A strange morning, I woke up to sun streaming in through the window, but by the time I got out of the cat flap the sun had disappeared and a huge black cloud was heading my way. Well, you can imagine, I was out into the garden and back as fast as my little legs would carry me and only just in time too. I had no sooner got to my breakfast bowl of Felix than the rain was bashing on the window. Bozzie was laughing at me and said, “You only just made that in time old man.”
Today’s big news in Downing Street is that Bozzie and the Little Otter have finally named the day. They have sent out cards to a number of friends and relatives suggesting they reserve a date in July 2022 for their wedding. Well, I suppose a 3-year engagement is not a long time these days. Mind you if I kept a day clear a year in advance I would be a little upset if I was left off the final invites list.
I read over the weekend that the first two of the new national rail contracts had been agreed with South Western Railways and TransPennine Express. These are in effect management contracts to continue to supply the services they currently supply for the next two years.
I had a laugh yesterday when I was watching the football on the office TV. At the end of their last match of the season, all the Arsenal players mobbed one of their older players who is leaving the club on a free transfer. The Arsenal centre back Gabriel was then seen scrabbling on the ground. It appears that in the scrummage he lost a tooth! I don’t know if it was a real tooth or a false tooth, but I understand that he found it and is off to the dentist this morning.
So Ofgem are to spend £300 million building a network of 3550 ultra-fast charging points on motorways and major trunk roads. Well, I suppose that’s a start, but that doesn’t seem to be very many for all that money, I make that £84,500 each which is just ridiculous. Why is it that everything to do with electric cars is so expensive?
I see Elon Musk has just spent a week in the UK after flying into Luton on his private jet. At one time he was thinking about building a Tesla factory in the UK but is reported to have changed his mind when we voted for Brexit and is supposed to have considered it “too risky”. However, he has not been pleased with progress on his mega factory in Germany complaining about German ‘red tape’. Now I hear that civil servants have been running around looking for a vast car manufacturing site in the UK. Has Musk changed his mind?
Well, it’s a bit warmer this morning be every so often a big black cloud crosses London. I didn’t hear any rain in this morning’s forecast so I trust I will be able to get a snooze in without getting my fur wet.
I read that a Labour MP is to take some time off because she is ‘suffering from PTSD’. How the hell can Nadia Whittome, the youngest MP be suffering from PTSD? Is battling the ‘evil Tories’ as bad as fighting on the front line? This is what comes of having people in Parliament who have never done a real days work in their life. They come into Parliament totally unprepared for a little bit of stress and can’t hack it.
I read that telephone scammers in France have come up with a new way of getting money out of victims. They ring up landlines telling the user that they are the telephone company and that local work may have damaged their line. They then get the victim to ring a number to check that the line is working properly. However, the number they are encouraged to ring is a premium rate number and the money goes directly into the scammer’s account. I wonder how long it will be before we get the same scam in the UK.
It seems ages ago now that the news was full of the container ship, Ever Green, blocking the Suez Canal. Well, I understand that the ship is still being held in the Great Bitter Lakes while a legal row for compensation by the canal authorities continues. Many of the companies with cargo on board are not at all happy as their deliveries are now months late. Today I read that the canal authorities have told the ship’s owners that if they pay a $200 million deposit, then they will let the ship continue on its way. When the ship was first detained the authorities demanded $957 million, a few weeks later this was dropped to $650 million. I understand that now it is down to $550 million which can be paid in instalments following the $200 million deposit. Next weeks court case is going to be interesting.
I read that Greta Thunderbird has had a run-in with the Chinese government. An article in a Chinese paper has accused her of contributing to increasing CO2 by being fat. I love it Thunderbird being fat-shamed by the chinks.
I read that a record price has paid at auction for a sheepdog puppy called Lassie. The seven-week-old untrained puppy went for £7600 at Skipton Market auction. The dog is an unusual lilac and white coloured bitch. The buyer, from Wales, is taking a bit of a chance with the puppy as it could turn out to be untrainable. However, its parents are both champions in their own right so it should be OK.
The word is that Airbus have a new version of their A320 up their sleeve should Boeing finally decide to launch their long talked about NMA (or 797 as it would probably be called). Airbus can already accommodate 244 passengers on its A321XLR and fly further than the most stretched Boeing 230 passenger 737 Max 10. Boeing has reached the limit of the 737 stretches and can’t compete with the XLR hence the new plane aimed at the 250 seat market. But as with any new design from scratch, it is very expensive and very costly. Airbus can afford to wait for Boeing to launch the new plane and then beat them to market with a stretched A321 (probably called A322) with 24 more seats and new composite wings it being both quicker and cheaper to design and make. Boeing are in a difficult spot.
I have been reading about one of my fellow cats that has caused a bit of trouble in Stow-in-the-Wold. A one-year-old female, called Gryffyndor, went missing and was eventually spotted stuck on the top of an electrical distribution pole up above the live power cables. The fire brigade couldn’t get her down because of the live wires so they called in the power distribution company. Eventually they turned off the power for half the town and grabbed the cat. I understand she is now confined to the house and not allowed out!
So it is slowly getting a bit warmer in London and not so wet and the good news is that for once it looks like it is going to be a decent bank holiday weekend. Still, it’s going to be an interesting day today. Dom is appearing in front of a joint committee of the house and is promising to tell “his truth” of what happened in the early days of the pandemic. Then Bozzie will be up for PMQs. I hope to write about these events later.
I read that Britain has announced a major step forward in the generation of electric power from fusion. Nuclear fusion is what goes on in the stars, vast amounts of heat are produced by two atoms being joined together and unlike fission it does not produce radiation. At the moment fusion produces so much heat it causes problems and the parts of the tokamak used to sustain the reaction need to be regularly replaced. The new breakthrough allows for heat to be reduced by some tenfold, meaning that the tokamak parts would only have to be replaced once in the lifetime of a fusion power station making it viable. I hope how this is actually done remains a British secret so that can have a world-beating product that makes huge quantities of nuclear electricity, cheaply and without having to worry about radiation.
Another 36 satellites are to be launched on Friday to join the OneWeb network. Once again they are to be put into space by a Russian Soyuz-2.1b from Vostochny. This will take the OneWeb network up to 254 satellites and make theirs the second-largest fleet. Mind you they are a long way behind the first which is SpaceX’s Starlink which will reach 1,000 satellites when another 60 are launched this coming Wednesday. So far this year SpaceX and OneWeb have accounted for 15 launches and OneWeb have another 4 planned this year each with another 36 satellites.
It has been rumoured for a while now but it has finally happened today. Amazon has bought the film Studio MGM for $8.45 Billion. In one swop they have added over 4,000 feature films to their Amazon Prime streaming service. One of the big names is the James Bond franchise, which Amazon Prime will now control, which will make a huge hole in the ITV scheduling. In addition, MGM will also bring more than 17,000 TV shows. Amazon have done just what they needed to do to get back at Netflix, Apple TV and Disney+.
I have been reading that now the Boeing 737 Max family of aircraft is back in the air, Boeing are looking at increasing their production rate to try to catch up a bit on the deliveries. Oddly this will mean an increase in freight trains into the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington. This is because the aircraft’s fuselage is built by Spirit Aerospace in Wichita, Kansas some 1,800 miles away and the bodies are shipped by train. With production heading for 35 a month, this means shipping more than one a day, every day. They ship 3 or 4 on a train, making it very efficient. They could, of course, send them by road but with such a large number to move over such a distance it wasn’t really practical. Or they could have flown them but that would have meant a giant aircraft like the Airbus Beluga and it would only have been able to move one a day limiting production and costing more.
Politicians across the Midlands have joined together to push for a direct train service from Coventry to Leicester and on to Nottingham. There used to be such a service but back in 2004 an upgrade to the West Coast Mainline meant that the capacity of Nuneaton Station was exceeded so the direct service was stopped and you had to change trains at Nuneaton with a missed connection adding over an hour to the journey time. The new idea is to construct a dive-under to take direct trains under the West Coast Mainline and to increase capacity at Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham stations at the cost of £100 million. That’s a bit cheaper than HS2 and probably more useful.
There was a fire last night at the giant Tesla factory being built in Germany. Initially, it was thought to have been an accident but an extreme left-wing group has claimed responsibility. They say they have cut the power supply to the factory by setting fire to the six main cables coming feeding the factory and the sub-station. The group claim that Tesla “is neither green, ecological nor social.” Getting on the wrong side of Elon Musk and all his money is not to be recommenced.
Just one final thing for tonight. After Dom’s appearance today, an instant opinion poll asked people if they trusted him. 15% said Yes and 75% said No. Didn’t he do well!
At last the weather seems to have changed and summer has arrived. It’s a lovely sunny morning with a clear blue sky, now that more like it. I am already looking forward to a snooze on the window sill this afternoon.
It’s interesting that GBNews has changed its launch date yet again. I understand that it is now scheduled to go live on Sunday June 13th at 8:00 pm. I know that this is the first “official” date that has been announced, but there have been numerous missed leaked dates, including this weekend. I hear that one of the main problems is that their studios are not finished yet and they have been rehearsing in unfinished rooms. I understand that they are still looking for six regional reporters so if you fancy a job you could give it a go, mind you they don’t say what regions.
I hear that Nissan are looking at making the UK their European centre for EV manufacturing. The first thing will be the building of a Giga battery factory next to its Sunderland factory. They are in discussions with the Government over funding. I have come to the conclusion that Nissan are very artful, they talked about quitting the UK if we dared to leave the EU. Instead they are now talking about expanding and have instead started shutting down several EU factories. Why? Can it have anything to do with Government grants? I also hear that Nissan think they will need around 200,000 EV batteries a year, and are talking to the Government of a 400,000 batteries a year factory. Who are they targeting for the additional production?
I read that Network Rail (Great British Railways?) has received planning permission for a new railway station at Inverness Airport. I’m not sure they expect the station to be very busy as it will have a car park for only 64 cars. Of course, in order to get planning permission, the car park will have 10 EV charging points and a bicycle rack. I do wonder why they think it necessary to have a bicycle rack. Will people be bringing them on the trains or are they for folding bikes airline passengers will be parking. It seems very unnecessary to me.
The MoD has decided to equip the new Type 31 Frigates with the new Sea Ceptor missiles for self-defence and also defence of nearby assets. The missiles should be effective against attacking missiles, ships and aircraft. The Sea Ceptor is already in use in the Type 23 and has also been selected for the new Type 26. It is called a CAMM missile and is a common design for Navy and the Army. Stocks will be acquired and held centrally by the MoD. The contract with Babcock for the Type 31 excluded certain equipment and the missile system was part of the exclusion.
Grunt Shatts has said today that the Eastern leg of HS2 to Leeds will definitely be built. There has been a lot doubt as to whether this leg will be built. The so-called Section 2a has been given the go-ahead. But Section 2b has two legs, a Western leg from Crewe to Manchester and that leg has always been expected to go ahead. But the Eastern leg from Birmingham to Leeds was more questionable so Shatts announcement today has gone down well with the HS2 enthusiasts the only question now is will its construction be pushed back.
I was delighted to read that the Stourbridge Junction Station much loved cat, George, has had a beer name after him. I am told that “George’s Rail Ale” is the cat’s whiskers and that people can’t wait to get their paw’s on the brew. The beer is made by the Green Duck Brewing Company and is 4.2% proof. George used to live opposite the station but his owner emigrated to Spain and he was adopted by the station supervisor. One thing I do know is that George’s favourite cat food is tuna loin favour, uck!
Another day when it’s a little bit warmer and dry but no sun. I heard the man on the radio saying that it is going to be more sunny in London tomorrow and really nice on Sunday and Monday. I don’t think I can remember the last warm and sunny bank holiday Monday. I like bank holidays, they are not very busy in Downing Street and I can have a nice peaceful day.
I have just heard that the Jansen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine has been approved for use in the UK. We have 20 million doses on order which is enough to treat 20 million people as this is the first one-shot vaccine. I hear the idea is it might be useful to use on people who are not easy to get to like in the remote Highlands of Scottishland where the vaccinator would only have to make a single visit. I didn’t know that many people live in the Highlands, perhaps they would be good to give away to “developing countries” as Labour wants.
The Lord investigating Wallpapergate has decided that Bozzie wasn’t involved in any misconduct over the refurbishment of the No 11 flat. It seems that he found the work started while he was in hospital and although part of the work was initially paid for by a Tory donor Bozzie didn’t break the rules. Just goes to show that the Labour Party like to make a fuss about almost anything.
I read that Airbus has decided that they have such a backlog of aircraft that they need to increase the rate of production of their A320 family of aircraft. They are currently producing 40 planes a month and that is being increased to 45 a month by October. However, they have warned their suppliers to be read as this production rate will increase to 64 a month in the spring of 2023. The rate will then increase to 70 a month at the start of 2024 and finally to 75 a month in 2025. Airbus also has decided to increase the output of their A220 and A350 ranges but by nothing like the number for the A320.
I read in the Morning Star (yes we even get that in No 10) that George Galloway is to stand for his Workers Party of Britain in the Batley and Spen by-election. He says his aim is to take enough votes from the Labour Party to ensure they lose. He thinks that if Labour lose then Kier Stoma will be forced to resign. I somehow think that if Labour lose Stoma will carry on.
A TV Channel in Argentina has made a bit of a mistake, reporting that the famous British writer, William Shakespeare has died, 5 months after becoming the second person in the world to receive the Pfizer Covid jab. Canal 26 somehow confused the death of the 81-year-old with the Bard who died in 1616. I don’t know what The Bard died of, but the 81-year-old is report to have had a stroke unrelated to the vaccination.
I had to laugh at the story of the family who moved to France when only the daughter understood French. The old couple, he was in his 90’s and she was in her 80’s asked their daughter to get buy them some more of “that gorgeous pate” next time she went to the supermarket. She didn’t know what they were talking about so they showed her the tin. It was then that she realised the couple had inadvertently eaten a full tin of cat food intended for their cat Aggy. I would have thought the picture of a moggy on the tin might have given them a clue even if they couldn’t read French.
Very grey and overcast this thing morning, I thought it was going to be warm and sunny. Still, it was warm and it didn’t take long for the sun to appear. I hope it stays like this I will take a snooze in the sun this afternoon.
I have been reading about a Postman who has just won an unfair dismissal case. He injured his back in an accident some years ago and was supplied with a specially adapted van. When the van needed some repairs he was supplied with an unadapted Vauxhall Combo van. After using it for a single day he notified his boss that the van was causing him so much pain that he found it almost impossible to complete his round. The next day was he was supplied with a Peugeot Bipper which was even worse. He was in so much pain that he gave up mid-round and reported sick. When he got home he was unable to climb the stairs to bed. He handed in his notice and sued the Post Office for constructive dismissal. The judge ruled that he had been constructively dismissed because the PO had failed to supply an appropriate vehicle.
I understand that a battle has broken out to try to attract an Elon Musk Tesla Megafactory to different parts of Britain. The Tees Valley Mayor is batting for Teesside, while others are backing the West Midlands, South Wales and the West Country. The silly thing is that Musk has still to confirm that he is going to build a factory in Britain, let alone where he might consider placing it but regions are already fighting for it. This is nothing unusual for Tesla/Musk, before the factory was built in Reno six countries were played off against each other to see who would offer the best subsidies, I suspect a similar thing is happening behind the scenes right now.
It surprised me to read that the singer Charlotte Church seems to have hit hard times. At one time she was reported to have £25 million in the bank, but it sounds like she must have spent most of it because she is looking to do her first gig in two years by performing at a Pontin’s bingo weekend. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
I read that British warships have been testing artificial intelligence and machine learning applications to track and defeat incoming missiles. The tests are rumoured to have proven successful against both sea-skimming missiles and ballistic missiles. The software can react much faster than a human to any threat giving real-time recommendations and alerts, suggesting what defensive weapons should be employed. I understand that live missile were used in the tests, it might have been embarrassing if the software had failed.
Hear that the Sky darts commentator Wayne Mardel has been shouting so loud in his commentaries that he has lost his voice! Consequently, he is going to miss tonight’s Premier League of Darts final. When Jose de Sousa hit three consecutive double tops he shouted so loud that his voice went and he had to “go for a lie down”. However, he has not recovered and will be watching the final sitting on his Sofa at home!
There was a very strange atmosphere here in Downing Street, I couldn’t work out what was going on. Lots of whispering that I couldn’t hear, it was almost as if they suspected I was going to leak a super-secret. Some people turned up who I had no idea who they were. Then a van turned up with bouquets and buttonholes and I started to get the idea someone was getting married. But who? Bozzie had sent out “save the date” cards for 30th July next year. Rishie Nic-Nak is already married. I was not sure there is anyone else here who would merit such a fuss. Then the Little Otter came out of their bedroom in white carrying a bouquet and I fell in, they were keeping it from me because I wasn’t invited. Well, I am upset, I think I might go and scratch their expensive wallpaper!
That’s it for today, you will be delighted to know that I got my forty winks in on the window sill and was dreaming about huge bowls of Felix when I was awakened by thousands and thousands of people walking past the end of Downing Street shouting for Freedom. Anyway, I’m off for my dinner, if anyone has remembered amid the partying, speak to you next week.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file