Hello everyone, what a horrible morning for the shortest day of the year. Well, not really the shortest as they all have 24 hours, but the shortest daylight hours. Miserable and wet but not too cold, I shall not be going out unless I have too.
The reaction to Bozzie’s introduction of Tier 4 and the announcement of a new variant of coronavirus has not gone down well this morning. Lots of moans in the MSM and lots of foreign countries have shut down air links and France have said they are stopping trucks coming into the country from Dover for at least 48 hours. So they have closed the ferry services and the Channel Tunnel to lorries coming from Britain. However, they must keep their exports going so they are allowing their trucks to cross to Britain. Which is why, I suspect, it is for 48 hours so that their drivers don’t get stuck in the UK over Christmas.
Are cracks beginning to show in the EU’s “united front” on the trade talks with us? The EU powers that be set a deadline of Sunday night for a successful conclusion of talks. But that deadline passed and the two sides are still talking. It now seems that various EU countries have said that if an agreement can be reached they will give it a provisional OK and vote on it later. This is allowed under the EU’s internal rules but the EU parliament like to pretend that the rule is not in their book.
The Post Office has put out a warning to people not to steam unfranked stamps off their Christmas cards and reuse them. How they know a stamp has been reused when it has no franking mark on it I really don’t know. Some time ago I remember them saying that there is no invisible mark on those stamps. I think that they are just trying to scare people into not reusing stamps that have missed the franking machine. Of course, the more they put up the cost of stamps the more tempted people will be to reuse them.
I read that the latest country to sign a deal for the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is Malaysia who have agreed to buy enough for 20% of their population. They already have agreed a deal with Pfizer for another 20% and Covax for 10%. They think they need to vaccinate 70% of the population to get herd immunity. I also hear that Germany is very unhappy with the slowness of the EU in approving the various vaccines and that the EU has been betting on a French vaccine, by ordering around 500 million doses when it is nowhere near ready and has just announced a delay. The Pfizer vaccine is partly developed in Germany and the EU has only ordered 50 million doses of it and then only in late November. This has put them low in priority and it will probably not get them until the second half of next year. Isn’t it nice seeing the EU countries fighting each other?
Is Kier Stoma going soft in the head? On a day when the rest of the UK is worrying about coronavirus and what it’s doing to our companies, people and hospitals and over the trade agreement discussions with the EU, he choose to launch a new policy on Scottishland independence. I assume he had this pencilled into his diary for a long time but surely his advisers made a big mistake not postponing this.
Have you heard of the Spanish town of Llivia? Well, I only heard about it today and it is in a strange position as a Spanish enclave in France. As a result of the 30 years war where the border between France and Spain was established it landed up staying Spanish and linked to Spain by a “free road” across French territory. All was fine until 1970 when the French built a road that crossed the “free road” and put up stop signs to give their new road priority. The townsfolk of Llivia were upset and the signs were torn down. For a few years, the “war of the signs” raged with the Spanish ripping them down and the French putting them back. The French finally gave in and built a flyover! But there is also another silly result of that treaty. Pheasant Island, in the middle of the river Bidasoa, was left as a sort of uninhabited no man’s land for years. Finally, in 1866 it became a condominium with Spain running it from February to July and France running it from August to January.
Morning all. I was up and about early this morning, nipped out briefly to the garden, and then breakfast. Bozzie was running a bit late and wolfed down his breakfast, scattered papers everywhere, and rushed off downstairs to his office for his regular 8:30 briefing. I think he just about got there on time, but I’ve noticed he is not a very good timekeeper!
Bozzie took another phone call from that Ursula woman last night. He told the Little Otter that she was panicking about there not being a trade deal, he thinks she was convinced by the Remoaners and the likes of Wee Krankie and Adonis that we were bluffing. I hear Frosty the No Man has been authorised to make a slightly better offer on fishing but it is tied to the EU giving ground on the “level playing field” and “enforcement”. Ursula has been twisting the EU 27’s arms to get them to agree but once again it is Macaroon who is the problem. He is worried that if he gives in he will lose fishermen’s votes to Madam Le Penn in next year’s election.
There are supposed to be 1500 lorries waiting at Dover for the “short crossing” to Calais. I wonder how many of them are French “yellow jackets” and will remember it was Macaroon who did his best to ruin their Christmas. Macaroon is having second thoughts on his blockade and it looks like he is going to try to get out of it by agreeing to testing the drivers. I wonder how much this has to do with French supermarkets reporting empty shelves, particularly of British seafood which is apparently a staple of a French Christmas. Other countries have not been as stupid, they have stopped passenger ferries but have left freight alone as they realise which side their bread is buttered!
Vladimir Putrid passed a new law today. It gives ex-presidents, and their families, exemption from prosecution for life from prosecution for any crime committed in their lifetime. Not a bad law, it not only means you can’t be charged with any crime an ex-president may have committed in the past, while in post or may ever commit. So if he is ever short of a few bob he could rob a bank and if caught he has total immunity. I bet there are a few other heads of state or ex-heads of state who wish they had brought in a similar law.
AstraZeneca are in the news this morning because a drug has received American FDA approval. No it’s not it’s the coronavirus vaccine but a drug called Tagrisso, which has already been approved for treating some forms of lung cancer and has been setting new standards stopping 83% of reoccurrence. Now it has been approved for early use which has vastly increased its sales potential which is already worth billions annually. The other big British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has also announced that it has got European approval for Vocabria an injectable long-lasting HIV treatment that can reduce the need for an HIV positive patient to only need only six injections a year. Again this could be worth billions to GSK.
Do you remember me telling you a few weeks ago about ships from all over the world being stuck outside Chinese ports with loads of Australian coal? The Chinese have been deliberately slowing unloading because of a political dispute with Australia. Well, it seems that it has come back to bite China in the bum. Chinese power stations have been running out of coal and it is reported that there have been widespread power cuts across the whole of China.
As usual, RyanAir is at the centre of a row. This time it is with the British CAA and as a result, RyanAir will be withdrawing services on 12 routes, some internal and two to Europe. It seems that RyanAir has fallen foul of the CAA regulations regarding “wet leasing” of aircraft. The UK licences that RyanAirUK operates these routes under specifies that they must use aircraft registered in the UK. It has not been possible to fully enforce this rule while in the EU as they could use EU registered planes and that gave them a financial advantage. There have been told the law will be enforced from 1st January and hence the show of pique.
I read that the felling of trees for the HS2 railway line has revealed the nasty habits of some lorry drivers as the tree and undergrowth were cleared at Balsall Common near Hampton-in-Arden many bottles full of urine have been revealed. It seems some truck drivers prefer to pee in a bottle rather than breaking their journey and then throw it out of the cab window as they approached the Hampton truck stop. The work of clearing up this pollution has fallen on HS2 workers. I wonder if they get paid “dirty money” for that task.
This morning’s news that Wee Krankie has been photographed at a wake in a pub without a face mask made me laugh. Can you imagine what she would have said if it had been Bozzie. She would have been shouting how awful the “evil English Tory” was from the rooftops. But she thinks if she says sorry it will all be swept under the carpet and never spoken about again. Well, I for one hope that the Scottishland Tories, Limp Dumps and Labourite give a hard time all next year.
Two bits of news about the AstraZeneca vaccine this morning. Firstly I hear that Singapore is to double its order for the vaccine with an order for another 6.4 million doses. This will bring its order up to 12.8 million the same number as its Pfizer order. It has also ordered the Russian and Chinese vaccine and has enough doses on order to treat its whole population. The second bit of news is that AstraZeneca have now given all the information required by the British regulators to them. I hear that they are likely to get an emergency license soon after Christmas. This will be good news for the NHS as they should be able to get 4 million doses almost immediately which will allow them to go ahead with their mass vaccination plans to administer 1 million doses a week.
The truck drivers parked at the old Manstead Airport are not happy. They are realising that they may well be stuck in the UK for Christmas. This is despite there being an agreement with France over restarting ferry services. The problem is that France expects every driver entering France to have had a negative test in the 72 hours. The UK is using the rapid test that gives a result in 20 to 30 minutes but there are thousands of drivers to test. I must say that the drivers are seeing through all the BS put about by the French and are firmly blaming Macaroon playing politics. I saw one German driver on TV who was asked who he blamed and answered Macaroon. It clearly wasn’t the answer the reporter wanted because they asked him the same question twice more, but he wasn’t changing his answer.
So 12 million more people are to go into Tier 4 immediately after Boxing Day. This is a lot more people stuck in their home for weeks on end. And now we have found yet another mutation of the virus, at least this one didn’t originate from the UK, South Africa is to blame this time. At this rate, no one will be allowing anyone to travel anywhere!
Are you one of the Britons who buy one of the 100 million tubs of Quality Street, Celebrations or the other similar Christmas special lots of sweets? Well, this year Greene King want your empty tubs. It seems they are not normally recycled by councils they just go to ground fill. So Greene King have got an arrangement with a specialist recycler who will grind them down into pellets so they can be reused. If every tub were to be recycled it would raise around £400,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. All you have to do is take your tubs into Greene King pubs, restaurants or hotels, if they ever reopen after lockdown.
Thursday (Christmas Eve)
Morning all, I looked out and saw blue sky and lots of sunshine so I thought I would go for my pre-breakfast constitutional in the gardens. Well, I can tell you I didn’t stay out there for long. It was cold and on top of that, there was a cold wind. It ruffled all my fur the wrong way. I heard the Little Otter telling Baby Wilf’s that it was only one long sleep to Christmas and there would be parcels for him under the tree. I doubt he understood any of that, but I did. I wonder what they are getting me.
I nearly caught Bozzie’s Christmas present this morning. A big fat pigeon was waddling around in Downing Street and I chased across the road and grabbed it. I was just adjusting my grip and it got away. You should have seen me run! I whizzed upon him like a young cat not like the old man that I am. I wonder what he would have thought it I had left a pigeon under the tree with the other presents.
When I retired to my cat basket last night it looked like there was going to be a deal with the EU announced this morning. Well, that turned out to be rubbish. Bozzie had a number of phone calls with that Ursula woman and both of them were livid. It seems that a deal on fishing and quotas was all but finalised by the negotiators but the EU side suddenly realised that they had been using the wrong numbers. They had to go back to the EU27 to try to sort out their cock-up. At lunchtime, they were still in discussions and the British had a load of sandwiches delivered to them from the British Embassy. I hope they were made with British salmon, British ham and British cheese.
Another good laugh this morning when I heard the latest on Bay Kurley. You remember how she got into trouble she over breaking coronavirus rules and was banned from the airwaves for six months. She then went off on a safari holiday to South Africa. Now a new South African strain of coronavirus has been isolated she is having to self isolate. Oh the irony. Oh and I also read that there is yet another mutant coronavirus version emerging from Kenya.
Wee Krankie has a new thing to moan about today. Scottishland seed potatoes. She is complaining that Scottishland seed potatoes have been left out of the proposed trade agreement. As it has not been signed or made available yet I don’t know how she knows what’s in the agreement. Even when it is available I understand that it runs to several thousand pages and she will do well to find any mention or not of Scottishland seed potatoes.
So a deal has finally been announced this afternoon. It remains to be seen what is in it. I guess reading and digesting several thousand pages will take some time. However, the first statement says it has achieved everything that was promised, including no roll for the ECJ and all red lines on sovereignty. I guess only time will tell.
I have been reading that there were plans to fly the Queen and other members of the Royal Family to safety if in the event of a No Deal Brexit there were riots in London. I believe this is a rehash of the old Cold War nuclear attack plans for the military to scope up Royals from wherever they might be in London and for the RAF to helicopter them to various Royal residencies around the country. The plan was set up before the pandemic when the Queen was resident in Buckingham Palace, it was largely superseded by her decision to live in Windsor Castle while the pandemic rages.
I read that Newbury in Berkshire has had a bit of a shock when they were inundated by a delivery of 19,000 boxes of porridge. They had appealed to Quaker Oats owners PepsiCo for 1,900 boxes of porridge to put in their Christmas parcels to OAPs and others in need in the village. Someone at PepsiCo or Quaker cocked up because a great big articulated lorry turned up loaded with 1,900 pallets of ten boxes. They are now wondering what to do with all the excess porridge. They could always start a breakfast club for all the school children that Marcus Rashford is telling us are starving. But then they would need someone to donate milk and sugar!
Friday (Christmas Day)
Morning folks and a merry Christmas to my happy band of followers. I think this may be a very short diary entry today. It is very quiet on the estate today, I did a quick patrol around after breakfast and there are only a couple of people in. One opened the last door in the advent calendar for me. Turkey flavoured cat treats today, well I suppose it’s appropriate. It tastes just like chicken to me. I bet they are just the same recipe as the chicken ones with a different label on the bag. Much to my astonishment, the humans bought me a Christmas present, a squeaky mouse. It doesn’t run away like the real thing but it’s a bit of fun biting it and making it squeal.
Bozzie is very happy this morning, wandering around with an ear to ear grin, his Christmas jumper on (a snowman with flashing lights) and going ho, ho, ho. I don’t know if it’s because of the EU trade deal or because he doesn’t have to go to the in-laws. One or two things in the deal seem to have upset some of the Remoaners in the press and the Remoaner politicians. Fishing seems to be one. The Remoaners seem to think we are being mean to the French and that we should be letting them catch all our fish. Then we have withdrawn from the Erasmus scheme which has only been used by 200,000 British students since it started. The reason we couldn’t come to an agreement is simple, as usual, the EU were being greedy. For years we have been paying far more into the scheme than we got out of it, but they wanted us to keep on paying in more than we received back. So we are to set up our own scheme allowing our students to go to foreign universities all over the world and it will cost us less.
I hear that there are a number of online stories about people getting their turkey out of the fridge to cook for lunch and finding they had gone off. The turkeys came from all sorts of different retailers. I wonder if they all used the same supplier? Anyway, Bozzie’s turkey smelled delicious but I only get two meals a day morning and evening so when Bozzie and the Little Otter sit down to a huge late lunch I suffer. Anyway there was some cold turkey in my bowl on top of my usual Felix for my evening meal. It was pretty good.
I got a new collar and a bag of cat treats under the tree. Bozzie wanted me to wear some tinsel round it and be photographed with Wilf and the Mutt. I don’t mind the photo but a draw the line at tinsel.
Saturday (Boxing Day)
Happy Boxing Day to you all. Well, the papers are back so I have had the chance to get up to date on the news and so far it seems pretty thin on the ground.
I did see that on the Covid front, the French have found a case of the new variant despite all of Macaroon’s precautions, it looks like it was in the country all ready. The Frogs have sent a load of firemen over to help test all the truck drivers parked at Manston. We have sent an extra 800 servicemen to help and even the Poles have sent out a load of the equivalent of their TA to help with the Polish drivers. I wonder how many of those Poles will disappear into the Kent countryside. I also read that a new treatment is being tested for those who have ever already been exposed to Covid-19 or have a reason for not taking the vaccine-like allergies or weakened immune systems. The first ten people have been injected with a monoclonal antibody treatment, developed by the drugs company AstraZeneca. In theory, it should instantly start to fight the infection, if you have it, or protect those who don’t. We shall see.
I understand that Tesla has been offering other car makers free access to it’s patented fast charger technology but not a single one in the world has accepted the offer. Why you may ask. Well, it seems like many agreements the details make it impossible to accept them. At the end of the agreement, there is a “good faith” clause and in an annexe “good faith” is defined. It is this clause that is the problem, it basically says that Tesla can use/steal any patented technology by anyone using Tesla fast charger technology and if the third party were to sue them they are in breach of the “good faith” term. Who’s going to accept that.
Do you remember back when we went into the first lockdown there was a mad rush to buy bikes with lots of shops selling out of stock and long waiting lists? Well, I understand that the situation has not improved and that traditional Christmas gift for kids was in short supply this year. Next year’s models usually arrive in-store in October and November so the bike shops have to put in bulk orders months before and of course predicting sales so far ahead in these Covid times was not easy. So many of the one-man shops and small chains simply don’t have enough resources to purchase loads of stock and that is what seems to have happened this year. However, I hear that if you have £10,000 to spend there is still plenty of choice around, it is the so-called “cheap end” of the market (under £1,000) that is worst hit.
Barnier and Frosty the No man had a tough Christmas this year. They were busy negotiating up until Christmas Eve when the agreement was struck. Frosty then had to get home from Brussels when lots of transport had been shut down because of Christmas and the new variety of Covid-19. I believe Bozzie took pity on him and his team and sent out an RAF plane to get them home for Christmas. It wasn’t so good for Barnier, he had to work on Christmas Day. He was in the EU offices briefing ambassadors from the 27 EU countries. Mind, I hear that they are likely to unanimously recommend the deal’s acceptance.
I must have missed the news, amid the trade deal fuss, that the EU had finally approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for use in EU. Today it is being shipped to France and Belgium in small amounts. For example, Belgium is to receive 10,000 doses a hope to start a vaccination program tomorrow. I suspect that a Monday start would be more likely as the vaccine needs a minimum of 24 hours to defrost before it can be mixed with an activation agent. While the EU has been messing around we have vaccinated over 800,000 people. Don’t forget if the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, we aim to vaccinate 1,000,000 people a week.
The Government is starting an eight-week consultation on compulsory microchipping all cats. Well, I was done at Battersea many years ago when they first scooped me up, before that nice “call me Dave” bloke rescued me. I don’t notice it now but it was a bit sore when it was first done. I hear that vets (boo, hiss) charge around £20 to insert a chip. Well, I guess that can be useful if a cat goes missing, so that it can be reunited with its human slave. But is this necessarily a good thing? Most cats I know would only go missing if something was wrong, like their slave didn’t feed them or give them somewhere warm and dry to sleep. In that case, a chip to get them back is pointless, they will only leave again. The worst thing I heard was that many vets (boo hiss) chip cats and sterilise them at the same time, not something I suffered thankfully.
Time to go and look for my supper, I wonder if they will have topped my Felix with fresh Turkey again tonight. Chat to you all next week.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file