Morning everyone, another sunny one, is summer coming? Bozzie was having a right old moan this morning about having to go on a trip, supporting business, to India. He clearly didn’t fancy going and was looking for a way out. It was hardly surprising when it was announced a bit later that his trip had been cancelled due to “Covid-19” conditions. I hear that he will be using “Zoom” or whatever the current flavour video system is.
Not a good couple of days for Kerr Stoma. Yesterday he flew on a British Airways jet up to an essentially closed Edinburgh airport (it is only open to essential travel) and back to Heathrow. He was filming a “puff” piece for the Scottishland Labour Party. Surely in this age of modern technology, their bit of filming could be undertaken in London when Labour claim to be ‘Green’ or failing that he could have gone by train? Then this morning I see he got into an undignified row with a Labour-supporting pub landlord in Bath who slung him out of his pub while one of Stoma’s bodyguards virtually assaulted him. Not a good look.
Another foot in mouth incident from Labour came to light over the weekend. Dr John Prescott, the Labour candidate for the Hartlepool by-election, invited shadow frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth up to Hartlepool to support his campaign and in particular to complain about the lack of hip replacement operations being undertaken in the town’s hospital which he blames on ‘cuts’. What he failed to say was that he was on the commission that recommended that critical care, including hip replacement surgery, should be cut from Hartlepool Hospital.
I am intrigued to hear that Spain had decided to change the length of time between the first and second dose of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. It’s interesting that it has been months since we changed to a longer gap between doses and it has been a great success. I guess that Spain has been following our progress very closely and has decided, as we did, that to get a first dose, and the protection it is said to offer, into as many people as possible.
I have been reading about the Enterprise, the train service that links Dublin and Belfast. Plans are afoot to look at replacing the 4 trains that prior to Covid operated 8 return services a day. The life left in the rolling stock is said to be about 5 years so now is the ideal time to start the procurement of replacements. I hear that the joint service operated as a joint venture between the North and the South are thinking of ordering as many as 8 train sets because they estimate that is the number needed to operate an hourly service and to run early morning services. There has always been a demand for earlier services but they never had enough rolling stock to run them.
With the adding of India to the travel red list it looks like that there will be very few on the green list when foreign travel resumes. At the moment the only three places in Europe likely to be in the green are Ireland, Malta and Gibraltar. To that will probably be added Iceland, Israel, the US, Australia and New Zealand. In reality Australia and New Zealand will almost certainly be banning tourism so you can count them out. Of the places we like to go on holiday Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus are the only ones likely to be on the amber list with the likes of France and Turkey being red.
The first of the eight Type 26 frigates, HMS Glasgow, was rolled out of its construction shed today. Well not really, only the front half was rolled out. The other half is to follow in a week and the two halves will be welded together before it is launched. The front half of the ASW Frigate contains the bridge, control room and accommodation. The second ship, HMS Cardiff, is already under construction and the third ship, HMS Belfast, will begin construction later this year. Glasgow is expected to enter service in 2025 or 26.
Oh, another nice sunny morning and when I went out to the garden there was no frost for the first time this week. Mind I hear that if you live in Scottishland you may not be so lucky, it’s going to be colder up there. Bozzie’s breakfast rant was all about football. It’s not really something he has ever spoken about before as far as I can remember. I think he is jumping on the bandwagon with all his threats over the six clubs who are considering joining the European Super League.
I hear that Barclaycard have been cutting the credit limits on lots of people’s accounts. It’s not that they have been trimming them a bit, lots of people have had huge cuts and have been left with totally unusable low limits. If you were left with a spending limit of only £250 it’s not worth having as it’s not enough to pay for something like a new TV or a holiday. The company has refused to comment as to why some people have had their limits cut by 95%. In interviews with those affected many people say things like “I never miss a payment” and “I pay off the balance each month”. I think that gives a clue to what is happening, these people are not paying lots of interest or late payment fines and consequently don’t make Barclaycard pots of money. Rather than just getting rid of them which they might have to explain, cutting the credit limit to something useless encourages them to find a new supplier on their own.
I hear that yesterday, the day before they went back to school after the Easter holidays, Kate took Prince George and Princess Charlotte shopping in London. They were seen in Smiggle the upmarket stationers on the Kings Road. I didn’t hear what they bought but I understand that Smiggle have all the things a young Prince or Princess may want to go back to school with like pencil cases and school bags. Both George and Charlotte had their own money and paid for their own purchases. Spending their inheritance from great-granddad perhaps!
When Totteringham sacked Maureen yesterday I see that no one was more happy than Danny Rose, the Spurs full-back who had been exiled by Maureen. Mind he is not the first player to have had a row with the team manager who celebrated when the manager got sacked. I remember Paul Pogba celebrating when Maureen was sacked by Manure. Toby Alderweireld celebrated when Totteringham sacked Pochettino. Mesut Ozil celebrated when Arsenal sacked Unai Emery (but that didn’t go well as the new manager sold him). Danny Drinkwater posted a celebratory tweet when Frank Lampard was sacked and Arjen Robben posted “that the coaching was better at his son’s youth team” than at Bayern Munich under Carlo Ancelotti. Mind Maureen had the last laugh picking up another £16 million in compensation take his total in compensation payment to nearly £90 million.
I hear that British Airways have had an unusual fire in one of their 787 aircraft. A lady on an overnight flight woke up and repositioned her lay flat seat into its upright position ready for breakfast. When she popped to the loo the stewardess took the opportunity to stow the bedding. She discovered light smoke coming out of the seat and an orange glow which she and a colleague tackled with a fire extinguisher and seemed to put out. Another stewardess told the pilot who opted to continue as they were so close to Heathrow. The lady whose seat it was confirmed that the wire coming out of the area of the fire was in fact the charging cable of her mobile phone. The seat had jammed upright so it was impossible for the aircrew to ensure that the fire was out so a stewardess sat by the seat with a fire extinguisher until the plane landed. It seems that the lady’s mobile phone had slipped into the seat mechanism and had been crushed and caught light when the seat had mechanism had been operated and had jammed it. I wonder if she had mobile phone insurance?
This year’s Best British Town Crier Competition is going to be a little odd as it will be silent. Each year the competing criers have to cry on a theme that is announced before the event to give them an equal chance to prepare. This year’s theme is “nature and the environment”. Instead of the normal “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez” start and “God Save the Queen” finish this year the best town crier will be the one who submits the best-written speech while sticking to the theme and a 140-word limit. In addition, the speech must “hold the audience” and have a “Rhythm”. It’s all well and good but how do you hold an audience when there isn’t one?
Good day everyone, it another sunny one. I must admit that as I get older I can’t lie in the sun like I used to as a young cat, I just get too hot. Still, while it’s not too hot I can snooze on the window sill. Bozzie has a good suit on this morning reminding me that it’s PMQ’s day. I think I have leant the better part of the deal, sunning myself while he argues with Herr Stoma.
So Ginge has flown back to be with Winge. I really don’t understand him. How could he go off the day before his great granny is 95 years old? I would have thought staying just one more day would be the right thing to do. Mind I suppose he was under strict orders from Whinge. I get the impression that he is so under the thumb that he can’t see how bad his actions look to ordinary people.
The RAF is to buy another 14 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from Boeing. The extra heavy lift requirement has been recognised for some time but the problem has been a shortage of the £1.4 Billion needed to pay for them. It seems a compromise has been agreed with Boeing and that delivery will be delayed and spread over several years. The RAF already have 60 Chinooks and this order will allow them to replace 8 of the oldest aircraft and to expand the fleet. The new helicopters will be extended range models that are currently being purchased by the USAF and they have recently reduced their order from 68 to 40 to save money, thus leaving capacity on the production line.
If you have been reading about the US claiming to have made the first flight on another planet the claim is being disputed by the French. They have pointed out that the first flight was actually by a balloon released by a Russian spacecraft on Venus in 1985. The French claim they had a collaboration with the Russians ongoing since the mid-1960s where they suggested to the Russians the use of balloons to explore the surface of Venus from the Vega spacecraft. Perhaps the US should change to claiming the first powered flight.
Prince William and Kate were back on royal duty today only four days after the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral. Because the Royal Family is still in a week’s official mourning they had to seek the permission of the Queen for the visit to the Air Training Corp in East Ham. The ATC was close to the DoE’s heart and he was the ATC’s Air Commodore-in-Chief for 63 years and Kate took over the role in 2015. It was suggested that the royal couple might like to sit in a Grob trainer aircraft simulator. William pushed Kate forward and said he would hold her handbag. Which is exactly what happened!
I have been reading about a man who has worked, well was employed, at the Pugilism Ciaccio hospital in the Calabrian city of Catanzaro. It has been disclosed that he has not turned up for work since 2005 but has still been paid his full wage and has “earned” £464,000 in that time. Back in 2006 he is said to have been confronted by the hospital director but threatened her to stop her taking disciplinary action. She quit and the HR Department and her successor are said to have “lost track” of him. I wouldn’t mind betting we have people like him in the UK.
It’s warming up nicely in London this week, but as it’s only April I guess we will be seeing snow next week. Bozzie was telling the Little Otter that he was hoping for a quiet day today. He said he is getting fed up with being called sleazy when he has only done what anyone else would have done to get ventilators made.
I hear that Harrow has decided that the low traffic neighbourhoods virtually forced on them by Sad Dick are rubbish and they are going to get rid of the ones in the borough. It nice to see someone standing up to Sad Dick and his mad traffic London wide schemes. What kind of an idiot sanctions closing off roads with giant planters making ambulances have huge difficulty getting to patients; building out pavements so that what was a wide road is narrowed to a single carriageway in either direction and causing buses picking up passengers to block the road. He has built loads of cycle lanes that slow traffic to such an extent that what was a ten-minute journey becomes a fifty-minute journey. Sad Dick then complains of traffic pollution. Hardly surprising when car engines are forced to run for much longer than necessary.
Yesterday Bozzie announced that he wanted to bring forward the UK target of reducing UK carbon emissions by 78% by 2035. I wonder just how much this target set by the Committee for Climate Change has been thought through. Of course, we are told that we are going electric with loads of power from wind farms and solar panel’s. All very good when the sun shines and the wind blows but for those other days (and of course nights) when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. We will need electric power from other sources, perhaps batteries and nuclear power stations. On top of that, the Government wants us to all drive electric cars meaning more electric power will be needed. Then they want us to do away with gas for central heating and cooking. The current idea is hydrogen for cooking and air heat pumps for heating, both will require more electricity. Oh, I nearly forgot the plan calls for double glazing and more insulation for every home, how that works if you live in a listed building I don’t know. Finally how much will this cost you? Well, a professor says £20,000 a home with double glazing and insulation.
Would you like to own one of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s old cars? I read that a Range Rover Discovery they traded in a year or so ago is to be auctioned. The 2013 car has been estimated to sell for £30,000 to £40,000 due to its excellent condition and previous owners. A similar condition car owned by an ordinary person is shown in Parker’s Guide at around £24,000 to £25,000. Just shows how much a famous owner adds to the value of a car.
I hear that the shortage of microchips is getting worse and several of the car companies have had their production halted or reduced. Today Jaguar Land Rover said they were halting all production while some Toyota plants are on short time. Renault have warned they are close to halting production and if you buy a new Peugeot 308 you will no longer get a digital speedometer, because it has been temporarily replaced with the old analogue one which doesn’t need a chip. The problem is that most modern cars have around 100 microchips and the chip production is just insufficient.
In the latest madness that is the border in the Irish Sea between Britain and Northern Ireland, a NI Judge has seen sense. I woman living in Northern Ireland bought 4 Dartmoor ponies for her daughters birthday, but due to a vet making a small error in the paperwork the ponies have been impounded by the NI Department of the Environment for a month with the threat of them either being destroyed or returned to England and kept in quarantine for a period. The judge has seen the ridiculousness of the situation and has ordered the ponies be released to the purchaser, after all they have now been in effect in quarantine in NI for a month. This stupid border situation is not getting any better.
Spare a thought for anyone learning to drive. Driving tests and driving lessons have resumed and if you took your test today and passed, well done but if you failed the waiting list for a repeat test is 8 months in many places. That means your retest would be a few days before Christmas! But there is a secondary problem, you will find that the wait is so long that your theory test will have expired and you will have to pay for and pass another one before you can resit the practical.
A company is looking at generating electricity in Morocco and supply it to our national grid. They believe they could send up to 10 GW to the UK via a 3,800-kilometre-long cable. The HVDC power will be generated by wind and solar along up to 7 separate cables which will be under as much as 3,000 metres of water. I can’t think how anybody could ever make money out of such a setup.
Yes, it was Felix chicken in my bowl this morning. It was very good I ate it very slowly savouring every morsel. I am not sure I believe the story that Dom has done the dirty on Bozzie and told the press about his text messages with the Dyson vacuum cleaner man. How could he have got a hold of Bozzie’s phone for long enough to copy all those messages? Before he left, did he say, “Here Bozzie lend me your phone so that I can copy all your WhatsApp messages in case I ever need to embarrass you?” Much more likely the civil serpents who Bozzie reports all such messages to. They want to control Bozzie and hate Dom so that’s two birds with one stone when they leak it and blame Dom.
It seems that Oxford’s Jenner Institute have come up with another vaccine. This time it’s for Malaria, a disease that kills around 400,000 people a year and hospitalises hundreds of thousands of others. The world has been searching for a vaccine for years and one or two have emerged but none have proved to be very effective in trials. This is the first vaccine that has met the World Health Organisation’s requirement that a vaccine should be at least 75% effective. In a trial of 450 children in Burkina Faso over 12 months it has proved to have a 77% efficacy. This vaccine is being developed with Novavax and is now to undergo an expanded trial on 4,000 children in several African countries.
Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner is pushing to get the Elizabeth Line up and running by Christmas this year instead of the current target of the middle of next year. I understand that, at last, the testing is progressing well and there is a ghost service of a train running through the central London section every 15 minutes. However, when the service opens the intention is to run 24 trains an hour which is nearly one every 2 minutes.
So at long last 39 postmasters who were prosecuted by the Post Office for fraud and wrongly convicted because the software was faulty and have their convictions quashed. All these people lost their jobs, many lost their homes and several went to prison so it is a huge relief for them to have their names cleared. A while ago a group of postmasters were paid compensation. I don’t know if any of these people were among those compensated but if they weren’t they will be due a few bob now, particularly those who were wrongly sent to prison.
SpaceX have set a new record with today’s launch of four replacement astronauts to the International Space-station for NASA. This was the third launch by Elon Musk’s public/private partnership, but the record it set was for being the first manned flight to use a recycled booster. The booster had been previously used on SpaceX’s second flight to the Space-station. The Dragon capsule was also making its second flight having been on the 1st flight to the Space-station, but this was not a first, the space shuttle’s made multiple flights.
A beautiful morning. When I came back from my early morning trip around the garden I found my cat basket in disarray and my blanket missing. At first, I thought the Mutt was messing me around, but his dog basket was the same. It was then that I heard the washing machine running and realised that someone had taken the opportunity of the sunny, breezy morning to wash our stuff. I hope it’s back before I go to bed as I don’t think I will be able to sleep without my blanket to cuddle up to.
I hear that the negotiations for a UK/Australia free trade deal are going very well with all the major items agreed on at the end of yesterday’s talks. The aim is to have all the messy details cleared ready for a deal to be signed in June. What is important is that this is not one of those roll-over deals where we have just agreed to keep the old EU deal going, this is a new deal negotiated from scratch in less than six months since we came out of the transition period. The FTA is said to be worth around £500 million a year to the UK.
The EU has awarded protected designation of origin (PDO) status to Halloumi cheese the specialist cheese made on the island of Cyprus. Normally this would be celebrated by the islands cheesemakers but I understand that they are upset, not for one but two reasons. Firstly the EU have specified that the cheese must include 51% of sheep and goat’s milk with the rest cow’s milk. The local cheesemakers say this is an impossibly high percentage as there as just not enough sheep and goats on the island to maintain production. Secondly, cheese made in the Turkish held north of the island, where Halloumi is called Hellim, will be allowed into the EU, despite the area not being recognised by the EU. The plan is to drive the cheese across the ‘Green Line’ into southern Cyprus from where it can go anywhere in the EU.
When cruising around the UK re-starts on 16th May all ships will be limited to 1000 passengers of half the ships capacity, whichever is the lower. However, when most restrictions are removed on the 21st of June full capacity cruises in British waters are expected to resume. Most cruise companies are untroubled by this as they are not restarting until the June date but MSC have announced a May start. This could be costly as cruise ship economics are usually based on having a virtually 100% full capacity and this is what MSC have been selling cruises based on. I wonder if a lot of people are going to have cruises cancelled or are MSC willing to lose money?
I love the story about the Big Irish Woman, you know her she was the one who helped out with Brexit, who is suing Dr Christian from the Embarrassing Bodies TV program. Apparently, he tweeted that she was having an extramarital affair with one of her close protection policemen. Both the BIW and the copper deny any affair and claim the tweet has caused considerable embarrassment. The Dr seems to have been doing his best to ignore the court case by not responding to any letters or court correspondence. He only turned up in court on the day the judge was due to give his verdict claiming that he had mental health problems and had not been aware of the case as he hadn’t read newspapers or watched the TV news for over a year the judge said he didn’t believe him as he had recently tweeted about things in the Sunday Times and on the BBC. Things could be very embarrassing for the Dr.
The Royal Caribbean ship, Wonder of the Seas, which is the fifth Oasis class cruise ship, and the biggest yet is on track to enter service next year. Royal Caribbean name their ship class after the first of the type hence the Oasis class are a series of sisters ships named after the first Oasis of the Seas. They are the biggest cruise ships in the world but oddly each successive sister has been slightly larger than the last. Wonder of the Seas will weigh 236,857 tonnes and carry 6,988 passengers in 2,867 staterooms when they all are fully occupied. But don’t expect to see it in a British port any time soon as the ship is to be based in Shanghai and sail cruises to the likes of Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Vietnam.
I have been reading about a man who drove his mother to New Cross hospital in Wolverhampton when she fell and fractured her hip. He stopped outside the A&E Department and asked for someone to help get his mum from his car as he was afraid of making the injury worse and hurting her. The answer was that no one would help him as they “weren’t insured” and that he should phone 999 for the ambulance service. When he did so the operator asked him for his address and when he said “Outside New Cross A&E” she asked if he was sure he needed an ambulance. Fortunately, it only took a few minutes to get one there and his mother is now having physio following an operation.
Well, that’s it for this week, I’m off for my Felix and hopefully, my blanket has reappeared nice and clean and smelling of fabric freshener. Back on Monday.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file