Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Soaves return to Baillieston shops

I recently noted that after moving from the shops in Baillieston – to a vacated former TV shop, then café, on the outskirts – an ice cream parlour appear to have closed, and speculated that the move had not been a good idea as the footfall at the quieter spot was insufficient.

Although not received as a comment here, I was later told the shop had indeed closed, and gone back to shared premises in the middle of the main street, and I would guess a better return from lower operating costs and more passing trade.

Story confirmed when I spotted this recently.

Soaves Return

Soaves Return

Referring to the original post…

The little clothes shop is said to have a new taker, and will open again (no details).

And then what can only be described as fantasy…

That the former bank building is going to open under the auspices of one of the big businesses I refer to as ‘Coffee Cons’.

It now has another sign indicating it has restaurant planning permission – but a new restaurant already opened recently, just along the road, so I guess that is not really going to help moving a building this size with its attendant costs of ownership.

A bank might eat those costs for a while, but you will have to be coining it to make this building viable.

Baillieston Bank Building

Baillieston Bank Building

I won’t give them free publicity by naming them online, but they cost city worker a fortune, selling paper cups of brown slops – coffee with various silly and trendy names – for around £2.50 or more a time.

People fail to think, and buy this stuff, costing them well over £100 a year for little more than hot water.

It’s no wonder these cash black holes use paper cups, and avoid any refers to… MUGS.

If an ice cream parlour can’t cut it here, then I doubt there’s any way a franchisee would be able to cover their costs operating from this deserted area with few customers to pay for such a huge building and the franchise costs.

It’s only the founder that becomes a millionaire and enjoys the trapping of wealth from such plans.

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

My second PHEV (that’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)

This is only the second vehicle I have caught in the act of being charged at a public street charger (yes, we really do have these in Scotland).

But it’s only the first I’ve posted a pic of – due to some system changes I’ve lost the first on in the filing system, and really will have to go find it and post it one day, even if just to be awkward.

It’s strange, and something I can’t quite understand, but the mere mention of electric vehicles (EVs) is enough to bring out the loonies, or the Naysayer Brigade, and have mindless scorn poured over anything you say about them, or be facing some sort of rabid anti-EV activist that you’ve just transformed an otherwise normal, sane, person into.

I think the saddest aspect is their similarity to Flat-Earthers – no matter what evidence you present to them, they refuse to accept it and parrot all the myths about EVs in much the same way as Flat-Earthers continue to claim that NASA lied about all the space missions, and how even passenger flights are all lies, somehow managed by ‘Them’ to hide the fact that the Earth is flat.

I thought these folk had gone away, but was recently sent a pic of a van in the US with a big sign offering “$1,000 to anyone who can prove the Earth is not flat” and plastered with various “NASA LIES” stickers and clips from stories that ‘prove’ the Earth is flat.

Much the same as arguing with that van owner would be pointless, I gave up trying reason with any anyone who laughed at ‘Stupid EVs’ and said ‘They’ll never work’.

I was surprised to read that the Outlander is the UK’s best-selling hybrid, I has no idea. I’m more used to seeing the few Nissan Leaf’s (full battery EVs – no engine) that flit around my area. I had to dig up some specs:

The Outlander has a 12 kWh 300 volt battery said to be good for 30 miles, and is  a true series/parallel hybrid which means the front and rear electric motors provide primary motivation and are the only source of propulsion away from a stop. When the battery is depleted, the engine generates electricity for the motors. At higher speeds, when the driver calls for full power or when climbing a steep grade, the engine can turn the wheels directly, contributing its power more efficiently.  UK-spec models have two 80 hp electric motors and a 119 hp 2 litre four-cylinder engine. A full charge take 3.5 hours using a 16 amp 240 volt supply, while a quick-charge (CHAdeMO DC) to 80% is quoted at 30 minutes.

Having mentioned anti-EV loonies, it’s only fair to say I can get pro-EV loonies worked up by mentioning cars like this PHEV in their presence, and they will berate me for “Promoting that pointless option” as they believe only FULL BEVs should be promoted.

Loonies, don’t you love ’em?

(Preferably roasted, over a slow fire.)

Outlander PHEV Charging In Glasgow

Outlander PHEV Charging In Glasgow


Outlander PHEV Charging In Glasgow

Outlander PHEV Charging In Glasgow

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

I spotted another Streetwise installation

It’s a while since I spotted my first Streetwise surveillance camera setup, but now I’ve spotted my second.

This time it was on the Gallowgate, monitoring the junction at Bain Street, between Barrowland and Morrison’s.

This junction can get quite busy at times, and has the added complication of being on the exit route of a nearby fire station – if you look carefully at the Barrowland pic you can see the additional warning lights on the junction in the background.

There may be plans to change the road layout here, or alter the traffic lights.

We’ll see.

There was also a recent announcement about a refurbishment of the whole Barras area, which may be connected to this survey.

In each case the camera is at the top of the temporary pole visible on the left, with a data storage box attached at the bottom.

Gallowgate Streetwise Camera Barrowland

Gallowgate Streetwise Camera Barrowland


Gallowgate Streetwise Camera Morrisons

Gallowgate Streetwise Camera Morrisons

August 6, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Surveillance, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Illegals – B19 OBY

Got to be fast, or they get away!

I didn’t realise I had actually been walking along the street next to Mr Blobby, or maybe Bobby, it’s hard to tell nowadays as sellers of cherished or personalised number are so slimy nowadays, they will distort the interpretation of numbers and letter into utterly fantastic ‘re-imaginings’ of names and words in order to make a sale, and a fast buck if they can bump the price up.

2010 Audi S3 Quattro [B19 OBY]

2010 Audi S3 Quattro [B19 OBY]

I almost lost this one, as the chap I’d been walking beside jumped into this 2010 Audi S3 Quattro and drove off instantly.

I was surprised the camera powered up fast enough to grab the shot (I have to go back to carrying a dSLR and not a compact).

As it was, although it got the pic (and ANY pic is better than NO pic), it was also one of the first I’d taken since this particular camera had enjoyed being thrown across a room, bounce of a metal cabinet, and coming to a rapid stop when it finally landed on a solid stone floor.

(Short story, it got caught on something else, and launched).

The above is clipped from a larger image as it fires up in wide-angle, and there was time to hit the zoom button.

Focus is poor now, after the flight, and compact cameras have poor resolution anyway as the recorded images are highly compressed (and this cannot be adjusted) which does not help. Not visible here is a further problem noted, as the focus is no longer linear across the image.

If you think this version looks bad – this is the result AFTER processing through various sharpening filters and other corrections.

Guess I will have to wear out another pair of shoes tramping around Glasgow trying to find a replacement.

I think I bought five or more (and returned them all) before I decided this was the best of the bunch for a half-decent tiny compact.

I’d love a tiny mirrorless – but they are even more expensive than dSLRs (for the ones I’ve tried and liked at least). The last one I touched almost landed me in A&E with shock… it was THREE times the price of my dSLR (actually almost FOUR)!

August 5, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Last chance to see Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross before first tour stint

Dali Christ of St John of the Cross

Dali Christ of St John of the Cross

It was a bit of a wake-up call when I saw an item about the painting earlier this week, alerting anyone interested that the iconic painting is heading to London soon, and won’t be back in Glasgow until next summer. The first alert had come back in May, but I didn’t move.

The painting will be one of the star attractions of Dalí/Duchamp, opening on 7 October at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The exhibition will then travel to The Dalí Museum in St Petersburg, Florida from February to May 2018.

I had a look at the Dalí Museum – tickets there are $24.

(Think that as you enjoy free admission to Kelvingrove! We really do enjoy some benefits here – as a native Glaswegian, I just can’t comprehend not being able to visit museums as often as I wish.)

It will then go on loan to Auckland Castle in County Durham from autumn 2019 until spring 2020.

We will get a piece by Hentry Raeburn from the Royal Academy in return.

I have my own thoughts on the replacement we need while this painting is on loan.

It was nice to see that Kelvingrove was busy, and that the small room where the painting is displayed was also busy (as opposed to mobbed). A steady stream of viewers passed through, also watching a video showing near the door to the room, and displays relating to the history of the painting and its acquisition.

I was pleased to see that there were no restrictions on photography (other than the all-encompassing ‘No Flash’ request – ignored by some). One of the coups achieved by Honeyman (who purchased the painting for Glasgow) was to have the copyright included (often retained by the artist), and I have been to other museum where they have the equivalent of the ‘Heavy Squad’ on hand, enforcing a No Photography rule on works they own copyright for.

That’s bad, very bad, and I just don’t patronise them. They’re also in a land where you have to pay for museum admission.

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

At last – a cat pic!

It’s been a bad summer for cat pics, just not sunny or warm enough to tempt them away from the nice, dry, indoors.

I’ve seen a few, but no chance of catching a pic.

There was the black one I saw sitting behind a gate – pitch dark night, of course.

A slinky long-furred redhead last night, which I know would bolt as soon as I moved near as it was obviously wound up like a tight spring and ready to run.

And I even saw one setting up an alibi, and had clearly just been involved in some crime, as it sped out of one house, across the road like a blur, only to reappear seconds later in the distant back garden, licking/washing its paw and looking as if it had been sat there all day, and was completely innocent.

But I got lucky and found a settled sitting in a window, and unlike most did not stand up, stretch, and walk away as I reached for a camera.

Classic black cat, two furballs stuck together with a pair of ears and a pair of eyes stuck on. If it’s a Scottish Fold you can forget the ears, and if the eyes are closed, you can leave them out too!

Hope its right eye is OK, as there is dark patch at the bottom, maybe just a recent injury.

Black Cat Odd Eye

BBC – Budhill Black Cat (Odd Eye)

There was an irritating black wire hanging across this window, which ruined it, and I couldn’t avoid.

I decided to give a semi-automated tool I picked up for dealing with such intrusions a try. I don’t usually bother as dealing with such things invisibly can burn up silly amounts of time, but for a less than careful use of this little toy, and only two minutes’ worth of effort, it seems to have done a fair job of ridding the pic of that particular distraction.

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Most useless warning ever

After yesterday’s subject of ‘Most useless shop ever‘, I spotted an online warning that cried out to carry on that theme, and be the ‘Most useless warning ever‘.

The following source is dated 27 July 2017, just a few days ago, from a news site I have never come across before: GlasgowLive

(If this is typical, then I can guess why my searches have passed it by).

Warning after UK’s ‘most dangerous plant’ is spotted in Glasgow

I don’t know who is responsible for spotting such ‘dangers’, but they need a wake up call (or a good stiff boot up the backside) if they are being paid for this stuff.

They’re not only FAR TOO LATE with this so-called ‘Warning’, they’re so late that most of the plants concerned are dead or dying.

They say (remember, on 27 July 2017):

The UK’s “most dangerous plant” has been spotted in several locations across Glasgow.

Giant hogweed has been spotted in areas around Rutherglen and Cambuslang, especially near the River Clyde, East Kilbride Road, Greenlees Road and in the Cathkin area.

The plant can grow up to three metres tall with a 20cm thick stem and a large, white, umbrella-shaped flowering head.

It has sharply serrated or divided leaves which can grow up to 2m wide with bristles on the underside.

I posted a ‘sighting’ recorded in Cambuslang on 04 June 2017, just above the banks of the River Clyde which were teeming with the giants well-established and in full bloom – that’s almost TWO MONTHS before that belated effort.

Beware the Giant Hogweed – Really!

Giant Hogweed Bud

Giant Hogweed Bud

And then I posted again, about three weeks later, when they had started dying off:

Giant hogweed – not so cocky after three weeks

Giant Hogweed Dried

Giant Hogweed Dried

Almost a month after taking those pics near Cambuslang, I could go and take another of the banks of the River Clyde at Clydeford Bridge, but it would be a waste of time as all the plants concerned are now withered, brown, and dying, with few (if any) of the white flowering heads to be seen anywhere.

By all means issue a warning, but try to make it BEFORE the danger arises, not long after the main danger is well past its sell-by date.

A little better fact-checking and writing would not go amiss either.

I doubt the likelihood of  the “20cm thick stem” they claim in their ‘warning’. That’s more like a small tree trunk, not a stem.

From the pics, 2 cm seems typical, with a bit more on better examples than the weedy ones I caught by the roadside.

I also have my doubts about “leaves which can grow up to 2m wide“, and think what they really meant to refer to was the overall width of the leaves’ spread around the main stem, not the leaves themselves.

2 metre wide leaves – now THAT would be a GIANT HOGWEED!


So, I lied – and DID go get pics to prove my case.

Well, I had to be there anyway, so took a decent camera.

The first pic is looking over the bridge parapet next to where the original pics above were taken.

As can be seen, no white flower heads on the deadly giant hogweed down there, and I had to push the processing to make the dried up brown and dead or dying plants show up at all.

Giant Hogweed August 1

Giant Hogweed August 1

And a second, this time including the river just to put things in context. Again dead and dying, brown and dry.

Giant Hogweed August 1

Giant Hogweed August 1

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Just too late, always just too late

I never seem to quite pre-empt anything interesting, and failed (or should that be succeeded) again today.

Walking along the road beside Budhill Park, an odd noise made me turn round and look into the park.

I’m not sure what the noise was, but there was a white car on the park’s running track, with two males exiting and heading for a guy with a dog.

I was way too far away to hear anything, and the dog-walker wasn’t running away or arguing, but the guys from the car pulled some sort of photo-id (those irritating cards some seem to have permanently hanging around their necks) out and presented it to him.

Nothing happened, as could have been the case if there had been a confrontation or similar.

So, I’m none the wiser, the dog-walker walked on, and the two guys got back in the car and left.

From the distance, the id presented looked all white, so I don’t think they were police (last id I saw was coloured, not plain), but that doesn’t man they weren’t.

Maybe it was the ‘Poop Patrol’, after dog and owner had been ‘naughty’.

Oh well, maybe next time I’ll be closer – and not just get left with… curiosity.

Budhill Park Car

Budhill Park Car

August 1, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

After posting the most useless shop, let’s try for the most useful

After ending July with the most useless shop ever, I thought I’d better make up for the black humour spawned by that sighting with something that’s actually potentially really just as likely to be tragic, but is generally more likely to raise a laugh.

Here’s the most useful shop (if you have insurance, and have an accident, and need a solicitor).

I guess I don’t need to go digging up past news about accident statistics for this one, unlike yesterday’s where I felt the need to throw in some memory jogging regarding how wealthy we are, here in the east end of Glasgow.

Heck, we probably need solicitors, just to help with the accident claim after we fall off our wallets, so fat because we are all so wealthy here.

Accidents Will Happen

Accidents Will Happen


August 1, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Site news July 2017

They say it never rains but it pours, and July 2017 could be a subtle hint that I should give up and walk away.

The Forum has proven/confirmed it is a dead, having no support from the few who were seen wandering around it (and the log showing its regular visitors are people who are very active on other forums, so can only be assumed to be visiting to poach material).

A single email enquiring about it, and its fate, would have been nice after hosting issues knocked it (and the whole domain) offline.

But for the fact that a number of Wiki pages link to threads within it, it would probably be gone this month, or replaced.

The Wiki was almost equally disappointing, taken offline by the same hosting issues, and despite an apparently healthy visitor/activity record, only ONE enquiry asked after its fate.

Probably not really a surprise though – it used to generate a steady drip of enquiries regarding its content, these died off recently.

However, the real issues of June 2017 arose from problems, caused by external services, ruining what had previously been an easily maintained web site that needed little intervention.

July 2017 issues

Two major issues affected the site, both outside our control.

First, hosting issues arose after a simple migration by our provider, not helped by a touch of unfortunate timing which meant that when we checked this was OK, we saw it was OK… only to learn later we had gone offline (thanks to a missing setting).

As we were busy elsewhere and not online for some time, that went on much longer than it should before we returned saw the problem, and corrected it.

Next, the shocking Photobucket debacle when they withdrew free image-hosting, at a stroke removing nearly all images in the Wiki, replacing them with a blackmail advert offering to restore them for a mere $400 per annum.

Although this Rupert Murdoch sales initiative had always been expected (by me at least, as Photobucket changed over the years since his business grabbed it), and we stopped using it for new images some time ago, it still robbed the Wiki of images hosted there in the early years, which will now have to be re-hosted. That job will take “More than 5-minutes”.

And finally, just to round the month of July off…

The Wiki, normally trouble-free and completely reliable (unless I am ‘tampering’), suddenly started generating a recurring error message about a deprecated function, generated a never-ending error log file, filled out web in a few seconds – and kept suspending our web hosting as it exceed our quota.

This ended up taking days to fix, as neither we nor our web host appeared to have changed anything (the usual source of such problems arising).

The cause is still not clear, although a new version of the relevant code was part of the fix.

Last straw but one?

But for the fact that this site is run for reasons not related to ‘Making My First Million’, or for the benefit of others, the problems of the past month or so would probably be sufficient reason to dump it. But that is not why it was created, or exists.

However, I have other reasons, so it’s safe, for the moment at least.

The Blog

Excluded from the above misery is this Blog, currently managing to survive 2017 as my best attempt at a PaD (Post a Day), and probably generating more interest than any other part of the site (other than the Flickr pic group, which even impresses me with its content).

If nothing else, the effort to get this to the end of the year will continue unaffected by events elsewhere.

You can help

With the issues we seem to be suffering at the moment, I can understand why there’s little contact these days, the site being deserted, and why even those who do get in touch seem to disappear.

On the other hand, there are (apparently) quite a few visitors to the site, and many are repeat visitors.

It would be nice to hear the odd word, instead of seeing everyone just look in and then immediately run away.

August 1, 2017 Posted by | Site News | , , | 5 Comments

Study suggests nine lifestyle changes can reduce dementia risk

Old And Isolated

As someone touched by dementia within their family, I think anything that might reduce the risk of falling victim to this affliction has to be worth a mention.

According to an international study in the Lancet., one in three cases of dementia could be prevented if more people looked after their brain health throughout life, and it lists nine key risk factors including lack of education, hearing loss, smoking, and physical inactivity.

These risk factors, described as potentially modifiable, make up 35% of the total risk – the remaining 65% is thought to be potentially non-modifiable.

  • Mid-life hearing loss – responsible for 9% of the risk
  • Failing to complete secondary education – 8%
  • Smoking – 5%
  • Failing to seek early treatment for depression – 4%
  • Physical inactivity – 3%
  • Social isolation – 2%
  • High blood pressure – 2%
  • Obesity – 1%
  • Type 2 diabetes – 1%

Depending on your own lifestyle and circumstances, some of those may or may not be easy to alter positively, but I think the relevant factor is that people be made aware of them.

It’s no secret that some of the items listed are clearly not good for their health, but many people ignore that already – perhaps coming into contact with people affected by dementia (victims and their families) might be something that would help persuade them to review their life choices.

Via: Nine lifestyle changes can reduce dementia risk, study says


The report, which combines the work of 24 international experts, says lifestyle factors can play a major role in increasing or reducing an individual’s dementia risk.

Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before,” said lead author Prof Gill Livingston, from University College London.

Acting now will vastly improve life for people with dementia and their families and, in doing so, will transform the future of society.


July 31, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | | Leave a comment

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