Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The illegals – E11 EBF

It’s funny, even though I could be driving around with my name on my number plate, I wouldn’t add almost individually identifiable details.

So far, our vehicle licencing doesn’t allow private individuals (only questionable businesses) to identify vehicle owners/keepers from registration numbers via the DVLA. In some countries, you can go to the licencing authority, given them a vehicle registration, and they’ll given you the details of the person connected to it. Given some of the utter loonies we share road space with, that doesn’t seem like a very good idea – let’s make sure that sort of detail stays with the police, and that one day, DVLA will be forced to stop selling it too.

Anyway, more information than I’d normally note, but in full public view on the plate, I know this one is property of Ellie Baird, as ‘E11E BF’ has so far avoided attracting a ‘pull’ and a possible fine of up to £1,000 for illegal character spacing and grouping.

Just doesn’t seem like a good idea to share that info, and that the owner is female too.

Citroen DS3 [E11 EBF]

Citroen DS3 [E11 EBF]


August 18, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

When the tide goes out on the Clyde

I’ve heard people get surprised when told the River Clyde is tidal, which is understandable depending on which part they are used to seeing.

Above the weir the level can be maintained while the tide is making the rest go up and down, although regular watching will reveal variation upriver.

I can’t recall when I last saw the weir and river when the tide was out, but I did catch recently, as I was going along the Clyde Walkway.

I always look over, and it’s usually just a plain sheet of water, so although not unexpected, this view made me stop.

The river was never deep, and the shipping channel always needed to be dredged to keep it open for the ships visiting Glasgow’s docks, and the berths where the steamer boarded and discharged their passengers.

Built by Seath’s yard, upriver near Rutherglen, the paddle steamer ‘Benmore’ got stuck on the weir, and had to wait for high water to finish its delivery run. Benmore was not tiny, just over 200 feet long, and displacing around 200 tons. The weir was always there, and not usually a problem, and the boats would normally pass over if the timing was right.

Glasgow Tidal Weir Low

Glasgow Tidal Weir Low

Next, as seen at the nautical college (or whatever it’s called now), completer with its funfair inspired ‘drop boat’ ride.

Glasgow Tidal Weir Low

Glasgow Tidal Weir Low

Further along, and looking back at the college, if you fall in near the bank, and don’t panic, you could still just about walk out.

Glasgow Tidal Weir Low

Glasgow Tidal Weir Low

And if you’re trying to make your escape from Glasgow Sheriff Court, pick your place, and you could get away on foot, even along the river!

Glasgow Tidal Weir Low

Glasgow Tidal Weir Low

There are many features revealed by the low water. Probably this set of outflows is the most noticeable.

The other thing worth mentioning, if you didn’t notice it already, is the fine grey silt that cover everything below the surface of the water.

Glasgow Tidal Weir Low

Glasgow Tidal Weir Low

August 14, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scotland’s spaceport could be launching by 2021

I’m beginning to see the arrival of Scotland’s first spaceport as one of my favourite stories.

While not sure what to call them – Naysayers or Luddites perhaps – I do find it almost enjoyable to read the negative comments of the trolls who see this as their latest target, and pour scorn and mockery on the very idea that it might ever happen.

The only good thing I can think about them is that one day, they will die – and the world will be a better place on that day.

The latest story suggests a surprisingly ‘joined up’ approach to this option, with consideration already being given to not only the actual launch business itself, but also the impact that could have on local jobs and tourism. Could it be that somebody is actually thinking this through!?

The UK’s first spaceport could launch around 2000 satellites by 2030, according to new figures.

Business secretary Greg Clark made the announcement during his first visit to the proposed site in the Highlands on Thursday.

A new report released by the UK Space Agency suggests there is a “significant gap” in commercial small satellite launch provision, with demand for the sector estimated to be worth up to £3.8bn to the economy over the next decade.

The spaceport will be developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which has approved investment of up to £9.8m in the £17.2m facility.

Last month it was announced the UK Space Agency would provide £31.5m of funding for the project, which could begin launches as soon as 2021.

It is estimated the proposed spaceport, at Melness Crofting Estate near Tongue, could create 400 jobs in the area.

Scotland’s spaceport ‘could launch 2000 satellites by 2030’

I’ve been a little (well, a lot) irritated by the standard ‘spaceport pic’ the media used to illustrate this story in the beginning.

Mainly because it’s just PLAIN WRONG, and must have been cobbled together by someone ignorant of the reality, as they seemed to depict various imaginative (and non-existent) craft flying around the spaceport, possibly carrying the fictitious ‘space tourists’ they like to refer to, and they weren’t small, vertical launch types either.

This video shows the reality, of an actual facility in New Zealand.

Yes, New Zealand!

Scotland is still thinking about this, while New Zealand has already just gone and done it!

We need to get a move on.


Mission Control could be in the Highlands

A second story considered options for mission control, and the construction of rockets to be used for the launches.

The mission control for the first orbital satellite launch site in Europe could be located in the Highlands.

Plans to build the spaceport on the Melness Crofting Estate in Sutherland were announced last month.

Orbex, a company involved in the project, confirmed it was also looking at locations in Highlands for the mission control.

The firm’s Chris Larmour said a factory would be built in Scotland for making the rockets for satellite launches.

He told BBC Scotland that the Highlands was one of the “contenders” for mission control. The launches would also be observed from the launch site.


Mr Larmour said the satellites that would be launched from Sutherland would fly from north to south.

He said: “As our planet spins the satellites see the entire Earth over a period of four or five days, and that is really good for our customers because they want to do something called Earth observation, which is looking at crop patterns or pollution or the movement of ice.”

Highlands suggested for satellite site’s mission control

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Clean Your Floors Day

03 August is Clean Your Floors Day.

Slightly unusual, I wouldn’t normally mention this one as it was founded by a company that manufactures a floor cleaning product, so could be seen as a glorified advert, or just touting for business (but I won’t be dropping their name).

On the plus side, The history of Clean Your Floors Day is more like the history of floors and their cleaning. Floors were covered with rushes (a grass like plant) in bygone days, and this covering was renewed every year.

Then we got rugs and carpets, and things like brooms weren’t all that effective, so those items had to be hauled out and beaten (ever heard of a ‘carper beater’?), to persuade the accumulated dust and dirt to leave.

This led to numerous attempts to create a carpet cleaner, some good, some bad, until someone came up with the concept of the vacuum cleaner, which eventually led to sucker we know so well today.

The reason I couldn’t let this day pass is down to my own little ‘Project Yuk’, an annual review of all the dust and dirt my vacuum cleaner collects in the course of a year.

No matter how much effort I put into vacuuming Apollo Towers, or how imaginative I get regarding the quarantining of dirty shoes being walked into the house from the street, somehow this annual review of my vacuum cleaners’ contents always stays around the same. And this remains true whether I vacuum the floors only once a week, or the more extreme once a day.

I really don’t understand this one – even if I don’t leave the house for a week, if I vacuum at the end of it, I still collect enough ‘Yuk’ to average close on 10 grammes of ‘Yuk’ per day, resulting in a bucket load like this – every year!

Search the blog for the word – Yuk – to see the result found in other years.

Project Yuk 2013

Project Yuk 2013

August 3, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope the sledgehammer was OK

Vandal destroys Donald Trump’s star on Hollywood Walk of Fame


Brain Surgery

July 25, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Delusional or just plain mad? Suggesting that Holyrood skip be used for functions

I just can’t let this one pass, as I simply can’t even begin to understand the thinking behind anyone daft enough (or maybe who thought there was anyone daft enough to) think that the skip which passes for the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood would be a desirable place to hold functions.

Nothing to do with politics, the place was just a money pit from day one, designed by  a non-Scottish architect who ultimately succumbed to brain disease.

It’s a pile of scrap.

It failed from every aspect, and even started falling apart (didn’t kill anybody) soon after opening.

It was an environmental failure, leaking heat out from inside, and water from the outside.

Then, more millions had to be spent making it secure!

Nobody thought that might have been a good idea from the start?

Somebody must have been desperate to think of this, and expect anything other than that…

Lack of demand puts paid to Holyrood letting out parliament for functions

Here’s a great pic of the place (still shows more of it than I really want to).

Holyrood Parliament Skip

Holyrood Parliament Skip

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Stamp of Approval for Dad’s Army

Dad's Army

Dad’s Army

It was nice to see Dad’s Army merited the issue of a set of stamps to mark its 50th anniversary.

The series ran from 1968-77 and followed the adventures of a World War II Home Guard platoon defending Walmington-on-Sea against an apparently imminent Nazi invasion – at its peak, the programme attracted some 18 millions viewers.

In recent years, the series seems to have become a fairly regular treat on BBC1 or BBC2, generally during Saturday evenings, although it just seems to have disappeared prior to the appearance of the stamps.

I’m not sure what the magic of the series is, but despite the number of times it has been repeated, it still seems to be a pleasure to watch, unlike many modern series from later years, of which just ONE viewing is more than enough.

The episodes were also reproduced as radio series, with the same actors, modified to suit the audio only format.

I’ve found an online audio stream that has a few of these episodes looped into its schedule, and they’re just as good as the TV episodes.

Don’t panic! Dad’s Army turns 50 with set of stamps

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Cat Rules

I wonder if passing cats would come in if I had this printed and mounted at the bottom of my outside doors?

Cat Rules

Cat Rules

May 20, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

There goes the radio (well, some of it)

We saw the steady decline of the analogue television service recently, as digital eventually saw all the analogue transmitters turned off, replaced by digital/Freeview.

Although I generally lament the loss of any tech, analogue TV was a pain, eating huge amounts of the radio spectrum, and frankly being less than impressive once there was a bit of distance involved, something got in the way and blocked the signal, or you got enjoy the effects of multipath reception.

I cheered the first day I received Freeview and was able to leave analogue behind, as the pic immediately changed from noise with snow, to perfect black backgrounds, with nice clean pics.

Radio has always been a bit different, with long and medium mediocre at best, always mushy with no high frequencies, but vastly improved when FM arrived.

But the long, medium, and short wave bands were always interesting, and with a half decent radio, or receiver, thanks to the various propagation modes and weather variations, all sorts of interesting material could be found at different times.

Sad to say, I gave up this sort of poking around many years ago, as the ‘airwaves fell silent’ – partly due to weather and reception conditions, but also due to the steady decline in the number of stations.

Now, things will become quieter:

One of the best-known local radio stations in Scotland is to stop broadcasting on medium wave.

Northsound 2 in Aberdeen will be the first established radio station in Scotland to end analogue broadcasting.

From 3 April, it will only be available on digital radio and online. Sister station Northsound 1 will still be available on FM as well as digital.

Radio station Northsound to switch off analogue service

While this is not paralleling the changes we saw in television (and I’m not even going to wander into the often farcical world of DAB or digital audio broadcasting, which seems to have become an industry standard joke), it does mark a starting point.

The article notes:

Across Britain, nearly half of radio listening is now through digital broadcasting – including DAB digital radio, online and slots on digital television.

It seems certain that all BBC and professional commercial broadcasting on FM and medium wave will eventually end, but a switchover date has not yet been set.

That last sentence has been being repeated for years, and is now laughable.

Sadly, I don’t even use any radios now – the little radio I do listen to comes down the Internet.

Old Radio

Old Radio

March 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Today is Make Your Dream Come True Day

13 January is Make Your Dream Come True Day.


Still thinking…




Tomorrow Cat

Tomorrow Cat

(This pic is nicer than 1984’s more appropriate ‘imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever’.)

January 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unconcerned cat is…


Still from this video clip.

If you have never seen the studies, the cat is in more danger from the vehicles on the road below if it does fall, than from the fall itself.

Provided they are high enough to twist their bodies get their feet below them, then their natural ‘suspension’ should protect them from the landing.

They are more likely to be injured if they are too low to complete the twist, and can’t turn to land on their feet. Their terminal velocity in air is also much less than a human’s (we manage about 120 mph at least, which is not good for our landings), and being much lighter, cats also have a lot less energy to dissipate.

Their tails are major players in this game too, as they use their tail as part of their reaction effort, so they twist in two actions, using their tail to rotate one pair of legs (tail one way, legs the other), then repeat this in the opposite direction for the other pair.


High Cat

High Cat

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: