Morning happy readers and welcome to the second year of my Diary. I have decided to add a year number in the Article name so the week counter is set back to one.
The fuss about reimposing quarantine on people returning from Spain only broke after I retired to my cat basket on Saturday night. It came very quickly when there were a number of Coronavirus spikes in Spain and was the result of a decision by 3 cabinet members that include the Government and Grant Shatts. The irony of this is that Shatts joined the meeting by Zoom as he was on holiday in Spain, so he will have to quarantine when he gets home. There is a bit of an oddity in that the Foreign Office now only recommends Britions not to travel to Mainland Spain, leaving the islands in the clear. But the quarantine restrictions applies to everywhere. The Gove has booked to go to Ibiza soon and will also have to quarantine unless the rules change again. Is Ibiza right for the Gove? I can’t quite see him at a foam party.
Can it be true? Reports at the weekend said the country has saved £55 Billion by leaving the E.U. and not having to contribute to their Coronavirus Recovery Fund. Then I heard an Idiot Remainer saying “Ah but we would have got some of it back”. So what! We are better off giving nothing than getting a billion or two back, how can’t they see that? I bet if we had still been in the E.U. or had extended the transition period they would have made the EU recovery fund €1,000 Billion instead of €750 Billion and we would have been on the hook for a lot more.
Bozzie’s big plan to tackle obesity was launched today. It looks like the plan is to get the nation on a diet. There were some daft things said, like if every body lost 5 lbs it would save the NHS £100 million a year. It might sound a lot of money, but the NHS budget is £140.4 Billion this year so it’s actually peanuts. Other bright ideas included removing sweets displays from Supermarket tills, making restaurant chain’s with more than 250 employees print calorie counts on menus and banning adverts for fattening foods from TV before 21:00.
It must have come as a rude shock to those people on holiday in Spain when the new Quarantine Restrictions where imposed, especially the load on a plane out of Manchester who were told only ten minutes after the plane had taken off. Then I heard a Labour MP on the radio this morning complaining that the Government had moved to fast and not given holidaymakers enough warning. It sounded like the same guy who was on last week complaining the Government had given too much warning of bringing in compulsory wearing of face masks in shops and it should have been imposed sooner. You just can’t be right for some people.
Bad news today, I see Sky are reporting a cat has caught Covid-19, the first in the UK. They think he caught it from his Humans. Bozzie could have given it to me and I could have been non-symptomatic. Mind he had it a long time ago now, so if he did pass it on I’m OK now. So I should be immune if he did. I wonder if the Mutt had it?
Is Grunt Shatts in the dog house with his wife and children? He took them on holiday to Spain on Saturday morning only to be called into a Zoom meeting on re-imposing the Coronavirus quarantine on Sunday night. Now I hear he is doing his packing and will be on Wednesday to work on the problems the quarantine has imposed from his own quarantine at home. His family are to complete their holiday before coming back. By the time they get back at least he will be able to do the shopping for them.
More trouble for the Boeing 737, but this time it is not the grounded new Max version. Instead it is older Classic and Next Generation (NG) versions. Many of these older aircraft have been in storage, not being needed while flying has been highly limited by the Coronavirus. Now that routes are being restored aircraft are coming out of storage and four have suffered the same potentially deadly fault, a compressor failure. The problem has been found to have been the same in very case, a valve has rusted while in storage and has stuck open. An airworthiness notice has been issued to inspect the valves on any aircraft that has not had it’s engines started and run up to operational conditions for seven consecutive days. No wonder 737 operators are switching to A320’s.
It’s been a miserable day. I have ventured out a few times but not for long as it has been wet, windy and not every warm. I have spent much of the day curled up on a comfy chair. I was delighted to see on a TV weather forecast that it’s going to get warmer later in the week, just so long as it doesn’t get too hot for too long.
At least it’s not raining this morning and the air is warmer than yesterday. A day for a doze in the garden I hope, I feel I need the fresh air after yesterday.
It’s bad news today for anyone with a Mitsubishi car. The company has written to it’s 100 or so UK Dealers saying they are going to withdraw from the U.K. and European new car market. The immediate effect is that they will not be bringing any new models to the European market, disappointing many loyal customers who were looking forward to the updated Outlander due shortly. Instead they will continue to sell existing models until they no longer comply with local regulations or are taken out of production. This seems to be a result of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi coming together to form “Alliance” with the aim of sharing “Platforms”. This means that in effect their new models will be competing against each other. The first result appears to be an agreement to carve up certain territories Renault getting Europe, Mitsubishi the Americas and Nissan the Far East. Who will get other areas like Africa and the Middle East is yet to emerge. This fits in with Nissan closing its Spanish plants earlier this year. The Nissan plant in Sunderland looks to be safe, will it be switching to turning out the same cars as Renault branded models.
Bozzie’s big announcement today is about walking and cycling. I suppose it goes with yesterday’s obesity stuff. The two features of the scheme the MSM seem to have latched onto are £50 bicycle repair vouchers and Doctors being able to prescribe cycling to the unfit via a free bike loan program. But there is more to it than that, well you would hope so for a £2 Billion program. There is money to build lots more cycle lanes and walking routes, to create “School Streets” where cars will be banned during school hours and an e-bike scheme that will subsidise them, or loan them for older people with medical conditions. I wonder if Bozzie will qualify for an e-bike?
I read an article that said that the Left Wing of the Labour Party were already celebrating a Labour victory at the next election, that Bozzie was already beaten and that Kier Stoma was going to lead them into the promised land of Government. I’m not sure how this works, I know Stoma is doing better than the Tramp but that’s not difficult. I know Bozzie can appear a Buffon, but lots of people like him for it. Stoma comes over very technocratic and mechanical. The polls reflect this, Labour are still ten points behind the Tories. In an election Labour needs to win a raft of seats from the Tories to be the biggest party and loads more on top of that (about 160 extra seats) to avoid having to form a coalition with the SNP who would surely only agree if it lead to Independence. A couple of other problems for Labour are that they look totally unable to win seats back in Scotland and the boundary changes at the next election will probably cost them dear.
I hear that Bozzie’s Peerage list will be published at long last later this week. As expected the three nominations from Steptoe have been slung out by the House of Lords Committee that oversees Political Peerages. That means no to Bercow, Fatty Watson and Katie Murphy who have been replaced by the much more acceptable Frank Field, John Woodcock and Ian Austin. Prominent Tories to get peerage include Ruth Davidson, Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond.
The two big aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, have got 628 finished aircraft that they can’t deliver. Many of these, 423 and growing, are Boeing 737Max planes that they can’t deliver until the FAA removes their grounding. But over 200 are proving difficult to deliver due to Coronavirus restrictions. Crews from the purchasers often can’t leave their own countries or if they can they can’t enter the United States or France. However, some were due to be delivered to airlines that have gone bust or are in financial difficulties so the manufacturers are stuck with them for the time being.
The Totten to Fawley branch line saw SouthWest Trains run a test passenger train over the track for the first time today since the Beeching cuts of the 1960’s. Until a few years ago oil trains regularly used the line to access Fawley refinery but these have now stopped. However all the signalling and level crossings remain in working order due to the occasional military train to the military port of Marchwood. Even the old stations and platforms are still in place so it could be one of the easier lines to reopen. The test train was a DMU but SWT would like to be able to bid to reopen with a greener option in the form of a battery operated unit on the branch line that could switch to third rail on the main line for services to Southampton and beyond. Vivarail, who have bought a lot of the London Underground D78 Class trains from scrap, have been rebuilding them as Class 230 trains and would appear to be able to offer all sorts of combination of versions. They already have made Diesel Electric, Battery Electric, Diesel and third Rail Electric Versions (Class 484). SouthWest Trains has already acquired 5 Class 484 trains for use on the Isle of Wight.
I woke up this morning all hot and bothered. My first thought was is it Coronavirus? Then I realised the sun was coming straight through the window onto my cat basket. After a drink of water and sit in the shade I felt a lot better and ready for Breakfast. I hope someone remembers to pull the curtains tonight.
Why are we always running to catch up with the rest of the world? In the week that 3 countries are sending missions to Mars what are we doing. Well it seems we are having a meeting today to decide on the rules for launching satellites from the U.K. Now considering we don’t have a launch site yet isn’t that putting the cart before the horse. There are seven possible sites in England, Scottishland and Wales for U.K. Spaceport. Wouldn’t it be better to settle on a site first and then worry about rules.
Another day another tall story about Coronavirus. Today it seems men over 6 feet tall are twice as likely to get it as their shorter friends. Don’t ask me, why the article I read didn’t explain it just said that the results of a survey showed they did. Bozzie’s a short arse but he still got it. But then fatties tend to get it worse and he was over weight when he went down with it. I know I mentioned the Little Otter had him on a diet, but did I mention how proud of himself he is for losing 1 1/2 stone. The Little Otter wasn’t too impressed, she said that he still needs to lose that again. He moaned that he would have to buy a new wardrobe. I don’t know what’s wrong with the built-in one in their bedroom.
More Coronavirus Vaccine news this morning. The Government has signed up for 60 million doses of the Glaxo Vaccine. This is the fourth different vaccine the Government has signed up to buy. The development of this one is running behind the others and if it passes all the testing phases should be ready next spring. This is the Government covering all its bases and agreeing to buy four different types of vaccine from four different makers to make sure it has something that works if the others fail. We are currently signed up for 250,000,000 doses in total. I suppose we could get much kudos in the third world if we gave any surplus away. This is unlike the much trumpeted Alliance of E.U. countries, which Labour criticised us for not joining. So far they have not agreed to purchase a single dose from anyone. While talking about Vaccines, AstraZeneca are moving onto Phase 3 of testing theirs this week. I assume that Phase 2 has been successful or I am sure they would has cut their losses and quit the race. They have been appealing for more Guinea Pigs in the U.K. and I understand that they are enrolling 8,000 in India and similar in South Africa and Brazil where the infection rates are still very high.
The Indian Airforce has received the first five of it’s order for 36 Dassault Rafale jet fighters. However the Indian’s imposed very strict security around their Indian Airbase closing roads, banning photographs, TV and video recordings of them. The new fleet is to replace out dated MiG’s and gives the Indians much more capability in their current disputes with Pakistan and China. The remaining aircraft in the order are expected to arrive over the next year.
I see that reports from Japan say that we are very close to agreeing a new Free Trade Agreement with them. It should of course be easy, as there is a already a FTA between the EU and Japan that could be rolled over, but the two nations are being more ambitious. They want to broaden it to include digital services, data and finance. Expect news of a basic agreement very soon with details to be finalised later. Japan is in the top ten of our trade partners.
I’ve had a lovely afternoon sitting under the Azaleas in the garden in the shade. The Little Otter has put up a new bird feeder on one of those metal poles in the middle of a lawn so that the squirrels can’t get to it. I love watching the little birds coming and going. The Sparrows and the Blue Tits love what I am told are sunflowers seed hearts and the Gold Finches eat Nigela seeds, while the big fat Pigeon waddles about below. I can’t get up to the little birds and the Pigeon is too crafty, he knows just how far away is safe. Well it’s time for my dinner, I hope she hasn’t put that that up a pole.
Another warm morning, I think it might be back under the Azalea this afternoon, it really is a pleasant spot on a warm afternoon.
Looks like an extension to quarantine, for those with symptoms, from seven to ten days is going to be announced this morning. It seems the “experts” have changed their minds about how long someone can stay infectious from first displaying symptoms. Then I hear that they have also changed their minds over the R value and that it might actually have been below 1 when we went into lockdown last March when Sage thought it was 2.6 to 2.8. By the way, what happened to the R Value, it used to be all over the papers every day. Has it been quietly forgotten now that it’s dropping?
What has Joanna Cherry done to upset the leaders of the SNP in the Scottishland Parliament at Holyrood? The MP has been thinking about standing as an MSP in the next election. However the SNP’s ruling Executive Committee is expected to announce a new rule tonight forcing any sitting MP to pay a £10,000 fee to the party to be allowed to stand. She had plenty of money when she took the UK Government to court in Scottishland last year so will that be a large enough sum to stop her.
A few bits of travel news today. There is a rumour that Carnival Cruise Lines is looking to sell its Cunard and Seaborne brands. These are their upmarket luxury brands. If they were sell them off it would leave them with their cheaper and mid market brands of which Carnival it self is the most down market. TUI has announced that it is closing 166 of it’s Travel Agents in the U K and Ireland due to sales moving online. Finally Jet2 is looking to bring holiday makers home early from their breaks in Spain. Some who flew out only last weekend are having their holidays cut short because Jet2 would have to fly empty planes out to Spain to collect them.
John Lewis made a strange announcement today. It said that it is thinking about changing some of the shop it is shutting into blocks of flats. Not selling them off but going into partnership with a big private housing company and renting out the properties. If successful they said they could expand the scheme to include some of the lower earning Waitrose supermarkets.
A revised program has been announced today to demolish the first of the closed down Magnox nuclear reactors. There had been a plan to reduce the height of the twin reactor buildings at Trawsfynydd by a third and then to start dismantling the reactors in 2083. Under the new plan the less radioactive parts like the boilers, pipework and cranes would be dismantled and taken off site. The more radioactive part will be moved to a specially built storage building on site and the reactor and turbine buildings demolished. This work would start as soon contracts for the work are let, possibly next year and take 20 years. There are 9 more closed Magnox reactors that need dismantling.
A lot of children are going to be disappointed this Christmas as they will not be able to make their lists for Father Christmas from the Argos catalogue. Argos announced today that it is to cease publishing its catalogue after nearly 50 years and its products will only be found online.
Wow it’s hot this morning. I woke up early before the humans and headed for a bit of air in the shade in the garden as there is a bit of breeze there. I even had a drink from the bird bath before heading back for breakfast when Bozzie came out with the Mutt.
Why have the Government got into the habit of making announcements after I have retired for the night. Is it to annoy me? Last night it was a big announcement of putting Coronavirus restrictions on millions of people in the North of England. The numbers of infections seems to be on the up in several of the the big towns and cities including Manchester. The restrictions are not very harsh and mainly relate to people meeting in houses. I hear Bozzie is going to do a Lunchtime press conference today. I suppose I will have to brave the heat of the office to watch him on TV.
After I told you about Joanna Cherry having a row with the SNP Grey Suits in Edinburgh, she announced late yesterday that she was not going to stand to be a MSP. The suits now want to make any SNP MP who stands for the Scottishland Parliament resign their London seat first. The SNP is divided in to two factions, those who support Wee Krankie and those who support Alex Salmond. Cherry is in the Salmond camp hence the Suits putting obstacles in her path.
Well Bozzie was on TV, wearing his new suit, as I expected. He is a bit bothered that Virus could be making a comeback so he is not going to proceed with the easing of restrictions that were to due to take place tomorrow. So a number of things that were due to be reopened tomorrow are to be put off, initially for two weeks. So no Ice Skating, Ten Pin Bowling, Casinos, or indoor performances, no trials of crowds at Horse Racing, Cricket or Snooker and if you are getting married you can’t have the increase to 30 people at the reception. The other new thing is having to wear a face mask in some indoor places like Cinemas, Places of Worship and Museums. The Muslims are complaining that these new rules are designed to discriminate against them because it stops them celebrating Eid tomorrow.
In the past few days I have told you about Carnival Cruise Lines getting rid of 13 ships to save money in these Coronavirus times. Carnival own 10 brands and have over 100 ships with more on order. Well today they added 2 more to the list of ships to be disposed of. No announcement of the names of the ships yet or the brand, but I’m sure they will leak soon. It is already being speculated that they could be Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination which were to be moth balled. Oh yes, Carnival also denied they are going to sell Cunard but didn’t mention Seabourne.
Chis Packham through more money away today. He lost his appeal again the refusal to grant a judicial review of the Government decision to proceed with HS2. I suspect that his legal advisers never thought he stood a chance of success, but were quite happy to take his money. You know what they say about a fool and his money.
The names of those getting Honours on the disillusion honours list was announced today and as usual the leaks were right. But there are one or two extra that weren’t leaked. Among them are Labour Brexit rebels Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart, whom I expect all Brexiteers will be delighted over. Other new Lords will be Jo Johnson, Bozzie’s brother and Charles Moore the Telegraph Writer. But what Saggy’s husband has done to get a Knighthood is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it was for being nice to me, he alway give me a stroke and often slipped me a bit of meat off his plate. Much nicer than that old hag.
Not so hot this morning, much more pleasant, yesterday was too warm for me. I’m no longer a kitten, I suffer in the heat. Anyway, I shall be curling up under the bushes in the shade now I’ve sorted out a shady spot that allows me to see what’s going on. Either I’m getting used to Wilf’s noises, I’m going deaf or he’s sleeping longer. I hope it the latter.
The Daesh Bride, Shamima Begum, is going to have wait to come back to the UK. The Court of Appeal, a couple of weeks ago, ruled that she should be allowed back in to defend herself over having her citizenship revoked. The Government then asked for permission to appeal that decision and it had been granted. The case will now be considered by the Supreme Court.
The time table for Brexit Talks has been published. The next set, Round 7 will be in Brussels from 17th August. Round 8 follows in London from 7th September, with the final Round 9 in Brussels from 28th September to 2nd October. To give the E.U. time to get an agreement signed off by all 27 members, the EU says they will need to have a final agreement by the end of Round 9. We will see.
A few bits of Airline News today. Firstly, Britain Airways are to scrap their special Business service from London City Airport to New York. The service was operated by 2 Airbus A318’s both with only 38 business class seats in 2 x 2 seating. It stopped at Shannon to refuel but this allowed passengers to clear American Immigration and save time in New York. It is a victim of Coronavirus. BA Pilots have come to an agreement with the company to accept a package of job and and pay cuts again because of Coronavirus. 270 jobs are to go and wages are to be cut initially by 20% but this will taper down over the next couple of years. In Ireland Ryanair air taking the Government to court over the travel restrictions they have implemented. They claim that the restrictions are illegal and and interferes with individuals rights. Ireland has, like the U.K., introduced a list of countries that people returning from must isolate for 14 days.
I see that the Australian Police have arrested 5 men for attempting to smuggle 500 Kgs of Cocaine into Northern Queensland. Mind you it was good Police work it was pure luck. A Cessna Light aircraft crashed when it tried to take off a remote Jungle strip in New Guinea, because the smugglers got greedy and overloaded the plane. When the Cocaine worth $80Million Australian, was found in the crash the Police traced the plane back to an Australian crime gang and they all were nicked. The moral is don’t be greedy.
A British man who had his Penis drop off after he suffered Sepsis and it turned gangrenous has had a new one grown on his arm. He said he knew it was going to happen so when it did he picked it up and in the bin. His Surgeon fashioned a new Penis out of the skin and muscle of the man’s left arm before it was transplanted. Unfortunately the man had to put up with the new appendage on his left arm for four year before the transplant and it was only two inches long! You will be pleased to know that his Testicles were unaffected.
That’s it folks I’m off to watch WG’s team win the Cup on one of the Office TV’s, speak to you all next week.
©️ WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file