Hello folks and welcome to the first of my second 100 weekly ramblings. It’s a funny old day, quite warm but a bit grey and rain showers are forecast. Well, the tennis at Wimbledon starts today so rain is no surprise. Bozzie had Handoncock (I’m not sure who’s hand) in and I listened at the door. He told him he was an embarrassment and gave him 24 hours to resign or he would sack him. So it came as no surprise to me when he sent in his resignation letter, given the circumstances I think Bozzie’s letter back was quite polite. When he offered The Saj the job, The Saj said yes, provided that camera was removed from his office!
So I hear this morning that a stupid Labour MP wants all pets to get a Covid jab once you humans have all been offered jabs. The idiot doesn’t have any idea what a human vaccine might do to us animals. Would they give us the full dose or a percentage of the dose based on size? Would a pet mouse need the same amount as a Great Dane? Would a human vaccine kill me? But best of all, there is not a single case, anywhere in the world, of a pet giving the virus to a human. Every pet, or even zoo animal, that has caught Covid has got it from humans.
While on the subject of vaccine I hear that AstraZeneca has today started trials on a modified vaccine that is supposed to have a high degree of potential against the South African variant, the so-called Beta variant. They have recruited 2,250 people in Britain, South Africa, Poland and Brazil and the vaccine is given as a booster to people who have already had two doses of the original vaccine. They have not tweaked it to work against the Delta variant as the original vaccine seems to work well against it.
Your cat super spy in No 10, is on the ball again. The story I told you about weeks ago was on the BBC today, namely that Nissan will officially announce on Thursday that they are going to build an electric vehicle battery Gigafactory next to their car factory in Sunderland. The factory could employ up to 2,000 people with more In suppliers. The big bosses are flying in from Japan to make the announcement. It will be capable of making far more batteries (up to 500,000 pa) than Nissan currently need for production in Sunderland. So will they be making another model, or will they be selling them to other manufacturers? My next tip is that the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port is also likely to announce an EV being built there. I have heard that they have been looking for Government money to be invested in the new product and that they are very close to agreement.
Last night at 6 pm the P&O Cruises ship Britannia sailed from Southampton, with 1,000 passengers on board, for a short cruise around the British coast. This is the first P&O cruise in 15 months. What a pity that the weather wasn’t better, but those people are going to outnumbered 3 to 1 by crew. All the facilities are open but, passengers have to be fully vaccinated or show a recent negative PCR test and they will have to wear face masks indoors, except when eating or drinking. I also hear that the buffet restaurant will be open but it will be table service only. I don’t quite know how that works!
OneWeb, the part Government-owned satellite broadband company, and BT have signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate providing a domestic broadband service to hard to reach rural areas. OneWeb is still developing and testing its system, so they are not yet in a position to supply that service just yet. However, they expect to be in a position to do so shortly, especially as another 38 of their mini satellites are due to be launched this week.
If you’re growing rhubarb you might want to pop along to the Daily Mail office in Kensington with a bucket and shovel. Extinction Rebellion have dumped seven tonnes of manure outside the main entrance to the building. Twenty-three people were arrested. ER say they are protesting about the ownership of British newspapers being in the hands of a few billionaires. I must admit I don’t get the connection between the newspaper owners and climate change.
Well another damp morning, I am really not a happy cat. At least we seem to have run out of fishy flavour food, it was back to meaty flavours today with liver. Not exactly my favourite but way better than fish every day. TV is full of the Whitty being harassed in the park by drunken yobs while the police looked on. That Cressida Dick is useless.
The people of Southampton must be happier this week. I understand that in the next six days eight cruise ships will be picking up passengers for British island cruises. Anthem of the Seas, Queen Victoria, Britannia, Marella Explorer, Celebrity Silhouette, Iona, Queen Elizabeth and finally Anthem of the Seas will be back. They might be limited to only a thousand passengers on board each sailing but imagine the joy of all those people whose livelihoods depend on the ships. Not just the thousands and thousands of crewmen and officers, but the entertainment staff, the people in the ship’s shops, the taxi drivers of Southampton, the people who check you in and handle your luggage, even the people who park the cars. Then there are the people who supply the food and drinks to the ships. I hope this limited return to business is in time to save their jobs.
Scottishland brewer Brewdog is not having a good time at the moment. First, they are in trouble over the working atmosphere in the brewery. Employees and ex-employees have been complaining about a culture of fear and employees being scared to complain. Now a row has exploded over a competition the ran to win one ten “solid gold” beer cans hidden in a case of it Punk IPA beer. It was a simple competition ten of the cans, said by Brewdog to be worth £15,000 were in sealed cases of beer. If a gold can was in the case you bought that it was yours. Now some of the winners have found that the cans are not “solid gold” but are in fact gold plated brass and subsequently are questioning if it is worth £15,000. The Advertising Standards Authority is investigating.
European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič (wow that is hard to write) appeared in front of a Northern Ireland Parliamentary Committee yesterday and told them that he thought that an answer to the Northern Ireland Protocol problem over chilled meat like sausages and meat pies could be found in the next 48 hours. Well, I hope so or the good people of Ulster will find the shelves of the Belfast branches of Tesco and Sainsburys without any bangers for an Ulster fry as the EU ban is due to start on Thursday. I only hope we don’t give the EU an inch as they will take a mile.
I hear mutterings about the proposed rebuilding of the huge junction just to the north of East Croydon on the London to Brighton line. The junction is a bit of a mess where train lines from the south split to head for Victoria and London Bridge are further mixed up with the West Croydon line and the Selhurst Depot. The plan is to sort out the junction with a number of over and underpasses, to add two extra platforms to East Croydon station and to move it several hundred yards north. The word is the Department for Transport want to spend the money on projects in the North of England and to delay the Croydon project a few years. This is despite the junction handling more trains a day than Kings Cross and St Pancras combined and being the cause of major delays to trains going through East Croydon.
I have been read a story in the Evening Standard. It looks like they have got a leak from the NHS Handoncock inquiry. It says the camera in Matt Handoncock’s office was installed to cover the glass door onto the office’s balcony as it was considered to be a security weak spot. However, someone had been into the office and swung the camera round to away from the balcony door to look at the internal door. Which begs the question why? Was someone out to catch Handoncock or was someone turning the camera away from the weak security point for a possible break-in and got lucky?
I had a little chuckle this afternoon when I wandered through the office and they had the BBC Parliament channel on one of the TVs. The Home Office Minister was busy answering an urgent question on the EU settlement scheme when the TVs in the House of Commons suddenly cut from the video link to the MP waiting to speak to showing coverage of Wimbledon! However, it was quickly set back to normal, much to many MP’s obvious disappointment.
Morning humans, I must say I am a much happier cat when I find nice meaty Felix in my bowl and today I was delighted to be served up Felix Turkey.
Your cat spy in No 10 looks to have come up with the goods again. I told you last week that Babcock were actively perusing Greece and Ukrainian Type 31e frigate sales. Well, the national press has picked up the story and those two leads have been confirmed. In fact, the Babcock CEO has confirmed that he was in Greece last week having talks with the Bubbles. He also confirmed talks with Poland and Indonesia. However, your cat reporter/spy also hears of talks with Brazil, Irishland and enquiries from several Gulf states. Well I know the ships we are buying are only basically armed in the £250 million per ship contract, but the hull is large and designed to carry a vast range of armaments which the MoD might or might not fit depending on the availability of funds. I would expect export orders to be more heavily armed from the start and hence increasing the price, but like all things the more you sell the cheaper they get as the development costs are written off.
Good news for Lockheed Martin and major production partner BAe, their F35A has beaten off the rivals in the battle to win the competition for the next fighter aircraft for Switzerland. It is not so good news for the rival aircraft, Boeing F18 E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafel and Saab Gripen as the same aircraft are in competition for a Finnish order. The F35A, the conventional and subsequently cheaper, version of the aircraft is reported to have been the clear effective and technical winner and for the required 36 aircraft was $2.16 Billion cheaper than its nearest rival. I hear that the unit price of the F35 range has been steadily reducing as each batch have been ordered by the USAF, Israel, Japan etc. It just goes to show what a big production run does to suppress costs.
This afternoon I hear of a pause in the sausage and bacon war with the EU. They have graciously agreed to not implement their ban on cold meat going from the UK to Northern Ireland until September, this should, supposedly, give wholesalers and retailers in NI to source their cold meat from either NI or EU suppliers. Well, I would tell them to get stuffed, they are only trying to drive a wedge between Great Britain and NI for political reasons.
I have been reading that we have chosen to equip our upgraded Challenger 3 main battle tanks with the Trophy Active Protection System from the Israeli firm Rafael Defence System. The system has been in use on Israeli MBT for some years with 100% success rate. The system uses radar to detect antitank missiles, identify if it is a threat and fire a projectile taking it out before it can hit the tank. But the system doesn’t stop there it computes the firing point of the missile and gives a firing solution to the main tank gun. You can trust the Israelis to come up with a clever electronic system.
The banks have decided to change the way in which self-service petrol pumps work if you choose to use pay at the pump at your local filling station. In the past when you presented your credit or debit card and tapped in your code number it initially took £1 from your account and then the balance when you finished filling up. Pumps have already started to be converted so that they will automatically reserve a £100 charge initially and when you have filled up it “should” compute the difference between the actual cost and £100 so that you are charged only the correct amount. Tests have been going on for a while now and a number of people have been complaining that instead of the transaction being instantaneous it has sometimes taken up to a week to release the £100 as well as taking the money for the petrol. It is no good complaining to the filling station if this happens to you as the deal is handled directly by your bank or credit card supplier.
So it looks like you humans are going to be offered a Covid booster jab in the Autumn, well that is is you are over 50. It looks like it is going to be the over 70s first like the current campaign. But this time around it seems they want to give you lot the Covid jab in one arm and the flu jab in the other arm. If you get ill you won’t know which to blame! Then the rumours continue over whether the under 18s are to be vaccinated and that could be on as well. The doctors must be rubbing their hands together at all the extra income they will be earning getting patients on their list vaccinated. One little twist is that if you have been double jabbed with AstraZeneca then the booster is likely to be Pfizer and vice versa. All I can say is thank goodness that as a cat no one is experimenting on me.
Oh at last a lovely sunny morning and I see that tomorrow is going to be similar, but then it’s back to more rain. I wonder when summer is going to start?
Rishi NicNak has got a new Labrador puppy and it is living in No 11 and the No 10 flat (Bozzie has the No 11 flat because it is bigger). Well, it took me a while to teach the Mutt who the boss is, but he now accepts it is yours truly. Looks like I am going to have to start all over again with Nova. What kind of a name is that, I thought it was a Vauxhall Car. I think it will be Mutt 1 and Mutt 2 as far as I am concerned
The next batch of 36 OneWeb satellites are being launched today and once they are in orbit I understand that the 256 OneWeb birds will have the Northern Hemisphere above the 50° line of latitude covered, that includes the British Isles, Northern Europe and Russia, Iceland and Canada. As soon as the communications with the new satellites is established testing will start and they currently think they will be able to start offering a broadband service in rural areas late this year.
Transport for London has been reported to the Competition and Markets Authority for unfair competition. It seems that the Uber Thames Clippers service on the River Thames is allowed free access to all TfL Thames piers when other operators have to pay for every passenger using a pier. TfL say it doesn’t charge them to encourage Thames Clippers to build their service and when they reach a certain number of passengers they will impose charges. The only problem is they won’t say what that number is. When Thames Clippers started they were carrying 80 passengers a day so that ruling made sense, but last year they carried 80 million passengers!
The Northern Irish company WrightBus, owned by JCB’s Joe Bamford, has today announced they have a new product available, a battery-powered double-decker. They have not given a lot of information, but the StreetDeck Electroliner is said to have a range of 200 miles carrying 95 passengers and can be fast recharged in 2.5 or 3 hours depending on which battery option is chosen. No costs are given so I bet it’s not cheap. Now there is a regular bus (the number 700) which runs between Brighton and Portsmouth which is a fraction under 50 miles so without recharging the bus might make 2 return trips on a good day. But what if it is wet and cold with the heaters, lights and wipers on? Oh, it also says it can be recharged using a pantograph, isn’t that a trolleybus?
When Labour lose the Batley and Spen by-election will Kier Stoma be able to hang on to the party leadership? If he is ejected there is a right old rag-bag of possible candidates. The left-wing would like Old McDonald or the Abbotpotamus but will probably have to settle for Crayons as their candidate. Then there are the regular contenders Nandy Pandy and Copper Balls but I think the only contender who would have an earthly in a General Election would be the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burntham and he is not even a member of the Labour Party!
For all you beer lovers who like to have a few cans in stock, I see that the American brewer Pabst have introduced a special pack the PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) Beer especially for the 4th July. It contains 1776 cans to celebrate the year of US independence. In case 1776 cans is a bit much they also do a 99 can pack that is long and thin as it is one can wide and 99 cans long. Try getting that in the boot of your car! There’s a challenge for a certain Puffin Brewer, can you do a 1642 pack?
Bozzie and the family were up early this morning, I overheard that they are off to Chequers and will be meeting that dumpy kraut woman who doesn’t want Britons in Germany. I hope she has done her 10 days in a Covid hotel and paid her £1750. Still, it should be a nice quiet weekend and I can get down to training Mutt 2 to recognise who is the boss.
So OneWeb got all 36 of their new satellites up and in place in under 4 hours. They are all in communication with the ground and working perfectly. Well, that’s 8 launches down and 40% of the system up and running. Only 10 more launches to go. Unlike the rival system who will be signing up individuals, OneWeb have signed up with big telecoms companies to take their broadband. The way I understand it is that people like BT will set up a satellite link in remote locations and distribute the broadband to nearby homes thus saving having to run miles of expensive fibre optic cable to remote locations and individual homes having to purchase satellite broadband ground stations.
Now that most applications for settled status have been received I see the lefty papers have start moaning about it potentially being “another Windrush”. What the hell are they on about? Anyone from the EU who was eligible has had years to apply and millions have. The Government has said they will accept late applications from anyone with a good reason, like they are a child in care and the local authority has failed to make the application on their behalf. What the likes of The Guardian seem to want is for us to accept applications forevermore. If some Romanian is just too lazy to apply after all the advertising in the media then this cat says tough.
I see a race has been developing between Richard Branson and Jeff Bozos as to which of them will be the first to fly to the edge of space. Well, I really don’t care, they are both attention seekers. Please can they both go up and stay up.
The first 1440 tonne trainload of spoil has been shipped from the HS2 Chiltons tunnel site to Barrington near Cambridge where the spoil will be used to fill in an open cast mine. The mine was used to provide limestone for a local cement works that closed several years ago. Fortunately, there were already disused sidings at the mine. There are to be a scheduled 7 spoil trains a day, which it is claimed will save a million lorry loads making the journey. Once the mine is infilled the plan is to build 144 houses on the site. I hope they compress the ground properly, I would hate to see those new houses sink into the mud. Oh, one other strange little thing, they had to clear the site first and that included demolishing the mine’s old social club. While doing so the contractors found papers detailing the defunct club’s bank account. It appears they still had £2,500 in the account. I wonder who claimed that?
If you live in London’s Tottenham you might be in for a shock as I read that Citizens Zoo have plans to release beavers into the wild. I didn’t know there was enough open space in the Borough for beavers to build dams and flood the place, but it seems that Tottenham has large areas of marshland and it shouldn’t be the football ground or Tottenham High Road that suffer. I remember the film Davy Crockett where he wore a beaver skin hat. Will it become a thing to be seen in at White Hart Lane?
You have to feel sorry for the poor old Irish, their Government has proved to be incompetent once again. All the other EU countries have started running the EU Covid 19 passport allowing the double vaccinated free movement in the EU. Consequently, they can all go on their Mediterranean summer holiday as of yesterday. But not the Irish, they say it is going to be another 18 days at least before their IT system is linked in. The Irish are blaming hackers who they say broke into their system. Surely even if they had to wipe their whole system clean and restore it from back up it shouldn’t take 18 days? But then it is the Irish.
Lovely and peaceful in Downing Street today what with Bozzie and the family at Chequers and Nic-Nak at his own home. The Dreamies girl was on the roster to feed me and that suits me just fine. As I have told you before she knows of my love of chicken and hunted the store cupboard for a pouch this morning but could only find turkey. Well, that’s OK with me, I can hardly tell the difference.
It looks like Citroen are going to bring their tiny electric vehicle, the Ami, to the UK. It is a funny little car with a top speed of only 28mph and a range of 48 miles. There are only two versions available one is a two-seater and the other is a cargo carrier. It is supposed to be a “city” car, for use in towns for the likes of shopping, commuting and the school run, provided you only have one child. A couple of other oddities is that it only comes in pale blue and left-hand drive. Citroen don’t consider it economically viable to produce a right-hand drive version so if you buy one you will have to get used to sitting in the wrong seat. The reason that it only comes in blue is that the body isn’t painted the material it is made from is moulded and that is the colour it comes in. The body panels are a bit strange too with some on the front being exactly the same as the back and the two doors being the same so the driver’s door is hinged at the front and the passenger door hinged at the back. Mind it is cheap costing about £6,000 and might make a good first car for someone who has just passed their test.
I sometimes wonder what happens to all the pop stars when the bubble bursts and no one wants to hear their music anymore. Well, I have been reading about the JB Gill who was a member of the X Factor band JLS. He was always an outdoor lover and kept a smallholding in Kent right through his band days, so when the band broke up he expanded it into a successful turkey farm. Well, at least he used his money sensibly and didn’t drink it away.
I hear that Vauxhall owner Stellantis is to announce next week that they are going to use the Ellesmere Port plant to manufacture a new electric van. The future of the plant has been in question as it was feared that the plant was not going to be one of two Stellantis needs to build the new Astra. Instead, they have been in negotiations with the Government over loans and grants to help pay to re-equip the factory to build electric vans which I hear could cost around £400m in total.
It seems that going green could have some unexpected side effects like the revival of the Cornish mining industry. I am sure you all know that tin mining in Cornwall was once a huge thing but in recent years it became uneconomic. Well, the demand for tin perovskite for use in solar panels is driving the cost of tin up and making British mining viable again. And it’s not just tin, who knew that there were deposits of lithium in Cornwall and with the price predicted to rise 450% extracting that would be worthwhile.
There is a war going on in the world of wine between Italy and Croatia. Italy have the wine Prosecco and it has DOC statuses in the EU meaning it is protected from being copied. The only problem is that Croatia has a wine called prošek. Although the names sound similar that are actually very different Prosecco is a sparkling white wine, while prošek is a still dessert wine and has been around for over 2000 years. The Croatians want to protect the wine under the EU “rules of origin” but the Italians object solely because the names sound similar.
I was getting a bit bothered when I heard of a mysterious disease that is killing my brother and sister cats. However, I think I am going to be OK as the disease has been identified as pancytopenia and associated with some brands of dry cat food. As I am a Felix wet pouches eater I should be OK. In any case, I have had none of the symptoms like bleeding gums or blood in my pee, so it looks like you are going to have put up with me for a bit longer.
That’s it, I’m off for my tea, it should be the rest of that Felix Turkey pouch so I am quite looking forward to it, then it’s down to the office to watch the footy. Chat again on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2021
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file