Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Christmas Day 2017

Sad to say, this little guy looks like Christmas Day 2017 feels like in my corner of Scotland.

Apart from the weather, I haven’t noticed the usual stream of bodies and cars at the neighbours’ and even their trees and lights don’t seem to be switched on for the day, which is usually the custom. All seems very low key this year. Did I miss the memo?

Wet Christmas One

Wet Christmas One

We may have lost the wind that kept gusting around yesterday, and made the day feel really  miserable, but the temp has dropped from 10 deg C to 5 deg C, so not really any better.

And we still have the same irritating rain that’s not really rain – this stuff is in the air all the time, descending rather than falling, and very good at soaking everything it touches.

Since I hadn’t managed to get anything useful done during the day, frustration saw me wander out shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve, to get some pics of a wealthy homeowner’s floodlit garden. I’d recently collected some using a decent compact camera, but the results were just weird, so I wanted some taken with a large sensor dSLR for comparison (there will be a post once I look at the results).

While this only took about an hour or so, I came back feeling like the little guy above.

This type of rain may not soak you to the skin like a heavy shower or downpour, but its pervasive and incessant nature means you still get soaked, and everything gets wet.

The one good thing was that although my jacket may be old, it has an internal layer that resists moisture, so my camera wasn’t at risk.

I think I prefer crisp Christmas over soggy, provided it is not also trying to set a new record low temperature!

Oh! Met Office issues ice warning for Boxing Day



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

Christmas Eve 2017

I had a fairly (read: VERY) irritating colleague at work once. He believed he was a sales and marketing genius (I wonder if he knew some major clients had STANDING ORDERS at their reception desks, instructing security that they were NEVER ‘in’ if he dropped in for a visit), and he sounded good – until you realised none of the brilliant advice he gave was his own, but was memorised from business leaders, and repeated like he was some sort of parrot.

His little face used to light up with joy if he could fault anyone who had omitted something from a plan, or maybe not even prepared one for some task.


Would follow the poor unfortunate as he dressed them down, put them in their place, and lectured them on how HE would have succeeded where they had just failed.

Utter rubbish of course, but doing this kept him happy.

I try to plan to be in Glasgow on Christmas Eve, mainly to have a late wander through what remains of The Barras.

While I don’t suppose they make it all the way there nowadays, it used to be the tradition that the place would stay open until midnight on that day.

Despite my plan, I usually can’t follow it, so it’s a waste of time, generally for reasons I can’t control.

This year (given I’m on foot) the weather killed the thought, although it was mild at around 10 deg C, the wind never gave up, and while it was not actually raining, it was always in the air with the threat that it might turn from threat to reality, and not stop.

Ah well, maybe next year.

Christmas Eve 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

It wasn’t all bad, since I had to go to a nearby shop (to get a refund for a set of truly dreadful Bluetooth earphones), I wandered around the rest and picked up enough goodies to make a nice seasonal meal from the last minute clearance shelves.

December 24, 2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Weather forecast says ‘Winter is coming’ with warnings

Last night (or early morning) was weird here.

The weather folk warned of a cold snap, and I watched the outside temperature doing funny things.

Usually it just falls overnight, but last night it went up and down a few times, starting at +2 deg C, then down to -5 deg C, but then back up, to -1 deg C. Time for bed after that, but I did spot some number between those extremes before morning.

Via Britain is braced for a cold snap overnight amid snow and sleet

We will be able to tell where the first snowflake lands – that part of the country will grind to halt 10 seconds later!

These guys appear to be ready for anything.

Fluffy Cats

Fluffy Cats

Left Cat “What’s that?”                        Right Cat “Something to kill!

More fluff here.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

It just snowed in sunny Glasgow

I should have known better, really, I should.

Yesterday was really nice, both dry and sunny, and well above freezing temps too.

Of course, I was stuck indoors for reasons outwith my control, or choice.

Today, I’d largely decided to get out, and the morning at least started well (if chilly), being dry and bright.

Come 10:30 or so, it was time for coffee, and I saw the dullness that had fallen was being accompanied by a combination of rain and wet snow, stuck to my window – had I arrived 5 minutes later, it would have been gone, as the temp was hovering a few degrees above 0 deg C, so no chance of it lying.

But I saw it, and it was no great surprise as the snow is already lying on the hilltops surrounding Glasgow.

It’s already stopped and gone away, so maybe I’ll still make it out after F1 free practice on the telly (if I can find my shovel).

No evidence to take a pic of, so…

Light Scottish Snowfall

Light Scottish Snowfall



I ventured past a window an hour later to find that a new period of dullness was down a REAL snowfall.

Unfortunately, still too much latent heat around for this to lie, I had to go on a quick learning course to find out how to photograph falling snow.

I had just about worked out how to do this when I thought the method had stopped working, but dragging my eye from the viewfinder revealed the flurry had just stopped while I had been busy.

But, I did at least get a usable view, even if I had to crop out most of the surroundings.

Warm Snowfall

Warm Snowfall

Hint: Flash might sometimes produce interesting effect in rain – but it’s not an option for snow.

I’d found a nice range of shutter speeds, but all fun stopped when the snow stopped, and focus/aperture/ISO remain mysteries for another day – but at least I learned something new.

F1 commentators were spot on too

Watching F1 free practice from the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi was fun.

News came in that those at Knockhill were “Up to their ankles in snow”.


“Well, you can be up to your ankle in snow at Knockhill in the middle of summer”.

Never quite saw that myself, but sometimes wished I had a wet suit and scuba gear as I waded around the circuit some years.

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


So, first genuine frost hit last night.

I watched the temp fall below zero during the night, and bottom out at -2°C for a short period – it had made it to zero on previous nights, but hadn’t managed to cause frost to form. But, this time…

Chilly Morning

Chilly Morning

Oh well. I suppose that means summer really is over.

I might watch somewhere like Glasgow Green when I get the chance this year – it managed to surprise me last year.

This was the scene I found when I arrived there exactly a year ago (2016).

Glasgow Green Sports

Glasgow Green Sports

October 30, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Hurricane Ophelia – informational cat supplement

It’s windy out there…

Hurricane Cats

Hurricane Cats

Local weather post.

Windy Cat Post

Windy Cat Post

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Summer in September in Glasgow in Duke Street

I usually fail to get pics like this because…

It’s cold and wet and the reason I would be taking them (if I dared take my non-waterproof camera out) would be to have a laugh, as I sometimes find the way café (or bistro) owners set tables and chairs outside when it’s pouring rain and/or blowing a gale to be almost hysterical.

But they do get customers who are prepared to sit outside while the wind chills their tea/coffee, and the rain is splashing down into their cups and watering down the content too.

I swear I really will take a chance and get a pic of such a scene one day.

But yesterday was much nicer, and outdoor dining was on the cards, and so much better than at the height of summer, when the same ‘treat’ also bring the joy of wasps and suchlike to your food, and you have to fight with them to get near it.

This was Duke Street yesterday afternoon, the height of high-class dining – next to a row of wheelie-bins!

Duke Street Cafe And Bins

Duke Street Cafe And Bins

We often see a reversal of weather trends towards the end of September – only a few days ago I was stuck indoors, the rain was pelting down, and it was cold enough for me to start digging out warm clothes.

September 27, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland’s weather in 2107 so far – glum and damp

I don’t usually stoop so low as to use the weather as inspiration (it’s too soft a target to be fair in Scotland – favourite joke: “Don’t like the weather, just give it ten minutes and something different will arrive“), but when I saw the pic below, well, it just seemed to sum up 2017 so far.

Actually, it sums up quite a few recent years.

Something over ten years ago, a change in my job meant I could walk to work instead of having to take the car every day, in case I was called out to a site. I’d wanted to walk, just for the exercise, but being expected to shoot off to visit clients meant it wasn’t an option.

Back then, although I didn’t notice it at the time, I was able to walk there and back at the start and end of the day wearing a suit, and seldom needed a showerproof jacket or even had to carry an umbrella.

More recently, I don’t dare leave without one or both, or find I come home soaked to the skin, and this year has been a pain. Not only does it often rain once I’m out, we now also seem to get heavy showers which feel as if someone is standing over you and chucking buckets of water at you.

This is in marked contrast to what I used to think of as ‘wet weather’ a few, when it may have rained fairly constantly at times, but the rain was NOT coming down as if it was attacking. I often went out walking, and even if out for an hour could come home and find the falling rain had not actually penetrated what I was wearing. Nowadays, if I get caught out in the rain I often find everything is soaked through (yes, including the skimpies).

No wonder somebody looks lost.

Nessie In Glasgow

Nessie In Glasgow

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Spring snow

You have to love Scottish weather (and Canadian, from other tales I’ve been told recently), it never disappoints, unless you’re a Sun-worshipper. In that case, you really would be better off somewhere else.

March 21 is by no means ‘late’ for snow here, the latest date I can recall for sure is April 1 (seriously), but I’m sure that’s not the latest.

This morning’s view was no great surprise as I’d heard the noise that snow makes against the window during the night, and the temp had fallen from 10° C to 1° C and was still falling, but I was surprised by just how much was lying, given the previous ‘warm’ days.

I grabbed a quick pic with a couple of shaped trees that almost looked like Christmas trees with the snow lying on them, still snowing too.

Almost hard to believe it was only a couple of days ago I was enjoying a walk in the same place, having left off my winter protection yet still finding I was too warm and breaking sweat, and wondering how on earth the folk who were STILL wrapped up in heavy jackets, scarves, boots, gloves, and woolly hats were able to stand the heat, or if they were ‘cold-blooded’.

I find them as puzzling as the macho-males I also see in this weather, clad only in t-shirt, shorts, and trainers – apparently more interested in showing off their horrible hairy leg tattoos than staying warm. Clearly Scottish males wanting to get their money’s worth!

March 21 snow

March 21 snow


The temperature’s been unable to creep past 7° C today, but the snow didn’t last for more than a few hours.

All gone, and although it doesn’t show up in the second pic, there is actually a watery Sun shining on this later view:

March 21 no snow

March 21 no snow

March 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment


Disappointment for those fun people who like to run around holding their heads and crying that the weatherfolk were “WRONG AGAIN!” just because a particular forecast did not apply to their street.

First snow (local: snaw) we’ve seen on the ground here this year (or winter).

We’ve had a little frost, and I’ve even been out running in -3°C, but I think I’ll give sliding around in this slush a miss.

As can be seen from this shot taken while passing some road works this morning, this fall was light, and the ground is far from cold enough to preserve the white stuff for long.

First snow 2017

First snow 2017

January 12, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Glasgow – from the eye in the sky (thanks to a windy day)

I saw a storm warning for Aberdeen, paired with a suggestion that the rest of the country was going to see an end to the rather nice weather being enjoyed for October. Thursday did look a bit blustery in the morning, but not too bad, and I carried on and headed out for a longish walk into Glasgow.

This turned out to be a mistake.

Two hours into this walk I had barely made an hour’s normal progress, and had gone into The Forge for a respite from the wind (no rain, just wind). The wind had just got wilder and wilder after I left home, and after two hours I was actually feeling ill from battling against it, and even after diving into The Forge for a while, when I left it was even worse, and I was having to lean into it just to make progress. Five minutes after restarting my walk, I decided it was madness to carry on, as it would have taken almost two more hours to reach Glasgow, as it was not letting up. I’ve been out for a long walk on a windy day… but this was getting ridiculous, and definitely no longer fun.

Being a Thursday, the Forge Market was open, so a diversion there would mean the walk was not a complete loss.

There’s a little stall there with second-hand books, which sometimes has local books, and this chance visit turned out to be a good one.

I picked up the book shown below, ‘Glasgow – from the eye in the sky‘, which is not one of the best (I’m biased here, as I hate Radio Clyde), but contains some great aerial images of the city.

It’s timing is (was) excellent, being published in 1988 means it has images from a period of change, and shows parts of the city no longer existing today, others which were new at the time (27 years ago at the time of writing this post), and that year was the year of the Glasgow Garden Festival.

The ‘eye in the sky’ refers to a helicopter that flew over Glasgow every morning and reported on the state of traffic around the city for the radio.

The book tries to give a bigger picture of the city by having not only the aerial shots, but pics taken on the ground, together with commentary describing what was happening, and tries hard to sing the city’s praises, as it transformed from being ‘No Mean City‘ to ‘Glasgow Smiles Better‘.

My interest, however, is only of the record of the time, not the commentary or sales pitch it tries to make.

The aerial pics are the gems in its content, and pleasingly large, covering double page spreads with no borders.

While it’s true that we can have Google Earth and its imitators provide similar aerial imagery online (and archived versions too), and it is great that it can be panned and zoomed, these shots are an alternative, oblique view from the helicopter. Most of the online aerial images tend to be from directly overhead, which means they generally miss the oblique detail. As you can see from the cover shot, this means you not only get to see the roofs of the many building, but also their sides.

So, while the wind ruined my day in one sense, it did mean I spotted a gem I’d probably have missed otherwise.

Glasgow - from the eye in the sky

Glasgow – from the eye in the sky

October 22, 2015 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

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