Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

City of Adelaide Clipper gains children’s activity book

Strangely, if you ever listened to the ramblings of one poor individual from Sunderland, it seems the fortunes of the hull of the City of Adelaide clipper which went to live in Australia a few years have been good, and so far at least, it has not spontaneously combusted, or disintegrated under the fierce Australian sun, nor has the rescue project foundered.

It’s actually rather nice to see it amble along slowly, step by step.

Far better than many I watched arrive with great fanfare and promises/demands of many millions – over-ambitious and doomed to failure if the promises fall short. Over the past decade or so it’s become clear that projects which limp along with a steady cash-drip and avoid sensational claims are much more likely to be around for years.

This looks like one of those ‘small steps’.

SEAFARING adventures are swept off the page in a new children’s activity book about the clipper ship City of Adelaide.
The ship’s restoration project director, Peter Christopher, and Meredith Reardon — a descendant of its captain — have teamed up to create Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Facts and Figures.

More than a quarter of a million Australians can trace their ancestry through passengers and crew who sailed on the City of Adelaide, which made 23 return voyages from English ports between 1864 and 1887.

Mr Christopher said the 40-page book had been specifically written for children — a deliberate move as most of the material available about the historic ship was geared towards adults.

Via New City of Adelaide clipper ship children’s book opens maritime history to new audience

He and Ms Reardon, a teacher, first had the idea for the book two years ago but it wasn’t until they received a grant from an anonymous donor that they were able to publish it.

Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Facts and Figures is now on sale for $10 at the ship at Dock One.

It will soon also be available in selected newsagents and book stores.

City of Adelaide

City of Adelaide lying at Irvine on 07 February 2012 © wfmillar


March 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | 1 Comment

The illegals – DK51 MBA

This one was a bit odd.

I’d actually walked past it, and along the road for some distance before I decided to go back for a closer look.

At first, I thought it was a foreign registration plate, due to the (illegal) spacing and the (illegal) font (especially the ‘1’), and the unusual pressed metal plate, something not seen very often nowadays as most are perspex.

Maybe the owner of this 2016 Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Tech R-Line (phew – these names are getting longer) is a secret, or part-time, lion tamer.

Volkswagen Golf TDI [DK51 MBA]

Volkswagen Golf TDI [DK51 MBA]

March 16, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Hulking great BMW tyres

One of those numbers I’ve passed for ages yet never ‘collected’.

If I’d been awake, I’d have this number on more cars as they’ve changed over the years.

I just noticed it has moved to this Dec 2017 BMW X5 3.0 30d M Sport Steptronic xDrive (no wonder they’ve stopped putting full model names on the rear), from another mini-monster-truck style BMW (but I forget the model already).

BMW X5 3.0 30d M Sport Steptronic xDrive [50 AS]

BMW X5 3.0 30d M Sport Steptronic xDrive [50 AS]

Just look at the tyres, which I read American owners regularly discuss  as regards finding alternative to the $500 per corner cost when replacing them.

And many seem to complain of lives as short as 5,000 miles on their “wife’s car which is only used for the school run”.

Make of that what you will. I did note some techie-types noted the thing has a lot of camber to aid road-holding, and that can wear out tyres under certain adverse conditions.

Looking at the quoted size options (not forgetting to look at the associated huge wheel sizes):

285/35R21 (front) 325/30R21 (rear)
285/40R20 (front) 325/35R20 (rear)

I had a quick look at table for the Lamborghini Countach, and found this from the start to end of its life:

1974 Lamborghini Countach Tyre Sizes
LP40(front) 205/70R14 (rear) 215/70R14

1978 brought a new LP400 S model, the engine was slightly downgraded from the LP400 model at 355 PS (350 hp; 261 kW), while the most radical changes were in the exterior, where the tyres were replaced by 345/35R15 Pirelli P7 tyres The widest tyres available on a production car at the time, and reportedly also the first to be manufactured for a particular car, rather than just standard production.

1989 Lamborghini Countach Tyre Sizes
25th Anniversario(front) 225/50R15 (rear) 345/35R15
5000 quattrovalvole(front) 225/50R15 (rear) 345/35R15

Just an observation.

Who wore it best?

Original wide Countach rubber 🙂

1989 Countach

1989 Countach

Whole car could probably sneak under an X5 (you know what I mean).

March 16, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Nameless fairy is still nameless

I’ve had TWO bites at this one already, and had to wander around near midnight to get a third to satisfy my curiosity.

First time around, I was distracted by the novel approach of a set of hybrid legal/illegal number plates on a Seat Ibiza – the front one is illegal, while the rear one is legal.

Then I was distracted by the illegal ‘flag’ I noticed on the left side of the front place, which turned out to be a little fairy. I was so busy catching that I didn’t notice there was footer on the plate, and was left wondering if that was the fairy’s name.

So, loaded with goodies from the nearby 24-hour Tesco, there I was dropping them all, so I could take yet another pic, and try not to look too suspicious since it was almost midnight.

Well, I don’t think this looks like a fairy’s name.

[C9 RYF] Plate

[C9 RYF] Plate

March 15, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Water Bus sign

Digging back into the archives for an unused ‘rainy day’ (freezing day?) pic, I found one I spent so much time fiddling with I forgot to use it.

I’d taken a few that day, and had suffered a bad attack of ‘Tilted Camera Syndrome’, and couldn’t settle on a final version or edit that looked any way half decent or square. Although I whittle the mess down to this one, I forget to finish the job.

While a quick look trawled up some reference to a Clyde Water Bus running for a few years up to 2012, I’m pretty sure the Water Bus refers to something that ran some years before this.

I can’t (quickly) find anything online referring to this, nor can I recall much more than a vague memory. It didn’t seem to cover any routes or destinations that made it of any use to me, so I never had the opportunity to play on it, and then it was gone.

If you know or remember more, a comment below would be nice.

But this quite nice entrance has survived. A bit faded perhaps, but otherwise substantially OK.

Water Bus Sign

Water Bus Sign

Find it on the Broomielaw, at the corner of King George V Bridge, and the junction with Oswald Street.

Wider view, for a bit of context. (Click for a little bigger).

Water Bus Sign Wider

Water Bus Sign Wider

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

Signs of the spring cycle appear

Caught this in the city centre a while ago, but thought it was more appropriate to keep for an early spring pic.

That’s all.

Spring Bicycle

Spring Bicycle

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Bennie Railplane display – Kelvingrove

Digging into the ‘cold weather archive’ again, I came across the display for Bennie’s Railplane which can be found in Kelvingrove.

The panel (click for bigger) gives enough details for anyone who is unfamiliar, but that’s not what I have in mind.

Bennie Railplane Description Kelvingrove

Bennie Railplane Description Kelvingrove

The idea was good enough in itself, and if we look overseas then a number of monorails can be found which have succeeded.

But the missing aspect was proper consideration of the engineering and costs – had Bennie been in business with someone who had reeled him in, and ensured the system had been approached in a way that addressed its flaws, then the outcome could have been different.

Using a propeller to drive a land craft was not a good idea, but would have seemed like a good idea by following speedy aviation and streamlining ideas which were popular concepts, and innovation would attract funding. In reality, the losses of a propeller driven carriage, and resultant high fuel consumption would have ruined the operating economics, and demanded a change to some sort of mechanical drive (like other systems of the day).

Then there was the hugely impractical suspended track, intended to be built over existing railways.

However, an honest look at its complexity, and the amount of material consumed compared to the rail tracks which would lie below should soon reveal the dubious wisdom of that part of the system too. There probably wasn’t much that could have been done then to reduce that, barring a complete redesign of the structure, and with the steel and construction methods of the day, there would have been problems.

There’s another aspect – that test track only has one line. Two would really have been needed to provide a realistic service in both directions. Or there would have to have been some way of shuffling railplanes back and forth, and around one another on a single track. Given how often single track trains crashed in those days due to signalling errors, can you imagine how long it would have been until the first truly high-speed collision occurred if that had been tried?

I guess the lack of any subsequent projects along the same lines (unless we count the Hyperloop, which is yet to become a reality anywhere) is as good an indication as any that Bennie may have had an idea, but that while it looked good, it couldn’t deliver.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Riverside Museum gains Tesla Model S

I was going to start by noting that I wished I could afford to give away my old cars to a museum such as Riverside – then I realised I could (or should).

I’m not going into details, but since I was priced off the road a few years ago (there were other reasons too), I just ‘collected’ my cars and stored two of the three that could go into a museum, but my thoughts were that I’d use at least, instead of a fourth cheap runabout I was using. But, such is the bill for just keeping a car legally on the road, I ended up storing that one too, and none of them can be used.

There’s an intriguing aside to this. I don’t know what recent car paint is made of, but the one that had to live outside, uncovered, while I was elsewhere, was found to get dirty in the rain, but when inspected was found to have moss in the dirt. However, after this was cleaned off a couple of times there was an unwanted surprise – the moss had eaten into the paint, and when it was removed, a layer of paint came with it.

I’m not sure, I haven’t researched this, but wonder if it’s a consequence of the dropping of the old traditional cellulose based paints, and the switch to ‘green’ or water-based products.

Back to the Tesla:

Glasgow’s Riverside Museum has been gifted a Tesla to showcase alongside its alternative fuel vehicles.

The Model S P85+ electric car was gifted to the popular visitor attraction by Chris Clarkson.

It will form part of a display which reflects advances in technology and explore the development of more environmentally friendly vehicles.

The car will be prepared for storage, before it goes on display at Riverside Museum in 2019.

Glasgow Museums confirmed it will form part of the city’s James Watt Bicentennial celebrations.

Via Businessman gifts Tesla electric car to Riverside Museum

I’ve only spotted one Tesla on the roads around Glasgow while wandering the streets, and that went flying past while I was standing near a junction – just my luck the lights were green, so no time even to reach for a camera, or even read the badges… it was gone almost as soon as I recognised the shape. The UK wallows embarrassingly around 5 years or so behind the US on EV (electric vehicle) acceptance, where I follow their progress in detail, so, even though we don’t have many, I can recognise one easily.

As someone who could cover around 300 miles a day while at work (that’s just one trip to Aberdeen), with its range, I always lusted after a Model S, since it would have eaten my more normal commutes and only needed charging once or twice a week (but would have been topped up most nights, so not an issue), and would have dealt with my longer trips too.

Be nice to see one in Riverside – cars have changed radically since the days of true ‘Classics’, and that when things get risky, as people forget to preserve current examples.

And I don’t just mean cars. I suspect there may be a number of articles from recent years which it would now be hard to find examples of.

Unlike my stock Model S image below (which I had to ‘convert’), I see the example to be donated is already right-hand drive.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Mysterious Lavida bike spotted at Lidl

The slightly grim weather has kept me in for a while, but to be honest, that’s more down to the effects of a 24-hour cold/flu bug that hit at the same time, and left behind a few grumbles. Still, while it bad for a day, it’s not as bad afterwards, unlike the ‘old’ infection that could grumble on for a week or more sore throat and coughing.

So, I’m getting a chance to find old material never used.

I collected this bike at one of my local shops.

While most things can be found online, it seems this particular ”Lavida’ bike is not one of them, and I actually found more info a few months back than I did today.

This time, I didn’t find the basic bike at all, but did find what looked like the same frame, being used as the basis for an electric bike.

It’s an oddball – there’s no front brake, or separate rear brake, so I assume it’s got one of those rear hubs with a few gears, which acts as a brake if pedalled backwards.

I’ve never even sat on a bike with the seating position and shape of handlebars seen here, so I’m not qualified to say anything more than it looks decidedly odd compared to conventional road/hybrid/MTB offerings.

Lavida Bike

Lavida Bike

Top Notch Security

I love the bike rack at this shop.

As seen above, you are supposed to secure a wheel to the V.


A couple of quick twists with standard spanner, and you can slip the bike off the wheel and be away in seconds – and you can be even quicker if the bike is fitted with quick-release wheels.

Shame, as that curly lock could easily have simply been pulled over the frame and looped through to protect it too.


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

Car name is almost longer than car

I noticed I’d missed out quite a lot of nice registrations simply because I don’t notice them as I pass them on an almost daily basis.

This nice ‘two number two letter’ example has changed homes recently, and I forget where it was before, but that’s no surprise with my great memory.

Thank goodness the badge on the boot doesn’t have to show the whole name:

Mercedes-Benz C Class 2.0 C200 Sport 7G-Tronic Plus (s/s) 4dr 2016 White.

Mercedes C200 [60 HF]

Mercedes C200 [60 HF]

That IS a B&W image above, seldom seen from me.

In this case, the street seems to be lit by some strangely variable low pressure sodium lamps, and the mixture of yellows just defeated all my attempts to tidy a pretty horrible image.

The yellow either got worse, or when I tried to level the colour, the processing started to kick in with areas of deep blue to compensate.


It IS a white car anyway 🙂


Well, it doesn’t actually merit two pics, but since the weather got better and I was passing in daylight, a proper pic seemed only fair.

Mercedes C200 [60 HF]

Mercedes C200 [60 HF]

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

For all those cars that looked like hatchbacks but weren’t

I’ve never quite understood why designers create car body styles that look like hatchbacks – then give them a boot lid with no access to the interior, or ability to swallow larger load.

I didn’t even realise this was an issue the first time I fell for it, but the irritation factor generated that day stayed with me ever since.

That was many years ago, when our company used decent second-hand cars for its fleet, and it included a couple of wedge-shaped Austin Princesses. Bargains at the end of their life, and very nice to live with – comfy, quiet, spacious, fast, but as I found out to my dismay one day when I used one, fitted with a boot lid, not a hatchback, despite a huge sloping rear.

That rear actually split just below the rear window, and was in fact a boot.

Princess Rear

Princess Rear

But the real mention I made this for was the car below, a Jaguar XJS 4.0 modified by the inclusion of a full-size rear hatch.

It probably doesn’t add a lot of space/volume, but make it more useable.

The interior rear space was little more than a token gesture, something I can confirm after a kind XJ driver gave me a lift off the motorway after a rogue palette landed in front of us, and I hit it instead of his Jag. The rear may have been styled to look like a seat of some sort, but the reality factor was zero, and I almost had to curl up into a ball for the trip.

Unfortunately the pic was just shared with no details, so I’ve no idea what was involved – you can see as much of it as I can.

It would have been nice to see the hatch closed too, and how things looked without the usual flying buttresses seen at the rear of this model. The bodywork looks nice and clean, with no distortion visible in the reflections.

Jaguar XJS Hatchback

Jaguar XJS Hatchback

March 9, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

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