Happy bank holiday, people. It is very quiet in London this morning. The family didn’t come home yesterday so I assumed they will be back late today. That suits me, all the papers have been delivered so I can get up to date with all the stories. It’s nice to see Stoma wriggling of over Beergate or should that now be Curry and Beergate. Then there is Ginger Growlergate which is turning into a bit of a mess for Labour.
I see that Qantas have done just what has been expected for some time. They have placed an order for 12 x Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. These planes will be used to operate nonstop flights from Sydney to London and to New York meaning a journey time for passengers of around 20 hours. Will this force British Airways and the American carriers to follow suit? But it is Airbus who are the big winners as Qantas have also placed orders for 20 x Airbus A321XLRs, 20 x A220s and taken purchase options on a further 94 aircraft which can be either A321s or A220s in any mix. Add this little lot to the 109 A320s already on order for subsidy Jetstar and Qantas have become a major Airbus customer at the expense of Boeing whose 737s and 717s are leaving the fleet.
I read that the Highway Code has yet another stupid rule. Basically it says that to stop becoming drowsy you should keep your car well ventilated by, for example, keeping the air conditioning running. But running air conditioning is bad for the environment. However if you become drowsy and have an accident you could get a big fine.
I hear that a 24-year-old Singaporean dancer is to play the Queen as young Princess Elizabeth in next month’s Jubilee pageant. This is very strange, I don’t remember the Queen ever being an Asian. I suppose this will be another one of these woke diversity things. Don’t the idiots who dream up this sort of thing realise it is an insult to the Queen and the general public? Next thing you know she will be being portrayed by a black bloke.
I have been reading a puff piece in the press for laser weapons on ships. It seems we are getting nearer to them going into service as a defensive weapon but not so much as a offensive weapon. An electric laser needs a very high voltage generated by the ship but only a fraction of a second on target is probably enough to cook circuit boards on an incoming missile or plane. But the same beam would need a couple of seconds on its target to burn a hole, not so easy on a hypersonic missile. But one thing the article did say, that I had never thought about before, was that most ships are sunk by their ammunition magazines exploding and that with laser weapons you don’t have an ammunition magazine.
The London based international law firm Stephenson Harwood want to get its staff back in the office. So they have told anyone who wants to continue working from home they can do so, but they will have to make a 20% salary sacrifice. It seems that over the Covid period the company has been able to hire new starts, working from home for much less that the £90,000 London starting wage, hence the offer to staff. Come into the London office and retain your salary or continue working from home and lose a minimum of £18,000 a year. I suspect a lot of calculators will be out trying to work out just how much saving a couple of hours a day in commuting time and season ticket costs is worth.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall when Whinge discovered that her proposed production ‘Pearl’ has been cancelled by Netflix. Apparently Netflix need to make savings after their recent financial results. The programme was to be made by Archiewell the Ginge and Whinge TV programme production company and Whinge was down as ‘Executive Producer’. I guess Netflix decided they didn’t need another woke show so to cut it was easy. I bet Ginge got an earful for something he had absolutely nothing to do with and no control over. I wonder if he will now come to his grandmother’s jubilee to get away from the continual whine in his ears?
Well all good things come to an end, the family came back. Bozzie looking smart at breakfast, it seems they have let Pinchy into the building to interview him. I don’t like her so I decided to follow him in attack mode, but he disappeared in a lift! Now I hear he is going to make an address to the Ukraine Parliament. No he is not going there again, he is going to be on TV.
Southend Airport operates its first passenger flight this week since October last year. Although it has never been a very busy passenger airport rating either 35th or 48th in the U.K. depending on the scale used it has been hit very hard by Covid. The services this week are EasyJet flights to Palma, Faro and Malaga totalling 12 return flights a week. Before Covid, three airlines operated scheduled services; RyanAir, EasyJet and Wizz, this summer EasyJet seem to be alone. The current timetable runs until October when the winter timetable starts. I suspect we may see another winter shutdown.
I hear that over the weekend RyanAir have been at it again trying to ruin people’s holidays by getting passport validity rules wrong. Children’s British passports are valid for a maximum of 5 years and 9 months so it is impossible for them to fail the EU rule that 3rd county passport must be not more than 10-years-old on the day of travel. But somehow RyanAir got this wrong and banned 15-year-old Zak Schoneville from flying. Fortunately Jet2 are more on the ball and Zak and his family flew from Edinburgh, instead of Prestwick, to Spain only a day late.
P&O Ferries is to resume its passenger service from Dover to Calais at 4pm this afternoon using the single ferry that has been cleared to operate from Dover. It will only be running the one service today before running several tomorrow. Even so, I hear that it is fully booked and the first available tickets are on Saturday. The situation for P&O Ferries could just possibly improve later today as another P&O Ferry is being re-inspected by the authorities today.
Do you remember me telling you about the Korean’s bidding to build nuclear power stations in Poland and suggesting that we should be talking to them too? Well, I think someone in government must have been reading my diary. Today I hear that Kwasi Kwarteng has met with Korea Electric Power Corporation to discuss them investing in our nuclear power programme and that talks are still ongoing. I hear that initially talks centre on the proposed plant at Moorside, Cumbria that was put on hold in 2018 when Toshiba owned Westinghouse pulled out. A couple of weeks ago it was Virgin reading my diary, now the government, I think I will have to be careful what I say about Bozzie.
Not a good weekend for RyanAir as I read that on Saturday afternoon they managed to leave 14 passengers behind at Palma, Majorca on a flight to Malaga. All 14 passengers were properly checked in and at the gate in plenty of time. What seems to have happened is that the flight was on a remote stand and the passengers were being bussed to the plane. These 14 passengers could fit on the 2nd bus and were told a 3rd bus would be along shortly. However, the plane took off leaving the 14 at the gate! I always thought stewardesses counted the passengers to make sure everyone was on board. Anyway, RyanAir was its usual generous self and found seats for the 14 passengers on a later flight and reward them with a €4 voucher to spend in the airport shops.
I read that some energy suppliers are in potential trouble for profiteering in the latest round of billing. Apparently they have been increasing direct debits by far more than they actually need. It seems they have been attempting to build up a credit pool, before the next price cap increase is allowed in the autumn, by raking it in now.
A strange day, it’s dull but fairly warm, I think it should be good snoozing weather. Bozzie’s speech yesterday to the Ukraine Parliament seems to have gone down well, even with the lefties. He was loving the Sun’s headline this morning. At the moment he is happy with Stoma struggling to answer Beer and Currygate keeping Partygate out of the headlines. However, he was muttering about missing Growlergate.
I knew it was coming, but I must admit I was still surprised to hear that the central London section of the Elizabeth Line has been given an “opening date” of 24th of this month. It’s no good the MSM pretending that the line is now fully open when we know that it is not really the case. Firstly it will only initially be six days a week and it won’t be fully open for another year when you can get on a train in Shenfield and get off the same train in Reading, and Bank station is not going to open until next year. When it first opens to the public, you will need to use 3 separate trains to do that journey.
An interesting read about the use of Exocet missiles against us by the Argies 40 years ago. It seems we thought the French had built a “kill switch” (to prevent customers using it against the suppliers) into the control software, but the French denied it. It was part of the contract, when buying Exocets, that you must not dismantle them, but Margaret Thatcher gave permission for one to be dismantled. The kill switch was found and so were several other quirks, like it always scanned from left to right, it could be spoofed by electronics and it was possible to fool it with chaff cut to half the length of its radar wavelength. All these methods were used to protect ships after the initial hit.
The new train timetables for summer come into effect on Sunday 15th May and of course the London press have been concentrating on changes to Southern, Great Northern and Thameslink services. It seems that these companies are all adding extra trains to their weekday services as people are returning to work. For example, Great Northern are adding more peak hour trains into Moorgate running up to 10 trains an hour. Thameslink are starting a new cross London service from Welwyn Garden City to Sevenoaks and Southern increasing capacity on many routes.
I have seen people speculating that Sky were getting ready to dump their satellite service and instead switch over to a full internet TV service. This seems to have been prompted by the recent release of the SkyGass TV with built-in internet TV. But Sky have today signed a new lease for satellite wavelengths with SES who operate the satellites they use to broadcast their signals. Sky has agreed to lease capacity to operate all its current services until at least the end of 2028, which gives them plenty of time to migrate their 18 million satellite users over broadband.
I understand that when the Elizabeth Line opens it will boast several ‘sloped’ lifts, where instead of a lift going up a vertical shaft the lift runs up at an angle alongside a bank of escalators. TfL say this type of lift is cheap to install because you don’t have to dig a separate vertical lift shaft and install fancy lift gear. The sloped lift only needs a slightly widened escalator shaft and can run on a wheeled track. I understand that you can see this type of lift installed at Farringdon and Liverpool Street stations.
Boeing is about to attempt to break its run of bad luck. It is to try another go at launching its Starliner space capsule. An unmanned flight is due to be launched on 19 May and is supposed to be a resupply mission to the International Space Station. Boeing is under huge pressure to have a successful flight as they are in competition with SpaceX whose launches have just worked. The two companies are fighting a competition to service the space station and SpaceX are clearly winning having so far flown 20 people to the ISS compared to Boeing’s nil.
It’s a lovely morning with plenty of sun in London this morning, I think I might have to rush through my diary today so I can go and occupy the windowsill. Bozzie was off early to cast his vote this morning. He had the Mutt on a lead and as they set off I did who was taking whom for a walk as the Mutt appeared to be dragging him.
I have been reading an article about how just about every airport has found a way of ripping more money out of passengers’ pockets. At the height of Covid most airports in the U.K. were losing money because of the huge drop in the numbers of people flying. Consequently, they started charging a ‘drop off’ charge for cars and taxis leaving passengers at a terminal. There are now very few airports in the U.K. that are free to drop off passengers, with some charging up to £5 for a five-minute drop-off. Well, I hear that with passenger numbers now increasing some airports have found this such a lucrative system that they are increasing the charges even higher, many doubling the charge and some like Bristol increasing by 400% (£1 to £5) for 10 minutes.
More fun at P&O Ferries. I hear that they have let four of the recently hired replacement crewmen go because they don’t come up to ‘standard’. Apparently the problem is ‘language skills’, in other words the crewman’s English was not considered good enough. Of course, when you sack a predominantly British crew and replace them with crewmen from all over the world you can only expect the standard of English being spoken to fall. What I find strange is that the 4 sacked crewmen are being represented by the RMT union who also represent the original sacked British seamen.
It seems that the World Health Organisation thinks that the number of people who die from Covid in many countries has been wildly underestimated. While the numbers recorded in many Western nations may be too high as they include people who died ‘with Covid’ rather than ‘from Covid’, the numbers in many countries is hugely underrecorded. For example, Indian numbers are believed to be about half of what they should be. The generally accepted world number of Covid deaths is 5,000,000, but the WHO believe the number should be nearer 15,000,000.
Construction has finally started for the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Phase One of the 3 phases of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm commenced this week. The HVDC cables are the first item to be installed. Later this summer the foundations for the turbines will be started, with the first turbine being installed next year. Once all 3 phases are complete the farm should be able to generate a total of 3.6 GW, provided the wind blows!
With the start of May, local councils across the country have started to pay out the £150 council tax rebates to some council taxpayers. If you are in a band A to D house and normally pay by direct debit the council should just make the payment automatically. Mind you, if you live in Swale, Kent, you might need to check your bank account as I hear they might have taken £150 instead of paying it out. Apparently they have corrected the problem but it might take a while to return the money to accounts.
I read that this weekend is a special weekend for the Swanage Steam Railway. They are organising a special diesel engine weekend with 8 huge 1960’s diesel locomotives running a special service to Corte Castle Station where a beer festival is taking place. I understand that access to the beer festival is free but you will have to pay for the beer! With a lovely warm and sunny weekend forecast, somehow I think that is going to be a very popular destination this weekend.
What a lovely sunny warm morning in London, this is the type of day I like. I hear it is going to get a little cooler this afternoon but be a nice weekend and a warm week in London. I am looking forward to it. Bozzie is happier than I thought he would be with the election results. I think that voting in the Red Wall seats has gone a lot better than he expected but I heard it was only expected that 3 London Boroughs had gone to Stoma’s mob because they were packed full of Muslims who will never vote Tory.
I told you all that Boeing were going to have another go at launching their Starliner capsule. Well, it seems they had a bit of a nasty shock yesterday when the capsule was being transported to the assembly building in the back of a giant truck. As it slowly trundled along the road a piece was seen to fall off the capsule. Big panic results, but on closer inspection it turns out it was a temporary cover stuck over one of the windows that came away and tumbled to the ground. Panic over.
I understand that the Russians would like to build bigger warships for their Black Sea fleet but have a problem in that they don’t have a means of producing the large marine diesel engines required. Before they took over the Crimea, Russia purchased all its major marine engines from the Ukraine, but of course that route is no longer open to them. This means that the Russians have been limited to building new frigates with a displacement of around 3,000 tonnes while the US equivalent is about 5,000 tonnes.
So Durham Police have waited until everyone has voted before announcing that they will now be re-investigating Beer and Currygate, no surprise there. But it seems that, unlike the Metropolitan Police in London, Durham Police have a policy of not issuing retrospective fines. Now isn’t that interesting. If you commit the same offence in London and Durham, one attracts a fine and the other doesn’t, sounds like one law for Bozzie and another law for Stoma.
I don’t know if it is true or propaganda but I hear that a Russian Admiral Grigorovich-Class frigate is on fire in the Black Sea. If this is true it would seem that either the Ukraine has hit it with another of its anti-ship missiles or the Russians have a very serious problem with fires breaking out on their warships. Apparently a major rescue operation is ongoing, involving multiple aircraft and rescue vessels in the area. By the time you read this the truth will probably be out there.
A very diplomatic announcement from the Palace this afternoon. They have said that only members of the Royal Family who are currently undertaking royal duties will be on the Palace balcony for the jubilee celebrations. So this is a nice way of saying Ginge and Whinge and Randy Andy will not get an invite. However, just about everyone else will be there including Charlie and his Horse; Wills, Kate and the kids; Princess Anne and Prince Edward.
I have been reading about a woman who was driving home from her nursing job when an ambulance raced up behind her. Like most people would do, she pulled over to let the ambulance pass, the only problem was that she pulled into a bus lane for a few seconds. She says that she was very close to the end of the bus lane and that six or seven cars were ahead at the lights at the end of the bus lane waiting to turn left with the ambulance wanting to go straight on, so getting out of the way was the obvious thing to do. Unfortunately the council camera operator was looking back down the road and issued a £30 fine saying she should have stayed where she was and forced the ambulance to use the bus lane to overtake. I suspect the camera operator was not a driver.
Well, it’s a bit of an odd morning, it started off quite sunny and warm, but there are some big black clouds drifting across and every so often I think it is going to rain. Thank goodness it’s Saturday and the family has gone away for the weekend as Bozzie was very grumpy as the election results came in yesterday afternoon. The only thing that cheered him up a bit was hearing the Durham Police were going to re-investigate Beer and Currygate.
The US is said to be testing several hypersonic rockets because they are worried they have fallen behind the ability of the Russians and Chinese through lack of investment. The latest test I have heard about is from the Lockheed secret development site The Skunk Works. This was the second flight of Lockheed’s Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) programme and is said to have reached 5 x the speed of sound at 65,000 feet.
Telford and Wrekin council are going to test installing small wind turbines at the side of the road that will generate enough power to run street lights. The advantage that these turbines have is that they will run from air movement caused by vehicles using the road so the turbine should be able to generate power even on still days. Mind you they are not any use for quiet side streets! The first test is going to be on the A442 later this year.
The Ukraine war is having some strange results in the aircraft industry. The Russian airline Aeroflot had placed an order for 22 Airbus A350 aircraft before the outbreak of hostilities but only 7 had been delivered before sanctions were invoked. However, this is where things get completed, 2 more aircraft were officially delivered, on paper, but this was a bit of an accounting trick to bolster the Airbus 2021 numbers. The leasing company Sherbank Ireland signed the paperwork but the planes remained in France. But Sherbank Ireland is a Russian company so the planes remain sanctioned and Airbus has put a lump sum in escrow to return to Sherbank when allowed. In the meantime, the planes are available for purchase.
I hear that someone has been admitted to the rare diseases unit at Guy’s Hospital in London with monkeypox. The virus is similar to smallpox in that people who get it develop big blisters and symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache and exhaustion. However, it is only mildly infectious and most people recover in a few weeks. The person with it recently returned from Nigeria where he is believed to have caught it. It is normally spread amongst wild animals and the speared to humans is very rare.
I read that the Canadians have sneaked a criminal code change into it 2022 Federal Budget. The change makes it a crime for Canadians to commit illegal acts in outer space that would be illegal if committed in Canada. Strangely, this change of law suggests that up until the amendment, if a Canadian astronaut was to murder another astronaut in outer space then it would not have been illegal. Only 9 Canadians have ever travelled into space but they are likely to take part in NASA’s ‘Lunar Gateway’ programme so perhaps they are worried they might send a crook to the moon and have no way of sanctioning them if they committed a crime.
I hear the Americans have just held what they claim is an international competition for the world’s best snipers. Of course, most of the 21 two-man teams that took part came from the USA. They had teams from Delta Force, the French SAS, the US National Guard Special Forces, the Marines, the Green Berets, the US Seals, the FBI, the US Coast Guard, Ireland and Germany among others. However, what are widely recognised as the world’s best snipers, Canada and the SAS were not represented, no wonder the Delta Force won, it sounds like a fix.
That’s my diary is finished for this week, I’m off for my afternoon snooze. It’s very nice in the sun but a bit cool elsewhere and the sun keeps going behind the cloud. The windowsill appears to be getting its fair share of sun so that’s where I’m heading this afternoon. Have a pleasant weekend, merry readers, and I will be back on reporting duty on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2022