Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

When neeb’s wheels just aren’t interesting enough

It’s a bit sad, but quite a few cars fall into a sort of limbo where they’re nice enough, there’s nothing objectionable about them, but they’re just not ‘interesting’, even if they contain some nice technology under the skin.

I’ve noticed quite a few of my neighbour’s cars fall into this category, and quite a few sport interesting registration numbers I’ve been passing for years, but never ‘collected’.

No real need since I see them on an almost daily basis, and they’ve  become almost invisible by way of the old ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ adage.

This one in particular has always intrigued me, but I never remembered to check its history.

As you’ll see, the plate shows the registration as SFO 697, but with the ongoing plethora of plates with illegal spacing, I always wondered if it might be SF 0697. Likely or not, I now know it is nice and legal as shown.

2005 Audi A8 TDI Quattro Auto [SFO 697]

2005 Audi A8 TDI Quattro Auto [SFO 697]

And it looks pretty good for a 2005 car too.

13 years on Scottish roads don’t seem to have made much of an impression on it.

Some cars look old and tired after only 3 years, even if looked after. I was sometimes disappointed to look at some of my company rides when I was obliged to give them back, and could see problem areas, tatty spots, rust, ingrained discolouration, and other evidence that showed they had not escaped use, even after I had looked after them. That said, few of them had broken down or failed.

Pity the same cars in the hands of some of my colleagues.

They wouldn’t even check fluids… “That’s a job for the garage when a service is due” was their philosophy.


June 11, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

The illegals – G3 YNX

Another one that leaves me ever so slightly puzzled at the chance take to receive a fine of up to £1,000 for illegally spaced characters on a registration plate these days.

What does G3YNX represent?

Smart little Audi A1 from 2014 caught me by surprise as it sits in a street I pass by frequently, but due to the way I usually approach, is hidden by other cars.

2014 Audi  A1 [G3 YNX]

2014 Audi A1 [G3 YNX]

May 27, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

The illegals – B19 OBY (found before)

While I usually don’t mind too much if I take a bad pic – on the basis that SOME pic is better than NO pic – when I find I’ve got a better one lurking in the files… I can’t leave it alone.

I wouldn’t usually just do a straight repeat, unless there was a good reason, and comparing the two pics – this is a good reason.

I caught an Audi S3 a while ago, but it was a grotty evening, the car was about to escape, so it was a ‘grab’ shot with no choice over settings.

THAT pic took a lot of processing to turn into something semi-presentable.

Churning through some old pics, SURPRISE!

A decent pic of the same, caught almost on my own doorstep.

(Still can’t really work out what makes the chance of a £1,000 fine for this illegal spacing worth it.)

Audi S3 [B19 OBY]

Audi S3 [B19 OBY]

April 10, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

The illegals – AN51 EYH

Been watching this for a while, horrified that I might live anywhere near such a waste of skin as a celebrity chef.

The only good thing about them is that they confirm I have better grip on reality that some, who complain about MPs being overpaid, while these (I almost said ‘idiots’, but clearly are NOT) geniuses get paid thousands, amass millions, and just… COOK STUFF!

Actually, they’re even smarter than that, as they get to be arrogant bullies that abuse kitchen staff paid pennies, and avoid the sort of prosecution they’d earn if they acted the same way in any other business.

Still, I’m sure this isn’t THAT chef’s car.

Used to live on a Renault Clio when first seen, AN51 EYH gets the illegal spacing treatment to look like…

Renault [AN51 EYH]

Renault [AN51 EYH]

Avoiding a pull from the local constabulary on that one, it reappeared a while ago on an Audi A1.

Audi [AN51 EYH]

Audi [AN51 EYH]

On refection, it’s funny how few ‘doubles’ (or more) live around me, as I’ve only seen a few recently, and have one or two more to add in here when I collate them.

There seems to be two effects in play: a lot of spottings are in Glasgow, so may be visitors; a lot of my ‘locals’ either keep their cars, or simply update to a newer model, and I don’t notice. I’m sure one Bentley GT I never manage to catch (from Uddingston, I think) is not the same car as such, although it stays the same colour. I will catch it one day. I know when it’s around as the owner is one of those thankfully not afraid to floor the throttle occasionally, and change the gentleman’s silent carriage into roaring road monster as the exhaust is freed for a moment.

April 6, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

I had to stop for a PEE

This was a bit of a surprise recently.

While K444 PEE is hardly a new number (K prefix means 1992), DVLA has generally frowned on plates that might upset those of, shall we say, a delicate disposition – possibly better known as people with no sense of humour.

While it used to be fairly easy to work out which (registration) numbers they might withhold, today it’s a lot harder since ever half-baked looney minority that likes to take issue with anything it can claim to be derogatory (or racist) will jump up and down and complain about the slightest reference that it does not control.

Even poor old Satan got in trouble, with any plate containing 666 being seen as a problem by some. Fortunately, there are 666 plates out there if you want one.

I can’t recall coming across a PEE plate before, and I’m pretty sure I’d have remember if I had.

So this Audi A5 was a bit of a surprise, and I’d walked past for a while before it clicked, and I went back to collect it.

Audi A5 [K444 PEE]

Audi A5 [K444 PEE]

March 7, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The illegals – C18 OPH

I’m guessing illegally spaced to make it look like a PH initials plate.

This one seems to have beaten me as my spies tell me this now resides on a different model, although still on an Audi.

I didn’t even realise this was a member of the club when I took this pic, as I had really only been looking for a long road with a car facing in my direction, to test a ‘super’ zoom lens to see how far away a car could be and still produce a half decent pic (in daylight).

This was about 40 metres and still well below even half the distance I could take a decent pic from, so I’m reasonably pleased with this particular new toy. And another one I added recently could add 50% to that distance, but really has to be used in daylight.

Audi [C18 OPH]

Audi [C18 OPH]

February 4, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, 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

LED lighting makes services vehicle identification more difficult

In what might be referred as ‘the good old days’ (and by that I mean only a few years ago), it was fairly easy to identify which of the services a vehicle belonged to simply by looking at the colour of the beacons attached to it. Police, fire, and ambulances generally had blue lights; doctors had green, the police seemed to get alternating red at some point. There could also be yellow, on working vehicles that could be a hazard, such as slow-moving refuse lorries, tow-trucks, and various road maintenance vehicles.

While many still sport the common incandescent light fittings, with coloured lenses which convert the white light from the conventional bulb behind, newer fitting are manufactured using LEDs, which do no usually have tinted lenses or covers.

Unlike the white light produced by a filament bulb, which requires a coloured lens, filter, or coating to produce the desired output colour, the light from an LED is created within the device, so no filter is needed, and the devices generally come with clear lenses, which maximises their output. (For the pedantic, I’m calling white a colour, although it is made up of many, and also not going to refer to the various light conversions that take place within the structure of various visible light LEDs.)

The end result is that it’s no longer easy to tell what service an unmarked vehicle belongs to just by looking at the auxiliary lights. All you see when they are not energised is a clear fitting, and the colour only becomes apparent when they are activated.

Case in point was the Audi I tripped over recently. Roof mounted light bar, but… transparent housing.

I couldn’t see any markings or other equipment(eg radio) fitted to it, or lying on the seats, nor anything screwed to the bodywork. There were no cameras mounted anywhere, nor a second rear-view mirror.

The same anonymity was true of the driver, inside the adjacent ‘greasy spoon’ and collecting a large bag of goodies to help him survive the rest of the day. Dressed in black, he did have any kit, or badges apparent.

There were no lights in the rear window (not even pop-up types), but I spotted a dash-mounted temporary unit, probably blue/red, and a look at the front suggests a small pair of non-Audi ‘white’ squares in the lower grille, which I suspect are LEDs.

Black Audi LEDs

Black Audi with LEDs

FYI – Unmarked police cars around here look more like this when at work:

Unmarked Police


January 25, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments


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