Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Nardini update (Byres Road)

Not sure if ‘update’ is the right word, but it will have to do after I passed Nardini’s defunct Byres Road venue.

Since I’d never seen the place before that chance spotting, I had a slightly closer look when I was in the area again, and remembered.

It was hard to avoid the reflections on the glass, and see anything, let alone take a pic through the glass.

I didn’t even know what I had until I saw the pic, and found the place had been largely stripped of anything that could be moved, leaving only the fixed part of the servery – the counter had gone, as had whatever seating and tables might have been there.

I didn’t realise there was a rather nice Art Deco mural on the back wall – it was just a blur in the background as I looked inside.

Byres Road Ex-Nardini InteriorByres Road Ex-Nardini Interior

Byres Road Ex-Nardini Interior

Not ideal, but I tried cropping and enlarging the mural…

Nardini mural

Nardini mural

And what was left of the similarly styled servery…

Nardini servery

Nardini servery

And, of course, since it was added the day AFTER I took the first pic, a look at the sign warning anyone trying to access the place after its closure was confirmed.

Nardini repossesion sign

Nardini repossession sign

Since I had to do a short course on law, I always seem to start analysing such signs for legitimacy, and whether the folk who make them had a clue about the law and what they assert.

In this case, I found myself wondering about what law might be used to make the mere opening of a door illegal.

At least they didn’t make the mistake of referring to trespass.

Scotland DOES have trespass laws (it seems to be a VERY long time since I’ve heard anyone make the bold, but just plain wrong, claim that “There’s no law of trespass in Scotland”), but they’re a little different from the English version. Ours is a little harder to break.


20/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

World’s slowest shopfitting

I’m not sure how long ago I got a ‘Hat Tip’ about a new cafe opening in Shettleston, but it was so long ago I was sure I’d missed it after I had to change my route and didn’t pass the spot for weeks/months after being alerted.

I was wrong, and even thought the tip was a dead one, since there was no work evident on the empty unit when I did eventually get back.

But that was wrong too, and I eventually spotted work had started, but seemed to be going very slowly, and again I thought it had died.

Then I passed a few weeks ago, and spotted doors and windows had appeared, together with posters in the windows promising an opening.

That was a couple of months ago. While it’s still not open, work continues as seen in occasional passes, although I’m not passing this way at the moment, so if it suddenly opens, I’ll probably miss it, although work was still in progress when I did pass recently.

The weather was pretty poor the day I was there for some pics, which had to be taken from some distance (due to the road layout), and the poor camera couldn’t cope with the demand, so they’re pretty bad, but at least readable.

At least the slow progress means it should be bright and sunny when I do get opening pics, and they’ll look better (unless we reach autumn by then).

Gia's Italian Cafe

Gia’s Italian Cafe

Poster detail from windows.

Cafe Gia posters

Cafe Gia posters

As an aside, I notice another cafe managed to open and start trading while this one is being prepared.

I only caught it while travelling past, and noted it had opened in one of my favourite shops in Shettleston Road, where I guess the ladies that ran it finally retired. At the same time, I noticed a traditional clothes shop had also gone, presumably as the elderly ladies that ran it also retired.

Both original shops have gone, and I don’t have pics of them.

Learn the lesson that if you think something might disappear, and it should have been obvious these would eventually disappear unless someone took them over, and that was probably unlikely as both were based on layouts that ‘ smart young people’ would have considered obsolete and of no interest… grab a pic or two, just to be safe.

When it’s gone, it’s gone – and you can’t take pics of something that’s not there!

On a positive note, Google’s Street View and timeline mean such thing are no longer total losses when they do vanish without warning,

18/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Found Nardini – Immediately lost Nardini (Byres Road)

I thought I had walked further than I thought when I saw a ‘Cafe Nardini’ sign a few days ago.

As I seldom get to Byres Road I decided to go for an extended wander while I was in the area, and thought I’d been teleported to Largs for a moment, as I saw a familiar Nardini sign ahead of me.

Seems they opened there about four years ago, but closed on 31 December 2018, with the sign in the window promising ‘Closing for refurbishment’, and ‘Back soon – New & improved’.

Nardini Refurb Notice

Nardini Refurb Notice


Only a few days after I grabbed this pic, I read that the unit had been repossessed and was now up for let.

The refurb notice is said to have gone (replaced by a handwritten sign warning any joiners or locksmiths that it is ‘Illegal to open this door!’ – wish that had been up when I passed, and could have got a pic), and Nardini’s have reportedly confirmed that they will not be reopening the place.

Not known if related or not, but it seems they had made a retrospective planning application for a change of use at the address (as a café), and that was rejected last year.

Byres Road Nardini

Byres Road Nardini


Still, I’d probably have decided to have a treat, taken a look through the window at their prices, and needed an ambulance!


This major story hit the local media later…

Nardini’s ice cream parlour has shut its doors in the west end

01/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Shutter murals or façade pic?

Spotted this in my archives, set to the side as I wasn’t sure what to do with the pics.

I was collecting shutter murals at the time, but was frustrated by having to take three pics to get them all, after a straight shot of the façade could not be taken wide enough to catch all three at once.

You can see the problem.

Caffe Bar 393 Short

Caffe Bar 393 Short

Although I didn’t have any software to combine the pics back then, I collected a pair of pics that could be used later.

While I didn’t take them in a way to minimise the distortion (although it looks like regular fisheye distortion, it’s not, so can’t be corrected with that tool), the software does a good job of combining them with little evidence of where the join is.

It’s not bad, and a lot better than nothing at all.

Caffe Bar 393

Caffe Bar 393

I could note that the art on the door was probably not part of the work on the shutters – but maybe I won’t.

18/04/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Source of wisdom – The Inversnecky on Aberdeen’s beach front

A little while ago I was ‘gifted’ a view that I recognised as being from the area of The Inversnecky on the front, or esplanade, of Aberdeen’s beach.

See The secret inside hoMEOWner

A chance find this morning means I can not only add to that, and have not only found the source, but also a huge archive of earlier wisdom from the café.

See VinnieASL submitted images on imgur

Looks like someone there has been busy.

Good job they don’t have one of my old bosses there too…

Anybody with the time to make up and create those signs would have found themselves with a broom stuck up their backside to keep them busy, or walking the streets.

Oh wait… maybe Vinnie IS the boss!

Inversnecky Irony

Inversnecky Irony

22/10/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer in September in Glasgow in Duke Street

I usually fail to get pics like this because…

It’s cold and wet and the reason I would be taking them (if I dared take my non-waterproof camera out) would be to have a laugh, as I sometimes find the way café (or bistro) owners set tables and chairs outside when it’s pouring rain and/or blowing a gale to be almost hysterical.

But they do get customers who are prepared to sit outside while the wind chills their tea/coffee, and the rain is splashing down into their cups and watering down the content too.

I swear I really will take a chance and get a pic of such a scene one day.

But yesterday was much nicer, and outdoor dining was on the cards, and so much better than at the height of summer, when the same ‘treat’ also bring the joy of wasps and suchlike to your food, and you have to fight with them to get near it.

This was Duke Street yesterday afternoon, the height of high-class dining – next to a row of wheelie-bins!

Duke Street Cafe And Bins

Duke Street Cafe And Bins

We often see a reversal of weather trends towards the end of September – only a few days ago I was stuck indoors, the rain was pelting down, and it was cold enough for me to start digging out warm clothes.

27/09/2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The secret inside hoMEOWner

In what I now think of as ‘The Good Old Days’ I used to have a certain degree of responsibility for a small office we ran in Aberdeen, which meant the occasional drive up there to make sure the staff were following procedures.

With a trip time of 2-3 hours depending on what sort of loonies might be encountered on the early morning roads, I generally timed this run so as to arrive at Aberdeen beach in time for The Inversnecky café to be open, and the cooker to be nicely warmed up so I could enjoy a nice cooked breakfast before falling in the office door.

I spotted the words of wisdom seen below in a big photo-sharing site, and recognised not only the name, but the pavement and road – these being the same ones found on the beach road in front of The Inversnecky.

The sandwich board didn’t exist in the days when I was visiting, but seems to have become a regular feature and can be found elsewhere – but this cat-themed one is (obviously) going to be the one I mention

Inversencky Inversnecky Homeowner MeowMeow

Inversnecky Homeowner Meow

02/09/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Daldowie Garden Cafe has been and gone

I’m sometime down at Daldowie Crematorium quite often, not only for personal reasons, but because the grounds offer easy access to some interesting areas of the banks of the River Clyde, and the path of the National Cycle Network – Route 75, and Clyde Walkway which runs alongside at many places.

I didn’t manage to get there very often during 2012 though, but always try to wander along at New Year. Last year was memorable due to the snow and frozen ground, which made the walk to the river easier (despite the snow) since it effectively ‘fixed’ the wet and boggy ground found in many places away from the established tracks. Wellies are essential unless you want to walk back home with soggy feet, if you are not visiting in a dry summer). The frozen snow of Christmas 2011 also helped cover the many deep holes which can often catch the unwary, and if you miss spotting one, can find your leg disappearing almost 2 feet or more into a void. In summer, these can be hidden by clumps of grass and other undergrowth.

It was too dull and wet to have look at the river this year, so I just wandered around the gardens, and went to look at “The Garden Cafe” which I had spotted built into a room at the rear of the crematorium building. I’m always there ‘after hours’, to avoid disturbing any parties there attending ceremonies, so the place was shut, but it was obvious that it was in use, from the items on the tables and the counter.

I thought it was a good idea, as the place is nice and quiet, and while I am just around the corner and minutes away, I could see how those travelling some distance to visit the Gardens of Remembrance might appreciate having such a facility to hand – especially with our weather, which can change at the drop of a hat.

Sadly, it seems it was not sustainable, and when I walked around the back of the building, it was gone, together with its sign(s). I guess the number of people using it was just not enough to pay for the cost of supporting it and keeping it staffed.

A look through the window showed the counter was gone, and only a few of the tables and chairs were left scattered around the room, which was otherwise empty.

I shouldn’t really have been too surprised.

When I used to frequent a number of small (and maybe not so small) museums around the country, most of which are now gone, chatting with the staff suggested that they could only keep their cafes open on the basis of keeping them full, and that basically translated into special events, bringing in a lot of day visitors, or pre-arranged coach parties – neither of which is likely at a crematoria.

Good job I had a camera in my pocket the first and only time I saw The Garden Cafe, or I might not be able to convince anyone it was ever there…

Garden Cafe Daldowie

Garden Cafe, Daldowie Crematorium, 2012

Garden Cafe Daldowie

Garden Cafe, Daldowie Crematorium, 2013

02/01/2013 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment


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