Gosh, it was wet when I woke up, but it’s lovely and sunny now. I hope it stays this way for an afternoon snooze. Bozzie was sniggering at breakfast about being called scum. I heard him chatting to the Little Otter who thought it very rude, but Bozzie didn’t appear that bothered as he said that being called scum by a fishwife wouldn’t do his voting numbers any harm.
I told you last week that lots of interesting things were coming out of the DESI show. Today I have been learning about the Israeli missile being offered to meet the RN requirement for an anti-ship and ground attack missile for service in 2023. ISI have joined forces with Thales to develop the RN version of the missile, which they call Sea Serpent, which they claim is in a family of missiles they are also developing for Singapore and Finland. However, they claim that Sea Serpent will be best in class with a range of around 300 km. It is designed to replace the Type 23 anti-ship Harpoon missile, which is getting a bit old and in short supply now. It is claimed to be able to work without substantial modifications to the quad launchers on the RN Type 23 ships. I thought we were developing a replacement jointly with France but I hear this won’t be ready until the 2030s thus the need for an interim replacement. Additionally, the Americans have cancelled several proposed Harpoon upgrades because they consider there to be newer better missiles available or being developed.
I hear a scary story about electric vehicles, especially Tesla’s. When your ICE car breaks down it is nearly always possible to put it in neutral and push it out of harm’s way. However, I read of an American driver happily driving along a highway when the car ground to a halt in the middle of the road displaying the message “vehicle may not restart: service required.” True to the message the vehicle would not restart, it could not be put into neutral and the handbrake could not be released. Imagine this happening to you in the middle of the M25 during the rush hour. This is how the car is designed to react which is very worrying. Oh, and nearly all EVs cannot be towed, they need to be loaded on a flatbed truck and this is just what happened in this case. With the breaks still locked on the car had to be dragged up the slope onto the back of the flatbed. You may be able to get your car into “tow mode” if your electronic screen is still partially working, but if your electronics have died hard luck.
I have been reading about a family who booked a summer holiday in a lovely 5-star hotel in Newquay through the online travel agent Booking.Com. When the family arrived, after a 5-hour drive, they were told that despite accepting the booking 6 months before the online agent had not passed the booking on and the hotel was totally full. Booking.com were contacted and told them not to worry as they had found them rooms in an equivalent hotel. The only problem was the hotel was in Uxbridge on the outskirts of West London 250 miles away and could hardly be described as a seaside resort suitable for a family holiday. I do hope the family found somewhere to stay and sued the arse of the useless travel agent.
I understand that Rolls Royce have won the competition to re-engine the 76 strong fleet of B52 Bombers. The chosen engine is designated F130 and is a military version of the widely used BR725. It is used in numerous corporate jets like the Gulfstream G500, G550 and the Bombardier Global Express. Other versions of the BR700 engine family power the new Dassault Falcon 10X and even airliners like the Tu-334 and the Boeing 717. It is already used in the US military as they already operate military versions of the two Gulfstreams and the Global Express. The order should be for around 650 engines which is for 8 per B52 and spares and should be manufactured in the Rolls Royce US manufacturing facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. The contract is worth just over $500 million but with other options such as maintenance and spare parts is expected to run to over $2.5 billion. One spin-off of the new engines is that by default they generate vastly more electric power than the old TF33s. One suggestion is that laser weapons could be installed to make use of the spare power.
With the German election results, are we moving closer to seeing a network of night sleeper trains running across Europe including the UK? As part of their manifesto, the German Greens have said that if they were to form part of a government they would back a network of 40 night sleeper services across the continent as a way of reducing CO2. Among the proposals are several through the channel tunnel to European cities, including London to Barcelona and Edinburgh to Paris. Even Fishguard to Paris is proposed to link with the ferry to Dublin as we mustn’t forget the Irish!
It didn’t take long for the rumour mills to change their target from Arsenal manager Arteta to Totteringham manager Nuno Espirito Santo. Nuno only became manager in the summer and was proclaimed the best thing since sliced bread when he won his first three league matches in charge to put his team top of the league with North London rivals Arsenal at the bottom. Now after 6 games, Arsenal are above The Spuds having mullered them at the weekend. It is said that Totteringham chairman and the power behind the throne is not to be happy and he is known to be ruthless in his hiring and firing. But to sack Nuno after just 6 matches would seem a bit over the top.
The trial of suspended Labour MP Claudia Webbe started this morning and sounds like it is going to make interesting reading. Webbe is the MP who was elected to Keith “the industrial washing machine salesman” Vaz’s old seat. The case against her was outlined and it was claimed that the MP had threatened to send naked pictures of a woman to her family, attack her with acid, called her a slag and made numerous silent phone calls to her. The prosecution said the reason was jealousy. The MP’s boyfriend and the woman had been friends for over 15 years and Webbe didn’t like it. Despite being spoken to and warned by the police, she is said to have continued to harass the woman. I will be interested to see how this develops.
Wet again first thing but like yesterday it didn’t last long. However today I hear it is due to rain this afternoon so it looks like my windowsill snooze is cancelled. It will have to be a bit of chair testing this afternoon. I have an eye in a big leather one in the reception waiting area.
Did you remember that the rules regarding GB plates changed today? If you are taking your car abroad as of today you need to display a UK plate in place of the GB plate or come to that if your live in Northern Ireland an NI plate. This is a consequence of leaving the EU and the UN specifying that our national identification letters were now UK. Don’t worry if you never take your car abroad you don’t need to do anything. But even if you have one of those fancy number plates with a little Union Flag on it with GB below it you will need either to change it or cover it up with a UK sticker. If your number plate has an EU flag on it and GB then you definitely need to change it as you are identifying yourself as a Remoaner and an idiot.
The yanks have just successfully tested a new scramjet-powered hypersonic missile capable of flying at 5 times the speed of sound. The Raytheon missile was dropped from an aircraft and the air-breathing engine kicked in seconds later. The missile engine compresses incoming air and mixes it with hydrocarbon fuel pushing the missile to 1700 metres per second. However, if you think this is fast, the Americans are playing catch-up. The Russians claim to have a missile able to fly at Mach 7 while the Chinese claim Mach 10, but who knows if they are telling the truth.
I hear that a man in Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire saw council workmen painting on the road outside his home. When he went outside to see what was happening he discovered that they were painting yellow zig-zag lines and “School Keep Clear” on the road. He pointed out that this was outside a private home but the council contractors said they had been paid to paint the road and just carried on. The building had once been a school but it has been closed for 18 years and converted into private housing. The owner is now worried about being ticketed for parking outside his own home. The Council admit it was a mistake and the sign will be painted over when possible. What a waste of money.
The Tube and London bound trains were packed to the gunnels this morning. It seems the petrol shortage has forced people to leave their cars at home and return to public transport. Passenger numbers on the Tube were up 7% yesterday and Network Rail trains into London up 6%. The initial reports say they are up again this morning. With fuel suppliers putting up both petrol and diesel by 10p a litre in the last few days it’s hardly surprising people are returning to the trains.
Interesting little article in the news this morning about heat pumps. After paying £10,000 for an air source heat pump and its installation, it probably won’t be adequately warming your house because since the 1970s central heating has employed micro-bore pipes to circulate the hot water. Because a heat pump is incapable of heating water to as high a temperature as a conventional boiler bigger bore pipes are required. Micro-bore pipes are normally 8mm o.d. and for an adequate volume of hot water to circulate you will probably need at least 22mm o.d. as a minimum. So how much more is this going to cost? Well, add another £2,500 for the piping and its installation. If you need bigger pipes you will also need bigger radiators, so you can probably and another £2,000 for that. Finally what is never mentioned is that you will probably need to redecorate after ripping out all those old pipes. So I reckon you can add at least 50% to that quoted £10,000 for a heat pump.
I see that train services to the Kent coast were in trouble last night after an umbrella on the line caused massive problems. The umbrella fell across the third (750 volt DC) rail and shorted it out with one of the running rails. Unfortunately, this didn’t just cause a fuse to blow. It caused parts of the power and running rails flanges to melt and meant that it would be unsafe to run trains over them. Network Rail engineers have had to replace several lengths of rail, sleeper and other equipment to renew to restore the service.
This weather is confusing me, when I retired to my cat basket last night it was pouring with rain, this morning it is bright and sunny! The temperature is edging down but it is still warm enough to snooze on the windowsill especially when the sun is shining. No PMQs today because I hear that Parliament is on holiday because it is conference season. Stoma is making a big speech at lunchtime and I hope to keep an eye on it and report to you tomorrow.
I hear that the Government is considering “adjusting” its green climate change policy. Following recent problems with lack of wind and little sun, they have decided that leaning so heavily on renewables is a problem. Instead, they are looking at using nuclear power for the base load, just like this cat has been advocating for ages. But this in itself raises problems. Over the next few years, many of the old nuclear power stations are due to shut down and only one new one is under construction. On top of that, the next station on the horizon was to be of Chinese ownership and we decided that this is not on. Could this be good news for the likes of Rolls Royce with their factory-built small modular reactors? Well, I think this is likely to be the case, I have heard that the Government are seriously considering investing in the Rolls SMR program. Good idea says this cat.
I read of a little bit of a cock-up at Blackpool on Saturday evening. They are hosting the World Fireworks Championships and on Saturday it was Ireland’s turn to mount the display. The local council anticipated a huge crowd and warned of massive traffic jams after the show and begged people to come by train. Many did and how did Northern Rail respond? They cancelled the last train leaving a station packed with distraught passengers. Many people had rushed to the station to catch earlier trains cutting the evening short. When people boarded an earlier train, Northern sudden told them it too was cancelled and threw them off only to suddenly reinstate the service leading to a stampede of passengers reboarding. Lots of people were left with no option but to take an expensive taxi home.
I hear that Dulwich in South London has gone woke this Bonfire Night. After cancelling last year’s display due to Covid they are back this year but there will be no bonfire. Apparently, it is bad for the environment. Instead, they plan to project the picture of a bonfire onto a screen. Oh, and they are banning the kids using sparklers! Another tradition sacrificed on the altar of wokeism.
I know it seems longer but Hinckley Point ‘C’, the nuclear power station in Somerset, has now been under construction for 5 years today. The owners, EDF, has announced that they are on target to complete the station by 2026, another 5 years. The cost of the building has gone up by £5 billion over those 5 years taking it to an eye-watering £23 billion. The only problem is we need it now not in 5 years time.
Good news for many South London commuters, Southeastern trains have introduced Class 700 trains on a number of services. These are similar to the trains being used by Thameslink and have proved reliable and more spacious if not more comfortable than its predecessors. The 30 x 5 car trains were originally supplied to SouthWest trains but even before they went into service the franchise changed hands and the new owner decided to purchase trains from Bombardier instead of these Siemens units and returned them in a very nearly new state to the leasing company. This version of the train, Class 707, is now being introduced on commuter services in southeast London and north Kent replacing 29-year-old Networkers.
Tonight it is the quarterfinal of the Ladies FA Cup. The odd thing is this is last year’s competition! It seems that ‘because of Covid’ all but the elite teams had to stop playing last year. The Ladies FA Cup had started and there were still many lowly teams left in the competition, so a decision had to be made as to whether it should be abandoned or postponed until the following season. Well, it was postponed and the final rounds of last season’s cup will take place after this season’s has started. This could lead to teams still being in last years cup but out of this year’s. It could be a tad confusing.
I was a little chilly when I woke up this morning, the autumn seems to have arrived. Fortunately, the Little Otter put the oven on to warm up some croissants for breakfast and it made the kitchen feel much better. Bozzie wasn’t happy with croissants, he called them Froggy rubbish, he suggested butterflying them and topping them with scrambled eggs. The Little Otter was not amused.
I read that North Korea has claimed that it has test fired a hypersonic missile. That beggars two questions. Firstly did they really do it? I’m pretty sure that if they had it would have been picked up by one of the many surveillance systems out there and so far no other nation has confirmed the claim. But secondly, do they have the capability to develop such a thing on their own? I suspect not. If they have in fact secretly managed to fire such a missile I would guess it had to have come from either Russia or China or just possibly Iran. Would any of them be stupid enough to give Rocket Boy a weapon he could every easily use against them?
I was delighted to see we have upset the Kermits once again. This time it’s over us enforcing our post Brexit fishing rights. It seems that we have only licensed 12 out of 47 small fishing boats that applied to fish in our waters. According to the French, this is unfair, however we said we have acted in line with all the agreements that were put in place when we left the EU. The French have demanded that we show them how we came to that conclusion. Mind, I hear this is a minor problem when compared to the Channel Island of Jersey who apparently have turned away 75 license applications from the Frogs. I say tough, sick it up Frenchie.
So that copper who kidnapped, raped, killed and burned the body of Sarah Everard has been given a full life sentence and quite right too. The man is undoubtedly evil and in earlier days he would have been hanged. The argument that there is a chance of hanging an innocent man doesn’t apply here as he admitted his guilt. Instead we will have to pay to keep him in prison for thirty or forty years. Mind you he might not last that long in jail, I understand that old lags don’t take every well to rapists, especially police ones.
I learnt this week that the DVLA were sitting on 54,000 HGV license applications because many of the staff are working from home and not dealing speedily with the applications. Why are they still at home? Well, it seems that the Welsh Government have put rules in place that make it impossible for normal working in the DVLC’s Swansea building because of distance requirements between workers. Then I learn that 47,000 HGV driving tests were cancelled ‘because of Covid’. I know that not all of those 47,000 would have passed their test, but on average 60% do. We are supposed to be 100,000 HGV drivers short and these two items together nearly reduce it to zero. Nothing to do with Brexit, nothing to do with European workers going home, just blame it all on Covid and in particular the Welsh Government.
British Airways has announced that they will be operating wide-body Boeing 787-8 aircraft on many of its Airbus A320 short haul routes throughout October. It seems that while passenger numbers have been improving they are still far from pre-Covid levels so the question is why? The answer it seems is that cargo volumes in Europe are increasing and the B787 can carry vastly more cargo pallets than an A320. Expect to see 787’s on route to the likes of Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, Larnaca and Cairo and even a Boeing 777 on the Rome route.
Jet Blue landed its first service from JFK Airport New York at Gatwick this morning. A few things of interest made me read about this flight. It was a narrow body flight operated by one of the airlines three new Airbus A321-XR planes. It was the only service between New York and Gatwick and it is only a month since Jet Blue flew it’s first service into London landing at Heathrow. Jet Blue has another ten 4,200 mile range A321-XR’s on order with another thirteen 4,700 mile A321-XLR’s to follow. These aircraft are ideal for a new route as they are much cheaper to operate than a wide-body and what would be a profit making full load for a narrow body would is a money losing half load or less for a wide-body. It will be interesting to see how long it is before they want to increase their four flights a week to Gatwick.
The rain was hammering down early this morning, making so much noise that it woke me. I stuck my paws in my ears and went back to sleep. I finally got up when Bozzie came in singing ‘the wheels on the bus’ to the Brat. He made up a new verse when they saw me ‘the cats on the bus go Meow, Meow Meow’.
I have been hearing a little more about why the Australians dumped the French over the submarine contract. Basically, the French were trying to impose their culture on the Aussies and twist the contract to French advantage. It seems that the main engineering companies in Australia are either British or American owned and the French just didn’t want to deal with them. The one big French Company in Australia is Thales and the French submarine builder, Naval Group, don’t see eye to eye with them. Consequently, subcontracts that were supposed to be placed in Australia were being placed in France. The French insisted on long lunch breaks, with wine, while the Aussies were happy with a sandwich at the desk. To make up the list of Australian sub-contractors, the French even included the restaurants where they ate lunch! After 18 months the contract was running 18 months late. When the Aussies wanted to talk about the situation, the French were nowhere to be seen, it was August and they had shut down for the month’s annual holiday. No wonder the Frogs were dumped, the Aussies didn’t like being played for mugs.
More problems for Sniffer Joe last night. Octogenarian Nancy Pelosi had to postpone the vote on Joe’s $1 trillion Infrastructure Bill when it became obvious that there wasn’t enough support in the House for it to pass. A number of progressive Democrats are reported to be withholding support. There had been discussions all day but it became clear they were getting nowhere. So instead of losing the vote and having the bill tossed out, it was decided to postpone the vote. Of course Nancy tried to put a gloss on things saying it was “a day of progress” but that was clearly rubbish.
BAe has landed a 10-year contract to upgrade and maintain US Army helicopter missile warning systems. The contract is worth some $872 million and relates to BAe’s ‘2 colour advanced warning system’ which uses two colour infrared sensors. I find it strange that British contractors are beating Americans on their home turf.
The Japanese helicopter carrier Izumo that is being converted to also fly F35B jets is very nearly ready. The Japanese are buying 157 F35s and it is said 42 of them need to be the VSTOL F35B version, however they only have 8 of this version on order for delivery starting 2024. They have however allocated funding for 4 more in next year’s budget. Starting next month the US Marine Corp will be using its Japanese based F35Bs to test take off and landings on the Izumo. The carrier has had its deck treated to withstand jet wash and repainted for jets. Its ILS has been upgraded, storage and systems for Jet Fuel have been installed and new armouries created for the J35’s weapons fit. The Izumo’s sister ship, Kaga, is to undergo similar modifications.
A new interconnection under the North Sea is due to go into use on Friday. The cable will run for 450 miles between Stavanger in Norway and Blyth in Northumberland. The £1.6 billion link has taken 5,580 days of sea work to construct and will carry about the same amount of power as the Denmark link. But why a link to Norway? It seems that the Norwegians generate most of their power from hydroelectric and have spare capacity. But we have loads of gas under the UK and we prefer to pay a foreign country for power we could generate ourselves.
I had a little chuckle when I read that a new wind turbine in Germany collapsed in a heap just hours before it was to be officially inaugurated. The 239 metre high structure collapsed, with no warning, shortly before the ceremony. At the moment no one has any idea what caused the collapse, the police have said that sabotage is not suspected, but a sister turbine has been shut down as a precaution.
Morning everyone, a bit grey but dry. I hear it is going to be wet and very windy later so I’m off on my outdoor patrol as soon as I have eaten my breakfast. That will give me a chance to check the offices before my chair testing snooze. It should be a good weekend and a quiet few day here in Downing Street as Bozzie is off to the party conference in Manchester.
You probably remember me reporting that Sky are on the verge of launching their service over the internet so that people who can’t have a satellite dish can at last get their programs. The idea is to have a box that plugs into the internet and works like a Sky Q box and can record multiple channels while you watch another. I now hear that Sky are to launch a family of smart TV sets with a built in tuner for Sky’s internet service. I understand that the 3 smart TV’s starting with a 43” set but also have 55” and 65” versions which will have a built-in Dolby Atmos sound bar and offer an HRD picture. You will also be able to record up to 1,000 hours of programs, not on the set but on servers provided by Sky in the subscription. There will also be something they are calling a “puck” which will be connected by wi-fi to the Sky “Glass” TV to broadcast Sky TV channels around the house in a similar way to Sky Q. It looks to me like Sky are preparing for battle with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Discovery+ without the need for a satellite dish.
Remoaner idiot Steve Bray got himself into trouble at the Labour Party Brighton conference. He was busy canvassing Labour MP’s to rejoin the EU and could be found outside the conference hall shouting his pro-EU slogans and waving an EU flag. But what upset local residents was him playing Ode to Joy at full volume. They complained to Brighton Council but surprise, surprise that lefty mob don’t seem to have done anything.
This morning it was announced that Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) has succeeded with their bid for Morrisons. The takeover panel had held an auction for the supermarket and CD&R won by bidding 287p a share, just a penny more than their rivals Fortress Investment Group. The £7 billion bid is all cash or the shares plus another £3 billion to pay off their debt. It will now need to be approved by Morrison’s shareholders. If it is the takeover should become formal next month.
Since 2016 Mexico has had its presidential Boeing 787 parked and unused. They have had it up for sale but there have been no takers. It’s worth noting that if they can’t sell it they will have to pay $16 million next year to keep it stored. Back in 2012 Mexico paid $114.6 million for a 27-year lease on the two-year-old B787-8, one of the first off the production line. Mexico the paid another $4 million to have the plane customised for the president who used it extensively for several years. Then came an election and in his campaign the opposition candidate said the aircraft was an excess and vowed if elected he would never use it and that’s just what has happened. In the meantime, the aircraft flies occasionally between Mexico City where it lives and Victorville where it is maintained. It appears that no one wants to buy it because of the conversion. The only hope is that the next president will use it.
I understand that developers have decided to go ahead with a huge speculative office block in Victoria. It will be the biggest development in London since the pandemic. The building, at 105 Victoria Street, is 470,000 sq ft and is expected to cost around £1 billion to construct. The developers have just put out the call tenders and such a prestigious building is sure to start a fight between the big contractors for a building that is to be all electric and supplied from all renewable resources.
I hear that the sixth-generation fighter being developed by BAe with collaboration from Italy and Sweden is on the verge of signing up a forth partner for the project. It looks like Japan is likely to join the project in the near future. The Japanese Self Defence Force has a requirement for a very similar aircraft to the Anglo Swedish Italian ‘Tempest’. Japan has an advanced aero industry in both airframes and engines and should fit well into the consortium. The more nations in the pact the bigger the market and the cheaper the aircraft to develop.
Right, oh I’m done and I’m off to find a comfy chair for a snooze as it is pouring with rain out there. I can get a few hours in before dinner. Chat to you all on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2021