Gosh, it’s Monday again, but at least it’s a short week. I hope Bozzie is taking everyone to Chequers for a long weekend. That will suit me down to the ground having the run of the place. I don’t really care who feeds me just so long as they do, and talk to me.
I hear Bozzie has been talking about allowing the old imperial system to be used again. I am not old enough to remember pounds and ounces. But I understand that it was a system we lost when we joined the Common Market, the predecessor to the European Union. I must admit I have often wondered why the system here is so mixed up. We still have road distances in miles and you lot buy your draught beer in pints. But you have to buy butter in grams, even if it is a silly amount that is actually half a pound. Then milk comes in pints but the law forced on us by the EU makes us label the containers in metric first therefore 2 pints of milk has to lead with 1.316 litres!
I hear that the new Blackfriars station is ten years old. The station has actually been around for 150 years but it was rebuilt and modernised when the Thameslink route was introduced. The new station has some rather interesting features, for example it was rebuilt on Blackfriars Bridge so it has two sets of entrances and exits, one on the north bank of the River Thames and one on the south bank. Consequently, it has two postcodes EC4V for the north and SE1 for the south. It also has photovoltaic cells on its roof and generates much of its own power. It also has a magnificent view over the city and down the river from the southbound platform.
Climate protestors came up with a new stunt in Paris this morning. A man dressed as an old woman jumped out of a wheelchair and tried to smash the glass protecting the Mona Lisa with a hammer and then smeared a cream cake across the painting. I wonder what the painting had done to upset the Green Brigade? I would have liked to have seen the man tear-gassed and chucked in the Seine.
The Irish police, the Garda, are not happy. They are worried that their GPS radios are spying on them so they are leaving them behind when they go on duty. Despite using the radio model since 2007 they believe that senior management have been using the GPS function of the radios to micromanage them. The latest upgrade of the Tetra Digital Radio features GPS tracking which is designed to let the control room know immediately where an officer is should they call for assistance. The worry they have is that the management are using this function to watch officers’ movements and that despite the radios being encrypted they could be hacked.
The US has moved a step nearer putting its new B21 Raider stealth bomber into production last week. The manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, received a contract valued at $108 million to procure long lead items for the initial batch of 21 planes. The first of these long-range strike bombers is currently planned to enter service in 2026. The plan is to eventually purchase up to 200 aircraft which in 2010, when the development order was placed, was costed at $550 million, I suspect it will be a lot more now.
Cityfibre are currently rolling out a £40 million fibre to the premises network to the whole of Swindon which will be used by the likes of Vodafone, Talk Talk, Zen and Giganet. However I hear that there are problems. Not just the standard problems that cause complaints on every job like this. There are always incidents like a trench being dug across a driveway trapping a car, lack of warning of work and complaints workers ignoring health and safety. This job has attracted a number of complaints about the quality of installation with many defects and Swindon Council have announced that they are going to carry out a full inspection of the installation. I understand that Cityfibre could receive penalties, under the contract, for defects.
Well, it’s been raining overnight again and it’s a bit damp under paw this morning. However the sun is popping in and out and it’s a bit windy, I do hope it’s sunnier when I have finished this offering.
I hear that the Army has placed an order to upgrade its Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). The launch vehicles are to receive new armoured cabs, new transmissions and new launch mechanisms. But perhaps a little more important is that their range is going to be extended from 84 km to 150 km by using a new British developed rocket. In addition, I understand we are acquiring some US-made precision strike missiles that have a range of 499 km and can be fired from the same American made launchers.
I read that the Government has finally cancelled a contract between P&O Ferries and U.K. Border Farce, ‘with immediate effect’. The contract was to carry Border Farce officers to ‘juxtaposed’ ports in France. I had to look up what a juxtaposed port was and it seems they are places in France where our Border Force and customs people are based, for example Calais, Dunkirk and some railway stations in France and Belgium. The normal method of travel is via the Channel Tunnel and this was just a standby in case of problems with the tunnel.
I hear that the world’s biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Harmony of the Seas’ has crashed into a jetty in Falmouth, Jamaica. Both the jetty and the ship have been damaged. From what I hear passengers heard the sound of the ship scraping its side along the jetty. Royal Caribbean say the damage to the ship was only “cosmetic” but I expect their insurance company will be getting a call to pay for any damage to the ship and jetty. I wonder if the ship’s captain will get 3 points on his licence?
The first of this summer’s Test matches starts at Lords on Thursday and I understand that there are still some 20,000 seats available. The reason seems to be the huge cost of tickets with an average cost of £100 and a top price of £160. It’s half term and you would expect school children to snap up the remaining seats, but even child tickets are a small fortune. For the opening day, the most readily-available under-16 ticket appears to be £136! The MCC say that child tickets are available priced between £20 and £40 but they are not very obvious on the ticket site.
News on Everton’s new football stadium currently called the Bramley-Moore Dock stadium. The stadium work has now begun above ground with a main load-bearing column in the northwest corner being erected. The 18-ton column is bolted to the pile cap by 6 x 50mm bolts. Next up will be the northeast corner column, followed by the matching pair in the south corners. Then four tower cranes will be installed to lift the rest of the 12,000 tons of bridging and infill steelwork into place. I understand the main contractor has already started pre-casting concrete sections for the 58,200 seat stadium.
If you are flying British Airways from Heathrow Terminal 5 in the near future you may well find yourself on an Iberia aircraft operating the service for BA. The two airlines are both part of the IAG group and Iberia are not suffering the same staff shortages that BA are. It seems that because of the number of people BA laid off during Covid they are very short of people but they have plenty of aircraft. They have started to hire people but on average it takes 100 days to train someone once recruited. Another problem BA have is that many of the staff laid off have found other jobs and don’t want to return to them. But it is not easy to hire in staff, however a wet lease of aircraft and crew is quicker and easier, and this is what is happening here. BA say that travellers will still get BA meals and seat classes. Iberia Express have already been operating some BA short-haul flights out of Gatwick to almost no complaints, in fact passenger often comment on the cheerful and helpful crews.
It’s an odd morning warm sunny period then clouds and rain then more sun. Bozzie was sniggering over breakfast, apparently more letters have gone for a vote on his leadership this week. I understand he feels he would easily win a vote of no confidence and that would shut up his detractors for a year.
A strange story this morning. I hear that HSBC has announced a scheme where everyone of its 35,000 employees can apply to lease an electric car for 2, 3 or 4 years with the option to purchase the car at the end of the lease period. It is part of the HSBC’s ‘green’ initiative and I hear the scheme will be interest-free. At the moment the Government has a very low rate (2%) for Company Car Tax if your car is electric whereas a diesel car can cost up to 37%. I understand that 200 different models are available to pick from, including Teslas.
Transport for London has been moaning this morning about the number of people it fined for travelling on the underground without a face mask who haven’t paid. Apparently they reckon they fined 4,000 people £200 each, reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days. Most paid up but 710 still haven’t, meaning that they are owed £142,000. TfL say they are going to take them all to court. Now I wonder how much that will cost them as I suspect that many of them will defend their cases by claiming an exemption?
So we have announced that we are sending out letters to boat people telling them they are down on the list for the first plane to Rwanda. Now I might only be a cat, but if I received a letter telling me I was being deported you wouldn’t see my arse for dust. The only ones who will be on that plane are the ones who are too stupid to go into the black economy.
On TV at the weekend the Ginger Growler was asked if she and Stoma had yet received questionnaires from the Durham police. She was quite irate, once again saying they had done nothing wrong and that of course she hadn’t received a questionnaire. Well, I was delighted to hear that they both had got one this morning. But aren’t the Durham police slow! I thought the Met were slow but this lot are worse.
If you are looking to buy a new ICE powered Fiat you only have weeks left to do so. From July Fiat are to stop selling pure ICE engined cars in the U.K. switching over to an all electric and hybrid offering. The last two cars in their range that currently don’t have an ‘electric’ version of some sort are the 500X and the Tipo. As from July they will come with a 1,000cc 3 cylinder engine mated to a 12V belt-integrated starter-generator and an 11Ah battery. It will be interesting to see if sales hold up.
With the recent fuss about the cost of energy in the U.K., it is interesting to see that the Government has started to talk to Centrica (owner of British Gas) about reopening the Rough gas storage under the North Sea. I understand that this one facility could hold 7 winter days supply for the whole of the U.K. However the question surely is why do we need it? The uncomfortable truth is under our feet is more than enough natural gas to keep us going for over 100 years. But we have been convinced that fracking to recover it would cause earthquakes despite evidence that we have stronger earthquakes every week. In fact on Monday we had 3, one of which was 3.6 on the Richter scale which is higher than anything ever produced by fracking. The interesting thing is that the environmentalists who objected to fracking were funded by the Russians as our production of gas would affect their sales. The term is useful idiots.
Well it’s a bank holiday today and of course Bozzie is missing. The girl who was on duty for my breakfast tried to get me to wear a Union Flag bow but I was not going to do it. She soon backed off when I showed my claws! Anyway, it’s pleasantly warm and dry in London this morning which is a good thing because there are loads of people in town for Trooping the Colour and later the flypast. I think I will pop out into the garden to watch the planes go over.
I read the Frogs are giving the Queen a prized horse as a Platinum Jubilee present. The horse, called ‘Fabuleux de Maucourt’, is a seven year old gray from the President’s Garde Républicaine. The French claim the horse was personally selected by President Macaroon “Because it is well behaved.” As an ex-cavalry horse, it came complete with a saddle and a sabre.
So it begins to emerge that many of the letters going into the 1922 Committee for a leadership election are from Remainers who think a different PM would lead back into the EU. Yesterday Tobias Ellwood came out with it, saying we should rejoin the single market ‘to ease inflation’, how that works I don’t know as most of the EU countries have a very similar inflation rate to ours. Besides, joining the single market would mean having to obey a lot of EU rules and would be the thin end of the wedge before Ellwood and his fellow Remainers pushed for full membership.
I understand that the Ukraine is getting more and more howitzers from all around the world. They have already been supplied with towed guns by the US and Canada, now I hear they are acquiring self-propelled 155mm guns from France, Germany and Poland. The French guns are truck-mounted, while the other two are tracked. I heard that the Russian had been keen to take out the towed guns as they outranged their own guns. The Ukrainians will now try to practice ‘shoot and scoot’ tactics with their new weapons.
Apparently United Airlines are to donate transatlantic flights to fly 300,000 lbs of British made baby formula to various US cities where it is short supply. How a major nation can run short of baby milk in this day and age I really can’t understand. I have heard two different reasons. Firstly that there had been a breakdown at a huge US baby milk factory and secondly, that President Joe Bidet had ordered that milk powder should be diverted to feed immigrant babies crossing over the border from Mexico. Personally I can’t see how either event could cause such a huge shortage on its own.
I have been reading about the outbreak of Covid 19 in North Korea. It was so bad a few weeks ago that the whole country was officially put into lockdown. Strangely, photos showed totally deserted streets in the big cities, but people still working in the fields planting rice. This could be because food is always in short supply in North Korea. The other huge shortage is medicine, but this is nothing new. It is a joke in North Korea that when a doctor writes a prescription you don’t go to a chemist because they never have medicines, instead you go to the market and buy it on the black market. However, the official recommendations are to gargle with salt water and to boil pine needles in water and drink the resulting liquid. I wonder if Pfizer know?
A joke post on the Zimbabwean ‘WhatsApp’ has been taken seriously by other African countries. The writer claim that in a particular shopping mall in Harare people were selling their toes to traditional healers from South Africa. He said the going rate was $40,000 for a big toe, $25,000 for a middle toe and $10,000 for a little toe. These are such ludicrous amounts in Zimbabwe that everyone know it was a spoof. However it seems that the media in Nigeria and Uganda has taken the story seriously and have been spreading the story.
Another nice warm and sunny morning. I was pleased that yesterday was a nice day for all those Jubilee celebrations. I crept into the offices and watched on their big TV. I enjoyed watching all those soldiers doing their precision marching but why didn’t the police leave those protesters on The Mall to be trampled underfoot by the bands, horses, and carriages? Then on to the flypast, brilliant how they made that 70 and the planes were rock steady. Mind, I think Prince Louie is my favourite, he can stroke me whenever he likes.
I understand the British Army has presented the Queen with a handmade walking stick as a Platinum Jubilee present. The shaft is mottled Hazel and the handle is carved from a Highland cow’s horn. The solid silver collar has been engraved with the Army crest and “The Army presents its loyal support to THE SOVEREIGN. Platinum Jubilee MCMLII-MMXXII”. Considering the walking problems she has had recently it is an appropriate gift.
There have been lots of stories doing the rounds recently that people have been paying up to £200 to get an appointment for a driving test, jumping the long waiting list. But how were the scammers able to get appointments when the public couldn’t? It seems the DVSA have been running a system whereby driving schools could block book priority tests.The problem is that it was only too easy for scammers to sign up, pretending to be legitimate driving schools and book appointments which they then sold. Instead of sorting out the flawed booking system, the DVSA has instead scrapped it, meaning that legitimate driving schools can no longer use it. Typical of useless civil serpents.
With the expected shortages of power coming to the U.K., the Department for Energy has asked EdF to postpone the closure of Hinkley Point ‘B’. The two units are scheduled to close on 8th July and 1st August but the Government has said they would extend their licences. However EdF have refused. It now looks like we will be keeping coal-fired power stations open instead. That’ll please the Greens!
The Thai Navy has told the Chinese that they will cancel their order for 3 diesel-electric submarines if they cannot supply the original engine specified in the order. The original order specified engines from German company MTU but the Chinese can’t procure them and have offered to supply Chinese reverse engineered engines instead. The Thais are adamant, it’s MTU or nothing. Talks are planned for next week but it looks like the Thais will not be proceeding with this purchase.
Tomorrow at noon there is a call for all ships in and around the U.K. to sound their horns. Whether a ferry or a cruise ship all are likely to join in. It should be interesting in Southampton where I understand that there are five large cruise ships in port as well as all the normal cargo ships, ferries, container ships and tankers. In addition I understand that many of the ships are to be decked in union flag bunting.
The Royal Navy has issued an ‘Urgent Capability Requirement’ for a ‘Flexible Tactical Uncrewed Aerial System’ for Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster. I had no idea what that load of jargon actually meant until I looked it up. A UCR is an immediate order and a FTUAS is better known as a drone. Why can’t the say they are buying a drone for the ship? Looking a bit deeper, I can’t find what make of drone is planned but BAe have been given an order to integrate it into the ship’s systems. The idea is to use it to protect the ship from unmanned boats attacking it. If this works there are plans to arm all Type 23, 31 and 45s with drones.
I’m confused, the family are in chequers this weekend, but Bozzie and the Little Otter have been in and out several times just to get changed. I must say that even dressed in a tailcoat yesterday he struggles to look smart. I watched get boo’ed by a small group outside the Abbey yesterday, this was the same lot who were totally silent when Stoma arrived and cheered Sad Dick to the rafters. Typical Londoners?
I read that Renaldo is more than a little upset that his teammates have ignored him in the vote for the Manchester United team player’s player of the season. The team have actually voted the goalkeeper their player of the season. It is telling what a poor season the team has had when the goalie is their best player.
British Airways has resumed flights to Portland, Oregon making it their 26th destination in the United States. What I find strange is that they have been cancelling flights left, right and centre for weeks, blaming lack of staff, both their own aircrew and the airport’s ground crew such as baggage loaders. So this is a strange time to be restarting a route. I recently saw the story of a family who sat on a plane for a couple of hours before the captain came on to say they would be underway just as soon as the luggage was loaded. Three hours later the captain announced that the luggage was now on board, but the flight was cancelled as the crew would be out of flying hours long before they reached the destination!
I see The Guardian has found a pub in London that is changing £8.06p for a pint. Of course it is Bozzie’s fault for allowing inflation as all good left-wing publications will tell you. The interesting thing is this was a single pub in the 5,550 they surveyed. The cheapest was £1.79, in Lancashire. Interestingly neither outlet was identified making it impossible to check up on the data. I guess it was a rip-off strip club in Soho that was most expensive and a back street dive like the Rovers Return that was cheapest.
After reading all the bits about how it is always Liverpool supporters that are in trouble at football matches I find it intriguing that the Real Madrid supporters have come out with very similar complaints. They say they were kettled by police, tear-gassed, told tickets bought from the club were forgeries and attacked by gangs of robbers and pickpockets. All these things were the fault of Liverpudlians according to the French. However, I see that this morning EUFA have apologised to both clubs and demanded that ticket holders who were unable to get into the ground are refunded.
I hear that Boeing are having delivery problems with what is their big white hope as a money maker. With problems with just about every other civil airliner programme, Boeing have been pegging all their hopes on the 737Max now that it has cleared its regulatory problems. With a nearly 5,200 plane backlog, Boeing have great expectations but have been suffering supply line problems with thousands of individual items coming from hundreds of different manufacturers. Getting a regular supply of items has proved a major problem. For example Boeing need to secure a reliable supply of foam insulation tape that Boeing uses as a fire suppressant. Assembly line workers cannot add the final sidewall panels that line the interior of the cargo bay without supplies of the tape. Another problem is a shortage of seats that come from another Boeing plant. I understand that at the current production rate Boeing will need over 13 years to build all the 737’s on order!
The office staff were having a family Jubilee party in the gardens this afternoon. There was loads of food and drink and even a bouncy castle for the kids. I can’t see the attraction of a bouncy castle, it seems a lot of effort for very little reward so you won’t catch me on it. The people were nice and most of them talked to me, stroked me and one little girl got upset when told she couldn’t take me home. Mind you the food was good and I hung around people who were eating and got lot of tidbits. The burgers were particularly good, but I wasn’t too keen on the fried onions and cheese.
Right my friends I am done for another week and I am off to find a quiet spot to sleep off my belly full of burgers. I’ll be back on duty on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2022