Another week, they are simply flying by and at the moment, in lockdown, they seem to be much the same. I know it’s a Bozzie news conference day because Bozzie has got a good suit on, today it’s his navy blue one, and the Little Otter gave him scramble eggs for his breakfast so that he wouldn’t drip egg yolk down it. However, this week I woke up to find all the MSM full of two things, Ginge and Whinge who have been giving an interview on American TV and domestically the kids going back to schools. I didn’t watch the interview, it was much too late for this old cat, but I have seen snippets on the TV this morning and I can’t get over seeing an actress putting on a performance, being fed lines by the interviewer. As for the kids going back to school, it’s about time I am fed up with people in the office having days off to look after them at home, or being chased around Downing Street by Richie Nik-Nak’s brats.
One other bit of news I saw this morning was that the SNP are up to their games with another sex scandal. This time it is one of their workers at Westminster who claims to have been assaulted twice, once by a male MP who groped them in a Westminster pub and once by a female MP who propositioned him in a House of Commons bar. The complainant says they have not been taken seriously and Piggy Blackford has tried to brush it under the carpet. I have the feeling we will be hearing more of this.
That Elan Musk doesn’t give up easily does he? Only a few days after SpaceX’s Starship SN10 briefly landed before joining its predecessors as a heap of junk, Starship SN11 has been rolled out to the launch pad, with the intention to launch it next weekend if all goes well. I heard that the landing sequence has once again been ‘adjusted’. It seems that SN10 landed a bit harder than intended and one of its landing legs collapsed because it had not locked properly. Musk must have buckets of money to throw at the project as I hear all the parts for SN12 to SN20 have been made and are ready.
The NHS is to buy some of the world’s most expensive drug, Zolgensma, which costs £1.79m per dose. It is used to treat babies and young children with a rare disorder, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which involves loss of movement, muscle weakness, paralysis, and death in young children. A child who develops the symptoms has a life expectancy of 2 years because a gene is destroyed. A single dose of the drug’s active ingredient, onasemnogene abeparvovec, restores the gene and produces proteins essential for muscle movement and nerve function extending life by at least 5 years. However, if the disease is diagnosed before symptoms appear it appears to offer many more years of life.
An interesting story from Germany. Three international schools in Frankfurt were approached by banks asking them to reserve spaces for the horde of banker’s children who would be moving to the city following Brexit. Well of course you have guessed it already, no places are being taken up. The few bankers who have been bribed to take jobs in Frankfurt have cut deals that leave the family back in the Home Counties with the kids at expensive schools. No banker’s wife wants to live in the cultural desert that is Frankfurt.
Do you want to go away to the sun when you are allowed to this summer? Well, it looks like Greece may be the place to fly to. I have heard that between them British Airways and Aegean Airways are scheduled to offer a million seats from Heathrow alone. On top of that, there will be some services from Gatwick and other regional airports. Add in services by EasyJet, Ryanair, Wizzair, and Jet2 plus umpteen flights for package holidays and there is going to be a flood of seats on the market come August.
What a beautiful sunny morning, there is even some warmth in the sun, but it’s still a bit nippy in the shade. Now I hear that tomorrow is going to be rainy so I guess that if I am going to make the most of today’s sun I will have to get out on the window sill for my snooze.
The MSM is still full of the Ginge and Whinge interview. I must say what bits I have seen of it have made me wonder if the little gold digger is, as my granny cat used to say, soft in the head. Why do you go to the Palace HR department when you have a mental problem, she needed a doctor. Then she clearly doesn’t know how things work in the UK, she can’t have been married in the garden with just the vicar, her and Harry, it just isn’t legal. She moaned Archie wasn’t given a title but it would have been a breach of procedures to give him one. She also accused someone of being racist “when she was expecting Archie”, then along comes Harry who says it was said in conversation two years before they were married. Does she have the gestation period of an elephant?
I had to chuckle at the latest news from the White House where I hear that Sniffer Joe’s dog, Major, has been a naughty boy. The dog is said to have been continually rushing up to people barking and jumping up at them. Yesterday he had what they called “a biting incident” with a security guard. That sounds to me that the dog was out of control which usually means that the dogs master is weak. Major, and Sniffer Joe’s other dog Champ, have been sent back to the Biden home in Delaware in disgrace.
Germany claimed today that by the end of the month they will be vaccinating 10 million people a week. Somehow I can’t see them getting there but good luck to them having a target. The EU have been vaccinating people for the last 10 weeks and in those 10 weeks Germany has administered some 10.3 million doses and their vaccination strategy has come in for much criticism. In the UK in a little longer, we have administered over 23.5 million 1st and 2nd doses. Just where do Germany expect to get all this vaccine from? AstraZeneca is bettering the 25% of the 40 million doses that they were supposed to be supplied to the EU by the end of March and have already supplied 10.7 million doses. Pfizer are also still running behind their targets and the EU has gone begging to Sniffer Joe asking for the US to supply all sorts of ingredients that they need. Not only that, there is a shortage of disposable syringes in the EU. If the EU share out their supply of vaccine fairly there seems to be no way that Germany can hit that target.
The Maritime Minister, Robert Courts, has today told British Cruise Lines that they can resume sailing on 17th May but only for domestic cruises. This will suit the likes of P&O and Princess Cruises who have already announced that they have cancelled foreign cruises until the autumn with the intention of replacing them with a series of domestic cruises throughout the summer. Of course one of the problems will be getting the crews back on board their laid-up ships and preparing them for passengers. P&O have many crewmen from Goa while Princess use many from the Philippines, I wonder how they will be able to get them back?
I see that the Lancet has published the Phase 2 test results for the Indian developed and made Covaxin coronavirus vaccine. Its numbers look quite good and the Phase 3 trials are now taking place, with the preliminary results are due very soon. But if you live in India you might well be getting a dose of this Bharat Biotech vaccine because it was approved by the Indian authorities at the same time as the AstraZeneca vaccine. This is a clear case of the Indians not liking the idea that their own scientists were being beaten by those from the west and a vaccine still undergoing testing was approved for use. AstraZeneca licensed production of their vaccine to the Vaccine Institute of India who have really been churning it out, producing 50 million doses a month, many for export.
On the personal front, I got dragged off to the vet for a checkup, I was shoved into a carrier and put in the back of a car. Not something I’m very keen on and I was ready to put up a fight if he tried anything like a jab. However he surprised me by sticking a thermometer up my bum, then a very pretty nurse shaved off a bit of fur on my neck and they took some blood. Anyway, I got a clean bill of health, in fact the vet said I was in pretty good order for a 14-year-old. Then came the bad news he had the audacity to say I was getting tubby, apparently I have put on 0.5kg. I will have you know that is rubbish, I am fighting fit. Anyway, he asked what I was fed and approved of the two meals of Felix every day but suggested that I was probably being fed cat snacks by the staff. They have been told not to give me extras. I am bloody hungry tonight so I’m off to bother the Little Otter now for my dinner. I bet the office staff only last a few days before they can’t stand my begging anymore!
I was ready for my dinner last night and decided to eat my breakfast very slowly this morning to make the time to dinner tonight shorter. I don’t like the idea of no snacks, this dieting thing is very hard. I wonder if I can break the will of the Dreamies girl and get something from her.
The EU really are a nasty bunch. The European Council President Charles Michel yesterday claimed that we had imposed a ban on the export of coronavirus vaccine and ingredients. I see that Dominic Rabbit called a representative of the EU delegation into his office to put them straight and has also written to Charles Michel. It seems that, unlike the EU, we have not put a ban on the export of a single dose of vaccine. We haven’t needed to as our contact with AstraZeneca takes the whole output of its UK manufacturing plants. This is just the EU making another desperate attempt to defect from its own abysmal performance in securing adequate vaccine supplies and blaming it on others.
The story of the woman who disappeared in London while walking home from a friend’s house in South London has taken an odd turn with a serving Metropolitan Policeman and a woman being arrested. As if that is not bad enough, I hear that he is one of the armed police in the Diplomatic Protection Squad and is based in the Houses of Parliament. The Met searched his locker in Parliament this morning!
I read that Britain’s first trimodal trains are being introduced by GWR on the route between Reading and Gatwick via Redhill. This route is a mish-mash of lines, some third rail electric, some overhead electric and some un-electrified meaning that until now they have been operated by diesel units. When Thameslink got their new Class 700 trains the Class 319 trains that they were using were returned to the Porterbrook from whom they were leased. The trains have been refurbished as Class 769 trains and cascaded down to newly electrified lines in Wales and Merseyside. But some have had diesel motors added allowing them to be used by GWR on the Reading to Gatwick route where they can use all three methods of traction.
I have been reading about the Swiss commodity trader, Mercuria Energy Group, who are suing a Turkish company over a £26 million copper deal. Mercuria bought Copper slabs from Turkish company, Bietsan Bakir, for delivery to China. 6000 Tonnes of slabs were supposed to be loaded into 300 shipping containers and loaded on to 8 container ships for delivery to China. Independent inspectors watched the containers being loaded and put their seals on the container doors. Once the containers where at sea Mercuria paid over the £26 million in 6 tranches. When the containers were unloaded in China they were found to contain paving slabs spray painted to look like copper. It was been alleged in court that as soon as a container was loaded and the inspectors moved on the seal was broken and the copper substituted. The containers were then resealed with forged seals. To add insult to injury the insurance supplied by Bietsan Bakir was also fraudulent, only one of 8 policies was real, the other seven were forgeries. The case continues.
I have been looking at today’s coronavirus numbers. Nothing really special to report, those that should be coming down are and those that should be going up are. The one thing I do find interesting is that the number of people getting their second dose is accelerating. Today it was up to 79,000 taking the total fully vaccinated to 1,254,353.
The best tale of the day is that the Abbotpotamus has signed a deal to write a book of “honest and moving” memoirs. I can just see the chapter names in my head. How about ‘The day I claimed 10,000 extra Police would cost £300,000 a year’, ‘The day I wore odd shoes’, ‘Touring East Germany on a motorbike’ and ‘The day Steptoe brought in all his friends to see me naked.” I predict a runaway bestseller not.
This diet thing is tough, without a regular supply of snacks during the day I am ravenous when it’s time for dinner. It makes me want to bolt my dinner, but I know I mustn’t as it gives me indigestion. But this morning I read that there is a national shortage of cat and dog food caused by people buying lots of additional pets during lockdown. So it looks like all you lonely humans are going to help me lose weight.
Another drug to fight Covid 19 has been announced by GlaxoSmithKline today. The drug is a monoclonal antibody called VIR-7831 and is a joint venture by GSK and Vir Biotechnology. In testing, it has been found to be most effective in people with mild to moderate illness and is credited with reducing hospital admission and deaths by 85%. It is said to work just as well against the Kent, South African and Brazilian variants as the original one. I am having trouble keeping up with all the new drugs that are coming available.
The bad news keeps coming for Wee Krankie and the SNP. In the Westminster row over sexual harassment I see that a whip has resigned. But there are rumours of more people reporting assaults. Up in Scottishland after the SNP boasting that 25 opinion polls in a row came out in favour of independence the whole thing has swung around with the last 4 favouring staying in the Union. Not only that, but the polls which were saying that the SNP were going to be able to obtain a majority in the forthcoming elections are now saying that they are going to make it and it will have to be another coalition government. Has the country finally woken up to Wee Krankie’s lies in the Salmond enquiry?
I told you yesterday that the number of people getting a second coronavirus vaccination was going up and hardly being reported. Well, I saw the BBC news last night and they must have been reading my diary because they reported the numbers. Today the second jab was at nearly 100,000 people, the highest number yet. I have heard a whisper that the supply of vaccine is expected to increase next week. The amount will be enough for the number of people getting the second dose not to slow down the number getting their first dose.
I hear that a team from Western Power Distribution have had a bit of a shock while digging a hole for a new power distribution pole in a customers garden near Tintern Abbey in Monmouthshire. They found a tunnel running under Tintern Village. A quick investigation found it was part of a network of tunnels which are believed to be medieval and possibly built by the same monks who built the abbey in the 12th Century. The tunnels are currently being explored and mapped by archaeologists.
A little while ago Liz Truss signed a preliminary trade deal with India now we are in negotiations to upgrade it to a full free trade agreement. One of the main beneficiaries of such a deal could be Scotch Whisky which currently faces an import duty of 150%. Whisky is a very popular alcoholic drink in India and a tax-free deal could push up exports considerably.
I have been reading that a lot of motorists have had a rude shock after swapping their British or Northern Ireland driving license for a Republic of Ireland one following Brexit. Many of these drivers thought they were being clever as the points on a license are not transferred when the license is swapped. But if the driver had been stopped while still driving on the old license in the Republic by the Garda a note was made of any points on the license and the number was recorded on a ‘Ghost File’ by the Irish Road Safety Authority. When these drivers swapped their license the points were applied. But what came as a shock to the drivers was that points which had expired on the UK license did not start the three-year countdown to expiry until they appeared on the Irish license. Consequently, at least 15 people have suddenly been banned and hundreds have had what they thought were expired points reapplied. That’ll teach them for trying to be clever.
I hear that the Commons are sitting today, about time too I say the lazy lot have only been sitting four days a week for months. Three-quarters of them sit at home and only speak on zoom or teams or whatever normally so it can hardly be arduous to work 5 days a week like most people. Bozzie is off to Northern Ireland today. He is meeting that hefty woman who runs the DUP but I understand the boss of Sinn Fèin in Stormont is refusing to meet her. Which is odd as the head of the party says she has a ‘long standing request’ to meet Bozzie.
I just can’t understand the EU, but then I am only a cat. They have been making real fools of themselves over the AstraZeneca vaccine, taking ages to license it, then complaining about not getting it when there was a shortage coming out of the mainland manufacturing plants. Then wrongly claiming the plant’s output was actually being sent to the UK. Then they rubbished it, saying it was no good for old people. When this was found to be rubbish they started using it. Next, the story was it caused blood clots, so some countries have temporary stop using it. But now I hear the EU has asked the USA to “lend” them some of the American stockpile. AstraZeneca haven’t applied for an emergency license in the US but have been manufacturing the vaccine there and are believed to have 10,000,000 doses sitting in their warehouse. The also have a similar bulk amount waiting to be “finished” by being put in vials. The US has told them “NO”.
I have been watching Sniffer Joe on the TV and I must say I am embarrassed. When he was hidden away during the election campaign I did sort of wonder why. Now the more I see him the more obvious it is, he is deteriorating mentally quickly and the less he is seen in public the better. Yesterday marked 50 days since he became president and after not being seen for 4 days he was trusted to make a 20 minute scripted speech. He bumbled up to the lectern, read his speech, and stumbled off without taking any questions. It has been quite noticeable that after recent speeches he has not been allowed to answer questions. I have seen him stumble over reading the AutoCue, failing badly when trying ad-libs asking “what am I doing here” in Texas and saying he had no idea what he was signing when signing Presidential Orders. To me, it looks like dementia and I wonder if he will make it through a year before Camel Harris takes over. I can’t help thinking this has been the Democrat’s plan all along.
Yesterday I told you about the shortage of cat and dog food due to you humans buying 3,000,000 new pets during lockdown. Today I read the Mars pet food factory, that already makes 1,000,000 pet food sachets a day is upping its output considerably. Pity they don’t make Felix.
I heard the man from the BBC talking about the proposed coal mine in Cumbria and saying how bad it was digging up a dirty fossil fuel most of which will be exported. What he didn’t was was that this coal is perfect coking coal and will not be burnt in a power station but will be used to make steel, saving us importing foreign coal. In fact, because of its very high quality, it should be an easy export. If we don’t mine our own coal we will still have to import it to make steel so not using our own resources seems to be a bit stupid.
So the Labour Party has had to suspend both the East Ham and West Ham CLPs after allegations of ‘serious’ election fraud. I wondered why they had only now launched an investigation when must of the East End councils had looked pretty iffy for years. Then it all became clear, the Metropolitan Police had launched a fraud investigation. If it had become so obvious that the Met could no longer ignore things the Labour Party had to do something or look even more stupid. It looks like the membership lists of the CLPs have been fiddled pretty badly if the main party has noticed.
I read that the Romanian car maker Dacia is to launch a cheap electric car in Europe. As Dacia is owned by Renault, it is hardly surprising that one of the first places it will go on sale is France. The most expensive version of the Dacia Spring will go on sale for £15,800 and will include 200-mile range, rearview camera, 7” infotainment screen and parking sensors. Now that is getting down to a price that makes it much more affordable. The Dacia might not be to everyone’s taste but it does show how overpriced most EV’s are.
Thank goodness it’s the weekend and I can take it easier with my official mouser duties, not even us felines can be expected to work 7 days a week. When I popped out before breakfast it wasn’t raining, but it must have been because I nearly walked into a big puddle on the grass.
I hear that Portugal is to be removed from our ‘Red List’ on Monday. Although it doesn’t really mean much for British holidaymakers. But what it does mean is that anyone travelling to Britain whose journey has started in Portugal will no longer have to quarantine in a Government listed hotel, instead they will be able to quarantine in their own home potentially saving themselves a lot of money. Mind, it still means that anyone coming from the likes of Brazil via Lisbon is not off the hook and will still have to go to a hotel. Mind, for all those people who want to go to Portugal when foreign travel is allowed it is good news.
I hear that the UK Integrated Review will be published on Tuesday and will detail up to £80 billion in military spending for the next 4 years. Although some Army units will be merged to make better use of existing manpower much of the money is to be spent on modernising equipment. A little while ago there was a discussion on whether we needed main battle tanks any more, well I understand the review will recommend rebuilding up to 170 Challenger 2 tanks. They will get new turrets, gun, sensors and engines. We will build additional nuclear warheads, the Warrior Fighting Vehicles are to be scrapped and the Boxer replacement speeded up. In the air, I hear we are to acquire ‘kamikaze’ drones. These are a cross between a cruise missile and a drone that can loiter over a battlefield until needed. We will cut back on F35’s and put money into developing our own Tempest fighter jet. It will also recommend no cuts to the Navy shipbuilding program and that we accelerate the building of the National Cyber Force and the RAF Space Command.
The numbers of deaths due to “coronavirus” is still on the way down, with only 121 being reported yesterday. Mind, this number is actually spread over 5 days with the number for Friday down to just 32. Last Friday there were 153 deaths so numbers are coming down fast.
British Airways seem to be convinced that the holiday traffic this summer is going to take off big time while the long-distance traffic is going to take longer to recover. Consequently, I hear they are looking at using some of their wide-body planes like the Boeing 787 on shorter routes, particularly to Europe. After the last wave, traffic to places like Athens recovered very quickly and the narrow-body aircraft employed on the route, while just about managing the passenger traffic, struggled with the cargo. Wide-body aircraft can offer some additional passenger capacity, but a lot of underfloor cargo space which they think is going to be needed.
Finally for the week, I hear that a small onshore wind farm has had to be shut down on safety grounds. A turbine in the EdF Park Spring wind farm near Grimethorpe in Yorkshire suffered a catastrophic failure when a blade detached and very nearly fell to the ground. Pieces of wreckage fell all over the field the turbine was in causing the whole surrounding area to be closed off. Because EdF don’t know the cause of the failure in the four-year-old wind turbine they have decided to shut down the whole of the farm while they investigate. I doubt the electrical output of the farm will be missed by the National Grid but the subsidy that it generates for EdF might be.
Right, that’s it for another week folks, I’m off to eat and sleep. It Mothering Sunday tomorrow and I often wonder what became of my mother cat all those years ago. She taught me to hunt and she would love it when I brought a mouse home for dinner. Funny the Little Otter doesn’t have the same reaction, she is really ungrateful. Chat to you all again on Monday.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file