These Monday mornings seem to come around quicker and quicker for your intrepid cat reporter. One good thing about the family being back in residence is that the Little Otter has got her way and the radiators in the flat have been turned on. I wondered what was happening when the warmth from the pipes crept up into my basket early this morning. It was lovely, as it was a bit chilly this A.M. I have one question is the heating ‘green’? Because if it isn’t I’m sure the Little Otter will have it turned off.
A lovely story to start the week. A man got a ticket posted to him, fining him for driving in a bus lane in Bath. His wife, who opened the letter, accused him of visiting the city without her. He then look at the photographic evidence the council had sent him and not only was his car not in the photograph, they weren’t any cars in the photograph! All it showed was a woman walking in the road. Closer inspection showed the woman was wearing a pullover with the word KNITTER on her chest. The automatic number plate recognition software had apparently read the lady’s chest as the man’s car registration KN19TER. Fortunately he saw the funny side.
I read that African swine fever has reached the Americas, namely the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Although the disease is harmless to hooman beings, and infected pigs can still be eaten, it is highly infectious to other pigs and invariably kills them. The only current option appears to be slaughter of all the pigs in a fixed radius of an outbreak. This has got the huge pig industry in the United States very worried. Last year the US pig business was valued at $23 billion and the big companies are getting very worried. It was OK when the fever was still in Africa and Asia but it’s suddenly on their doorstep. Could this be a big export opportunity for us? We seem to have a surplus of pigs at the moment.
Ford are going to invest £230 million converting their Halewood plant to build motors and transmission for electric cars. Good news for the 500 workers currently employed at the plant as it will guarantee their ongoing jobs. But it will only be a feeder plant to the giant assembly plant in Cologne. What a pity Ford haven’t followed Nissan and decided to build EVs in the UK.
I read about an East Anglian vegetable farmer who has been struggling to get pickers. With the broccoli harvest coming along he advertised widely for pickers. He put adverts in the local press, he advertised on the internet and was even on local TV. He got 250 applications and he spoke to each and every one of them. On the day only 37 turned up for induction and now 7 weeks later only 1 of the 250 remains. All this is despite being able to earn up to £30 an hour equivalent of £62,000 a year. That’s around double the average wage but British people don’t seem to like manual work.
I have just heard about a cafe in Scottishland that has started to sell a breakfast pizza. It seems that the 12” pizza is coated with ragu and then topped with two types of sausage, black pudding, bacon, hash browns, fried onions and topped with a fried egg. It sounds delicious but I’m not sure I could manage a whole one.
I read that an Insult Britain activist has complained the she missed her yoga class when she was subjected to a stop and search by the police. Phillipa Windsor Tweeted that she was pulled over on her way to a Bandha yoga class on Saturday morning. She said the police were “intimidating” and, “They found no ‘InsulateBritain’ banners in my car, were unduly rude & I missed the whole class as a result.” Well isn’t that just ironic, I wonder how many meetings, classes, hospital appointments and how much work the general public has missed while she sat in the road blocking traffic. I think this as a strong case of what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Well it was extremely wet under paw this morning when I headed down the garden. I kept to the hard pathways as much as possible but sometimes you have to walk on the soggy bit and I can tell you when you don’t wear shoes it’s not much fun. Did you see the mob Bozzie had round for dinner last night? I didn’t, they locked me in the flat and I had to use that detestable litter tray. Well hard luck, Bozzie is going to have to clear it up!
I had to laugh when I heard that the biggest polluting countries are unlikely to be attending COP26. Is it because they just don’t want to go down the same path as Bozzie and tie themselves up in green knots. China, India, Indonesia and Russia all rely heavily on coal for electricity and obviously have no intention of committing to building millions of useless windmills. If they are not at COP they can’t agree to spending billions on going green and reducing CO,2 emissions. Hence they can wave two fingers at the rest of the world and watch us cripple ourselves financially while they pinch all the world business.
I have been reading about a project that has applied for planning permission to build a 1000 foot high viewing tower in the city next to the Gherkin. The building is called ‘The Tulip’ because it is tall and thin with a bulge housing a restaurant and viewing platforms at the top. I hear that the result of the request for planning permission is due early next month and the word is that it is likely to be granted. But what made me laugh was that people were coming up with many alternative names that I think better describe it. They include The Sperm, The Phallus, The Swab, The Dildo and The Butt Plug, but I rather like The Bell End.
Can it really be true that Pizza Express has taken spaghetti bolognese off the menu “because they can’t get the ingredients”. What! I haven’t read of a shortage of mince or garlic or tomatoes or even spaghetti so why can’t they get them? It sound to me like someone needs to get hold of their purchasing people and bang a few heads together.
I read an interesting article about a woman who bought a very expensive Samsung TV from Richer Sounds and a few weeks before the Samsung one year warranty expired the screen died. Richer Sounds told the lady to call Samsung to get an engineer out which she did. Samsung then spent several weeks in a backwards and forwards of e-mails to try to establish what was wrong. They eventually agreed to send out an engineer, but only if the woman paid £100 call out fee as the TV was out of now out of warranty! Oh, and the engineer couldn’t come for several more weeks as a part he would need was out of stock. How they knew this before examining the set beats me. Fortunately now the TV was out of Samsung’s one year warranty so Richer Sounds three year warranty kicked in and they brought a new TV set around the next day. The moral of this story seems to be buy any TV but Samsung from Richer Sounds.
The elder brother of the Manchester Arena bomber is said to have skipped the country rather than appear before the public inquiry after he had been ordered to attend. 28 year old Ismail Abedi has so far refused to answer any questions about the bombing on the grounds that he might incriminate himself. Hasham, the younger brother of Salman Abedi, the bomber who died in the bombing, has already been found guilty of murder and jailed. I guess that Ismail is worried that he will be following him. Mind you, he is not the only one who doesn’t want to appear, Ahmed Taghdi who is supposed to appear before the inquiry on Thursday, is currently in prison having been arrested trying to leave the country on Monday.
So the 200 top leaders who are coming to COP in Glasgow are going to be accommodated in a luxury 5* hotel with its own 18 hole golf course. For the duration of their visit each leader will be supplied with an electric car. There is however a bit of a problem in that the hotel only has a single EV charging point. Consequently the organisers of the conference have made arrangements for numerous mobile charging points to be made available to them. The problem with this is that they are all powered by diesel generators.
Another wet under paw morning just like yesterday. Mind it is pleasantly mild again, but I hear we have colder days coming. Back in the old routine today. Bozzie appeared for his breakfast wearing one of his good suits reminding me that it is Wednesday and with Parliament back in session he is trying to look smart for PMQs. Still, he got shouted at for dripping egg yolk down his tie and told to put a different one on.
It seems that Gordon Ramsey’s daughter, Tilly, who is one of the contestants on Strictly Come Dancing, is a little upset at being called ‘Chubby’. Veteran LBC radio presenter Steve Allen, who does the early morning show, is reported as saying that she couldn’t dance and was chubby. She didn’t seem to object to being told she couldn’t dance, only that she was ‘chubby’. I don’t know about her dancing ability as I don’t get to see Strictly very often but I have seen her photo. She is quite pretty but I must side with Steve Allen she is definitely chubby maybe some would even call her fat. Her problem really is that she is quite short. Is she were a bit taller no one would notice the weight.
Only yesterday I saw the Queen on the TV and thought how old and tired she was looking, she seems to have aged considerably since Phil the Greek popped his clogs. So it came as no surprise to me when I heard she had been advised by her doctors to rest and not carry out any engagements for a few days. Consequently she has cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland causing not a little disappointment there. People seem to forget she is 95 and that most people who reach that age are not working, but living in a retirement home. I hope that after a good rest she will bounce back as good as new and be able to attend COP26 in Glasgow.
Back in the Summer, Eastleigh Borough Council granted planning permission to extend the runway at Southampton Airport by 164 metres. This was after the airport had presented evidence that the short extension would allow slightly larger jets to use the airport extending the area it serves considerably and allowing it to survive. As you might have guessed the local Greens objected, as did Bournemouth Airport and both lodged appeals in the High Court. It emerged today that both appeals have been dismissed. In the crazy legal world, the two losers now have seven days to appeal against losing the appeal!
Emma Raducanu has fallen on her feet again, this time with a deal with French company Dior. She has been appointed their ambassador and will be promoting their clothing, makeup and skincare ranges. It has not been revealed how much she will be paid by Dior for this strenuous job. However, it wouldn’t be peanuts. Previous ambassador, actress Jennifer Lawrence, was reported in 2014, to have been paid £14 million for a 3-year contract. Now that’s easier money than playing tennis.
I read that the BBC has had the specialists in to redesign their logo after being told that it looked “old fashioned”. Well, I have seen the new logo and I really had no idea that it had been changed! I don’t know how much they spent on the makeover, but if it was 1p it was too much. I am told that they have changed the font of the BBC in those 3 white block they use, well you could have fooled me. In addition the blocks are slightly wider and further apart. The designer of that change must be rubbing his hands together all the way to the bank.
I could hardly believe that someone wasn’t pulling my leg when I read about the verification procedure that the Department of Work and Pensions puts first time claimants through. They are instructed to upload a photo of their ID, plus a second photo of the ID held close to their face. Next they have to upload a photo of themselves stood outside their front door (open behind them) of the property they live at. They have to ask someone else to take this from the street so whole property can be seen. Next they have to upload a photo of themselves stood next to their street name sign with their right hand holding it. They are instructed to ask someone else to take this photo from a few metres away so that the background can be clearly seen. Finally they have to upload a photo of themselves holding a copy of the local newspaper for the area they live in (not a national tabloid newspaper). The paper has to dated the same day they upload the photo. This is crazy what if your local paper is a weekly? Can you only put in your application on one day a week? Even better if the street name sign is on the side of a building 15 feet in the air as many are. Have the DWP gone completely mad?
Gosh didn’t it rain during the night. I heard it beating against the windows not long after I curled up in my basket. Then I woke up later and heard it again, I just snuggled down a bit under my cat blanket and went back to sleep. This morning it is bright and sunny but not very warm. I was reluctant to get up, as I was nice and warm in my basket over the heating pipes, but the rattle of my food bowl got me moving. When I went down the garden it looks like we have a new pond.
I read a strange little story this morning. It looks like we have a Tube station from which people are disappearing into thin air. The numbers published by Transport for London show that 16,416 people enter West Brompton station every week but only 8,049 leave it. The numbers come from people swiping in and out using the likes of Oyster Card or debit cards so should be accurate. Where are all these people going? Is there a black hole on the platform? Are people flooding out of West Brompton and going to other parts of London live? I think we should be told.
You might remember me telling you about a new cheap train service that was going to operate between London and Edinburgh with stops at Newcastle and Morpeth. Well, Lumo ran the first “press” service today ahead of their gradual introduction of services starting on Monday when they will start a seven day a week timetable by running two trains a day in either direction. As they get more new Hitachi AT300 5 car train sets delivered they intend to build up to operating 5 services in each direction per day. The seating is all one class and is airline style with flip down tables. There is no buffet car but there is a trolly service that sells food and drink. In addition it is possible to order some hot and cold food in advance which will be delivered directly to your reserved seats. In return for foregoing a buffet car the fares are very cheap, as low as £15 but not more than £19.90 for London to Edinburgh for the first month and I understand that some of the initial services have already sold out.
I find it interesting that many of the British newspapers have started publishing articles critical of Sniffer Joe, there was a lovely one in the Telegraph today. Amongst other things it pointed out that Sniffer had given only 10 interviews during his first 9 months in office. By comparison President Trump had given 57 at this point. In addition he now hasn’t given an interview for 6 weeks. Of the ten interviews he has given 3 were for the print media, one of which was for a book and another a joint interview with his wife for People Magazine. The other 7 were all pre-recorded so his major gaffs and stumbles could be edited out. It seems that Democrats are getting seriously worried about his mental abilities and are micromanaging him. The polls point to him losing any election to President Trump. The mid term elections look like they are going to be fun.
I find it amazing that the USAF is considering replacing their ageing E3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control aircraft with the Boeing E7-A Wedgetail. Effectively a private venture, the Wedgetail is a repurposed old Boeing 737 with the addition of a digital radar and a 10 man control crew. It is already in use with the RAAF and 5 have been ordered by the RAF, the first of which are currently being converted. The USAF has a fleet of 31 E7s which are based on the much older Boeing 707 airframes with mechanical radar domes. Modern electronics allows smaller airframes to house much more effective radar in them. Have Boeing done something right for once?
If you have to use Pokesdown Station, near Bournemouth, I urge you to take great care, particularly when the winter icy weather arrives. I read that the only way to reach the street from the platforms is to climb a steep flight of 42 steps. This is because the lifts are out of action and the station operator, South West Trains has failed in its franchise commitment to recommission them by December 2019. SW Trains say the problem is the lift shafts are in such poor condition that it will take a lot more than the budgeted £1.6 million to repair them and they are in talks with the local council for further funding. In the meantime at least two people have broken bones falling down the stairs. I wonder if funding will be found when the they sue SW Trains.
I have been reading about Paul Mora, a New Zealand banker, who is wanted in Germany on fraud charges. There is an Interpol red notice on him, but while he remains in New Zealand he is apparently safe from arrest. But what is he wanted for? It seems the fraud he is said to be behind was like all good frauds really quite simply. The fraud revolved around buying huge numbers of shares immediately before they went ex-dividend. Taking advantage of the settlement period, the period between buying the shares and paying for them, both the buyer and the seller claimed back tax on the dividend. This scam is understood to have been running for many years and to have siphoned off at least £1.5 billion in payments. As far as I can see only two underlings have landed up in court in Germany and have received suspended sentences, even so one has been ordered to repay €14 million.
Gosh it was chilly outside when I took my pre-breakfast constitutional. I was glad to get back into a warm kitchen for my grub. Bozzie moaned a bit about Parliament sitting today and him having to hang around in London in case he was needed for a vote in the Commons.
I read that the Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm has just completed the last of the foundations for it 165 x 8.4 MW turbines. The Hornsea 2 wind farm abuts the Hornsea 1 wind farm about 50 miles off the east coast of Yorkshire and when finished next year it will, at 1.3 GW, become the world biggest offshore wind farm. Two thirds of the new turbines are already in place but the farm is not yet generating any power. This is due to the distance it is offshore meaning that the cables bringing the power ashore have to pass through an offshore substation. This is a special type of substation known as a reactive compensation station and is necessary due to the power loss over the distance. This unit is now complete and ready to be lifted into place shortly. The two Hornsea farms together will have a nameplate capability of 2.4 GW, I wonder how often they will actually produce that amount of power, rarely I expect.
I was a little disappointed to hear that Grunt Shatts has postponed making a decision on the reinstatement of the abandoned branch line to Portishead. The planning permission was originally granted by the Planning Inspectorate but called in when the National Trust objected. However they withdrew their objections when National Rail and the local authority satisfied the objections giving the hope that Shatts would give the go ahead on the fixed date of Tuesday. Shatts has put off the decision for six months to investigate the schemes compliance with the 6th carbon budget. If it takes cars off the road, why not just get on with it?
I read today that a report has just criticised the NHS for wasting money. Can you believe that the people who are always complaining about not having enough money last year wasted money on buying season tickets at football grounds, National Trust memberships, renting beach huts, Amazon Prime subscriptions, PlayStations, restaurant meals and theme park tickets? These were all purchases made by regular NHS users who were being funded under “personal budgets” who can decide how the money is spent. I would have a new cat basket, a new food bowl and a case of Felix Chicken!
Panasonic are to stop making their own TV sets in Europe and instead outsource all the manufacturing. At the moment they design and prototype in Germany and manufacture many of their own models using a company factory in the Czech Republic. Some small sets are already manufactured in Vietnam but there have been stories doing the rounds that they were going to outsource the manufacturing of medium-size sets to China. However, the outsourcing of all manufacturing seems to have come as a complete surprise.
Good news for the city of Kingston upon Hull, Siemens Gamesa has been chosen as preferred bidder for turbines for the 860MW Moray West offshore wind farm, off Scotland and the turbines & their blades are scheduled to be built in the Hull factory. Siemens only announced the expansion of this factory in August, doubling its size and employing 200 additional people. As much as I think wind turbines are rubbish I am pleased for people getting well paid jobs.
I have always understood that it was you humans that were responsible for killing off the woolly mammoth some 4,000 years ago by hunting them to extinction. However, I have just been reading that that wasn’t the case at all. It was all down to ‘climate change’. No it wasn’t too hot or too cold, it was too wet for them! A report by the University of Cambridge says that at the end of the Ice Age, as the ice retreated it became much too wet for the vegetation the mammoths ate to grow and they effectively all starved to death. Mammoths were grass eaters and the wet lands and trees that appeared at the end of the ice age was unsuitable for them and they just couldn’t adapt.
Another chilly morning, but at least I am on my own and can do my own thing. The Dreamies girl was on ‘feeding Larry breakfast duty’ and as you know I am quite happy to see her. She pets me and talks to me and digs out the pouches of Felix Chicken from the back of the cupboard where I am certain the Little Otter hides them, putting my least favourite seafood mix at the front.
I have just been reading what you can take with you on the Tube. It makes sense to me that folding bikes and folding buggys are allowed, but electric scooters? It seems that most things are allowed provided you can carry it on your own and it is under 2 metres long. I guess that would count out an adult coffin but not a child’s. As far as animals are concerned as you would expect you can always take assistance dogs. You can usually take other dogs and “inoffensive animals” provided there is not a good reason to refuse them and they are in a suitable container. So you can take your pet bunny on the Northern Line but not your pet skunk. I find the Mutt offensive so he should be banned. In addition you should be able to carry the animal so that rules out your pet pony no matter how inoffensive it is!
Doreen Lofthouse, who died earlier this year, has left £41.4 million to a charity that aims to develop her home town of Fleetwood. Mrs Lofthouse was a member of the family that owns the Fisherman’s Friend cough sweets. Mrs Lofthouse married into the Lofthouse family who invented the lozenge back in 1865 and has already donated millions to charity. The sweets are now exported all over the world and the factory churns out some 5 billion lozenges a year.
I read that a big storm on continental Europe has broken turbine blades on wind turbines in France and Germany. The turbines in question are Enercon E-138 EP3 turbines and one blade on two turbines were severely damaged. From the pictures I have seen they were hanging off. The turbine is rated at 4.2 MW and many of them have had to be shut down as a precaution. I wait to hear what was wrong with the bird chompers.
It was announced last week that Lufthansa was acquiring 4 Airbus A350’s. It looks the planes will come from the fleets of various lessors but will not be added to the actual Lufthansa fleet. The A350-900’s are expected to go to Lufthansa owned Swiss International Air Lines.
I bet you haven’t read this anywhere else but two new North Sea gas fields have just come on line. Although not up to maximum expected output yet the Shell Arron field and the NEO Energy Finnlaggan field have both started producing in recent weeks. Given the current position with natural gas supplies any increase in supply is welcome. Two further North Sea gas projects are expected to come online in the coming weeks. Harbour Energy Plc’s Tolmount field is expected around year-end, and IOG Plc’s Phase 1 venture in the fourth quarter this year. With more fields expected to come online next year I hear that UK domestic gas production is expected to be 35 billion cubic metres next year compared to 27 billion this year.
It’s about time it occurred, but I read that National Highways have filed High Court cases against nine Insult Britain protestors who they claim have breached injunctions by dangerously blocking M25 motorway junctions. If the court finds the nine were indeed guilty of blocking the motorway they could be fined or imprisoned. I understand that 112 people have been served with injunctions and these are the just first 9 and that more are expected follow shortly. All I can say is what has taken so long?
That’s me done for another week. It’s cold and grotty here in Downing Street, so once going to be a comfy chair or my basket yet again for this afternoon’s snooze. Chat to you all on Monday.