Morning folks, breakfast with the gang this morning. While I had my Felix, Bozzie was allowed two boiled eggs, the Mutt was wolfing down some fancy dog, even Dom joined us for a cup of coffee. Fancy dog food is wasted on that Mutt, he’d eat anything you gave him.
Two new types of coronavirus tests were announced this morning. They are both simple tests to do and can be done without any specialist medical training, but both are capable of producing results within 90 minutes. The first test, the LamPORE test, is ready to go as soon as the regulators give the OK, and that is expected later this week. The Government says they have nearly 500,000 of these tests ready to go and will have several million more later this year. The second test is another swab test, but is very simple. The swab is rubbed around the inside of the cheek and roof of the mouth and then put in a caddy. A bung is put in the caddy and the caddy added to a machine. The Government has acquired 5,000 machines from DnaNudge and each should be capable of doing many tests a day adding up to millions in the coming months. The machines should arrive in September and should make testing in care homes easy. These additional tests are intended to help the Government reach its target of 500,000 tests a day.
Who is the ex-Tory minister accused of rape? Well, all I can tell you is that no one is talking in my hearing, have they been reading my diary? What I do hear is that the woman is quite young and he is in his fifties. That they had been having an affair and she is accusing him of four rapes over a year. She said she reported it to the Chief Whip. The Chief Whip says she didn’t say she had been raped and he told her to go to the police as it is their job to investigate that sort of thing not the Whip’s Office. I can see why they wouldn’t suspend the whip, if they did his name would come out and as he hasn’t been charged with anything that could be embarrassing if he never was charged.
Len McClucky is still not happy about the Labour Party paying out for anti-Semitism claims. He claims it is an abuse of members money and a lot of that money comes from his union. He says the Unite Union’s National Executive has started asking questions about the use of “its” money and he is going to initiate a review. Funny I thought that union members had an option as to whether they made a political subscription or not. So it’s their choice to pay money to Labour, not the union who are just a conduit for the money.
I hear a pub landlord is in trouble with the authorities. One of the Dartmoor pubs regulars had a light aircraft which he sometimes flies to the remote pub and lands in a local field. The pilot, who refrains from drinking when flying, sometimes gives other drinkers a flight for the cost of the fuel. The locals have been joking on the Internet that the pub is an international airport and the 50-yard long beer garden is its runway. The pub’s landlord, that is off-grid, has no main electricity, gas, internet, phone or TV signal, has received a letter from the local planning authorities warning him that they have information that he has illegally turned the beer garden into a runway and they will be making an inspection.
Morning people, it’s getting warmer again. I will have to be spending more time in the shade in the garden. I hope the gardener has topped up the birdbath so I can get a drink. I did my patrol around the estate before breakfast, while it was still cool. Nothing to report today.
The papers say Bozzie has changed his mind about locking down everyone over 50 in the event of a second wave of coronavirus. I think the MSM have been played for mugs over this one. The cabinet were having a chat about what to do if there was a second wave and someone made a joke about locking down everyone over 50 because they knew Bozzie was and everyone laughed. Then it was leaked to the press and they thought it was real, not realising it was a joke.
I have been reading an article pointing out a number of coronavirus facts. Things like while the number of people testing positive has been going up, the number of deaths is going down week after week in every region. They say the reason is that as you test more and more people you find cases that are asymptomatic. No child under fourteen has died for ten weeks and only 5 under fourteens have died in total. Deaths across the whole of the U.K. have been below the seasonal average for the last six weeks. A new survey has discovered that women on the pill suffer much less than those not taking. A survey of over 500,000 women showed that oestrogen levels were the reason, which could explain why men suffer more than women.
A man in Enfield has been issued with a £90 parking “fine” for not paying to park while he and his family were in a car park getting a coronavirus test. He was only in the car park for 23 minutes and never left the car! It seems that the car park usually serves a shopping complex and when it is used as a testing station the charges are suspended. The company operating the parking said they were not notified that testing was happening on the day the PCN was issued. They say the will cancel all the charges issued that day.
Great Western Railways have been doing research on how likely it is that people catch coronavirus virus on a train. The modelling looked at 40 people getting on a carriage travelling for 40 minutes, half of them getting off and 20 more getting on and travelling for another 30 minutes. They concluded that the chance of contracting coronavirus was 1 in 11,000 journeys. However, very few trains get 40 people in a carriage and if the train is air-conditioned the odds get even better. However in Germany, the railway operator DB says that there is not a single proven case of a passenger catching coronavirus on a train.
David Lumpy has been having one of his regular rants on Twitter. This time he has been complaining about Amazon being racist because it was carrying an advert for brogues in light brown, black and nigger brown. He demanded that it be removed. The shoes were being advertised by a Chinese company, I don’t know how Lumpy expected the Chinese to know that English gentlemen always wear Oxfords and not brogues.
I thought that Lindsay Hoyle would not have been quite as free with spending public money as the last Speaker but he is not doing badly. So far, it is reported that he has spent £12,000 on refurbishing Speaker House. Around half of that has been on mattresses and bedding. I can understand him not wanting to use the things used by Bercow and his missus, but over £6000 on a few mattresses, sheets and blankets seems a bit excessive.
The Queen and Phil the Greek went off on their summer holidays this morning. They were driven from Windsor Castle where they have been living an isolation bubble, served by a few select servants, to RAF Northolt. From there they were jetted to what is said to be the Queen’s favourite home Balmoral in Aberdeenshire. I wonder if the select servants will be travelling up to Scottishland to look after them. I bet if they are they go by train.
Yet another warm morning even if a bit breezy. Still, I see that no rain is forecast in London for another week, the gardener will have to get the hose out.
That was some explosion in the Lebanon yesterday. It seems a bit odd to me that someone stores 2700 tonnes of seized explosive fertiliser in a warehouse for six years. Was it illegally imported to bombs? Then the story about someone welding the door is a bit strange, surely they have a “Permit to Work” system. I guess the whole story will come out in the fullness of time, but it’s a bit late those killed and injured.
I read that two of Italy’s biggest cruise lines, MSC and Costa, are getting ready to go cruising again. However they have a problem, the crewmen are scattered all over the world. They have started the process of getting them back to their ships, but they will have to spend a period in quarantine first. Once onboard they will be subject to daily swab tests.
The latest announcement from Eurostar is a high-speed service from London to Milan. There isn’t a start date yet but the Transport Secretary, Grunt Shatts, says it should all be finalised and up and running by the end of the year. The new service should take just five hours which is very competitive when compared to the two hours flying time, hanging about at the airport and time spent travelling between city centre and airport. A future service to Rome is also mooted.
It’s nice to be able to report a little bit of good news for a change. The July car sales numbers are out today and although not back to their peak they went up to 174,887. This was actually 11.3% better than July last year. Of course sales for the full year are down but this is hardly surprising given that factories and dealers were shut down. Is it pent up demand or are we seeing the market coming back?
The might remember me reporting on the Luton mayor and two Labour councillors ignoring lockdown and being photographed at a big party. Well, the pressure on the mayor Councillor Tahir Malik has finally built up to such a level that he has resigned. A new mayor will be appointed next month. All that is needed now is for the other two councillors to resign.
Hot again, this is getting tiresome! All the rain and cloud is in the North West. London is forecast to be hot for the next week. I think it’s the azaleas again this afternoon.
Bozzie’s latest ideas for changing planning permission rules were announced this morning. The idea is to speed up getting planning permission, particularly for houses, and make the granting of permission automatic in many cases. Obviously councils are not happy as it takes much of their powers away. For example under the new rules owners of office blocks could automatically get permission to convert empty ones into housing. The councils would prefer to keep the blocks empty in the hope that one day they will be used again.
The EU are having more problems I’m happy to report. You may remember their much-trumpeted free trade agreement with Canada. It was signed by Canada and the EU and has been in place since 2017, but only in provisional form, as it has to be agreed by all 27 members. Yesterday Cyprus voted against the agreement in a row over Halloumi Cheese. Cyprus want Halloumi to have protected place of origin like Champagne and Parma Ham. The Dutch are still to vote and they could well vote it down as well. This is getting interesting.
Is the EU about to break up? The bookmakers are currently offering 3/1 that Italy will be the next to quit. If you fancy longer odds the French are at 10/1. Charles-Henri Gallois has just set up a new leave pressure group. It is using the slogan “Take back control”. Does that sound familiar?
AstraZeneca has signed yet another agreement for its potential Coronavirus vaccine. This time it’s with a Chinese company called BioKangtai. This time the agreement is a transfer of technology and for BioKangtai to manufacture 100 million doses by the end of this year and another 100 million doses early next year. AstraZeneca now has contracts to supply over 2 billion doses to The UK, EU, US, Brazil, Russia, Japan and India as well as the new one for China. They really are confident that this vaccine is going to work and not have side effects. I wonder if the Chinese signed up because of problems with their own vaccine as I read that some of them have been getting very weak responses in testing.
The Italian Billionaire Mr Luigi Loro Piana is suing the British logistics company Peters & May in the High Court for damages equal to the value of his £25 million yacht. Peters & May were contracted to move the yacht from Antigua in the Caribbean to the Italian port of Genoa. The boat was put in a cradle, owned by Mr Piana, and load onto a cargo ship. The ship hit rough weather and the yacht fell out of its cradle and is an effective write off with holes in the sides and a missing mast. Mr Piana claims it was the fault of the logistics company, they claim that the cradle he supplied was faulty. The case continues.
Good news for beavers today. A family that arrived out of thin air and set up home on the River Otter in Devon in 2013 have until today been allowed to stay in an experiment. Today they and their offspring have been given permanent permission to stay. It is estimated that they have grown to about 15 families. Beavers were once common in the UK but they were hunted to extinction for their meat and fur. They have already been reintroduced to Scottishland where they are now entrenched.
Bit of a fuss tonight on 50 million FP2 face masks bought by the Government as part of a £250 million PPE Contract for the NHS. Although they appear to meet the specification, they have ear loops to hold them in place. The NHS prefer head loops and has rejected them because they claim they are more difficult to “fit”. If the NHS won’t use them I’m sure a lot of the general public would be only too happy to wear them.
Big news this morning. I thought I hadn’t seen Palmerston the Foreign Office cat for a while, now I see he has been living in the country and yesterday tendered his resignation. Obviously he couldn’t hack it in Whitehall. He’s only done four years, no civil service pension for that. Well, I want it known that I am not going to take on his duties as well as mine. I bet they bring in a young replacement and I will have to show them who the boss is round here. I wonder if he has gone off to live with that horrible Sir Simon McDonald they were always buddy buddy.
More countries are being added to the quarantine list at 04.00 hrs tomorrow morning. Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas will be joining, a few places have been taken off the list including St Vincent and the Grenadines, Slovakia and Slovenia. The worry is France could be added as their coronavirus numbers are going up. I hope it is not because I guess Nick Motorcar is there again this week as he has not been on the LBC breakfast program. Bozzie doesn’t much like the stand-in and won’t stop moaning until he is gone.
I read that this year’s “I’m a Celebrity” is to be filmed in a British castle in Winter due to coronavirus restrictions. I wonder if sleeping in a cold draughty castle in winter will attract any real celebrities. The “Bush Trucker Trial” might be interesting with British delicacies replacing kangaroo testicles. I’m sure my faithful readers can make some suggestions.
This weeks ONS numbers for coronavirus infections is showing a reduction in positive cases. Last week it was 0.07% of the population, this week it is 0.05% of the population. This seems to be very strange when the TV news tells us every day that the number of cases is going up. The answer seems to be that the number of people being tested is also going up steeply and as the God-King President says “the more people you test, the more cases you find.” As we are regularly testing over 200,000 people every day the number of positives is bound to go up, but not as a percentage. This argument is supported by the fact that the number of daily deaths is very consistent.
The Japanese Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, is in London this week as part of the Free Trade Agreement discussion with us. This afternoon he announced that the basic agreement had been reached and that the aim was to sign it off by the end of the month. Why is it possible to reach an agreement with Japan at such a quick pace when the EU negotiations just drag on and on. I guess the answer is will. The EU don’t want to succeed while the Japanese do. We did £31.6 Billion in Trade with Japan last year and the aim is for this agreement to add another £15 Billion.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It is now being reported that nearly two-thirds of the NHS workers in London had lost their senses of taste and smell before it was added to the list of coronavirus symptoms. Of course, the usual subjects are shouting that the Government were too slow to react, but I don’t remember them pushing for these two things to be added to the recognised systems at the time.
It’s strange how sometimes stories that would normally be on the TV news get knocked off in these coronavirus days. How many of you knew that a plane carrying 191 people crashed in Kerala today? The Boeing 737 skidded off the runway as it came into land in heavy rain. The plane broke in two and caught fire. Fortunately, only 16 people, including the pilot, were killed but 123 were injured, 15 very seriously. It not been a good year for Boeing.
Finally for tonight, I hear that photos of a naked man chasing a wild boar are the latest internet sensation in Germany. It seems the sow stole the nude sunbather’s yellow bag and he chased after it because it contained his laptop. Fellow sunbathers at Berlin’s Teufelssee, or Devil’s Lake, all fell about laughing, but one was quick enough to grab their camera. It seems he managed to get the boar to drop the bag by shouting at it. It’s reported he got a round of applause when he came back with the bag.
I woke up all hot and thirsty this morning, I very nearly emptied my water bowl before my Breakfast Felix appeared. The water bowl was topped up but as you know I don’t like freshwater so I went off for a post-breakfast drink from the birdbath in the garden. Then I had a wander around the offices, I don’t take Saturday working too seriously and I don’t think those staff who were in do either, most men were in sports shirts and I even saw some in shorts.
Grunt Shatts has announced that £589 million in funding is to be made available to electrify the railway line between Manchester and Leeds. It had already been announced that sections of this line are to be made four-track so that fast trains can overtake slow ones. This is all part of the Northern Powerhouse rail improvements promised at the election. It should allow fast electric services to run across the Pennines from Liverpool to Newcastle.
I read in a discarded Telegraph that Wee Krankie has been telling porkies, claiming that England’s coronavirus rate is 5 times worse than Scottishlands. The ONS have challenged her as their unbiased figures say different. She is comparing England’s method of counting anyone who has ever had a positive test as dying from COVID-19, even if they die in a plane crash, with Scottishland’s method where they are only counted if they tested positive in the last 28 days. When challenged, she claimed the ONS had got it wrong.
Greenpiss have been having a moan that Tate & Lyle stand to make £78 million a year when we properly leave the EU’s system of tariffs. Tate & Lyle have always imported a lot of cane sugar but this attracts EU tariffs as they want to support the EU production of sugar from sugar beet. What Greenpiss ignore is that Tate & Lyle have been able to make a profit while paying the EU this tariff. It could just be that they reduce their prices, still make a good profit and all the UK customers are happy. Of course the people who supply sugar from beet won’t be happy and nor are Greenpiss because Tate & Lyle supported Leave.
TfL has at last managed to take over the running of the stopping service from Paddington to Heathrow. This is stage 2 of 5 stages in the introduction of the Elizabeth Line or Crossrail as it is more commonly known. The big problem has been making the new digital signalling system used by the new Class 345 trains work in the tunnel to Heathrow Terminals 4 and 5 with the older system used by the older non-stop Heathrow Express service. At first, it was found that the new 9 car trains were interfering with the microwave radio signal of the new system. A temporary answer was to reduce the trains to seven cars and this is in use on the Paddington to Reading service. But an upgrade to the signalling software was released in July and this has allowed 9 car trains to run to Heathrow.
The eastern part of Crossrail has been running out of Liverpool Street for some time but with 7 car trains. These are not limited by the signalling, it’s a third different type, but by the length of the platforms at Liverpool Street. These are due to be lengthened at Christmas and some subsequent weekends allowing the stored carriages to be added to the trains bringing them back to 9 cars. The central section between Paddington and Liverpool Street is the real problem and is years late and has yet another signalling system. Once all the late running infrastructure is complete with Bond Street Station being the major problem. The signalling then has to be integrated into the fire alarms, ventilation systems and London Underground systems before test trains can be run.
A Canadian brewery has apologised about naming its pale ale Huruhuru two years ago. It checked up and the Maori word officially translated as “feather” allowing them to use the advertising slogan “Light as a feather”. Now it has been pointed out to them that in New Zealand Huruhuru is common Maori slang for pubic hair. Imagine going into a bar and asking for “a pint of pubic hair please”.
Right, I’m off for my dinner and then to curl up in my basket, I hope someone leaves a window open tonight. Back next week.
©️ WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file