110 thoughts on “ALL OUR YESTERDAYS”

    1. Danny, the thing at the front of the vehicle is a headlamp – possibly acetylene. Yes, it would have had an engine and was possibly steered with a tiller rather than a steering wheel. It’s maybe hidden under the weather protection cover. Of course, the gent may be doing something entirely different from steering under that sheet. I think those type of vehicles were sometimes called voiturettes.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Andi……Thanks for that. I’ve heard that tiller steering on the old cars could be very difficult to handle. That relatively small road bumps of one sort or another tends to jerk the tiller from your hand.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. The guy, the guy – no mere guy is he! Sasha Distel – oh I had a crush on him and he was a good singer too!

      Perhaps someone can answer my question. Why has that wummin put newspaper around an open fire? Is she trying to set the place alight!

      Liked by 2 people

    3. LOL I did wonder about how these people were going to get anywhere. I mean, no horse, no engine… who do they think they are? Royalty? Munguin?

      Sasha Distel, French singer and guitarist and song writer (The Good Life : La Belle Vie) … and heartthrob, ex-boyfriend of Brigitte Bardot and of Dionne Warwick.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Re. the 2nd pic – using a newspaper to get the fire to “draw”. I did it many times as a kid – as the oldest, it was my job to light the fire in the morning, after my Dad had gone to work and while my Mum was getting the younger ones ready for school. I remember quite often the paper would catch fire and blow up the lum.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Nothing dangerous about it at all – paper catches fire then let go & its up the chimney anyway.

        Little fires like that were bugger all trouble – we had a big Rayburn stove which ran pretty much 24/7/365 on peats.

        Chimney fire once every couple of years was pretty much inevitable which is why there’s a metal door on the outside of the chimney on most old-style crofthouses. Shut vent on stove, open metal door, water hose down the chimney, fire out & job done bar sweeping the tar out of chimney & relighting stove.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Actaully I remember my grannies flat in Cardonald now – no need to use anything to draw the living room fire there, there were gas vents to light it.

          Admittedly you could accidentally leave the gas on, unlit & then blow the place up although nobody ever did πŸ™‚

          I rather suspect someone these days would do just that…

          Liked by 2 people

          1. …and going right down the fireplace nostalgia rabbit hole…

            Who remembers the little decorative brass fireplace tools which used to be in pretty much every home but were everywhere in the highlands & islands? Little brass shovel, brush, tongs & poker.

            I hadn’t thought of those in 30 years πŸ˜€

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Vestas, I think they were called a companion set and weren’t always just decorative. I remember using the wee brush and shovel to clear the ashes out of the fireplace. Of course the brass had to be Brasso-ed each week to make it gleam. Remember Brasso? I even remember grate-blacking in the first house I recall living in.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Companion set – that’s the very thing.

                Nobody who lit a fire every day used them for anything much other than decorative – they would have fallen apart.

                I still find it amusing that in 2018, in a smokeless zone where everyone uses gas my new wheelybin still says “No hot ashes” on it πŸ™‚

                Liked by 2 people

              2. Companion set indeed. When I bought my first flat it came with the aforementioned & a gas poker; a genuinely scary piece of kit.

                Same flat, found an entire copy of the “Sunday Post” dated 8th August 1947 under the lino in the kitchen. It ran to all of 8 pages due to rationing, but they still found room for “The Broons” & “Oor Wullie”. It also had an advert in it that reminds me of the “Parazone”piece; if only in style, not content.

                The ad was for a product called “Flit”, a pesticide. It went thus:

                “Flit was always quick to kill, new DDT Flit is quicker still”.

                Can you imagine, DDT on sale to the public; how did my parents’ generation survive?

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Indeed its a wonder any of us are alive at all πŸ˜‰

                  I dunno about my daughters generation though – I guess things are more reliable now but neither her or her old boyfriend knew that there was anything called a fuse in their house.

                  I refuse to take the blame for my kids as (given I’m an electronics engineer) I taught them how to make the circuits that didn’t work at school light the lamps/bulbs/LEDs.

                  What I missed is neither of them (both uni educated) knows how to wire a plug. They have no idea of what is/are L/N/E colours on a three pin plug.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. I suspect it was the EU health and safety laws that made it obligatory to sell electrical appliances with a plug already attached.

                    You never know, now that we’ve taken back control of our money, borders and whatever else she bangs on about, we’ll take back control of killing people off when they don’t know where to put which wire.

                    Oh freedom. Ain’t it grand?

                    Liked by 1 person

                2. Drew…….Amazing about DDT! I think that the poker from those sets were often used as a murder weapon in mystery novels. Seems like people were getting beaten to death by fireplace pokers all the time in those books. πŸ˜‰

                  Liked by 1 person

        1. Did he make it himself? My dad was an engineer and was forever disappearing off to his shed where had a lathe and a pile of tools (not to mention a crate of beer).

          Mind, ours never had legs… You musta been posh. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Did that many times. The trick was to see the paper turning a bit brown before catching light. We then had a wooden board that worked a treat.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Well sorry folks, but the only reason you had to draw the fire was if you were shite at lighting it in the first place. I’ve still got a coal fire and I miraculously managed to light it today without implements.

          Using newspaper or any other gizmo was a sign of failure.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Got tae disagree wi ye, Greig – Ah reckon Ah wis a dab haund at the fire=startin’ (sae nae mair). Ah ayeways used the hauf burnt clinkers fae the nicht afore, underneath some kindlin sticks wi crunched up newspaper in among, a’ tapped wi some fresh wee coals. Done well, it only took ane match an ye got a bit o a bleeze goin. The newspaper wis jist tae get a bit o’ a draught blawin, like bellases, an git the fire fair startit, then oan wi the bigger coals. Mind ye, some amateurs, even used firelighters!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Not firelighters…. gasps!

              ‘Yes’, says Munguin, ‘like the ones you use to light the fire in the grounds when you’re burning leaves’.

              Thanks, Munguin.


            2. That hale rigmarole sounds amateurish tae me Andi. I come from a long line of fire starters. My dad would burn anything from an old couch to a priceless antique, it made nae difference. I’ve seen piles of newspapers spontaneously combust just because he was in the vicinity.

              Ma Uncle Wullie wis cast oot o the family for using firelighters.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Ah, Greig, we were too puir tae huv any kind o’ couch an the only priceless antique wis ma Granny an she wisnae fur burnin’. We jist burnt the skirtin boards, doors an flairboards. We hid a kinda “open plan” hoose πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

  2. The first photo is a tin box commemorating a bottle of Glen Moray 12 year old that was produced in 1993, just like it says on the tin. If there is a bottle unopened in the tin it’s worth about Β£100.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. There used to be something called “Dramming” much like getting your tot in the RN, but it was a bottling hall before automation and there were many women who didn’t drink whisky, so the dramming was stopped and a small payment given instead. Yet the drinking didn’t stop.
            There were all sorts of tricks Tris.
            The coopers liked the sherry that they treated the casks with and also slung plastic bottles of raw spirit over the fence to be collected later.
            An HP sauce bottle fits through the bunghole of a cask, a bit of string and et voila.
            The guys in the case-handling would rummage in the broken glass skip until they got a broken bottle that had a sealed cork, pocketed it, broke open a case of whisky, took a bottle out, drank it, broke the bottle in situ and put in the sealed piece. It would be found eventually, several months later in a different country.
            There was a part of the process called “chill filtering” and each batch had to be tested chemically, so there were very many stray beakers floating about, usually carried with a guy with a clipboard walking purposefully…
            Of course there was a certain amount of blind eyes, but if someone got uproarious that was usually a sacking offence – if they got caught. There were many nooks and crannies where you could sleep it off.
            Actually stealing a bottle out wasn’t rare but it was a bit daft, you’d lose your job and pension for something that you could drink for nothing with no risk. Well almost no risk.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The Customs and Excise boys were as bad…they were always well stocked. Apparently it was to “test their instruments”.
              Your case handling lads went to a lot of trouble…where I worked they just dropped the case heavily on the floor, picked it up and let the cratur filter out through the cardboard into a paper cup. ( everybody had a paper cup folded flat in their pocket!).
              The electricians were the best though. They used those grey steel, lockable, distribution boxes in convenient locations through-out the building. With the key to open one of those and you’d discover a very decent bottle and a crystal glass! Tell-tail sign was that these electrical distribution boxes/cabinets didn’t always have the cabling going in and coming out of them that you might expect!

              Liked by 3 people

                1. Conan, I worked for a while in Cased Goods/Goods Despatch in a major bond and bottling plant and I saw most of the dodges you recount. I also remember the day a careless forklift driver forgot to change the forks from the longer cask-handling ones to shorter case-handling and accidentally upset a whole stow of palleted cases which crashed onto the warehouse floor smashing thousands of bottles. As Stock Control Clerk, I had to check off the serial number of every smashed case so that paid duty could be reclaimed from C&E. After about 15 minutes of paddling through an enormous puddle of whisky and inhaling the concentrated fumes, my stocktaking forms looked like a kid’s scribbles and I had to be escorted from the warehouse as I kept walking into things. It was my claim to fame (or infamy) that I was drunk as a lord without a drop having passed my lips.

                  Liked by 3 people

                  1. I go walking at Cambus along the boundary fence of the Diageo whisky warehouses. The trees have a strange appearance as if they are covered in soot. I was informed that the spirit fumes in the air combine with the bark to provide an environment suitable for a fungus which is responsible for this phenomenon. Can anyone confirm this?

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I wonder if the spirit fumes in the air make people a bit tiddly like Andimac was when that lad had an accident with his forklift!


                    2. Dave, it’s probably Baudoinia compniaconis, a black fungus known variously as distillery fungus, whisky fungus, angels’ share fungus, bakery fungus. Vey common around distilleries, not just whisky but cognac (and bakeries). It has been around a long time – even before distilleries. But isn’t nature wonderful – who knew there was a fungus that like a dram? SlaintΓ©!

                      Liked by 1 person

        1. The company my dad once worked for manufactured & installed the stills & piping there. He used to go once or twice a year for maintenance & always came back with a couple of bottles. He was never a fan of their whisky (more of west coast malt man – when he could afford it) but like he said, you don’t turn down free “export strength” whisky πŸ™‚

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Went prospecting but found nothing so far. I was looking for information on Parazone. All I can discover is that it was a Glasgow based brand acquired by Jeyes which itself was eventually sold to Henkel two years ago.

    And I am saddened by that. So many Scots brands disappeared over the years, from Liptons ( owned by Unilever now ) to even Frasers ( now owned by a sportswear emporium ), and everything in between.

    What has happened here? Where are our international Scottish based big brands? When you have a Ryanair or Paddy Power or Fyffes Bananas headquartered in your country you get all the high end service jobs. The book-keeper/ managerial/ directors jobs. Your investment decisions encourage local companies to participate as suppliers.

    So many Scottish brands are owned by outside interests nowadays. And you can see historically by for instance Golden Wonder crisps or our Whisky industry, that outside ownership is not perhaps in our national interest.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good points, David.

      It has long been Scottish phenomenon to have the head office outside the country. Now, of course, it is also British phenomenon. Everything is owned or made elsewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The car in picture 3 is an Arrol Johnston, about 1896, still exists.
    Way ahead of its time, the engine is at the back directly driving the rear wheels. A voiturette with tiller steering and a gas lamp at the front.
    You can see it in Glasgow’s Waterfront Museum, it was built in Paisley when Scotland had a thriving car manufaturing industry.
    Wonder how HS2 track laying is going, bet it exceeds the Pacific railroad in the record books, it will be the enterprise that is the foundation of building records. Much like the insurance industry measure their data from when the Titanic was lost.
    Nice set of pins on Petula or is that sexist, can’t see Satcha’s to compare.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dave…….Central Pacific’s 10 miles in one workday is often described as an all-time record. I’m sure that this can’t apply when compared with the laying of modern automated continuous welded rail, which must surely be faster. But I’ve never seen a direct comparison.

      One item in this list of single day records has some more interesting information about the fierce competition between the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific.


      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fourth from last is “The Lang Toun” – Kirkcaldy, if I’m not mistaken. Probably early 20thC, going by the tram, etc. In the next pic, the bus is going to Kinglassie, which I know is in Fife, near Glenrothes. No idea where the location of the photo is, though, or what type of bus, other than single-decker πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t know about the registration, but the bus itself looks like a Leyland Tiger operated by Fife Buses. The Tiger had an astonishingly long production life, from 1927 until 1968, but this is presumably one of the post WW2 PS2 versions.

        As well as being popular in Britain, it was also a major export success, selling to Sweden, South Africa, India, New Zealand, Canada, Argentina and Australia and also being built overseas under licence.

        Which suggests that there’s no inherent reason why, with the right commitment and backing, British ( and, in the future, Scottish) companies can’t manufacture things successfully. And which also makes me incandescent when I think of the politicians, company directors and union bosses who presided over an entirely unnecessary industrial decline!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, me too, Gordon.

          Other countries modernised. The UK shut everything down and made everyone shop assistants and insurance salespeople.

          Thatcherism. Madness.


    1. They still make it. I bought some the other day for my mum. It’s a bit fierce, but it reminds me of my granny’s house. She used to bleach her stone sink.


  6. A slightly odd footnote to the Golden Spike ceremony is that the Central Pacific engine that took part – No.60 Jupiter – wasn’t considered important enough to preserve and was scrapped in 1909. In 1974, after the Golden Spike site became a National Park, the National Park Service commissioned exact, full-size replicas of the Jupiter and her Union Pacific equivalent (which turned out to be a lot more complicated that it sounds, as no manufacturing drawings or plans still existed).

    By contrast, Central Pacific engine No.1 Gov. Stanford, which wasn’t new or smart enough for the Golden Spike ceremony but which was one of the engines performing the actual work of hauling materials for the construction of the Central Pacific route over the Sierra Nevada to Promontory, still exists. It is preserved in the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento where it’s very nicely displayed, occupying a prominent place in the Museum’s Sierra Scene diorama.

    Incidentally, the museum itself is excellent and well worth a visit – one of my favourite museums anywhere. I haven’t been there since 1995, but I’m hoping to use my 14 year old son as an excuse for a trip next year (unless I get sidetracked by an Independence campaign – – – )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gordon……Many thanks! That’s a wonderful description. I’ve never been to the railroad museum at Sacramento, but must definitely go there. I’ve never gone to Stanford University to see the golden spike either (actually one of four ceremonial “last spikes” of gold or silver that were there that day.)

      I first visited the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Utah with my family on a western trip we made. The replicas of Central Pacific’s “Jupiter” and Union Pacific’s “No. 119” are there, pulled up nose to nose as they were at 12:47 p.m. on Monday, May 10, 1869, when (legend says) the golden spike was driven into the last cross tie and the nation was united Atlantic to Pacific. As the telegraph operator tapped “D-O-N-E”, (in the first “coast to coast” electronic coverage of a news event,) there were parades in San Francisco, Chicago, and the big cities of the East, and they rang (probably lightly tapped) the Liberty bell in Philadelphia. There is one famous picture that you usually see, but the photographer (or photographers) who was there that day took many pictures that can be found on the internet. (Some are stereo pairs, so it can be seen in 3-D.)

      From the archives of the Central Pacific railroad:


      One thing I learned on the day that I was first at the site, was that there was no “driving” of a soft 17.6 Karat gold spike into a railroad tie. The golden spike would have been flattened on the first blow. What really happened that day was much more interesting. There were four ceremonial “last spikes” in various alloys of gold and silver, and they were each placed in a pre-drilled hole in a cross tie of polished laurel wood and tapped lightly by a ceremonial silver-plated spike driver (a “maul.”) Then they removed the ceremonial laurel tie from beneath the track, replaced it with a standard working tie of pine wood, and a construction worker drove three of the required four spikes. Then Leland Stanford, President of the of the Central Pacific was given the honor of driving the last spike in the transcontinental railroad. He took a swing and missed it. The construction workers laughed and hooted at the president of the railroad. So Union Pacific’s Vice President Thomas Durant was invited to drive the last spike. He was reportedly hung over from the previous night’s partying in nearby Ogden, and not only missed the spike, but didn’t even hit the tie. More hoots and laughter! So an unnamed construction worker stepped forward, expertly drove the last spike, the telegraph operator tapped “D-O-N-E”, and the rest is history.

      The 150th anniversary of the event will be celebrated next year on May 10.

      The famous picture:

      Central Pacific’s “Jupiter” under steam in Utah carrying Leland Stanford and other railroad officials to the event. Observers on the rocks are reported to be “Indians.”

      The Golden Spike National Historic Site as it is today, with replicas of Jupiter and No. 119. National Park Service personnel hold recreations of the golden spike ceremony in the summers, where spectators are drafted for some of the roles. The ones who are given 19th century army uniforms to wear are assured that they are not actually being drafted into the army and that they will be returned to their families at the conclusion of the ceremony. πŸ˜‰

      About some of the famous errors in the story:


      Liked by 1 person

        1. Hmmmmmm……. 😦 😦 😦

          OK WordPress will not accept the clickable link. But all the GREAT Central Pacific stuff comes up fine on their website when the full URL is copied and pasted into a browser.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Tris……I think that the exclamation point right beside the dot before the “html” extension confused the WordPress software, while the browser software is robust enough to decipher it.

              Liked by 1 person

          1. Tris……I too like that newspaper etching on the Central Pacific website. I also like the several photographs that are posted, some of which I’ve never seen published elsewhere……such as Jupiter and No 119 from different angles. I especially like the one where the locomotives are farther apart, and you can see the telegraph operator at a little table almost hidden by the crowd gathered around him. I like the picture of the guy who has climbed to the top of the telegraph pole with the flag on top.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Interesting, Gordon.

      I suspect that there’s not a 14 year old boy in the country that wouldn’t find that fascinating.

      I loved trains, buses, trams… anything big and powerful like that when I was a kid, and it took them a lot of persuading me that I should maybe get myself some qualifications before becoming a train driver… πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, he’s very keen on transport generally and also architecture. And much more comfortable with things rather than people, although I suppose that’s also typical of 14 year old boys – – –

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting thing about “bleach” – its 90% useless 24 hours after you open the bottle in terms of killing germs. None of the bottles reseal properly so the chlorine gasses off leaving you with somewhat smelly liquid which cleans/bleaches but doesn’t kill germs.

    That’s why no commercial premises ever use “bleach” for cleaning – other than for a “deep clean” where its all used immediately.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had no idea about that.

      Thanks for the info. My mum always has some bleach in the bathroom. She has rheumatism so I always undo the sealed top for her so she can use it whenever she wants. Clearly she might as well used Cillit Bang!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Talking-up Scotland

NOT conflating the aberrant with the norm like BBC

The Dunglishman

The bilingual blog about all things British


Love, theatre and ideas


British Wildlife & Photography


Why Scotland should be an independent country


Thoughts about Scotland & the world, from a new Scot

Divided We Fall

Bipartisan dialogue for the politically engaged

Insightful Geopolitics

Impartial Informative Always

Black Isle Media

We Provide The Facts, You Make The Decisions

The Broad Spectrum Life

Exploring Rhymes, Reasons, and Nuances of Our World

Musical Matters...

Mark Doran's Music Blog


Guitarist / Songwriter

Best in Australia

This site supports Scottish Independence


A comic about history and stuff by FT

My Life as Graham

The embittered mumblings of a serial malcontent.

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics


Your Source For The Coolest Science Stories


The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

Mark Explores

Nature + Health



%d bloggers like this: