Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Does the media, or ‘social media’ still go nuts when somebody cleans their windaes

While there are some pics of crazy people in places like Russia (seen cleaning windows while two ‘mates’ hold their trouser belt, or a ladder in mid-air, high up on flats), there was a time, a few years ago, when the various ‘media’ found a great way of creating clickbait was to feature a pic of someone cleaning their windows, then post it with some sort of alarmist headline which suggested they were moments away from certain death. Or, if it was a business as opposed to someone’s house, then everyone should be reporting to it to ‘Health & Safety’ for prosecution.

It seemed to die down fairly quickly – presumably the Darwin Effect kicked in, and there was soon nobody like that left in the gene pool, or maybe the majority of the population realised they were being ‘played’ for idiots, just generate clicks and ad revenue for what was a non-story.

Anyway, I’m glad to see there is at least one surviving window cleaner in Glasgow 🙂

Actually, I’m not sure this was window cleaning, but I couldn’t wait long enough to work out what was really happening.

Glasgow Windows

Glasgow Windows


13/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

Has anybody ever noticed the feature windows in Riverside?

I don’t read online reviews (considering most of them to pointless – if they’re genuine, they’re also personal, so can be skewed; if they’re sponsored, or just plain fake, then they’re utterly meaningless).

That said, I have seen people write about Riverside, and to my memory, can’t recall anybody ever mention the feature windows which can be found there.

These windows are frameless, and are fitted to floor-to-ceiling gaps in the walls, giving them the illusion of being completely open, and that you could walk off the edge – not a great idea of course, since they are more than 5 metres above the ground below.

They’re also massive, and appear to be made of two thick sheets of glass (guess about 7 mm thick) with a plastic layer bonded between (guess about 3 mm thick), so no chance of running through them, either by accident, or deliberately. I’d be surprised if they weren’t heat-treated/toughened too.

They’re kept clean too, which aids the illusion of the gap being open.

I wasn’t sure how to take a pic that showed off the floor-to-ceiling gap they protect, then a handy person (usually excluded from my pics) walked into the shot, and put the gap into context, even though he didn’t go near the ‘edge’.

If you haven’t noticed them before, have a look, and try standing right against the window, on the edge.

It’s quite different from doing the same thing on a high ledge, since there’s no way you’re going to lose balance and fall here.

Riverside Window

Riverside Window

As well as the internal windows, these are fitted to the external walls as well.

It was getting dark, and the camera didn’t want to play with a larger pic showing one of those, so I just went with this view from the window looking towards Glasgow as the lights came on.

Riverside River View

Riverside River View

27/11/2018 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Now that’s an odd window blind

I’m beginning to get my eye back for spotting slightly ‘odd’ things, and while wandering home from the shops last night, the little alarm bell went off, and sent me back to retrace my steps after something odd set it off.

Not sure what this is for, as some old pieced of cardboard box wedged and taped over a window are hardly going to keep the place secure (so I’m assuming there aren’t broken or smashed windows behind, but there could be) and the nasties out.

There’s fabric stretched over the interior of the window too.

Haven’t really got a clue.

Just another mystery (and one to end 2017 with).

To be honest, I really just grabbed the shot to see how it would turn out (yes, still playing with the camera to see how well it works when stressed).

Odd Window Blackout

Odd Window Blackout

31/12/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Damned ‘kids’

Ball and chain prisoner

By and large, I’m pretty progressive and tolerant, especially where someone might have made a mistake, or even been stupid enough to get involved with ‘pack’ behaviour, but has ultimately straightened themselves out.

I’m also likely to be the one being mocked because I support schemes that take ‘bad kids’ and sends them on holidays, instead of using the money to have someone tie them to a pole and flog them. I’ve never quite understood the logic that says on the one hand that we should ensure that those who suffer at the hands of abusers are taught that their abuser’s behaviour is not normal or acceptable, while the other hand wants offenders beaten into submission, and then is surprised when they become even worse offenders after their ‘lesson’.

But being progressive doesn’t mean just letting them all go unchecked, just that I recognise rehabilitation and education is more productive than simple punishment, or revenge justice.

Down here, in the quiet burbs, we get visited by teens that think it’s ‘kewl’ to make their way home while shouting obscenities at the top of their voices at 3 and 4 am. A nuisance, but relatively harmless compared to ‘sticks and stones’, and the nights they’ll grab handfuls of stones from driveways, and throw them at one another as they make their way along the road.

In winter, if it snows, they think it’s ‘kewl’ to throw snowballs at our windows. I have a large single pane window, if it breaks, apart from being rather cold, it will be an expensive repair – and the kids will be long gone.

A few years ago, I got a beer bottle through my front window – and of course, by the time I got there, the street was deserted. I was extremely lucky, as the room was empty, and the bottle somehow managed to go straight through a single pane in a stained glass window, showering the room with broken glass from both pane and the bottle. It took ages to find a glazier who had remotely similar patterned glass, but at least the repair was simple and cheap… compared to a single window pane a few metres wide.

Last year, I found broken glass in the room, and eventually traced it to a another broken pane in another stained glass window – and this was the morning after one of the loser’s shouting sessions in the street the night before. I was lucky again, it was just a small stone from a neighbour’s drive that had hit the window, breaking the glass and leaving a hole, but not smashing it completely. However, at the time, all my local specialist glazers had closed, leaving only those that dealt in standard windows and flat glass. But one of them re-appeared recently, so I might try there and see if I can get a piece of patterned glass (see pic below).

Last night, there was the usual abuse as the teens shouted at one another as they made their way along our street (at 3 am), lots of running around, then…

A thud from my front window (the large single pane) as something landed on it.

When I got to the front of the house, there was little to be seen, apart from the two or three teens disappearing into the side streets.

Nothing immediately obvious on the window, until I notice liquid running down it, and found that they had been throwing fruit, some sort of orange or similar, which had fortunately hit the window frame in this case, between the single large pane and the smaller stained glass sections. So, a bit of mess, but no actual damage this time.

They no doubt think it’s fun.

A beer bottle (or stone) that hits a window at a height of more than 2 metres breaks the window (and itself in the case of a bottle), is not moving slowly, is not harmless, and is not going to be fun for anyone in the room behind the window.

Broken window

Latest broken window

22/04/2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Local loses the plot while Bute’s MSP pleads for sanity in Rothesay’s crazy window saga

Cat window break

I seem to have found another apparently simple tale that is going to become a long-running saga should it fail to be resolved soon.

I mentioned the already extended tale of woe developing around a simple window upgrade to a Rothesay hotel, which had become complicated due to the inflexibility of those involved due to the listed nature of the building, meaning the owner was being refused permission to replace the old and rotten wooden single glazed windows with more efficient modern double glazing.

This week’s Buteman reports a letter written by one of the island’s residents who is against the hotel owner’s attempt to use the modern windows (which is fair enough) but who has also clearly lost at least some of her marbles, and describes the owner as a ‘thug’:

In a letter published in the new edition of The Buteman, Margaret Booth Homewood also questions the support given to Harry and Hazel Greene, owners of the Bute House Hotel, by the island’s politicians.

Mrs Booth Homewood states in her letter: “I stand resolutely on the conservation side of this argument and am delighted to learn that the people involved are being brought to task for what amounts to blatant architectural vandalism.

“I do have all sympathy and encouragement for anyone wishing to mend an ailing building, but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

“I am therefore left to ponder an obvious point that seems to have been overlooked: why our elected representatives are openly supporting illegal, thuggish, and frankly arrogant behaviour by a member of the public!”

Via Rothesay hotel owners accused of ‘architectural vandalism’ – The Buteman

Meanwhile, as if to attempt to inject a note of sanity and calm into the matter, Bute’s MSP has pointed out that many building surrounding the hotel have been refurbished with the windows at the root of this issue, without the problems being suffered by the hotel’s owners:

Bute’s MSP has hit out at the “exceptionally heavy handed treatment” of the owners of a Rothesay hotel over the replacement of windows in their property.

Michael Russell contacted Argyll and Bute Council’s chief executive Sally Loudon after Harry and Hazel Greene were served with a court order stopping the installation of UPVC windows in the Bute House Hotel.

Via MSP backs Rothesay hoteliers in windows row – The Buteman

Mrs Margaret Booth Homewood clearly needs to get out more, and have a look at Rothesay if she considers the replacement of rotten wooden single glazed windows to be ” blatant architectural vandalism“.

Maybe have a walk around the front and look at the near derelict and empty hotels that are literally falling apart – and have been dropping their bits on the footpath and almost killing pedestrians.

Or look at the modernisation carried out on the shops across the road from the slip road to the ferry. I still get sore eyes looking at them even though it is many years since they were refurbished and made look very ‘architecturally vandalised’ compared to their surroundings.

And I remember wandering along Montague Street many years ago, trying to find the ‘old style’ shops with arcade style entrances, where you could walk between two sets of windows filled with goods before you reached the door into the shop. All gone and replaced with modern shop fronts where all you have is a window and door facing onto the street.

And let’s not forget the derelict and abandoned shops and houses that have been gouged out of the streets and lay as wrecks for years, with windows boarded up and roofs falling into the buildings.

Much more “architectural vandalism” has been done all along the streets of Rothesay in the past few decades, much more noticeable and much more damaging than the replacement of windows that look little different from the original, and use different materials.

Time for a reality check, to remember why the windows are being fitted, and consider this is a working building, not a museum.

10/04/2014 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bute’s window insanity appears set to escalate to the courts

Cat window break

I recently decided it was time to highlight the crazy case of the hotelier who was at odds with Argyle & Bute Council over the requirement that the listed status of the hotel building meant that modern double glazed window units could not legitimately be used to replace the decayed and rotten single glazed wooden original, and that these could effectively only be renewed on a like-for-like basis: Window madness on the Isle of Bute.

In the past few days, it seems that the hoteliers started to replace the rotten windows with modern units, in defiance of regulation – and the result was a letter,  warning that jail could be the result for defying the planning rules that apply to the property:

The owners of a Rothesay hotel have been told by planning officers that they could be sent to prison if they continue to defy planning rules on the replacement of windows in their property.

Harry and Hazel Greene, owners of the Bute House Hotel, decided to press ahead with the installation of double-glazed uPVC windows with turn-and-tilt frames in the property – despite having two planning applications refused by Argyll and Bute Council, and an appeal against refusal dismissed by the Scottish Government.

Work began on replacing the windows on the morning of Wednesday, March 19 – and within an hour the Greenes had received a visit from two of the authority’s planning officers.

The letter stated that:

* if the Greenes or their contractors proceed with the unauthorised operations, the council expects the matter to be reported to the procurator fiscal recommending prosecution, and that if prosecuted and found guilty of an offence the Greenes would receive a criminal record and may be imprisoned or fined;

Via: Jail threat for Rothesay hoteliers in windows row – The Buteman

The hotel owners have

The owners of a Rothesay hotel are pressing ahead with the installation of UPVC windows in their property – despite being warned that they could face prison if they continue to defy planning rules.

Harry and Hazel Greene employed local contractors to install the windows at the Bute House Hotel on Thursday, following their delivery the previous day by a company which then pulled out of the job after being warned the police could be called in.

Via: Rothesay windows row hotelier: I’ve come too far to stop now – The Buteman

The work was caught as it started, by Zak (our brilliant eyes on Bute) – spot the arm in the middle of the window:

We can only wait and see what happens next, and how this matter escalates now that we seem to have a potential offence against which action can be taken.

A day later, The Buteman noted that a court order had been served on the hotel owners, effectively halting all work, and giving them 21 days to lodge an intention to defend the order.

The work to replace the windows – in defiance of the rejection of two planning applications by the council, and the dismissal of an appeal to the Scottish Government against refusal – began on Wednesday, and continued on Thursday despite the issuing of a letter by the council asking the Greenes to cease the unauthorised operations and the serving of a Temporary Stop Notice by an enforcement officer from the authority on Thursday.

Mr Greene told The Buteman on Saturday: “This will stop the work. Serving the order at nearly half past six on a Friday night shows they seriously mean business, because I could have completed the work over the weekend.”

Court order stops work on Rothesay windows row hotel – The Buteman

25/03/2014 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Window madness on the Isle of Bute

Cat window breakI seem to have been following this story – and its variants – regarding replacement windows, the council, listing (as in ‘listed building’), planning permission, and appeals for years.

And I have, as a quick search of the archives on this subject goes back to 2008, which probably means it started some time before then, and that is just when it began to hit the media.

At its simplest, the saga revolves around heritage legislation and the need for planning permission to be granted by the council before work can legally be carried out to modify a listed building. This leaves Bute hotel owners (and others) who want to upgrade their properties with uPVC double glazing (or any other modern window type) with a problem, as they can find that listing means they are obliged to replace like with like. In other word, if the building came with single glazed wooden frames, then that is what they must fit if replaced old worn out windows.

The same rules apply to any owners with listed properties, even private home owners.

The situation has become one of stalemate, with the owners reluctant to fit old style wooden frames, as they wish to upgrade their facilities to make the rooms quieter and warmer for their guests, but the council is standing by the rules and refusing planning permission for the newer and more efficient window, despite repeated applications, and even an appeal to the Scottish Government (also rejected).

There seems to be no way forward, even though the owners have the support of their neighbours, and a number of residents in favour of the new windows, the council appears unwilling to compromise.

Now, an online petition has been organised, together with a paper petition being made available in local businesses:

Bute House Hotel

We, the undersigned, disagree with the decision of Argyll and Bute Council to refuse planning permission for the installation of double-glazed UPVC windows at the Bute House Hotel in Rothesay. Following the Scottish Government’s dismissal of an appeal against refusal, we call on Argyll and Bute Council to reconsider its decision and to work without delay towards a solution which will address the urgent need for quality hotel accommodation on Bute, and be of benefit to the economy of the island.

Petition Bute House Hotel

Web site: Bute House Hotel

See also: Petition urges Bute House Hotel rethink – The Buteman

If you visit The Buteman’s web site, and just insert the word ‘windows’ into the Search Box which appears at the top right of their page, then you will be given a listing of the many stories which have appeared in that publication over the past few years.

Bute House Hotel can be seen below, and is the narrow white building on the right, on the corner of Rothesay’s Guildford Square, just inland of the harbour on the left edge of the pic, as captured by Zak’s Photo Galleries at during October 2013.


A response from the council appear later, published in The Buteman and available online:

‘We understand planning frustration’, says councillor – The Buteman

Argyll and Bute Council has apparently gone power mad

At the same time, a local builder working on a private home, which is NOT listed and therefore presumably NOT covered by the rules attached to that status:

John Morrison installed the windows in the property at 19 Battery Place last year, but has now been told Argyll and Bute Council will seek to take action against him unless the windows are removed.

Mr Morrison has hit out at council planning officials’ attitude towards conservation in Rothesay, pointing out that permission was retrospectively approved for UPVC windows at a neighbouring C-listed property in Battery Place – even though Mr Morrison’s own building has no listed status at all.

Council threatens Rothesay builder with action over UPVC windows – The Buteman

While the case of the hotel has to be resolved within the scope of the relevant rules and regulations which apply to listing, the action being taken against the owner of a property which does not fall under this category clearly shows that the personnel within Argyll and Bute Council are not competent to discharge the duties for which they are responsible, and need to be subject to some sort of audit and review which holds them accountable for their actions.

13/02/2014 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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