Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Almost weekly now – shootings in Glasgow

Am I the only one who sees this?

I would have noted the dates, had I thought it was going to become a regular occurrence, but as the media reports other cities are looking to Glasgow as a model for dealing with knives, it seems to be missing the almost weekly reports of apparently targeted shootings in the east end.

And I don’t think they’re being entirely honest about the knives either, as I’m pretty sure a review of the number of slashings and stabbings around the city is embarrassingly high, and worrying, as the incidents seem to be reported as ‘random’ or ‘unprovoked’, unlike the shootings.

I wasn’t near any news from Friday night until Sunday night, and being out all day Sunday meant I didn’t know that this road closure I hit on Sunday afternoon actually related to an incident on Saturday.

I thought I’d just missed something recent, from earlier in the day, as there were media photographers just packing up their kit.

Wellshot Road Closed

Wellshot Road Closed

Looking down the road, it was clear they were pretty serious, but I didn’t find out why until later that night, when I first saw the news.

Hunt for masked gunmen after man shot in murder bid

Man fighting for life in hospital after shooting at flat

Man shot in Glasgow flat by masked attackers

Images from the scene as police lock down Shettleston road following targeted shooting

Drivers asked to avoid Shettleston area as police probe targeted shooting

Two masked men behind targeted shooting in Glasgow’s east end as victim is critical in hospital

Police Quarantine Wellshot Road

Police Quarantine Wellshot Road

Seriously, after tougher firearms laws were introduced a few years ago, it seems we have MORE incidents than before, when I used to think of incidents like this being separated by years.

Perhaps time to think it may not be the AMOUNT of such law we have, but what they are directed at.

I’m always minded to think of how there are calls for laws that are TOO SPECIFIC, as seems the case in certain types of assault.

Seriously, why do we have them? They just muddy the waters, and can even lead to cases being dropped if criteria are not met for some technical reason, if say the wrong charge is brought.

Assault is assault, end of story, and should simply be charged on that basis – not have someone with an agenda or personal issue trying to up the penalties in ‘special cases’.

Another look down the road, before we go.

Police Quarantine Wellshot Road

Police Quarantine Wellshot Road

(Remind me NOT to make posts like this: I miss everything, even on my own doorstep)


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

50 Argyle Street – again

50 Argyle Street has appeared before, but this is no repeat.

Since there was news that this building is under consideration for saving, following a survey of the interior which indicated its condition was better than expected, the structure has been hidden by a huge (disgusting?) advertising banner.

I’d rather see the building, but then again, I seem to have resisted being brainwashed into accepting adverts being shoved in my face, and finding this sort of continuing abuse to be acceptable.

In previous posts about this building, I didn’t include any details of the entrance to this building in Miller Street, which has an impressive, but decaying, carving above.

So, here’s a look at that entrance, and a closer look at the carving.

50 Argyle Street Miller Street

50 Argyle Street Miller Street

Decaying carving detail.

Does anyone else see four ducks (wearing crowns)?

50 Argyle Street Miller Street Carving

50 Argyle Street Miller Street Carving

Bonus… The sign in the doorway.

Miller Street To Let Sign

Miller Street To Let Sign

October 14, 2018 Posted by | photography | | Leave a comment

I miss everything, even on my own doorstep

While I might not be too upset about missing most of the action around me (it usually involves some sort of serious injury or death these days, and I’m glad not to have been anywhere near it at the time), I was ever so slightly irritated to have missed something almost outside my door.

I had even seen the signs, but trees blocked my view of the scene.

I’d glanced at the rear of a strange car in a neighbour’s drive, attracted by what looked like flashing, coloured LEDs in the rear light housing. After looking closer, I realised it was the amber warning lights on a vehicle I couldn’t see because of trees. This is not unusual (even the street sweeper has strobes), and I didn’t pay any more attention.

A few hours later I headed out to the shops, and found out why there had been flashing light behind the trees.

The broken grille and various other bits from a Vauxhall had been swept off the road – clearly there had been a collision, but with only the breakable parts from the front of the Vauxhall (and some recognisable bits from inside the grille area), I could only guess the driver had not noticed ‘the car in front’ slowing down, or even stopping, as it got ready to turn right at this junction.

Unfortunately, there’s not much to break, or have fall off and get left behind from the back of most cars, compared to the front, so there was nothing lying around except these Vauxhall bits.

A handy reminder of how hard it can be to take a decent pic of items on a wet road, due to the way the layer of water acts as a mirror-like reflector, making it hard to pick out items thanks to the small size of the lamps on lampposts. And, down here at least, we seem to be quite far down the list for getting LED street light updates.

The low-light sodium yellow shot needed a fair bit of shadow/highlight tweaking to make the broken bits appear under the monochrome yellow light.

The flash actually fared little better, and also needed a lot of manual processing. This is because the flash is little more than a point source on the camera axis, and the wet surface act like mirrors, so most of the light is lost as it reflects off it into the distance, and only a little is reflected back to the camera.

Both pretty poor, even after processing, but you can at least see the evidence of a Vauxhall – although the other bits are still hard to see.

Collision Low Light

Collision Low Light

This really is the same scene, photographed a few seconds after the first under the street lights, but using flash.

The two different light sources make quite the difference, and could be significant if pics were being taken for use as evidence. Taking a lot, of each, would be a really good idea if that was their purpose.

Some items appear to missing when the pics are compared, and even the detail on some objects appears to be different when they are matched.

Collision Flash

Collision Flash

Quite a surprise when I got the original back and saw how bad they were.

Then again, it’s so long since I took pics like this, I’d almost forgotten about the hassle of rainy, wet pics as I tend to prefer staying dry these days.

Weird observation…

Later(as in days, not hours), when I passed this again, it looked as if someone had thrown a bag of that white stuff used to mop up oil and chemical spills. Given the rainstorms of the past say or so, I think that might have been a waste of time, and was needed when this collision happened, not days later, after heavy rain.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Fines and points waiting for sloppy drivers

I was slightly surprised to learn that encroaching on ASLs (advance stop lines provided for cyclists to stop ahead of vehicles) at traffic light controlled junctions was an offence that could attract both a fine (I think £100) and 3 penalty points. As per the pic below, I see these ignored so often (and no longer have to worry about such things) that it took a discussion with someone more knowledgeable to alert me to detail, and realise I had never looked at the rules.

I wonder if anyone’s ever been fined, or given those 3 points for doing this.

I see this all the time, but never see it any enforcement.

Advance stop line - how not to use

Advance stop line – how not to use

It’s interesting to read the detail in the Highway Code, and although highly unlikely, both the above COULD be ‘innocent’ (and pigs might fly one day), as there is a get-out clause, and just being stopped behind the ASL does not automatically mean the offence was committed.

Rule 178

Advanced stop lines. Some signal-controlled junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be positioned ahead of other traffic. Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked. If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area. Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.

Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10, 36(1) & 43(2)

Rule 178 Advanced stop lines cycles

Rule 178 Advanced stop lines cycles

This explanation.

If the traffic lights are on red, drivers (including motorcyclists and scooter riders) must not cross the first stop line – if they do they could liable to a £100 fixed penalty and three penalty points on their driving license (sic).

If the lights change from green to amber as a driver (including motorcyclists and scooter riders) approaches but they cannot safely stop before the first stop line, they can cross the first line but must stop before the second stop line. In these circumstances it is not an offence to stop in the marked area.

Drivers (including motorcyclists and scooter riders) should avoid blocking/encroaching onto the marked area at other times e.g. when the junction is blocked.

Note that just because there’s a car in the ASL box does not mean to say the driver has committed an offence. The offence is only committed when the vehicle enters the ASL box when the light is red. If the vehicle enters the box and the light changes to red, no offence is committed.

Cyclists must not cross the second stop line while the traffic signal is red. Contravening a traffic signal is against the law, and could result in a £50 fine.

Sloppy writing too – the explanation is a quote from a UK source, but the writer has used an American English spellchecker, and used the American spelling of ‘license’ to remain in their work.

I almost missed this, but noticed my own system (which for blog posts, uses THREE dictionaries supposedly all set to be fluent in British English) failed to highlight this properly, and only an online grammar/spelling checker got upset by the error.

No wonder I think I’m getting worse at this over time, rather than better, with help like that.

The one that seems to work more often than most is LanguageTool proofreading software

There is a Firefox add-on that also seem to work just fine too, saves me a lot of embarrassment.

LanguageTool Grammar Checker

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Oh look – a lost street

I should publish some books.


I’m amazed to see some people publish books of the same pics I take every day, and get on radio and TV with interviewers apparently beating a path to their door to make them famous.

One recent book of pics taken around Glasgow featured an image very similar to one I have, so I decided to go feature it.

I hadn’t bothered to note its name the day I caught it, and usually jump into Google Maps and Street View when I want to name these things later – but not this time!

From an area I pass through rarely (and which also unfortunately looks very like a similar spot not all that far away from it), when I went online to find the name – I found it was no longer listed.

As you can see, it’s been derelict for some time, although the left the lampposts standing for some reason, but a look online for mapping and imaging (detailed enough to identify it and get the street name) seems to have been removed, as it can no longer be driven along by camera cars.

Not a find I expected, so now I’ll have to find another way to dig into conventional records, or archives, and put a name on this street.

It would have been handy, and easier, to read the street sign which can still be seen on one of those lampposts. Unfortunately, the Sun is shining straight onto it, so it’s just been burnt out into peak white, with no detail or lettering to be seen.

Lost Street

Lost Street

I’ll have to find it, after all, I’ll need it for my…


In fact, this street (and most of the surrounding area) was razed years ago (think decades), and lay as nothing more than ‘spare ground’ until recently.

It’s been revived with some new build (still to be caught on Street View at this post’s date), but has got its name back on recent online maps.

Harfield Drive.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

That’s interesting

It pays to avoid becoming complacent.

There’s an industrial area at the end of my street, with various business working from the yards there.

They used to be fairly interesting to look at – until (I guess) somebody decided the whole place needed to be tidied some years ago.

There had been a load of industrial machinery lying there, some of it dating back to the early 1900s, something I only realised when I looked at some of the maker’s names, and spotted similar plant and machinery in historic pics.

It wasn’t I place I walked through very often, and it took a while for me to realise what had happened, but it did eventually dawn on me that all the old relics had gone, and the place had been cleared out. Pity I didn’t notice sooner, as there was probably some nice old gear lying there once, which would have made for some nice pics (had I been more alert).

There’s not much to be seen there nowadays, with most of the yard space given over to stock-holding for the newer businesses that have opened there, or just plain storage for the older ones.

But I do glance over, and spotted something I hadn’t seen before.

I think this place changed hands recently, as it had been home to a Bentley C, but that’s not been seen for months, much of the ground had been cleared, and then I saw this in the distance.

BMW 328i Odd Plate

BMW 328i Odd Plate

Since I could make any legit/legal sense of the plate when the various possible combinations of letters and numbers were checked with DVLA (there can be some odd formats that were allowed in the dim and distant past), I took a closer look, and it would just seem to be a manufactured plate, not for road use.

It could have been a mangled version of some legit. combination Some years ago I had a client (from Aberdeen of course), with the initial BB, who had the plate [BB OIL] on his car – which is an illegally spaced version of [BBO 1L].

Now, why would there be bonnet retaining clips fitted?

BMW 328i [OILS]

BMW 328i [OILS]

October 10, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

The illegals – CC55 CAR

Not really sure there’s any point in the illegal spacing (and also illegal logo on the left) seen on this plate.

Chance of a fine of up to £1,000 seems poor return for the appearance of a ‘novelty’ plate.

I kind of think it looks BETTER with the space, so it shows as CC55 CAR. All down to personal taste, I suppose.

2011 Audi A1 S Line Tdi [CC55 CAR]

2011 Audi A1 S Line Tdi [CC55 CAR]

October 9, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

A little game you can play as the nights draw in

While I’ve never asked anyone about this, I suspect my thoughts are likely to be correct about this.

Referring to the pic below, it should be fairly obvious that the street lights caught in the shot are different.

One is fairly (very) yellow, while the other is white, but is NOT a new LED street light.

The yellow light is a standard low pressure sodium type, used around Glasgow (and the rest of the country of course) for years.

The white light is fluorescent type once common, but eventually phased out.

I know that because a found a web site dedicated to such things a few years ago, when I first noticed these lamps appearing.

Sadly, that web site has gone, but at least I took this quote at the time I found it.

By the 1980s, the fluorescent street lighting lantern was becoming a rarity. Installed on the wave of post-war rebuilding, the original fluorescent tube (born during the war years) was an exciting and practical light source for the 1950s and 1960s. Although far more expensive than lanterns for other bulb types, the fluorescent lantern offered a natural warm light and a wide beam which was good in both the wet and dry. Unfortunately these multiple tube monsters sucked up too much power, were too complex to keep running and simply cost too much to maintain. Throw in the energy crisis of the 1970s and fluorescent street lighting had only limited time left on the streets of the UK.

However, it seems that these continued to be developed for a while, and although they were never adopted, they were around for a while, used in many places, and it seems there are still stores full of spares.

Wandering around Glasgow housing schemes, I have found entire streets still lit by these types.

More intriguing are the (increasing) number of streets I find where failed LP sodium lamps are being replaced by these fluorescent type.

My guess is that Glasgow (and presumably others) are mitigating the cost of LED conversion on main roads by ending purchases of any new LP sodium bulbs, and digging into piles of unused spares when they need to replaced failed lamps, either with a similar LP sodium if available, or with one of these white fluorescent types.

I’m spotting more of them making an appearance nowadays, instead of a yellow sodium lamp when dead lamps are replaced.

You can play the same game if you’re wandering around as the darker evening arrive.

Fluorescent Vs Sodium

Fluorescent Vs Sodium

I couldn’t quite climb up for a look at the label inside the luminaire, but I did manage to take a pic from below, to get the details.

Although the year is not clear in this pic, it did appear as 2013 in others, but they were less readable overall.



These white lights – remember, they are NOT LED types – are becoming more common, so you should be able to find them somewhere.

There are a couple of features I couldn’t catch in a pic to illustrate them, they just don’t show up in pics taken from the ground, but they are noticeable.

Unlike sodium lights, the covers are made of ‘water clear’ plastic, and have no lenses to shape or direct the beam.

They are very bright, which may be down to the phosphors used in the tubes, but is also due to the lamp having two tubes, although it just looks like a single tube when seen from below. The tubes are usually mounted vertically, one over the other, but more recently, I have come across some which appear to have the lamp mounted on its side compared this, so the tubes are aligned beside one another.

Sometimes they sneak up on you, and watch you looking for them from behind hedges (and there’s also a sodium in the background).

Fluorescent And Sodium

Fluorescent And Sodium

But we’ll still give them their ‘Glam’ shot.

Fluorescent Closeup

Fluorescent Closeup

October 7, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow will have to dig deep for weir repairs

Although I was unable to take a look at the damage to Glasgow’s tidal weir before a repair was carried out, or go for a look at the damage to the banks of the River Clyde, I did eventually manage to get along for a look later.

That was just over a year ago.

It was so long until I could look at the area of the damaged banks, I thought they would have been fixed, but they weren’t, just made safe and fenced off.

Clyde Riverbank Collapse Kings Bridge

Clyde Riverbank Collapse Kings Bridge

The worst damage took place along a 170metre stretch at Adelphi Street on the south bank, which affecting an area of some 1,700 square metres. A further 95 metres at Waterside Street, and another 50 metre section near the bridge at Carstairs Street in Dalmarnock also suffered damage.

River Clyde Tidal Weir Subsidence Adelphi Street

River Clyde Tidal Weir Subsidence Adelphi Street

The pics are here and here.

While the weir looks fine from the outside…

Clyde tidal weir at night

Clyde tidal weir at night

It seems all is not well beneath, and there are still those damaged riverbanks.

Consultants have reported to the council, and it seems repairs to the banks plus updating the weir’s creaky old hardware and control system are unlikely to leave any change from at least £6 million.

While it was the north gate that failed (open), the south and middle gates of the weir operate normally, so the upstream river level can be maintained.

£2 million has already been set aside by the council for repair and upgrading of the tidal weir. This work is expected to be completed by November 2019. The north gate has to be repaired, and have its rollers replaced. Damage has also been noted to the masonry piers.

The weir’s control system is not only old, but also past the end of its service life. It has been there since… 1901!

Tidal Weir Centenary Plaque

Tidal Weir Centenary Plaque

This is on the small building on the south bank, which also seems to be where the current controls and hardware live, given the warning signs and security fitted. There is a less involved matching structure on the opposite, north, bank.

A smart system using sensors is being investigated, which would allow gate levels to not only automatically adjust to changing river and tidal conditions, but also provide continuous monitoring of the weir, and trigger alarms in the event of fault or failure.

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tollcross Park direction sign oopsie

It’s been some years since a rash of signs similar to the one shown below sprouted up around the east end of Glasgow (maybe elsewhere, but these are the only ones I usually get to see).

Being local, I don’t usually pay much attention to them, but after noticing they sometime point to places I don’t usually venture into, I did start looking.

The show walking and cycling times to the named destinations, and are surprisingly accurate. The reason I know that is down to the way I never walk anywhere without being diverted, so had thought their timings were optimistic. In fact, if you walk or cycle directly to any of the destinations, and don’t get delayed, then the times given are usually spot on.

Unless – you find one like this.

Tollcross Park Leisure Centre Timing Sign

Tollcross Park Leisure Centre Timing Sign

Looks OK.

Until – you look just behind it, and wonder where that gate leads to.

Tollcross Park Sign Location

Tollcross Park Sign Location

Let’s take a closer look at that gate in the background, and make the pic big enough to make the sign readable.

Tollcross Park Gate Sign

Tollcross Park Gate Sign

How can I put it kindly?


Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees.

I wouldn’t dare suggest anything, but… 😀

October 5, 2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The illegals – J70 NHY – still going strong

Apparently now on its third Honda Civic Type-R and still not stopped by those wearing ‘chequered bunnets’ for its illegal character spacing.

This is what it looks like now.

New colour.

New wheels.

Honda Civic Type-R [J70 NHY] September 2018

Honda Civic Type-R [J70 NHY] September 2018

As this is definitely not black (as reported by an online vehicle check) I’m not committing to any of the details given.

But I hope the owner has updated the official record, or that’s another fine on top of the one for the plate spacing.

(I’m not saying it’s not updated, as I don’t know how often the public records are updated.)

These are the earlier pics.

2007 Honda Civic Type-R [J70 NHY] March

2007 Honda Civic Type-R [J70 NHY] March 2017

2007 Honda Civic Type-R [J70 NHY] October

2007 Honda Civic Type-R [J70 NHY] October 2017

October 4, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

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