Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The JOY of reg

I’ve no idea why, but even though I know better I’m always surprised at how old the Aston Martin body shape is.

I don’t mean old as in ‘ancient’, more that when I check an actual model and find it is not something from 3 or 4 years ago at most, it just surprises me.

It happened recently (again!) when I checked the detail behind this recent catch, and it turned out to be a 2004 Aston Martin DB9 Auto.

13 years old and it looks like it just rolled out of the showroom… as this year’s model.

I’ve got a DBS V12 living along the road at the moment, it may be 5 years newer, from 2009, but this older one looks little better.

Aston Martin DB9 Auto 2004

Aston Martin DB9 Auto 2004

March 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Social media trivialises real issues

It’s a pity that social media lets mindless morons gripe about trivia.

At the moment, it appears to be ‘kewl’ to post pics of supposedly bad parking, and for certain news outlets to publicise those same pics and claim they are ‘viral sensations’. In reality, I suspect many are posed, and their trivial shots of things such as cars with a wheel touching the white line of a parking space in an otherwise empty car park are designed to attracts clicks and ‘likes’ because they are so ridiculous.

I seldom see any that matter, such as the example below.

I only notice as I first saw a woman with a pram and two kids in tow walking down the middle of the road because she could pass this van on the pavement.

Not only is it blocking passage on the footpath for a pram or wheelchair user, nobody can even walk past it thank to the inconsiderate parking blocking even that option with a huge door mirror.

Unlike ‘activists’, I have no problem with cars parking partially on the footpath where streets are narrow – drivers and pedestrian can share some inconvenience. But a little consideration can go a long way to help others.

Oh, my mistake…

The REAL villain of the piece is the homeowner on the right, and that massive hedge they have grown.

Obstructive parking

Obstructive parking

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

Life… It never rains but it pours

It’s one minute past midnight on 16 March 2017.

While I was already less than happy (since I couldn’t do anything about yesterday’s unavoidable life milestone), I thought I might at least be spared any other mishaps on an already depressing day – I should have known better. Just for good measure I was put firmly in my place by fate, and was ill too.

Making the best of a bad lot, it should only last a day and I should be able to look forward to being back to my normal miserable self tomorrow.

As it was, this probably sums up the day:

It just gets better

It just gets better


Far far away…

In the depths of Hell…

I was still making atl east one reader happy:

Grumpy Cat



March 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

My life is over

It’s one minute past midnight on 15 March 2017.

While I don’t do personal details and stuff online, it’s true to say that today does actually mark a milestone that falls under the general heading of ‘My life is over‘, and this is how I’ll spend my day today:

My life is over

My life is over


Far far away…

In the depths of Hell…

I made at least one reader happy:

Grumpy Cat


March 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Happy Pi Day

I almost forgot/missed it again!

I don’t know why, and I both know and think it is silly, but for some reason I’ve come to LIKE the existence of Pi Day.

You’ll always find some amazing pie pics shown online, baked to mark the the day, but this seemed…

Pi Day

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

How I have a day at the seaside

In the ‘good old days’ when petrol was priced somewhat less than liquid gold, I used enjoy regular jollies down the coast. Before the made the roads ‘better’ and improved the A77, Ayr beach was nice little jaunt of around three-quarters of an hour.

At last count, and that was some years ago, things had got so much better that the trip had become one of an hour or more.


Haven’t seen Ayr (or any other part of the Clyde coast) for years, but thanks to living near a landfill site, some open land, and some scavenging seagulls, can still imagine.

It’s weird sometimes, as the gulls sometimes fill the sky nearby, and make just as much noise as they do when folk at the seaside throw their various suppers (from the sea front Fish & Chip shops) at them.

And, if I’m feeling really nostalgic, then I can wander along the road, and watch the gulls frolicking and having a bath on the spare ground, which never drains fully and, if you ignore the background, looks almost like the seaside.

'Seaside' seagulls

‘Seaside’ seagulls

Making the most of the poor drainage.

Time for a swim

Time for a swim

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The lone cyclist

This may not look like much, but is actually something that deserves a bit of credit and even some admiration.

This was grabbed a few weeks ago (purely thanks to all the automatics in the camera, grabbed, pointed in the general direction and fired without any prep before he disappeared again), while we were still enjoying dry, but freezing days. Although he’s hidden and well wrapped up, the gent on the bike actually matches the honest description ‘little old man’ and he doesn’t travel fast – at a guess, I run as fast as he rides.

But I’ve come to realise he’s been passing me at his steady pace for some time now, possibly a year or two, or even more. At first I thought he was going somewhere, but over time I realised he was actually just circling the same part of the A74 London Road. It’s not a bad idea either, now that the motorway has siphoned off nearly all the traffic that used to thunder along it en masse. It used to be a life-threatening experience to cross. Now? I could almost wander across without even seeing a vehicle. Even at its busiest, only burst of vehicles are seen, as they are held and released in batches by near redundant traffic lights – almost all could be replaced by Give Way signs nowadays.

But back to our cyclist. I feel embarrassed, having taken up my (apparently now collectablevintage) cycle last year, a mishap left me laid up and unable to ride for weeks soon after, and despite plans to ride at least a little to keep fit over winter, have yet to get back on. So much for plans to stay ‘riding fit’.

I had to change my walking route, so haven’t been there regularly for a while, and haven’t seen him since.

Lone cyclist

Lone cyclist

Seeing the pic some weeks later, I’m surprised to see it looks deliberately shot, even framed with the rider between the trees, as opposed to the frantic grab needed to get the camera out of its pocket and at least pointing in the general direction needed. I guess I was lucky this was a bright and sunny day, and it chose a fast shutter speed meaning no shake/blur, and the anti-shake also did its job too.

March 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

The Prisoner airing on Freeview Ch61 ‘True Entertainment’ from 21:00 Mon 13 Mar 2017

True Entertainment
I spotted a slightly surprising show due to be aired on Freeview Channel 61.

‘True Entertainment’ is about start showing The Prisoner as of Monday 13 March 2017 at 21:00.

This replaces the current run of The Persuaders and will follow the same format of two episodes per evening.

While that will burn through the series in less than two weeks, The Persuaders was only 24 eps, and has been repeating for the past few weeks.

I don’t have the ability to look far enough forward to see if The Prisoner will also be looped for a while.

While I have a few version on various media collected over the years, and could watch as I wished, I never do, and rather like the ‘old-fashioned’ discipline of having to ‘catch’ a programme when it is on. That said, I seldom watch anything live now (or at all to be honest) but delay, so I can wipe out the poxy adverts.

Brings back memories too.

In the Village

In the Village

I said I was surprised, and that’s because we passed the 50th anniversary of the series not that long ago, yet not one broadcaster saw fit to mention it, or run the series to mark the event.

March 12, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

How about talking Rothesay UP rather than DOWN?

Over the years, and I mean in decades, not just single years, one would have to be bordering on delusional or blind not to have seen how Rothesay has become neglected, BUT saying that alone would selectively ignore the simple fact that ALL the towns which enjoyed prosperity as Clyde resorts over the years suffered the same downturn in their fortunes once the cheap package holiday took hold around the 1970s, and Brits deserted their local holiday venues.

It was simply cheaper to jet off abroad than holiday at home. And truth be told that wasn’t really the fault of the Clyde (and other) resort towns, but a consequence of a massive new package holiday industry backed by smart operators and the money to invest in it and make it pay for them. Sell cheap, sell lots, collect a small margin, but collect lots of it.

But there’s been a quiet revolution on the Clyde, and even before I had to give up regular visits to many of the former resort towns, they were being slowly turned around at the start of the millennium, and the process has been continuous.

Too slow for some, I still get the sense of a derogatory tone when some writers just chant the same mantra of doom and gloom as has been heard since the 1970s, but that is unfair.

Change really has to be slow to be effective. Think of the stupid fad diets pushed by ‘celebrities’ – their purpose is to make celebrities rich by having stupid people eat their ‘magic food’. Rapid change in a place is the same. Both leave the buyer unsatisfied, are ineffective, and their only effect is to empty pockets.

Rothesay has seen such a long-term initiative: The Rothesay Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI)

This 5 year plan concluded in 2016, with numerous sites and buildings throughout the town benefiting.

I’m lucky enough to access to pics of the changes made in the town, but it was tough to pick just a couple to provide a representative ‘Before and After’ example.

In the end, I went for the facade behind the car park on Guildford Square, NOT because of the infilling of the long standing gap site there (that was easy), but for the view either side, where the existing buildings have been retained and restored:

Guildford Square in 2013

Guildford Square in 2013


Guildford Square in 2015

Guildford Square in 2015

Don’t get me wrong on this, I’m not saying it’s perfect – I’m the type that would have dearly loved to see the chequered original of ‘Maison Gina’ restored rather than swept away (I even miss the gap, it was an old friend), but… I’m also a realist.

See this gallery for a look at many of those projects while underway:

Zak’s Gallery: Rothesay Townscape Heritage Initiative

It’s not my place or intent to ‘Name and Shame’, but it can be disappointing/depressing to read some commenters derogatory remarks about how slow this project was (in their opinions) and some even criticised the 5% contribution asked of those who wanted the THI to assist with their property.

Still others may be found who still sneer and call ‘failure’ as they point at the building which may still be referred to as ‘eyesores’, as if the THI was supposed to fix ALL the town’s structural problems.

They won’t be happy…

In fact, they’ll probably be hopping mad, as a new initiative aims to target “prominent buildings on the seafront to ensure as big a visual impact as possible.”

Rothesay is to share in a £6.2 million fund which will help to upgrade the seafront.

The Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) funding which has been announced, will see £500,000 of funding by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) for essential repairs and improvements to buildings on Rothesay’s seafront.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said: “We’ve seen how successful this approach can be in previous schemes across the UK, and I’m looking forward to seeing the results for Rothesay.”

The aim of Rothesay CARS will be to repair prominent buildings on the seafront to ensure as big a visual impact as possible.


CARS specifically targets conservation areas with disadvantages that make it difficult to attract investment in sustainable regeneration.

The scheme assists these areas through channelling funding towards opportunities to enhance sustainable economic growth and help support projects that develop an area’s sense of place.

The scheme is open to Local and National Park Authorities, community groups and other third sector organisations delivering multi-funded projects.

Funding can be utilised for a number of purposes, from priority repairs and small grants to homeowners and retailers, to providing traditional craft training opportunities.

Via ‘The Buteman’: Rothesay seafront to get £500k boost

I really don’t care about the naysayers any more, and just ignore them in passing now, and enjoy the various improvements made to the town and its facilities. They can go wallow in the pit of their own self-imposed misery – the rest of us will move on.

March 12, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Morons and vandals – NOT artists

They call themselves ‘graffiti artists’ and worship at the holy altar of the ‘Banksy’.

I just call them vandals and would happily see them all locked up, or on work details cleaning their muck from our wall and street furniture.

Before anybody makes assumptions and thinks I’m a miserable sod, I have NO problem with any murals or similar that are approved and wanted in a community. Glasgow has grown a fantastic collection in recent years, and now has leaflets to guide visitors around it mural trails, and I see similar in other towns and cities.

But I have no time for those who run around thinking any piece of clean wall or similar is ‘theirs’, or that every door or piece of street furniture was provided for them to ‘tag’. They’re simply causing malicious criminal damage to other people’s property, probably with stolen/shoplifted spray paint, and costing those people money to clean up their mess.

Those behind this sort of moronic ‘campaign’ are at best double-dumb.

The one group who will NEVER see their handiwork? Their supposed target.

But it will be seen by folk who live near it, and will be ticked off and want it cleaned off, and it will be seen by the council worker who will care not one jot about it, other than to say ‘Thanks’ for keeping them in a  – unless someone takes the view that there’s no money for this as it costs too much to keep cleaning this dirt away, and fires them.

I’m not sure where I picked this one up – I was wandering around Easterhouse that day.

Graffiti Stop Control

Graffiti Stop Control

March 12, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Oatlands Girl – a new sculpture to find in Glasgow

Oatlands Girl is a four metre high sculpture installed in the Gorbals/ Oatlands area of Glasgow, unveiled by the First Minister of Scotland in 2016.

As part of the creative process, children from the area’s St Francis’, Blackfriars, and Hampden primary schools were encouraged to investigate their own artistic potential, and the sculpture is said to represent the youth of Oatlands looking to the future, whilst recognising the role played by the past in the region’s story.

Find it at the junction of Polmadie Road and New Rutherglen Road.

I had never heard of it the day I was there, and found it purely by chance.

The head is actually a flat profile, in stainless steel, as opposed to a 3-dimensional figure.

Combined with the shape of the plinth, which is not square but features a slight taper, I found it hard to take pic that did not look ‘wrong’ to the eye unless it was taken square on to the subject. I generally prefer an oblique view catching two sides at once, but with the flat subject, tapering base, and the addition of perspective errors arising from the buildings behind, such a view just looked as if it was sloping to one side or another, regardless of how I tried to straighten it with my limited tools

Oatlands Girl

Oatlands Girl

Here’s the plaque in detail.

Oatlands Girl Plaque

Oatlands Girl Plaque

While front is etched with the girl’s feature, the back of the sculpture is plain, although it does have some more of the notes with local sayings on them. (Sorry I couldn’t step any further back to catch it all, even with a wide lens, and the angle meant trying to stitch a panorama failed miserably too).

Oatlands Girl Back

Oatlands Girl Back

I found an original concept sketch online – credit to: Rob Mullholland – News Page

The final version is really close to the concept, while the ‘trail’ of objects seems to be the sculptor’s trademark.

Original concept sketch - Sculptor Rob Mulholland

Original concept sketch – Sculptor Rob Mulholland

March 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

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