Larry’s Diary, Week One Hundred and Fifty-Eight


Good morning you lot. When I woke up this morning, I had to think hard to work out what day it was. It felt like Sunday with the lack of noise emanating from the downstairs office but I distinctly remember it being Sunday yesterday. Then I twigged it, it is August bank holiday Monday. However, one thing is very wrong, it isn’t raining. It always rains on a summer bank holiday.

I read that under a Queen’s Jubilee competition 39 places applied to be officially recognised as a city. However, Gibraltar has been disqualified leaving 38 to fight it out. But why was Gibraltar disqualified, was it a country and not a city? Well no, it was because researchers discovered that it already was a city. Way back in 1842 Queen Victoria had declared it a city, but everyone seemed to have forgotten! Eight of the remaining applicants, including Southend, Doncaster, Bangor, and Dunfermline were made cities. Now it has been reaffirmed that Gibraltar is also a city. There are now 81 cities on the list including 5 outside the U.K. They are of course Gibraltar and Hamilton in Bermuda, Jamestown in Saint Helena, and Douglas on the Isle of Man which were already on the list, while Stanley in the Falklands Islands was added as part of the Jubilee celebrations.

It seems that TripAdvisor has named its best shop in Brighton as ‘Oliver’s Brighton’. But what does it sell? Well, it is wizard accessories, just like those shops in Harry Potter. You can buy things like wands, butter beer and chocolate frogs. In fact they sell over 500 Harry Potter-related items but are not part of the franchise. I rather fancy a chocolate frog, I think even I could catch it!

Nearly a year ago E10 petrol was rolled out as the standard in the U.K. to tales of the woes to come. Well, I say the U.K., but actually, because of the Northern Ireland protocol, it didn’t happen there. Well, it seems that the people of Northern Ireland are to have it imposed on them from next Monday. E5 Petrol will still be available but will be classed as premium, and will no doubt cost more. Mind, if you live near the border with the Republic you can pop over and buy your fuel there as they will not be swapping to E10 until 2023, but they still need to pass the legislation.

I understand that the National Grid is falling back on what few remaining coal-fired power stations we still have this winter. They are paying Drax to keep the two remaining 660 Mw units as a spinning reserve this winter. They have also agreed with EDF to keep a 500 Mw unit up and running. Now I hear they are in discussions with Uniper to not decommission the first of the 4 x 500 Mw units they have at Radcliffe PS. This is cutting things fine as the unit is due to be shut down in September. If wind power is so wonderful why do we need all this coal-fired capacity, and now we have shut all the mines where is the coal coming from?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Radcliffe Power Station.
Trent Lock HDR 3,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Following my recent stories of airline pilots falling asleep, I am hearing interesting things about an Air France flight from Geneva to Paris. From what I hear a fistfight broke out between the two pilots of the Airbus A320 and they had to be separated by cabin crew who heard the noise. Apparently one of the cabin crew stayed in the cockpit until the plane had safely landed. I have no idea what the fight was about but I hear the pilots have both been suspended.

Farmers in Spain are giving up growing grapes, olives and wheat and turning to pistachios because of the income they bring in and their relative tolerance to drought. Grapes are selling for around €0.65 a kilo and olives sell for €0.65 to €0.85 a kilo while pistachios are going for €6 to €8 a kilo. Apparently, the pistachios don’t need a lot of water and can cope with both heat and cold and poor soil. Mind you it’s not quite as simple as that. The trees take about seven years to produce a maximum crop.


Morning people, another nice morning for cats, dry and mild. I had just finished my breakfast Felix when I heard a commotion out on the stairs. Men were putting down dust sheets and moving loose fittings, like that little corner table with the vase of fresh flowers on it. It seems they are repainting the stairwell ‘to freshen it up’ for the incoming prime minister.

I have been reading about the man who is upset that his partner has walked out on him after winning £10,000 a month for the next 30 years. He seems to think that he is entitled to half the money, but that is not the case. The lottery pays out to just one person, the ticket holder, who is usually the person who bought the ticket. For example, if a syndicate wins a jackpot the legal winner is the leader of the syndicate who would normally have bought the ticket. In this case, the winning ticket was bought by the woman and she is entitled to the money, her partner is entitled to nothing. It would be no use me winning a monthly prize for 30 years, I’ll be very lucky if I live another 5 years.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Get your ticket here.
National Lottery,
Mark Morgan
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I hear we have a bit of a problem with our second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales. The aircraft-less aircraft carrier was supposed to sail to the United States on Friday but suffered an undisclosed mechanical problem that delayed its departure until Saturday. It sailed on Saturday amid much pomp and ceremony, including a band and hundreds of viewers, only to breakdown off the Isle of Wight. It is reported to be making its own way, at highly reduced speed, into the sheltered water at Stokes Bay. I hear that the problem is with the starboard propeller/propeller shaft and that divers need to go down for a proper inspection, hence the sheltered waters.

BAE is in negotiations to sell another 5 Type 26 frigates to the MoD. They currently have an order for 3 Type 26s valued at around £3.7 billion. So, if we call that £1.2 billion a frigate that is a £6 billion order. These are very expensive warships, which seems to be the reason we have so few of them these days. I know the Type 31 is a very much cheaper vessel with the overall project costed at £2 billion for 5 ships built at Babcock Rosyth with £750 million of that sum being specific equipment paid for and installed by the MoD.

A man from Southampton has just beaten the Guinness world record for the longest cucumber. The new record is 113.4 cm which is some 6 cm over the old record. It is the 44-year-old man’s hobby to grow giant vegetables. It seems the Guinness judge who came to measure the cucumber had a bit of a struggle as his regular measure only went up to 1 metre. He said he had never seen such a big one.

Passengers on an American Airlines flight from Miami to London have been dumped on the island of Bermuda when the flight diverted there with “mechanical problems”. The Boeing 777-300, with over 300 people on board, landed at the tiny LF Wade International Airport which normally sees only a few flights a day. The passengers were confined to the airport building because Bermuda still has strict Covid rules. 10 hours after landing they were finally brought some food, and it was 20 hours later that a replacement plane arrived. Apparently the flight crew smelt smoke in the cockpit and decided it was safer to land and were chased down the runway by emergency vehicles. They hoped to get back into the air quickly, but the crew ran out of flying hours meaning a replacement had to be sent.

I read that if you want your wind farm to produce more electricity then there are a couple of things you can do. Firstly you need to ensure that they are not turning in unison. A report from the MIT says that by ensuring they are not spinning in synchronisation they can produce between 6 and 30% more power. It further adds that if instead of facing directly into the wind the blade is tilted slightly off, the air behind it suffers less turbulence and the downwind turbines produce more power. It all seems very odd to me, but I am only a cat!


I woke up this morning feeling hungry, so I popped down the garden to be ready for today’s feeder. So I sprawled on my cat bed and waited, and waited but no one came. So I walked down to the office to see if I could scrounge anything. I walked in and one of the girls looked up and said, “You’re up very early today.” It seems my body clock is a bit off and was a couple of hours adrift! Anyway, the duty feeder eventually arrived, put the radio on and it soon became obvious I was out on my timing. Oh well, it’s going to be a long day.

Just how many of the Ukraine HiMARS launchers have the Russians destroyed? If you believe Ukraine it is none, if you believe the Russians it is every single one twice over. This morning I read that the Ukrainians have been making wooden dummy copies and leaving them out in spaces that are only half hidden to attract Russian attacks on them and consequently revealing their own firing positions to counter fire. If true it is akin to the WW11 dummy army in East Anglia. But now it is in the media will the Russians continue to attack launchers when they are detected? If they don’t they could open themselves up to real ones, If they do they could be wasting missiles on planks of wood.

Only four matches into the season and the first Premier League manager has been sacked. Apparently, it’s not really the performance of the team that has led to the sacking, rather that the manager had the audacity to speak out about the owner’s lack of ambition and the money available to improve the team. As the team got beaten 9 nil at the weekend it seems to support the ex-manager’s view on the need to reinforce the team. Anyone accepting the manager job now will have to be an idiot.

EuroStar is to scrap the direct train from London to EuroDisney outside Paris. It is only a weekly summer service but I understand it is well used. The reason is not that it is losing money, quite the opposite. Rather the problem is the new rule the EU is bringing in for travellers from so-called “third countries”. The infrastructure that EuroStar would have to install at the EuroDisney station for just one train a week for only part of the year is what has killed the service. People travelling from London will in future have to travel to one terminal in Paris and then make their way across Paris to a different terminal. I wonder if the EuroStar SkiTrain will also hit the buffers?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
No more direct trains to Disneyland.
Map of Eurostar & connecting high-speed train routes,
Luxury Train Club
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Transport for London has finally done a deal with the government and accepted the £3.6 billion on offer over the next two years. What a waste of time those negotiations have been with Sad Dick’s lot spending 2 years pushing for more money when they could have settled for this months ago. I see the money comes with some strings, including looking at the pension scheme, and making the old age free travel scheme in London the same as the rest of the country. It also commits the Underground to looking at driverless trains, something that already happens on the DLR and will allow the purchase of new Piccadilly Line rolling stock to proceed. Of course, Sad Dick has long been threatening huge cuts in bus routes and tube services, now it comes out that tube services will not change and buses will likely be cut by 4%.

I read that Skoda is working on a new electric vehicle car to replace its popular Fabia, The Fabia SE Comfort is currently priced in the U.K. at £17,800 making it what is called a lower priced car. Skoda have realised that it’s no good replacing the Fabia with an EV that costs half as much again as other manufacturers have done, it just won’t sell in sufficient quantity. So the aim is that the new EV will cost less than £20,000. Skoda say making the actual car to that budget isn’t a problem – it’s sourcing a battery.

The Queen has decided that Bozzie will have to travel to Scottishland to resign, as will the winner of the Conservative party vote for leader to be appointed PM. It will be a new first as I understand that the monarch has never appointed a new PM at anywhere other than Buckingham Palace or Windsor. I must say I can’t blame her, at her venerable age it must be an effort to travel back to London from Balmoral just to appoint a new PM. Now that has made me think, I wonder if the old and new PMs will travel together on the same plane or helicopter? It could happen if the winner is Mary Elizabeth, as I hear they get on, but after Rich Rishie’s backstabbing I can’t see it happening should he win.


Morning folks, it not so warm here this morning and the sun is only watery. I suppose the weather gods have had a looked at the calendar and have realised that today is the first day of meteorological autumn. I usually like autumn, but this one looks like it is going to be interesting with a new PM coming next week.

Haven holidays are rebranding some of the children’s mascots that inhabit their holiday parks. In a woke review, members of the so-called ‘Seaside Squad’ are being renamed. ‘Greedy the Gorilla’ is to become ‘George the Gorilla’ because greed is bad. ‘Anxious the Elephant’ is becoming ‘Annie the Elephant’ because being anxious is not something child should know about and ‘Bradley Bear’ is to become the gender-neutral ‘Jazz Bear’. What next, will the 7 Dwarfs be rebranded? Will Sooty have to change his name? It really is mad.

I read that Sub Lt Antonio Jardim, a Royal Navy submariner, is to sue the Navy because he was removed from the nuclear missile submarine HMS Vanguard and reassigned to a shore job in Portsmouth. Apparently it was over his anti-nuclear weapons stance. On board the boat he was nicknamed ‘Trigger’ over his reluctance to pull the nuclear trigger. Jardim claims to be a devout Christian and believes that war is wrong and he was discriminated against for being a Christian. What the hell did he join the armed forces for if he is against killing, it what they do.

A motoring magazine has just published a list of the 10 most unreliable cars and the cost of the most expensive repair reported for that model. Coming in at number one was the Range Rover with the most expensive repair coming in at over £23,000 which would have bought a cheaper new car. What was noticeable was that all ten models were what I would call expensive cars including 3 Porsche models and 2 BMWs. Not a single ordinary Ford, Vauxhall or Citroen in the top ten.

The latest Astute class nuclear attack submarine, HMS Anson has been commissioned into service today. It is our fifth Astute class boat, of seven on order, to become available and cost a mere £1. 4 billion to construct. Being an attack boat it is armed with 6 x 21” torpedo tubes and is capable of carrying up to 38 Spearfish torpedoes or 38 Tomahawk cruise missiles or a combination of the two. I also read that under the AUKUS agreement not only will we be joining with the Yanks to help the Australians construct 9 nuclear-powered submarines, we will be doing a training swap. Royal Navy, US Navy and Royal Australian Navy crew will be cross-training on each other’s boats. This is expected to happen imminently.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
An Astute Class submarine.
HMS Ambush,
Defence Imagery
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

While on the subject of nuclear power, this morning we edged a little nearer to ordering Sizewell ‘C’. Bozzie made a speech this morning pledging £700 million to the build. Mind you this is only a fraction of the total cost that has been put at around £20 billion. With the rejection of Chinese participation in the project funding, the project is in question especially as EDF, the builders, are in financial difficulties and have been nationalised by the French government. The £700 million comes from a £1.7 billion pot agreed by the cabinet to spend on civil nuclear power. Does that leave a £1 billion to seed Rolls Royce small modular reactors?

India’s Jet Airways is beginning to emerge from the financial problems that have had it under a court restructuring. As part of this, they a looking to modernise their aircraft fleet. I hear they are very close to signing a 50-plane deal with Airbus for A220s. Not quite so close is a deal for larger aircraft and to this end they are in talks with both Airbus, for the A320neo, and with Boeing for the 737Max. I don’t know how many planes in this class they are looking for but I wonder how much the A220 order will influence things.


Well, it’s raining again this morning and looks like it has been doing so during the night. This is so typical of British weather we have so-called ‘record temperatures’ then it is dull and rainy. Still, it’s Friday and the vote for the new PM closes at 5 this evening. We will officially know that it is Mary Elizabeth on Monday and then she and Bozzie are off to Scottishland to see the Queen on Tuesday. I know the Queen and Prince Charles aren’t allowed to fly on the same plane in case it crashes and they both die. Does the same apply to Bozzie and Mary Elizabeth?

I see some Extinction Rebellion nutters have superglued themselves around the Squeaker’s throne in the Commons. I have a question, how did they get in when it is supposed to be one of the most secure places in Britain? I thought no one got in without a pass, usually from an MP, so has someone on the inside been helping them? If it is a mad Green MP I hope they are sacked.

Spain has decided that with the current state of the economy they need to help people with their costs. So for the next four months, season ticket holders on numerous services are getting free travel. This will basically pay for commuters to travel to work (who else buys a season ticket?). I wonder if we did something similar here would it encourage people to go back to the office instead of working from home? Coupling that to a nice warm office to work in, as opposed to having to heat your own home, might encourage workers back to the office.

I have been telling you about the launch of the BDY Atto 3 in Australia, where over 3,000 were ordered without a single example of the car being available in the Country. Well about a fortnight ago the servicing schedule and warranty details were published and people started to moan and threaten to cancel orders. The servicing added thousands of dollars to the cost of the car and warranties were much poorer than had been expected. New orders dried up. So BYD has seen the writing on the wall and has backed down. Servicing costs have been reduced by nearly a quarter and the warranty has reverted to the expected 8 years. The result has been a rush of orders, with the number in the last 24 hours doubling and 4,700 cars now on order. The first customer picks up their car tomorrow (Saturday), it will be interesting to hear about the experience.

Sad Dick is not a happy bunny this morning. The report on the resignation of Dame Cressida Dick, who was the chief of the Metropolitan Police, was published this morning and has been highly critical of him. It says he forced her out and didn’t follow any of the proper procedures as laid down , exceeding his authority. Of course, Sad Dick denies he did anything wrong and that the report is ‘political’. He would say that, wouldn’t he!

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Will she sue?
Keith Palmer’s funeral,
Katie Chan
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The women’s Euros seem to have been a huge success for British women’s football. I told you a bit ago that Women’s Super League clubs had recorded record season ticket sales for the new season. Now I read that the Arsenal v Totteringham match to be played at the Emirates on September 24 has sold enough tickets to set a new record for attendance at a WSL match, with over 38,500 already sold. It will be interesting to see how many more seats are sold in the remaining 3 weeks before the game.

I understand that the refurbishment of the two huge turbine halls at the old Battersea Power Station is almost complete and are due to open on Friday 14th October. One hall is to become a shopping mall, while the second is to become food venues. Of the two control rooms, one is to become an events space while the second is to become an all-day bar. There is also to be a pedestrianised high street running from the power station to the new Tube station. I have no real idea who has taken shops there yet, but seeing the price of the flats in the area I bet they are all upmarket!


Pleasantly warm in Westminster this morning. This is my sort of weather, not boiling hot, not freezing cold, not raining, it’s just right for me. The decorations in the stairwell are done and it looks quite nice, but will look a lot better when I have sharpened my claws on the newel post.

I hear that Ukraine is searching the western nations for new manufacturers of 155mm artillery shells. 155mm is the standard size of NATO heavy guns so that calibre is manufactured in many western nations. In the U.K. it is mainly made by BAE at its factory in Washington, Tyne and Wear. There is some capacity to add extra shifts but as the Ukraine is expending 6,000 rounds a day that won’t go far. I wonder where the Russians are sourcing their ammunition as they are said to be expending 20,000 rounds a day.

I have just been to investigate what the people in the office were all laughing at. It was a social media video of a man trying to prove his hand luggage met the EasyJet size limits. He was jamming his bag into one of those bag gauges they have at check-in. By kicking it, stamping on it, and pushing it he made it fit and the check-in man agreed it was OK. The only problem was that it was now stuck in the gauge and he couldn’t get it out!

The Bluebell Steam Railway that runs from Haywards Heath to Horstead Keynes has announced plans to extend the track westwards to Ardingly, where it used to run in British Rail days. They are to hold a public display of plans and diagrams before applying for permission to reinstate the service. I understand that the railway has been considering its route for some time and has settled on one that runs around the Hanson Aggregates site that already has a spur to the South Coast main line at Haywards Heath.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
A lovely steam Locomotive.
Bluebell Railway 22-10-2010,
Karen Roe
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I read that the Israeli Air Force is to receive 4 x KC46A airborne refuelling planes from the US. The US Department of Defence has placed an order for a batch of 19 of the Boeing-built planes. 15 are for the US Airforce and the remaining 4 for the Israelis. The plane is based on the Boeing 767 and although the US wants to buy 176 of the planes it has not been without problems. The plane uses a telescopic refuelling boom which an operator steers onto a probe on the plane to be refuelled. For this the operator uses a CCTV system supplied by Rockwell and this has had awful problems with some light levels. A new version has been developed but won’t be available until 2024 so it is not clear if the Israeli aircraft will be equipped with it.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has scrapped some 250 woke civil service courses. Apparently among the courses scrapped are ‘De-biasing your decision making’, ‘Finding your moJo’ and ‘Knowing me, knowing you’, which sounds like something Alan Partridge would deliver. The course description for the ‘de-biasing’ course says it “enables participants to use behavioural insights to counter cognitive biases in government and make better-calibrated decisions and judgments, ultimately resulting in better project planning, delivery and policy outcomes”. What a load of crap.

Researchers have discovered that extract of onion fed to diabetic rats substantially lowers their blood sugar levels. The American scientists say that treated rats had their blood sugar reduced by up to 50%. The researchers were looking for a cheap, effective treatment for type 2 diabetes in humans and seem to have found something that not only reduces sugar levels but reduces cholesterol levels. It is said to be even more effective if given in conjunction with the normal type 2 drug Metformin. Extract of onion might have an unseen advantage, its smell is likely to deter the opposite sex, so it could act as a contraceptive.

Right, that’s me done for the week, I’m off for my regular Saturday afternoon snooze, I think it is going to be under the big rhododendron bush in the garden today. I wonder what is for tea tonight? I will be back with you again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2022