Just fitting the Flux Capacitor into the DeLorian

Well, that’s it we are on our way! Where to you ask? Back, back to the future, where things were and will be again, rosy and wonderful. Back to the future of the good old days.

video here

Yes, the vote was decisive and we are about to set off into the future on a journey to the past. I’ve been told by those who know these things that things were great in good old Britain before we went into the E.U. Food was cheap, beer tasted better and we were living the life of Reilly.

Mind you that’s not quite how I remember it. I remember a post war Britain where rationing still determined what you could eat. I can still remember the day I was able to go into the shop at the end of the street and buy sweets without my mother bringing her ration book.

I remember a selective schooling system where only the few could get a full secondary education. I remember my dad going to work onChristmas day because it was not a holiday. I remeber people could be forced to work long hours for low pay. I remember when people died of industrial diseases and accidents at work.

So I’m going off to revisit the past now that we can dispense with these pesky E.U. directives. Just as soon as I can hook up my Flux Capacitor into my DeLorian and get it up to 88 miles per hour I’ll be back in a flash. By the way, anybody know where my nearest Plutonium retailer is?

You, on the other hand, will just have to wait till the negotiations have completed and we get out again – back to the future of the past.


They’ve replace the Sherbet Fountain

I remember one of our favourite sweets was the Sherbet Fountain. It was simply a paper tube containing sherbet. At one end was a tube of liquorice. You simply bit the end off the tube ans sucked up the sherbet. When you had emptied the paper you ate the liquorice.

Can you still buy these?

Can you still buy these?

You couldsee children wandering along the street puffing at their treat. The other day I was walking down Buchanan Street in Glasgow and I noticed what seemed to b adults sucking on sherbet fountains. A closer look showed thatt hey were, in fact, puffing at their e-cigarette. It was certainly a strange sight.

You can't eat the tube when you finish.

You can’t eat the tube when you finish.

I wondered why grown alults would want to emulate childrens sweets. Perhaps that’s the answer. Do ‘vappers’ really want to revert to their childhood? This developnemt is worth watching to see where it takes us.

My Windows 10 Problem – Sorted!

I was quick to register for the Windows10 upgrade, free from Microsoft. I waited and waited and eventually I got the go ahead to download and install. Exciting eh?

Unfortunately it failed. It worked ok on my old netbook and on my daughter’s laptop, but my desktop PC just failed, again and again. Now I’ve done quite a lot to the PC. The last addition was a solid state drive (SSD) to speed up booting. I checked out the web and found that I needed 300mb system reserved space and I only had 100mb. That didn’t sound to difficult.

Wrong again! I had the devil’s own job moving stuff about . I removed an old hard drive, bought partition managing software -eventually I managed to inclease the space. I tried the update again – FAILED!

This morning I had another browse and found a suggested solution. I was in command prompt as an administrator poking in code – no success. I was about to give up when I noticed a small suggestion on the forum. If you have installed an SSD the drive may not have been set to Active.

I checked – that was the case. I sorted that with a couple of clicks and BINGO – I was installing 10.

My installation failed because of a corrupted file but that was soon sorted out with windows repair. Installed again and here I am. There are still a couple of issues but it works and I’m sure to sort out the issues soon.

Do you have this problem? Check out the posts here


The Plans that don’t quite match

I’ve been building a plastic model aeroplane. It’s a Sopwith Camel, 1:28 scale by Revell.  It took me a while to persuade myself to buy the kit. I’ve built other Revell kits and I’ve always found a problem with the parts. there always seems to be at least one that is totally wrong. I built a 1:48 scale Mosquito that required severe surgery with a mini rotary tool but that was in the past. It shouldn’t happen again.

Well it did. I found the tail on the camel does not fit. I’m not sure whether the designer was thinking of a different shape to the fuselage moulding or whether he just got the measurements wrong, but the result is a gap where there should not be one. I spotted the mistake before sticking the parts together so another bit of surgery was required and the gap has been filled by strips of plastic cut from another part of the kit; the platform for the human figure to stand on.

I suppose I should be glad that there are mistakes like these. They present a mini challenge and stimulate the brain cells, those that are left in operation. It’s also useful to be able to refer back to this when I make a stupid mistake in something, well even big organisations get it wrong sometimes.

Never the less, it should be a beauty when I finish it. It probably won’t last; long my wife will probably knock it off the desk if the grandsons don’t fly it out of the window first. Ah well!

Kelvin Walk Part 1

My wife and I set off onthe kelvin walk on Saturday. The weater was not promising but we decided to chance it anyway. We decided to park down by the Kelvin at the side of the Kelvin Hall and walked over to our starting point on the old Partick bridge.

The University from the Old Partick bridge

The University from the Old Partick bridge

This is the second time we have taken this walk and decided not to stick by the river on the way through the park. We took the top path to get a flavour of the history of the place. I noticed some memorials had been placed, some on benches and some on trees. Some record long forgotten Glasgow characters.

From the days of music hall?

From the days of music hall?

Heading along the path we came across Glasgow’s own copy of the Port Sunlight worker’s cottages. This seems a bit out of place or is it just an unexpected treasure? I’m still not sure of the significance.

Port Sunlight in Glasgow?

Port Sunlight in Glasgow?

Coming out of the park we visited the now refurbished Bandstand. It looks really good now. It should be a venue for all sorts of events – if the weather permits. That’s not guaranteed this summer, I’m afraid.

The Upgraded bandstand.

The Upgraded bandstand.

A walk throught the other side of the park (The Kelvin Way divides the park here) reveals  a place of relaxation for all sorts of people. Families out for a stroll and an attempt to tire out the children, teenagers having a kickabout with a ball and cyclists finding a safe route through the city.

Passing under the bridge that takes Woodlands Road over the river we find ourselves in a less frequented park that follows the river up to Great Western Road at Kelvinbridge. The artwork on the bare walls gives the space an out of city atmosphere.

Through the bridge.

Through the bridge.

This space has a play park and a Park and Ride facility for the subway station. At the other end we come to the magnificent bridge that takes Great Western Road over the river. There is even a pub where you can stop for food and refreshment.

A watering place by the water.

A watering place by the water.

Once through the bridge we get a good look at the torrent of water that is flowing in the kelvin today. The heavy rains of the last few weeks have changed the character of this normally placid stretch.

Fast flowing water today.

Fast flowing water today.

The next stretch is quieter but still has  walkers and cyclists regularly passing. On the opposite bank we see a well designed building which seems to incorporate an office and living quarters. The building ins nicely set into the bank and gives a beautiful, peaceful outlook. I’m not sure how you would get much work done looking out over the river.

Riverside office.

Riverside office.

Walking on we pass under the beautiful arch of the bridge carrying Belmont street over the river. From street level you get no idea of the beautiful arches that support the road. From the waterside the view is more spectacular.

A spectacular arch.

A spectacular arch.

We move on and cross the river to find the old flint mill. There is only a ruin left but the mill race still flows, showing how the slight drop in water level produced power. I would never have imagined that this quiet place was once a hive of industry.

The Old Flint Mill

The Old Flint Mill

Soon we are heading up to the bridge at Queen Margaret Drive where once the BBC broadcast to the nation. we pass under anothe beautivul arch and come to the iron bridge that takes us out of the River Walk and escape to the Botanic Gardens.

The wee iron bridge.

The wee iron bridge.

This is enough for one afternoon. The Botanics becons and just beyond lies Byres Road and all the wee shops. Perhaps we can get a bite toeat there. The walking has made me hungry. I’m determined to do the next leg of the journey soon. I’ll post the results as soon as I do.

Exit to the Botanics.

Exit to the Botanics.

Arthur and George – A criminal case

I’ll start with confession. I’m not a fan of Martin Clunes. Actually I don’t like anything he has been in. I disliked Men Behaving Badly. I can’t stand Doc Martin.

I was keen to see Arthur and George. I had read the book and thought the programme would be good. I was not so sure when I realised that Martin Cline’s was the leading character. However my opinion changed as soon as Arthur spoke. He was Doyle.

Visually this was really good. The cast is first class. So what’s wrong? The story has been sabotaged! Who is the criminal mastermind behind this assault? It’s the sound mixer. The music and other sounds drown out the speech. Shades of Jamaica Inn!

In this story, if you can’t hear the dialogue you completely lose the plot. What a waste! I hope I’m not the only one to complain about this.

I really hope somebody sorts this out before the next programme. Come on STV!

The Film That Defines America

Film Poster

More than a great comedy

I was recently watching a rerun of the great Blake Edwards comedy classic, “The Great Race”, starring Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood or Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis, depending on your outlook. This is a film that I have loved from the first viewing, despite poor reviews from critics.

This film is a great comedy, especially so for film buffs as it takes the mickey out of so many classic scenes. What I have only recently come to realise is that the film is the only cinematic production that defines the USA that I love. You might wonder why I think that, I’ll tell you why.

The film encapsulates the schizophrenia that underlies America. Shocked? No, let me explain. The hero is The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis), a clean cut (always spotlessly white) American hero who dares to challenge nature and overcome at every attempt. The anti – hero is Professor Fate (Jack Lemon), always dressed in black, secretive and produces outrageous devices which invariably land him in the Sh*t, literally.

These two characters represent the two faces of America. Leslie is the American hero who we (I ) have grown up with, good, clean and always successful. Fate is an out and out bad guy. Who is the real America? I have always rooted for Leslie. He is the good guy.

Fate is the bad guy who doesn’t play by the rules and produces strange devices, unlike Leslie who uses solid American vehicles. But, and for me this is a big but, it’s not really as simple as that. I realised that America does not always play by the rules. It is not always open and honest. In fact America is most proud of its ‘black ops’, undercover agents who don’t officially exist. Not everything in America is whiter than snow. The Space Shuttle was white alright but its really advanced craft was the SR71 Blackbird. It was black and it was secret.

Like Professor Fate’s devices the Blackbird was flawed. It leaked fuel when on the ground but operationally it was a great success. Fate produced flying machines, bomb sights, rocket propelled craft, homing torpedoes and a car the US Army would have gladly gone to war in. He was an innovator where Leslie chose a balloon and a factory built car.

Fate was the man the CIA would have turned to when they needed something. They wouldn’t let Leslie near Langley. I think professor Fate was the real American hero. He was an innovator. He never gave up when things went wrong. Every time he was blown up or got a pie in the face he came back for more. Leslie never got dirty.

Actually, In the end, it was Fate who won the race. He’s my man.

So Helen Doesn’t Love Her Yaris?

I picked up the Guardian Weekend Magazine yesterday and I read an article by Helen Pidd. She writes, “You can’t love a Yaris. It would be like loving socks or carrier bags.” I must admit I was really surprised to see someone hitting out at the Yaris as my wife got one last year and it has been surprisingly good. I should have spotted the clues in her quote. Who could love socks? Perhaps ask me when I’m barefoot on a cold morning. I love socks then. They might not be earth shattering but they do what they were designed for.

Apparently she started driving in an old second hand Yaris. It seems to have done what she wanted it to do but she didn’t feel excited by it. Now she has a Yaris hybrid. She really doesn’t like that. She complains that it is a town car, not really a motorway car and doesn’t have digital radio. Seems to me that a hybrid is a car designed for driving in town. It handles all the stopping and starting and driving in slow queues. Perhaps if digital radio coverage was better more people would want it in their cars.

Her article tells me more about Helen than the Yaris. My wife’s Yaris has lots of bells and whistles, six gears for economy and automated systems for wipers and lights with cruise control, speed limiter, ABS and traction control. All these leave the driver to concentrate on the real road hazards, people who like to be excited by their car and drive lime they were the only person on the road.

Helen, it seems like you bought the wrong car. It was your decision, don’t blame the car.

Carfin Grotto

I’m just back from Carfin Grotto. I’m over there regularly and I wondered if people knew just how beautiful it is. That’s why I’ve published this post.

Canon Taylor

The History of the Grotto

Canon Taylor was the parish Priest of St Francis Xavier parish in Carfin, near Motherwell, Scotland. He led a visit of some parishioners to Lourdes early in 1920 and was inspired to build a replica of that shrine in Lanarkshire to give access to the many who could not go to Lourdes. With the help of many workers, out of work in the depression, he built a magnificent grotto which has become the National Shrine of Scotland.

Saint Bernadette at the grotto.

Saint Bernadette at the grotto.

The little grotto with statues of Saint Bernadette and Our Lady was the original part of tthe shrine which opened in late 1922. It has expanded greatly since then. There is the Saint Theresa Chapel which overlooks the site and has been a focus for pilgrimage masses and rallies for decades.

St. Theresa Chapel

Another glass chapel was added in more recent times. The Glasgow Garden Festival was held on the banks of the Clyde in 1988 as a spur to regeneration of the old industrial areas of Glasgow. The site had a small glass chapel where visitors could go for a few moments of quiet reflection. After the Festival the site was being dismantled. The glass chapel had influenced many visitors and there was a demand for the chapel to be retained somewhere. In the end it was moved to Carfin and it now stands in the grounds of the grotto.

The chapel

The chapel

There is exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in this chapel every weekday.

The Blessed Sacrament in the glass chapel

The Blessed Sacrament in the glass chapel

The one o’clock mass is always well attended by people from Lanarkshire and beyond. The chapel has become a favourite with many who feel a special quality in the tiny chapel.

Memorial to Irish immigrants.

Memorial to Irish immigrants.


One area of the grotto has a memorial to the victims of the Irish Famines of the 1840s and the immigrants who came to Scotland to find work.

The memorial was opened by the then Taoiseach  Bertie Ahern on behalf of the government and people of Ireland.

The Irish immigrants and their descendants have formed a large part of the Catholic population of Scotland.

Other immigrants from Europe who came to Scotland to work in the iron and steel industry as well as the Lanarkshire coal mines have made their mark on the catholic population. They have also made their mark in the grotto.










The shrine is a popular stopping place for visitors and has a new visitor centre and cafe where you can rest and enjoy a lunch or just a cup of tea.



Pope John Paul II


The memorial to John Paul II marks the great love Scotland’s Catholics had for him.

John Paul Plaque

John Paul Plaque











A hidden gem in the grotto is the Chapel of the Angels. This is a tiny, underground chapel, unknown to many of the visitors. When you go there (and you must) you should find this little chapel and spend a few minutes there. A prayer would go down well too.

Underground Chapel

The Angel Chapel

Who is in The Driving Seat Now?

a driverless car

No steering wheel?

It is reported that driverless cars will be allowed on UK roads next year. Many people are expressing concerns about safety. Mind you, the old story goes that the most dangerous component in a car is the nut behind the wheel, so perhaps removing that will prove to be no bad thing.

Years ago I read about traffic polls taken of cars crossing the Oakland bridge in San Fransisco. Chrating the number of occupants by year it showed that as time went on the number of occupants was steadily reducing as more people bought their own cars and became drivers rather than passengers. The statistics showed that if the trend continued, before the end of thetwentieth century one in four cars would be crossing the bridge with nobody in it. That was a fair joke back then but now it seems to be coming true. How are we taking the news?

I started off by saying that some people were expressing concern. Of course, most people don’t seem to be concerned. Why should that be? Perhaps we hav become accustomed to things proceeding without human control. Who sits and stares through the window on the washing machine to make sure that the clothes are being cleaned properly? We have become relaxed about lack of control. Our political systems seem to have gone the same way. The recent economic crash which the world is still trying to recover from showed that those who were supposed to be regulating the financial systems were doing nothing of the kind.

Policies in the UK just seem to go in a random, haphazard fashion. Take our outlook on homosexuality. In the recent past such things were deemed illegal and people could be prosecuted for behaviour that was deemed indecent. All that changed and the world became a more tolerant place. Now it is becoming illegal hold an opposite view. If you don’t believe that homosexual behaviour is acceptable you can lose your job. One intolerance has been replaced by another. Who is steering this place?

We seem to have a government in the UK where things just drift along from one crisis to the next; a bit like a learner driver who hasn’t got the hang of steering and manages to bash every car parked along the street as he passes. People might see a computer driven car as a much safer option than anything driven by our politicians.

No steering wheel? Well, what’s the point?