Larry’s Diary, Week One Hundred And Seventy


Good morning cat lovers, it was dry when I first woke up and ventured out into the cold, but gosh it’s wet now. A lovely peaceful weekend in Downing Street. I did almost nothing yesterday except sleep and eat. It was glorious.

I have been reading about a blind man who was chucked off a Virgin cruise ship. When the Canadian radio station owner booked the six-day cruise he checked that someone would be available to show him to his cabin and read any printed matter to him. Virgin said yes that was OK and boasted about having braille in lifts and cabins. The man had boarded, been taken to his cabin and made his way to a bar for a drink. He was then approached by a ship’s officer who told him the legal department had decided that he was too much of a risk and he was thrown off. He booked into a Miami hotel and posted on Instagram, it was then that he was phoned by a Virgin Cruise senior vice president who apologised and said there had been a mistake and he was flown, business class, to the ship’s first port to re-join the cruise. It’s amazing what a post on Instagram can do!

The NASA moon shot, Orion, is due to go into orbit around the moon this lunchtime. This is a worrying time for NASA as the craft will be out of contact for a while after it fires its rockets and disappears around the back of the moon. I think I might have inadvertently misled you when I reported this story last week. Unfortunately, Shaun the Sheep is not floating free in the cabin, he is strapped in, it is only Snoopy who will be free to float around!

After quitting as head judge on the British version of Strictly Come Dancing some years ago, Len Goodman has now also bid farewell to the American version. For years Len commuted across the Atlantic between the two shows, but he has finally decided it’s time to retire completely. Now I hear the Yanks are looking to raid the British show once again. This time they are looking to take the current chief judge Shirley Ballas pointing out that just like Len she could commute between the two shows.

Pensioners who get the Winter Fuel Payment should be getting the up to £600 bonus paid into their accounts in the next few weeks. It is normally paid at the end of November or in December. However, if people who think they are entitled to it have not had it paid into their account by 13th January they should make a claim. This payment is on top of the monthly payment that people are receiving until March next year.

The editor of Lloyds List recently rode his folding Brompton bicycle to the Houses of Parliament for the launch event of a tidal-powered port. Having used his bike to attend functions all over London for the last ten years he had no worries that green transport would be accepted. However, an armed policeman told him he couldn’t enter Parliament as the bike was a security risk because it couldn’t fit through a scanner. Something clearly wrong as full-size bikes and wheelchairs could be scanned. Obviously, a jobsworth officer.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
How do you ride that?
Folded Brompton bicycle, Bristol and Bath Science Park,
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The Royal Mail has decided to extend the life of its old-style stamps until the 31st of July next year. The old stamps had been due to go out of use on 31st January to be replaced with the new stamps with a barcode on their right-hand side. Royal Mail says the barcode is a security measure. I hear that if you have old stamps the Post Office they are running swap-out service.


A nice bright morning with no rain yet! But gosh it is getting chilly. I am definitely a warm-weather cat! I see a lefty paper has splashed the news that Rich Richie is registered with a private GP that guarantees a same-day appointment. I couldn’t care less. He pays into the NHS just like most other earners in this country. If he chooses to pay extra to go private so what, it leaves a place free in the NHS that he would have otherwise used.

The BBC has announced that its standard definition service on satellite and Freeview are going to be stopped next year and from late in the year they will only broadcast in high definition. The first move will be in the spring when local news programs will all be switched to HD. This has already been done in some areas but at the moment there are many areas where local news only goes out in SD. So from the spring this situation, at long last, will be reversed and it will only go out in HD with SD putting up a notice to say what is happening then in late ’23 SD channel will close down. I guess this is another cost saver for the BBC as they will be able to cut back on double broadcasting channels.

I hear of more BBC cost cutting. The BBC ‘star’ presenters heading to Qatar for the World Cup were not happy when they learnt that they were flying Economy Class from Manchester. When they complained they were told that if they wished to fly Business Class then they could, provided that they paid for the upgrade themselves. I hear this is just what the likes of Gary Lineker did. In another cost-saving step the BBC and ITV are sharing a studio in Qatar. Wouldn’t they have saved a lot more if they had presented the whole thing from an AI studio in Media City, just like they did for the Olympics in Japan?

The Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour of the U.K. is to return this year. It has been cancelled for the last couple of years ‘because of Covid’, but the big red articulated lorry with its Christmas lights will be back this year touring Britain and giving away Coca-Cola products. I hear that is going to also bring a mobile Christmas fayre. No list of venues has been announced yet.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Where’s it going this year?
Coca Cola Christmas Truck Tour in Southend High Street. Thursday 15th December 2016,
Public domain

A very dusty maroon 1965 Morris 1000 appears to have been abandoned in a car park in the centre of Kingston upon Hull. The car has been there for over four years. Although the car still has number plates, checks on the DVLC database fail to reveal an owner or keeper. The car has not been taxed since 2019 and because it is not on a public road doesn’t need to be. What is strange is that the operators of the car park say it is not parked illegally as its parking charges are up to date.

More news on those tubs of Christmas chocolates that have been making news this year. This time it is Nestle Quality Street where production has been hit by a shortage of foil meaning that the green triangle and orange crunch have been temporarily wrapped in different colours. The popular triangle is being wrapped in gold foil and the octagonal orange crunch is apparently now brown. Nestle have denied that this is a publicity stunt following the stories about mini Bounty bars and Twirls.

For some unknown reason Heinz have decided to relaunch the frozen baked bean pizza. They have sold this in the U.K. before but withdrew it from the market 19 years ago presumably because it wasn’t popular. I really don’t know what is worse, baked beans or pineapple on a pizza. I have tried baked beans when Bozzie left some on his breakfast plate and they were OK. I have also tried leftover pizza and that wasn’t bad either, but I must say I don’t fancy them together.


Another chilly morning, not that I’m surprised it is nearly December. Mind you the sun is out and there is a nice blue sky but it’s not very warm. Rich Richie is off for PMQs later. I hope he sticks it up that smarmy Sir Beer Korma, there is something I intensely dislike about that man.

A report into the deaths of 27 boat people on 24th November has leaked today. It seems that the report firmly heaps the blame on the frogs and says the British authorities acted in an exemplary manner. It says Calais Coast Guard refused to help the sinking boat on numerous occasions and despite lots of calls concluding they could be subject to a criminal charge of endangering life. When the boat finally crossed into British waters the French notified the British but did not tell them the boat was in trouble and had called the French for help on numerous occasions. Consequently, the British did not prioritise the sinking boat. As soon as the British found out about the boat they urgently sent help and asked the French, who had a boat closer, to help, but the French refused saying their boat was engaged in another rescue which was a lie. The French also told a tanker that came across the sinking boat not to help because ‘help was on the way’.

Man. United is in the news this morning with two stories. Firstly the contract of Ranaldo has been cancelled following his Talk TV interview where he slagged off the club, the manager and its owners. It appears this has cost Ranaldo £15 million in wages. Secondly, the owners of Man Ure, the Glazier brothers, have put the club up for sale but are asking a ludicrous £8 billion. Who in their right mind would pay that for a club with massive debts, a crumbling stadium and a crap team?

The Supreme Court this morning ruled that the Scottishland Government doesn’t have the authority to hold an independence referendum. There is much reeeing by the Nationalists over the border, but it is interesting that I keep hearing Scots on the radio celebrating. It will be interesting to hear that little fat Scottishland man ranting at PMQs.

For you F1 fans I hear that Red Bull are on the verge of sacking Sergio Perez their second driver. He has had a falling out with their number one driver Max Verstappen and it looks like Red Bull have sided with Verstappen. The disagreement is said to go back to the Monaco Grand Prix where in qualifying Perez spun his car causing qualifying to be red-flagged, Verstappen qualifying fourth and Perez winning the race. The word is that in the near future Daniel Ricciardo will be back as Verstappen’s teammate.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Is he getting the sack?
Sergio Perez,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The RAF has just received another 3 x F-35B jets, taking the number delivered to 30 out of the 48 on order. However, only 26 are currently in RAF service. Three are still in the states and one was lost in an accident. Seven more are due to be delivered in 2023 and all should be here by 2025 when we will have 47. Isn’t it about time we ordered some more?

Sad Dick Khan has done a major U-turn on closing down loads of London bus routes. Back in June he announced major changes to 78 routes and the scrapping of some 22 routes. Today he announced that TfL scrapped routes will now be reduced to just 3 and only 18 routes affected in total. Routes 12,16 and 521 will now be the only ones going completely. Apparently the London mayor has been inundated with messages from the public who never believed his tale that the cutbacks were necessary because of government funding cuts when he has been wasting money.


Back to dull, damp and chilly this morning. I have got used to having a flat to myself, but I hear that the Hunt is going to move in. However, he wants the carpets changed first. They were last changed by that horrible woman who was here before Bozzie. I hear that the decorations are not really to his taste, but he will put up with them as he doesn’t want a fuss like Bozzie had. To make things easier I understand he is paying for the new carpets out of his own pocket!

The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, is in Norway today holding meetings on board HMS Queen Elizabeth and will be discussing Ukraine, what it means to Northern Europe and the applications of Sweden and Finland to join NATO. In addition I hear we are to purchase the Norwegian-made Naval Strike Missile to replace the currently used American Harpoon missile. The NSM has a range of over 100 miles and is said to be a precision weapon that can be used against ships and land targets. It has a 500 lbs warhead and is sea skimming. We are updating the first frigate immediately and it should be ready in under a year. In total we are placing an initial order for 11 frigates and destroyers to be armed with this missile. The integration work will be done by both BAE and Babcock.

I read that Waterloo retains the title of Britain’s busiest station with a total of 41 million passengers in the last year. It may sound a lot but it is well down on pre-Covid days when some 87 million used the station in a year. Mind you, compare that to Britain’s least used station, Elton & Orston on the line between Nottingham and Skegness where there were only 40 entries and exits last year, that’s less than one passenger a week! Mind you only one train a day in either direction stops there.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Still number one.
Waterloo station,
Elsie esq
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

easyJet have today launched a recruitment drive for cabin crew. They have a shortage of crew members and have been trying hard to find new recruits but have been struggling to find the numbers they need. Consequently, this recruitment drive is a little different in that it is aimed at the over-45s who are looking at a change of employment. So it won’t be trolly dollies on easyJet, but instead gangway grannies and grandpas.

As part of the latest package of goodies we are sending to Ukraine are some 10,000 artillery rounds, 125 anti-aircraft guns and 1,000 surface-to-air missiles. But it is the three second-hand Sea King helicopters we are sending that intrigued me. The Sea King was used mainly by the Royal Navy for anti-submarine work and airborne early warning and the Coast Guard for search and rescue. However, they were also used by the RAF for transport, and I guess that is what the Ukraine will use them for as I doubt they currently have a lot of need for naval helicopters. I understand that Ukrainian forces have been in the U.K. for some six weeks learning to fly and maintain these old Sea Kings which have been withdrawn from service. Newer Sea Kings are still in active service.

A scheduled inspection of Barnes railway bridge over the river Thames has revealed that 4 of 86 pins that hold the metal bridge together are damaged and need to be replaced. Trains cannot use the bridge until the work is complete. This means that trains will be diverted, and two stations Barnes Bridge and Chiswick can’t be served. Replacement pins must be specially manufactured as they are not a stock item. Then the problem of how to do the actual work has to be planned. Calculations need to be done to work out how to support the structure while the old pins are removed, and the new ones installed. Network Rail seem to have no idea how long the bridge will remain closed.

Yesterday Rolls-Royce appeared before the Commons Science and Technology Committee to talk about its small modular reactor. The committee learnt that Rolls have completed the design and have made a few minor alterations at the request of the regulatory authorities. They assured the committee that the design was mature and they and their sub-contractors were ready to proceed with the factory-built reactors just as soon as they got permission from the authorities and the government. Rolls say that once they have permission the first reactor could be producing power in four or five years. Compare this to the recently ordered Sizewell ‘C’ which is expected to take between nine and twelve years.


It’s bright and sunny this morning and the guy on the radio says it’s going to be the best day of the week, weather-wise. I hope he is right!

I have been reading the blurb about a new battery power storage facility that has just gone online. It boasts that it is 196MW, and that it is the biggest in Europe. The battery is at Pillswood near Hull and is designed to feed the power into the National Grid. It is based on Tesla batteries, each in a shipping container sized box capable of storing 3MW of power. But for how long will it be able to put out that level of charge and how long will it take to charge up? Well, the bumf I read didn’t actually give me that information or how much it cost. The nearest it got to saying anything meanable was that it could power a city of 300,000 for 2 hours. In the summer when consumption is low or winter when it is high? I guess we are not being told because it is totally uneconomic.

Interesting story I read this morning. Carnival Cruises and Celebrity Cruises have made identical announcements about the much-loved ‘lobster night’ on their cruises out of America. On US cruises over 6 nights it is a tradition to serve lobster one night in the main dining room, where meals are included in the price of the cruise. It is not widely known, but people eating in the MDR of cruise liners can actually eat as much as they like. If you want to eat two starters, two main courses and two desserts you only have to ask and it is served to you. To stop people asking for multiple expensive lobster tails they will now charge $16.99 for a second and presumably a third lobster tail. Is this the thin edge of the wedge? Will they soon be charging for a second serving of steak or fish?

I hear that scientists say they have made a new flu vaccine that is effective against all known varieties of the virus. The only thing is that it is based on the same mRNA technology that has been used for Covid vaccinations. It is early in the test cycle but the researchers say that in tests on mice and ferrets it has triggered a very high level of protection. I didn’t know ferrets caught flu.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Has he had his Flu Jab?
My Ferret,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

In China they have just opened a gigantic pig farm. Pork is the most popular of all meats in China and this farm is a total new concept. It is a pig skyscraper 26 storeys high with a built-in slaughterhouse and is capable of producing 1.2 million carcasses a year. It has started off with 3,700 breeding sows. The building is owned by a company that produces cement and is built next to a cement plant. The company originally intended to diversify into prepared pork products when the cement market collapsed but found there was a shortage of pork carcasses.

Myanmar, the only nation outside of the manufacturing nations of China and Pakistan, is reported to have grounded its fleet of Chinese JF-17 fighters. Myanmar ordered 18 of the type which was said to cost a very competitive $25 million each. Reports say that when a plane pulls a high G turn it suffers structural failures particularly in the wing tips and hard points for armaments. In addition, its Chinese electronics are said to be very temperamental and require huge amounts of maintenance. Finally, it uses Russian jet engines and spare parts are said to be impossible to obtain. No wonder the Chinese have been developing their own engine for the type.

Unions representing airline staff at the 41 countries that make up Eurocontrol, the organisation that controls air traffic in Europe, are not happy. They have written to Eurocontrol saying that it has been giving Irish airline Ryanair preferential treatment and put this down to the fact that the current boss is Irish. They say that Ryanair staff regularly enter Eurocontrol operations rooms and ask the staff to do them favours which are usually granted. They want Ryanair staff banned from the control rooms and have to follow the same files as other airlines. Eurocontrol say Ryanair staff are currently in control rooms on a temporary basis so that controllers can learn from airlines the problems that delays cause them. Sounds like an excuse to me.


Good morning folks to my last diary entry for a while. As my scribe is off on a 5-week cruise on Thursday I will also be taking a break until he gets back in early January. I am going to have a rest from my diary duties, but my official mouser duties continue.

I read that there are plans to reintroduce the wild cat into England where it was hunted to extinction in the 16th century, leaving a small population in the wilds of Scottishland. The British wild cat is a native species and is generally larger than us domestic moggies that are descended from North African cats. The Scottishland population is considered too small to survive without help and the idea is to release cats that have been raised in captivity in remote areas of Devon and Cornwall. I understand that wild cats raised in captivity are normally pure-bred kittens that have become separated from their mother cat and it is impossible to tame them!

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
He looks very wild about something!
Scottish Wildcat – Felis Grampia,
Chris Martin Photographyis
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The anticipated fan violence at the World Cup broke out yesterday but it wasn’t the English supporters causing trouble. The skirmishes broke out between the supporters of Mexico and Argentina, with lots of punching, kicking and chair throwing being filmed by onlookers. The two teams meet this weekend, and both need a win so will we see more trouble then? Interestingly the Qatari police were noticeable by their complete absence!

I see a consultation has started into the redevelopment and modernisation of London’s Liverpool Street station. The current station is considered overcrowded despite it still handling way less passengers than before the Pandemic. The developers are looking at spending around £1.6 billion on the project. About 40% of this would be on the actual station with a new mezzanine floor, 10 new escalators, additional ticket gates and 6 new lifts. The bulk of the money would be spent on two new buildings over the remodelled concourse. They would include, offices, retail premises, a hotel and leisure facilities. The development doesn’t include the platform or the roof which I hear are due for a refresh by Network Rail (or whomever they become).

The Guinness Book of Records has just recognised a cat called Flossie as the oldest living domestic cat. The cat who has outlived several owners is just short of 27 which converts to 124 in human years. I understand that she is now an indoor cat and is deaf, her eyesight is failing, and she has trouble grooming herself. If I ever get into that sort of a state please someone shoot me!

A new airline, Fly Atlantic, has announced plans to start operations in summer 2024 flying from Belfast International Airport to multiple airports in North America. By flying from Belfast International they can avoid the Airline Passenger Duty on long-haul flights out of Great Britain as they are not levied on flights from Northern Ireland. The airline says they would like to start with six narrow-body aircraft and build up to 18. This indicates that the airline is looking at either the 737 MAX or the A321XLR but no orders have been placed which I guess would mean the aircraft will be leased. The A321 has much more range, larger capacity and has been in huge demand which has kept its price up so I wouldn’t underestimate Boeing offering cut-price 737s.

Pepsi Cola has hopped on the World Cup bandwagon by launching a special ‘nutmeg’ flavour. The advertising includes cameos from Messi, Ronaldinho and Pogba performing nutmegs on other players. Pepsi say the flavour is available for a limited time only, I guess it will last as long as the World Cup, so it will be gone by Christmas, unless it proves highly popular.

Right, I’m done for another week. It’s started bright and sunny but it’s getting cold now. I think I will stay indoors and watch the football on the TV. I like to shout for the underdog (why isn’t it the undercat?). I’ll not be chatting with you next week. See you all in January.

© WorthingGooner 2022