Morning everybody and it’s another freezing one. There was a heavy frost this morning so I rushed down the garden and rushed back again for my breakfast before my paws got cold. I always feel a bit warmer after eating so I was delighted to see that Bozzie had added the fat off his bacon to my breakfast Felix. Tasty and filling as he had 3 slices of bacon in his sandwich.
I had a lovely chuckle when I heard that Crayons was giving a speech this morning talking about cooperation and saying that the Tories don’t talk to each other when the news broke that Sir Kier Stoma was reshuffling his shadow cabinet. Reporters asked her what was happening and she said she had no idea. She said that she had only had a brief phone call from Stoma and she only knew there was to be a reshuffle sometime this week. Meanwhile, Stoma said she had been fully briefed, someone is telling porkies! As I dictate this I know of only one change, Cat Smith is returning to the backbenches. I think that as a huge Tramp supporter that was hardly a surprise.
According to a newspaper report this morning the reason that Ginge and Whinge quit the UK was that in the Queen’s 2019 Christmas Day broadcast she had a photo of Wills, Kate and family on her desk but not one of them. Apparently, the photo was not there because the Sussexes had not chosen to spend Christmas with the Queen but instead chose to stay in Canada. If you quit a country because your granny has not included your photo on her desk you must be totally stupid. As I hear they are not coming to the UK this Christmas I guess their photo will be missing again.
I was intrigued to read that the EU financial centres that boasted that they would be taking 10s of thousands of jobs from London “because of Brexit” have given up trying to attract the big financial companies away from London. Some cities, notably Frankfurt and Dublin, expected to win huge numbers of jobs, but it just hasn’t happened. The big financial companies have moved a few people to the EU, but only enough to keep a presence there that allows them to carry on trading while keeping the vast majority in the UK.
Big changes to the Covid 19 vaccination program today. All adults (over 18s) are to be able to get the booster jab and all children (11 to 18) are to be able to get a second jab. I hear that the aim is to deliver at least 6 million booster jabs in the next 3 weeks and 25 million in total. Severely immunosuppressed people are even to be offered a fourth jab. I am sure this is quite possible as at times we have been delivering some 500,000 jabs a day. Yesterday there were nearly 300,000 vaccinated and that was a Sunday when the numbers are always low.
BP has announced that it is to build a hydrogen production plant in Teeside. The idea is that it will support the production of hydrogen heavy goods vehicles. The plant will be initially rated at 60Mw but designed to be expanded to 500Mw if demand warranted it. I understand that 60Mw would be enough to support a fleet of around 1,300 heavy trucks. I guess this is proof that the big vehicle manufacturers don’t think electric trucks are practical. I wonder if cars could go the same way?
I hear that despite the Kermits doing all they possibly could to cut the UK out of yesterday’s meeting of some EU ministers to discuss cross channel illegal migrants, Pretty Petal has come to an agreement with the Dutch migration minister. The Dutch have agreed that illegal immigrants should be returned to their starting point and have indicated that this is also the EU view. This rather leaves Macaroon out on a limb, are they going to go against the EU? Yesterday the Frogs were forced to accept flights over the French departure beaches by the EU border force. It seems the weekend didn’t go to plan for Macaroon.
Delighted that it’s a lot warmer this morning, I even had a wander around the garden for the first time in several days. It is very dull and looking like it might rain but at least it is not frosty and freezing. Still, it definitely isn’t warm enough to snooze on the window sill. Bozzie was sniggering as he read about the changes to the shadow cabinet. He was particularly amused by the demise of Pussycat Smith, Ed Millibrain and Lord Forkbender. But what pleased him most was that David Lumpy was still in the shadow cabinet, he said while that stupid lump is still in the front bench team Labour have no chance.
The Mace Dragados joint venture that has the contract for the HS2 station at Euston has just gained planning permission to build the 6-storey combined site accommodation and skills training centre on the grounds of the former Maria Fidelis School in Camden. The 60,000 sq ft. temporary modular building has been designed by architects and will be built in an East Yorkshire factory and will offer changing facilities for 2,500 site workers. Whatever happened to the good old Portakabin that has been good enough for site workers since long before I was a kitten?
Under 5 years ago Siemens converted two container ships into roll on – roll off ferries to move its offshore wind turbines from its factories to its wind farms. However, the ships at 141.6 metres long are now considered too short to move the next generation of turbines and the first of the two ships is in the Holland Shipbuilding Groups dry dock being extended to 152.7 metres long. The second ship is to be widened to 23.6 metres wide. I wonder how long it will be before these ships are too small and need stretching or replacing?
Some time ago I reported on Qatar Airways complaining about the paint finish on its new Airbus A350s. I learn that the problem results from the lightweight composite structure of the aircraft not expanding and contracting at the same rate as paint and aluminium components. The problem seems to be worse when the aircraft sits in the hot sun which probably explains why Qatar Airways is suffering. It seems that Airbus use a layer of expanded copper foil on top of the composite to act as a lightning conductor and this doesn’t help. I hear Airbus are experimenting with changing the expanded copper to perforated copper foil as a possible solution. Good luck to them.
Yesterday I told you that London bankers aren’t moving to the EU as predicted by the Remoaners. Today I hear that the European banks are not happy with the EU stance on London’s multi-trillion dollar derivatives trading market. At the moment they have a temporary exemption from the EU that allows them to trade on London’s multi-trillion dollar derivatives trading market. This exemption is due to expire soon and the European banks are worried that EU will not extend exemption on political grounds. If this were to happen they would be locked out of a major part of their business resulting in London becoming stronger. Will the EU cut off its nose to spite its face.
Weatherspoon has signed a new 20 year deal with Budweiser ending a 41 year deal with Heineken. The major thing is that they will no longer be selling John Smith’s and Strongbow. Instead, they will be selling Worthington’s bitter, supplied by brewer Molson Coors and Stowford Press Apple and Stowford Press Mixed Berries, made by Westons Cider. I guess some of you will be delighted by this and others annoyed. As I only drink water it makes not an iota of difference to me!
I read that the US has been testing the F35 as a launch platform for its StormBreaker steerable glide bomb. The bomb is a precision air to ground weapon specifically designed to take out moving and stationary armoured vehicles from up to 40 miles away. The bomb’s warhead is capable of destroying everything up to and including heavy tanks. The F35’s electronics are capable of tracking and attacking multiple targets at the same time. The F35 will be able to carry up to 20 of these bombs making it a formidable tank buster. The intention is for this bomb to replace the helicopter launched hellfire missile which only has a range of 8 kilometres and due to the helicopters slower speed is much more vulnerable.
Another decent morning, quite mild and a bit of sun so I walked down the garden. It must have been raining during the night as my paws got rather damp from the soggy grass. Then back for my brekkie, today it was my favourite chicken flavour Felix so I am now in a good mood.
So Babcock have finished fitting out the Rosyth construction shed for the Type 31 frigates, with the commissioning of 2 x 125 tonne overhead cranes. Babcock have also announced that they want to hire another 500 workers for the project. I find it interesting how many companies are announcing their plans to hire more people. I know we have 1,000,000 on the unemployment register but has anyone considered why most of these people are jobless? Could it be because they are unemployable? Of course, I know it takes years to train to be a skilled worker, whether it’s, in Babcock’s case a fitter, plater or welder, or doctors, nurses, HGV drivers, or machinists. Obviously, there will be some people on the dole willing to be trained or between jobs, but I wouldn’t mind betting there are many more happy to take money for sitting on their arses.
Undergraduates at Cambridge University’s Corpus Christi College are not very happy because the standard of catering has collapsed. It seems that following a series of college formal events being cancelled last year the well-respected catering manager was let go. Apparently, the number of chefs has fallen from 13 to 3 and consequently the college is buying in prepared food like bags of frozen sliced vegetables and shop-bought cakes. But, horror of horrors, they have stopped offering breakfast. The poor undergraduates have even taken to eating breakfast at other colleges.
Two mothballed gas-fired power stations have told the government that they are ready and able to rejoin the grid, but it seems that red tape is stopping them. The station’s previous owners went bust last year meaning that they lost their contracts to supply the grid. They have now been bought by a new owner and are ready to generate again and help the grid through the expected power shortages this winter, saving having to fire up coal-fired stations. But the government says to buy power from them would be wrong because they ended the bidding round to supply electricity last March. The problem is that because last March they were in administration they were barred from bidding. Another case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.
The BBC 1 programmes for the evening of Christmas Day are exactly the same as last year. Although they are, in the vast majority not repeats, but new versions of long-running programmes they do show rather a lack of ambition at the BBC. Long gone are the days when everyone looked forward to a good film and a Christmas special of Morecombe and Wise or The Two Ronnies, now it is the Christmas special of Strictly Come Dancing and Mrs Browns Boys. I think my scribe has the best deal as he should be on his Caribbean cruise enjoying a slap-up dinner!
I hear that OneWeb has signed a deal with GDC Advanced Technology to develop an in-flight connectivity (IFC) terminal to connect aircraft to OneWeb’s satellite constellation. The new terminal is based on the electronically steered antenna and has already undergone initial testing at the GDC facilities in Fort Worth, Texas. Initial flight testing on a Boeing 777 is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022, with certification expected in early 2023. I understand that the IFC will come in two sizes, one for large commercial aircraft and a second small version for small planes like business jets. The OneWeb device should allow aircraft to talk to not just their new low earth orbit satellites but also to the existing geostationary satellites as existing ones do.
The EU has had to withdraw an instruction booklet they issued to the 27 members defining what they could and could not say. The woke book even suggested people should be asked for their personal pronouns. But it seems the bit that really caused problems among the members was the instruction that “Christmas” was to become “Seasonal Holiday”. This upset just about every nation, forcing the withdrawal of the leaflet. Quite right too.
Morning all. It’s colder again this morning but bright and sunny, not too bad though and a still went out for my pre-breakfast constitutional. Bozzie was in funny mood this morning, he was very nice to me stroking me and calling me “old chap”. But he snapped at the Little Otter when she told him to be careful not to drip egg yolk down his tie “again”. I think that it’s either that Captain Hindsight annoyed him yesterday or that Macaroon is reported to have called him a knucklehead.
Why has the government bought 114 million doses of coronavirus vaccine if we already have enough to see the current booster shot programme through? Well, I understand that the doses are for delivery over the next two years. Now, if we divide by 2 that’s 67 million doses a year which I reckon is just about the number in the people in the UK over the age of five. So I think it’s being set up to give everyone a booster for the next two years.
The National Rail winter timetable change comes into force on December 12th which is probably the day you will be reading this. One of the biggest changes is that the Gatwick Express will be making its return. It has been suspended, due to Covid, since March 2020. What is interesting is that in some places the numbers of commuters seems to have fallen and the evening and weekend “leisure” travellers have increased. Consequently, some weekend services into the likes of London are being increased to weekday levels and services out of London finishing later at night.
I hear the residents of a street in Wokingham woke up to find that overnight the local council had been round and painted double yellow lines down the street. The council had even hired a crane to lift up parked cars so that they could paint under them. But that wasn’t the end of it, within an hour the parking wardens were round issuing £85 parking tickets. I wonder just how legal this was? Were the residents warned beforehand that this was going to happen? Was it legal to lift up the cars to paint under them? I can see some interesting court cases coming up.
I’m not sure if this is good news for Boeing or not, but I hear that the Chinese aviation regulators have issued an airworthiness directive for all Boeing 737Max aircraft. The Chinese have not yet followed the rest of the world and accepted the 737Max back into service but this could indicate that they might be getting nearer to doing so. Before its grounding the market for the 737Max was huge and around 150 of them are sitting on the tarmac awaiting clearance to be delivered.
Yesterday I reported on the OneWeb antenna for aircraft, today I read that antenna maker Kymeta announced a partnership with OneWeb to jointly develop a flat panel. This is an electronically steered user terminal for stationary land applications. It is a device aimed at government, business and communities that need high throughput and should be available in the third quarter of next year. The device that this joint venture is to be based on is available to the military and can access both LEO and geostationary satellites and has demonstrated a download speed of 200Mbs. OneWeb is due to become commercially available in the Northern Hemisphere this month and to have its full complement of satellites launched by the end of next year.
Why do new drugs have such unpronounceable names? Today I have been reading about Xevudy – also known as sotrovimab – a new treatment that has been approved for anyone aged over 12 who has developed Covid. It is said to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid by 79%. The drug was developed by GlaxoSmithKline who say that preclinical data shows the drug, “Retains activity against key mutations of the new Omicron variant”. This is a bit different to other anti-Covid drugs in that it is administered by intravenous infusion over 30 minutes and is for those with mild or moderate Covid.
A cold drizzly morning, not my favourite type of day, but I still ventured into the garden rather than visit that disgusting litter tray. Bozzie was happy to have won the by-election and laughed at the Labour woman on the radio who was saying it was a triumph for Stoma. He celebrated with a bacon sandwich and I got the fat, very tasty.
The word this morning is that later today the BBC is going to announce the replacement for Andrew Marr on the Sunday morning political programme. I hear unsurprisingly that it is going to be a woman, what else would you expect from the BBC, but at least Sophie Raworth is better to look at than old droopy face. If she wants to pop round to number 10 and interview Bozzie I will make myself available to her.
In London, I read that TfL fined 152 people £200 for not wearing a mask yesterday. Another 127 were asked to leave and 5,100 were reminded to put a mask on. I wonder what percentage of travellers that amounted to? The £200 fine is for a first offence but drops to £100 if paid within 14 days. I did hear that early in the week most people weren’t taking any notice of the “new mask rules” so it looks like TfL decided to make an all-out enforcement effort to get as much publicity as possible. I do wonder how long they will have the manpower to keep the pressure on?
I read that tests are indicating that the current Covid vaccines cope pretty well with the new variant. However, all the manufacturers are working on tweaked versions that will work fully against the new variant. Pfizer say that they can have a new version of their vaccine ready in 100 days. The government has the option to take the new version of the vaccine for the 50 million doses they ordered earlier this week. They also ordered 64 million Moderna doses and I understand that if this vaccine is updated they can swap to the new version.
The National Air Traffic Control Service have announced a huge update to the air traffic system over the UK. They have abandoned the long-established air routes over Scottishland in favour of what it calls free route airspace. It allows airlines freedom to take the optimal route considering variables such as weather and wind speed. This is something that has never been possible before now, but with modern air traffic control systems, it now is. NATS believe that going with this system will allow airlines to save around 12,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
It seems that many people who bought the Cadbury Heroes advent calendar have been complaining that the first window they opened contained the Heroes version of a Cream Egg. They have moaned that a Cream Egg is for Easter not for Christmas! However, just to prove that you can’t please all the people all the time many others have said how happy they were to get a cream egg and that they had been dreading getting an eclair or fudge! Last year Mars had a similar problem with people complaining that they had got miniature Bounty Bars! Wisely Mars have not made an advent calendar this year.
Bomb Squad technicians rushed to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital today where a man had arrived at A&E with a 57mm mortar shell stuck up his bum. The story he told the doctors was that he was a military collector and he was having a clear-out when he fell over onto the shell. I understand that it is a regular occurrence for A&E to get patients with odd items stuck up their bums by “falling on them.” Apparently, the round was not live and was safely removed before the patient went home.
A bit warmer again this morning but it has been raining overnight so I was very careful where I walked this morning and I didn’t rub against any plants so as not to get my fur wet. The family is missing again so it was my friend the Dreamies Girl on Larry feeding duty this morning. I always look forward to her visits.
In this morning’s cat news the government have announced that all us cats have to be microchipped in case we roam. Apparently around about a quarter of Britain’s 11 million cats are not already chipped and from next year all kittens over 20 weeks will need to be done or their owners will risk a £500 fine. I’m sure you will be delighted or know that I was chipped when I was in Battersea and although I didn’t like it, it didn’t really hurt and I had completely forgotten I had it until I read the proposal.
I read that the UAE has signed an order for 80 French Rafale F4 fighters. This is an advanced jet and is reckoned to be almost as good as the F35 but not as stealthy. The huge order came after the UAE got fed up waiting for Sniffer Joe. Back when the USA had a real president he agreed to sell 70 F35s to the UAE in a $20 billion deal, but when Sniffer took over he put a hold on the deal. Now it is nearly a year later and the Emiratis have got fed up with waiting and have turned to the French. The new $18 billion deal gives them more aircraft for less money. Sniffer really is stupid.
I see that Dave Davies, ex Kinks, has caused a bit of a sensation on Twitter with a comment about models in the 60s trimming their minges. After getting a lot of comments he posted an apology saying that it was a typo, what he had meant to type was “fringes”. Well, I will let you make up your own mind whether it was an accident or deliberate but it did create a lot of interesting discussions.
I understand that Nigella Lawson had the picture of her on the front cover of the December 2020 edition of Good Housekeeping magazine digitally altered. The magazine considered the picture of the 61-year-old too raunchy for a family magazine and had enhanced her dress to cover up her best assets. What a pity, such a lovely dress didn’t deserve to be messed around with.
I have been reading that the Israelis have a special bomb-proof bunker where they follow all civilian cyber-attacks on Israel. They claim that they are able to follow all cyber-attacks on them back to their origin and that they have the power to hit back at any and every attacker. Interestingly this is not a military establishment but a civilian one. The Israeli Government has its own secret facility that protects the government and the military and is believed to be even more powerful.
Rivian, the electric vehicle maker, who have never made a profit, have reached a value of $100 billion on the American stock exchange. They have an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from Amazon whose Jeff Bezos has bought a 22.4% shareholding in the company. They also make SUVs, its model RS1 is on sale for $70,000 which seems an awful lot of money to me. I understand that they are looking at expanding production beyond the US and that Bozzie has got a team working on securing any European factory in the UK. Mind I don’t think their current model range is suitable for Europe. Their SUV is absolutely enormous, maybe they need to make something a bit smaller for the European market?
Did you hear about the Italian anti-vaxxer who needed a vaccination to get a Covid pass so he could get a new job? He bought a silicone artificial arm for several hundred pounds and wore it to the vaccination centre. Hardly surprising it was spotted and the man arrested. Now not only has he not got a new job, he is going to have to appear in court!
That’s me done for another week. As usual, I’m looking forward to my day off, with the family away I will probably sleep on Bozzie’s comfy bed. I wonder if I can drag my blanket onto the bed? Chat to you all again on Monday.