Another week breaks for your cat correspondent to report on. It was lovely and sunny when I woke up this morning so I thought I would take my stroll down the garden in preference to the dreaded litter tray. My, was I in for a shock, it was freezing out there. I can tell you I was back indoors PDQ. I wondered where Bozzie was off to as he had on one of his better suits, it seems he was going to give a speech to the CBI.
So from next year all new homes and businesses of all types are, by law, to have electric vehicle charging points installed. Not only that but major refurbishments must also install the chargers. This gets me thinking about lots of things like will this apply to new blocks of flats where there aren’t enough parking places for all the resident’s cars? How will shopping malls cope? If a supermarket has parking for hundreds of cars how many chargers must be provided? If a shop in a pedestrian precinct is refurbished how can it install chargers? How do townhouses on a road with double yellow lines provide chargers? But the biggest question is where is the electricity going to come from?
Today the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) entered its final stage of testing. For the coming months, it will be attempting to run a timetabled service, building up to the equivalent of a full service. At the same time, they will be working their way through some 150 scenarios to test the training of staff and the emergency services to respond. If all goes well I understand the hope is to start running passenger services in the central section in March. But this will still only be a partial service, as there will be no through services until December next year at the earliest as the line will be split into 3 parts meaning 2 changes if you want to travel from one end of the line to the other.
I read that the Korean company Doosan are to develop a hydrogen power pack for commercial vehicles such as cars, buses and trucks. The word is that Doosan are looking at forming a consortium but I have not heard with whom. Doosan already manufactures a small hydrogen power pack for drones that has proved very popular due to its lightweight and quick easy refuelling which is considered to be ‘cutting edge’. Doosan also has a division that builds construction equipment such as backhoes, diggers and dumper trucks so a ready-made commercial vehicle market already exists, but the word is that they are considering expanding into the bus and truck market initially in domestic competition with Hyundai Motors. Doosan also manufacture a hydrogen fuel cell system called Tri-Gen which was initially designed for bus depots. It is a container-sized unit that converts natural gas into hydrogen, electricity and heat. It is capable of producing 220 kg of hydrogen a day, and 350 to 450 KW which is powerful enough to quick charge Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 in 10-12 minutes.
It seems that Ford and the US university Purdue say they have developed a new EV charging cable that they claim will considerably speed up charging times. They claim that the cable could reduce charging time to a similar time to a conventional fill of petrol. The new cable is said to tackle one of the major problems that charging cables suffer from namely overheating by air cooling the cable. Apparently the higher the current flow in a cable the hotter it gets. This new cable is designed to carry 2400 amps, while 1400 amps are required to charge a car in 5 minutes. Tesla chargers work at 520 amps. Of course, a high-speed charging cable is only any use if the charger can deliver the required amperage and the supply network is available.
I see that the England football manager, Gareth Southgate, has today signed a 3-year extension to his current contract. It is reported that he will be paid £5 million a year which is an increase of £2 million a year. Now that’s not bad money, it’s a lot more than Bozzie is paid. I wonder if when I retire from being the chief mouser at No.10 there will be a well-paid vacancy for an official mouser at Wembley. I would be willing to work for say £1 million a year and all the Felix Chicken I can eat.
Following Bozzie’s speech this morning, this afternoon it was Herr Stoma’s turn to speak to the CBI Conference in Birmingham. The commentators weren’t too impressed by Bozzie this morning but Stoma’s speech this afternoon went down like a cup of cold sick. He took several swipes at Bozzie that got virtually no response or total silence. A stunned Stoma told the CBI the Labour Party wanted a new relationship with business and put forward his ideas of trading with the EU which in many cases were going back to EU rules. Again this was greeted with almost total silence. I can safely say the CBI were not impressed.
Just like yesterday clear blue sky, but cold. I was out and back in double-quick. Bozzie has one of his very best suits on, I hear he is off to a requiem service at Westminster Cathedral for Sir David Amess. He got a bit annoyed when some lefty woman phoned up LBC to complain that he wasn’t at the Amess funeral yesterday. He said, “Doesn’t she know it was a private funeral for family and close friends only?” “Obviously not,” I thought, she was a typical ignorant leftie trying to find any old excuse to moan about Bozzie. Then she complained that Bozzie preferred to go to give a speech to the CBI. Interesting that Herr Stoma did exactly the same thing but she didn’t mention that.
The National Federation of Builders has been reading the small print in the government’s decision to make all new houses include an EV charging point. It seems it puts the onus on the housebuilder to fund the substations necessary to increase the power supply to the development. A new sub-station is said to cost upwards of £50,000 not too bad when spread over a huge estate but a lot of money for a development of 2 or 3 homes. The NFB are not happy. They believe that the National Grid is getting away with it and all the costs will land upon the price of the house. Of course, you can look at it the other way. If the National Grid had to pay the cost will go on the cost of the electricity.
I am delighted to be able to tell you that at long last the construction of new sections of so-called ‘smart motorways’ has been stopped. Balfour Beatty had the £140 million contact to convert the section of the M3 between Junctions 9 and 14 to so-called ‘smart’ motorway and had built its works compounds but hadn’t actually started work. The work is now to be postponed for at least 5 years so that investigation can be made on those sections of motorway already converted. The next motorway to be affected looks like being the M6 north of Junction 21 where Costain hold the contract. They have started upgrading the central barrier but not the carriageway.
It seems that the relationship between Sniffer Joe and Camel Harris is going from bad to worse. She thinks she has been given a poison chalice with responsibility for immigration across the southern border and electoral processes and procedures. While he thinks she is useless as she has made exactly no progress on either task. The problem is that both are useless and although they each recognise that trait amongst the other they don’t recognise it in themselves.
It’s very strange to look at the daily Covid 19 numbers published by the government. For a week or so now the number of people testing positive for Covid has been edging upwards. Now you would think that with the cases going up the number of people in hospital and the number of people dead “from Covid” would both be going up as well. But the exact opposite is happening, they are both going down. So what is occurring? The explanation given seems to be that the vaccine is stopping people catching Covid badly and the propaganda is that most of those in hospital are unvaccinated. I wonder if this can be proved?
So, at the behest of Red Bull, the FIA have tested all the rear wings of Formula One cars. Red Bull claimed the Mercedes rear wing flexed under load giving them an unfair advantage. Mercedes said this was rubbish and the wing was totally in compliance with the FIA rules and had been made to the drawing approved by the FIA. Today the FIA announced that the Mercedes wing passed the FIA test where they hung two 35kg weights on it without any measurable deflection. Red Bull are not accepting the result, they are now claiming that Mercedes swapped the wing used in practice for a different one for the race, which Mercedes dismissed as rubbish. The car was in parc ferme conditions and a swap would have been impossible. Mind if they had swapped the wing the new one was pretty good as Red Bull were well beaten.
The Class 321 train sets started to be withdrawn from service last year and were expected to be scraped. They were electric multiple units running on overhead AC power. There has been talk of some of them being converted to hydrogen power but today it has been announced that the Eversholt train leasing company has Gemini Rail Services are to convert four of the units into freight carriers for Swift Express Freight. Swift say that they will be using them to run an express parcel service. They are moving to rail because of the shortage of HGV drivers. Seats and toilets are to be removed, equipment repositioned, new flooring installed together with parcel restraints.
Howdy peeps. I am feeling particularly perky this morning, but don’t really have any idea why. Maybe it’s just that I had an excellent nights sleep cuddled up under my blanket or because it was Felix Chicken for breakfast.
There are reports that the reason the F35B crashed on takeoff from HMS Queen Elizabeth was that a plastic rain cover was left in place and it got sucked into the engine. I read a report that said the pilot realised something was wrong and tried to abandon the takeoff. Why do they think this happened? Well, apparently a plastic rain cover was recovered, intact, from the sea. A few things make me doubt the truth of this. First, a highly trained crew would have had a checklist that included removing the rain cover. Then the pilot would have walked around the jet before climbing aboard. Maybe one person could miss the bright red lump of plastic but a whole flight crew and a pilot? Then the pilot would have noticed the restricted airflow on his instruments. Finally, I can’t believe that any piece of plastic would be ingested by a jet engine and come out the other end as an intact rain cover. Much more likely the rain cover blow overboard. If something was ingested it is more likely to have been something left on the deck or a passing seagull!
So Stella Creasy is upset that she has been told she can’t bring her 3-month-old baby into the chamber of the House of Commons. This has always been the rule, MPs can’t take in babies, friends, partners or acquaintances. She then claimed that she hadn’t got any child care. But doesn’t the House of Commons have a subsidised crèche, where else can you get a full week’s care for an under 2 for £295 a week? I can’t believe that someone who earns over £81,000 pa as an MP and claims many thousands more in expenses can’t afford that.
The 500-year-old 4 star Dolphin Hotel in Southampton has cancelled all its bookings due to “an unforeseen block booking”. They say that they have contacted all people with bookings and have reallocated them to other equivalent Southampton hotels. Now, I wonder what this “unforeseen block booking” is all about? Could it be connected to another story that I read that the Mercure Hotel group has signed a contract to use many of its hotels to exclusively house asylum seekers? The Dolphin is owned by Mercure. I don’t know how many times I have heard the likes of Jobbie on LBC claiming that asylum seekers have it hard, in rotten accommodation, and aren’t placed in 4-star hotels. Well, this certainly looks like they actually are.
I read that HS2 are ready and waiting to place orders for rolling stock and its maintenance. The two contracts, said to be worth £2.75 billion, would cover the manufacture, supply and 12 years manufacture maintenance of 54 train sets. The fact that they had chosen a manufacturer was revealed in the September HS2 board minutes. They have been waiting for several months for approval from Grunt Shatts. There were 5 manufacturers on the shortlist, namely Siemens, Talgo, Alstom, CAF and a joint venture between Bombardier and Hitachi. The Telegraph previously reported that the contract was set to be awarded to the Bombardier and Hitachi JV. I wonder what the hold up is?
The Green council in Brighton are in a rush to make the city centre car-free. As part of it, they have used experimental traffic orders to introduce a “bus gate” banning cars from bus lanes. Freedom of Information requests have revealed that the council issued 75,000 infringement tickets in the nine months raising £1.8 million. In fact, one camera on York Place raised £1 million. A Conservative councillor has claimed this is just a revenue-raising exercise, while the Greens claim they are to keep traffic moving but admit that the signage is confusing. Clearly, this is a way to raise as much money as possible while banning them wherever possible.
If you live within a reasonable distance of ASDA Milton Keynes and like draught beer, they have started a trial today that may interest you. They have teamed up with craft beer brewer Craft on Draft to offer a range of 12 draft craft beers for sale. Not to be drunk on the premises but to be taken home in either one or two-litre glass containers. Once you have drunk the beer the container is yours to do what you choose with but if you return to the supermarket for a refill it is obviously cheaper. Craft on Draft say they have secured beer from various sources and will bring in different brews during the trial. Do any Puffins live in Milton Keynes and want to report on the trail?
It’s another bright and cold morning, so once again I nipped out very quickly for my early morning constitutional. Then I had breakfast and being nice and warm I was sorely tempted to have a little snooze before going on my office patrol. However, I thought about the cat treats I would get for the Dreamies Girl in the office and quickly gave up that thought, I can snooze later!
I learn that a decision has been made to set up a Ranger regiment within the British Army. The regiment will be around a 1,000 strong and will be a specially equipped force that will be a bit like the SAS or the SBS. But will not be as secret and will operate mainly in the support of the forces of African, Middle East, and Eastern European allies. The Rangers will have 4 x 250 men divisions and will mean that 500 of the planned forces reduction will be reversed. The regiment will come under the Special Forces Brigade and wear a grey beret to represent the grey area of warfare they will be operating in.
Sweden’s first-ever female Prime Minister didn’t very long, just 15 hours! Her position was made impossible after the Green Party quit the government coalition when the parliament defeated the government’s proposed budget and voted for the opposition’s budget instead. She told the Speaker she was resigning because the opposition budget had been drawn up by parties that included “the far-right”. The silly thing is that she is likely to win the upcoming prime ministerial vote as the Greens say they will vote for her but not re-form a coalition. She will then have major problems as the leader of a minority government who has to work to the opposition’s budget. It sounds like more trouble than it’s worth.
Can it be true, the government has been looking at the cost of implementing much of its green policies and have realised that reaching net-zero by 2050 is financially impossible. I have been saying this for years. On top of that, I hear that a recent survey in Ireland reported that 80% of the population was in favour of implementing green measures, but 82% didn’t want to pay a single Euro for them. I think that is the case in the UK too. When people finally realise how much electric cars, heat pumps, windmills, solar panels and all the other green stuff are costing them they will revolt.
I have been reading a puff piece on how wonderful the new Dogger Bank wind farm is going to be. It is divided into 3 phases, A, B and C, each of which will be rated at 1.2 GW, generating 6TwH of power annually or 18 TWh in total. The bit goes on to say that this is 5% of the UK’s consumption or enough to power 6 million homes and all its electric power has been pre-sold to the likes of Shell and SSE. All this is wonderful while the wind blows, but it will be a disaster if we get a week of windless days, as happens every summer, and 6 million homes have no power.
Today’s Brexit disaster story is in the EU loving Independent. It seems that, according to them, we are going to be short of several prominent alcohol brands this Christmas including Dom Perignon Champagne. Then a supply line expert comes on the radio and says this is rubbish. The drinks trade would have started planning for Christmas this year immediately following Christmas last year! If there is a shortage of any brand it has absolutely nothing to do with Brexit and is more to do with manufacturing shortages and delivery problems. But in total there are plenty of other brands available if one is in short supply.
It has emerged that American defence contractors Raytheon Technologies, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin have been selected to work together to develop a new missile interceptor system for the US military. The missile system is called GPI (Glide Phase Interceptor) and it is aimed at intercepting hypersonic missiles after they re-enter earth’s atmosphere and glide to their targets. The missiles would be based both on US warships and on land. The 3 companies will each immediately receive an $8 million payment from the $60 million dollar development project. I wonder what the time scale is on this project given that the Russians and Chinese have been testing hypersonic missiles?
It’s a bit chilly this morning, I don’t like it. I was a bit unwilling to get out from under my blanket before the central heating came on at 7 this morning. It was quite sunny at first, then a shower, then more sun, then more rain. I don’t know what’s going on, at least it’s not snow like some places in Scottishland.
I see that Mr Macaroon has spat his dummy out again. He seems not to know what he wants, he complains that he wants cooperation and suggestions from the British, but when he gets them he goes potty and moans that they are not acceptable and cancels discussions. Surely if he doesn’t like the suggestions then he should say so in the discussions when something else could be suggested and discussed. I think his reactions appear to be those of a petulant child.
The new Bond Street station on the Elizabeth Line is said to be improving in its delays. It was in an awful position running some 18 months behind the rest of the project that in itself was running 18 months late. Well right now that it looks like the Elizabeth Line will be open in March next year, but without Bond Street station. Today I heard that the station has caught up and is now between 3 and 6 months late. I find it amazing that a station can take 2 years longer than programme to build. I suppose it is a good thing that the trains can still run through the station allowing the service to start.
Poor old Sniffer Joe is stuck still using the old fleet of presidential helicopters because the new helicopters have failed to be certified. The Lockheed Sikorsky VH92A has failed, “To meet the reliability, availability or maintainability threshold requirements”, so Joe is stuck with the old birds. One development and five production planes were supposed to be ready for the winner of the 2020 presidential election to use but at the moment there is no date for them going into full use. It appears that it is not just MoD contracts that go wrong.
As you probably know today is Black Friday, the day of the year when shops are supposed to move from being in the red to being in the black in their accounts. Of course, that is the story, these days it’s all about shops having sales and flogging old stock off cheap or buying on cheap stuff especially to flog off. According to Barclaycard at 13:00 they had handled 23.3% more transactions than last year. PwC reckons £9.6 billion will be spent today, that’s a lot of money.
I was interested to read about the Duchess of Cambridge’s (Kate Middleton) choice of car. I understand that when she first met Prince William she was driving a Volkswagen Golf, which she later sold to her brother, James, for £1,400. This car was later sold at auction for £30,000 because she had previously owned it. She moved on to an Audi A3, but often drives one of the Royal Family Range Rovers. But her own car is an Audi R8 (nice) supercar, only £111,000, I wonder who paid for that?
I was in the office and I saw a BBC reporter on the TV news reporting from Stonehaven in Scottishland. It was cold, pouring with rain and blowing a hooly. The poor girl couldn’t stand still in the wind and was struggling to do her report. Well, I suppose the BBC got the message over, the weather in Scottishland was crap!
Another cold wet morning so I snuggled down until the Dreamies Girl arrived to dish up my breakfast. Bozzie and the family went away last night but they have left the heating on thank goodness as the man on the TV says it’s going to be cold until Tuesday.
I hear that Boeing has taken another knock. This time it’s the competition to replace the Canadian Forces CF18’s. The Canadians are looking to replace 77 planes with modern aircraft. Initially, there were five contenders but the Rafael and the Eurofighter Typhoon withdrew earlier this year. Boeing had bid the F/A 18 SuperHornet, an upgrade on the original F18, but I understand that they have been told it doesn’t meet the specification. That leaves the Canadians with just fighters to choose from the Lockheed F35 and the Saab JAS 39 Gripen. I can only see this competition going one way, that is to the F35. It would be much easier to integrate it into NATO and NORAD and the Saab has a bit of a problem as Sweden is not in NATO.
Believe it or not, there are still a number of gas-lit alleys and back streets in Westminster. Many people think that the softer light is beneficial in attracting tourists and gives a romantic glow. Westminster Council don’t agree though, they claim the gas lights are getting difficult to maintain as spares are hard to obtain and are planning to change the last 299 gas lights to LEDs. I hear that many of the residents are quite upset and are pressing the council to change their minds. Somehow I think the council will not change its mind and will soon bring up climate change and banning gas.
They do some strange things in Australia. The council in Fremantle have just voted to ban cats from all council-owned land. This means roads, pavements, grass verges, parks and the bush. The only exception is if the cat is on a lead. I would hate to live there, I just can’t imagine not being able to cross to the other side of Downing Street or walk on the pavement without being on a lead. Of course, I could go into the back garden but not over the wall, unless it was into someone else’s garden. Did people really vote in such a stupid council?
I read that the Queen actually has a mobile phone. Not any old phone though, she has a special encrypted, hack-proof mobile phone. Not only that there are only two people she will answer calls from, Princess Anne and her racing manager. No matter where she is in the world, these are the only two people who can be sure to be able to talk to her. Now, don’t you wish you had a phone like that, one on which you could guarantee no calls from scammers or people you didn’t want to talk to? I guess you can only get one if you are the Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
I learnt something today. In early Roman times, they had big plants that produced glass. Archaeologists have just found one such place in what is now Northern Israel. The two kilns they have uncovered, heated sand and salt to around 1200°C until it melted into a massive 10-ton chunk of glass. This whole process took around two weeks. Once the lump was cooled down it was smashed into smaller bits that were sold to individual glass workers. They would then reheat it and either mould it or blow it into the desired shapes. Apparently, it takes a lot less heat to soften glass once it has been made.
It used to be the cost that put people off buying an EV, that and range anxiety. Well, they tell me EV’s are getting cheaper, although I have yet to really see it, and range is improving. Now that I have seen with some EV’s now pushing 300 miles on a charge you would think range anxiety would be reduced. However, I hear that a new form of range anxiety is emerging, not how far an EV goes on a charge but can it go far enough to find a charging station that is actually working? Reports say that the number of charging stations is growing, but nowhere near as fast as EV sales and the big problem has become the huge percentage that are out of use. EV drivers report that they are finding many of the biggest charging networks have the most points out of use. No wonder Bozzie sticks with his ICE ministerial car!
That’s me done for another week. I am looking forward to my day off, at least I can stay under my blanket all day if it doesn’t get any warmer. Chat to you all again on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2021