Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Don’t upset a Glasgow barber

I really have to try to make time to burn through the collection of shutter murals I seem to have collected, it’s not getting any smaller on it own, and I keep adding to it.

This cutie has been nudging me for a while, so it gets bumped to the front of the queue even though it is fairly recent.

I assume this is a barber’s shop, although I have to confess, to my shame, that I can’t really make out the name, even though it is spelt out in ‘neon’, but the stylised lettering is just too stylised for its own good.

Miller St Mural

Miller St Mural

Although I didn’t get a chance to collect it, the previous mural was more appropriate, and a better clue to the name: ‘Safehands’.


Maybe this would be good for one of those factory safety posters: ‘NEVER RUN WITH SCISSORS!’


January 10, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Fun with GoMA

GoMA (Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art) is probably the best illuminated single site to be found around Christmas – and manages to be impressive without feeling overdone, too flashy, or too gimmicky.

After I took a few shots to get some standard front and side views, I started to play.

These two pics turned out to be very irritating when I got them home and looked closer.

I seem to be unable, even when I remember and think about it, to hold the camera square and level, and these needed to be levelled and corrected for tilt and perspective.

And I still forgot to look up – and have lost the dome in the side view.

GoMA Single Side

GoMA Single Side

Mostly there.

Sorry this is not centred, but that would mean standing in the middle of the road, and I doubt the buses would stop and wait!

GoMA Single Front

GoMA Single Front

More irritating at the time was that even with a slightly wider than normal ‘wide’ lens, I couldn’t fit the whole scene in a single pic, and ‘stepping back’ began to lose the sides as features in Ingram Street began to intrude.

So – time to start stitching.

As can be seen, there wasn’t really a lot missing compared to the first (single) image above. Some distortion was introduced, and there was also the small issue of an obstacle that walked in and stayed rooted to spot, completely mesmerised by its mobile phone.

And of course, I lost even MORE dome.

GoMA Stitch

GoMA Stitch

I did miss one trick. The camera I was using can apparently take a series of images (not just two or three that are then stuck together, but more like a video clip that is then converted into a wide still shot) as it is turned to sweep across a scene, but I couldn’t give it a try – the ‘Flight Manual’ was just too big to digest, and I also had no idea how effective it might be at joining the images.

I trust my existing system, and can’t usually see the blended joins, but have seen some horrors in wide/panoramic shots from others.


December 25, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

What every Glesga wean wants for Christmas – My First Fire

*(For the benefit of visitors: Glesga, or Glesca, weans – small children from Glasgow).

You could have made yourself a fortune a few years ago, had you been the importer/distributor for:

My First Fire

My First Fire

Not that it was really needed, as there were so many derelict building lying abandoned around the city, fires were a regular event.

And they didn’t have to be derelict – with many nudges and winks regarding insurance when occupied buildings burnt down ‘mysteriously’.

Others were reputed to be blocking sites ripe for development, but were listed building, so could not be modified, altered, or developed, even if decaying, neglected, and ruinous.

A little fire, a quick inspection, a declaration of danger to the public – and demolition followed swiftly, almost as swiftly as the new build on the cleared ground… some said.

December 25, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost | , , | Leave a comment

The Corinthian chandeliers are back

I spotted the huge chandeliers outside the Corinthian before, but they disappeared after a while.

I thought they might just have been a one-time show, or maybe even suffered damage during one of our windy days.

But they’re safe, they’re back, AND I managed to spot them at night this time.

Corinthian Chandeliers

Corinthian Chandeliers

In a way it’s a pity they are so bright, as it’s hard to catch them without their being burnt out before the rest of the street is captured.

I could ‘try harder’, but that’s too much like work – and I like the rest of the scene, especially GoMA (Gallery of modern Art), which turned out nicely in the background.

I’m surprised there was any sky detail, I really expected it to be black given the overall street brightness.

And I’m kind of irritated by the van which emerged from the right, the instant after I pressed the shutter – I really did wait for a ‘traffic free’ moment.


I did look at closer shots for a little more detail, but they really are quite bright, so avoiding their over-exposure or burn-out throws all else into darkness. Much better caught as evening arrives, if detail was the aim.

Then there’s the ‘wannabes’ who insist on being in shot! (Just kidding).

But I think special mention for those who care for anyone in a wheelchair, and makes the effort to get them out.

I was there for a while, not long enough to become experienced or learn how to do it properly, just enough to appreciate the different mindset and planning that needs to be undertaken to make it happen without apparent effort.

Chandeliers Plus

Chandeliers Plus

December 22, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Well THAT didn’t go as planned

Officially ‘Simpson Flats’ (sorry, I have no idea if they have a local or unofficial name), these flats overlook Tennent’s Wellpark brewery.

I THOUGHT I had caught a nice angle as I spotted the pattern of the corridor access lighting in a way I don’t usually have the opportunity to see (I’m usually walking AWAY from them in the dark,  not TOWARD), and at least in camera review at the time, the exposure and detail both looked good.


When I got home and tried to process what I’d taken, it was all useless.

I tried pushing and pulling shadows and highlights, and bending the light curves to emphasis and suppress various aspects, but there was simply no way to reproduce or recreate in image form the same effect that can be seen here by eye.

While the clear view as seen has the corridor lighting appear as a superb pattern of bright point sources against a contrasting background, and they are very distinct, it seems that at the scale of an image, that is lost, and can’t be recovered.

Knocking back the darker areas just makes the image look silly, instead of dramatic, as the lights lose their context.

I’ve lifted the flats slightly, just to show they are there, but the lights are at ‘peak white’ so can’t really be brought out further.

So, maybe one to go and actually look at, since the pic just doesn’t cut it.

Simpson Flats Night

Simpson Flats Night

For what it’s worth, I doubt this view could even have been seen until recently.

Those white street lights are clearly recent modern LED replacement for the old sodium items.

They spewed their yellow pox in EVERY direction, often hiding everything behind in their glare (in this case, most of those flats), and being almost pure monochromatic yellow, leaving little to see.

By way of contrast, LEDs are directional by default (they only radiate their light over 180 degrees, and their luminaires will usually reduce that angle still further, vastly cutting the once dire direct light pollution of their predecessors.

December 21, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking down their noses and judging us since… forever! (You know who)

I was going to use these pics later in the week, but since it’s National Cat Day I suppose I should move a little faster.

‘Judgemental cat’ seems to appear more often in shared images these days, and while I was sitting in George Square recently, I noticed I was in line with one of the lions, and it was looking down on me, did not seem to be particularly impressed.

I wandered over and grabbed a pic of the pair, but the flattened perspective of images loses the effect when these are seen from a similar perspective for real, in normal 3D. Their long noses and downward gaze are just lost in the flattened perspective of a 2D image.

I suspect something similar happens with the ‘new’ Rolls Royce. For me, at least, this car makes a terrible model, and ever since the current body style and nose appeared, I’ve thought it looks terrible in pics. Seen for real, again to me, it’s almost a completely different car/shape as the shape takes on its proper 3D view. I find the effect somewhat unsettling, but it has taught me to be careful.

The long noses and gaze of the lions don’t make it through the 2D conversion in a flat pic.

Pity, this aspect looked a lot more impressive in the flesh… er… stone.

I guess some sort of off-centre view which catches their profile as well is what is needed, so I will have to revisit this view one day.

Until then…

George Square North Lion

George Square North Lion


George Square South Lion

George Square South Lion

Maybe it’s just me, but Judgemental (black) Cat from the Interwebs seems to look alarmingly similar.

Judgemental Cat

Judgemental Cat

October 29, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Instant karma – St Enoch Centre cyclist

Since I expect to be treated decently when I’m being a cyclist, I take a dim view of any cyclist whose behaviour means I might be assumed to be some sort of related moron.

I haven’t been in Glasgow’s St Enoch Centre for months, but decided to cut through it, just to get an idea of how it looks as I read changes may be on the way.

I’d gone to the upper floor to get a better look, and was looking at the ground floor layout when I was slightly surprised to see a guy on bike weaving through the shoppers on the ground floor – not the best of behaviour, and unlikely to help convince most people that cyclists are not arrogant morons.

Not much I could do from the floor above, I assumed he’d got away with it.


A few minutes later, I arrived on the ground floor and turned around after stepping off the escalator, to see…

Instant karma – cyclist on left, centre security on right.


Karma At St Enoch

Karma At St Enoch


Woman standing up to cyclist who smashed into her on Centennial Trail

The guy involved IS a moron:

“I think its a ruse to try to sue me,” Haller said. “Just because you have a nice bike doesn’t mean you have a million dollars.”

Haller said he calls it a good day when he makes it home without an accident. “I’ve broken 25 bones,” he said. “When I lived in LA, a doctor asked me if I was a stunt man.”

Imgur galleries won’t embed, so you’ll have to click the link:

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Doors Open Days

Since I’ve been tripping over painted pavement adverts, I thought I’d recall one from a few years back – when they were thankfully less numerous than they now seem to be becoming.

Not sure exactly when this was, but dates from 2015, spotted as I was leaving somewhere in the area of The Barras.

Really just an excuse to mention Doors Open Days

And of course, the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival which they say is now in its 28th year.

Doors Open Day Pavement Paint

Doors Open Day Pavement Paint

September 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Cats – still the same after 100 years. Mr Peebody is still on patrol

The pic below may be modern, only found online last night, but it seems the spirit of the message is unchanged, even after 100 years of inspiration in the east end of Glasgow.

In this case, the scene is my grandfather’s newsagent’s shop (long long gone, but was in Fielden Street).

Business is carrying on as usual, until…

There’s a SCREAM from one of the female shoppers!

Once again, Mr Peebody had struck silently… and accurately… as she removes her shoe and pours out the cat pee which has run down her ankle and into her shoe.

She gives my grandfather a ‘piece of her mind’, but he just shrugs his shoulders and points out that it’s not his cat (it’s too lazy, and just sleeps on the nice warm piles of newspapers), and just happened to wander into the shop to do… it’s ‘business’.

The attacks were deadly as the slightly warm stream was not noticed at first. Victims only became aware of events after it had evaporated a little and started to cool , By then, it was too late,

Mr Peebody was either finished and already heading out the door, or was about to run like hell as soon as the scream came.

Apparently he didn’t confine his fun to the shop, and it seems he knew that a group of gossiping women in London Road would be too busy to notice his arrival (until it was too late), so the scream was often heard there too.

Mr Peebody

Mr Peebody

It’s nice to know the old traditions are being upheld today, even with variations:

Peed On The Hamster

Peed On The Hamster

September 8, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

The secret hidden in Kelvingrove’s baluster

Having gone from days, to weeks, to years, and now (thankfully), at last, to mere months between visits to Kelvingrove, I’m slowly getting back into the habit of looking for things I’ve missed. Seriously – this is tough when you can’t simply drop in during any weekend.

Case in point – the balusters on the front and rear stairways between the floors. I can’t believe it has taken me so many years to remember to stop and look closely at these, such is my general haste to get between the floors these days.

But I did remember recently, and was well rewarded for my efforts.

I imagine few people stop to look at these, or even notice them.

Incidentally, for those unfamiliar, baluster is the name of the vertical spindle between the handrail and (in this case) the tread.

I noticed the top of each baluster was a carved figure, but never stopped long enough to see what they actually were.

As you will see from the pics below, they are taken from Glasgow’s coat of arms, depicting three of the four elements – I couldn’t find ‘The tree that never grew’, which seems to be missing for some reason, or is perhaps elsewhere. I might ask one day.

This is the view down one of the stairwells – not the most brightly lit of places, hence the less than perfect pics.

Kelvingrove Stairwell

Kelvingrove Stairwell

Definitely no tree there.

But here are details of the other three elements of our coat of arms:

The Bird That Never Flew

The Bird That Never Flew


The Bell That Never Rang

The Bell That Never Rang


The Fish That Never Swam

The Fish That Never Swam

In the Life of Saint Mungo, he performed four miracles in Glasgow. The following verse is used to remember Mungo’s four miracles:

Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam

The verses refer to the following:

  • The Bird — Mungo restored life to a robin, which had been tamed by St Serf, but had been killed by some of his classmates, jealous of Mungo as he was favoured by St Serf.
  • The Tree — Mungo had been left in charge of a fire in St Serf’s monastery, but he fell asleep and the fire went out. Taking a hazel branch, he prayed over it and restarted the fire.
  • The Bell — the bell is thought to have been brought by Mungo from Rome. It was said to have been used in services and to mourn the deceased. The original bell no longer exists, and a replacement, created in the 1640s, is now on display in Glasgow, in the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green. There was an earlier bell – in 1450, John Stewart, first Lord Provost of Glasgow, left an endowment for a “St Mungo’s Bell”, to be made and tolled throughout the city so that the citizens would pray for his soul. Still being rung in 1578, an entry in the City Treasurer’s accounts shows two shillings (10 p) “for one tong to St Mungowis Bell.”
  • The Fish — refers to the story about Queen Languoreth of Strathclyde who was suspected of infidelity by her husband. King Riderch demanded to see her ring, which he claimed she had given to her lover. In reality the King had thrown it into the River Clyde. Faced with execution she appealed for help to Mungo, who ordered a messenger to catch a fish in the river. On opening the fish, the ring was miraculously found inside, which allowed the Queen to clear her name.


September 6, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Recalling the mural trail

I’d forgotten about a number of larger mural I happened to collect some time ago, and was diverted from before I had a chance to post them.

As the so-called ‘Mural Trail’ has become popular since I came across them, it seems a pity not to use those earlier pics, so I’ll be trawling the collection for those I’ve missed so far.

If I can get back into the city centre I might try to remember to visit some of the more obscure and hidden smaller murals that were added, as they can’t be seen so easily, or viewed directly (being narrow lanes). I rather like playing with perspective correction and like to see these as they would appear if they could be viewed by stepping back and taking a ‘proper’ look – impossible in the real world unless you can walk through walls and see through them.

No such problem with the large ones – they usually just need a little tweak to correct for converging verticals.

George Street Navigation Mural

George Street Navigation Mural

I’d completely forgotten about this one, only visible as you approach Glasgow along George Street from the east, just past the junction with High Street.

I had to dig a little to find out what it was based on, and it’s a bit of history:

Said to be inspired by a 1913 photograph, it tells the story of the Land-Ship, a mock navigation bridge built on the roof of the School of Navigation in the Royal College. That is now part of the University of Strathclyde, and the college building can be found a just along the road.

The Land-Ship was a revolving platform with carried a Kelvin compass mounted on top, and was used to teach students the principles of compass adjustment.

September 4, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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