Good morning cat diary lovers. I was a little confused yesterday when my breakfast was late. In bustled the duty feeder and chatted away to me while opening my Felix pouch, it was only then that I realised that the power that be had been messing about with the clocks again. I wonder how many other British cats and dogs were confused yesterday. Most of them can’t tell the time, unlike me, and rely on their internal body clocks to know when their breakfast and dinner is coming. I just can’t understand why we mess about with the clocks; it makes no sense to this cat.
I had a bit of a surprise yesterday when the Rich Boy and the Rich Girl’s moving van turned up at the back door and started putting his furniture in the flat over Number 10. I have only ever lived in the flat over Number 11 because my saviour David swapped to the No 11 flat because it was bigger, and he had a big family. It seems that the Rich Boy was very happy in the flat above Number 10 and wants to go back there. That means they will either move me or I will have to live with the Hunt. Am I being demoted? I will report as soon as I find out.
I read that one of the first satellites to be launched by Virgin Orbit from Cornwall next month is to be the Amber 1. This type of satellite has an interesting background, being built by a start-up company called Horizon Technologies and began life in a garage in Reading. The original idea for the satellite came about as a need to track boats used by Somali pirates but this satellite is to be used to spot illegal migrants in the channel. It works by looking for electronic emissions coming from mobile phones and radar as the migrant boats turn off their tracking devices. All we need then is to launch an electronic emissions-seeking missile at them and all will be well.
More good news for Airbus, Canadian Airlines has added 15 aircraft to its order for 45 Airbus A200-300 planes. Canadian Airlines has already received 31 of the original order and is very happy with the planes. The only problem is that Airbus is only producing around 5 of this model a month and has an outstanding order book of over 550 planes which at that production rate would take over 9 years to build. Understandably Airbus is looking at increasing production to 15 a month.
Last Wednesday there was a special pop-up Covid 19 children’s vaccination clinic at Start Point in Sholing, Southampton. On the same evening parents of some of the vaccinated 5 to 11-year-olds got phone calls from our ‘wonderful’ NHS saying their children had been given an adult dose of the vaccine instead of the reduced child dose. How on earth did 36 children manage to get a full dose instead of the 1/3rd dose they were supposed to get? The local NHS trust say it was “an accident” and told the parents to watch the children carefully for 48 hours for them suffering from headaches and tiredness. Fortunately, there have, as yet, been no reports of any adverse effects.
Emma Radacanu has dumped her second-hand Dacia Sandero, which she bought for £5,000. It has been replaced by a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet which sell for about £125,000. Mind you I doubt she paid for it as she was made a ‘Brand Ambassador’ for Porsche back in March when she said it was always her dream to own a Porsche. Not only does she get money and things from Porsche but she has also she has signed partnerships with French designer Dior and jeweller Tiffany and Co, as well as with HSBC, Vodafone, British Airways, Evian, Wilson and Nike. She also featured in Sports Direct’s 2021 Christmas advert. I can’t blame her for making money while the sun shines.
Just been reading that the trains on the HS2 route are likely to be driverless using technology that is currently being tested on the Japanese high-speed network. The trains will all be controlled from a central control room. Apparently this will make it possible to run trains to the second, which is said to be necessary to ensure the planned 17 trains an hour can run on the line. Instead of a driver, each train will have a ‘supervisor’ who will sit in the train’s cab ready to intervene in an emergency. I predict the unions will be up in arms, but it is a new service with no drivers to go on strike.
Wow, what a horrible wet and windy night that was. When I took my early trip down to the bottom of the garden, it looked like one of the recycling bins had been blown over as there was rubbish strewn everywhere, mostly old newspapers and plastic bottles. The gardener was picking it up and moaning loudly.
This morning I read that Russian social media is reporting that four Russian Ka-52 attack helicopters have been attacked by saboteurs. A video shows someone preparing a charge and placing it on a helicopter. Later reports say two helicopters were destroyed and two were seriously damaged by explosions at a Russian air force base 500 miles from the Ukraine. Of course, it is impossible for me to know if this is true, or if it happened who carried it out, but the Ka-52 seems to be in short supply these days.
The Rich Boy and his Very Rich Girl wife posed on the front steps of No. 10 this morning with their hound, Nova, in a publicity stunt for Poppy Day. They wouldn’t let me out of the front door while they were there because they know I would have been the centre of attraction. I hear that Sir Beer Korma has a hamster as a pet. I bet they won’t let it run around No. 10 while I’m still around.
Transport for London has been short of money for ages, mainly due to the mad policies of Sad Dick, but he has apparently found a new way to scam money from people. They are now charging people £10 to renew the ‘free’ 60+ Oystercard. To get one in first place costs people over 60 an initial £20 and they have to prove they live in a London Borough and are over 60. However, to renew the card you now have to prove you still live in London and that will cost you £10. In the rest of the country, you have to be over pension age to get free travel but in Sad Dick’s London you only have to be over 60, no wonder TfL is short of money.
The Squeaker of the House of Commons has this morning issued a report on Labour accusations that Tory whips had been abusing MPs and bullying them into voting for the Government in a confidence vote on fracking last month. Labour MP Chris Bryant had been a leader of the complainants. Well, Mr Squeaker says there is no evidence of bullying, but he has however found Bryant guilty of breaking House rules by taking photos in the voting Lobby and posting them on Twitter. Bryant is chairman of the House Standards Committee; I wonder if he will resign.
A big problem at Shanghai Disney where the Chinese seem to have overreacted to a single case of Covid there. What did the authorities do? They locked the gates and said that everyone had to take a Covid test and pass it before being released. The authorities in Shanghai have been racing to try to find contact linked to the infected woman and have issued several stay-at-home orders and mandatory testing orders. China confirmed that their current infection rate is 2,719 a day. I wonder if they make the same fuss for every single one of those cases?
How long will it be before domestic gas bills start to fall? The spot price for gas has fallen back to 45p a therm, where it was 18 months ago. This compares to 1550p a therm at its peak in the summer. That was when we got all the noise about energy bills skyrocketing this autumn and winter and the energy suppliers pushed up their prices. The problem is that the price of electricity generated by wind is based on the cost of gas and not on its cost of generation. Of course, most of our electricity is generated by burning gas, from nuclear and from wind, so with the price of gas falling then so should the price of electricity. When are we going to see a reduction?
It’s definitely cooler this morning but at least it’s not raining at the moment. This empty flat is nice. I have it all to myself and can go and snooze in any chair or on any bed. Mind, the gold wallpaper in the living room is horrible. The only problems I have is never knowing who is coming to feed me and when. Some are good timekeepers and I get my meals on time, but one or two are useless and think a cat’s dinner is not important. I’m thinking of starting a ‘Cats Lives Matter’ movement.
Whinge, of Whinge and Ginge fame, says that when she lived in England, she was studying for the British citizenship test, but gave up because it was too difficult and even Ginge couldn’t answer the questions. So I had a look at some of the online questions where you get four optional answers to select from and even a cat like me knows ‘what flower is used to represent Remembrance Day’, ‘who is the patron Saint of Scottishland’ and “when was the battle of Hastings”. I think that is only difficult for a moron!
Another example of TfL wasting money this morning. They are converting several of the new Routemaster buses from being diesel hybrids to being fully electric. The first one, LT11, was put on display at a big exhibition yesterday. The buses use a kit supplied by a Norfolk-based company and among other things it involves upgrading the battery from 18KwH to 400Kwh. It will apparently have a battery range of 150 miles, which should be more than adequate for its test on the 390 route between Victoria and Archway.
I see a man who has just won on the Post Code Lottery has announced that his first purchase will be ten tubs of Lurpak butter! The man and his wife had two tickets so got a double share when their postcode was drawn and they won over £550,000. I didn’t realise that Lurpak was so expensive.
A little while ago Marks and Spencer started a trial where they replaced the green tops on semi-skimmed milk bottles with clear plastic ones. The idea is that you can now recycle the tops instead of sending them to landfill in the general rubbish. It seems that it has been a success and many tons of plastic have been recycled. Now more supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and Lidl are to join in.
So the Rich Boy has done another u-turn and will now go to the pointless COP 27 in Egypt. His going will have exactly no effect on CO2 or polar bear extinction. Only India, China and Indonesia cutting down on their coal consumption will have any effect on CO2 in the atmosphere, we can’t affect it and I’m not sure it’s a good idea as it’s greening the plant. Oh, and polar bear numbers rather than shrinking are actually increasing.
I recently told you about China locking down on Shanghai Disneyland. Now I hear that they have a major problem in the city of Zhengzhou where 600,000 people have been told to stay at home. This follows 64 cases of Covid being found in the city. It’s bad news for Apple as the world’s biggest iPhone factory is in the area. The factory, run by Chinese subcontractors, is in what is called a ‘closed campus’ where employees live, eat, sleep and work. Video shows workers racing to leave the campus where a number of the cases were detected complaining that the company was doing nothing to help those infected or to stop the spread. China has, what it calls a ‘zero Covid policy’. It doesn’t seem to be working.
I decided not to make my pre-breakfast trip down the garden this morning as it was so wet. I held on until after my Felix and joy of joys the rain eased, and I didn’t have to use the dreaded litter tray! On the way back I popped in the office and the House of Commons was on TV. Yet another ‘urgent question’ from Labour and then another one to follow. Why does the Squeaker keep granting these questions, we seem to be getting one or more a day every day? It never used to be like this.
Disturbing news reaches me this morning. I hear that the makers have decided on a trial of dropping the mini Bounty Bar from some of its Celebration tubs. Apparently, they have carried out a survey and discovered that 30% of people want them dropped. But the same survey found that it was actually the favourite of 25%. Being a cat, I don’t eat any Celebrations or Heroes as the chocolate so beloved by many humans is not good for cats (or dogs) so I have no opinion, but I understand they have coconut centres which I have never tried either! It looks to me that Bounty is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.
It’s good news for all you roller coaster lovers. Thorpe Park has finally received planning permission for a huge new ride currently called Project Exodus. The images I have seen show a huge modern steel structure with very slim supports and massive drops and loops. It is going to be the highest roller coaster in the U.K. at 236 feet. The current record highest is the Big One at Blackpool which claims to be 235 feet high. However, I read that this is a bit of a fiddle as that measurement is taken from sea level and the Big One is built on the promenade level which is about 20 feet above sea level.
I am delighted to see that some Just Stop Oil protestors have been sent to jail for attacking a famous painting. However, this is not in Britain, but in Holland, where Belgian Just Stop Oil attacked the Vermeer painting ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’. Fortunately, art galleries are not stupid and all these famous paintings are behind armoured glass or perspex. While most attackers glue their hands to the wall beside an attacked painting, one of these idiots managed to glue their head to the protective glass. I would have left them there.
There was a little bit of a panic at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo yesterday when an adult lion and four cubs escaped their enclosure. The group seem to have got into an area surrounded by a six-foot fence and all visitors were moved well away from the incident. The adult and three of the cubs are reported to have wandered back into their own enclosure while only one of the cubs had to be tranquillised before being returned. The zoo has yet to explain how the lions got out of their enclosure, did someone give them a key?
I have just seen an M&S Christmas advert, but I was a little disappointed as my favourite Percy Pig didn’t feature. Instead, there is a return of last year’s Christmas Fairy Godmother voiced again by Dawn French. This year she is joined by the family dog and its stuffed duck toy. The poor old duck, voiced by Jennifer Saunders, is falling to pieces and only has one button for an eye. I wonder if, like last year, there will be several adverts featuring the same characters. Perhaps Percy Pig will be putting in an opinion later!
I hear that for the first time in 25 years a cruise ship has arrived at Cammell Laird’s Birkenhead yard for repair and refit dry docking. The MV Borealis, operated by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, is a 238-metre cruise ship that can carry up to 1,360 passengers and 600 crew and has entered dry dock number 5. Obviously, this is not a huge ship, but it is good news that this type of work is being done in the U.K.
After the rotten weather yesterday, it was nice to wake up to a bright sunny morning, however it is a little bit chilly. I seem to be waking later these days. I have been wondering why, and I think it is two things, the clocks going back and the fact that the flat is still empty so there is no one clumping about to wake me up.
I saw a headline this morning that read, ‘Southern trains hit by lightning strike’ and I wondered which union it was this time so I read the article. But I was wrong, it was about a signal box that had been struck by lightning in yesterday’s storm. The box, between Chichester and Barnham, was hit just before 19:30 last night. The line stayed open but trains between Chichester & Brighton, Chichester & London and Chichester & Portsmouth were delayed.
In Germany there is a bit of a row over the cost of local train travel. Back in the early summer the government introduced a €9 weekly charge for commuters in cities. It has just expired and the German Government has been in discussion with the various states as to what should replace it. So they have decided on a new €49 weekly pass but it is up to individual states to decide whether to join in or not. The usual moaners say that is too much and they want a scheme costing €365 a year. I bet loads of London commuters would love to pay only £49 a week.
This morning the BBC has announced that the enquiry into Martine Croxall’s gleeful performance when Bozzie announced that he was not going to run for PM was a breach of its ‘no bias’ rule. And her punishment was that her suspension was over and she could go back to work today. This is hardly an encouragement for others not to show their bias, in fact I see Gary Lineker, that well-known Left supporting millionaire, has already posted a rolling eyes image.
Some workers at Twitter have today complained that they have been locked out of their offices, email accounts and company laptops. They say they think it is the first move in making a host of them redundant. Musk has already said that he needs to trim employees to enhance the company’s profitability. It has been said that the whole part of the company that deals with bans and the like has been made redundant, including people in the U.K. Of course, the U.K. union is upset at the prospect of another P&O Ferries event.
Last year, you may remember, I told you about a British Airways 787-8 freighter that’s nose wheel collapsed while parked at Heathrow prior to a flight to Spain. Well, the AIB report has just been published and they say that it was basically caused by a design fault. The maintenance people were working on the nose wheel’s doors that had been giving spurious warnings when the crew arrived for the flight. The maintenance crew decided to finish the work at a later date. However, when the plane was on the ground the nose wheel was supposed to have a lock pin inserted to stop it being activated. But the pin had been inserted in the wrong hole. Clearly something that shouldn’t have been possible. Consequently, a nudge on the wrong control and the wheel collapsed!
The onward charge of electronic money seems to be gathering pace. I read that people paying for their fares on London Underground now exceed the number prior to Covid. In fact, I hear that people paying with either their Google or Apple phones now amounts to over 35% of all fares. While in total, contactless payments account for 71% of all fares. It’s a bit tough on people who only have cash.
A complete change of weather this morning, it’s back to rain and it’s still cold. I was surprised when I heard that Southern Water removed a hosepipe ban on the Isle of Wight yesterday. With all the rain we have had in London I was astonished that there were any bans still in place anywhere.
I read that scientists have just increased their estimate of the area of the ocean floor covered by seagrass forests by 40%. They discovered this by fixing cameras and transponders to tiger sharks and watching where they went. The sharks were tagged off the Bahamas and moved to the Caribbean where the seagrass was recorded. Seagrass forests are one of the best areas for growing sea life to hide so this is good news.
Boeing is not just having problems with its aircraft it is struggling with its space rockets as well. The next launch of its Starliner has been put back to next April. Its first launch was a failure when, due to two software faults, its unmanned launcher failed to dock with the International Space Station, and it had to return to earth. Then in 2021 some 13 of the capsule’s control valves failed a launch test. It actually made it to the ISS in May this year, but two of its 12 thrusters failed while it was in orbit. So far Boeing has reported losses of $883 million on the project.
I read that the autumn/winter cruise season has started in the Caribbean and the island nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines is celebrating the arrival of the first cruise liner of the 2022/23 season. This year’s first ship was the P&O ship Britannia which brought 3,647 visitors to the island’s capital Kingstown. Now that the tail end of the hurricane season has been reached many of the smaller islands are looking forward to hosting lots of visitors and a recovery from the Covid-affected seasons. Kingstown currently has 305 cruise ships booked to dock at Kingstown this season. Despite my scribe’s cruise visiting 12 Caribbean islands, I understand St Vincent is not one of them.
It’s the US midterm elections next week and you will probably know the results by the time you read this. I have been reading about New York, which is a bell-weather state and has not voted Republican for twenty years. However, all the signs point to it happening this year, despite the Democrats pulling out all the stops and bringing in its big guns. So far, they have rolled out the President, the Vice President and both Clinton’s, they must be desperate!
I never quite know whether to believe or not what I hear about what is happening in the Ukraine. Has it been made up by the propagandists of one side or another? I think I can believe that Poo Tin has agreed to move the civil population out of Kherson but as a forced evacuation or an optional one is in question. Then I read that Russian troops are looting the city taking everything that isn’t nailed down and some things that are! Now I ask, how the Ukrainians know this is happening if they are still miles outside the city? Do they have agents in the city reporting events to them? Before the war started there were 300,000 living in Kherson city, no one has any idea how many remain.
This weekend the US Powerball lottery has grown to a record $1.6 billion. The game is played in 45 of the 50 US states and has gone without being won for the last 39 consecutive draws. If you have all six of the numbers drawn on your own you have the choice of taking the whole sum as an annuity paid over 30 years or as a reduced one-off lump sum reckoned to be worth $782.4 million. I guess it depends on how old the winner is as to which you take. If you are over 50 I doubt you would take the annuity.
Right, I’m done for another week. Outside it’s pouring with rain and cold, so I am definitely not heading to my favourite windowsill for my afternoon snooze. I think I might go and see if the flat’s bedroom door is open so I can snooze on what was Bozzie’s bed. I’ll chat with you again next week.
© WorthingGooner 2022