Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Wonder if Bill’s Tool Store has these ingenious new adjustable wrenches

The Interwebs – a wonderful place to find gadgets. And Christmas presents.

Take this cleverly designed shifter (adjustable wrench), able to fit both metric and imperial nuts.

No need to carry around one shifter for each type. Save weight and space with this clever double-ended design, able to fit both with the same tool.

MetrImp Shifter

MetrImp Shifter

I’ll have to try to remember to drop into Bill’s Tool Store next time I’m passing through The Barras, and ask if they have these in stock.

This is a (very) recent pic, and was something of a surprise when I took it.

I NEVER noticed the cartoon above the shop when just walking along Bain Street.

Thankfully, this isn’t just because I’m thick, but because I never normally pass the shop on the opposite side of the road – I’m always on the shop side so I can check out the windows.

I’ll maybe pop them in a post of their own later. They’re too small in this one.

Bills Tool Store Front

Bills Tool Store Front

The tool show carries on around the corner.

This used to be a good place to find cheap surplus or clearance, esp ex-MoD items, but this source has largely dried up, and the shop (to its credit) tends to avoid what might be called ‘cheap rubbish’, so prices have crept up over the years. That’s not really the shop’s fault, and having tried some ‘cheap rubbish’ from others, they’re probably wise not to go down that route.

You can still find some odd goodies there, if you just keep a regular watch on the windows.

Bills Tool Store Corner

Bills Tool Store Corner

Although the shifter is an online spoof (you did know that, didn’t you?), there are spanners (and sockets) that fit both metric and imperial nuts and bolts.

Known as Metrinch (a trade name, hence the reason I didn’t use it above for the shifter), they are surface drive spanners (and sockets).

Rather than being sized so the distance across the flats corresponds to the distance across the flats of a nut or bolt, they have a form of curved drive surface, convex, and able to fit any fitting that the curved surface can lock onto, like a cam.

This makes them good for poorly sized fittings, and those that have been damaged or rounded.

18mm Metrinch

18mm Metrinch


I thought this pic was… illustrative. It’s not mine – I wouldn’t exert the amount of force needed to do that damage, even on a rubbish bit.

Chinesium Drill Bits

Chinesium Drill Bits

I recently NEEDED a small drill bit urgently, but had none left.

I ran round to a big general shed that opened a couple of years ago, and had a DIY aisle. Since I was only drilling a tiny hole in plastic I just grabbed a small set of anonymous bits for a couple of quid.


Half of them were unsharpened, while others were so poorly formed the tips were ROUNDED.

Few would even drill a hole.

Fortunately, they were too cheap even to be worth the effort of returning and complaining – but I pity anyone who does not understand drill bits who might buy the same rubbish, and then wonder why they can’t drill a hole.

It reminded of a mistake I made a few years back, when I spent £40 on a set of supposedly “Last drill bits you’ll need to buy” from Ideal World.

You may have seen them, they’re still repeating the offer every so often, despite a shedload of NEGATIVE reviews from unhappy buyers as reported on their own web site.

Supposedly indestructible, and tipped by an insert that will drill through ANYTHING (they love showing it going through files and brake disks, then glass and ceramics), the first time I used them…

The insert BROKE out of the drill shaft, or the shafts snapped, on all the small bits.

The replacement guarantee is rubbish too.

While they offer to replace any broken bit for free – you have to pay the post and packing, and that’s £4 or £5 PER BIT!!


Dec 13, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , , | 2 Comments

Go-ahead for £1.5 million Barras area refurbishment

Barras Sign

Following quickly on from the news that an area of Sauchiehall Street is to be refreshed, it seems the area of The Barras is to enjoy a similar spot of ‘Spit and Polish’.

While it’s better than the fate which befell Paddy’s Market, I can’t quite work up the same enthusiasm for this announcement.

Don’t take that the wrong way, the area is in serious need of refurbishment. While much tidying has taken place around it, the core which was once the centre of The Barras has been left behind, and leaves much to be desired.

However, if we leave to one side the market area below and behind the Barrowland Ballroom (and that is sadly much deserted when I have taken a walk there in recent months) then the remaining area of The Barras is a virtual desert, with most of the buildings having been demolished in relatively recent years, leaving only a few of the more substantial structures still standing.

As I have noted in posts made a year ago, it can be alarming to arrive there in the afternoon, say 2 or 3 pm, and find the remaining stallholders in the street clearing up and getting ready to go home, while the few indoor pitches (who now label themselves as ‘Antique Dealers’) are pretty much deserted too.

And one of the oldest original “McIver’s Markets” (the founders were McIver, Margaret to be specific) buildings is really sad now (the one with the bikes on sale outdoors at one corner). While one corner still has some decent books and memorabilia on sale (from some real old original marker ‘characters’ too), the rest of the area is just dead and derelict stalls with broken junk piled up on them, gathering dust. The last few times I dropped in, even that ‘interesting’ corner seemed to have been abandoned, and was covered over with dust sheets.

Maybe I just go on quiet days, or at the wrong time of day.

Frankly, a visit to The Barras these days, for me at least, is actually a visit to Bill’s Tools Store (for any bargains on offer) and a check on Pearson’s, to make sure that’s still there too.

Work on a £1.5 million renovation of Glasgow’s Barras market is set to begin next month after the plans were approved by city councillors.

The plans, which form part of the Glasgow City Region Deal, will see the development of underused space aimed at attracting new businesses and creating a “key gateway” to the East End.

• READ MORE: What does the future hold for Glasgow’s Barras markets?

A report that went before the Glasgow City Region City Deal cabinet said: “The revitalisation of this area is both critical in overcoming barriers to wider development of the whole Collegelands Calton Barras (CCB) area.”

It added: “The overall CCB project will deliver sustainable economic growth in Glasgow and the city region. This will enable the regeneration of sites which are not suitable for development in their current state, including attracting investment that supports high value industries.”

Having been given the green light, the project is targeted for completion by March next year.

Via: Glasgow’s Barras market to get £1.5m revamp

I can only hope they have at least partial success in some sort of revival.

Or maybe we should just be honest, and say The Barras is gone, and has been for years.

Jun 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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