Well, it’s Monday again and I’d like to say I had a quite weekend, what with the Little Otter and the Mutt being at Chequers, but it’s pretty busy here now it’s 24 hour working. Bozzie didn’t help, shouting out orders through the door and being on the phone every couple of minutes. He seems to have more energy, now he’s supposed to be ill, than when he was fit! I didn’t get a decent snooze on the window sill, it was too cold and windy, we even had sleet on Sunday. I snuggled down on Bozzie’s Office chair; he wasn’t using it.
I picked up a couple of things over the weekend. Firstly, I’m hearing that another consortium of manufacturers including Ford, Rolls Royce and Airbus has been given an order for 10,000 ventilators, the official announcement should come today. The other thing has only a little to do with the virus situation. The Labour Party had intended to announce its new leader at a press conference this week. Because of the virus they’ve decided it isn’t a good idea so they intend to announce the result digitally. They’ve asked all three of the candidates to prepare a taped acceptance speech. The losers speeches would be fun should someone release them to the public. I hear that if the favourite, Kier Stoma wins, he’s ready to sack a whole raft of Steptoe’s left wing cronies. That should put the cat amount the pigeons. I also heard that the staff for the new Nightingale hospital in East London are likely to come from all over the country, so they’ll need to live close by. This is one of the reasons why these hospitals are being built in conference centres, they all have loads of hotels nearby. It will also be a welcome boost to the people who work in the Hotels who might otherwise be out of a job.
The numbers of people in England applying to be join the NHS volunteers has reached the revised target of 750,000 and the appeal has been paused. This is 3 times the number hoped for when the appeal was launched. The Royal Voluntary Service, which is running it, is now sorting through the volunteers and trying to match them to positions. Talking of volunteers, Virgin Atlantic and EasyJet have written to laid off cabin crew asking them to consider volunteering to work at the Nightingale hospitals in London, Birmingham and Manchester, the airlines will continue to pay them. They aren’t medically trained (most have first aid training) but if it they can take some of the load off those who are, it can’t be bad. Anyway, it might cheer patients up being served “Chicken or Beef” by a red uniformed Virgin stewardess.
Mercedes F1 have been working with University College medical engineering department to develop a new breathing aid for stricken patients. They have dismantled an out of patent Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device (CPAP) and re-engineered it for mass production. The device is midway between an oxygen mask and a ventilator. It works by supplying a constant stream of slightly pressurised oxygenated air to a patient, keeping their airways open. In Italy this type of device is credited with keeping 50% of patients treated with it from needing full ventilation. 40 of these CPAP devices have already gone on practical test at UCLH. If these tests are successful Mercedes will start immediate production of 400 a day and could scale up to 1000 a day within a week. The CPAP was designed, prototypes made and tested in under a week and regulatory approval received 2 days later. There is worldwide interest in buying these devices.
The God King President has tweeted that he Won’t be paying for the security of Ginge and Whinge now they’re resident in Los Angeles. Hardly surprising considering what Whinge had to say about the GKP before her wedding; amongst other things she called him a misogynist and Ginge said he had “blood on his hands”. The soon (1st April) to be NOT royal couple are said to house hunting in Malibu. Why the sudden rush to California just as the border was being closed? Firs thought was that it was thought it was because of her commitment to do a voice over for a Disney film about elephants, but it’s emerged that this is unpaid work. I’m told the real reason is because if they continued to live in Canada she would be liable to double taxation. The US makes all its citizens pay tax on all their income, wherever they live in the world. Despite saying she was going to renounce her US citizenship, she hasn’t so is still liable to US taxation. If they had stayed in Canada she would also have had to pay tax there. They’re going down like flies here in Downing Street. Dom is the latest of Bozzie’s inner circle to show symptoms and rush of home to self-isolate. Just so long as someone remains to feed me and the Dreamies girl is okay I don’t really mind. One better bit of news, Jug Ears is out of Isolation, it looks as if he had a very mild case of the virus.
It was Dominic Raab’s turn to face the cameras at tonight’s press conference. His big announcement was that the government is to provide charter flights home for those Brits who are stuck abroad as there are no commercial flights. There are as many as 300,000, it could cost £75 million. Thousands are stuck in Australia but there are even more in Spain. It could be of great help to British Airways and Virgin, who have stopped flights to many places. I wonder if the outbound “empty” aircraft will be loaded with airfreight?
A lonely breakfast again this morning. The flunky who brought Bozzie his fry up also changed the water in my water bowl and put my food out. While doing so he pretended not to hear Bozzie shouting “Where’s my fried bread?”. I had got used listening to LBC as I eat, but this guy seems incapable of turning a radio on. Bozzie is holding a full cabinet meeting this morning via Zoom teleconferencing. Every minister is going to be either in their office or at home. I’ll try to hear what’s going on but unless Bozzie yells I doubt the sound will come through the flat’s front door. I might be better off trying to slip into Nik-Naks office.
The numbers of people travelling is well down, all across the country. In London the numbers on public transport has fallen by over 95%. Train travel across the country is down 90% and car travel is down 80%. The Gatwick Express services were suspended yesterday as hardly anyone is using the airport. This morning Hull Trains stopped their service; it’s a small company which runs half a dozen round trips daily between Hull and London. I read this morning that Hull is the city with the fewest deaths from the virus while London has the most.
The airlines are beginning to shout about their money problems and are looking for government handouts. In Scotland, Logan Air, which operates to the Scottish Islands, has warned that it will need a subsidy. Virgin has pulled loads of services and said it wants a subsidy, EasyJet has shut down completely and British Airways, just this morning, halted all flights out of Gatwick. BA has parked many of its unused aircraft at UK airports, many of them at Bournemouth. In the USA American Airlines has said it needs $12 billion in Federal assistance. It’s going to be a different world when this pandemic is over. With one day still to go in the month the supermarkets have announced that they’ve had their best month ever for sales. Panic buying increased sales by £1.9 billion. It’s reported that at least £1 billion worth of fresh food that has gone out of date has been chucked away, what a waste.
An increase today in the daily number of deaths from the virus. It’s thought that these are all people who contracted the virus before social distancing was implemented, the increase wasn’t unexpected. The total number of people in the U. known to have had contracted the virus is up to 22,141. 20,198 are active cases, 1,808 have died and 135 people have recovered. In the middle of the afternoon the BBC announced to the world that the Nightingale hospital at the ExCeL wouldn’t be opening tomorrow, as planned, they said no reason had been given. Bozzie was livid, calling them liars and shouting so loud on the phone that it could be heard all over the building. Within 30 minutes they had backed down and apologised on air, saying they had got it wrong and that the hospital would be opening as planned. Not often you get such a quick apology from the BBC, they’re very worried about their charter.
At the government’s press conference today it was finally admitted that the reason for not testing as many people as we would like is because there aren’t enough of the necessary reagents, in fact there’s a worldwide shortage. The country doing the most testing is Germany; can it be a coincidence that Germany is also the major manufacturer of the reagents? The NHS is expecting to get it first British made ventilators on Monday as companies are starting production this weekend. Two new groups have each had orders for 10,000 ventilators and the one existing British manufacturer is upping production. By pooling all the existing NHS, private and military ventilators the NHS had doubled the number available to over 8,000, the new machines will push up the available numbers considerably. I read there’s a problem in Llandudno. A herd of 122 goats that normally lives on the Great Orme headland has invaded the town. The goats are normally nervous around people and don’t venture into town unless the weather is particularly bad. They’ve taken advantage of the streets being empty to move in and are eating hedges and spring flowers.
Finally for tonight, I read that a kinky cosplay company, called MedFetUK, has donated all their game play medical scrubs sets to an NHS Hospital. If you’re into playing adult doctors and nurses and you buy your stuff from MetFedUK you’ll have to put your antics on hold.
I’m getting a bit fed up with this breakfast on my own lark, I never thought I’d say it, but I am even missing the Mutt. Still, only a few days before Bozzie gets out of isolation and the Little Otter and the Mutt can come back. I wonder if they’ll want to come back to a virus riddled London? I see that Scottishland has already had to pull back on one of the clauses in its proposed Corona Virus Legislation that was announced yesterday. The proposal was to stop jury trials and have a judge sit one their own. To get a 15 person jury to sit through a long trial obviously meant social distancing problems, but many people, including Scottish solicitors and Michael Gove, were bothered as to the fairness of the proposal. Sturgeon has had second thoughts and has removed the clause from the legislation.
As of today the maximum amount you can spend on a contactless credit card has been increased from £30 to £45 to facilitate less cash transactions. However, the software in many of the point of sale terminals needs to be upgraded to allow this to happen, so it might be a while before the limit is upgraded everywhere. I wonder if this is another step towards the “cashless” society the government and banks so want. Wee Krankie confirmed this morning that this years Edinburgh Festival has been cancelled, for the first time in 70 years. This is hardly surprising given the current situation and it would have been a bigger shock if the festival had gone ahead. Must say I’ve never been too excited by it.
I read that when a London synagogue broadcast a service digitally by Zoom it was hacked by at least 20 anti-Semites. They appeared on screen and made nasty comments to the congregation. This draws into question the security of Zoom conferences as used by No 10 for this week’s cabinet meeting. I understand that at least one of the security services has major worries. Last night the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing issued an instruction to police forces not to carry out blanket checks on cars or to penalise motorists who travel a reasonable distance for exercise or dog walking. This followed widespread criticism of the actions some forces have taken in using drones to shame dog walkers, dying blue lakes black, stopping shops selling Easter Eggs and harassing motorists. These actions weren’t legislated for, but were assumed by some overzealous police.
From what I hear this could be the last day of Bozzie’s isolation, although some say it’s tomorrow. It can’t come quickly enough for me. I really want to get my cat basket back into the corner of the No 11 kitchen and get back to breakfasting with the gang. Everyone is moaning about the level of testing and Bozzie has been shouting at people through the No 10/11 dividing door, but he has a problem, if people don’t want to do what he says they can say they didn’t hear him. Not only that, with Dom not here there’s no one to crack the whip. Bozzie was shouting yesterday “Just you wait till I get out; I’m going to kick arse”. Talking of testing, I see we have gone out to suppliers all over Europe to buy testing kits. One order, which was placed with the Luxembourg company Eurofins, has been badly delayed. They’ve been getting component parts from China which they’ve discovered are contaminated with the virus. I am sure the Chinese will say this was an accident, but can they be trusted? It would be to their competitive advantage to spread the virus further, what better way to do it than through contaminated test kits?
Air India is planning to put on special flights on Friday and Saturday bringing British citizens home from India. Strangely it’s planned that these planes will return to India empty. This is despite there being several hundred Indian citizens, mainly students, in the UK who are desperate to go home. The students have been lobbying the embassy, but it looks like Indian politics won’t let it happen. A DUP Councillor in Northern Ireland says that gay marriage and abortion are the cause of the virus. He claims that the virus is God’s vengeance on the world for such abhorrence. He said people laughed at Noah before it started to rain and went on to say that it was no coincidence that the virus arrived in Northern Ireland at the same time as the abortion law was changed. As a “good Christian” I hope he doesn’t catch Covid-19.
The UN has decided that the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow is to be postponed for a year. It joins the likes of Wimbledon, the Grand National, Euro 2020, and the Edinburgh Festival in being cancelled. Obviously it would have been ill advised to bring thousands of delegates to Scotland with the virus still around, but I’ll miss seeing the Doom Goblin in a kilt, getting pissed on Scotch and eating haggis. Bad news this evening, I hear that Bozzie is still showing some symptoms and will probably not get out of isolation tomorrow. Doctors want him to be symptom free before he comes out. Oh well, a few more lonely meal times are looming. Nik-Nak isn’t using the office here, preferring to use his office in the Treasury where its supposedly safer. Perhaps I should see if Matt Handoncock wants to adopt me, at least he’s recovered, so is likely to be around
Well, the worst has happened and it was breakfast on my own again, Bozzie still has a temperature and has to stay in isolation until it falls. One small consolation, it was Felix chicken this morning. I’ll pop down to the office later to see if the Dreamies girl is in, at least she’s always pleased to see me. Even in isolation Bozzie must be doing something right, as, for the third time in a week an opinion poll has put the Tories on over 50%. Poor old Steptoe will be leaving as the Labour Leader with his beloved party trailing by 6%. The other day I saw that someone had written that Labour would have to win an extra 141 seats to become the majority party and that would be almost impossible to do in a single election. So, Bozzie could be around until 2029, which is more than I’ll be! I’m 13 years old now, which is equivalent to 68 in human years. If I were to live until 2029 I’d be 108, I’d be a very old cat indeed.
You might have thought that Boeing had enough problems with its 737 Max issues, then along came the virus and airlines started cancelling and delaying orders for their aircraft. Now I hear they have another software problem with the 787 fleet. It seems that it’s normal to keep an aeroplanes electronic system powered up all the time, even on the ground between flights. However, it’s been discovered that if a 787 is left powered up there is a danger of spurious data flooding the system and instruments showing things like altitude, airspeed and engine data can all be wrong, even the stall warning horn can be disabled. The temporary answer is to power the aircraft down every 50 days and then power it back up. Sounds like the same thing Sky tell you to do when their Q Satellite box goes a bit strange.
A strange story is emerging from South America, where a Venezuelan naval vessel has been sunk in a “collision” with a small Portuguese cruise ship. The cruise ship, RCGS Resolute, with 100 crew but no passengers on board, was in international waters off Venezuela when it was challenged by the patrol boat, Naiguatá and ordered to change course to a port on Margarita Island. The Resolute questioned the legality of the order and the patrol boat opened fired and tried to ram the cruise ship. Unfortunately for the patrol boat the cruise ship is designed for Antarctic cruises and has a special bulbous ice breaker bow. The bow punched a big hole in the patrol boat, which rapidly sank. The cruise ship offered to pick up the 44 sailors but their help was refused and Venezuelan search and rescue picked them all up. Of course, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro accused the captain of the RCGS Resolute, of “terrorism and piracy” by deliberating ramming the offshore patrol vessel. Diplomatic relations between Portugal and Venezuela have been a bit strained for a while since Portugal instructed its state airline, TAP, to stop flights to Venezuela. This followed a Venezuelan Diplomat attempting to smuggle explosives on a TAP flight.
The lady fined £660 by North Tyneside Magistrates Court for refusing to give her name or to explain why she was on a platform at Newcastle has had her conviction quashed. It seems that she had not actually committed an offence under the Corona Virus Act. The British Transport Police had charged her under section 21 which only allows someone to be arrested if they are suspected of having the virus and refuse to go somewhere to be diagnosed. She’d been held in a cell without good cause and the Magistrate had acted wrongly in finding her guilty solely on the word of the BTP, without giving her a chance to speak in court. Another case of the police making it up as they go along.
Another big increase in UK deaths today, the number went up by 684 to 3605. The only little bit of good news is that the rate of increase seems to have slowed down a little bit. Prince Jug Ears officially opened the Nightingale Hospital in London this afternoon, by video link from his Scottish home. This is the first special hospital to open with four more already being constructed in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast. This morning two more were announced, one initially with 300 beds but able to expand to 1000 in Bristol and one of up to 500 beds at the Harrogate Convention Centre. I also hear that many other sites could be opened for small 250 bed Corona hospitals if needed and sites in places like Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth have been identified. The Scots are doing what the Scots are good at, being politically awkward. Calling their new Glasgow hospital “Nightingale Glasgow” isn’t good enough for them. They’re going to call it the Louisa Jordan Hospital. Jordan was a Nurse from Maryhill who died in Serbia in 1915 from typhus. This has caused complaints from many Scots who think it’s just the SNP being their usual anti-English selves.
It’s Saturday, the man in the mask who feeds me and Bozzie is off this morning, he’s been replaced by a woman in a mask. She’s nice, she sat down and talked to me while I ate, stroked me and even put the radio on, “to keep me company” she said. Only problem was it wasn’t that Mr Ferrari, it was that grumpy idiot tennis player. Bozzie is still locked up, one of the office girls said he can do less damage there! It looks like it’s going to be a nice sunny day today, I might be able to take a snooze on my favourite windowsill. I hear that British Airways is preparing for a slimmer future. They’ve already been parking aircraft all over the country, which isn’t cheap in the UK. Yesterday they sent 5 Boeing 747-400 aircraft to Teruel airport in Spain. It’s not yet clear exactly why they chose Teruel but it’s famous as an aircraft graveyard. It’s the place many planes go to be scrapped and these are 5 of the oldest planes in the BA fleet, all being over 22 years old.
Delighted to see that Chris Packham has just wasted £100,000 on a court case. He wanted an injunction to stop HS2 “enabling” work until a Judicial Review had reported. The court threw out his case. It said he had no chance of getting such a review and that it would cost up to £30 million to pause the work. I don’t care if he’s right or wrong, I hate him! The new Labour Leader is Stoma, with Crayons as the Deputy Leader. The bookies called it right again. I heard Stoma’s acceptance speech on the radio, he was trying very hard to be Churchillian, but failed miserably. His big promise is to sort out anti-Semitism, it will be interesting to see him throw out some of the left-wing bigots. Stoma’s was a straight forward win as he got over 50% in the first round, but Crayons only got there on second preference votes, after 3 rounds. Someone called Dust Buster was thrown out in the first round. I want to hear Crayons make her speech as it should be a good laugh, we certainly need one.
I’m sorry to hear that my female slave, the Little Otter, has been ill in bed all week with the virus, although she’s now on the mend. I hope the Mutt is OK without her to fuss over him. I’ve missed teasing him this last week. Understandably it wasn’t spoken about as much as the leadership election, but the Labour Party were also holding by-elections for the ruling National Executive Committee. There were 3 seats up for grabs, one of which was for the BAME representative. All three seats were taken by Corbynsceptics who were backed by the Blairite Progress and Labour First groups. Is Labour moving away from the far left of recent years?
Awful news from Scottishland, where 13 people in a Glasgow care home are believed to have died from the virus in the last week, although none of them have been tested. The home had 90 residents who all have other problems, including dementia. Two of the homes care workers have tested positive for and have been hospitalised. I’m waiting for the words of platitude from Wee Krankie at today’s Scottishland press conference. That’s it for another week, tomorrow’s my day off. I hope to have a lazy day doing less patrolling and more snoozing in the sun. I’ll chat to you again next week.
© WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file