Good morning merry readers and cat lovers. I’m feeling my age today, I woke up rather stiff, I don’t know why I didn’t indulge in a lot of exercise and since that bloated Palmerston from the Foreign Office “retired to the country” I haven’t even had a good fight. Anyway, I have been doing a bit of stretching and I’m sure it’s nothing a good Felix breakfast and my first patrol of the day won’t put right.
Sometimes I wonder how researchers justify spending money on some of the things they investigate. Today’s masterpiece says the number of daily bowel movements you have can be an indicator of your health. Well, I thought that was really obvious. If you go three or four times you probably have diarrhoea and if you go once every three days you are constipated. Well, the report says if you go twice a day you might have diabetes! I better cut down on sugar then!
Last week I told you that the rumours going around the Formula One paddock was that two teams had exceeded the expenditure price cap. The word is the two offenders are Aston Martin and Red Bull. The regulations differentiate between big and small breaches of them and consequently the punishments. A minor breach can lead to a small fine while a major breach can mean a points deduction, a big fine, and expulsion from the next year’s competition. I hear that Aston Martin are suspected of a ‘technical breach’ and can expect a small fine. However, Red Bull could be in real trouble as they are said to have overspent by £10 million, a major breach, giving them an unfair advantage last year and spilling over to this year. Last year Red Bull only won the driver’s championship by 8 points. Could we see them losing last year’s championship and being thrown out of this year’s? We are due to learn later this week.
I see Lady Nugee has dropped herself in the mire. Last week she tweeted a photo of her driving her Toyota Prius in the middle lane of the motorway, with the comment that she was on the way to the Labour Party conference. The problem was that the photo, apparently taken by a backseat passenger, clearly showed her speeding at over 80 mph. It has also been pointed out that she was rather close to the car in front. After all her shouting for Bozzie to go for having a birthday cake, that he didn’t even eat, delivered between meetings, should she go for something that is much more dangerous?
Google have a big day later this week when they are to announce a whole host of new and revised products. The article I saw said they were going to launch a new wireless Nest Door Bell. This is based on a photo of one that is a grey-green colour which is not in the current range. Other new products include a range of Pixel 7 phones, a Pixel Watch and a Pixel Tablet. Mind you the current pixel doorbell is a bit expensive, Curry’s are selling it at £228.99p, but if you can’t afford that try ao.com, where it is £160. Someone is making a big profit.
Ofwat has today announced that 11 of the 17 English and Welsh water companies are being fined for all sorts of performance failures including supply interruptions, pollution incidents and internal sewer flooding. The fines total £150 million that the companies will have to return to customers. The biggest fines have gone to Thames Water (£51 million) and Southern Water (£28.3 million). At the other end of the scale, Severn Trent Water are being rewarded for exceeding their targets and can raise an extra £62.9 million from customers.
An interesting move today by Jacob Rees-Moggy. He has invoked the National Security and Investment Act to stop the Chinese from getting information about the electricity supply lines in the Northwest of England. The Chinese have a 35% holding in Electricity North West and Moggy has banned them from getting information about Britain’s power grid because they are deemed to be a security risk. The Chinese have also been banned from having any directors on the EMW board or appointed to senior positions. It’s about time we stopped pandering to foreign companies buying up our industries.
Wow, it’s warmer in London this morning. It’s a bit dull and cloudy but definitely warmer. When I headed down the garden for my pre-breakfast constitutional the gardener was riding the mower up and down leaving those lovely stripes on the grass. What was getting a bit grotty has recovered very quickly. I hope he leaves some long grass somewhere as I like to eat it when I get an upset tummy.
I understand there is a little fuss going on in Lancashire where Network Rail are electrifying the line between Bolton and Wigan. It appears the footbridge across the track to track to a golf club is too low to install the overhead wire beneath it and Network Rail want to demolish the bridge. They have written to Bolton Council saying that they will replace the bridge with a precast concrete one, but I hear the golf club are not happy as the timetable has not been set out and the club fears being cut off for an extended period.
HMS Dauntless, the first Type 45 destroyer to have its electrical system upgraded, has completed its post-refit testing and I hear it has gone very well. The Type 45 was designed with 2 Rolls Royce gas turbines which apparently have always performed well, the problem has been with the intercoolers supplied by the American company Northrop. Apparently, these could not cope when they were operating in high-temperature parts of the world and the part of the ship’s power supply they allowed the gas turbines to produce collapsed catastrophically. The ship also had 2 diesel generators but these were too small to take over the load. The ship has now had the 2 diesel generators replaced by 3 much larger generators and I hear the ship now has 6Mw of spare capacity, plenty for future laser weapons. It has also allowed the ship to go faster! The second ship of the type is currently being refitted and the Navy is looking at speeding up the whole programme.
After the fuss of the budget and the ‘climb down’ on the 45% tax level being cut, it seems the Home Secretary is going to make a speech today where she will propose a law that will ban people who enter the U.K. illegally from claiming asylum. I suspect that this could be a huge vote winner in the ‘red wall’ seats. However, wait for the screams of outrage from the lefties and do-gooders.
I see that McDonald’s have re-opened many of their 90-odd restaurants in the Ukraine. This has met with huge enthusiasm by the Ukrainian people, particularly the younger generation, and there have been massive queues outside the stores. It has taken a while for McDonald’s to re-open in the ‘safe areas’. I wonder if they put something addictive in a Big Mac?
In the US it seems that Carnival Cruises have just done something that has been normal in the rest of the world for ages. They are to charge for many of their room service menu items. Basically, nearly every cruise company in the world serves a free breakfast in cabins. On some lines it is only a continental breakfast but others, including Carnival, offer hot food like a fried breakfast. What Carnival have done is started to make a charge for a daytime and nighttime room service. The biggest moan seems to be that they are now to charge $5 for a ‘peanut butter and jelly toasted sandwich (in the US jelly is what we call jam). Americans seem to believe that it is their constitutional right to have a free PB&J sandwich delivered to their cabin at any time of the day or night. I think I would pay $5 not to have to eat that!
I am intrigued to read that the German-owned car hire company SIXT have signed an agreement with the Chinese car manufacturer BYD to take electric vehicles from them. The initial order is for 1,000 cars mostly the ATTO 3. However, they have agreed to purchase 100,000 EVs over the next 6 years. The first SIXT customers to experience BYD vehicles this year will include customers in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK. However, SIXT actually have 2,100 branches in 100 countries so they could be on the lookout for a lot more EVs as they have announced they intend to have over 70% of their fleet electric by 2030.
Still pleasingly mild this morning, but overcast so I enjoyed my trot down the garden. Felix Chicken this morning, only it was in jelly and not gravy. Someone in Mary Elizabeth’s entourage can’t have been ready my diary properly. Note to the cat food buyer – Larry wants his Felix Chicken in gravy!
Following complaints from residents about dirt and noise, residents of three blocks of flats overlooking the HS2 work on London’s Hampstead Road, I hear that Camden Council has come to an agreement with HS2 to offer those residents a move away and/or compensation. People who rent flats will be offered new flats away from the disruption and £9,250 compensation. For those who have leasehold flats, they will be purchased by HS2 and given compensation. What will become of the empty flats once the work is complete isn’t obvious, but they could be refurbished and resold or knocked down and more modern housing built.
American Delta Airlines is just about to place an order for 20 Airbus A350-1000 the biggest longest-range aircraft Airbus manufactures. Delta is renowned for driving a hard bargain and has more than likely bought the batch of A350-1000s that Airbus have cancelled for Qatar Airways. Delta already operate 60 x A350-900 and have 24 x -1000s on order so they are going to be an A350 operator.
Scientists have classified a new blood type. Until now most people have been classified A, B, O or AB under the most common system. Then rhesus positive and negative sub-types were identified. However, the death of a baby has led to the identification of another two types which have called MAM and Er. In the search to discover what had caused the baby to have a brain haemorrhage, it was discovered that the mother had one of these extremely rare blood types and doctors now think that antibodies in the mother’s blood attacked the baby’s systems through the placenta. No wonder there has to be a very close check before a blood transfusion.
Yesterday Tesla announced that they are going to remove ultrasonic sensors in its front and rear bumpers. These sensors currently are used by the parking system. Tesla say that they have now been able to advance camera systems so much that the ultrasonic sensors are no longer required. On the other hand, I hear that it is both a money-saving exercise and a way of including less microchips in a car which are currently in short supply.
Virgin Atlantic Airways has today formally announced what many people have expected for a long time. They are pulling out of running a service to Hong Kong. They haven’t offered a service to Hong Kong since January when the Chinese banned flights from many places because of Covid. Virgin Australia have already dropped services between Australia and Hong Kong meaning that Virgin Atlantic could no longer offer a connecting service and the war in Ukraine has closed Russian air space adding an hour to the journey. Virgin has now decided that it will not be resuming fights that had been pencilled in for March 2023.
I heard that following the cancellation of the Soci Gran Prix (because of international sanctions on Russia) there have been a number of ramifications. The American team Hass has lost its sponsor Uralkari, a Russian energy company who was ditched by the team’s owners, as was driver Nikita Mazepin who is the son of the Uralkari owner. Ferrari also dumped all things Russian, removing their sponsor Kaspersky and deleting its name from the car. Kaspersky are a cybersecurity company. Ferrari replaced them with the Romanian cybersecurity company Bitdefender, strangely Ferrari had their first ever cyber attack this week.
It’s a lovely sunny morning here in London this morning but a bit cool still. Mary Elizabeth reappeared yesterday but shot off early this morning to some European meeting. I understand she has been at the party conference and gave a speech which the Conservatives thought was pretty good, but the Sir Beer Korma’s lot didn’t like. Interestingly the MSM don’t seem to be shouting about the Tories being finished this morning.
This morning’s Guardian is whinging about coal. They have finally twigged that China and India have huge plans to build coal-fired power stations and increase vastly the amount of coal they mine. According to the paper, the Chinese have plans to build 260Gw of coal-fired plant. The big coal-fired units produce 1000 Mw each so that’s 260 new power stations. India is a bit behind that, they are only planning 80 Gw of new coal plant. China is planning to mine an extra 1,000 million tonnes of coal a year and India an extra 820 million tonnes a year. And greenies in the U.K. are moaning because we are considering mining a few hundred thousand tonnes to save importing coking coal.
I had to chuckle about the US Secret Service getting itself into a bit of a pickle. A car carrying Vice President Camel Harris, being driven by an agent, drove into the kerb and wrecked a tyre which had to be changed. The Camel was swapped into a backup car. But what made me laugh was that the Secret Service tried to cover things up and said the car suffered a ‘mechanical failure’. Why? Did they really need to protect the agent? I bet that most drivers have bumped a kerb at some time or another so why not admit what really happened?
Back in 2008, Croatia Airways ordered 6 Airbus A319, a smaller version of the A320. But these were never delivered. Then in 2015, the order was converted to 6 x A320neo, however for some time the word on the street has been that Croatia wasn’t happy with its order and have been talking to Airbus, Embraer and Boeing about smaller planes. Today it has announced that it is once again converting its Airbus order, this time into 6 x A220-200 planes. Croatia currently operates 12 aircraft of various types and has said that its intention is to operate an all-Airbus A220 fleet. So will they be buying more new planes from the manufacturer or will they be talking to aircraft leasing companies?
On the Isle of Wight, Southern Water continues to impose a hosepipe ban because, they claim, of a very dry summer. However, it seems that a freedom of information request has revealed a huge problem on the isle caused by leaks and burst pipes. For example, from 1st May to the 11th August this year there were more than 600 leaks or bursts on the island. In July alone 31 million litres were lost. So far this year over 86,000,000 litres have been lost. The FOI also reveals that the number ‘emergency interventions’ (holes dug to stop leaks) has increased by 39% over last year. Southern Water says this ‘slight increase’ has been caused by increased demand. I don’t see how extra demand causes more leaks.
I have been reading about a painting called ‘The Expected One’ by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller which shows a young girl walk in the countryside staring down at a small rectangular box in her hands. It looks like she is looking at a smartphone, but as this painting was done in 1860 it is hardly likely unless the girl is a time traveller! Art experts dismiss this as a possibility and say the girl is on her way to church and is looking at her prayer book. I prefer to think she has got an iPhone.
The announcement regarding overspending of the F1 expenditure cap now looks to have pushed back from this week. It seems that the Red Bull team are arguing that their overspend was related to things like free canteen food for workers, sick leave pay and pay for people on gardening leave. The amount is said to be about £2 million which is a lot of sandwiches in the canteen. Other F1 teams say that those items have been included in everyone else’s budget and if Red Bull had accounted for it the same way as everyone else they would have had £2 million less to spend on development.
Good morning everyone, it was dark when I woke up this morning, I don’t like winter and it seems to be coming quickly. I especially don’t like snow, if your belly was only a few inches off the ground I bet you wouldn’t either. Anyway, Mary Elizabeth seems to be quite generous with her cat food servings. I am dreading my next visit to the vet, he is bound to put me on a diet.
I hear that the Port of Southampton is to spend £17.5 million on improving its rail terminal and adding an additional 84 points to plug in reefers (no not spliffs, but refrigerated containers). I’m sure that only a few months ago Network Rail spent a fortune lengthening its sidings at Southampton to take longer container trains. Why don’t these people get together and do the work at the same time, surely it would be cheaper?
A strange cruise story this morning. Azamara Quest was due to dock in Doha at 7:30 am on the 21st of November and stay for 3 days. This is the day of England’s first match against Iran with a 1:00 pm kick-off and Wales are due to play the USA at 7:00 pm the same day. Many passengers have spent many hundreds of pounds on match tickets. The cruise was even called ‘Arabia and World Cup Cruise’. Suddenly the trip has been renamed ‘Arabia & Dubai Voyage’ and the 3 days in Doha have been replaced with stops in other ports. Azamara are blaming the Qatar authorities for closing the port to cruise ships and only allowing people with match tickets in. Azamara will refund cruisers who no longer want to go on the cruise but that is no compensation to people who have spent £700 on tickets and thought they had travel and accommodation sorted.
The word is that the investigation into Hunter Biden has established there is enough evidence to prosecute him on tax crimes and lying about his drug use when buying a gun. I would have thought that the information on his laptop would have led to a lot more charges than that. Mind you, wasn’t Al Capone finally jailed for tax evasion?
Do you remember the fuss back in 2020 when, rather than repair the Great Musgrave bridge, National Highways hired AmcoGifen to fill in under the bridge with crudely poured concrete? The local council, Eden District Council, were highly upset because National Highway had not applied for planning permission. Today I learn that the council has served National Highway with an enforcement order to return the bridge to how it used to be in one year. But it’s not just the concrete that must be removed, they have to repair the bridge and return the ground to its original state. Ironically National Highways have employed AmcoGifen to carry out the work.
I have been looking at pictures of the new P&O cruise ship, Arvia, which is currently in its final fit-out, before delivery in December. It is amazing what they squeeze into cruise ships these days. Alongside umpteen places to eat ranging from the standard dining rooms to buffet restaurants, to a carvery, American diner and steak house, there are some novel ideas like an escape room and a rope walk. The ship will run on liquified natural gas so will be very much greener than many of the current oil-fired cruise ships about at the moment.
I knew that Zimbabwe had coal reserves, because it has a coal-fired power station that has the lovely name of Wankie. Now it seems that an exploration company has found a big gas field which it thinks contains some 20 trillion cubic feet of gas. As if that wasn’t enough good news they had already found a small oil field of about 150 million barrels, but think that as well as the gas there could well be another 845 million barrels of oil. Can you imagine Zimbabwe, the financial basket case of Africa, could turn into a rich oil state, if its politicians don’t run away with all the income.
Good morning, as you know I like Saturdays, not as much as Sundays, but they are pretty good as they tend to be more peaceful than weekdays.
This morning I read that Russia’s MP for Zabaykalsky region, Lieutenant General Andrey Gurulev, has said that 1.5 million sets of military uniform had gone missing. I have heard that lots of Russian equipment gets sold off to make the generals rich. I could understand a few uniforms going missing, but not a million and a half. You would need a whole fleet of lorries to steal that lot. No wonder that conscripts have to buy their own uniforms, they are probably buying the ones they should have been given.
The 200,000-ton cruise ship Global Dream, being built by MV Werften for Genting Cruise Line when they went bust, might have been saved from being scrapped. The administrator has had the 9,000-passenger ship up for sale for some time without much interest so they were looking at scrapping the ship which is very nearly complete. All work has been at a standstill for a while now, but the word is Disney have put in an offer slightly above the scrap value. Of course, Disney would have to pay for the fit-out to be completed but in total it would cost them considerably less than a new build. The problem is that the ship has been built for the Asian cruise market and may have to be modified to suit the more discerning European or American market. It is all down to the bookkeeper’s calculation
It was Poo Tins birthday yesterday and I hear that amongst his presents was a new tractor from his friend Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, where there is a tractor factory. Lukashenko didn’t actually bring the tractor with him, instead presenting Poo Tin with a gift certificate from the Minsk Tractor Factory. I know lots of people get Amazon vouchers for their birthday but I doubt many get a voucher for a tractor. Mind you I expect a tractor was better received than the two pyramids of melons he was given by the President of Tajikistan!
I am waiting to hear a bit more about what caused the explosion on the bridge between the Crimea and the Russian mainland. The Russians say it was a lorry that exploded but it must have been a hell of a blast to drop several spans into the sea. I can only speculate, but was it a lorry load of ammunition, or a lorry bomb? We might never really know if it was the Ukrainians or a Russian own goal. The video on the internet shows a massive explosion which set a train of tankers alight on the adjacent railway bridge. The railway bridge looks a mess but is still standing. However, the fire on the train is out but it hasn’t been moved, I expect the track is damaged. I am sure we will hear it was the same bloke who was smoking on the cruiser that sunk having a quick smoke on an ammunition truck.
The pause in the launch of OneWeb satellites that has been caused by the war in Ukraine is about to end. The Indian launch company ISRO is expected to put up 36 more satellites in a week or so. The satellites were supposed to have been launched under a contract with the Russians but the Russians refused to complete the contract unless OneWeb guaranteed that the satellites would never be used for military purposes, which was impossible. The 36 satellites which were ready to be launched have been retained by Russia. I wonder if they have been ripped apart for chips or converted for Russian military use.
London Northwestern Trains have announced that they are banning passengers consuming alcohol on trains leaving Liverpool Lime Street after 9 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings. The rule does not apply on any other service or to any other station. I suppose they have been having problems with loads of drunk Liverpudlians partying at weekends and this is their answer. It might be a little difficult to enforce if people turn up for the train with cans or bottles in their pockets. Does the guard have the right to search people?
I am finished for another week. It’s sunny and warm outside in Downing Street this afternoon, I think it could be back to the window sill for my snooze. I hope it is going to be a good cat feeder this evening, I am a bit peckish. I will be back with you again next week.
© WorthingGooner 2022