GLASGOW’S UNDERGROUND WORLD

When in Glasgow:
Visit the underground world of Glasgow Central Station. The unique guide and major enthusiast, in his retirement, is otherwise employed as Network Rail’s Historian and Archivist.  He used to manage this station. During his career he also managed several other major stations in London, U.K, however, he always returned to his home (and station) Glasgow Central.

Lovely Victorian Supporting Pillars

Descending into Glasgow’s historic and present transport underworld made for a tremendously engaging and educational visit, the guide, bringing to life with his words this major, solid, surviving transport hub. He spoke of the hustle and bustle of transport, for and with all sorts of people, now and in previous times. Peering into the pitch black, eyes following the slim line of a torch beam, it felt like we were intruders into someone else’s world. We saw the outline of places on platforms that were still intact where men could not go, and neither could we. Women of the 19th century waiting for trains in that gloom had the ‘comfort’ of separated waiting areas.  Our way was barred for reasons of safety, which pertained to present day use.

A Disused Line

In a lower street level goods entry, (Glasgow is a city of hills) there were still signs of horse drawn transport. The resting places for the horses still exist.

Like many stations, the ‘streets’ under Glasgow Central station were put to stark use in the two major wars, (WW1 and WWII).  The guide did not mince his words about many elements of the nineteenth century social history associated with this station. He felt very strongly the roles of womenfolk in life and death in this station, was and had been, totally ignored… he was definitely intent on correcting with his words what he felt was a grave neglect and a major injustice.

Preserver Of  Industrial/Social Heritage

While we were in the depths exploring some unused tunnelling and were in our joint reveries sensing the spirits of the past, on a nearby spur an underground train whizzed through.

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FORENSIC SCIENCE AND HUMAN IDENTIFICATION

I am doing a massive open online course, (mooc) with Dundee University in Scotland. It lasts for six weeks. When I first heard about it, ten thousand people had already signed up. Massive in name and massive in number.  I like to think I might have been number ten thousand and one.

 An event I went to at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August this year informed me about moocs and in particular, this one.  The course is called ‘Identifying The Dead: Forensic Science and Human Identification’.  It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, (if you drink tea).  I  was a week late starting and have now caught up.   We are now beginning week three and I intend to stay with the time line; you won’t hear much from me while I am keeping up with it. This course has fired up the brain cells, (much needed) with new and interesting learning; a great combination!  The science of real forensic investigations is not like what we see on television programmes such as CSI, Lewis, or, Waking The Dead. It is educating me, and ten thousand others, about what the forensic science specialists actually do and how they collect and collate the provision of evidence.

At least decade ago, a director  of a forensic laboratory in Scotland, said, that if he were seeking trainee forensic scientists he would look for candidates who had studied a science subject, such as physics, or chemistry, in depth, because they would have the desired academic rigor.  The candidates can, he said, be trained in forensic investigation to accreditation standards once in situ. There were then, and are now,  many students taking forensic sciences courses, which the professor described as ‘scientifically superficial’ and which,  are unlikely to take the students into the realms of the specialised scientific forensic work that the experts are expected to perform.  From what I have learned so far with the mooc, I can understand why that may be so. 


OUR WONDERFUL YOUNG PEOPLE

My neighbour’s daughter just got her degree results She took a tough course, chemistry with physics, a straight through to masters programme, with a year’s input abroad working with a scientific research team. I’ve seen this girl grow from tiny baby, go through primary and secondary schools,and on to becoming a university student. It’s wonderful to be able to see our young people strike out and forge a place for themselves in life. Mum and I exchanged an excited hug….the newly graduated student has achieved a first class honours!

Throughout the year, there are individual educational achievements announced in the local paper. It can be seen there is a high percentage of young people who go on to higher education and further training, though, opportunities for work place training and apprenticeships have severely contracted over recent years. This is reflected nationwide. The issue of suitably and productively employing our home grown talent is an urgent one, and becoming ever more difficult to address.

TRAVELLING NORTH TO SOUTH

Travelling from North to South this morning two notable events occurred, apart from blasted idiots on the road taking unacceptable risks with other peoples’ health and well-being.

1) The sun in the East was low, very blindingly low, exacerbated by glare from rain and wet roads. Yet together with the sun, from 9am through to 9.45am I clearly saw a half moon sitting in the light blue sky above.

2) After an initial groan at the BBC yet again deifying their erstwhile broadcasters, I was surprised and delighted to hear the inimitable tones of Alastair Cook, both speaking and singing, (that was a first… singing!). His absolute mastery of description was delicious, you could be there, where ever he was, or had been, and so clearly, in his very own footprint.

I, for one,am totally broadcaster deification averse, especially after so many have had memorial programmes and repeats, almost immediately they have departed this earthly plane. For some reason this irreverent exercise, I am pleased to say, has not happened with Alastair Cook.