lost?

I came across a list of Hogmanay traditions as practised in Scotland, not much use to some as unsocial as me, but the notable factor was that they were given in a nostalgic list of things supposedly done “Your Granny’s Day”.

I never thought of that – just that everybody I used to do these things with was long gone.

So, in no particular order…


That chilly walk to be first across the door at someone’s house.

Being sneaked a wee drink

A bit of an anti-climax thank to a slightly Continental home, but it was still nice to get this treat.

Non-alcoholic gifts

Traditionally something like a lump of coal, or a bit of bun.

Obsessive house cleaning

It was considered bad luck to start the new year with a dirty or messy house.

Hogmanay dinner

I did like starting the year with a big meal.

George Square celebration

Apparently this ended in 2011 – but since I was too busy first-footing while this was going on, I only ever saw the aftermath.

All the shops closed

This is one I miss, since I used to have a little cache of shops that didn’t close (you probably know the ones I mean, but I can’t refer to them now cos the name everybody used, including them, is now ‘racist’), and could impress others by nipping out and buying something like a bottle of milk on 01 January.

I’d add one more…

People not going out on 01 January

One thing I missed come the millennium was the quiet drive I used to enjoy at the start of the year.

Most of the world stayed in its bed, recovering from the New Year celebrations.

You could go for a drive, maybe anything from 50 to 100 miles north of Glasgow and barely see another soul (driving through the largely deserted city was almost spooky).

The last time I tried this it was horrible.

Previously, I’d maybe land somewhere like the car park on the Rest and Be Thankful and the biggest problem might be the snow.

The last time I made that trip on 01 January I couldn’t even have got into the car park, had I wanted to stop there.

I didn’t!

It was packed from end to end, and full of catering vans selling food to the crowd.

Seriously? Fish and chips from a van on the Rest and Be Thankful on New Year’s day.


I was done, and so were my nice New Year’s Day drives.

I’ve probably got better pics, taken on the day, and probably with snow, but they’re locked away on film.

But this one from 1984 was taken in the days, when the place would have been deserted come New Year.

Have a good one, and enjoy 2019.

Dec 31, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , | Leave a comment

Christmas casualties started early this year

Recent years haven’t seen the ‘Christmas casualties’ (kids’ stuff just dumped in favour of presents) appear until later than they did when I started noticing them.

It started early this year though.

I hope this one means the cat had a nice present, and not that it was evicted along with its old house.

Don’t think so – I’m sure I’ve found other well-worn cat goodies dumped outside the same houses.

Haven’t seen a cat tree house like this in any shops.

Nice though, as it means the Cat Overlord can watch The Kingdom from an enclosed place of relative comfort and safety.

Christmas Casualty Cat Home

Christmas Casualty Cat Home


Dec 25, 2018 Posted by | Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

Crazy Cat Ladies – making great pics since 1978

And before, of course.

Came across the pic below, which led back to its source, and that turned out to be a treasure trove of… Long-forgotten pictures capture escape and discovery in the city’s parks.

Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78

Click for bigger.

New York Park 1978 Crazy Cat Lady And Cats

New York Park 1978 Crazy Cat Lady And Cats
D. Gorton
Tender Vittles, Cats on Parade, Central Park??, #1109, September 1978, D. Gorton

Six months ago, a conservancy official cleaning out an office came across two cardboard boxes that had been sitting around for decades.

Inside were 2,924 color slides, pictures made in parks across New York City’s five boroughs late in the summer of 1978. No one had looked at them for 40 years.

Until now, none of these images have ever been displayed or published. A selection of them are here and in a special print section. More will be on view from May 3 through June 14 at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, 830 Fifth Avenue, near 64th Street.

These images were the work of eight staff photographers whose pictures normally ran in The New York Times, but who were idled for nearly three months in 1978 by a strike at the city’s newspapers.

Not long after the strike began that August, a contingent of the photographers — Neal Boenzi, Joyce Dopkeen, D. Gorton, Eddie Hausner, Paul Hosefros, Bob Klein, Larry Morris, and Gary Settle — met with Gordon J. Davis, the city parks commissioner.

They proposed to wander the city and make pictures of the parks and the people in them.

“I was skeptical,” Mr. Davis said, “but what they came back with made me cry.”

The city was a financial ruin and stuff was busted and it seemed it would be that way forever.

No one is sure, any more, how long the photographers worked or how much they were paid. Probably not long and not much.

Mr. Davis, then less than a year into his job as commissioner, remembered the emotional jolt of reviewing a few sample frames. “Then they all disappeared,” he said.

I couldn’t resist a clip from the source.



Can you imagine the same thing ever happening in a Glasgow park?

Somebody trailering four cats around a park, or even taking them there in such a way.

Be nice if they did though, I’d make the trip just for a look every now and then 🙂

Closest I’ve seen to anything like that in Glasgow was a young woman on a bike fitted with trailer, and carrying a couple of toddlers/babies behind.

I was amazed at the sight as this was near Kelvingrove – not the quietest traffic area to be found in Glasgow, but I was still having the life scared out of me by foolishly listening to ‘cycling activists’ at the time, and their biased nonsense.

Now I know every cycle path and segregated route around Kelvingrove, and now know she wasn’t as crazy as I thought when I first saw her.

However, I’m still not convinced at the wisdom of carrying such a precious cargo behind, completely out of sight, should something go amiss.

Dec 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Red Mutant of Anderston is DEAD!

It took a while for this one to sink in, as I passed under an access ramp in Anderston, and thought things didn’t look quite ‘right’.

I was… right.

The Red Mutant of Anderston had been evicted!

All the ramp supports had been treated to the same coat of anonymous grey paint, removing any moronic graffiti and tagging of the local brain-dead, but unfortunately also evicting the rather nice and friendly looking Red Mutant I had recorded there a few weeks earlier.

It really was quite well executed, unlike most other unofficial offerings, and should have earned a place on Glasgow’s growing Mural Trail.

While we need an active clean-up team removing the disgusting rubbish that defaces many public spaces, similarly, we would seem to need some sort of rules or guidance to spot and retain material that is not offensive or illegal, or which causes distress to owners of private property if their walls and/or doors are vandalised by the disreputable cum side of this art.

No More Red Mutant Of  Anderston

No More Red Mutant Of Anderston

Goodbye, Red.

We will always remember you.

The Red Mutant Of Anderston

The Red Mutant Of Anderston

Dec 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

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