Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Oh deer

I suppose I’ll have to stop grumbling about having to take the little compact out some days (as opposed to the dSLR and its gem of a sensor). Granted the pics are not pixel sharp, it’s slow, and doesn’t have a proper viewfinder (I absolutely HATE holding the thing at arm’s length to see that rear display) – but one cannot argue with the logic that says the best camera you have is the one you have with you to catch a pic.

In this case, a flashing white ‘deerbutt’ alerted me to the presence of this example of the world’s least ‘road aware’ species (much thicker than two short planks if near a road, they are so dumb they are truly scary and very very dangerous) as I passed the site of the Baggyminnow Pond swans – this pair disappeared in the past few days, so I guess their eggs hatched recently and the family marched along to the nearby River Clyde and have now swam away. Maybe I’ll see them there later.

I couldn’t see the deer in the long grass, but hit the button and made an appointment with the compact to take pictures in the near future, and after it woke up and sorted itself out after the usual buzzing and whirring, set the zoom to 10X and scanned around.

I got lucky as something made the deer look up just as I spotted its back, and for once, I actually got a proper pic, complete with head.

Baggyminnow Deer

Baggyminnow Deer

Baggyminnow Pond Deer Original

Baggyminnow Pond Deer Original

I was really surprised there was enough detail for a little post-processing, especially when I noted the speed was 400 ASA to help the anti-shake with the long zoom.  I usually think anything not caught at 100 ASA can’t be cropped, but this proves me wrong. It’s just a pity there is no RAW option, or even choice of compression, but then again, it will even slip into a trouser pocket, which is not a bad trick for 10X zoom. And having had ‘longer’ zoom similar compact and even bridge cameras, the size disadvantage of 12X or even 15X makes little difference at this level, but adds bulk and drops image quality at this level. (Click thumb for bigger).

May 26, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

A little bird on bird action

I really didn’t expect to catch this shot, with the waiting time for the compact camera to wake up and initialise, then the time for the power zoom to zip out to the 10X end, then more time for the autofocus to settle on the backlit image – the real bird on the sculpted bird should have spotted me, laughed, and flown away long before the camera decided it was ready to shoot.

But it didn’t, and even got the exposure right too (I had time for second shot and tweaked its exposure for the backlighting, but it was hopelessly overexposed – the auto setting really does work surprisingly well.

The sculptured heron is one commissioned by Sustrans in 1998, and is sited on the banks of the River Clyde at Carmyle , near the Clydeford bridge. It is intended to symbolise the environmental regeneration of the river, and stands over 8 metres high on the Clyde Walkway near Cambuslang, and Route 75 of the National Cycle Network.

Clyde Heron and Bird

Clyde Heron and Bird

May 25, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Missed me – again

It seems to be a long time since I came across a proper ‘Missed me’ scene – nearly all the walls, fences, and bollards on my wandering routes seem to have been fixed, or just removed if that better suited the relevant budget.

I know this is new, apart from passing the spot reasonably regularly, there were fresh, clean, and shiny bits of broken car stuck in soil at the bottom of this ever-so-slightly modified fence.

The knobbly footpath shows this happened at a pedestrian crossing, and is clearly the result of a car coming up Clydeford Road at speed, possible ignoring the traffic lights, losing control,and speeding through the junction into this fence.

Make your own guess as to why the driver didn’t manage to negotiate a simple traffic light controlled T-junction.

I’m just glad I wasn’t there, and thinking about crossing Cambuslang’s main street, but then again, it probably happened in the middle of the night, so I wouldn’t (have been).

Cambuslang Fence Crash

Cambuslang Fence Crash

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

Baggyminnow Pond swan’s nest

I’ve been passing this swan’s nest on Baggyminnow Pond for some weeks now, but the dark nights (the only time I pass at the moment) meant that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get a pic. It’s on a pond in a field, distant from the road and streetlights, and no camera, or pushing the sensor would return a useable shot – a fast lens would have helped, but that class of glass is way outside my budget.

So, even though one of the pair was down on the river (this is just a few metres from the River Clyde) and seemed to be fetching lunch (head under water all the time, so no use taking a pic), I reckoned it was this pic of only one of the pair – or no pic at all.

I must be becoming over-critical, as I fell like saying ‘Sorry, this is just my little pocket zoom compact’, and the pic is not so hot.

Baggyminnow Swan

Baggyminnow Swan


May 7, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The neglected car themed bike racks of Cambuslang

Technically, this is an old pic, but a recent wander that went through the main street of Cambuslang showed that sadly, things look just the same now as the did some time ago.

While these look like some sort of interesting street art, it seems these actually fall under the category of ‘street furniture’, and are bike racks.

I’ve never seen a bike chained to one in any of my visits. But I have seen the large commercial bins leaning against them, one per side and hiding the rack entirely.

The sad thing notable in evening visits is that while these racks once sported a pair of up-lighters to highlight their appearance, these have been neglected, and of the five racks (ten lights) only ONE is still working today.

Guess I’ll just have to keep watching, and see if the last light goes out, never to to be lit again, or if they’re ever renewed – some nice long-lasting low power LEDs would do the job nicely now, and need little or no maintenance for years.

Cambuslang bike racks

Cambuslang bike racks

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Cambuslang Miners Memorial revisited

I spotted the relocated Cambuslang Miners Memorial a while ago, but since it was a little dark at the time I wasn’t able to spot the plaque marking its dedication.

I was able to have another look, and noticed it was in plain sight, on the front, but due to the sloping angle of its location was not easy to spot and just merged with the background.

Mounted in 2005, the plaque is a little worn, and the infill on the lettering is being worn away  – it looks as if a fairly coarse abrasive is taking its toll as the plaque is cleaned, possibly to remove vandalism/graffiti. The area around the mounting screws is notably clear of any scratches.

It’s a small point, but finally seeing the plaque confirms quotes from it are correct in omitting the apostrophe from MINERS’ as this is not included in the original.

Cambuslang Miners Memorial Plaque

Cambuslang Miners Memorial Plaque


February 8, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The shifting Cambuslang Miners Memorial

There’s an interesting memorial to be found just outside the built-up area of Cambuslang Main Street.

It’s dedicated to those who worked in the area’s extensive coal mining industry, and does not forget those who also died, or that children as young as six would be sent down the pit to help support their families.

While the location is fairly prominent, it’s a pity the council didn’t take a little more care regarding the positioning of regulatory road signs, which are almost impossible to easily exclude from pics.

Cambuslang Miners Memorial

Cambuslang Miners Memorial

This isn’t the first time I’ve caught this memorial.

This was an earlier pic I grabbed one evening – you can ‘lose’ the sign, but the view is not so pleasing, but the lighting is effective.

Cambuslang Miners Memorial night

Cambuslang Miners Memorial night

It’s some years since I fell into Cambuslang, and I’ve probably never wandered along to this spot until last year, when looking for a nearby address. Then, I was amazed to see the memorial, as it used to be sited on a hill in the industrial park, about a mile away. It vanished from the park many years ago, when I used to use the near derelict area to practice flying model helicopters, but had to give that up when the ground was razed to make way for factory units as the park was developed, and I stopped visiting. With little on the Internet then, I had assumed it had been lost or trashed.

Unknown to me until recently, it was dismantled, moved, and eventually reassembled at the end of the Main Street, and dedicated in May 2005.

I wasn’t sure of the date of the original, but happened to find a much earlier pic of that first installation, from 1983, which provides a further reference confirming it was still there in 1986 (which is around the time I was flying).

A little more info can be found on Geograph:

Coal Mining Monument in Cambuslang

Original Cambuslang Miners Memorial

Original Cambuslang Miners Memorial


Lest anyone feel I’ve made a terrible mistake by not including the possessive apostrophe with Miners as it appears above, be aware that I have merely followed the text as it appears on the memorial plaque, which has been prepared without this mark.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 1 Comment

Define ‘ALL’

I won’t spoil other potential posts, but one of the fun things to do while out walking is to read the signs over shops, and those for various promotions or offers. These can be a source of wonder at some of the innocent mistakes made, or of sadness – if their precision regarding grammar and spelling is any indication of the state of out basic education.

Walking through Cambuslang recently, the darkness was pierced by one particularly bright shop, and it carried a ‘LUNCH OFFER’, this being ‘ALL SUPPERS £3.00’.

This was further defined in the small print as being ‘MONDAY TO SATURDAY TILL 2PM’.

(In this case, we’ll pretend not to see the use of ‘TILL’ rather than ‘TIL’).

However… ‘ALL’ in this case does not mean ‘ALL’. In this case, it does not include fish!

If you want a ‘FISH SUPPER’, then you’ll have to dig a little deeper and find another 80 p.

I’ve had to sit through some real fun in court, as the various lawyers and solicitors present argue about the meaning of words, and who has to honour intent, or reasonable meaning, where words are used carelessly. And there’s no escape clause that allows the accused to claim “Words mean what I mean them to mean“. In court, there is a legal rule applied that words mean what they mean as understood by the average person. If you do actually try to redefine words to suit yourself, the Sheriff will make mincemeat out of you, as trying that (and expecting to get away with it) is effectively calling him/her an idiot – and you can be sure that will not go well when it come to summing up, and issuing instructions to the jury.

On a more positive note:

Benny’s glowing shop signs sports a nicely placed and properly used apostrophe. Full marks for this.

Benny's offer

Benny’s offer

Experts may notice some odd geometry in this pic. It wasn’t possible to stand in front of the shop so the pic had to be taken off to one side at fairly steep angle. I recently found I had some software that would correct this automatically, and it does a pretty good job – unless you start to look at the relative geometry of adjacent items. Then, the view suddenly starts to show ‘impossible’ positions of items beside one another. See if you can spot this… place that you can see, but would not actually be able to see if you were standing in front of the shop.

January 3, 2017 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

An EV charging point in Scotland – no more!

It was about a year ago when some news articles about electric vehicle (EV) charging options in Scotland led me on a trail to find that there was one nearby, in Cambuslang.

It’s sad how retarded the UK is regarding EVs, given the small size of the British mainland, and this may be down to the influence of Top Gear’s negative portrayal and misinformation regarding the technology. I’m pretty sure many viewers believe the stories featured by the team, and have not realised that Top Gear is no longer a serious motoring programme, but a money-spinning  entertainment brand. As a result, I estimate that the average UK resident is about 5 years behind the reality of EV technology and capability, and is put to shame by the average American, generally regarded as an energy waster.

I’ve been back to Cambuslang a few times since them, but only recently decided to dive down the back street again, and have a look at the EV charging point – to see if it was still there.

I was not disappointed.

Despite the addition of a few signs to advertise its existence and categorise the parking bays around it…

The charging point had been stripped of all its charging hardware, leaving only the box that once held it.

There’s a map showing it to be ‘In Service’ here:

Charge Your Car – The UKs open recharging network

Perhaps needs a little ‘live’ updating.

Alison Drive electric vehicle charging station

Alison Drive electric vehicle charging station

Closer look at the box:

Alison Drive EV charger remains

Alison Drive EV charger remains

How the top used to look:

Eelektrobay panel

Eelektrobay panel

This is both sad and unfortunate, and is only one isolated example, nevertheles it does nothing to foster the reality of EV operation around the rest of World, and reflects badly on the UK, supposedly technically aware and advanced, and often claiming to “lead the World” in innovation.

With UK fuel duty hammering drivers, one would think it would be easier for EV innovation to be more eagerly adopted compared to the US, which still has less punitive pricing.



February 9, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just walk along the road to visit Poland in Scotland

The connection between Scotland and Poland can become fascinating when you start to dig into it.

I should actually know more (a lot more) than I do, and only learned recently that I had the murderous Stalin to thank for my ignorance. But that’s another story, and one that will never be told now.

During World War II, many Polish troops ended up in Scotland, making up the numbers of men who had been conscripted into the armed services, and the many pilots inside Spitfires were actually Polish, if they had been lucky enough to get away from Poland as the Nazis invaded and wiped out any opposition.

Today, the east end of Glasgow seems to be full of young Poles, and I really regret that I didn’t get the opportunity to learn Polish (and German) as I grew up, as it would be fun to be fluent in the language now, as the new Poles chat away quite freely, assuming that the locals cannot understand a word. Reminds me of the holidays I used to spend down in North Wales, where the natives could switch from English to Welsh and back mid-sentence without missing a beat. I sometimes wondered if they even realised if they were doing it.

This all came to mind when I was wandering around the industrial estate near Cambuslang, towards Clydesmill.

It’s ages since I was last along that way, having given it up as a boring walk after they demolished the last part of the gas-powered generating station that  was left after they demolished the main power station many years ago.

I forget who operated the food factory on the estate, although I recalled some fuss in the media when it changed hands, probably with the usual whining about threatened closure, changes of conditions, and redundancies – and would not have been in the least surprised to see the site razed, had the new owners just got fed up, closed the doors, and gone away to set up somewhere they could get peace.

But there was still a factory there, although I’d never heard of the owners, Vion.

But the really interesting thing was my sudden inability to read and understand a number of signs placed around the factory.

Guess I know where quite a lot of the folk I listen to in the local shops are working, as the signs are in Polish, and some of them are only in Polish, with no English option.

Vion Cambuslang Polish sign

Vion Cambuslang Polish sign

Closer look:

Polish only sign

Polish only sign

This one, even I can manage, thanks to the English bit:

Bilingual Polish sign

Bilingual Polish sign

I might dig out some pics I took while wandering around Parkhead a while ago. They were just chance catches, as I was really just out doing some camera tests (digital cameras may be auto-everything, but I’m glad to say I’ve discovered that this only works some of the time, and you can still do better yourself), but when I got home and looked closer, I noticed that most of the shops I had photographed were actually Polish. There was a mix of food shops, hairstylists, PC repair, and (although this one is almost at Glasgow Cross) and an optician.

Interesting to note also that the local Tesco now sports a Polish food section too. Clearly, they noticed that shops like Lidl always had non-standard offerings as alternatives to the usual big name products.

Hope I didn’t just delete those pics, since they were testers rather than keepers.


Thanks to someone (who didn’t provide any details, or even the date of the pic) we can see that the sign I captioned “Polish only sign” on the factory gate was once partnered with an English version, now apparently lost, as is another which was addressed towards “All Contractors”, but I can’t make it out, as even the original is too blurry to read:

Complete set of gate signs

Complete set of gate signs

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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