Good morning merry readers. It’s amazing how quickly these Monday mornings come around and I set off on another journey into this whacky world we live in. Bozzie woke me up early clumping around the flat. He was heading off for a tour of Scottishland so had to account for extra travelling time to get to work. It’s normally only 30 seconds down to his office. While he’s missing I wonder if I can fill in his questionnaire from that lesbian copper?
Talking about people in trouble with the law, I hear a senior RAF officer, an air marshal, has been suspended after his next-door neighbours reported him to the fuzz for being naked in his garden. It seems that it is not quite as bad as it might at first seem as a hot tub has just been installed in his garden. Any normal neighbour would probably shout over the fence, “Ain’t you got any swimming trunks?”. I suspect the relationship with this neighbour has never been good.
I hear they had a bit of fun at Heathrow this morning. Apparently, a fire alarm went off in Terminal 3 and everybody was ushered out into the streets. Lots of unhappy people who were busy checking in or eating their fried breakfasts. I haven’t heard that the terminal has burnt to the ground or even that it was a little singed so I guess it was another false alarm.
I mentioned earlier that Bozzie was off to Scottishland today. Well, I saw pictures of him on the TV visiting the Rosyth dockyard and wondered why he had gone there. It seems that he went to see the start of the assembly of the first Type 31 frigate. Now that Babcock have finished what they are calling their frigate factory, a huge assembly building, in which two ships can be built at the same time, they have just started laying the keel of what will eventually become HMS Venturer. Babcock took the opportunity to announce that they are looking to recruit 500 extra workers. They will include a variety of trades including welders, fabricators and mechanical and electrical fitters as well as production support operatives which I think is the work name for a labourer.
I was happy to see all the Corona Virus numbers heading in the right direction again this week. Daily cases are going down as are the numbers being admitted to hospital and the number of deaths. When I saw the graphs on one of the office computers I was surprised by how steeply the numbers were coming down. I guess Bozzie is right easing up on the restrictions as the fall in numbers doesn’t seem to be affected at all.
Talking of Covid, it looks like it is going to kill off England’s oldest pub. Ye Old Fighting Cocks in St Albans can trace its history back to 793AD but the Covid downturn has caused the landlord to call in the receiver. The current owner has spent a small fortune doing up the pub but its location on the outskirts of St Albans doesn’t help with passing trade, it is a destination pub. The receiver is hopeful of finding a buyer and I hope they do as I hate to see British history disappear.
Is British Airways going to return to British ownership? Over a decade ago BA merged with the Spanish airline Iberia. A new Spanish based holding company, called IAG, was formed and the two airlines continued to operate under their individual names. IAG shares are available in both the EU and the UK. Now the EU are insisting that any airline flying internal flights between EU airports must be wholly EU owned. This is a political thing aimed at supporting the likes of Lufthansa and Air France/KLM. Consequently they want IAG to de-merge or float off BA. Since joining IAG BA have gone downhill and I think this could be a wonderful chance for BA to once again become the “World’s Favourite Airline.”
Well at least it’s mild this morning, but it’s very grey and I hear it’s going to rain hard tonight. Just so long as I’m indoors before the rain starts I don’t care. Bozzie has got a COBRA meeting on the Ukraine arranged for this afternoon, that is provided Russia doesn’t invade before then!
I was delighted to hear on the radio that the unemployment numbers had gone down again this month, by over 100,000 and the number in paid employment has gone up by an equal number. Then I hear someone from the shadow cabinet making out that this was bad. That we have to look at the type of jobs being created. What a load of rubbish anyone coming off the dole and working is good news. They are probably getting more money by working and instead of relying on the taxpayer for handouts they are paying tax.
We have taken delivery of 3 more F35B jets today bringing the total delivered to us up to 25. The planes will fly from Texas accompanied by a Voyager tanker. 3 more will be delivered later this year and 7 next year. We should be up to 47 by the end of 2025, it should have been 48 but we lost one overboard! Supposedly we will eventually purchase 60 and possibly 80. I hope the Russians don’t attack soon.
The latest problem besetting owners of electric vehicles seems to be parking tickets. Apparently many are moaning that they can’t charge their EVs in the maximum time allowed in car parks and parking bays. For example, I read of a man who was charging his car for 100 minutes in a Mcdonald’s car park, getting only a minimal charge, and received a £90 fine for exceeding the 90-minute parking limit. I hear there are currently around 22 EVs for every public charger. Serves them right for buying crappy EVs.
I hear that the failure of a 337-foot wind turbine in Gilfach Goch, Rhondda Cynon Taf, is to be investigated. The turbine was one of a farm of 33 near the village and it snapped in two on Monday. The turbine was manufactured by Nordex, based in Hamburg in Germany and its tower has broken about 30 feet from the ground causing the rest of the tower, the generator and blades to tumble to the ground. Was it very windy in Wales on Monday?
I hear another enterprise has fallen foul of Covid. The 186-year-old Bristol Zoo is to close its doors in September. The visitor numbers have been declining for some time but a steep decline due to Covid has been the final nail in its coffin. Although I am not old enough to have seen it, the zoo was made famous by a TV programme called Animal Magic introduced by someone called Johnny Morris, who pretended to be a zookeeper and made up silly voices for the animals. The animals are all to move to a new Bristol Zoological Society Wild Park Project near Bristol. The existing zoo will be turned into a park and a large amount will be sold for housing with the profit going to the Wild Park Project.
Moderna, the Covid vaccine makers, are on the brink of signing an agreement with the government to create a vaccine research and manufacturing facility in Britain. They have been looking for an overseas facility for some time as nearly all their vaccine is currently made in Boston with a tiny bit made under license in Switzerland. They have made an agreement to build a manufacturing facility in Africa to serve that market but they want somewhere to supply Europe from. I understand that Savid Jabber went to Boston to meet the Moderna CEO last week and Moderna want to build a large facility as they see an ongoing market for yearly Covid jabs and want to develop, sell and make their Covid, flu and respiratory vaccine in Europe. I guess that we have offered them a better deal than the EU, one advantage of Brexit.
I woke up this morning expecting to hear Russia had gone to war with the Ukraine. According to the MSM today is the day Russia were supposed to invade, but listening to our defence minister on the radio this morning he said that the report the MSM were quoting said the Russians would have everything in place to go to invade by today and could do so any time from today onwards. Who should I believe the defence minister or the MSM or the Russians who say ‘some’ troops are returning to their barracks?
So Randy Andy has agreed an out of court settlement of the New York case. He seems to have agreed to pay a ‘substantial’ amount to Virginia Roberts pet charity, plus more to her and all the legal fees. Why wait so long before caving in and paying when he could have paid up earlier and it cost a lot less? How much has it cost? Well, some papers say £12 million and some say £10 million which has been funded by the sale of his beloved ski chalet and his mummy coughing up. I suspect we will not be seeing very much of Randy Andy in the future but that’s no great loss.
I hear a couple of bits of commercial aircraft news. In the US the Federal Aviation Authority is in future going to inspect all new Boeing 787 aircraft to ensure that they meet the specifications and standards before issuing a Certificate of Airworthiness. Boeing has had problems with the old self-certification scheme, particularly with the 737 and this is why the FAA are reclaiming the authority to issue the certification. 787 production has been at a very low level for over a year now and is not expected to return to a still low 5 a month for four or five months. Boeing also has a huge backlog of jets that they are going to have to rework and the FAA has also put out two airworthiness directives for in-service 787s. However, it is better news for Airbus who I hear have received a follow-on order for another 30 A220-300s from JetBlue Airlines. This will take the JetBlue A220 fleet up to 100 and apparently the US airline and their passengers love the plane.
Is more good news on the way for Babcock. Earlier this week they announced that they had purchased the 50% of their Australian Navy support business they did not own and were looking to expand it further. On top of that, I hear that their Arrowhead 140 frigate design (Type 31) has reached the last two in the Polish competition to supply 3 new frigates. The idea is that the Poles want to build the ships themselves to a foreign design and with overseas assistance. This is exactly the agreement Babcock has with Indonesia so it should give them a flying start in negotiations.
The London Transport No 63 bus route is being slowly converted to battery-electric buses as a test. The buses are based on chassis and electrics built by the Chinese bus manufacturer BYD with the bodies made and fitted out by Alexander Dennis in their Scarborough plant. The idea is to build up the Enviro 400 EV models as they arrive from the factory and replace the current diesels used on the route. The buses are being based at Walworth Garage to operate the route between Kings Cross and Honour Oak. The buses are said to be capable of 160 miles on a full charge which is supposed to be adequate for this route. Walworth Garage has been modified to take rows of 150 Kw chargers, more powerful than the 115 kW draw needed to charge the buses in 3 hours but giving a margin for future buses. However, to allow for all the buses to be charged at the same time the garage’s power supply has had to be upgraded. In addition, a very large backup battery has been installed just in case of power cuts. I hear that one immediate advantage passengers will get is that the new buses are air-conditioned and to save battery drain the heating or cooling will run off the mains before the first journey of the day.
I hear that GWR have been looking for a solution for the very old, highly polluting Class 165 Networker trains they run between Greenford and West Ealing, a line that is highly unlikely to be electrified anytime soon. Vivarail have now come to the rescue and a deal has been sighed to test Vivarail’s battery-powered version of their Class 230 trains, converted from old District Line tube trains. Because the service only takes seven minutes it is well suited to the Class 230 that only has a battery-powered range of 62 miles. However, Vivarail are to test their high-speed charging at West Ealing Station. As a train pulls in it will automatically connect to the charger and be fully recharged in 10 minutes between services. This is designed to enable them to operate 33 round trips made by two trains every day.
I read about a primary school that has banned meat. It seems that the headmistress decided last year to cut all meat from school meals and asked for parents to give the children vegetarian packed lunches. Recently she wrote to parents complaining that most of them were ignoring her request. The only problem was that the meat ban had never been mentioned to the parents, it was something the headmistress had brought in without any consultation with the parents. She claimed it was said the world from climate change. Somehow I don’t think a few primary children not eating ham sandwiches is going to save the world.
Morning all, it’s a lovely morning here in London, sunny and mild, is it the lull before the big storm? I understand tomorrow is going to be very wet and very windy and possibly even snowy. Perhaps I will stay in my basket all day, only getting up to use the dreaded litter tray and to eat.
Years after the referendum vote to leave the EU I see that they have brought out a report that basically says that the British didn’t understand what they were voting for. They implied that if they had they couldn’t possibly have voted Leave. How patronising, so the EU thinks over half of Britons are stupid. Personally, I think it was those who voted Remain who were stupid.
I read that, at a meeting with supporters’ representatives yesterday, Arsenal announced that they are going to spend millions on upgrading the stadium in the coming closed season. The Emirates Stadium is now 15 years old and some areas are said to be in need of a bit of work to bring them back up to standard. I hear that in some spots the fans have to suffer leaks in the roof and the giant TV screens, which were state of the art when installed, are a little past it. My scribe, who you know is a regular supporter, says that the Tannoy system cannot be heard properly in some parts of the ground. It will be interesting to see what the planned improvements are.
It seems that a woman is being searched for in the Caribbean Sea after jumping off the Carnival Valour cruise ship. The event is reported to have happened at 02:30, after the woman had an altercation with the ship’s security so it is quite likely that drink had been taken. I have read differing reports, some said she was in handcuffs at the time and others said she put on a lifejacket before jumping which wouldn’t have been easy if she was wearing handcuffs. Anyway, the ship turned back to try to find her in the darkness, something that is not easy considering how long it takes to turn a ship. I hear that despite calling in 2 helicopters she is still missing. I expect only a body will be found and we will never be sure why she went overboard.
It appears that the disaster that is the two ferries being built for services to the Scottish islands at the Ferguson shipyard has hit another delay. It has emerged that up to 900 cables that were installed in the early days, while construction was still being undertaken by Ferguson Marine, before the Scottishland Government took over, are going to have to be stripped out and replaced. These cables are not to specification and all too short to be connected to the equipment they are supposed to serve. The two ships were due in service in 2018 and 2019 but their delivery dates have just been further delayed.
In Metropolitan Police news I hear that when the home of Wayne Couzens, the murderer of Sarah Everard, was searched the police found an old mobile phone of his. The police checked the phone and found a number of old WhatsApp messages which they say were racist and misogynistic. Consequently, two serving Met officers and one retired officer have been charged by the Crown Prosecution Service. One little odd thing is that the names of those charged have not been released which is most unusual. Are they trying to hide something?
A specialist car carrier ship heading from Germany to the United States has caught fire in the Atlantic off the Portuguese island of Faial in the Azores. The 650-foot long ship Felicity Ace is carrying a mixed load of 4,000 Volkswagens and Porsches. The fire broke out in the cargo hold and the Portuguese Navy have rescued all 22 crewmen. Porsche run a “Track Your Dream” service on their website where buyers can follow their purchase through manufacturing and shipping to delivery to their dealer. Porsche suggest owners should contact their dealer. Latest news was the ship was still alight and drifting east. It sounds to me more like a “Follow Your Nightmare” service.
When I retired to my basket last night I was told by that nice TV weatherman that it was going to be very wet and very windy this morning. Well, when I woke up it clearly had been raining in the night and was a little bit breezy. It seemed the multi-million pound Met Office computer got it wrong again. It seems that the new time is 10 o’clock, it’s like the Russian invasion of the Ukraine no one seems to know the timing. Still the Met Office is bound to say they need more money for a bigger and better supercomputer. Well it might be windy and rainy in the South of England, but in the North I see it is snow that is the problem. Thank God I live in London, I hate snow. Maybe it is because I am not very tall and when I walk through deep snow my bits get frozen
I read that in the US Toyota and Hyundai have been offering spectacular discounts on hydrogen-powered cars. The Toyota Mirai is available in California for $18,000, that is a 65% discount on its list price. You get $12,500 off state and federal taxes and $20,000 off from Toyota, plus 100,000 kilometres of free fuel. If they did the same in the UK, I wonder how many people would buy one as that is probably cheaper than an equivalent ICE. The only problem is the lack of refuelling points.
I know that TfL have been short of money but the ruse they have been running at Finsbury Park Station is a bit naughty. The station serves both National Rail and London Underground and there are numerous subways and exits covered by ticket reading barriers and for some journeys you had to pass through both a National Rail barrier and a TfL barrier for example if you arrived on a Thameslink train on a northbound platform you had to pass through a barrier to leave the platform. But to leave the station at some exits you had to pass through a second barrier. The computer said you had completed your journey on leaving the platform and then charged you a second time on exiting the station. Because the system saw the second exit as an unmatched pair it charged you £8.60, the maximum TfL single fare. Following thousands of complaints, National Rail/TfL are relocating barrier lines to station entrances and exits and reprogramming them to read both organisation’s tickets. Why didn’t they work that out before? Was it because the two organisations weren’t talking to each other?
I read that last November Harrogate Council installed a giant inflatable snowglobe on the passenger concourse of Kings Cross mainline station. The idea was to encourage passengers to use the LNER service from King Cross to Harrogate to visit Harrogate’s Christmas fayre spending a return fare of £140. The globe was there for two 12 hour sessions and including two men’s time to put it up and take it down plus VAT it cost Harrogate £5,220. I wonder if it was worth it?
So it wasn’t just a wind turbine in Wales that was killed by storm Dudley I see that one at Hesket Newmarket in Cumbria also suffered. Apparently it was downed by a single extra strong blast at two o’clock in the morning that ripped the blades off it and left bits all over a field. It seems that 100 local homes were left without power. I’m not quite sure how this bit works as I always thought that wind turbines fed the grid. Perhaps the power cut was just a coincidence?
Today I read an interesting little story about rainfall in China. It seems they have been getting a lot more than usual but they are not blaming it on climate change as would happen instantly in the UK. No, the Chinese are blaming it on Covid! They say that because loads of people weren’t working there was a lot less pollution than normal and that leads to extra rain. I reckon that it is a cover story to allow them to go on pouring smoke out from coal-fired power stations.
Well, Storm Eunice played havoc with the country when it eventually arrived hours later than originally projected. Loads of train services were cancelled, including every single train in Wales, even the London Underground had closures and long delays. How does the wind mess up trains underground? Schools were closed, shops were closed, bin collections were missed, thousands of people watched planes struggling to land at Heathrow being streamed online and loads of trees came down. I wonder how long it will take to get back to normal? Not before Monday is my bet.
Morning all, bright and sunny first thing but cold, I didn’t stay outside very long. I wonder how long it will last, the girl doing the weather says it’s going to be heavy rain and windy again later. I don’t think it is going to be as windy as yesterday, that was awful. They were watching Big Jet TV in the office. Seeing those planes landing at Heathrow was amazing, many of them were coming in sideways and thumping down on the runway. I was fascinated.
I know the Chinese and the Australians are not on the best of terms but the Chinese pushed it a bit further yesterday when a Chinese warship illuminated an Australian patrol aircraft with a laser. The ship was the PLAN Luyang Type 052D destroyer. The Aussies were not very happy saying the P-8A Poseidon aircrew could have been endangered. It’s not clear if the laser was a weapon or a handheld device operated by a crewman.
For years now the operators of cruise ships have tried to outdo one another. It started off with bigger and better theatres, theme bars and casinos. Then as ships got bigger along came more offering, shopping malls, theme restaurants and golf ranges. I have even seen ice skating, climbing walls, surfing machines. But I read of a first on the Carnival Mardi Gras, a roller coaster. Carnival are so sure that it is going to be a hit that the coming Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee will also be equipped with them. The track wraps around the open upper deck 18 and a circuit takes about 30 seconds. Because you are up above other passengers you have to wear trousers or shorts, no dresses allowed, and you have to empty your pockets and can’t takes hats, sunglasses, phones or cameras with you. There are automatic cameras around the track that photograph you as you go round. The system uses facial recognition software to post your pictures to your onboard account. If you want to buy them they are $17 each. Oh and a two circuit ride cost $15. Not for me I’m afraid.
While on the subject of cruise ships, I hear that the Cunard liner Queen Victoria is not to rejoin the fleet as expected but will stay in the Caribbean for a while yet. The ship has been operating just off Bridgetown Barbados where it has been acting as a ‘hospital ship’ for the Carnival fleet. Crewmen joining Carnival ships have been isolating on board in yellow zones. While Covid affected crewmen have been recovering in red zones. The Queen Victoria is to miss 7 cruises and have a brief dry docking for a deep clean, disinfection and refresh before returning to service on 5th June. Passengers whose cruise is cut can get a full refund or claim 110% in future cruise credits.
I understand that the government are in exclusive talks with the American pharmaceutical company Catalent to sell them the vaccine development and innovation centre in Oxford. The building had £200 million worth of government money in its building. Oxford BioMedica, Lonza and Fujifilm have all bid for the facility that is surplus to Covid manufacturing requirements but it looks like Catalent are in pole position. I wonder if they will manufacture a Covid vaccine there?
It has been windy again at Heathrow today, but although the wind speed is lower to it has been causing more problems than yesterday as it is a crosswind rather than a headwind as yesterday. It is easier to land flying into the wind than with it blowing across the runway. Consequently there have been a lot of planes having to abort landings and go around. If a plane fails to land 3 times it is diverted to a different airport and as I write one has gone to Southend, one to Edinburgh and one from Chicago has gone to Geneva.
In France, a man faces a €30,000 fine and six months in prison for trying to stop his child using the internet in the evening. Apparently he used a jamming device on a relay station in the town of Messanges to shut down the signal between midnight and 3am on numerous nights. People in the town complained to the mobile phone operator who sent out an investigator who discovered the jamming signal coming from the man’s home. It seems the man, who thought he was only blocking the signal in his own home, was trying to stop his child using his mobile to access the internet via his phone when he was supposed to be sleeping.
Right merry readers that’s me done for another week. I am worn out with all the effort involved in finding you lot tales so I am going to curl up for a cat nap. Have a lovely Sunday and I’ll speak to you all next week.
© WorthingGooner 2022