Good morning folks, another week and it’s definitely getting colder when I went for my constitutional. Mary Elizabeth was in residence last night and I’m warming to her, she talks to me and strokes me. Which I like, I even caught myself purring!
I have heard that there is much excitement in the Sussex Village of Thakeham when their once-busy White Lion pub reopens. As I hear it the pub closed 18 months ago but has now been bought by a married couple, both of whom have been head chefs in Michelin-starred restaurants. However, the pub is not aiming at this level of catering and will instead offer good food in the pub’s 40-cover restaurant as well as good beers in comfortable surroundings. I wish them luck.
BAE is looking at resuming production of the M777 Howitzer. Production was recently stopped, but it appears that the gun’s performance on the Ukraine battlefield has brought purchase requests from many nations. The gun takes the standard NATO 155mm round but has recently been adapted to be able to fire GPS-steered rounds giving them an accuracy of 3 metres compared to the 30 metres of a normal round. The only problems are that the gun is towed where its rivals can be truck or tracked vehicle mounted and that it takes slightly longer to reload. However, its accuracy and ruggedness have proved very popular and BAE are said to be looking at up to 400 new sales.
Yet another football manager got the sack today. Championship club West Bromwich Albion parted company with Steve Bruce and his management team of Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence and his son Alex Bruce after a poor start to the season. It seems to me that these days managers only have to have a single bad month to get the sack. I often wonder how much money is wasted in paying off the contracts of these sacked managers. I must admit it is a bit of a merry-go-round in the world of the football manager. Bruce has previously managed Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, Sunderland, Hull City, Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, and Newcastle United and is estimated to be worth £40 million. Why bother to look for another management job?
I have only just heard about it, but yesterday and today you can zip wire from the roof of the Cheese-grater building in London onto the Gherkin across Leadenhall. The ride is in order to raise money for the pregnancy charity ‘Tommys’. But there is a bit of a problem in that before you can use the zip wire you have to take part in the race up 42 flights of stairs to the building’s roof. If you don’t want to use the zip wire you can abseil 200 metres to the ground. I must admit I don’t think I could tackle all those stairs!
Eddie Murphy is reported to have agreed to increase his child maintenance for the daughter, Angel, he has with Spice Girl Mel B. He has been paying her $25,000 a month but Mel B says that due to a change in her circumstances she needed an increase. I hear that he is to increase his payment to $35,000 a month.
I hear that three construction companies, Laing O’Rourke, Multiplex and Mace have been short-listed by developers, Perennial Holdings, to construct the latest planned high rise in the City of London. The building will be the square mile’s tallest at 300 metres. The 3 companies have been talking to the developer over the summer as to how they would construct the building and the winner is expected to be announced before the end of the year. The building, at No. 1 Undershaft, has had planning permission since 2016 but has been undergoing a little redesign to bring it up to date with current building regulations, materials and carbon emissions, and as such will probably need the planning permission to be revised.
Another cool morning but it’s a clear blue sky out there and getting warmer. Mary Elizabeth has a busy day today, a cabinet meeting and a meeting of the G7. Mind she isn’t going very far as it’s a virtual meeting, I wonder if I can get in on the video. Talking of video, did you see the one of me, that has just made the internet, where last night I chased a fox out of Downing Street, not bad for a 15-year-old Cat!
The Metropolitan Police were their usual useless selves yesterday when ‘Just Stop Oil’ idiot’s decided to block London’s Mall. The police were careful to ask the activists if they were OK, would they like a cup of coffee, did they need anything, would they like to voluntarily move, before an hour later making their first arrest. It was only when the troops needed to march up the Mall for changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace that the police bothered to clear the road. Personally, I would have left them there and got the soldiers to march over them.
The Ginger Growler’s boyfriend, Sam Tarry, has been deselected from his safe Labour Seat for the next general election. The left-wing supporter of the Tramp has been the MP for Ilford South since the last general election and was a strong supporter of allowing local Labour Party branches to deselect sitting MPs because he thought it would get more left-wingers elected. Just before the vote that saw him become the Ilford South candidate, Tarry’s only opponent, Jas Athwal, was forced to stand aside when misconduct allegations were made against him. The allegations were totally dismissed but too late and Tarry was able to win the seat. Rumours of political shenanigans were rife but not proved. Ironically Tarry has now lost out to the same Jas Athwal.
I have been reading about Hull Fair, one of the biggest travelling fairs in Europe. The fair was originally granted its royal charter in 1279 but had been about for years before that. Today it starts on a Friday and lasts for 8 days until late on the Saturday night. Saturday just gone saw it have its biggest-ever attendance with over 100,000 people enjoying the over 250 rides, let alone the side shows and chip vans. I understand that traffic in West Hull was absolutely awful with drivers abandoning cars in the middle of the road. Still, I bet everyone had a wonderful time.
Transport for London is once again proving how woke it has become. On its website it has published a list of words and phrases that should not be used and what it considers ‘correct’ alternatives that will not upset people. For example, trains are no longer involved in an accident, they have a collision. Other words were also banned as staff were told to use “older” rather than “elderly”. The staff are told that they should “Use gender-neutral language where possible, only including references to gender when necessary. Refer to ‘they’ rather than ‘he/she’, ‘everyone’ not ‘ladies and gentlemen’, ‘people’ not ‘mankind’, ‘staffed’ not ‘manned’.”
Heathrow has recovered from Covid pretty well and has recovered its number one hub in Europe crown with 5.8 million passengers in the July to September quarter. This is far better than in the same quarter the year before when they had slipped to 10th with only 2 million. The only problem is that they are still about 15% down on pre-Covid days. At the moment Heathrow has set a cap of 100,000 passengers but it is expected to be removed at the end of the month allowing the numbers to recover to pre-Covid levels.
On Saturday a new bus route is to begin in London using the good old iconic Routemaster which TfL has phased out. The new service, Route A, will run from Waterloo Station to Piccadilly Circus via Westminster Bridge and will run every 15 minutes. The service is not part of the London Transport routes and will carry a £5 daily fare reduced to £4 for senior citizens, and is expected to cater mainly for tourists.
Morning merry readers, I have been thinking of becoming a house cat and refusing to go out when it’s cold and grey or wet. But it has disadvantages, no snoozing on the window sill, no foxes to chase and having to use a litter tray. Right, that’s me decided, I off out down the garden, the mere thought of the litter tray has made up my mind!
NASA are claiming that crashing a satellite into an asteroid to test out space defences against a meteor strike on earth was a success. They say they have changed the orbit of Dimorphus, a moon of Didymos, so that it is closer in. An orbit now takes 11 hours and 23 minutes compared to 11 hours 55 minutes before the hit and this is said to be the proof of success.
Tendring Council has just prosecuted a woman for a second time for refusing to act on an enforcement order. The 73-year-old woman refused to deal with a mouse infestation in her home because she was a vegan and she thought of the mice as her pets! She said, “They would not go to her neighbours because she looked after them.” She was fined £1,500, with the court awarding the council costs of £2,395 and imposing a victim surcharge of £150. It would have been cheaper to buy a cat.
The war in Ukraine seems to have given a huge boost to F-35 sales. The latest country to be said to be considering purchasing it is Austria. They are budgeting to replace their Eurofighters. This comes only a few days after the Czech Republic requested that the US should sell them F-35s. Europe’s F-35 customers include Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, and Switzerland. It seems to be the de facto fighter aircraft in Europe.
I read that the Russians are having second thoughts about the Iranian Shahed 136 drone they have ordered over 2,000 of. It seems that in operation they have a lot of problems amongst which are immobile, easily detectable and unable to select and destroy military targets and have proved easy to shoot down as they travel so slowly at just over 100 mph. The drone was sold as having a 600-mile range but the Russians have found that they can only reach 125 miles, the rest is circling over the target. It also can only hit a pre-programmed target that cannot be changed in flight. Not a very flexible device.
So Ginge and Whinge have found something else to moan about. The coronation on May 6th coincides with Archie’s birthday and they think this is a snub. Well, personally, I think they should make a virtue of it and bring the brat over to see his grandfather and his horse being crowned, they could tell him it’s a birthday treat.
The new iPhone 14 and later Apple Watches have a built-in device that detects an event like a car crash and automatically calls the emergency services by dialling 911. However, there seems to be a bit of a problem as the device is being set off on fairground rides, especially roller coasters. It’s not become too much of a problem in the U.K. yet but it is more widespread in America where the iPhone 14 has been on sale a little longer and numerous 911 calls have been made when roller coasters dive from height and pull up sharply. I also heard about someone with his phone in a holder on his bike who lost it when he braked sharply and it flew into a field. He was unable to find it but it not only dialled 911 but also his mother and told her he was in an accident.
It is both wet and cold this morning, two things I hate. Still, it was yummy Felix Chicken for my breakfast and that made up a bit for the weather. I am off on a quick patrol around the office, I can’t remember the last time there was a rodent in my area, so I must be doing a good job!
The Royal Navy has been testing its new Wildcat helicopters on its warships carrying a full load of the latest missiles. The helicopter has been loaded with up to 10 at a time of both variants of the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) – Martlet and Sea Venom. The successful tests involved 894 deck take-offs and landings over 19 days. Many various missile load combinations were tried and I hear everything was good. They even tried asymmetrical loads with one side loaded with 10 missiles and the other with a heavy machine gun. It sounds like fun.
Jack Grealish, the Manchester City footballer, has just moved into a £6.5 million house that he has had built in 20 acres of grounds in Cheshire. However, I read he had a little bit of a struggle with getting an ancient covenant on the land being removed, but the lawyers have now succeeded. The covenant said “cattle, sheep or other animals” could move about the land “by day or by night and for all purposes”. I suppose it might have been a little annoying to have been wandering by his lake or swimming in his pool only to be confronted by a huge bull.
While being questioned by the EU yesterday a Pfizer director admitted that the Pfizer Covid vaccine was not tested on stopping transmission before it went to market. Do you remember being told to get vaccinated so you will not give it to Granny and kill her? I find it amazing that people were pushed to get the vaccine on a lie. I have seen the charts that show it makes Covid more mild and I have to accept that, but now we learn that the vaccine didn’t stop transmission and neither did face masks. What a waste of time.
For some unknown reason, British Airways is moving 13 of its routes from Heathrow Terminal 5 to Terminal 3. I understood that Terminal 5 was ‘The’ British Airways terminal. Before it was built Terminal 3 was the Terminal for long-haul flights and BA did operate many long-haul flights from there. It’s not as if they are moving all the flights to one area. There the list of destinations seems pretty random and includes Accra, Austin, Bahrain and Bermuda. I wonder what this is all about?
The English Football League made an announcement yesterday in which they requested bidders for the next round of televised matches under their control. Sky currently hold the rights and they expire in 2025. Of course the EFL wants to raise as much income as possible from the next sale and to this end have suggested that they make 3 pm on Saturday matches available to the competition winners. At the moment both the EFL and the Premier League have a moratorium on televising 3 pm Saturday matches and the Premier League say that have no intention of changing the rules.
I really don’t know why it is that so many public works construction schemes in Britain seem to run late. The latest one I hear about is the DART automatic railway between Luton Airport Parkway Station and the airport itself. The train service has already been postponed once, now I hear its start date has been put back from about now to next year. The wire rope-hauled trains are supposed to take 4 1/2 minutes to make the trip from the mainline station to the airport, meaning a journey from St Pancras to the airport could take just 35 minutes.
Morning my friends, another dull morning but not as chilly in London this morning. At least the rain of last evening has gone and it’s dry. It seems that there has been a lot of transatlantic phone calls late last night, and KK is rushing home from Washington in an attempt to save his bacon. So maybe a bit more news later.
Barclays Bank is launching a new scheme to allow customers to get access to cash. They say that they have recognised that the closure of banks and cash machines has led to customers not being able to withdraw cash and the idea is that anyone with a Barclays debit card will be able to withdraw up to £100 a day from businesses with a Barclays’ terminal without having spent anything in that business. In addition, Barclays debit card holders can withdraw odd amounts, rather than the set amount from a cash dispenser, even odd pennies. This seems to be going against the current trend of trying to get people to use plastic.
Just Stop Oil are doing their absolute best to alienate themselves from the general public. They are undertaking a ‘period of action’ in London at the moment. It seems to be happening now because it is half term and the students and lefty teachers are on holiday. They have been glueing themselves to roads, throwing milk on the carpet in Harrods and this morning it’s a new stunt, pouring cans of tomato soup on Van Gogh’s famous Sun Flower painting. I hear they did many thousands of pounds worth of damage in Harrods, but I suspect they may have done a lot more damage today.
Lockheed has been testing a new version of its HiMARS missile which can be fired from both the existing wheeled and tracked launchers. The extended range version will double the range of the existing version so that it can reach targets, 150 km away, with the same accuracy as currently. I hear that, unlike the long-range version where only 2 can be carried by modified standard launcher containers, the ER will still be able to hold 6 in a slightly modified launch container and will still be air mobile.
It has been a bit busy in Number 10 this morning. Lots of whispered conversations that I have been doing my best to listen in on. I think Mary Elizabeth has already got a new chancellor lined up to announce this afternoon. But things are a bit confused by KK having to rush home. So KK has got the big E, now I’m trying to find out who’s in and it looks like Jeremy Hunt is in. The increase in corporation tax is also back, now we will see what the markets think.
The Russian Government says it has decided to ‘help’ residents of the Kherson Oblast relocate to other regions of Russia. That is an interesting statement as it implies that residents want to move away from their traditional homes. It could be the case, or might not be, and without asking people I guess we will never know the truth. But why are they ‘offering’ to move people, could they be worried that they are about to lose Kherson? Mind you with the problems with the Crimea Bridge to Russia it might not be easy to actually do.
I hear that the Red Funnel ferry between East Cowes and Southampton had all sorts of problems this morning causing them to have to cancel several crossings. A crewman fell over and it was initially thought he had broken a leg as the vehicle ferry came into Southampton, meaning emergency services being called to the dockside. However, the crewman was handling a mooring rope at the time which he dropped and it got entangled with the ship’s propeller. Divers had to be called in to clear the rope and this afternoon the ship was undergoing sea trails to ensure it could re-enter service.
Good morning to everyone who has read this far. Well, the sun is out and the overnight rain has gone, as has Mary Elizabeth. I have a new neighbour in No 11, he hasn’t moved in yet so I can’t really tell you what he is like, but I wonder if it is worth moving in? I hear his wife comes from the Far East and there is confusion as to whether she is Chinese or Japanese. I hear he has a young Labrador, I thought I had got rid of the dogs from Downing Street, I am praying he leaves ‘Poppy’ at home with his wife and children.
On Friday there was another hearing in the High Court, of Qatar Airways vs Airbus over the finish problem. This hearing was about paperwork with Airbus demanding access to thousands of documents held by Qatar, including the contract between Qatar and Boeing for the 737 Max they have ordered to replace the Airbus A320. Boeing turned up to argue it is commercially sensitive, but the court has given Qatar 6 weeks to produce the requested documents.
Gwent Police have bought 4 new special cars to patrol areas like parks and canal towpaths. What have they bought I hear you ask? Well, they have bought tuk-tuks at about £11,000 each and had them painted in blue and yellow. The maximum speed is around 35 mph, so OK for chasing people who are on foot, or maybe even on a bike but not a lot of use for chasing anyone in a car or on a motorbike. I would love to see a tuk-tuk chasing someone, it would be like a Benny Hill sketch.
The Bozzie resignation list of peerage recommendations is intriguing. I get many of the ex-MPs and politicians, Nicolas Soames and Angie Bray. I get the fat Northern Irish woman who always used to be here when that horrible old woman lived here. But I hear that Labour have nominated Tom Watson for a peerage. How anyone thinks having that lump who lied over the false paedophile case against the likes of Lord Brittan in the Lords is a good idea must be mad. I understand the nomination was made by Sir Beer Korma so that explains a lot.
Did you see the TV adverts for a lottery where the prize was £3 million eco-friendly luxury house with superb views over the Camel estuary? It was £25 a ticket and only one winner would get the house. The house is fully insulated, set in 5.3 acres of grounds has a green roof, and comes with all taxes and legal fees paid plus a handy £50,000 in cash. One disadvantage is that a neighbour is Gordon Ramsey. I hear that the winners had previously entered similar competitions and had no luck. They took possession of the house on 12th August and put it up for sale on 8th October for a mere £4 million. I wonder if it was the prospect of living near Ramsey that decided them?
Sad Dick has relented to public and media pressure and announced a return of the traditional New Year fireworks display by the London Eye. After it being cancelled for a couple of years ‘because of Covid’ it will be back this year as a ticketed event. The tickets will cost £15 per person and be limited to 100,000. The first batch will go on sale on October 21st and will be for one six colour coded viewing areas. People can buy up to 4 tickets and the buyer’s name will be printed on all the tickets, so the buyer must attend the event as people will be asked for photo ID. It all makes me think that Sad Dick is making it as difficult as possible.
I hear that Tobias Ellwood, chair of the Commons defence select committee, has had the Tory whip restored. It was removed back in July when he failed to vote in a Bozzie confidence vote. He was always critical of Bozzie, but apologised for missing the vote which he blamed on ‘transport difficulties’. He said he had been abroad visiting the President of Moldova and there had been a problem with the return flight.
That’s me done for the week. I just had a look outside in Downing Street and it’s raining. So it’s no window sill for my snooze this afternoon, I will have to resort to my secondary job of comfy chair tester. I wonder who is going to be on cat feeder duty this evening, as usual I am already thinking about my tea! I will be back with you again next week.
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