Good morning happy readers. The temperature has dropped overnight, it’s still warm but it is a little cloudy and there is a tiny breeze, now this is Larry weather! It is still peaceful here this morning as the family didn’t come back last night as they usually do. The standard cat feeder came, I’m moaning about it not being his job to feed the cat when the boss is away. Miserable git! Anyway, I hear he has gone to Greece for a short holiday and has been seen in a supermarket in Nea Makri near Athens. Labour moaning that it is his second holiday in two weeks. Well, he was only away four days last time, while sanctimonious Sir Beer Korma was away in Majorca for a whole two weeks.
I hear that the Ukraine has now taken out the railway bridge across the Dnipro River. The main road bridge has been out for a fortnight and last week the route over the dam was rendered impassable. The railway had already been out for a short time when a Russian military supply train blew up, or was blown up depending on who you believe. The Russian’s forces to the north and west of the Dnipro river are now stuck being supplied either by barge or air neither of which are geared to bulk supply of food or ammunition.
I read in today’s paper that the Russian car industry is in trouble with sales down by nearly 90% since the “Special Operation” in Ukraine started. Some ten factories owned by foreign manufacturers have closed down because they can’t import parts from the West. Renault have sold their factory to Russian carmaker Avtovaz for 1 Rouble because it was only an assembly plant, putting together imported components. Avtovaz has now unveiled the Lada Granta Classic 2022, a new “sanction-proof” Lada, assembled from parts 100% manufactured in Russian or its allies. The car can’t go on sale in the West as it only reaches 1996 pollution standards and has no airbags. I hope they have fixed the old Lada problem of a rear door opening while driving along.
It appears that the US Navy is to re-arm its troubled Zumwalt Class destroyers. The US Navy originally intended to purchase 32 of this class of ship but has halted production at 3 because of massive cost overruns both on the ship and on its Advanced Gun System. The AGS was designed to provide very long-range fire against shore-based targets and two of these special guns were installed on each ship. The guns required a very special ammunition and it came from only one source and was production was discontinued in 2016 due to enormous cost overruns. It has now emerged that the USS Zumwalt and USS Michael Monsoor are to be the first two ships to have their AGS guns replaced by hypersonic (Mach 5) missiles. The new missiles are launched from vertical tubes that are much bigger than anything the Navy has and the work will involve modifications to 5 decks, ammunition stores, and loading systems.
The Finns and the Estonians have come to an agreement on land-launched anti-ship missiles which would effectively give them control over the shipping in the Gulf of Finland. The aim is to buy the Isreal-Singaporean Blue Spear surface-to-sea missile that has a range of 180 miles. With the missiles positioned on the North Estonian coast and the South Finnish coast they could effectively cut off Russia from sending warships to St Petersburg where its Baltic Fleet HQ is based.
The U.K. has become the first nation to approve a new bivalent Covid vaccine from Moderna. Previous vaccines have been designed to build the body’s resistance to a single variant of Covid. Most vaccines were aimed at the original Wuhan variant but over the years new variants have emerged and the current major problem is Omicron. This new vaccine is designed to build protection to both Wuhan and Omicron in a single dose. Moderna are confident that they could have sufficient doses available for the coming Autumn booster campaign where everyone over 50 will be offered a booster jab.
The animal charity PETA have written to the Mayor of Peterborough asking him to change the name of Peterborough’s famous ‘Pork Pie Roundabout’. In what they claim is a bid to encourage healthier eating they want the roundabout to be renamed the ‘Vegan Pie Roundabout’. The roundabout at Wigston is named after a nearby library that has a round tower in the middle that looks like a pork pie and the Mayor has no intention of changing the name saying it is just a cheap way for PETA to draw attention to itself.
It is a bit wet this morning with thunder and lightning. Now the good old BBC told me it was going to be dry today and wet tomorrow, but they have got it wrong again. Mind, one of the girls in the office was laughingly pointing out that the BBC has retrospectively changed its forecast to rain! And you lot pay them for this crap.
There were a couple of moving vans in Downing Street yesterday. I was sorely tempted to hide inside one and run away from this mad house but realised in time that I might be in trouble if the furniture was going into storage! Mind I have lived on the streets before and I could always do it again. London pigeons are quite easy to catch, they are fat and lazy, and taste like chicken.
Have you ever watched that TV programme where people get a quick look in an abandoned storage unit then bid to buy its contents? Sometimes they find something quite valuable. However, I see that a family in New Zealand who bought some suitcase from the contents of a storage container, that was being sold at auction, got a bit of a shock. They opened the cases when they got home and found them full of human body parts! The police were called and are investigating but say the family are not under suspicion.
The shut down Rough Gas Storage Facility in the North Sea has been cleared by the Safety Inspectorate to re-open. Centrica, its owner and the owners of British Gas, are to start filling it with gas in the next week or so, just as soon as they get final Government approval and the approval of the North Sea Transition Authority. Both these permissions are seen as no problem. I read that over the last couple of months we have actually been exporting both gas and electricity to the Continent. So rather than sending our gas to France, we should be stuffing it into the Rough Storage Facility which is 17 miles off Yorkshire. When full it is capable of holding 10 days’ supply for the whole of the U.K. It is hardly likely to happen that we have to run the whole country on gas stored in Rough as we are actually still producing loads of gas.
At the end of the Commonwealth Games it is reported that 17 of the foreign athletes and officials had been reported as missing. Apparently this is not unusual with people let into the host country to take part in the games often overstaying their visas. Some ask for asylum but many just disappear into the black economy. It now seems that 10 have now reappeared but are almost certain to apply for asylum. However that leaves 7 out there somewhere.
I hear that the last new reservoir built in the U.K. was in 1996. One was proposed to be built in Oxfordshire more recently but the Local LibDump MP objected. Can you guess who it was? Well, I will tell you it was PanSexual Layla Moran and she objected on the grounds that it wasn’t very green! I can’t imagine anything more green than a huge lake with people boating and fishing. I hope her house runs out of water first. I understand that she trained as a physics and maths teacher. Have you heard the saying ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach?’
I read that Sniffer Joe’s misses Jill has tested positive for Covid. Bit ironic actually as she stayed clear when Joe went down with it twice in a fortnight but they go on holiday to South Carolina and she catches it. I hear she is being treated with Paxlovid which is supposed to help the body quickly clear the infection. This is the same drug they gave Sniffer and it is renowned for people getting a rebound infection like he did. I understand Sniffer will now be wearing a mask for the next fortnight.
Hello again people, another grey morning with just a bit of rain in the air at the moment. I am waiting for the forecast thunder, lightning and heavy downpours. We got a bit yesterday when it wasn’t forecast, so we will probably not get it today.
I hear that ministers are thinking about changing the law for cyclists. The whole panoply of laws could change with bicycles having to have number plates, have to obey speed limits, particularly the 20 mph limit in some towns and cities, and riders getting points for not following the law. I think that it is about time too, the lycra louts have been getting away with it for too long, riding through red lights, not stopping for zebra crossings and riding on the pavement. It would be nice to see them being prosecuted.
I told you last week that cruise companies are changing their Covid testing rules. Late last week Carnival announced that it was dropping all pre-cruise testing for cruises under 16 days and most of their subsidiaries did the same thing. It seems to have immediately paid off as they have reported that in the days since the announcement bookings have doubled. What I don’t understand is why if you are on a cruise of 16 days or over you still need a lateral flow test. Are people who go on longer cruises more likely to catch Covid?
Someone has sent a recording of Mary Elizabeth Truss to The Guardian saying that British workers need to be more productive, just like the Chinese. Of course The Guardian and its fellow Labour supporter the BBC think this is terrible and say she is accusing British workers of being lazy. Personally, I think the media is being lazy not telling people that this recording is at least 5 years old and has been edited. Without releasing the full, unedited, tape and putting it into context it is rubbish.
I am delighted to see that we are to trigger dispute proceedings against the EU over them refusing to allow us to enter research programmes in a ‘clear breach’ of the trade and protocol agreement. For example, I hear that we have reached agreement with the Horizon Program to buy-in for £15 million, but the EU is blocking a final agreement. The EU has always been more than happy to run to the courts and to date we have been reluctant. Interestingly this is a preliminary step to court action and activating the procedure is not the same as going to court that is a later step if the EU still doesn’t let us in.
Three bits of news about monkeypox. Firstly the epidemic in the U.K. seems to be easing. Until recently over 30 people a week have been catching it week in Britain, but the last couple of weeks have seen it fall to 20 a week. Then I hear that a dog owned by two gay men in Brighton has caught monkeypox. It makes me ask how? Finally, the World Health Organisation doesn’t like the name, monkeypox, and are looking for suggestions for a new name. Can I suggest Arsepox or Gaypox?
I read that the Group Captain in charge of RAF recruitment has resigned over the RAF policy of halting the recruitment of white men so that they can try to hit what has been described as “impossible” diversity targets. The female officer is still in the RAF, it is just the recruitment post she has resigned from. The statement from the RAF is carefully worded saying that they have not stopped recruiting. Well, no one said they had stopped recruiting only that they had stopped recruiting white men in favour of women and ethnics!
It is a strange morning, the flat is half empty of furniture, it’s dull and grey outside and there is and “end of term” atmosphere in the office. I heard a rumour that the family is not coming back to the flat at the end of their holiday, instead moving to Chequers until Bozzie goes to see the Queen to officially resign. Of course he will pop in from time to time for work and I hope to say goodbye to me. I will miss him and the baby but not the rest, especially the Mutt.
The Mogg, the minister for Brexit opportunities and government efficiency, says the things he has implemented have saved the Government £4 billion. He says this has mainly come from cutting numbers, rationalisation of offices and cracking down on fraud. The Mogg is a Mary Elizabeth Truss supporter and says he had ideas to save even more billions but had not been allowed to implement them because Rich Richie stood in the way.
I understand that well over two-thirds of Conservative voters have already voted in the leadership election and that even if Rich Rishie were to get every single outstanding vote he couldn’t win. If that is really the case, the winner should be declared right now and the new PM installed. That would save money and stop the latest Labour refrain of “Zombie Government”.
Japan has a problem. The current generation of young people are drinking a lot less than their parents leaving the Government suffering from a big fall in take on alcohol tax. So the National Tax Authority has come up with a competition for 20 to 39-year-olds to come up with ideas to reverse the trend. The competition doesn’t end until the end of September so I can’t tell you what has been suggested yet. Mind it does seem strange that in the U.K. we are trying to get young people to drink less while in Japan they want them to drink more.
The fun that is happening at Manchester United is keeping the supporters of other teams amused. Having managed to get no points from their first 2 games and conceding 6 goals I hear the manager is considering dropping their England centre-half Harry Maguire who has become a scapegoat for a rotten defence and mid-field. I am only a cat but even I can see that Man Ure seem to be fielding a lot of short players. They have just spent a lot of money on a new centre half who is only 5′ 9″, how is he supposed to match up against the over 6-foot centre forwards that nearly every team plays these days? Oh well, Man Ure look like they are in for a tough season which everyone else will relish.
I read that Apple is shifting some production away from China. The winner is Vietnam where test production of the Apple Watch has already started and MacBook production is to be started soon. Vietnam is already Apple’s biggest production hub after China. With US political relations with China not so good, I guess it makes sense to not rely on it for all its production. I suppose that is not putting all your apples in one basket.
I hear that the USA has been secretly shipping anti-radiation missiles to the Ukraine. The missile in question is believed to be the air-launched AGM88 – HARM, which is capable of Mach 2 and has a 800 lbs warhead. The missile is quite old, but nonetheless effective. Early AGM45 HARM missiles first entered battle as long ago as the Vietnam war, where initially they prove very effective at taking out the North Vietnamese radar systems. However, the Vietnamese learnt that turning off and on the system confused its seeker head. That is not the case with the AGM88 where once spotted the missile stores the radar’s location and still homes in on it. It seems the Ukrainians are not using the missiles to attack anti-aircraft sites but at Russian counter-battery radar systems.
Grey and damp this morning when I woke up. I had just got back from my pre-breakfast walk down the garden when it decided to pour down, thank goodness I was already indoors. I understand that the family is back from Greece at the weekend, I wonder if Bozzie will be coming back here?
The Covid rate is still falling. I understand the number of English people suffering in the latest numbers out today has fallen by 34%. That’s an enormous drop in a fortnight! I also hear that there is a report out this morning that says more people died because of the lockdown than died from Covid! People who had cancer, strokes and heart attacks didn’t see doctors because the were told to stay home and consequently deaths are way up.
I told you about the row over beer prices at the London Stadium. Well, it seems that at the latest West Ham home game, last night, the price of a pint was reduced. However, the Happy Hammers are still not happy as the price of a pint of Amstel was only reduced by 20p and other beers by 10p. I hear the supporters joined in with the disagreement and boycotted both alcohol and food outlets and this resulted in many pints having to be thrown away. The caterers are in the habit of pre-pouring pints to save time and had quite a lot go unpurchased. My understanding is that the club still thinks another 85p needs to come off a pint to make it match the agreement the club has with the ground’s owners London Stadium 185 who are ultimately responsible to the Mayor of London Sad Dick and are still thinking of going to court.
A couple of weeks ago I told you about an ITA flight from America to Rome where both pilots briefly fell asleep over France. Now I learn of an Ethiopia Airlines from Khartoum to Addis Ababa on Monday where once again both pilots dropped off. When the Boeing 737 was supposed to start its descent into Addis Ababa the air traffic controller noticed they had overshot the point and tried to contact them without success. They eventually awoke when the autopilot disconnected and an alarm sounded. The plane went over the airport at 37,000 feet before the plane was turned around and successfully landed. Both pilots were reported to be suffering from ‘fatigue’ but whether they are still employed by Ethiopia Airlines is another question.
I read that aircraft at Brisbane Airport have a bit of an odd problem. The airport is built close to a mangrove swamp which is the home of an Australian wasp called the mud dauber wasp which likes to nest in holes that it then blocks up with mud. A few years ago a jet had to return to the airport when, on take-off, it discovered it had no airspeed information. It was found that a wasp was nesting in the pitot tube the airspeed equipment used. A year or so later a similar event occurred. The answer was to put a little cap on the pitot tubes and remove them just before take off. That worked until very recently when a plane very nearly took off with the caps still in place. The incident has been blamed on Covid and the airline hiring a lot of new people unaware of the wasps. Well, at least it wasn’t blamed on Brexit!
While we are closing coal-fired power plant in our ridiculous chase for ‘Net Zero’ both China and India are expanding their fleet of coal-fired generating plant. I told you a bit back about China so today I will talk about India. They currently have 204Gw of coal plants making up about 70% of India’s capacity. They planned to shut down around about 5Gw by 2030 but due to power shortages this has all changed. The plan was to build some 50Gw to replace plants being closed and to build 20Gw of additional plant. In total this will give them 250Gw of Coal Fired Plant in 2030, a 25% increase. All this while our political parties worry about our 1% contribution to world CO2.
It’s nice to read about a member of the Royal Family who is not sitting back and relying on the state. 18-year-old Lady Louise Windsor, supposedly the Queen’s favourite granddaughter, is spending the summer working in a garden centre earning £6.83p an hour before going to St Andrews University to read English. She is a keen equestrian and carriage driver which she learnt from her grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh.
It’s Saturday and as per the usual routine, the duty cat feeder was late. I am used to my breakfast at 07:45 with that Nick Motorcar bloke on the radio, mind I can’t stand the Ballboy at weekends! But they are nearly always late at the weekend, the only one who is on time is the Dreamies Girl, which is another reason to like her. It could be a window sill day today, the sun is out and it’s not too warm.
A report today that Boeing have been given an order to start production of its HAAWC. What, you ask? It’s an add-on for the Mk 54 torpedo that always had to be launched from the Boeing P8A Poseidon, at high altitude and long distance. It has wings so it can glide and GPS for accuracy. As the torpedo nears the water it separates from the HAAWC and deploys a parachute so that it enters the water gently. I understand the add-on will be available to purchasers of the Poseidon aircraft so we could be deploying it soon.
I hear that Heinz are on the verge of launching a new delicacy, hash browns filled with baked beans. I don’t know if it’s supposed to go with a breakfast fry-up or to go with a main meal. I suppose that the potato wrapper around the beans has one advantage, it stops the bean juice messing up your fried egg.
They don’t learn do they? The NHS is struggling because under lockdown people were encouraged not to go to the doctor “to save the NHS” resulting in lots of people not reporting serious problems like cancer and causing the current problems. This morning the NHS Chief Executive has written to the heads of trusts asking them to support a new program asking patients to use A&E and ambulances sparingly. I guess that if you have a heart attack you should now stay at home and take a couple of Paracetamols. Maybe one day they will learn.
The current drought has caused a lot of long submerged villages and bridges to re-emerge as the water level in the U.K. have dropped. Now I hear a far more disturbing story from Serbia, where low water levels in the Danube have revealed some 20 hulks. These ships were all scuttled by the Germans towards the end of WW2 to stop the ammunition they were loaded with from falling into the hands of the advancing Red Army. The ships are causing the navigation channel to be much reduced and the authorities are very worried about what could happen if one was struck. The Serbian Government has called for salvage quotations.
A woman in Tredegar has just been fined and ordered to pay a total of £344 after a police officer spotted her driving a car with the registration SL11THO. Apparently, she had a extra bolt between the two 1’s and a space between the T and the H so that from a distance the registration read SLUT HO. Some people have no sense of humour!
I hear that Bozzie and the family have actually got back from Greece today but have gone straight to Chequers. It seems that he is holding a ‘Thank You’ reception tomorrow lunchtime and has invited people who have helped him over the years. So that means no Gove or Richie Nik Nak, but I would like to know who got invited.
The sun’s out but it’s not too warm so I’m off for my regular Saturday afternoon snooze on my favourite window sill or find somewhere from where I can see the comings and goings in Downing Street. I am hungry already so I hope tea is on time this evening. I will be back with you again next week.
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