Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

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.

23/12/2017 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

21/12/2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Season of Goodwill etc etc…

Cats Visit Santa

Cats Visit Santa

20/12/2017 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

20/12/2017 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!

06/12/2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Sad Snow Globe is… Sad

Since I’m just an observer and it is not my intent to upset anyone, I’m not giving this location away, whether or not it is obvious.

After my previous post about a chance snow globe find in the street, this one could hardly fail to catch my attention the other day.

Two things were notable while I stood at my observation point.

The stand was busy, with a steady stream of folk engaging in discussion, but I didn’t see a single ‘little darling’ get shoved into the globe.

And the snow never filled the globe (or was even seen being blown more than a few flakes a few centimetres above the air outlets around the edge).

While I was there, the globe was deflated as a young lady bravely entered with a brush and shovel, fluffing up and redistributing the white stuff lying on the floor, but even after her dedicated efforts… it still just lay there, apparently unconcerned and undisturbed by the howling gale whipping around the interior as the globe reinflated and stabilised.

I may not be the sharpest tool in the box – but I think this idea needs to be revised, lest Trading Standards arrives and matches what is being supplied against what is being offered in these globes.

So Sad Snow Globe

So Sad Snow Globe

Hysterically comical

As per last year’s find, I had to fight the fits of laughter (or was it tears) as I spotted the ‘NO PHOTOGRAPHY’ sign – on a feature dedicated to photography!

No Photography

Strictly No Photography

For legal purposes, it should be noted this is a small clip found in another pic I took, from at least 20 m away, and I was nowhere near this, or intending to photograph the sign concerned, which was, of course, caught purely be chance.

22/11/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s Christmassy now – but watch that memory card

I would have posted my first Christmas tree – as spotted in somebody’s window – last week, on Thursday 16th November, but for one small problem…

I had the camera  – but NO memory card!

I thought I had a successful system to prevent such silliness, but somehow managed to beat it last week, for the first time.

It’s simple enough, and just follows the rule of NEVER closing the access hatch on the side of the camera. Since this covers a number of other sockets, it’s fairly large and noticeable, normally by eye if it’s light, or by touch if it’s dark.

Somehow, I managed not only not to see the open hatch, but managed to pick it up AND carry it for over half a mile before attempting that tree pic, and learning I’d made a mistake.

Odd, the system usually works just fine, since the hatch is on the side and falls under hand when the body is lifted. But, I was fiddling with the clips of the sliding strap I use, and think I beat the system by grabbing part of that and throwing it over my shoulder, so never touched the camera itself.

A few years ago I had one camera with memory built-in, and it could take a few pics even if no memory was added – now, the same amount of memory wouldn’t even hold ONE pic.

So, after a revisit a few nights later, the records were brought up to date.

First Christmas Tree 2017

First Christmas Tree 2017

And, just to be ‘technically’ correct, here the first one I spotted AND properly photographed at the same time (had to go all the way to The Barras before seeing this second one).

Second First Christmas Tree 2017

Second First Christmas Tree 2017

20/11/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Will we see the return of the scabby Snow-Globe this year?

Traditional snow globe

Traditional snow globe


While they may have been a nice idea, and looked like fun when they first began to appear at events and in shopping centres a few years ago, the giant Snow-Globe (similar to the liquid-filled snowstorms that has decorated many a shelf for decades) has become something of a joke in more recent years.

Originally a seasonal money-making gimmick, these giant person-size globes were filled with fluffy white ‘stuff’ that looked like snow, fitted out with a winter scene, and equipped with fans to blow the white stuff around and give the impression of a Christmasy scene – into which tiny offspring were forced so they could have their pic taken.

I even got a laugh out of this, as the operators thought it was a good idea to run this Photo Experience – and then attach ‘STRICTLY NO PHOTOGRAPHY’ warning signs to it:


No photo photo experience extra sign

No photo photo experience extra sign

But, and there always seems to have to be a ‘But’, these have become something of a parody (as well as an irony, with that ‘NO’ sign) as the operators don’t seem to be in any hurry to maintain their investment.

I don’t think I saw even ONE of these ‘experiences’ that was not an embarrassment.

The ‘snow’ effect in all had become little more than a sham, verging on ‘Taking money under false pretences’ or some-such.

The fake snow was dirty and clumped, with most of it just lying on the floor, too heavy and claggy for the fans to lift and circulate.

At first I’d thought there was no snowstorm or blizzard inside the globe because it had been powered down to get the poor little mites inside, but as I waited to see the storm begin, all that happened was the loosest material lying on top of the clumps on the floor were lifted… and that was it.

Seriously, the garden centre in the DIY store along the road from me has a better ‘live’ snow fall on show there (made of white polystyrene crumbs blown up a tube at the centre of a winter scene – and you can even buy that one).

This all came to mind when I tripped over this former advert recently – perhaps an indication that the trader concerned waited too long before renewing the dirty clumped ‘snow’ in their Snow-Globe.

Old Snow Globe Ad

Old Snow Globe Ad

01/11/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas is coming

I’ve been watching the arrival of various pieces of plant in George Square recently (sometime manage to wander through once a week at the moment), and assumed they were for the forthcoming seasonal lights display (aka Christmas lights).

I was getting worried, but last night’s detour confirmed that Christmas is indeed coming, and work has started.

Just as well, they need to get this sorted well in advance of the preparations for the Christmas market that takes place in the square now.

The market has grown in size and popularity over years, supplementing the matching event which takes place in St Enoch Square, and having watched it being assembled last year, can attest to the amount of work it takes, and space needed just for the preparation and construction.

I read some negative remarks made about it recently, decrying the mere fact that it is allowed to take place – sounds like someone is feeding on sour grapes. Visitors seem happy, last year it was packed like sardines most of the time, with security on the entrances asking  people to wait until they got word that folk had left, and made some room.

George Square City Chambers Christmas

George Square City Chambers Christmas Begins

If you think that view looks grey – it is!

I don’t know what kind of clouds gathered over Glasgow, but the whole day was a deep grey, hardly any colour except for a few short periods when the cloud broke and some Sun made an appearance.

I sat in the wrong place. I don’t know what he was doing, but a guy in a hoodie tool a full 10 minutes to assemble a roll-up (probably from all the dowts he had collected), pausing only to deliver a stream of abuse at a couple taking pics in front of the memorial – apparently mortally upset about not being asked for his permission to be included in their pics. I should have moved then.

When he was finished he came over and tried to cadge a light from me – I thought I was going to get laid into next (and was holding a camera!), having made sure I didn’t look in his direction I hadn’t even noticed him asking. Of course, I had to say sorry as I don’t smoke, but he was fine (even though I had unintentionally ignored him), and just carried on to the next couple along, who were puffing away.

25/10/2017 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

STRICTLY NO PHOTOGRAPHY at this Photo Experience

I’m almost tempted to leave off the ‘oxy’ when noting the funny oxymoronic ‘Photo-Experience’ signage I spotted in the St Enoch Centre (and had all but forgotten until I started indexing some of my recent pics).

While it’s fair to say we know what they mean, it would have been nicer had they taken some proper advice and prepared a more friendly and polite request, rather than this rather crude and blunt effort, which would be more appropriate on something like a security sign outside a Top Secret military establishment (where you might get shot for ignoring it).

No photo photo experience 01

No photo Photo Experience

I’ve been playing with some distortion filters, so thought I’d give this one a try, to make the warning clearer, especially the extra on the left:

No photo photo experience extra sign

No photo Photo Experience extra sign

Surprisingly effective correction, for little or no effort.

13/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas fair arrives in George Square

Another slight oddity I had forgotten about – and one I usually don’t get lucky and catch.

I don’t think I’ve even seen such a fairground ride being assembled, or arriving, so it was interesting to see the way this carousel was unpacked and assembled, together with the way the horses were all lined up neatly for transport.

The ride itself is an ingenious piece of engineering, both looking attractive and hiding the functional mechanics out of sight when complete, but become even more interesting when you see how it all folds up for transport. With oversimplifying, it’s easy enough to engineer something that works, but to make that same item as something which can be taken apart and re-assembled easily takes a lot more thought.

This reminded me of a fairground ride builder/maintainer I came across somewhere in Polmadie some years ago.

I only had the chance to visit formally once, then forgot about it for years – and now I see the area has been razed, so no chance of another look.

Fairground arrival

Fairground arrival

A few days later, and all is working well:

Carousel complete

Carousel complete

22/12/2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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