Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Christmas tidy

Yes, this is the same spot as the earlier Christmas Casualties.

Looks like the same folk are using it for a late Christmas tidy and clear out of their home.

Haven’t been near here for weeks – wonder if I missed more?

Christmas Clear Out

Christmas Clear Out


Feb 8, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Fabulous phablet

I was mildly surprised to see this, since the media never seems to stop bleating about how scared ‘silver surfers’ and the elderly are (in its ‘valued’ opinion) scared of modern tech and the Internet.

I’m more used to seeing phablets and the like being used at events, where the pesky owners feel the need to wave their wonder-toys over the heads, and make sure anyone behind them has their view ruined.

At least there was plenty of space here.



It might be the start (discounting some earlier pics from the same place) of me breaking my phobia about candid shots, and including people  – something I normally HAVE to avoid doing while taking scenes where the main subject is a place, object, or building, and I don’t want distractions.

I also think I might have earned myself a Gold Star, and (shock!) grown up a bit.

I used to indulge in the odd bit of sarcasm, but decided it was too much like hard work once the Internet became pervasive, and some people just don’t have a sense of humour. So much as it can be an easy and cheap source of laughs, I don’t need death squads on my tail.

Doesn’t mean I won’t try for the odd laugh though, if somebody jumps up and down and waves their arms to attract such attention.

But a nice gent taking pics at Christmas?


Jan 6, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas cat and mouse

I’m guessing our recent/current hit of pretty cold (-5 deg C) and slightly snowy weather (only a few cm, but the cold meant it lay) meant that my local mice made the wise decision of staying at home, wherever that may be.

But I thought this seasonal variation on the theme of cat presents was worth including (obviously not my pic).

It didn’t say, so not sure if cat is making present to useless hoomin hunter, or if it’s a present for the cat.

The look on the cat’s face… could be interpreted in many ways.

Christmas Mouse Present

Christmas Mouse Present

While there were quite of a lot of successful pics of cats killing/felling Christmas trees, and a few crazy solutions to ‘cat proof’ the tree, I found this one, which looks both simple and effective.

Cat Proof Christmas Tree

Cat Proof Christmas Tree

Dec 30, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Creepy elves spy on kids for Santa – or training for the surveillance era

Rummaging through some pre-Christmas sale items on Christmas Eve, I was amazed to see this offering:

Elf Surveillance Camera

Elf Surveillance Camera

Given the sort of hysteria some people manage to raise over perfectly innocent activities, I’m somewhat amazed to see this item actually made it onto the shelves without protest.

Who can forget the outcry and bans that were publicised when camcorders became common, and places such as schools banned parents from bringing them to school plays, to record their own children’s performance.

And let’s not forget the dire warnings from various ‘experts’ who love to pop up every now and then, alerting parents to the danger of hackers turning on cameras and microphones in laptops, home computers, tablets, mobile phones etc, without triggering the lights or indicators that show they are active.

And just a few days ago there were yet more expert warnings, for parents to check toys that can receive messages from mobile phones, and relay them to children. Apparently these are easy for naughty people to hack, and send unsavoury messages to the children, and even change the voices from nice friendly ‘toy’ voices, into scary monster voices.

At least this creepy little elf’s camera has a flashing LED.

Wouldn’t it be shocking to find out the ‘Dummy Child Surveillance Camera’ was a massive con set up by a worldwide ‘ring’, and far from being a dummy, was in fact packed with high-def camera, complete with its own wireless connection and RPi or similar which is programmed to silently hack into the nearest mobile phone or wireless access point, and relay pics of kids’ bedrooms around the world.

Maybe there’s a reason those batteries, supposedly only powering a flashing LED, have to be replaced on an almost daily basis.

That would never happen, would it?


You can get the same standard black dummy surveillance cam in Pound Shops for… er… £1.

A splash of white paint, and a bit of tinsel or some glitter would make it a bargain Christmas cam.

Better value than this £5 rip-off (slashed to clear at £3.99!).

And I much prefer my own surveillance special – nobody will EVER notice this…

Black Cat Christmas Tree

Black Cat Christmas Tree


Dec 25, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Surveillance | , , , , | Leave a comment

When sodium is bad

Unintentionally, as in not have preplanned the observations, I’ve made (and probably will now continue to make) posts that praise the rapid and wide adoption of LED street lighting as a matter of local policy by most councils, on main roads at least.

Probably more of an economic decision than anything else on their part, since such lighting (depending on how it is deployed) should at least half their electricity bill – it should do considerably better, but there are unknown factors, and the changeover is far from complete, so they are still paying to run the older types with their higher power consumption.

There is also the initial cost of the installation of the new lighting, but that is at least partially offset by the age of many old fittings, which would have to be replaced anyway.

And those old fittings are far from being anywhere near as reliable or long-lived as solid-state LED devices, which should not need the same level of ongoing maintenance and replacement to keep them in service.

This all came to mind as I snapped what I THOUGHT would be a cute Christmas pic.

But I had forgotten I was standing in a street lit by sodium lighting when I had that thought.

The actual thought had been that a little Santa figure standing in a window looked more like ‘Santa in Hell’ than the usual jolly character, as the string of lights around him were quite a vivid shade of red.

But – this was what the camera (as opposed to my ordinary, yet still fairly clever, human eye had perceived) saw:

Santa In Sodium Hell

Santa In Sodium Hell

It’s a pretty vivid reminder that once ALL night photography was much like this (no wonder nobody really bothered, or had to become a dedicated expert). And expensive, since you had to buy film, the pay for D&P (developing and processing), or set up a darkroom. Either way, most shots often ended up in the bin. You could not make instant corrections as done with digital today, and even a quick D&P session could eat at least an hour.

I haven’t done anything to this image other than try to recover some sharpness (yes, sodium lighting messes with focus too), but this also took more than 1 second to capture).

Actually, I couldn’t do anything even if I wanted to, other than maybe change into a B&W view.

Analysis of the colour content shows that most of the pixels are RED (presumably a result of the red lights in the window).

Half of the remainder are GREEN.

And the BLUE count is so near zero it might as well be forgotten.

And since we all know mixing blue light and green light gives yellow (surprise), with no blue content, there’s no manipulation option, or any way (other than by creating mixing layers, and nobody’s got time for that) to produce white by altering levels/mix.

Oh well… back to the main streets!

As a footnote, would it come as any surprise to learn that there are some residents in the US campaigning to have ‘unnatural’ LED lighting removed from their neighbourhoods, and have their sodium lights reinstated?

Dec 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Santa has to rest before the big night

The main man has been busy in the run up to Christmas, and has surely earned the right to have a little lie down before all the running around he’ll have to do tonight.

Resting Santa

Resting Santa

And don’t forget…

NORAD Tracks Santa

Well, they have to don’t they?

He’s a nice guy, but I think even Santa would probably be upset if he met an ICBM or THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile going the other way.

Dec 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

The Grinch IS alive and well and is GP Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard

While I’d normally applaud any efforts to improve health, I think there is a time and a place.

While never a great fan of TV, my opinion is that they were ultimately ruined as concerned groups and individuals managed to influence their philosophy, and every miserable life circumstance was forced into their plot0lines in the name of ‘Public Education’ or similar.

Unfortunately, in the process, the scriptwriters lost all freedom to stay within the original storylines, and ended up crawling around in the most miserable and lowest aspects of life.

If you want evidence to back this up, just have a look at the current material being dished up in the rerun of ‘Take the High Road’ on STV2.

Once amusing, fun, and twee, it’s saturated in deception, crime, sex, violence, blackmail, manipulation, and mental health issues (to name a few).

And now, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, head of the Royal College of GPs, has hijacked Christmas to claim Santa could face a raft of health issues because of his diet and busy schedule.

Some of his conditions could include gout, sleep deprivation and alcoholism.

Via GP warns Santa to ‘give sherry a miss’

Professor Stokes-Lampard said: “He’s overweight, and all of us do our bit to add to his obesity by leaving mince pies and cookies out for him, and milk or alcohol.

“If Mr Claus was a patient at my practice, I would be encouraging him to adopt a vastly healthier diet and take more exercise in the new year.”

As well as running between houses, rather than riding on his sleigh, the professor thinks he should “give the sherry a miss” and share some of Rudolph’s carrots instead.

“The human body can only process one unit of alcohol per hour, which means excessive consumption could make Santa drunk very quickly,” she said.

“This not only increases the likelihood of him slipping in the snow or mixing up important presents, but could also lead to long-term issues affecting his mood and mental health.”

I’ve come across some well-intended efforts in my time, but this one is just a step to far!

Let’s forget who he is, and apply ALL the rules and regs…

(And that the so-called ‘Detox’ is just another celebrity con intended to separate the wealthy from the cash.)


Santa Detox


Regulated Santa

The only good this about this story is that I can suggest you will get a good laugh if you do an online image search for more cartoons like the examples given above.

Dec 23, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Reflections on George Square’s Nativity

And I really do mean reflections.

Since I didn’t want to simply take a close-up shot of the Nativity scene within the display case, it seems there are two choices, neither are ideal.

There the option of adult backs and squabbling kids – all of whom wandered off.

And the one I ended up with, reflections of the Christmas lights in the square, unavoidably shining off the glazing around the scene, which now protects the contents since some nice person decided to steal the main character from the display a few years back.

At least it’s lit now, as it was even harder to see the first time I spotted it, and the case lighting was still to be switched on.

Glasgow Nativity

Glasgow Nativity

Dec 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Season of Goodwill etc etc…

Cats Visit Santa

Cats Visit Santa

Dec 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

So I passed this window Nativity scene

It’s getting harder and harder to find an accessible Nativity scene.

Glasgow’s George Square (it was not complete the last time I was there, maybe later) is now behind a security screen – and maybe hidden guards ready to pounce – after parts were stolen a few years ago.

There are some nice simple ones, and other more elaborate versions, but they are sometimes placed out of reach.

Heading home from the shops last night, I passed a house that generally has plenty of lights on, but after passing I had one of those “Wait! What was that?” moments when something seemed different.

It was, as seen below.

Nativity Scene

Nativity Scene

My favourite part is the Police sign included in the lower right corner:


Did the Three Wise Men make an appointment?

Merits a closer look.

Nativity Detail

Nativity Detail

Dec 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

It’s Nativity time at Tollcross Salvation Army

I’m usually too busy looking at buildings, but last year managed to look down a bit and caught the Salvation Army’s Nativity scene.

The sheep in last year’s scene was the star.

Guess what?

Tollcross Salvation Army Nativity

Tollcross Salvation Army Nativity

Yes, this year they got a celebrity star to take the part.

Nativity Sheep

Nativity Sheep

The hall is usually in darkness, but for once I managed to pass while it was open for business.

I’d no idea what the interior plan was like, and was slightly surprised to see the front doors open straight into the hall and seating area.

Also notable was the stained glass above the door, which I now know is illuminated from behind.

I missed my chance for a pic!

Dec 6, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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