Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Christmas casualty from 2016

I don’t know what’s changed – possibly the refuse collection cycle or recycling rules – but a few years ago I used to be able to find what I referred to as ‘Christmas casualties’ around Christmas Day. Basically last year’s ‘must have’ toy thrown out by the kids to make way for this year’s addition to the collection.

Now? I still walk the same streets, but the ‘casualties’ seem to be rare.

I spotted this just sitting abandoned in an empty (Shettleston) street, and at first thought it was new. But when I got closer it looked more like a once well-cared for favourite, but now dumped – although it is clean, the stickers are worn, and the seat has a hole burnt in it.

It’s all I’ve seen so far.

Kid cycle Hello Kitty Christmas casualty

Kid cycle Hello Kitty Christmas casualty


January 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Uddingston illuminations (late Christmas 2016)

I didn’t get a chance to wander along to Uddingston to see if it had any Christmas lights (and I’ve never looked before), so a break in the rain we’ve had meant a late look.

First thing I noticed was the illuminated sign on the road in – something I usually miss as I am walking the other way if it’s late enough for this to be lit when I usually walk behind it as I am heading back home later in the day. It’s BIG – but needs a little TLC as some of the lamps have died. Time to update it with LEDs, and they can really neglect (oops, forget) it since those lamps will last longer.

Uddingston sign lit

Uddingston sign lit

The model shop was open and bright too – looking as if the window was being re-arranged, the back was clear for once and the was clear all the way to the counter at the back. Sadly, nobody was around.

I wonder how many drones/quads they sold for Christmas 2016?

Uddingston model shop window

Uddingston model shop window

Just a bit closer, for some more detail:

Uddingston model shop window detail

Uddingston model shop window detail

Getting to the far end (and time to turn back and head for home), Tunnock’s factory was nice and bright as usual.

Then I spotted a late bonus – while the Christmas lights were still on the lampposts, they were of course now switched off, but…

Due to some quirk of the wiring, ONE post still carried a lit decoration, and I was able to catch it along with the factory.

The Christmas tree was still in place (visible just behind the phone box) but stripped of all its lights and decorations, so looking a little sad.

Tunnocks Christmas 2016

Tunnock’s Christmas 2016

There was slightly glum note…

The cycle/bike/car shop (behind me as I took the pic of Tunnock’s) had a ‘CLOSING DOWN‘ sign in each of its windows.

Shame, I’m just so used to seeing it, and even found an excuse to go in and buy some bike spares there last year.

January 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas 2016 – Baillieston

Last of the set, and it turned out to be the hardest to catch, almost being missed.

This should have been easy, but a change in habit meant hardly being in Baillieston at all over the season, and when I did get there… found the layout was hard to catch in simple pics.

Always placed at the cross, the tree is quite far from the main street, and while all the lampposts carry lights, they are quite slim, so hard to show in a pic if not facing straight on to them.

In the end, I kept three pics, but the street decorations look better than in their pics, and the tree was lying at an angle (due to the ground) so I had to try to straighten it, just a little.




December 29, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 2 Comments

Christmas 2016 – Shettleston

While there may not be an obvious place for a Christmas tree, Shettleston does have a permanent installation of supports for a few Christmas lights in the main street, and not having too many means that there’s always a display on show.

And that’s probably not a bad sign for the east end of Glasgow – for a place that the media usually likes to use as an example of one of, if not the most, underprivileged and poorest areas of Scotland.

Even if the display doesn’t have the advantage of a tree, I like it.

Shettleston Christmas lights

Shettleston Christmas lights

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas 2016 – Glasgow Fort

Since the place seems to stay busy, I suppose I should say this post is just a personal opinion (or tribute to Grumpy Cat), and I’m not trying to convert anybody.

It was a while (years) before I realised there was a footbridge over the M8, meaning I could visit the then ‘new’ Glasgow Fort shopping centre, but I wasn’t impressed when I did, and still don’t think much of it (even less since they closed the door at the footbridge). I guess I’m too attached to the original internal shopping centre, or mall, design, where you can spend a day wandering around a warm, dry, wind-free centre. Glasgow Fort is nothing more than a ‘gated community’ of shops arranged along private roads or precincts, and if you want out of the cold/wind/rain, you are obliged to go into a shop – that just smacks of a deliberate psychological ‘sales push’ to me. If you force people into a shop, then you are guaranteed more impulse buying than if you allow them to stay outside.

So, an ordinary mall seeks to do the same – but at least I can be comfortable in it, and not be soaked, frozen, or blown over.

I only go there for the 90 minute walk two or three times a year, to see if it has changed – other than that, I find a visit there is nothing more than depressing, with the only high point being wander round the big craft/hobby store… and to look in awe at how the growing popularity of the hobby of crafting has seen insane prices tagged on the materials, much of which can only cost pennies. Some of the stuff is obscene, and while making things like cards was once a way to save money, making things using ‘craft materials’ now seems to INCREASE the price of an item threefold compared to buying. But the brainwashing of the craft sellers is that you are giving a personal, hand-made, unique (how is that, if it is made of stock parts they supply) item, and not some horrible mass-produced item to a friend, and insulting them with it.

No real trees there, and I think they tend to roll out the same standard lights.

I’m always amused to see Chisholm Hunter there, possibly one of the most expensive jewellers to be found in Glasgow’s Argyll Arcade – yet it’s worth their while to have a branch in Easterhouse, and area that pleads poverty and deprivation in Scotland. Prices are booming too – over the past few years I’ve seen the price of a Rado watch I like leap from £800 to well over £1,700. I should stop looking in the window.

Glasgow Fort christmas

Glasgow Fort Christmas

I mentioned the loss of the ‘back door’.

This pic shows the opening that used to greet you almost as soon as you stepped off the footbridge over the M8.

Glasgow Fort back door closed

Glasgow Fort back door closed

Now, if you are a peasant arriving on foot you have to pass this former entrance, and carry on for another 250 metres to get to the front door, and finally walk in. And you get to repeat that when you leave too.

Still, at least somebody has their own little comfy parking spot there now, behind the fence, on the last bit of path that once led from the bridge to the door.

December 27, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas 2016 – Cambuslang

Looking at Cambuslang’s Christmas tree, I thought there was something familiar about it.

It may just be coincidence, but it looks (to my glance at least) as if the tree was dressed by the same folk that were responsible for yesterday’s, caught in Rutherglen.

Nice and simple this time, as I could fit both the street lights and the tree in a single shot. Much easier than Rutherglen.

Cambuslang Christmas 2016

Cambuslang Christmas 2016

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas fair arrives in George Square

Another slight oddity I had forgotten about – and one I usually don’t get lucky and catch.

I don’t think I’ve even seen such a fairground ride being assembled, or arriving, so it was interesting to see the way this carousel was unpacked and assembled, together with the way the horses were all lined up neatly for transport.

The ride itself is an ingenious piece of engineering, both looking attractive and hiding the functional mechanics out of sight when complete, but become even more interesting when you see how it all folds up for transport. With oversimplifying, it’s easy enough to engineer something that works, but to make that same item as something which can be taken apart and re-assembled easily takes a lot more thought.

This reminded me of a fairground ride builder/maintainer I came across somewhere in Polmadie some years ago.

I only had the chance to visit formally once, then forgot about it for years – and now I see the area has been razed, so no chance of another look.

Fairground arrival

Fairground arrival

A few days later, and all is working well:

Carousel complete

Carousel complete

December 22, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas lights 2016 – Rutherglen

It was amusing to look at this year’s pic of Rutherglen’s Christmas tree – by chance (or more likely because I happen to like the framing) it looked almost exactly the same as that from 2015 as I had unintentionally stood in almost exactly the same spot when I took it. That the lights in the street and on the tree were also almost exactly the same helped too.

I probably couldn’t have duplicated it had I tried.

Rutherglen Christmas tree 2016

Rutherglen Christmas tree 2016

Rutherglen is a little more inviting that most, having added ‘Welcome’ signs at each end of the main street.

Looking west:

Rutherglen Christmas lights west

Rutherglen Christmas lights west

And looking east:

Rutherglen Christmas lights east

Rutherglen Christmas lights east

The east view is interesting – you can’t just cross the road (if at the shops in the main street) and take it.

You have to wander through the underpass below the junction (or walk even further away to find a road crossing) and then come back onto a grassy area, as there is no pavement or footpath there.

Last year, I was not familiar with the layout and could not see how to get there in the dark, so…

Solved the apparent lack of access problem by taking the pic from behind the ‘Welcome to Rutherglen’ sign – and them flipping the pic horizontally. While the sign looks fine, the pic is not accurate… it does not show the lights in the main street, which should appear behind the sign.

It also turns the street American!

(The traffic is on the ‘wrong’ side).

Rutherglen Christmas lights east 2015

Rutherglen Christmas lights east 2015

December 22, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas 2016 – Gorbals

Not one of my usual haunts, but I won’t turn down the surprise chance of an extra Christmas pic.

I’d been wandering in some streets I hadn’t been in before and was heading in the general direction of the city centre to find a suitable road home when I turned a corner and spotted a fairly large Christmas tree.

A quick look at the street names confirmed I was almost where I wanted to be, and this tree was just across from the Gorbals Co-op store.

Odd lighting there – although it was quite dark to my eye, the camera found lots of light and this shot has surprisingly little in terms of areas of darkness, the street lights and surroundings seem to have thrown the available light around a lot more than is usual, or was obvious at the time. That sky – was NOT as light as it looks.

Gorbals Christmas tree

Gorbals Christmas tree

December 21, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas 2016 – Glasgow Argyle Street

Taking a pic of Argyle Street at Christmas seems to be obligatory, so here’s one for the collection.

I think I got lucky when I grabbed this shot, as others I took looked ‘ugly’, which I think was simply down to having one or two people in the foreground, and very much ‘out of scale’ with the more evenly sized bodies behind, leading to the view being ‘unbalanced’:

Argyle Street Christmas

Argyle Street Christmas

Still not sure about deer…

Oh well – maybe make an exception for reindeer at Christmas (unlikely to meet them on the road, unlike their IQ0 cousins).

December 20, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Revenge on the reindeer

In the nicest possible way, I found myself heading back to get revenge on the reindeer standing below the Christmas tree in George Square.

I’d taken a few pics when they first appeared, but deleted what I’d taken as they just looked like a mass of white lights with no definition to show what they were meant to model. Although I could SEE the difference when looking by eye, catching them in a pic just saw what was really there – a single large group of white lights.

Although I looked for alternatives, I just couldn’t see a view or option that gave at least SOME indication that these were supposed to be a group of reindeer pulling a sleigh – then, I happened to see a view in Flickr that seemed to work, and at least hinted at the presence of a group.

I memorised the view and headed back to get revenge… or just a recognisable pic that suggested reindeer.

Things were a lot busier and I couldn’t quite pick the right spot or moment, but at least I did learn that a little perseverance WOULD eventually find a view that looked more like reindeer in front of a sleigh, rather than just a bag of white lights dumped in front of it.

George Square reindeer and sleigh

George Square reindeer and sleigh

It’s not perfect (or as good as the example I spotted) but it shows the principle, and could be refined with better positioning and a little more time (and less crowd).

You CAN always learn.

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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