Good morning cat diary lovers, yet more rain in Downing Street. I popped down the soggy garden path between downpours and on my way back I spotted one of those grey tree rats picking at the bits the birds had dropped under the bird feeder. At first it didn’t see me as I crept up, but you should have seen it run the second it saw me. It was up a tree and over the wall before you could say Jack Robinson, did I chuckle. I then found Felix Chicken in my bowl and the Dreamies Girl waiting to say ‘Good morning’ to me. An excellent morning so far.
I happened to see Red Ed on the Kuntsburger show yesterday morning. The man is a total moron. He wants us to pay reparations to ‘poorer’ countries for climate change. He quotes the likes of ‘unprecedented’ floods in Pakistan and rising sea levels in the Maldives. There are several things here that don’t make any sense. Thirty years ago Pakistan had floods that were just as bad as the current ones and the area of the Maldives has actually increased by 27 sq Km. Then on top of this Pakistan has plenty of money to spend on nuclear weapons and its military and he expects the British taxpayer to give them money when we are skint.
More evidence of Labour madness from Sir Beer Korma who says a Labour Government will make British power fossil-free by 2030. I really can’t understand what he is actually saying, does he mean power generation, does he include domestic and industrial use of gas, does he include petrol and diesel-powered vehicles? Whichever it is I can’t see how it is possible. I saw one of his acolytes on TV this morning saying how quick and easy it would be to build wind turbines and solar power stations. When it was asked what would happen when the wind didn’t blow and the sun didn’t shine his answer was nuclear power. The questioner didn’t take it any further, but I was mentally shouting at the TV, ‘Ask him how that works when it takes at least 10 years to build Hinkley point and it is the only nuclear power station under construction.’
I read that Airbus is in negotiations with the Chinese central aircraft purchasing authority for a huge aircraft order. The word is that they are looking at buying 120 x A320neo family planes and 12 x A350neo. China has been developing its own narrow-body aircraft, the Comac C919, since 2008 and it received its airworthiness certification earlier this year, so what does this say about that plane?
It sounds like a fun football match between Bosham and Worthing in the Southern Combination League Division 2 match at the weekend. With Worthing leading 3-0 they had a player sent off, leading to Bosham getting a goal back. With the game in injury time, Bosham scored again and apparently it all kicked off. Another player from each side was red-carded as was the Worthing manager. Just to add to the fun a linesman was also sent off! At this level of football, the referee is supplied by the league and the two clubs each supply a lineman. Worthing eventually won 3-2, I wish I had been there it sounds like a lot more fun than watching Tottenham on the TV!
The word I hear around Downing Street is that in the Hunt’s forthcoming autumn budget he is thinking about introducing Vehicle Excise Duty for electric vehicles. The Government has been taking in about £35 billion a year in VED and fuel tax, but the increasing number of EVs is now threatening to cost the exchequer £2.1 billion by 2026. I predict that this will be just the start, following VED, a way will be found to replace fuel tax, maybe a charge for road usage, and of course you EV drivers will have to pay congestion charge. That’s one in the eye for all those smug EV drivers.
Yorkshire-based bus company Connexxions has received a penalty fine for one of its buses having the audacity of entering a bus lane and picking up passengers at a bus stop in Leeds. Leeds City Council send the company a £75 fine, with a picture of the offending bus attached, to the company and the managing director says he is going to frame it and put it on his office wall. I guess this is what comes of an automated system that can’t spot a bus, when a quick scan from a human would have saved Leeds Council looking stupid and having to withdraw the fine.
It was raining when I woke up, but has now stopped but is looking pretty grotty out there. The Rich Boy seems to keep the door to the No 10 flat shut all the time. I suspect it is to stop his dog from getting out rather than me getting in. Still, I have realised one good thing about me being in No 11 and him in No 10, no curry smell wafting over my cat basket!
I have never listened to Boom Radio but I understand it is becoming very popular with older people. Launched two years ago as a London DAB station I understand it is now available nationwide on DAB and the internet. From what I hear the station seems to be like a pirate radio station of the 60s with some of the same DJs. I am not old enough to remember the pirates but I know a lot of the music of the 60s, 70s and 80s that they play. The DJs include Grahame Dene, Johnnie Walker and Roger Day, but I hear that David Hamilton (84) and Pete Murray (97) have just recorded a Christmas special! Instead of making all its pensioner DJs commute into a London studio, they all broadcast from home studios.
For the second day running Just Stop Oil have climbed up the overhead signal gantries on the M25. This morning I understand they are at six different points. As usual, the police are being useless and stopping people driving under them in case they fall off on them. Well, if I had my way, I would make sure they were glued onto the gantries, so they can’t fall off, and then just leave them there. Instead, I hear 16 protesters have been arrested. As the Department of Transport have an injunction in place covering the whole of the M25 they could well land up with long jail sentences.
I see Sniffer Joe is still proving how useless he is. It seems that every time he opens his mouth he puts his foot in it. At a midterm election campaign meeting yesterday, he calmly announced that he was delighted to be able to reveal that General Motors have agreed to offer a fully electric range by 3035. Only 1013 years from now! I’m sure that he should have said 2035 but he is incapable of reading the autocue!
Yesterday the Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, announced that Bozzie’s replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia had been scrapped and instead the money would be used to speed up the acquisition of two Multirole Ocean Surveillance Vessels for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The MoD say these vessels are ‘vital’ and will be used to operate autonomous systems for underwater surveillance and sea bed warfare. The first one is now due to be delivered in January, months ahead of its expected date. The ships will be small commercial boats fitted out especially for the task.
I hear that the Russian satellite countries, like Armenia and Kazakhstan, have suddenly got a huge appetite for importing white goods from European countries. Since sanctions were placed on Russia they have been importing washing machines, fridges, freezers and even breast pumps like they are going out of fashion. Now it has emerged that they are being dismantled and their microchips, transistors and transformers sent on to Russia for use in military equipment. For example, Kazakhstan bought seven times the number of breast pumps from the EU in the last eight months than in the whole of last year and this is despite the birth rate falling! Armenia, Kazakhstan and Russia are all members of the Eurasian Economic Union, which has no internal customs borders, so these items can easily be moved to Russia.
When the Moggy was looking at EU laws that had been incorporated into U.K. law without being looked at it was said that he had identified 2,400 bits of legislation. Then he was moved on, but the work didn’t stop. This morning it was announced that an additional 1,200 pieces of legislation had been found by a trawl through the archives. Many of these laws are said to be unnecessary and a bill is currently passing through Parliament to sunset them at the end of 2023. However new legislation will be introduced for any of these laws deemed to be necessary.
The heavy rain beating on the windows woke me up a couple of times during the night, so I fully expected it to be pouring down this morning. But it was clear and sunny when I trudged my way down the garden carefully avoiding the puddles! I got back just as the duty feeder was getting my breakfast ready. Not someone I have had before, but a very pleasant young man who said ‘Good morning’ to me and stroked me. He can come again.
I read of a TUI stewardess who has just won an unfair dismissal case on the basis of age discrimination. Unlike the normal cases which are about the person being dismissed because they ‘were too old’, in this case she claimed she was sacked because she was too young. Virgin made 242 people redundant and were supposed to have gone through a procedure that compared employees and scored them on the likes of attendance and ability. This particular person fell in the pool of Glasgow-based staff and apparently all were equal on all the criteria except length of service, where she had only worked for TUI for 20 years while others had worked 25 plus years. However, she pointed out that as she was 41 and had joined the company as soon as their age limit allowed she could not possibly have achieved 25 years service which was deemed the cut-off point. Hence, she was being discriminated against for being too young. The tribunal agreed and awarded her £6,546.
I read that Mcdonald’s has decided to drop plastic cutlery from all its U.K. outlets. It says that this is in line with its policy of going plastic free. Instead, they will be offering cutlery made from paper! What I want to know is how a paper knife can cut anything and if you stir your hot coffee with a paper spoon will it land up as a soggy lump in the bottom of the drink?
I have been reading a cautionary tale about a young girl in Florida who after passing her driving test saved her money and bought a second-hand electric Ford Focus for $11,000. For six months all went well and then the battery stopped holding a charge. So she inquired as to the cost of a replacement battery. The Ford dealer looked at their paperwork and reported it would cost $14,000 and that would not include the cost of labour to change the battery. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there, the dealer then discovered that Ford no longer supplies the battery pack. The car is now totally useless, however Ford has offered to buy it for $500. Let that be a lesson to anyone thinking of buying an EV.
Yesterday Brighton and Hove said goodbye to its last bendy bus, it is being replaced by double-deckers on its route between the city centre and the two universities. The bendy buses were bought second-hand from London, in 2009, where they had proved to be unsuitable for the capital’s streets. The, now 15-year-old model, is no longer manufactured and spares are proving very difficult to obtain. Whether the buses will be sold or scrapped is not known.
Accordingly to what I read, Russian troops have been ordered to pull out of Kherson city by generals. The Russian commander in Ukraine, General Sergei Surovikin, has said that it is no longer possible to adequately supply the troops. He doesn’t actually say so, but if the Russians are admitting that they can’t supply the city then it is obvious they can’t supply anything on the west side of the Dnipro river and will be withdrawing to the east bank. In addition, the Russian media has announced that the Russia-appointed deputy leader of Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, had been killed in a car crash. I wonder if it was really a car crash or if it was a hit by a Ukraine strike.
Another supermarket, Lidl, is to join the move away from green tops on Semi-Skimmed milk. They will be joining M&S, Aldi and Sainsbury’s. The move to clear plastic tops allows them to be put in the recycling bin and saves money. I wonder when all the other supermarkets will join in and if the other types of milk will be joining this move. I understand they started with semi-skimmed as it was the biggest seller and always intended to include all milk types.
Wow, a sunny morning. It’s still very wet under paw, so I am sticking to the paths, as much as possible, when I venture down the garden. I am sleeping very well in this empty flat, with no one about to wake me. It’s great without; kids screaming, a stupid mutt running around, someone snacking at 3 in the morning, or getting up at silly o’clock to fly on a day trip to the Ukraine or Glasgow.
Rolls Royce have announced that they have plans to supply a fifth of England and Wales’s electricity by the end of the decade by building their small modular reactors. They say they have identified sites at Trawsfynydd and Wylfa in Wales, Sellafield in Cumbria and Oldbury near Bristol all of which are previous nuclear sites and have good connections to the National Grid. They would like to build around about 30 SMRs which would each generate 470 MM. Of course, Rolls don’t yet have type approval for the reactor which has to come from the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales. We currently have 76.6 GW of installed generation plant, mind a hell of a lot of that is intermittent wind and solar plant, and the most we have used this year has been 46.6Gw.
London’s Heathrow airport has just welcomed its first new British airline in three decades and it’s because of the war in Ukraine. Under the sanctions imposed on Russia, its airlines were banned from using British airspace. Under the airports ‘use it or lose it’ rule, Russian flag carrier Aeroflot has been stripped of all its take-off and landing slots. Heathrow slots are highly sought after and Aeroflot held 70 weekly pairs. Once allocated the slots can be sold or leased to other airlines, but the sanctions specially barred Russian airlines from doing this so the 70 pairs of slots have been reallocated to other airlines. The newcomer is British regional airline Loganair and other beneficiaries are Virgin, Canada’s Westjet, China Airlines, Columbian carrier Avianca and India’s Vistara. Loganair have started a daily service to the Isle of Man and Virgin have launched a service to Tampa.
I see Hertfordshire Police have decided to start arresting reporters and press photographers who have the audacity to report on the Just Stop Oil M25 protesters. First, there was a young girl LBC reporter who was arrested and detained for seven hours on suspicion of conspiring with the protesters but was released without even being questioned. Now a photographer has been arrested and detained for 11 hours. He was questioned and kept pointing out his police-issued press card had a number on the back that could be rung to confirm he was telling the truth. The thing about his arrest was that three policemen turned up at 11:30 at night to search his home, scarring his wife and 14-year-old daughter. I suspect these cases will land up in court, as the police took fingerprints and DNA.
I hear that a Jet 2 flight from Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, to Manchester had to make an intermediate stop at Bilbao so that passengers could go to the toilet. It seems that all the plane’s toilets were out of order! Apparently, the tank that takes the effluent from the A321s four toilets needed to be emptied, stopping the toilets from being used. The plane was on the ground for two hours where the tank was emptied, before it continued to Manchester. Strangely, I read that under British regulations passenger aircraft have to have toilets, but the rules do not say they have to be in working order.
The DragonFire consortium has been demonstrating and testing the high-power laser weapon at the Porton Down ranges. The idea of the tests are to prove that the weapon can hit and destroy targets at various distances. I believe the range can test weapons firing up to 3.4 km but the actual capabilities of DragonFire have not been revealed.
Yet more problems for Boeing. In October they only managed to deliver 35 planes, down from 53 in September. The fall in deliveries is being blamed on a flaw Boeing has discovered in the 737Max fuselage. Boeing say it has this problem in hand and will not affect its delivery of 375 this year. Boeing is desperately trying to recover from a number of setbacks; the 737Max crashes, the 787 problems, the 2 new presidential aircraft, the 737Max 10 certification problem and of course Covid. In addition, Boeing has announced that they are not planning to add a 737 replacement for at least a decade. I bet Airbus are rubbing their hands together.
It’s very grey this morning but at least it’s dry. I got back from my trip down the garden to find someone with a great long pole washing the windows. This is new, it always used to be a man with a ladder bucket and leather. I wonder why the change?
I read that yet another British cruise ship has been delayed and will be arriving late, disappointing the cruise line’s passengers who had booked on its maiden cruise. First, it was P&Os Arvia now it is the new Cunarder Queen Anne that is expected to be a month late. Interestingly these ships were being constructed in different yards, one in Germany and one in Italy. The P&O ship looks like it suffered some sabotage with three fires breaking out in cabins when it was near completion, while Cunard are blaming supply chain problems and energy shortages in Italy.
This morning the Russians have announced they have fully withdrawn from the Kherson side of the Dnipro river, claiming to have not lost a single person or left any equipment behind. I guess that equipment left behind does not include bobby traps and land mines! I have seen pictures this morning claiming to show Ukrainian soldiers in the middle of Kherson, outside the town hall, with Ukrainian flags flying. I understand that the Ukrainians are advancing very carefully because of the worry that the Russians have laid traps or have lied about fully withdrawing.
I hear that the busiest air route in the world is no longer JFK in New York to Heathrow, it has been pushed down to third place. The new number one is between Cairo and Riyadh where some 3,325,000 seats were available last year. Mind you, now that the A380 is back on the JFK – Heathrow route and the limits on the daily numbers at Heathrow have been removed I expect it will be at number one next year.
Kevin the Carrot is back again in this year’s Aldi Christmas TV adverts. He is home alone and decides to watch a football match on the TV. The game harks back to M&S suing Aldi over their rip-off caterpillar cake Cuthbert, which imitated M&Ss Colin cake. The score on the TV screen is Cuth 1 – 0 Col. Then the advert gets a bit naughty as Kevin the Carrot jumps out of a window landing on a snowman. You would think he would land on his face for a carrot nose, but no he lands on his groin!
I hear that yesterday the Guardian sent extra reporters to Egypt for the COP as Sniffer Joe arrives today. But the woke Guardian lot got a shock when many of them asked for vegetarian food. They were met with much shrugging and told that there was none, Egypt didn’t do vegetarian food.
I hear we have signed a scientific research agreement with Switzerland. The two countries have agreed to pool their resources as both have been excluded from the EU research programme. What is interesting is that seven of Europe’s top ten research universities are in the U.K. and two more are in Switzerland, which seems to indicate that the EU is cutting off its nose to spite its face.
Well, it’s another weekend, and it’s nice and peaceful in Downing Street just as I like it. Quite mild this morning and the sky is nice and clear. I wonder how much longer this weather lasts?
It seems that the American fast food chain, Popeyes, has made an excellent start to business in the U.K. Its first restaurant in Stratford is their busiest in their chain anywhere in the world. Now I hear they have just opened their second branch in London, at Ealing, to massive queues going right up the street. I understand that on their first day they took over £20,000 and although I don’t know how much they took on day two the queue once again went up the street.
I see that the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship Norwegian Encore, had a nasty problem earlier this week when it visited Panama City. I hear that a gangway collapsed and passengers were injured. The ship is on a 21-day cruise from Seattle to Miami and is due to arrive in Florida tomorrow. NCL appear to have tried to play down the incident and have not yet said how many were injured or hospitalised.
Yesterday I predicted that it wouldn’t be long before Heathrow/New York was back to the top as the world’s busiest airline route. Now I read that Heathrow have said that they will not be reintroducing the 100,000-a-day passenger cap over the Christmas/New Year holidays. They have also said that recruiting additional staff is going well and they expect to be fully staffed by the summer.
I hear of a man who feared that after a working life spent in the aircraft industry he was going deaf when his hearing in one ear started to fail. Recently he bought a home endoscope and spotted something white in his ear. He went to his doctor who removed a small plastic component and his hearing immediately recovered. It seems that while in Australia five years ago he had purchased a set of fittings for his earbuds, and it was one of these that the doctor removed.
Russia has today announced that they are moving the capital of the Kherson Oblast to the seaside town of Henichesk which is on the Sea of Azov. This is about as far as it is possible to get from the Dnipro river. In addition, I hear that the Russians have been moving their main helicopter base for the Kherson Oblast, at an airfield in the town of Chaplynka, to an airfield much further back from Dnipro to try to make it out of HiMARS range. I also hear that the crowds have been out in Kherson’s Freedom Square chanting what I hear is a popular chant ‘Putin is a prick’.
I know the grammar Nazis on GP will love my last story of the week. Swindon Borough Council have planted a tulip tree and put up a plaque which reads, and I quote, “This tree has been planted in appreciation of Our Key Workers and Volunteers by the borough. to honor Their Selflessness and Dedication given to the residents and the vulnerable During the Covid Pandemic March 2019.” It is full of random capital letters, a full stop in the wrong place and an American spelling. They even got the date of the pandemic a year early!
Right, I’m done for another week. Today is sunny and quite warm in London, so I think I will try my favourite window sill for my afternoon snooze. I’ll chat with you again next week.
© WorthingGooner 2022