Good Morning everyone and welcome to another week of my ramblings. I read an article saying that saying the Little Otter has any influence over Bozzie, and hence government policy, was sexist. I must say that I was rather surprised when this morning the Little Otter stood with a frying pan in her left hand and an egg in her right hand and said, “I don’t have any influence over you do I?” Only when he said, “No, not at all,” did she crack the egg and fry it.
I hear that just two days into what China said was going to be “streamlined, safe and most splendid” Winter Olympic Games, they are suffering many complaints from athletes and their national teams. The Swedes have complained that conditions in the mountains are dangerously cold. A Polish skater says she is living in fear in a Beijing isolation ward. The Finns say that one of their ice hockey team is being kept in isolation for no apparent reason. The Germans have complained that there is no hot food available at the downhill skiing. It seems that the temperature at the start of some races has been as low as -17°C but with wind chill it has been -35°C which is horrendously cold and only crisps, peanuts and chocolate have been available.
It seems that British Airways has a problem with the layout of some of its Airbus A350 aircraft cabins. As a way to squeeze in as many seats as possible, they have deleted the standard galley by the second set of doors and have installed what they are calling an ‘increased cabin efficiency’ rear galley and two ‘ultra slimline’ toilets. This had led to complaints from aircrew that the galley is too tight to work in and from passengers that the loo is too small. But this is not the only problem, BA wanted to use this aircraft on some of its ultra long haul routes like Australia, but I hear that with the reduced galley space they can’t carry enough food. It seems that BA is talking to Airbus about changes to the A350 still to be delivered.
There is a story doing the rounds in No 10 that Munira Mirza, Bozzie’s aide who quit last week, was a member of the Communist Party. Well, I don’t know whether this is right or wrong as I never really knew her. It seems she was not a “cat person” and kept clear of me. I hear she wrote for the magazine Living Marxism, which later changed its name to LM and it was ex-staff from there that started Spiked Online and she has contributed articles for that organ. Why would Bozzie want a Commie?
On Sunday evening I was doing my late patrol around the building when I discovered the lads in the office watching Jack Reacher on Amazon Prime. I sat and watched the first few episodes with them and thought it was pretty good. I will have to keep popping back to see it, they have got the rest of the series on. I want to know how it turns out. Lots of violence with loads of people getting stabbed, strangled and shot, just what I like.
It seems that last year the name Boris fell sharply in the list of popular names for dogs. However, as Boris has become less popular the names Corona and Covid have become more popular. I think some people are stupid, how can you name a dog after a virus? At least Larry is a normal name, imagine being called Covid.
I read that the Swedish power company Vattenfall is to carry out a 3-year test to see if painting one of the 3 blades on a wind turbine black reduces the number of bird strikes. For the first year they will monitor the number of birds killed by a selected seven turbines to establish a baseline. Then for two years they will paint one blade black on each of the seven and record the results. Mind you I don’t know why they are doing a 3-year test when they have already carried out a test on the island of Smøla in Norway which found that painting one wind turbine blade can result in 70% fewer collisions. It’s almost as if painting a blade is too much trouble and they want to put it off for 3 years or that they expect to kill so many birds in the first year there won’t be any left to kill in year 2 & 3.
Hello again. From what I have seen on the weather forecast I am thankful for living in the South of England. It looks like it is going to be cold and snowy up in the North today, while still staying mild in the South. It looks like the cold is heading this way though and it is going to be chilly on Friday.
I saw the video of Kier Stoma getting chased by what the MSM called a ‘mob’. Strange ‘mob’, a dozen people at the most, there were more police than protesters. I hear Stoma and Lammy had been at a meeting at the MOD and went to walk back to the House, when the assorted rabble outside started shouting at them. They shouted about vaccinations, Julian Lasange, Jimmy Savile and calling Stama a traitor to the working class and a paedophile protector. Funny the MSM and Labour only seem to have heard the Savile comments. Is that what is known as selective deafness? I question the Met’s part in this. They knew the ‘mob’ was outside, why didn’t they put in a car at the back door.
I have just seen that Froggy footballer video where he dropkicks a Bengal cat across his kitchen, then chases it throwing shoes at it before slapping it in the face. If he had done that to me I would have gone on the attack and bitten and scratched him. I hear the police aren’t doing anything as they “don’t deal with animal cruelty”, apparently that is out-sourced to the RSPCA as the prosecuting authority. I now wait to see if the RSPCA will take his cats away and prosecute him. His team is playing tonight and I understand he is a first-team regular, will he be dropped?
I told you yesterday that I had been watching the Jack Reacher series on Amazon Prime. Well, it seems I was not the only one. Only three days after the series became available it became the 5th most popular TV show in the US and the highest-rated Prime show. Consequently the series has been renewed for a second series in an unusually quick time. Pity that Reacher is a drifter who moves on to a new location after every adventure, so his local police co-stars will not be following him. However, I have heard a rumour that the female cop is so popular that Prime are considering getting Lee Child to write a book about her so that it can be made into a series.
The Russians are apparently having problems with their new AEW&C aircraft the A100 Premier. The plane is based on an IL76 airframe with a big rotating dish on it like the American E3 AWACS. What I find interesting is that the E3 is being superseded by an aircraft with a digital fixed array radar. Anyway, the Russian Plane is now years late and is not expected to be in service before 2024 at the earliest because its development has been poisoned by western sanctions stopping the supply of electronics including microchips. Russia are believed to be 10 years behind the West with this sort of aircraft.
I have been reading about direct energy weapons (DEW), the new name for laser weapons. The advantage of this type of weapon is that its power is being recharged all the time a plane is flying and is not expended like ammunition or missiles. I mentioned the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter getting a new indigenous engine last week and the Chinese claim that the new engine will allow the plane to fly faster and higher. However, I hear that the new engine is not being manufactured as quickly as scheduled and that its power output is not enough to drive a DEW and give the performance enhancements. This is unlike US planes where the F35 and F22 are both already powerful enough to be equipped with a DEW. In fact, the USAF has already disclosed that the Lockheed Martin AC-130J Ghostrider, a ground-attack variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane, was getting a high-powered laser weapon and the Apache helicopter has been treated with a laser pod.
So Bozzie is having a bit of a reshuffle this afternoon. I was pleased to see Jacob Rees Moggy moving on up to become minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency. As a leading Brexiteer I think it’s a job he will enjoy. I have always liked him and he always stops and says hello so I am glad he will now be a full cabinet member. His old job as Leader of the House has gone to the Mark Chapman who was Chief Whip and in what looks to be a game of musical chairs Chris Heaton-Harris becomes the new Chief Whip.
Well, the weather is a little strange this morning. No frost, but it was a bit damp under paw when I went down the garden. First it was very grey, then the sun came out, then it was grey again, I really can’t make it out. Bozzie is happy that the cat kicker seems to be dominating the headlines this morning. I hope he doesn’t get any ideas.
Bozzie is not very happy with the book about the Little Otter by Lord Ashcroft that has just been published. I heard them chatting and they were not happy about some of the things in the book. They are certain that some of the tales have been embellished to make the Little Otter look bad and there is only one person that hates her so much that he would do that. I think Bozzie is going to talk to his lawyer about actions.
I had a little chuckle this morning when I read that Arsenal’s online shop was displaying a message that said, “Your shopping basket is as empty as Tottenham’s trophy cabinet.” After several complaints, I guess from Spuds supporters, the message has been changed to, “Your basket is empty.”
I read some time ago that Cunard were to receive a new cruise ship. As part of the Carnival Group, they are allocated ships from centrally placed orders like all the other companies in the group and this will be Cunard’s first new ship since 2010. Today the new ship’s name has been announced and it will be called Queen Anne, to go alongside the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary and Queen Victoria. It will be Cunard’s biggest ship carrying 3,000 passengers and its delivery has been delayed by Covid. It was originally due to be delivered this year but it now looks like joining the fleet in 2024.
So the cat kicker, West Ham defender Kurt Zouma, was picked to play for his team last night. I suspect this was a fundamental error by his manager who should have left him out of the squad for the game. I had to laugh when during the match he got kicked and landed up needing treatment. You could clearly hear the chant of, “Now you know how your cat felt.” Today the RSPCA have finally stepped up to the mark and taken his two pet cats away for their protection and a check-up by a vet. The club seems to have had second thoughts and have announced that they have fined him the maximum allowed by the Premier League (two weeks wages) and donated it to the RSPCA.
I hear that Amazon Prime have signed a 10 year deal with Shepperton Studios in Surrey to produce some of its programs in England. The British film and TV studios have been booming of late and is said to be worth £6 billion a year. Shepperton is currently undergoing an expansion as is the other well-known studio Pinewood. Until recently they had a total of 29 sound stages between them but when the current work is complete they will have increased that to 63 occupying 500 acres. I understand that there is planning permission to develop another 160 at Pinewood. Oh, and of course, Sky are developing a huge studio complex near the BBC at Elstree. That £6 billion a year looks like it’s going to be peanuts.
When the Formula One series re-starts next month I understand that it will be without an official BLM “taking the knee” ceremony. The F1 organisers have said that if drivers still want to take the knee they will not stop them but there will no longer be an official opportunity. I wonder what Sir Lewis Hamilton will do and say as he was a great supporter and instigator of the ceremony?
I really don’t understand the weather at the moment, today in London it is grey again but mild, mind I hear it is going to get colder. Oh well just so long as I have somewhere warm and comfy I’m not bothered. Bozzie was chuckling over the idea that a photo of him walking into a room taking his tie off is proof it was a party is a joke.
When I first read that the Royal Mail was going to phase out all its current 1st and 2nd class stamps by 31st January 2023 I thought it was a joke. From that date you cannot use the stamps marked 1st or 2nd class and with the Queen’s head on them. The Royal Mail is moving to a new range of stamps that include a barcode ‘for security’. In the past when you bought a 1st or 2nd class stamp you paid the current price and if that subsequently went up the stamp was still valid. The rules have now changed and your stamp will not be valid next year. However, once stocks of the new stamps arrive you can swap your old ones for new ones, if you can find a Post Office.
Another story I heard today is that the Bristol lefties who chucked that statue in the dock have found a new target. This time it’s Thatchers Cider. Apparently the CEO has connections to a charity that has a connection to Coulston whose statue caused all the trouble. They have decided this is wrong and we must all stop buying the cider. Well, as a cat, I have never tried cider but if I was going to try it I would make sure it was Thatchers.
The temporary factory that is precasting segments for the HS2 Colne Valley viaduct cast its very first segment this week. They are using what they call a “match cast” technique where one segment is cast and then the next segment is cast alongside it so they match up. The first segment is then moved to storage and the second segment moved up ready for the next one to be cast and so on until all 1,000 segments have been cast for Britain’s longest railway bridge. The aim is to manufacture 12 segments a week and each one will be slightly different but designed to match the segment either side and to sit on the 56 concrete piers being cast in situ. Each pier will be built on a pile cap sat on 5 piles going 54 metres into the ground.
I hear that public passenger numbers in London are recovering quickly. Since the easing of restrictions in early January the number of Tube passengers has gone up by 25% and is now back to 60% of pre-Covid levels. Bus passenger numbers didn’t fall off as badly as the Tube, but they have gone up by around 10% to 75% of the pre-Covid levels. The numbers seem to be increasing week by week and, unlike the mainline railways, they are seeing passenger numbers increasing more on weekdays rather than weekends. Interestingly the numbers seem to be recovering best in the huge financial centre around Canary Wharf. The numbers come from Oyster Card usage and ignore those swiping a ticket with a magnetic strip.
A story on the BBC News about energy-efficient homes. They contrast the infrared images of two houses in a street. One glows like a beacon from heat loss and the second shows very little loss. The second house has been upgraded with double glazing, internal wall insulation, external wall insulation, underfloor insulation and roof insulation, giving a heat loss saving of 40%. Wonderful you think, then they say it all cost £45,000 and will take 35 years to recover that from the fuel bills. So with about 25 million homes in the UK that would cost £1,125 billion to insulate them all except they don’t point that out!
I hear that there is a doping story coming out of the Winter Olympics. The gold medal for the team figure skating was supposed to be awarded on Tuesday including a 15-year-old Russian girl who finished top of the competitors, but it has not happened. You probably remember that Russian competitors are banned from the Olympics following a doping scandal at the Moscow Olympics. However, “clean” competitors are allowed to enter under the name Russian Olympic Committee. The story coming out now is that this 15-year-old failed a drugs test some weeks ago and it had been hushed up by the ROC who have reinstated her after a few weeks suspension. Well if that turns out to be true can we trust that any Russian athlete is clean?
Back to a heavy frost this morning but with a clear blue sky. Bozzie was on his mobile over breakfast, much to the Little Otter’s disgust. I think he was talking to Pretty Petal because it was all about some Dick or other. Apparently Sad Dick didn’t tell her he was effectively sacking the other Dick. But I got confused by all the Dicks.
Good economic news this morning. The growth figures for last year ended up at 7.5% and this is despite December being a virtual washout due to the O’micron surge when the economy shrank 0.2%. This was the best figure for the G7, beating even Germany. However, if you look at current positions we are bang in the middle of the G7 economies, above Italy, Germany and Japan but below France, Canada and the US. Let’s hope that with the country opening up the growth holds up.
I read that the US supermarket chain, Giant, are looking for 60,000 bees that have been stolen from a field attached to the supermarket’s HQ in Harrisburg Pike, Pennsylvania. Apparently the chain bought the field 7 years ago to create a solar park. Subsequently, they have turned the areas around the panels into a nature reserve and the bees were there to encourage wild plant growth and fertilisation. There seems to be a problem with a shortage of bees in some American states and hives are often a target for thieves.
25 years ago this weekend, a ship lost 62 containers in a storm off the Cornish coast. Just one of those containers contained some 5,000,000 pieces of Lego. To this day, Lego parts have been deposited on Cornish beaches. The most common parts are frogman’s flippers and a tiny inflatable boat and wheels. Apparently, the rarest item is a green dragon. According to the inventory, there were 3,000 onboard but only a few have washed up to date. So if you find a miniature green dragon on a Cornish beach you now know where it came from.
I read that McDonald’s have had to drop the Big Mac chicken burger from its menu only a week after adding it. The idea was that it was to be available until March but it has proved so popular that they have run out of a month’s stock in a week. I am a little surprised that if they have found such a popular item they haven’t rushed in a load more stock. I somehow think we haven’t seen the last of the chicken Big Mac.
Germany has been looking for a replacement for its ageing Tornados. Germany is currently part of the ‘nuclear weapons club’ and in the event of an all-out war would be able to use the Tornados to deliver US nuclear weapons stored in Germany. However, there is no other aircraft in their inventory capable of carrying nuclear weapons so they have been looking at a suitable replacement. They have been evaluating the Rafale, Typhoon, F18 and F35. It was thought that the F35 was out of the race due to costs, but it has recently been reduced in price. Now I hear it is the favourite for an order, which will disappoint Boeing who were believed to be in the lead with its updated F18.
Now for today’s daft story. A family moved into a house in Deeping St James, Lincolnshire and part of the land belonging to the house was open at the rear of the garden. During lockdown the couple decided to turn it into a vegetable plot and fenced it off and constructed raised beds at a cost of £3,000. Everything went well until they got a letter from the council telling them they needed planning permission for change of use from open space to garden and that they needed to apply by the end of the month at a cost of £467. The daft thing is that the fence is allowed under ‘permitted development’ so doesn’t need planning permission but the enclosed land as a garden does. This sounds crazy to me.
I have said it before but the weather this week is really weird, today no frost but it’s chilly and the sun is out. The news late yesterday was that we have joined the Americans in advising citizens to leave Ukraine as intelligence says the Russians could invade very shortly.
I have been reading about a leading barrister and his family who has been bumped off a BA flight from London to Turin in a row over seating. The barrister was flying off for a week’s skiing with his wife, their two children and the children’s nanny and he had purchased all five business class seats. On boarding the plane the crew directing them to their seats bumped the nanny down to economy as BA had oversold business class. The barrister got annoyed and security were called to remove the family from the plane. I feel a lawsuit coming on.
Last week Apple announced a new feature had been enabled on iPhones that can turn them into a proximity credit card terminal. Of course, the phone owner’s bank has to activate the feature, but it means that small traders can do away with having to have a separate card reader linked by Bluetooth to the phone. I suspect that it will be very useful for the likes of the window cleaner, the jobbing gardener and in particular those market traders at farmer’s markets who seem to struggle to get the card reader to talk with their phones. Mind it’s another nail the coffin of cash.
I have been reading about Britishvolt and their EV battery factory in Blythe. It appears that the “rules of origin” could be a problem for British EV makers by later in this decade when 55% of a car will have to be manufactured in the UK for export purposes. At the moment many of the batteries are imported hence the need to make them in the UK. But there is another problem, the amount of lithium and carbon required to make the anodes. Much of the lithium is mined in South America or Australia. The South American’s process their own lithium but the Australian lithium is processed in China and the Chinese want to tie up battery production. The good news is that we have recently opened 2 lithium mines in Cornwall where the rock under the county contains lithium. But to make the anodes you also need carbon and that comes from coke. We have a huge facility at the Immingham refinery that makes coke but we import the coking coal because we have been prevaricating about opening a coking coal mine in Cumbria. Oh, we would also need to open an anode factory as most are currently made in Belgium.
One of the unexpected side effects of the cat kicking episode is that many West Ham players are demanding a pay increase. The club announced they had fined the player £250,000, the maximum allowed as FA rules limited fines to 2 weeks wages. It didn’t take long for the other players to calculate that the cat kicker was earning £125,000 a week, which was more than everyone else. Consequently I hear there has been a stream of disgruntled players knocking on the manager’s door demanding a wage increase. Of course, this could be very awkward for West Ham as they have lost sponsors due to them not wanting to be associated with bad publicity.
I hear there have been big celebrations at Chester Zoo where a baby aardvark has been born, the first one in the 90 years the zoo has existed. The aardvark joins only 166 in world zoos and has been named ‘Dobby’ after the elf in the Harry Potter stories. The reason is that aardvark calves are born hairless, wrinkly and with big floppy ears which is similar to the elf’s characteristics.
I read that a group of scientists think that the moon should be divided up into regions and sold off to private enterprise with the proceeds going to end global poverty. The only problem is that there is an international agreement, ‘The 1967 Outer Space Treaty’, that prohibits this. The OST prohibits any state from appropriating the space rock or other celestial bodies. So to do as these scientists suggest a new Global Treaty would be necessary, which I suspect is easier said than done. Also, how would we react if little green men from another planet turned up and said under a treaty they had produced, on their Planet, Earth belonged to them!?
I’ve had enough for the week. It’s too chilly to stay out for long so I think a nap in my basket on my nice soft blanket is called for. Chat to you all again on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2022