Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Ferry tales, a bit like fairy tales, as long as they’re not Scottish

While the sad state of ferry building (and hate campaigns by some passengers and activists) in Scotland means I really have withdrawn from my past days of light-hearted reviews of the various shenanigans that go on in that area, that doesn’t mean I ignore it, or might mention general, rather than specific cases.

Looking at recent news, for example Scottish Govt Takes Over Ferguson Shipyard, suggests somebody, somewhere, is doing something wrong.

Given the Clyde’s past history of shipbuilding, this definition of ‘fairy tale’ seem kind of appropriate to today’s situation, “Colloquially, the term “fairy tale” or “fairy story” can also mean any far-fetched story or tall tale; it is used especially of any story that not only is not true, but could not possibly be true.

Currently, this definition doesn’t apply, at least not here, “the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in “fairy-tale ending” (a happy ending) or “fairy-tale romance”.

It’s more like a Danish fairy tale, where the Danes seem to be able to build electric ferries without the problems that seem to beset Scottish efforts:

Electric ferries have been running in Norway since 2015, but none nearly as large as the 195-foot long Ellen. This ferry can carry up to 30 cars (electric cars, we’d hope) and 200 passengers, and is powered by a 4.3 megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack made by conversion company Leclanche.

World’s largest electric ferry completes maiden voyage

Had Scotland NOT made such a dog’s dinner of the two ferries mentioned in the Ferguson story, it MIGHT just have had the lead in a rapidly developing market for such ferries, as revealed in this article:

All-electric ferry cuts emission by 95% and costs by 80%, brings in 53 additional orders

There’s more on this ferry from its beginnings in 2014/2015, including pics that show some of its details, including the fact that it is a catamaran.

Ship Photos of the Day – World’s First All-Electric Ferry

Ampere electric car ferry Pic credit Siemens

Ampere electric car ferry Pic credit Siemens

Apart from some very small, and rather successful, yards, I don’t think anyone has any reason to look this way if they want a ferry built – certainly not bases on performance/management/delivery.

16/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Volunteers… DON’T go into the light!

While I admire those who are able to volunteer their time and effort to support legitimate charities (always check any organisation sailing under the charity banner – and find out if it’s supporting a multimillionaire head first, and beneficiaries second).

I can’t offer the same ‘charitable’ opinion of huge commercial ventures that depend on volunteers to make it work.

Yes, I’m looking at you, usually giant sports ventures that eat millions, pay little or nothing to those who make them successful, and strut their stuff with claims of how much they benefit the local economy – while selectively forgetting about any monies that goes to those behind them.

I suspect a few lucky folk walk off with a nice little pot – while thousands of volunteer get expenses and beer money to keep them happy, and probably lots and lots of mind-bending indoctrinational inspirational talks about how ‘important’ they are to the success of the venture.

I’m impressed, really, I am, at how these events manage to pull the same trick every time they come around, be they the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games or whatever.

There’s currently a whopping THREE such events competing for free labour volunteers to help them along to a healthy bottom line once the books are closed and the accountants go home.

A recruitment drive has been launched for volunteers to join the team running three major sporting events in Glasgow.

Glasgow Life are looking for people to help with the running of the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships, the LGT World Men’s Curling Championship and UEFA EURO 2020.

Applicants will be able to choose which event, and how many, they’d like to be involved in.

A variety of roles, including supporting spectators and visitors,

Applications open on Monday July 22 and will close on Sunday August 25, for a variety of roles including supporting spectators and visitors to the city during the events.

Thousands of people have volunteered at previous events in the city including the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2018 European Championships.

Across all three events, more than 1,000 volunteers will participate in some of the biggest events in the world.

Glasgow volunteers sought for three major sporting events

It’s funny how unions and suchlike get all up in arms and mouthy about ‘Free labour’, ‘Cheap about’, or even ‘Slave labour’ when business try to run apprenticeships, or work experience schemes, but I can’t think of a union that has lifted a finger over highly profitable sporting events and similar – which would probably be financial ‘Black Holes’ if they were forced to pay EVERYBODY involved in their running.

Maybe the union bosses like football etc, and have corporate boxes at those events, for their rich mates.

Volunteer Zombies

PS – Don’t forget

Don’t forget the other little scheme that let goodies be divvied up between the lucky few.

The ‘Awards’.

I’m not going to waste time on this, but it would be nice to know how much Glasgow will have to throw into a ‘Money Pit’ (regardless of whether it wins this award) just to keep in the running for this.

Glasgow officially noted its intention to bid in January of this year, and submitted a formal candidature bid last month, resulting in the city being shortlisted for the title alongside Genoa, Italy.

If successful, Glasgow would be the first city to win the coveted title twice. It would also mark 20 years since it first gained the accolade back in 2003.

Glasgow shortlisted for European Capital of Sport award

Mentioning ‘sport’ seems to make some people lose touch with reality, and expenses.

22/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost | , , , | Leave a comment

Oh joy – Glasgow gets more expensive to live in while Aberdeen gets cheaper, and both happier and unhappier

Intriguing changes taking place in the list which looks at the cost of living in various places (not only in the UK, but around the world).

The annual rankings from Mercer look at the cost of living and housing for employees of firms sent to work abroad.

The company produces the rankings in more than 200 of the most common cities for expatriate employees and show how changes in the value of currency and the cost of goods and services can impact how expensive a place is to live.

Glasgow was the only British city to see living costs rise in relation to other cities in an annual global ranking.

Meanwhile, living costs in Aberdeen dropped down places in the rankings.

This means that for people living in the two cities, living costs have gone in opposite directions in relation to the rest of the world.


Aberdeen rose 18 places last year compared to 2017, and was listed close to cities such as Birmingham, but dropped three places to 137 this year.

Despite cost of living falling in Aberdeen, it’s still Scotland’s most expensive city.

Glasgow meanwhile saw a rise of three places with the city continuing its rise from 146th place in 2017.

Glasgow gets more expensive while Aberdeen living costs drop, say new rankings

While it’s nice to congratulate Glasgow (and Scotland) on winning things such as its fame for being used in big name films for locations, and the growing tourist business (which brings in people ready to be parted from their money), it also brings what may be referred to as ‘The London Effect’, where the people have to live in the same place where living costs reflect the wallets those being attracted.

London was ranked 23rd, down four places compared to 2018 and ranked below Dubai and Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) which were ranked 21st and 22nd respectively.

Success is nice – but it’s worth remembering it doesn’t come alone.

Think of like the TRNSMT festival.

Great for the people who spent the past weekend enjoying it.

Not so good for those who live nearby, and couldn’t even get into Glasgow’s largest public space, or even pass through it!

This was the scene when I tried to cycle through Glasgow Green on my usual route, and was forced to divert across the Clyde, via the suspension bridge.

Same story later, when I tried to use the path past the People’s Palace, and security plus fences forced me onto London Road.

Glasgow Green path closed for TRNSMT

Glasgow Green path closed for TRNSMT

Seems we’ll have this to look forward to next year.

And, just to help…

Glasgow is simultaneously happy AND unhappy

Well Glasgow, we have some good news and some bad news for you today.

The good news is that our city is one of the happiest places to live in the UK! The bad news? It’s also the unhappiest place in the UK.

According to CV Library , Glasgow is one of the happiest cities to live and work in – with only Brighton and Swansea beating them to the top spot.

The study, which consulted 2,000 working professional discovered that 70.6% of Glasgow workers were more than happy with their lot.

CV Library pointed to the city’s high average pay rates, lower living costs and the impressive food, art and entertainment scene we’re lucky enough to have on our doorstep as the reason behind why we’re all so cheery.

On the other hand, the latest Bank of Scotland Happiness Index has stated that people living in Glasgow reported being the unhappiest in the country

Their research suggested that it was those living in the Highlands and Islands that were happiest, with a score of 55.6. The natural environment and sense of community credited with helping to boost residents’ cheerfulness.

Glasgow named both happiest and unhappiest place to live in Scotland within 24 hours


Even the cats have caught this bug!

Sad Cat Happy Cat

Sad Cat Happy Cat

16/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Ferries used to be fun

Years ago, I used to enjoy finding ferry stories in the news.

Even the bad ones were fun as they often brought together two sides with widely opposing views, one of which was promoted by reasonably sensible people, while the other was clearly coming from a bunch of dafties.

In other words, one side was ‘right’, while the other was (probably) ‘wrong’ (or driven by some sort of agenda it had, rather than by something sensible and logical).


No such fun, or even an easy way to determine who’s right or who’s wrong, who’s honest, or who’s being economic with the truth.

The last battery/diesel hybrid ferry story sank without trace after a while around a decade ago – last I heard of it was when someone sent me an email claiming the project had been a screw-up, and the batteries used were crap, and all had to be replaced shortly after the build was completed.

I don’t know if that’s true, as I couldn’t even track down further information about that project – so with no verification I was never able to post about it.

Sadly, there are plenty of stories online about the two newest Scottish ferries, , and all bad: MV Glen Sannox, intended to be in service on the Arran route last year, and an unnamed boat, Hull 802, intended to serve the Outer Hebrides.

It’s just embarrassing, when it should really be innovative.

Troubled CalMac ferries ‘may’ be ready next year

As I said at the start, I used to like reading/writing about out ferries.


All At Sea


19/05/2019 Posted by | Maritime | , | Leave a comment

Oh look – The Grinch lives in West Lothian

Seriously, this is a great example of a coward hiding behind anonymity.

Stand up and sign your ‘letter’.

I used to build crazy complex Christmas tree lighting control systems years ago, before we had microcontrollers and the like, all based on hard logic chips, and manual programming.

I got a bit of a shock one year, when someone I worked with asked me when the tree was going up so they could bring the kids over to see it, and let their friends know.

That’s a thing of the past now, since just about any cheap Chinese Christmas light set does many time more than my pre-microcontroller lash-ups, and now that they can have hundreds of LEDs hung on to them, it would be madness to try. I think the only advantage my systems still have is that a bare wire wouldn’t be likely to kill you.

I think most Christmas lights now on offer are marginal on safety at best, so I suggest being careful, very careful.

Anyway, there was a very UN-Christmassy story in the news tonight.

A West Lothian grandmother who decorated her house for Christmas was shocked to receive a nasty card that branded the festive display “awful” and the “worst” on the street.

Annette McDonald, from Glenmore in Whitburn, has lit up her house and garden with fairy lights, a Santa Claus and a star.

The 55-year-old put up the display for her young grandchildren, but was stunned to receive a card in the post from a woman in the area that called it “an assault on the eyes”.

Mrs McDonald told STV News the card was cowardly, rude and offensive.

She said: “I was shocked that someone could send something like that. I hate the thought of someone vulnerable getting a card like this.”

In the letter, the woman told her that “less is more”.

Gran ‘shocked’ by rude card criticising Christmas display

Rude The Christmas card criticised the display Pic Credit STV

Rude The Christmas card criticised the display Pic Credit STV

West Lothian gran ‘shocked’ by rude Christmas card slamming her festive lights display

The writer doesn’t deserve to have a happy or merry Christmas after that.

I had to give up my displays.

The writer doesn’t know the circumstances of the person putting up the lights.

They could potentially be suffering a tragedy, and a display the writer doesn’t like could be giving them great comfort.

Alternatively, the “awful and worst” display could be all they can afford, and perhaps had to make sacrifices elsewhere for a little piece of seasonal pleasure.

If the display pictured is “awful and worst”, then I suggest the writer come to the east end of Glasgow.

If, as they say, “LESS IS MORE!”, then they could have a full-time job writing their rude and nasty letter to just about every one of my neighbours. Those who put up displays seem to have more money than sense these days – their houses are draped with lights, and Christmas characters, while their gardens are full of reindeer, sleighs, snowmen, and animated characters.

I don’t bother taking pics, usually, since they are so bright there’s no real ‘low light hand held’ challenge.

Like the one below. This one also fails to convey the animation from a number of low power lasers shining on the scene, and the shower of animated lights suspended along the eaves.

Interesting Christmas

Interesting Christmas

Maybe Little Miss Nasty would prefer this, on the ‘Less is More’ theme?

First Christmas Tree Upgrade

First Christmas Tree Upgrade


SOMEBODY knows who she is.

She won’t have been able to keep her mouth shut, and will have been telling all her friends what a good job, putting the person behind that ‘awful’ display in their place.

21/12/2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , | 2 Comments

There should be a special hell for people who dump their cats

Reading LoveMeow regularly (follow on Twitter), I’m regularly shocked and saddened to read of people who decide their cat is simply ‘Surplus to requirements’, and dump their ‘designer accessory’ into the nearest shelter, or worse, kick it out into the street (or even worse, which I won’t expand on, but you know what I mean).

It’s something I can’t understand.

Having looked after a pet that was supposedly dear to them, and a companion, they find some fault with it, and out it goes with the rubbish.

I just can’t comprehend the mental attitude, as I’d have done just about anything for any cat I’ve looked after, regardless of its nature, habits, disposition, attitude, problems etc. They’re all part of the deal, like them or not.

Just look at this guy – can you believe the owner dumped him because he was a lap cat?

Jacque was three years old when he was dropped off at Michigan Cat Rescue. His previous owner no longer wanted the ginger cat because he constantly sought attention from her.

“All he wanted was a lap to sit on. She didn’t want him to cuddle with her and she didn’t want him any more,” Michigan Cat Rescue shared with Love Meow.

After a year, he was turned away and given up. The ginger boy was confused by the sudden change in surroundings, but as soon as he got to curl up in a warm lap, he started purring again.

They shared his story on their Facebook page, in the hope of finding him a perfect home. Soon, hundreds of adoption applications came flowing in. People were stunned by how a sweet cat like Jacque became “unwanted.”

“Sad that he lost his home, but glad has a chance at a home that will forever love him… with a lap to snuggle on,” Siobhan commented on the page.

“If he is a lapcat that’s what I’m looking for. I will apply for him,” Abby added a comment.

“Who in the heck doesn’t want a lap cat? He is so handsome,” Brandy wrote on the page.

“A giant cat that is orange and demands to sit on laps? Sounds like a dream come true,” Cathy added a comment.

Cat Who Was Rejected for Being a Lap Cat, Finds Family that Loves Him and Can’t Stop Cuddling


Most folk I’ve ever known who had cats would have PAID to have a cat like that!

Isn’t THIS what you WANT your cat to do?

Jaque Michigan Cat Rescue

Jaque Michigan Cat Rescue

THAT face.

How could anybody throw it out after living with it FOR A YEAR!

Jaque Michigan Cat Rescue

Jaque Michigan Cat Rescue

Disgusting owner, as are all who take a ‘Designer Pet’ and dump it when it no longer suit their current whim or fashion.

On the other hand, Jaque is better off being separated from them, and in a loving home.

It’s just a pity the original owner can’t be dumped somewhere equally appropriate!

19/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

There’s one born every minute – or how to spot a mug in Glasgow

I’m going to have to stop looking at stories about ‘Old vs New’ Irn Bru in the media.

Cracked ribs from laughing at idiots take too long to fix themselves.

This has to be one of the stupidest campaigns ever spread by social media – and that’s a hard title to be awarded.

People are stupid, and this nonsense spread by a few smart people – just looking for ‘likes’ or whatever – has to be one of the best.

It was funny, but is now getting a little serious, as people are ripped off by unscrupulous shop owners who saw a way to make a quick profit from ‘The Stupid’.

Yet nobody is demanding an inquiry into ‘profiteering’.


A Glasgow newsagent is looking to make a quick buck over the festive period – by punting two litre bottles of old recipe Irn Bru for more than six times the original value.

Toll Newsagents are advertising the £10-a-pop bottles in the window of their shop on Paisley Road West to encourage customers to part with their cash for a full (25.8 gram or 29%) sugar fix.

The RRP on the two litre bottles is £1.59 or 2 for £2, but with the scarcity of the old stuff meaning that bottles or cans of the stuff are like gold dust, the shop owners have set a price they no doubt know folk will be willing to pay.

And the fact is, whether people crave it to ease off the hangover after a night on the town or just miss the old taste, when a shop advertises that they have old recipe Irn Bru in it normally flies right off the shelves.

This Glasgow shop is selling 2 litre bottles of original Irn Bru … but it will cost you

To me, this would be a signal to SHAME such a shop, and its owner as a crook, and boycott it of course.

The foolishness and self-delusion continued, as the latest Irn Bru Christmas ad appeared, sequel to the original ‘Snowman’ of some 12 years ago…

With Barr’s having changed the recipe this year, reducing the sugar content in everyone’s favourite soft drink, there was an obvious reaction from fans still in uproar.

Indra Joyce commented: “Poor copy of the brilliant original. Much like the new Bru itself is a poor copy of the brilliant original.”

Carol Graham added: “Like the ad, just a pity Santa didn’t bing the old recipe stuff back.”

Fortunately, there are still a few sane people not willing to be led like sheep…

Others shared a gif of the snowman being handed his can of Bru, along with the words: “Nae bother pal, it’s rank noo.”

Still, others liked it – Ann-marie Colvan said: “So many haters just because Irn Bru changed their recipe. I think it’s brilliant!”

Fiona MacFarlane added: “Loved it! Great to see our newest feats of engineering featured!”

‘Pity Santa didn’t bring the old recipe back’ – Glasgow reacts to the return of the Irn Bru snowman

Frozen Irn Bru

Frozen Irn Bru

Aw – nobody asked you!

Grumpy Pee


As with all these types of purely opinion-based hate stories with no logic behind them, there’s a couple of things I’d like to see, even though I know I never will, and the haters would, of course, never accept the results.

Switch the ‘old’ and ‘new’ recipes around, so people unfamiliar with them could be introduced to the ‘new’ on FIRST, get used to it for a few months, and THEN be asked what they thought of the other one, ie the supposedly ‘superior’ high sugar original.

And the more obvious ‘Blind Taste Test’, where ordinary people (not the fanatic or delusional) were simply given samples of each in a blind taste test, and asked to express a preference, or which tasted better.

The stuff is transported around the land as syrup, and a bottle contains maybe 10% syrup and 90% local water from wherever the bottling plant is located. The water probably has more effect on individual taste than the fiddling done with the sugar level.

04/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

The honey trap is working well – now we caught a leering money moron

No explanation needed, see Dirty Dog Shampoo original if you missed it.

Just look at the dumb face on this moron posing in someone else’s Ferrari!

Would YOU take money advice from an idiot like this?

Money Moron

Money Moron

06/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Honey trap catches moronic cana16 ‘blog’

Have I invented/discovered a new kind of ‘Honey Trap’ to attract scummy spammers?

No sooner did I call out the ‘Beauty Secrets’ blog for suggesting ‘Dirty Dog Shampoo’ would be good for the king of sad people who follow such things.

It wasn’t long before another moronic spamming ‘beauty blog’ pulled the same trick…

Moronic Cana16

Moronic Cana16

You have to wonder just how far below ‘Bottom Feeder’ these people lie on the intelligence scale.


See a post mocking and deriding BOTH your type of blog, AND its scummy attempt to circumvent adblocking…

And it STILL issues both a ‘Like’ and the apparently standard pair of attempts to register as a ‘Follower’.


Dirt like YOU will NEVER be allowed to stay as a Follower on any blog I watch.

06/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Latest fashion find – Beauty Secrets blog finds Dirty Dog Shampoo

I never know whether to be irritated or amused by the desperate morons trying to find ways to promote their blogs, place unwanted advertising, and make money from other morons.

A really nice example of how stupid they are popped up this morning, so I’m going to share, and hopefully (but I know they don’t care) shame  whoever’s behind ‘Beauty Secret’ blog.

I’m guessing they have a bot or similar searching for any mentions of beauty products, such as, oh let’s pick ‘shampoo’ as a possible search word.

Whenever it finds such a word, it might look for a ‘Like’ button the page (but could be a ‘Follow’ or even ‘Register’ button), and use some code to programmatically ‘press’ it.

This sort of scummy behaviour means that the blog they pounced on will have the owner see their unwanted ad (since their content and hints at ‘Posts you might like to see from Beauty Secrets’ are just promos or ads, and if anyone looks at who has registered a ‘Like’ on your blog, you’ve given them a free link their blogs, loaded with the aforementioned promos and ads.

It’s really just spam, and deserves to be treated in the same way.

It also has the advantage of circumventing any sort of adbocking, and Akismet on WordPress.

Saddest fact of the day is that WordPress does not, and apparently will not, offer an option to block sites making ‘Likes’ we don’t like.

I always delete these a few minutes after they appear, since not one of them has ever offered me a cut of their profits for carrying their promos and ads.

And who’d going to listen to a blogger that’s thick as a brick, and promotes ‘Dirty Dog Shampoo’ on their blog about Beauty Secrets?

Let’s just laugh at…

Beauty Secret Dirty Dog Shampoo

Beauty Secret Dirty Dog Shampoo

I might do this more often, if funny ones show up.

06/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Sad cloud pic is… disappointing

Missed a nice opportunity last night.

Out late, in the dark, on ‘business’, and with no free hands to carry or use a camera, I spotted a brilliant giant cloud which was rolling over one of my old haunts, The Campsie Hills. Are they still there? I’ve no idea, as the years of absence have joined together to become decades. An earthquake I didn’t notice could have swallowed them by now for all I know.

The view was terrific, unlike the catch I was eventually able to make later, after getting home, grabbing a camera, and finding a suitable viewpoint.

Sadly, it was a shadow of its former self, probably only a quarter of the height it had been when I first saw it in the distance.

Lit from below, it looked great, but by the time I got there, not so great.

Oh well – beggars can’t be choosers.

Still, at least my first proper night/low light shot of the year shows I’ve not lost the settings I use to get this stuff hand-held, as I still don’t use a tripod.

But I am being nudged to add a tiny pocket monopod, to deal with the places where even the stray streetlighting is not enough to avoid the need to let the flash come into play (and make me noticeable, which I don’t like).

Disappointing Cloud

Disappointing Cloud

17/10/2018 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

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