Larry’s Diary, Week One Hundred And Thirty Four


Good morning all, another week and the war in Ukraine continues with Bozzie still running around like a maniac. I saw Putin on TV yesterday and he looks different, has he put on weight? His face looks a lot fatter than it used to. Maybe he has had Botox injections or perhaps he is not well? I have seen people on steroids whose face has got puffy like that.

I hear that the defence electronics company Ultra is likely to get the go-ahead to be sold to Cobham (famous for the tank armour). Cobham was sold to American private venture company Advent. The problem is that Ultra make top-secret electronics for our nuclear submarines that is reckoned to be up there with the most advanced in the world. The way the government usually handles this sort of thing is with a “golden share” that gives them a veto over who the company deals with, what technology it is allowed to use in contracts and who the company or parts of the company can be sold to. However in this case I understand that it is unlikely that there will be a “golden share”, instead the government is negotiating a legal agreement with Advent that will serve the same purpose.

I read that Aeroflot is taking about the same amount of notice of the Canadian Government as the truckers. Yesterday an Aeroflot Airbus A350-900 flying from Miami to Moscow breached the Canadian “no-fly zone” for all Russian aircraft. Mind you I really am not sure what exactly Canada could have done about it as the plane was not actually landing in Canada as they could not shoot down a civilian aircraft. However, the big question is why has the US not yet invoked a “no-fly zone” on Russian aircraft over the US?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Not welcome over Canada.
SU/AFL Aeroflot Airbus A350 VQ-BFY,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The Iranian Ambassador to Britain is in trouble and has been ordered back to Tehran. It seems a video has been circulating on the internet showing un-veiled women in the Iranian embassy reception. This is a terrible offence under Iranian religious Law and the ambassador is carrying the can. The video shows an event commemorating the 43rd Iranian Revolution anniversary with a woman playing a piano alongside a violinist who was not wearing a hijab.

A Russian owned tanker, the NV Challenger, is due to dock at the Flotta oil terminal in the Shetlands tomorrow to take on North Sea oil. With the current situation in Ukraine many people are not happy that any trade is going on with Russia. I understand that the government is considering a complete shipping ban to go alongside the aircraft ban. Mind you I do wonder why a massive exporter of oil is picking up a tanker load of our oil at Flotta?

I see that the EU has agreed to the Ukraine’s request for the supply of fighter jets. Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this. The Ukraine operates Soviet-built MiG and Sukhoi models and has asked specifically for these makes of aircraft so that their pilots can fly them. Thereby lies the second problem, only the ex Eastern European members of the EU, such as Poland, are likely to have these makes and I suspect that many of these are obsolete models that are in mothballs. Then of course do they actually have the pilots to fly them and airfields to fly them from?

A bit of good news today, we signed a trade deal with New Zealand this morning. International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan signed for us and New Zealand Minister For Trade And Export Growth Damien O’Connor signed for them. The deal is said to be our ‘greenest deal yet’ so that sort of worries me. Apparently the value of trade last year was £2.3 billion and this deal is expected to increase it by 60%. I understand that the deal should cut the time taken for important paperwork to a few hours and includes the mutual recognition of many qualifications. Oh, and good news for you lovers of New Zealand wine as these should be cheaper.


Gosh, Bozzie was up extra early crashing around the flat. I waited for him to have his breakfast so that I could get some titbits, but he didn’t make anything to eat, only one of those green tea things for the little Otter. Then I heard her telling him not to eat too much on his flight. When he picked me up and put me back in the kitchen he whispered in my ear, “Fat chance, the RAF do a lovely full English and then I like Polish sausage. And the army in Lithuania will pull out all the stops. Finally dinner on the plane back. I’ll tell her I only got a sandwich.” I guess from that he is off to Poland and Lithuania so I’m expecting a quiet day.

I read that a 100-year-old man has just been awarded very nearly £20,000 in damages against Brighton and Hove Council. The court found that the man had tripped over a cable left hanging on the floor in a council-owned crematorium, dislocating his shoulder, tearing several muscles and spending time in hospital. Despite the man having several witnesses the council refused to accept responsibility and handed the case over to their insurers. The case has taken nearly six years to come to court where the defence claimed the man fell over because of “old age” and there was no cable, a fact debunked by several witnesses. The judge completely dismissed the defence’s case. I wonder if the insurance company were dragging out the case coming to court in the hope that the man would die of old age?

The Germans are having second thoughts about going green. The Green Party members of the German Government have long campaigned to shut down coal and nuclear power in Germany and the last three nuclear power stations are due to shut down this year. Like in Britain they are looking to wind and solar but have had to lean heavily on gas to keep the lights on. In the UK only 3% of the gas supply has come from Russia while the Germans source most of their gas from Russia. Now that Russia could cut off the supply of gas in an instant even though the Green Party is likely to accept that it would be foolish to shut down the last three nuclear stations.

It seems that meerkat Aleksandr Orlov is one of the first casualties of the Russian/Ukraine conflict. The rich meerkat who is supposed to live in vast mansion in South London, with his assistant Sergei, advertises insurance. But he is supposed to be Russian, hailing from an imaginary city, before moving to Britain where he advertises insurance for Comparethemarket. Aleksandr has been pulled from the TV schedule as the fictional character is deemed sensitive.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
That seems a bit harsh.
Compared, and Found Wanting,
Matt Gibson
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

It looks like cruise lines are busy altering their Baltic cruises to cut out a stop in St Petersburg. May, June and July are the peak time for Baltic cruises with nearly every one of them making an overnight stop in the Russian port. At the time of writing this, two of the biggest companies, Norwegian Cruise Line and Viking Cruises, have already dropped planned calls to St Petersburg. I understand that the Carnival brands P&O Cruises and Cunard are set to be the next to make the change while Royal Caribbean say they are considering doing so. Pity really because St Petersburg has a lot of attractions but understandable.

Over the past decade over £1 billion has been added to electricity bills to pay for upgrades to the distribution system to support ‘green’ improvements. The idea was to make networks suitable for the extra power needed for the likes of electric vehicle chargers and heat pumps. In London and the Southeast between 2015 and 2023 the prediction was that householders would install over half a million green devices in fact less than 100,000 have been installed. UK Power Networks has charged bill payers over £1.1 billion but have spent less than half of this amount. It’s another rip-off.

Did you hear about the ex-policeman who was on trial for murder in Florida and got found not guilty by a jury? It seems that the ex-policeman went to the cinema and got annoyed when, before the film started, the man in front of him phoned his babysitter to check everything was OK. A row developed and the man in front chucked some popcorn at the ex-policeman. The ex-policeman, had taken his pistol with him to the cinema, (doesn’t everyone?) and he pulled out the gun and shot the popcorn man dead. Yesterday a Florida jury found him not guilty on the grounds that he thought his life was threatened. By someone throwing popcorn at him?


A miserable wet morning. I popped down the garden before breakfast and got my fur a bit damp. Back in the house the brat came to stroke me and recoiled when he got a wet hand. That’ll teach him to keep away from the official mouser.

More news associated with the Ukraine coming out today. Apple stopping selling their product, most of the European and American car makers stopping selling in Russia, the main Russian bank is closing in the UK, the Yanks are closing their airspace to Russian airlines and private aircraft and the two main Western aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus are stopping sales and support. I wonder how long the Russians will be able to keep their Boeing and Airbus jets flying without spare parts and support?

A 28-year-old student, Kurt Barkhuizen, from Scunthorpe has just been declared bankrupt over a £50,000 bounce back loan. He borrowed the money supposedly for his used-car business. The only problem was there was no such business. Barkhuizen did carry out one trade where he bought a car spending £25,000 on the car and its insurance but lost £10,000 on the deal when be sold the car. He also spent another £8,000 on a van and tools and more on paying off existing debts. By the time it came to pay back the loan he couldn’t and was declared bankrupt. That’s £50,000 the taxpayer will never see again.

I was delighted to see that travel companies are starting to ditch the face mask. British holiday company Jet2 has today announced its demise as have two of the big cruise operators Carnival and Norwegian. In the case of the cruise lines, they are still suggesting people might like to wear them voluntarily. As Carnival own P&O, Princess and Cunard, I wonder how long it will be before they pick up the same policy.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Face masks are optional.
Jet2 Holidays Boeing 737-800,
Aero Icarus
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The problems in Ukraine have hit the OneWeb satellite system. Russia has said that unless OneWeb give legal guarantees by Friday that the system will not be used for be used military purposes and the British Government sells its stake in OneWeb the next batch of 36 satellites will not be launched. The government say they have absolutely no intention of selling their stake and OneWeb is yet to comment. But it is understood that they have already fully paid for the launch. If the Russians break the launch contract it could lead to an interesting court case as they they have all the rest of their planned launches booked with the Russians.

I heard an interesting little snippet today. Apparently, since Brexit, a number of EU workers in the UK have now been replaced by workers from other countries. The official numbers show that 171,000 EU workers have gone home while non-EU workers have increased by 186,300. Many of the new workers have directly replaced EU workers in the likes of hospitality and care homes.

A big announcement from the Ford Motor Company today. The company is to split into two parts. One part will continue to build conventional internal combustion engine cars, while the other half will build electric vehicles. The new company will be called Ford Model E while the old one will be renamed Ford Blue. Years ago Tesla wanted to name a new car range the Model E, but found Ford had already registered the name. Apparently, Elon Musk thought a model E would fit nicely between his Model S and Model X so that he had models SEX. In the end, it was called the Model 3 so he had to settle for models S3X instead.


Morning all, a bit grey and grotty out there but mild. I hope it stays that way so I can get an afternoon outdoor snooze. Mind you, the man off the radio just said it is going to rain this afternoon so I better hurry up and get my diary entries done before the rain arrives. Over breakfast Bozzie was huffing and puffing about the woman who won the Erdington by-election for Stoma’s lot overnight. “Just what we need,” he said, “a younger version of the Abbotpotamus.”

The war in Ukraine has so far allowed yesterday’s Public Accounts Accounts Committee report on ‘Achieving Net Zero’ to slip under the radar. It said what any sensible person has known or suspected for years, the Committee for Climate Changes has been misleading the government and the public for ages. Their estimate of costs to achieve ‘net zero’ are total rubbish and are a massive underestimate by several orders of magnitude. All the government’s ‘net zero’ costs have been based on what the CCC under Lord Deben has been telling them, so they are achievable. What can Bozzie do now? Will he bumble on with a policy which cannot possibly be achieved or throw Deben under the bus, admitting that the government has been misled for years and all the green crap is unaffordable?

I read that P&O have just brought the 5th of their six cruise ships back into service with their smallest and oldest ship Aurora sailing from Southampton for a round trip to the Caribbean. That leaves only the Oceana to return to action. The Oceana is scheduled to sail seven day and 14-day cruises out of Malta throughout the summer and it has not reached its first sailing date yet. If P&O weren’t yet getting enough passengers to operate economically I doubt they would be operating five of their six ships with two of their bigger ones operating fly-cruises in the Caribbean.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Back in business.
P&O Aurora,
Andrew Bone
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Another parliamentary committee heard yesterday the Covid modelling basically got all its predictions wildly wrong. It seems that the modellers took the worst possible case and never took into account that people would change their behaviour without being forced to by law. The committee was told the models were produced to SAGE guidelines and SAGE then passed them straight on to the government as scientific predictions when they were nothing of the kind. It’s a good job Bozzie never believed the SAGE predictions of thousands of daily deaths over last Christmas due to O’Micron and didn’t bring in the recommended lockdown. The committee heard that the predictions might have been more accurate if they had been guessed.

A new law has come in this month with the 22 number plate. The law now bans those vehicle plates that produce what appears to be 3D effect and only allows fully black characters. This is another move to stop number plates that can defeat automatic number plate recognition cameras. The rule doesn’t just apply to new cars but is retrospectively applied to all cars on the road. So if you are driving around with a 3D number plate the Old Bill may be giving you a pull.

It seems that ITV is looking to take on the likes of NetFlix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ with its own streaming service which is to be called ITVX. The service is to be launched in quarter 4 this year and will replace both the current ITV streaming services, both free and paid for. The new service is expected to have both advertisement and subscription programs. ITV plan to have a 2 tier system with a free level paid for by advertising and a second, paid for tier, with extra content. Interestingly this didn’t go down very well on the stock exchange where the company’s shares fell 14%.

One effect of the Ukraine war looks to be Abramovich putting Chelsea Football Club up for sale. The media says he is willing to write off the £1.5 billion that the club owes him and he wants a mere £3 billion for the club that he paid £240 million for. What do you get for your money? Only the name of the club and the team apparently as the ground is owned by a separate organisation and leased by the club. The buyer couldn’t even move the club to a new ground without a change of name as this goes with the ground. You don’t get much for your money these days!


Ah, Saturday at last and at least it is dry today but with a chilly breeze that ruffled my fur when I popped down the garden. The Dreamies Girl is on duty this morning so it’s a Felix Chicken day and I get to listen to the radio all morning as she leaves the radio on for me. Only problem is it’s on LBC and that idiot you lot call ‘Ballboy’ is on!

Earlier this week I told you of the demands of the Russians over yesterday’s booked OneWeb Soyuz rocket launch. There were two demands, that OneWeb guarantee that the satellites are never used by the British or US military and that the British Government sell their holding in the company. The government said ‘no way’ and OneWeb have said they are immediately cancelling their contract with the Russians and will not use them for future launches. That leaves two problems, getting the 36 satellites back and getting the money for the launch back. The Russians say they have no intention of repaying the money as the problem has been caused by the “aggressive” British Government. However the satellites are less of a problem as the OneWeb Florida factory can produce them at a rate of 2 a day!

An update on another story I brought to you. It has been officially confirmed that the cargo ship carrying thousands of Volkswagen Group cars from Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley and Audi, has sunk in the Atlantic Ocean around 220 nm off the Azores. The Felicity Ace was carrying nearly 4,000 both electric and non-electric vehicles of which around 1,000 were Porsches. Last week a salvage team managed to get the ship under tow but unfortunately they have been unsuccessful. I would hate to have insured that lot, it is reported the cars were worth over €400 million and you have to add the cost of the ship to that.

A couple of days ago the Ukraine applied to join the EU ‘immediately’. This was not turned down outright by the EU and is being considered but joining is usually a protracted process. Yesterday Georgia and Moldova have also asked to join ‘immediately’. In the case of Georgia, it is not much of a surprise as it has always been the intention of the ruling Georgia Dream Party and is written into the Georgian constitution although they have been working toward applying in 2024.

Apparently, Elon Musk has upset the Russians by enabling his Starlink internet satellites over the Ukraine and turning up their sensitivity to maximum so that the power needed to access them is minimal. Musk has had a Twitter exchange with the Ukrainians where he has told them to power the ground units by a solar panel and a battery making it difficult for the Russians to take them out as they are so small. The Russians have retaliated by stopping the supply of Russian built rocket engines to the USA and suggesting they “launch their satellites from their broomsticks.” However, Musk says they are old fashioned now and superseded. That makes me ask the question who in their right mind ever decided to buy their rocket engines from the Russians in the first place?

An update on yet another story I promised I would give you if I heard anything. The threatened weekend British Airways catering strike has been called off. The 100 HGV drivers who work for DO&CO driving catering trucks have decided to vote on whether to accept a 14% wage increase. This will bring the driver’s salary to £33,000 p.a. The deal would also include recognition that the union, Unite, is recognised by the company as the driver’s union.

Good news at last for Ukrainians. The tax authorities in Kyiv have announced that anyone who has seized a Russian tank or armoured car doesn’t need to declare it for tax purposes! That farmer who made it onto social media towing a broken-down tank away with his tractor will be delighted that the taxman will not be chasing him. It seems that it has been decided that the scrap value of a T72 tank does not exceed the tax limit of 100 living wages. At least someone in Ukraine has retained a sense of humour.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Hardly used T72, soon available on E-Bay?
Uralvagonzavod T72,
Falcon® Photograph
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

That’s me done again. I will keep my ears open for any interesting stories tomorrow but I’m off for an afternoon catnap. Have a lovely Sunday and I’ll speak to you all next week.

© WorthingGooner 2022