Morning all and welcome to another week of all my little stories. Firstly though I thought it was going to be nice today, but it’s a bit grey first thing.
I was reading about the Australian airforce flying their F35A aircraft in beast mode for the first time. What I wondered was ‘beast mode’, well it turns out to be its maximum load. They have 4 x 500 lbs laser-guided bombs loaded on external pylons and 2 more in the bomb bay. Then they have two AIM 9 air-to-air missiles on the outer pylons and two more in the bomb bay. That lot would make a big bang.
Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, has announced that he and his younger brother, Mark, are to be passengers on the first crewed flight of his New Shepard space rocket. His wholly-owned company, Blue Origin, plans to launch on 20th July which is the 52 anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. There is a third seat still available on the flight, so if you are free on the day and have a spare $3,000,000 you might be able to join them as the seat is up for auction and that is the current highest bid. If you fancy the hop up to the edge of space and back you have 5 days to get your bid in.
Ginge and Whinge are back in the news this morning after Whinge gave birth to a daughter. The couple have been brown-nosing, announcing the little girl is to be called Lillibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. The name Diana is of course after Ginge’s mother, her grandmother. While Lillibet is in after her great-grandmother the Queen. But she is called Elizabeth I hear you say. Well, it seems that when the Queen was tiny she couldn’t pronounce Elizabeth and Lillibet was as need as she could get. Well, Lillibet stuck as a pet family name and was used by the likes of Prince Phillip until the day he died. Will calling the little one Lillibet get Ginge back in the Queen’s good books?
So Bozzie can breathe again. Mr Speaker has decided not to call the amendment to the bill the rebels hoped to use to reinstate the cuts in overseas aid. He was advised by house clerks that the amendment didn’t follow House of Commons rules which was much to the annoyance of the rebels. Instead, he suggested an emergency debate on the subject tomorrow. But any vote on such a vote is not binding on the Government.
Last week I told you about the hydrogen fuel cell car, well today I see that Citroen are to sell a hydrogen van. It is Citroen’s version of PSA hydrogen van which will also be sold by Peugeot, Opal and Vauxhall. It has a couple of big advantages over the electric version in that it has a range of 250 miles and can be refilled in 3 minutes. As I said last week there are few places to refuel yet in the UK. But if you operate a fleet of vans I expect you would have your own filling point. One thing I can’t find out is how much it costs!
Whenever I hear anything about HS2 it always seems to include a price hike. The latest thing I have heard is that they have just gone out to tender for the Birmingham Interchange Station. This will be the stop before Birmingham Curzon Street which will be the terminal of the line in Birmingham. Interchange will be next to Birmingham International and Birmingham Airport and will be linked to both as well as the National Exhibition Centre. I understand that £270 million was originally allocated for the Interchange Station but it has crept up and crept up again and is now expected to cost £370 million. How they know that is anyone’s guess and what they will do if the tenders are all for a lot more will be interesting.
Now that’s more like it, it’s warm and sunny, this is real Larry weather. I have my day planned, a patrol around the estate after breakfast, I shall then test a few chairs, then when it is lunchtime, a wander around the offices to see if I can beg any scraps. After that it’s the sunny window sill for a snooze. I only hope the reporter and photographers don’t make too much row, I want a quiet afternoon.
Well, I hear we are having another row with the EU over Northern Ireland. This time is over sausages. The EU have a law that they do not allow sausages into the block, they have to be manufactured internally and those made by “third countries” are not permitted. The EU has decided that the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s in Northern Ireland can’t sell British made sausage as Britain is now a third country. We have told them that Northern Ireland is still part of the UK so that rule doesn’t apply. They say it does because Northern Ireland it is in the European free trade zone. I expect a bit of fun.
The policeman charged with the murder of Sarah Everade appeared at the Old Bailey today and pleaded guilty to her kidnapping and rape. The murder charge is still hanging over him, waiting for more medical evidence but he has admitted causing her death. I hear that the press are itching to print all they know about the case but can’t as they don’t want to possibly interfere with the case. However, I did hear that her body was found in a builder’s rubbish bag and she could only be identified from her dental records. It is very worrisome that an armed policeman is a killer. I think that he will have a rotten time in prison. Good.
I have heard that the trade unions have another thing to moan about, when the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) starts next year, the trains that run under London will do so without a driver. Both the Victoria Line and Thameslink could work that way in the London tunnels, where at the moment the driver only presses a button to start the train and sits back and enjoys the ride. But to appease the unions it is not operated without a driver when it could be. But on the Elizabeth line driver will press a button before the train enters the tunnel and sit back until it comes out the other end.
Yesterday I was talking about electric vans. I have been reading a bit more. There are several new startup companies moving into the field and some have already hit the jackpot with big orders from delivery companies. Chanje has an order for a 1000 vans from FedEx in California, Arrival have an order for 10,000 from UPS and Rivian has an order from Amazon for 100,000. The word is DHL are looking to buy 14,000 and British company Arrival is said to be the current favourite. I really would like to know how much they cost, are they cheaper than cars?
While on the subject of EV’s I read that a recent survey found that over 20% of people who buy an electric car give up on them and return to a petrol or diesel car. Why you might ask? Well, it is pretty obvious really the two things that people worry about before buying. Charging and range. Charging takes too long and the range is not enough. The makers are doing their best but when you have to work with current batteries it is not easy.
The more I hear about dogs, the more stupid I think they are. I have been learning about a black Labrador called Molly who likes nothing better than chasing a tennis ball bring it back to her mistress for her to throw it so she can chase it again and again. Well, a few weeks ago the ball went down an embankment, Molly chased after it and impaled herself on a stick that went into her chest and penetrated 18” into her body. She was rushed to the vet and she was X-rayed. The lucky bitch had managed to somehow miss every vital organs by a fraction of an inch. It scraped by her lungs, heart, kidneys and major blood vessels. The vet operated and Molly has made a full recovery and is back to chasing tennis balls. But now only on the flat grass in the park.
An absolutely wonderful morning; warm, sunny, gentle breeze, just lovely I shall be back on the window sill later. Bozzie had the radio on LBC early this morning and was listening to Steve Allen. I quite like him, he is definitely better than Jobby. But what caught my attention was he was talking about Ginge and Whinge. Now those are my names for them and other than on GP I haven’t heard them called that, so have I found a celebrity reader?
I hear that Qatar Airways is not happy with its Airbus A350’s and has told Airbus it will not take any more deliveries of the plane until Airbus fixes the problem. It currently has 43 of the planes in its fleet and another 23 on order. But what is the problem? Well, that is not very clear. The speculation is that it is something to do with the finish of the planes. I have heard it is not the paintwork but the finish below it that is deteriorating faster than Qatar think it should. I hear that recently a Lufthansa A350 has been repainted and IAG have had reason to complain. Airbus are not saying anything but the details of the problem are bound to emerge eventually.
It seems that in the American midwest this is the year lots of people dread. It is the year the cicadas swarm. For some reason, they only swarm every 17 years and this is the year. They have already started, but I hear that as summer progresses much worse is to come. Walls will be coated, gardens will be carpeted, thousand will crash into car windscreen, people will have to keep their doors and windows shut in the hottest weather and the noise of their mating calls will be so loud it will drive people mad. Sometimes I am glad I live in boring old England.
I have just seen the story of the pretty 28-year-old twin sisters Melissa and Georgia Laurie who have been doing the regular young person thing of taking a year out to tour the world. Having reached Mexico they went on an organised tour with 28 others. It being warm they asked if it was safe to swim in a lagoon and were told it was perfectly safe. However, Melissa was attacked by an alligator who by all accounts threw her around like a rag doll and tried to drown her. Her sister, an experienced diver rushed to her aid and fought the alligator off by repeatedly punching it on the nose. Melissa and Georgia were rushed to hospital with Melissa in a serious condition. Georgia was quickly released but Melissa is in an induced coma suffering from multiple bites some of which have become infected and from sepsis caused by a bite perforating her bowel. Is someone going to be in trouble over the plot advice?
Are you ready for the annual jamboree that is the Premier League transfer window? As of midnight tonight the 12 weeks of craziness starts. For weeks now the newspapers have been full of speculation as to who is going to buy whom for some ridiculous amount of money. But as of tomorrow, the Premier League clubs will actually be able to buy players and I wouldn’t mind betting that 99% of the newspapers speculation is wildly wrong.
Did you get hit by yesterday’s internet problems? I hear that GP were troubled because of Disqus and even the .gov site was down. Today it has emerged that the problem has been trace to a software bug that had been triggered when one of the Fastly sever users changed their settings. Fastly say that they had fixed the bug and had 95% of their customers back online within the hour. I suppose that software bugs are something we will just have to learn to live with in this computer age.
Instead of the proposed tunnel/bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland that has been ridiculed so much by the SNP and Wee Krankie, today an alternative has been proposed. This is a combination of bridge and tunnel between Holyhead in Wales and Dublin and would include the construction of two artificial islands, one on the Welsh side of the Irish Sea and one on the Irish side. Elevated roadways and railway would bridge the forty-five Km from the mainland to the islands and the islands would be linked by forty Km tunnels. This would be much more expensive than the connection to Northern Ireand. I have seen it costed at £50 billion for the two islands, £30 billion for each bridge and £40 billion for the tunnel, or £150 billion in total. If you think that a link from Stranraer to Larne is pie in the sky what is this?
I hear there is a 90-year-old man who visits his local pub in Chelmsford every day and always orders the same lunch. Seven days a week he eats Hunter’s Chicken and drinks a glass of red wine and he always sits at the same table. The landlord of the pub posted a Tic Tok video telling the tale and saying what a lovely old man he is. It seems that the number of the table was visible in the video. Starting the following day people began using the pub’s online system to order Hunter’s Chicken and a glass of red wine to be sent to the table. So far over £700 worth of food and drink has been ordered, enough for several months lunches. I would be happy if people bought me chicken every day.
Morning all, it was very very quiet in Number 10 when I woke up this morning. No Wilfred yelling, no Mutt barking, no Bozzie shouting at the Mutt to shut up, no Little Otter shouting at Bozzie to stop shouting. It was glorious, but my food bowl was empty. All of a sudden the Dreamies girl rushed in, she’s nice, she talks to me. She said her bus was running late. She went to the cupboard where my Felix pouches live and hunted for a chicken one, she said it was a treat to make up for being late. She even topped up my water bowl with the Little Otter’s Evian water. I don’t know where the LO has gone, maybe Chequers, but Bozzie has gone to the G7 in St Ives. He flew down to Cornwall yesterday and is in trouble in some quarters for doing so. Why? He is PM and his time is important. An hour in a jet against 5 1/2 hours by car or 6 hours by train. Should Sniffer Joe have crossed the Atlantic by sailing boat. Airforce One landed at RAF Mildenhall and he flew from there to Cornwall. Where is the outrage over that?
Now I know where the Little Otter is, she has gone to the G7 and is playing host for the wives, partners and in the case of Macron his mother, of the leaders. For example, it has been announced that she will have tea with Mrs Biden today and then go on a walk around St Michael’s Mount. I wonder if the Mutt will be included, he would love to chase the wildlife.
It is beginning to look like an experiment in an Indonesian city to try to halt the spread of dengue fever has been a success. Dengue fever is another one of those nasty diseases spread by mosquitoes. It infects 400 million people a year and is very nasty and kills around 40,000 a year. Scientists found that a harmless bacteria lives in the same space in a mosquito as the dengue fever virus and outcompetes them. So they bred millions of mosquitoes that they deliberately infected with the virus and released them in half of an Indonesian city. The result was a reduction in dengue cases of 88%. The next step is to repeat the experiment in other cities, but it seems to be a cheap way to tackle a nasty problem.
Are airlines finally returning to place orders with Boeing for their 737 MAX range? I hear the US airline United is having discussions with Boeing and Airbus about replacing many of their ageing fleet. At the moment United have an all Boeing wide-body fleet but the narrow body fleet is a mix of Airbus A319 and A320 and Boeing 737 and 757 with an average age of over 20 years. I believe the order for 150 aircraft could well be split between the two suppliers. Boeing are desperate to get orders for the MAX and are offering silly prices for big orders but United want a mix of 150 and 200 seat planes, with the bigger ones to replace the 757’s. The 737 MAX can’t meet that requirement but Airbus can. I shall be keeping my open to see what results.
Now that the Government announced that they are to export civil servant jobs to Teeside and Tees Valley has elected a Tory Mayor, I see that Darlington railway station is to be rebuilt by 2025 at a cost of £100 million. The new station will have improved road access and parking and will also have 3 new platforms. I am not sure why 3 extra platforms are needed, they could handle an awful lot of extra trains. I wonder if the thought is that to move thousands of jobs from London will create extra journeys on the East Coast line or is it to be ready for extra trains coming to Darlington when HS2 opens?
I hear that both Worcester Bosch and Baxi are developing the concept of ‘hydrogen ready’ gas boilers. Work has established that existing natural gas boilers are incapable of being converted to burn hydrogen because the flame is very different, a hydrogen flame is much faster and shorter. However, despite hydrogen having a lower calorific value it is more dense meaning that the same volume of hydrogen gives the same heat output as natural gas and the boilers are the same size. In addition, a new device has had to be developed to report that the gas is burning. The current method is to check carbon electrons in the flame, but there is no carbon in hydrogen. The idea is that the new boiler can be used with natural gas, but as soon as an area is switched to hydrogen it is very simple to convert by switching a couple of components. No word on costs yet which will be all-important.
The latest photos from North Korea indicate that the leader, Kim Jong-un has lost a lot of weight. For some time I have been reading all sorts of stories about him being ill and at one time he was missing for six weeks before reappearing walking with a stick. At that time the speculation was that he was suffering from gout. Of course, he might just have been on a diet this time but I wonder if the famine in North Korea has anything to do with it?
That Shuffledknackers bloke on the TV said it was going to be warm and sunny today. Well he got it partially right, it is warmer but there is no sun. I feel robbed, I was promised sun. But I will say it is lovely and quiet with the family in St Ives. I have seen them on the TV but I haven’t seen the Mutt. I wonder if he is in kennels, he would hate that!
I know GB News launch their TV channel on Sunday evening, but I read that they now intend to also launch GB News Radio sometime in July. They are in final negotiations with Arqiva to broadcast on the Digital One spectrum which they say will be accessible to 91% of households in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I wonder if they will be broadcasting separate programs or just the sound from the TV channel? A sort of Talk Radio in reverse.
A big fire in Southampton docks this morning has sent smoke billowing over the city. But what surprised me is that what is on fire is 35,000 tonnes of scrap metal. The fire was said to be deep-seated in the scrap pile but the fire brigade had it out by mid-morning thanks to help from cranes and machinery in the scrap yard and fireboats coming up alongside. I still have a question though, how do you set a heap of metal alight?
Do you remember Remoaners saying exports to the European Union would collapse? There would be shortages of fresh vegetables at Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Factories would close as supply chains seized up, and we would be plunged into a deep recession. Well, the data out today shows just how very badly wrong they were. But what is interesting is that while trade with the EU is growing slowly, trade with the rest of the world is flying. When the numbers are looked at closely what is interesting is things like the import of German cars and Italian and French clothes are falling. It is beginning to look like trade levels are returning to the countries we used to deal with before we joined the EU.
I read that a South African woman has given birth to, what if confirmed will be, a world record for multiple births. Reports from Pretoria say that she has given birth to 7 boys and 3 girls. They knew she was expecting a multiple birth as scans shown 8 babies. 5 of the babies were born naturally and the other 5 by caesarean section. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a Moroccan lady set the previous record only last month.
Could the Greek islands be added to the Green List next time it is revised? The Greek Government has recognised how important tourism is to the islands and decided to prioritise the vaccination of residents of the islands to drive down the case there and make them more acceptable as destinations. The rollout of vaccinations to the islands is now virtually complete prompting suggestions that the islands could be safe to travel to.
If you pop down to the Orwell Quay in Ipswich, you will find a 230 ft long replica of Noah’s Ark tied up on the Quayside. The Dutch boat is a floating museum that has rarely left Holland and would like to return but it has been impounded by the authorities as unsafe to sail. However, another branch of the authorities is fining the owner £700 a day for not leaving the UK. What a ridiculous situation, the owner wants to tow the boat back to Holland but is not allowed to so has now racked up £17,000 in fines!
Sunshine at last, peace and quiet in No. 10 and the Dreamies girl on Larry feeding duties, what more could I ask for. I have seen Bozzie and the Little Otter on TV a few time and she always looks nicely dressed, not at nice as Kate she is something special, but why does Bozzie always look like he is wearing an old sack even when he puts a good suit on?
I had a good old laugh last night when I saw the Queen cutting that big cake at the G7 last night. There was a big knife for her to cut it with but that wasn’t good enough for H.M. No, much to the amusement of the Duchesses of Cornwall and Cambridge, she borrowed the ceremonial sword being worn by the Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall. Grinning like a naughty schoolgirl, she said, “This is cutting through it nicely,” as she sliced into the large cake. She handed the mucky sword back before using the official knife to cut a slice saying, “This looks very good”. She obviously intends to have a bit of fun in her remaining years.
People have been asking why the EU is present at the G7 as they are not officially a country so can’t be one of the seven biggest economies. Well, the answer is simple, 3 of the Group of Seven, Germany, France and Italy are members of the EU and as such have given up a number of so-called “competencies” to the EU and could not agree to some things without the OK of the EU. Britain can make agreements, as can Japan, Canada and the US but the other three can’t do so in their own right, they have to get the EU to agree first. It’s pathetic, if the EU wields the power, maybe they should be the member and Germany, France and Italy should go home.
I heard a story on the radio this morning that I wondered if it was true. A New England lobster fisherman was diving off of Cape Cod when he says that he was bumped from behind and all of a sudden everything went dark. He then realised that he was inside a humpback whale’s mouth and expected to be swallowed. Instead, the whale spat him out. I can believe a whale might have seen him wearing a wet suit and, without its glasses on, thought he was catching a seal. But why would it spit him out? Maybe it didn’t like the taste of Neoprene! Another thing, how did the fisherman know he was in a whale’s mouth?
OK Magazine says that when Whinge came to Britain in 2013 she so loved the country she wanted to stay and wanted a British boyfriend. At the time she was friendly with Lizzie Cundy and Cundy went through her address book looking for a suitable date. She suggested Ashley Cole the footballer. But she added Cole didn’t fancy a date. But other people are reported as saying other of Whinge’s friends told her to avoid him. What a pity they didn’t get together, just think of all the controversy it would have saved.
Sniffer Joe has given Bozzie a special gift at the G7, a bespoke bike handmade by a small American company, Bilenky Cycle Works. The company only employs 4 people and has an 18-month order book but pulled out all the stops and made this one in a few days. It has the Stars and Stripes and the Union Flag on the frame and on the matching cycling helmet. It is said to be worth $1500 and I expect Bozzie will remember to declare it. Was Sniffer trying to tell Bozzie he still needs to lose weight?
Right, I’m off for my grub, then I might go and see if anyone in the office is watching the footie. Good night you lot, back with all the best stories on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2021
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file