Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Today is Chocolate Ice Cream Day

07 June is Chocolate Ice Cream Day.

Since I got carried away with the post about VCR Day (which also falls on 07 June), I’ll keep this short.

Chocolate Ice Cream…

No explanation needed – go eat some!

For what it’s worth, my preference is for the streaky type – I find the taste is less overwhelming than the uniform option.

While it may be hard to believe you can have TOO MUCH chocolatiness, you can, and if it’s too strong it limits the amount of chocolate ice cream you can eat.

And that’s… not a good thing.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate Ice Cream


07/06/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

There goes Dippy (and Leonardo)

Just quickly, an automatically created panorama of Dippy’s last hour (at 16:00) in Kelvingrove.

I don’t usually use this as the result is ‘mushy’ at best (and it’s quite dark in Kelvingrove), but since I have plenty of decent pics, why not?

Click for bigger.

Dippy end pano

Dippy end pano

The Leonardo da Vinci sketch exhibition also ended today.

As there are plenty of pics of the sketches (and that room was REALLY dark to prevent light damage to the originals), here’s the crowd one hour from the absolute end of this one too.

Leonardo end pic

Leonardo end pic

06/05/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oh-oh… Looks like my unhappy opinion of the NPA might not be the only one

I’ve said before that I’ve long given up on passing comment on the NPAs (National Park Authorities), especially since I lost the option of being a regular visitor to the Loch Lomond area some time ago.

So now you know I think they’re (around Loch Lomond at least) useless,

I spotted news of a proposed major development at Loch Lomond, and it seems to pretty much fall into line with the negative things I think about NPAs.

This sounds kind of what like I was saying years ago, and the NPA still seems to be letting developments be added.

So much for preserving the place, unspoilt.

More than 50,000 objections have been lodged against a new £30m tourist development at Loch Lomond.

The proposals include a 60-bedroom apart-hotel, 32-bedroom budget accommodation, a craft brewery, holiday homes, leisure centre and restaurants.

But the Lomond Banks development at Balloch has proven controversial with strong local opposition.

Campaigners fear the project will spoil the scenery and limit access to the shoreline for locals.

Alannah Maurer, of the Save Loch Lomond campaign, told BBC Scotland’s The Nine: “A national park is a theme park in its own right, a natural theme park and in this time of climate change we should be looking at conserving that natural theme park.

“Those buildings will dominate the scenery, they will dominate the village of Balloch.”

Anger over £30m hotel and leisure complex for Loch Lomond

They (the developers, and the objectors) can’t both be right, so this will an interesting confrontation between two fairly outspoken groups who would seem to be unlikely ever to agree.

Benidorm pic still seems appropriate, so…



04/05/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Look at that smile

I sometime go for a quick wander while listening to the organ recitals at Kelvingrove, mainly to get a better view of the video displays relaying the performer’s feet and hands, particularly the pedal board, which can be interesting to watch.

I’d been standing beside a couple of tourists (why are they the quiet ones?) before changing sides on the balcony, and happened to look across at where I had been standing.

What a nice change from the usual babbling, sometime arguing, disinterested locals and their noisy brats who usually ruin whole sections of the recital, especially at the moment with the schools on holiday.

It’s almost a pity that the lights in the central hall have been switched off this week, as the Sun shines in, which makes the place a little darker than usual, and the poor old camera couldn’t quite cope with the marginal conditions.

Kelvingrove Smile

Kelvingrove Recital Smile

I probably smiled as much when I saw this video clip of a cat sleeping in a piano.

While it would be nice to have a Kelvingrove organ cat, I doubt even the cat would sleep through a performance if it was on the keyboard.

While the lowest notes don’t cause vibrations in the central hall, having been to a demo in the organ balcony, I now know the lowest notes are powerful enough to make the stone floor underfoot vibrate up there (well, the organ pipe do sit just behind the console).

24/04/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Mural surprise along a lane

With so many murals now being listed almost ‘officially’ on some web sites and publications, it’s almost something of a surprise to go wandering down lanes and finding examples not seen listed in those sources – or I’ve just missed them.

This one turned up in Burgh Lane, Hillhead, not far off Byres Road, and is on the wall of the Western Baths, which is just as well, as it features – the Western Baths!

Quite a place by all accounts, I managed to miss my chance to get in for a look at the place before it was revamped and became a club, although much has been retained.

Prior to the changes (and I have to say I am going by memory here, risky), I think the place, exclusive as it was, was under threat of being lost, but that seems to be a thing of the past for it now. It seems to be doing well.

The Western Baths Club is a Victorian era private swimming and leisure club founded in 1876. The club remains at its original site at 12 Cranworth Street, Hillhead, Glasgow. The 19th-century baths are protected as a category A listed building. Along with the Arlington Baths it is the one of two clubs of its kind left in Glasgow.

I had to go back a couple of times – I didn’t feel like taking an awkward pic (ie not a quick snap) with a small crowd of ‘yoofs’ who were intent on studying the contents of plastic bags they were carrying, standing on almost the same spot I had to be on to take the pic.

The lane is fairly narrow, and the mural fairly wide – there’s no chance of catching with any ordinary wide lens.

I had to stitch four shots together to get the whole thing in one pic.

It actually worked.

Click for bigger.

Burgh Lane Western Baths Mural

Burgh Lane Western Baths Mural

Although I don’t have any accurate tools to correct the distortion in such a wide stitch, I thought I’d try anyway, just to see how it did.

It does help, but if you look at the extreme edges on the left and right of the second image, you can see how this correction tool is adding more (different) distortion as it corrects the original distortion.

Click for bigger.

Western Baths Mural Version 2

Western Baths Mural Version 2

26/03/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Today is No Smoking Day

13 March 2019 is No smoking Day.

Unfortunately, another wandering day that falls on a different date most years – set as being the second Wednesday of March.

It may be an addiction, but that’s no excuse for starting!

Why is it so important to have a day set aside for this? Over the last few decades, it has become very clear just how extremely dangerous smoking is. There are toxins in smoke that cause many different forms of cancer from the mouth to the lungs. What is also important to know is that while it may be a personal choice to smoke or not, when one smokes near another person -or even a pet – the second-hand smoke is just as dangerous to them. So, it really isn’t just a personal decision. The protection of people who do not want to be affected by second-hand smoke has led to new laws in most communities that ban smoking in most public spaces.

Sadly, the many myths, beliefs, and excuses for smoking are STILL deep set in our various cultures, reinforced by the lies fostered by the tobacco companies in order to suppress the truth and keep people addicted.

This was especially important to those companies then (as it still is today, and they move into less well-informed countries and communities, as they knew full well that the more they got their customers to smoke, the sooner they killed them, and needed replacements to take their place, and keep up sales and profits.

Previous no smoking day

See also the fun here:

Anybody else miss those old educational cigarette adverts

Smoking Birth Weight

13/03/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s top attractions

Two venues in Glasgow recorded more than 1 million visitors in 2018.

No real surprise that those were Kelvingrove and Riverside.

Six Scottish attractions made that figure, the others being the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish National Gallery, and St Giles’ Cathedral.

I never made it to the last two – maybe one day.

There was even a marginal overall (0.1%) increase compared to the previous year – that’s going to be worth watching over the next couple of years, with the Burrell set to reopen in 2020, and the new V&A in Dundee to do a full year.

Top Scottish visitor attractions revealed

I simply haven’t bothered looking at the comments  – I’m sure the naysayers will be out in force. It’s guaranteed in the face of anything remotely resembling good news that normal people will be pleased to read about.

There’s some more detail listed in this article:

These two Glasgow tourist attractions were the most visited in the city last year

I wonder if I made a difference, since I try to get to these places more than once a week now that I’ve found easy and free ways to get to them.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum




06/03/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Off we go again – yet more ‘local’ violence

And again…

After noting one incident reported earlier today, I’ve just spotted another on, for somewhere I hadn’t visited for years, but was at the same place on Sunday – fortunately some hours after the event.

I toured the whole length of Dumbarton Road on Sunday afternoon, just to see if any of the old buildings I remembered were still there – of course, the ones I had in mind are long gone, so I ended up just looking for interesting shops – unaware of what had happened a few hours earlier.

At least I’m never likely to be there around midnight.

A 37-year-old man who was seriously assaulted outside a Partick chip shop was left with serious injuries to his face, requiring surgery.

The incident occurred between 12.05 am and 12.35 am on Sunday, March 3 outside the Blue Lagoon Chip shop in Dumbarton Road.

The man was attempting to diffuse (sic) an argument between two people. He was then assaulted by a group of other people which left him with serious injuries.

Emergency services rushed to scene and the injured man was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance where he was released after initial treatment. However, he will return at a laster (sic) date for surgery.

The culprits had made off prior to police arriving at the scene.

Man, 37, needing facial surgery after serious assault outside Partick chip shop

Violent crimes

Violent crimes

05/03/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Off we go again – yet more ‘local’ violence

And again…

As usual, few quiet days, then the madness is back, and in the middle of the day when there would be plenty of people around.

Glad I only use this station a few times a year, and not at all recently.

A 14-year-old girl was repeatedly hit in the face by a man and then thrown into a wall at a Glasgow train station.

British Transport Police are investigating the assault on Platform 8 of Queen Street Station on Saturday 16 February.

The teenager was with three other young people when the attack happened at about 13:00.

Teenage girl hit in the face by man at Glasgow train station

Violent crimes

Violent crimes

05/03/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

The Saltire Fund was tiny when it was announced in 2008, now it’s lost nearly £3 million to inflation



Back in 2008, I was intrigued to see the Saltire prize being announced, and ventured to suggest that at £10 million was not really enough to be worth the effort of trying to win.

If you tried following its progress, you’ll already know what happened…

Nobody won it!

The cash just lay unclaimed, and I think there was a recent story which suggested part of the problem was down to the terms of the award, and that the chances of anyone meeting the criteria lay in the realms of ‘Slim to Nil’.

However, the cash was still there, even if nobody was likely to collect.

So, what to do?


A £10m prize for the development of technology to harness tidal power has been relaunched in Scotland.

The Scottish government said it was offering the Saltire Fund to help commercialise clean energy and lower operating costs.

It comes after the original competition, conceived in 2008, was ended in 2017 without anyone claiming the reward.

Industry bosses have welcomed the new fund.

The Saltire Prize faded from public focus after the deadline to produce award-winning renewable technology passed without a winner.

The original prize was offered for the development of wave and tidal energy. However, the two are now recognised as separate entities following the collapse of wave power firms such as Aquamarine Power and Pelamis.

Tidal energy has now progressed while wave technology has effectively gone back to the laboratory.

To reflect the change in the industry, the prize has now been relaunched as the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.

The Scottish government has also proposed to invest a further £10m in Wave Energy Scotland (WES) by 2020.

Scottish government launches £10m Saltire Fund

I’m sorry, but it doesn’t take a great deal of understanding to see that £10 million, while it would be nice in a person’s bank account, is a piddling amount when taken in the context of creating a new or innovative tidal energy device.

Even worse, small as it was in 2008, £10 million is no longer £10 million in 2019, thanks to a little fact of life known as ‘Inflation’.

Now, it’s value is closer to £7.5 million.

I guess that’s why another £10 million was thrown into the little pot.


11/02/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Interesting – Who objects to plans aimed at keeping emergency routes open?

I just don’t go near the place (Parkhead) when there’s a crowd-pulling on at Celtic Park.

There’s probably a concentrated ring of about a mile around the place where the streets are clogged with cars, and buses/coaches, where you’d never see them parked end to end along streets, or jammed onto any bit of ‘spare ground’ that not fenced off, or blocked off in some way.

If I go out wandering, and see this, I’ve learned just to a swift about-turn and go back home.

It can be hopeless trying to get through that lot if you are unfortunate enough to arrive in the area just after the park has spilled.

The fans’ driving is so bad, that almost every junction is blocked by nose-to-tail vehicles (despite police being around – there are just too many offenders) that you cannot even cross a junction. The only cyclists that I see get anywhere are those who’d be classed as ‘bad’, and just ignore the cars and seem to blast through junctions with their eyes shut!

I’m glad to see the council will ‘weight’ objections bases on where they have come from…

Bailie John Kane said: “For people to be putting in an objection for emergency route restrictions around a football park, for goodness sake.

“It’s not all that many years ago that we had some pretty disastrous events at Ibrox. Those routes are there for a very good reason and to be using that as an objection, which then forces us as a council to go down the route of having a reporter look at it.

“Quite frankly I find that pretty disgusting.”

Tory councillor Robert Connelly said: “How many are residents of the area? How many just want to come in and watch their team?”

A council officer said: “There’s quite a mix of objections and you’re quite right some of them are supporters clubs, others are from residents themselves.”

SNP councillor Ruairi Kelly said: “The locations that people live are going to be pertinent to whether they’re valid or what sort of weight we give to them.”

Thousands of objections received in Celtic Park and Ibrox parking row

Click pic for bigger.

London Road Horror

London Road Horror

05/02/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: