Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

World’s slowest shopfitting

I’m not sure how long ago I got a ‘Hat Tip’ about a new cafe opening in Shettleston, but it was so long ago I was sure I’d missed it after I had to change my route and didn’t pass the spot for weeks/months after being alerted.

I was wrong, and even thought the tip was a dead one, since there was no work evident on the empty unit when I did eventually get back.

But that was wrong too, and I eventually spotted work had started, but seemed to be going very slowly, and again I thought it had died.

Then I passed a few weeks ago, and spotted doors and windows had appeared, together with posters in the windows promising an opening.

That was a couple of months ago. While it’s still not open, work continues as seen in occasional passes, although I’m not passing this way at the moment, so if it suddenly opens, I’ll probably miss it, although work was still in progress when I did pass recently.

The weather was pretty poor the day I was there for some pics, which had to be taken from some distance (due to the road layout), and the poor camera couldn’t cope with the demand, so they’re pretty bad, but at least readable.

At least the slow progress means it should be bright and sunny when I do get opening pics, and they’ll look better (unless we reach autumn by then).

Gia's Italian Cafe

Gia’s Italian Cafe

Poster detail from windows.

Cafe Gia posters

Cafe Gia posters

As an aside, I notice another cafe managed to open and start trading while this one is being prepared.

I only caught it while travelling past, and noted it had opened in one of my favourite shops in Shettleston Road, where I guess the ladies that ran it finally retired. At the same time, I noticed a traditional clothes shop had also gone, presumably as the elderly ladies that ran it also retired.

Both original shops have gone, and I don’t have pics of them.

Learn the lesson that if you think something might disappear, and it should have been obvious these would eventually disappear unless someone took them over, and that was probably unlikely as both were based on layouts that ‘ smart young people’ would have considered obsolete and of no interest… grab a pic or two, just to be safe.

When it’s gone, it’s gone – and you can’t take pics of something that’s not there!

On a positive note, Google’s Street View and timeline mean such thing are no longer total losses when they do vanish without warning,

18/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s High Street Area initiative is gathering pace

I’ve mentioned the plans being put in place to try to regenerate the area of Glasgow around and to the east of High Street, which have lagged behind the rest of the city in terms of revival.

I’ve noted how crossing from the west side of the street to the east is like crossing a border where all the goodies are on the west, and there’s little or nothing on the east.

That’s not really a negative criticism, things really do just come to end at that boundary, and it’s a little disconcerting to cross the road, and find little or no activity. It’s always been like that.

Probably what has changed in recent years has been the gradual disappearance of the various shops and businesses on BOTH sides of High Street (and Saltmarket), where they’ve closed and not been replaced by new occupants.

I used to visit quite a few at one time, and there was a decent baker there, selling fruit tarts at a discount if you bought more than one. But it just went away, despite being busy and popular. The rest of the shop fronts are tired, and need sprucing up, as they are not really that old, but look run down and dated.

Handily, this seems to address what I’ve seen…

A fund will provide support to independent shops on the High Street and Saltmarket, one of the oldest and of the most historically significant thoroughfares in Glasgow, as part of a strategy to regenerate the area.

The appearance and shop fronts and the buildings in which they reside has a considerable impact and influence on an area’s character.

This fund – the Independent Retail Fund (IRF) – is a shop front improvement grant available to tenants and owners of occupied shops on Saltmarket and the High Street.

Glasgow City Council will work with City Property Glasgow Investments and other commercial property owners to provide 100 per cent funds to shops – £5,000 for double units and £3,000 for single units – to enable them to undertake necessary external enhancements and redecoration.

Other improvements will also be made such as removing upgrading signage, replacing damaged tiles and feature lighting for signage or window displays.

Glasgow’s High Street to receive funding boost with new support for independent shops

But they’ll have to attract some more useful shops/businesses there if they are to increase the number of people who stop there.

I pass through here a few times every week, but there’s currently simply no reason for me to stop there.

And that’s a problem.



02/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dennistoun is getting interesting shops

What can I say?

I hope they’re still there if/when the weather gets better and I can wander along for a look.

Pear will be opening its doors this weekend.

The super trendy Dennistoun shop, located at 434 Duke Street offers a wide selection of cacti and succulents that you can artfully display in your home.

Glasgow’s first cactus shop is opening in Dennistoun this weekend

I used to have some cacti, on the basis they were pretty hard to kill, and often came up with surprises every few years, like when they suddenly produced some nice looking flowers

I used to like this one, which I always referred to as ‘Mickey Mouse’ 🙂

Mickey Mouse Cactus

Mickey Mouse Cactus


A new plastic-free shop which looks to help people reduce the amount of waste they are putting into the environment is opening in Dennistoun.

Zero Waste Market supplies reusable products like bamboo toothbrushes, metal straws, shampoo bars and reusable sanitary products.

Zero Waste Market will open in Dennistoun in mid-March.

Check out their website to buy products and to keep up to date with news here.

You can also donate to the Zero Waste Market crowdfunding page and help support the new shop here.

Zero waste shop selling plastic-free reusable items to open in Dennistoun

I’ll probably sound like a ‘miserable sod’ for this next comment, but I just don’t buy disposable stuff (other than toilet paper – I find it really hard to wash and dry after I’ve used it once).

I’ll be interested to see what’s on offer as reusable, as there’s lots of stuff that is already ‘reusable’, but most people just don’t bother, or even care, as per the classic example of bottled water, which I see many people buy, take a few swallies, then just toss away, unfinished!


01/02/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Free fruit for kids is news?

I’m always a little concerned when I see headlines splashed like this one…

A supermarket in Glasgow is offering free fruit to children shopping with their parents

NOT because of the offer of free fruit, but because of the line which ran below that bold headline.

Morrisons in Glasgow is hoping to improve children’s health and reduce waste.

I’m not ‘children’ (or even ‘kids’), so haven’t really paid much attention to a stall in our Shettleston Tesco, but it has offered ‘Free Fruit For Kids‘ for months.

I’m sure I’ve seen others, but again, of no use to me, so I haven’t really paid them any attention, other than to think it’s at least an effort, but do the kids want to play?

If this news had perhaps featured an article featuring how ALL (or maybe many) Glasgow supermarkets, or maybe referred to Tesco (and any other offering such free fruit), I might not have questioned it, but as it only mentions Morrisons, as if that was the only one to do so, it falls short of the standards I’d expect, and feels biased.

Maybe it should have had ‘Sponsored Article’ tacked on to the end.

Sorry, but it’s bad enough having to live with stories that are biased with political ‘spin’ in Scotland these days, without getting the same feeling when reading branded adverts, sorry, articles.

Incidentally, they tried this in Australia a while ago – and parents complained.

They said the displays were ‘unhygienic’.

Sadly, probably true. The ones in our local stores usually have fruit that the kids have taken one bite from, then thrown back into the box.

Wonder how long it will be before there is a campaign to have them outlawed here?

Can’t have the little darlings share their germs etc and develop natural immunities, they have to be kept squeaky clean to avoid that, so they can develop ‘allergies’ instead.

Tesco Free Fruit

Tesco Free Fruit

05/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Soaves return to Baillieston shops

I recently noted that after moving from the shops in Baillieston – to a vacated former TV shop, then café, on the outskirts – an ice cream parlour appear to have closed, and speculated that the move had not been a good idea as the footfall at the quieter spot was insufficient.

Although not received as a comment here, I was later told the shop had indeed closed, and gone back to shared premises in the middle of the main street, and I would guess a better return from lower operating costs and more passing trade.

Story confirmed when I spotted this recently.

Soaves Return

Soaves Return

Referring to the original post…

The little clothes shop is said to have a new taker, and will open again (no details).

And then what can only be described as fantasy…

That the former bank building is going to open under the auspices of one of the big businesses I refer to as ‘Coffee Cons’.

It now has another sign indicating it has restaurant planning permission – but a new restaurant already opened recently, just along the road, so I guess that is not really going to help moving a building this size with its attendant costs of ownership.

A bank might eat those costs for a while, but you will have to be coining it to make this building viable.

Baillieston Bank Building

Baillieston Bank Building

I won’t give them free publicity by naming them online, but they cost city worker a fortune, selling paper cups of brown slops – coffee with various silly and trendy names – for around £2.50 or more a time.

People fail to think, and buy this stuff, costing them well over £100 a year for little more than hot water.

It’s no wonder these cash black holes use paper cups, and avoid any refers to… MUGS.

If an ice cream parlour can’t cut it here, then I doubt there’s any way a franchisee would be able to cover their costs operating from this deserted area with few customers to pay for such a huge building and the franchise costs.

It’s only the founder that becomes a millionaire and enjoys the trapping of wealth from such plans.

08/08/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Baillieston closing for business?

Unless there’s something unusual or interesting I don’t usually bother about the steady coming and going of business or shops on the ‘Main Street’.

These tend to balance out, with a few empty shops, the occasional new arrival, and the occasional closure maintaining a steady balance.

But last night was a bit different as I took my regular wander through Baillieston, with two obvious losses (three now that I think of it), and the realisation that there may be a fourth I had not noticed.

The first obvious one was the bookies, really, a betting shop closing?

I’m more used to being surprised at seeing them being granted permission to open in Shettleston in recent times, there are so many, and within sight of one another too.

That makes this closure in Baillieston all the more of a surprise, unless they’re moving or refurbing. But that seem unlikely as I recall the place being gutted and upgraded not so long ago, when all the old computer gear was dumped in the road. And it didn’t even seem to close for that. There’s a note stuck to the window near the door, but it’s just security details.

Betting Shop Closed

Betting Shop Closed

Next one I came across was this former ladies clothes shop.

Oddly enough, as I’ve been passing this in recent weeks I’ve actually been thinking how remarkable it was that it was still there after so many years, and how the window displays were always fresh and clean. Many long-established little shops let their window displays slip, get untidy, out-of-date, and even dusty, dirty, and faded as they are neglected, but not this one.

Looks like my thoughts were similar to Murray Walker’s ‘Kiss of Death’ or “Commentator’s Curse” which often applied when he suggested someone was about to win an F1 race – which would almost immediately cause their car to fail in some dramatic way.

Terrible lighting and compact camera made for a terrible pic – the sign is still there, above the door, but the colour combination just comes out as a smear with its little sensor. I also thought there was a hole in the roof before I tweaked the image, but I believe is/was actually a chimney, centre front.

Chambers Fashions Closed

Chambers Fashions Closed

The other two that came mind were the pub at the bus stop. The Circle Bar if I recall correctly, appeared to close then was open on odd days, then closed completely and became a shop.

Caught in this Google view from 2016 being converted into a shop full of bongs:

Pub to Shop

Pub to Shop

The other one is, or was, the  grossly over-priced designer brand label ice-cream shop. (Sorry, nothing against the shop, just the concept of a brand names and labels that have silly money premium prices attached.)

This moved from a smaller shop in the busier middle of the Main Street to this once derelict former TV shop a while ago.

The place has been closed for a while now, and the shutters are up. I had wondered if they were maybe just on holiday, but there’s no sign or note obvious.

A pity, as it always seemed to have a steady stream of customers, I thought it was ‘safe’ – perhaps not sustainable. Despite the name, it is a Scottish brand, based not that far away, and while I see they offer help to start a business, I don’t see any mention of the ‘F’ word (franchise – can be expensive).

Maybe business is really good, and they’re having a looooooooooooooong holiday.

Again, Google has to rescue me as I’ve never pointed a camera this way:

Ice Cream Parlour

Ice Cream Parlour

I’m there all the time, so any changes or updates will be added below.


As par a later post, the Ice Cream Parlour has moved back into the busy body of the main street, away from this quieter spot, and is installed in a shop that sells trendy stuff.

The betting shop is indeed gone, as estate agent’s signs were bolted on to the front a few days later. No real surprise, more that it lasted so long, as two others sit beside one another in the busier part of the main street, and are next to a pub.

Thinking back (I’m not a betting shop person) I have memories of a fourth one that opened across the road from those two, but was hardly there long enough for me to remember it quickly.

24/07/2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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