Larry’s Diary, Week One Hundred and Seventy-One


Yeah, I’m back. My scribe is back from his holiday and I understand he is ready to transcribe my thoughts. I have enjoyed my time off and spent loads of time carrying out my secondary task of “testing chairs for napping quality”. Thankfully almost nothing of importance has happed here in the last 5 weeks. The strikes are still going on with the unions demanding enormous pay increases that they will never get. Some of the idiots were in here over the weekend for discussions that got nowhere. I wonder how much money the RMT workers have lost by going on strike that they will never ever recover?

Anyway back to current events. I hear there are calls for a return to face mask wearing ‘because of Covid’. Then I read that the amount of Covid in the country is falling after reaching a mini peak just before Christmas and that by all measures, including hospital cases, things are improving. But perhaps more interesting is the report out this morning that says face mask wearing is useless because the holes in the fabric are much bigger than the virus! When the government told us to wear masks it was on no evidence at all. It seems that someone had the idea that if the public were told to wear masks they would feel that ‘something was being done’.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Are we really going back to this?
Medical face masks for protection against coronavirus and other airborne virus infection with on pink background,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I have been reading about the Royal Navy’s proposed Type 32 frigates and I am a little confused. The Minister says the first one is expected to go into service in 2032/3 and that’s just 9 years away, but it is still in the concept phase. It then has to go through design and procurement phases before it gets ordered, built and tested. Whoever gets the order also has to fit it into its manufacturing capacity. By my calculations, the MoD is already cutting things a bit close for a brand-new design. If the order was to be a version of the Type 31 and built at Rosyth that could just about be possible but they need to get on with things to hit that in-service date.

This evening is set to be a big day for the British space programme. Virgin is due to launch a rocket from its Boeing 747 carrying nine small satellites. If successful, these satellites will be the first to be launched from British soil. Of course, British satellites are already in orbit, but they have all been launched from foreign lands by American, Russian and French launchers. Admittedly these are only small satellites, but with the micro miniaturisation of electronics, all satellites are getting smaller. The system has already been used to successfully launch four rockets and a number of satellites from a base in the Mohave desert. Mind you the January weather in Newquay is probably very different.

Gosh, I thought that some of those awful old children’s names were lost and gone forever but it appears that some of them are making a comeback. I pity the poor little ones who given some of the awful names that are becoming trendy. For girls it seems to be Aurelia, Posey, Effie, Elsie, Edith and Esther and for boys Walter, Ted, Winston, August, Archibald and Milton. How can parents be so unkind?

Another day and it’s another TV interview by Prince Ginge, the person who wanted to leave the U.K. because of the media. He seems to be a bit confused, talking about how neither he or his moaning wife had ever accused the Royal Family of being racist, when I clearly remember that is just what he did in that Opera Winfrey interview. In addition, I keep getting to hear extracts from his upcoming book, like how he got his dick frostbitten or shagged some old boiler in a field behind a pub. I hope this was before it got frostbite!

With cruise holidays growing in popularity and numerous new ships on order from shipyards, it is hardly surprising that Hull is looking at building a cruise terminal, attracting ships and the tourists they carry to the city. I recently heard that every cruise ship that calls at Southampton brings the city around two million pounds in revenue. With ten ships visiting on some summer weekends and rarely a day without at least one visiting, you can easily see why a city may want to attract cruise liners. The key to the development appears to be Smith and Nephew’s decision to close its factory next to the city’s Albert Dock. This will allow the construction of the terminal, a hotel and other facilities. The dock is within walking distance of the city centre shops, pubs and restaurants. I guess that the local coach operators are already planning tours of the area.


It’s horribly wet this morning and you all know how I hate the rain. I woke up and wondered what the time was, I was hungry but it was quite dark in the kitchen and I couldn’t hear any noise from the number 11 flat. Anyway, I decided to try going down the garden. When I got outside it was only drizzling so I trotted off to that nice private spot behind the gardener’s shed that is sheltered by the overhang of its roof. It soon became clear that it was breakfast time as the gardener was banging about in his shed and it was dark due to the thick grey cloud.

I had to laugh when I heard that after all the big build-up in yesterday’s media, the launch of the Virgin rocket carrying nine British satellites was a failure. The spokeswoman said it was due to what they called ‘an anomaly’. That’s what other people call a failure. Apparently the rocket detached from the wing of the plane perfectly, its motor fired and the rocket shot off, but it never got high enough to insert the satellites into orbit.

I see we are being softened up for the sending of 12 or so Chieftain 2 Main Battle Tanks to the Ukraine. The word is that if we do this, then the Yankies will ship them Abrams tanks and European countries will ship them Leopard tanks. I understand that we are looking at remaking many of our Chieftain 2s as Chieftain 3. But the intention is to put those not converted into storage and it is from these ‘spares’ that the ones gifted to the Ukraine will come. I wonder how long it will take to train the Ukrainians to use the tanks. The Soviet-era tanks that Ukraine has all use autoloaders for the main gun so only need a crew of three, as opposed to Chieftain, Abrams and Leopard 2s whose crews of four includes a loader.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Chieftain 2 Main Battle Tank.
the United States Army Ordnance Museum,
Mark Pellegrini
Licence CC BY-SA 2.5

The Ginge autobiography ‘Spare’ went on sale this morning to underwhelming queues. It was reported on the radio that one person was queuing outside Waterstone’s flagship store in Piccadilly this morning and in the first hour they sold two copies. That definitely doesn’t cover the cost of opening the shop an hour early to cope with the expected rush. Mind, I understand Ginge and Winge have a more serious problem to worry about. Their town in California is flooded following heavy rain and has been evacuated. Also Ginge seems to have got himself into a tangle over the stories he has told and is beginning to contradict himself, claiming that he never claimed the Royal Family was racist.

I read of an unexpected result of the war in Ukraine. In past years cruise ships doing Baltic cruises would nearly all stop at St Petersburg. But since the war began a year ago this has come to a complete stop with some companies dropping the Baltic completely and others swapping port calls to the likes of Tallinn or Riga instead. This has transferred in the region of £200 million from the St Petersburg economy to those of other ports.

I have had a good morning reading things that amuse me. The latest one to tickle me was the report that the cost of running an electric car has now exceeded that of a petrol car. Basically, the cost of petrol has fallen steeply, while the cost of electricity has risen. Forget the facts that an electric car will cost you 1 1/2 to 2 times the cost of a petrol car to buy, their secondhand cost is pathetic and the government is looking at ways to recover the loss of Vehicle Excise Duty, Fuel Tax and Road Fund Tax. It now seems that it costs more to rapid-charge an electric car than the cost of petrol to drive an equivalent distance. All those virtue-signalling electric car owners don’t realise what is coming their way.

I hear that our broke police forces spent nearly £67,000 on LBGT+ crap. The things bought include rainbow shoe laces, epaulette, stick-on bugs, lanyards, mugs, balloons, key rings, flags, face paints and lip balm. Why? I think we should be told just why police forces thought it ok to purchase this rubbish out of public funds.


Well, it is rather a nice morning in London with lots of sunshine and not too cold and to make things even better it was Felix Chicken in my breakfast bowl today. The Rich Midget who is playing at PM was up early this morning and I heard him having questions fired at him while he was practising for PMQs.

So the security forces intercepted a package of Uranium at Heathrow over Christmas. The parcel originated in Pakistan and came via the Middle East and was being sent to an Iranian national in the U.K. That leaves a lot of interesting unanswered questions. Border Farce were on strike at the time so the Army were covering, would Border Force have found it? What was the purpose of the Uranium? Was it to make a dirty bomb or was it aimed at killing the recipient? How did someone in Pakistan get hold of Uranium? How did it get through security in both a Pakistani and Middle East airport? There is a lot to come on this story.

I hear that Waitrose is in the middle of a row with Warburton the bakers. Waitrose have dropped all Warburton products from all of its shop’s claiming that Warburton has not been meeting its delivery. Warburton say the problem has been that they have been struggling with deliveries due to Covid and staff shortages. I can understand Waitrose wanting full shelves and getting upset when deliveries are late or missed, but is any other supplier better?

York City Council has bought a fleet of 25 electric cage vans for its refuse department but seems to have its £8,000,000 fleet sitting around doing absolutely nothing because they haven’t installed charging points for them. The cage vans were supposed to replace the existing fleet of diesel cage vans but as the new vehicles can’t be charged this has proved impossible. There is of course a secondary problem. The refuse workers have customarily taken the vans home with them as they start work at 5 am. No one has yet worked out how the new fleet can be home-charged overnight for such an early start. It looks like York wants to be green but may have just wasted £8,000,000.

Sky TV are obviously looking to the future of their broadcasting system. At the moment they are supporting the satellite system via the old Sky+ box and the new Sky Q box which also connects to the internet for many films and catch-up channels. Then it has various all internet-based systems like its Sky Glass TV, Sky Stream (Sky Glass without the TV) and NOW, its pay-to-view system. With the BBC finally moving all its regional programmes to UHD later this year, Sky appears to have grabbed the opportunity of dumping the Sky+ box and its Standard Definition-only capabilities as they are offering Sky+ users the chance to upgrade to SkyQ for nothing. If I was Sky+ user I would grab the chance immediately as it’s a sure sign the old system is on the way out.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
On its way out?
Sky HD Box,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The Women’s Super League has been taking a Christmas/New Year break but it is back this weekend with a top-of-the-table match on Sunday lunchtime. Top of the table Chelsea Women take on second in the table Arsenal Women at the Emirates Stadium. Today Arsenal announced that they have already sold 40,000 tickets for the match. Since England won the Women’s Euros in the summer, attendance at WSL games have leapt by over 200% on the same time in the previous season.

I read that in the States an Amtrak Auto Train gave its passengers a rotten trip between Washington and Florida at the weekend arriving nearly a day late. I am told the Auto Train is so-called because it carries cars as well as passengers and not because it is automatic. The train was supposed to take 17 hours to take the 333 vehicles and 563 passengers to Florida but was diverted several times and had to stop at Denmark, South Carolina and wait for a change of crew before arriving in Florida only 20 hours late!


Well, it’s back to rain this morning, I thought yesterday morning was too good to last! Someone appears to have attempted to save the exchequer money and has purchased a jumbo box of Felix pouches! Ninety-six pouches of grub in jelly, far nicer than the stuff in gravy! Mind you, I read on the pack it contains 24 packs of chicken (yummy), beef (a good second), tuna and salmon. I suppose I will just have to get used to the fishy ones.

The radio was on LBC this morning and I heard Nick Ferrari ranting about Andrew Bridgen and his views on Covid vaccine damage. All the pro-vaccine people seem to want to close down any debate on the vaccine and harm that it reportedly causes. I can’t see why, if as they claim the vaccine is harmless, why are they so unwilling to discuss the number of problems being reported?

In America, the Congress has finally agreed to Boeing’s demands that they give an exemption to the legislation that all planes certified in and after 2023 must have an EICAS system installed. Two versions of the Boeing 737, the Max8 and Max9 were certified before 2023 and consequently don’t have this new warning system. Two other versions, the Max7 (the smallest) and the Max10 (the largest) were supposed to be certified before 2023 and consequently all four versions were designed with the same cockpit and hence pilots don’t have to retrain for the various options. However delays have caused the certification to slip. It looks like the Congress has folded to Boeing’s threats to cancel the Max7 and Max10 and the consequential job losses. Has Congress made the 737 less safe than it might be?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Will it be safe?
Boeing 737 MAX 10 model ILA 2018,
MB-one & Marc Lacoste
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

I read that Hylands School in Chelmsford, Essex has issued some new rules to its pupils. It has banned them from hugging or having ‘romantic relationships’. In fact it appears that this has now morphed into a ‘no touching’ rule. So now if someone trips over you can’t help them up. Well, good luck with that! They might be able to enforce that on school premises but it just isn’t going to work once the kids get outside of school.

Interesting news this morning, the hospital treatment waiting list has fallen this month. It has not fallen by much, 7.21 million down to 7.19 million, but at least it is going down after months and months of it going up. Is this in spite of the NHS strikes or because of the NHS strikes?

Lockheed has announced the first flight of an F-35 equipped with what is called TR3 (Technical Refresh 3) software. This software gives a huge increase in computer power to the plane enabling it to vastly increase the range, capacity and capabilities of its systems and weapons. The fact that this is a technical refresh is the important thing. It means that it can not only be incorporated in new aircraft not yet delivered, it can be used as an upgrade to existing F-35s like those in RAF service.

Another F-35 story I heard today is that the US has told Isreal to restrict pilots of its F-35s to Israeli passport holders only. This is believed to be because Israel uses some foreign pilots and recently some ex-airforce pilots have been recruited by a South American agency to teach Chinese Airforce pilots Western tricks and manoeuvres. The US is in the middle of extraditing an Australian man who flew jets for the US Marine Corps. He is accused of teaching Chinese pilots how to land on aircraft carriers. In addition, the F-35s purchased by Israel are being allowed to be modified by them to incorporate them into their command and control system. Isreal is the only purchaser of the plane allowed to do this, even the RAF has to stick with what the US sells and that is despite us being the only Tier 1 partner in the aircraft and being responsible for many of its secrets.


Another bright start to the day, but like yesterday I bet it rains later. When I went down to the garden for my morning constitutional I stepped on the grass and my was it soggy. I looked like I had brown boots on! After breakfast (tuna in jelly) it took me ages to clean myself up before I was fit for duty.

I hear that Crawley Council has written to the government over their worries that thousands of people from the Chagos Islands could turn up on their doorstep demanding housing. Britain owns the island and the Chargosians are British citizens. Back in the 1960s, 3,000 islanders were thrown out of their home island to make way for a US base. Most of these 3,000 chose to settle in Crawley. There are now between 3,000 and 5,000 more islanders who could claim British citizenship and many want to come to live where their relatives live in Crawley. The council say that if they have to house an extra surge of this size they will not be able to afford it and will declare bankruptcy.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
The Egmont Islands are part of the Chagos archipelago.
Map of Egmont Islands, Chagos Archipelago,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The story of Sniffer Joe and his possession of classified documents shows just how biased most of the American media is. When Trump’s staff first reported to the authorities that he had some classified documents in his possession the FBI told him to put a padlock on the door! Then the FBI decided that they would raid Trump’s home with armed officers with the press in tow. A special council was appointed and the media says Trump is evil. Now Sniffer has been found to have three stashes of classified documents from when he was VP. But the lefty press defend him, implying the documents were planted. A special council has been appointed. What is interesting is if they let off Sniffer is that they will have to let off Trump.

Big problems at Chelsea FC this morning. They didn’t have a wonderful season last season and their new American owner changed the team manager. The new manager seems to be doing worse than the last one and this season Chelsea FC are firmly anchored in mid-table. This week they have already lost a league match at home to Manchester City claiming that they were fielding an under-strength team because they had loads of injuries to strikers. Much has been made of Chelsea’s lack of ability in scoring goals and to that end they have, at great expense, signed a loan player until the end of the season. So he turned out for Chelsea last night and promptly got sent off for a horrible tackle. Chelsea lost 2-1 and their new player is now suspended for three matches.

Later this year U.K. passport holders are going to have to apply for a visa to get into the 30 Schengen Zone countries. The ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) application form should not take 10 minutes to complete online, will cost €7 per person and be valid for multiple entries over 3 years. I wonder if we will charge people from the 30 Schengen countries a similar amount or let them in for nothing like the mugs we usually are?

At the moment if a helicopter is used to bring a patient to the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton, something that happens up to 150 times a year, it has to use a nearby field as a landing ground and the final step involves an ambulance transfer. Some years ago it was decided to build a helipad on the top of a tower building that is part of the hospital. This landing pad has been under construction throughout Covid and has been badly delayed. Now comes the news that with the pad almost finished it has been realised that a helicopter landing is likely to blow the cladding off the top of the tower! The answer is to remove the top 10 metres of cladding and re-fix it much more securely. This work is now to be undertaken and the pad is delayed until, at the earliest, autumn.

I hear that the West Mercia Police recently raided a site streaming Premier League football matches and are now planning to visit over 1,000 homes that they believe have been using the service. I guess that somewhere on the site they found a list of users or suppliers. The article I read was trying to scare people by reporting that in 2021 two people were jailed for two years for illegal streaming. I reckon this is unusual or the article would have had a lot more examples.


Wet in London again this morning, it seems to alternate between wet and dry daily. There were big puddles on the grass when I went out between showers. After getting muddy paws yesterday I decided to stick to the paths this morning. Then back to my breakfast, I found beef in jelly in my bowl. Not as good as chicken but better than yesterday’s tuna.

I hear that the people who organise the famous London to Brighton veteran & vintage car run believe this year’s event is likely to be the last. Until now the starting point of the run, Battersea Park has been outside the London ULEZ zone, but this year’s expansion of the zone will include the park. Of course the vintage cars are liable to pay the UZEL charge of £12.50 and the run organisers think that this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Why Sad Dick can’t exempt a one-off event that brings thousands of tourists into London I don’t know.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Confused? You will be.
Ultra low emission ULEZ zone sign,
Tim Sheerman-Chase
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The ban on single-use plastic is intriguing me. I can understand the desire to cut down on what is considered bad because of the use of oil in the manufacturing of plastic and the associated release of CO2. But what will replace it and will it be as good for both the environment and the food it contains? I understand one of the things to be banned is those polystyrene boxes that many shops put fish and chips in. Apparently they allow the steam to leak through the container and keep the fish and chips in perfect condition as well as hot. The replacement cardboard box traps the steam and the fish and chips get soggy. Then how about bamboo cutlery and plates? I hear that people put them in the recycling because they are considered to be ‘wood’. However, I hear that in landfill they produce methane which is 20 times worse as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Do officials think these things through before implementing the schemes?

I read that since the Arsenal opened its Emirates Stadium in 2006 it has displayed eight huge murals outside the ground featuring the backs of famous players from the team’s history. Over the past few months Arsenal have been refreshing the murals and have taken down all the old ones and are replacing them with new artworks. I read that the new murals are a mixed bunch some featuring past players, some featuring slogans and some featuring well know supporters like the woman that hadn’t missed a men’s game in many years who died in the summer. One of the big differences this time is that it also includes many women players from the past.

The Rich Boy announced this morning that, as has been rumoured in the press all week, we are going to send Challenger 2 tanks to the Ukraine. At the moment just how many has not been stated but it is expected to be about 12. These tanks are 20 years old but this still makes them some of the youngest tanks on the battlefield. Other nations have been waiting on each other to be the first to supply Main Battle Tanks to the Ukraine and it now looks like Poland will supply 14 Leopard MBTs. The Leopard is operated by quite a lot of other European nations and more are now expected to follow the Poles. In addition the US could well follow up by sending Abrams MBTs of which it has hundreds in storage. I see one big problem, the Challenger 2 has a rifled bore that requires special ammunition different to the standard smooth-bore ammo used by other NATO field guns and MBTs.

In his book ‘Spare’ the Ginger part of Ginge and Winge recounts a tale of how Winge bought a First Class Air New Zealand ticket for her father to fly from Mexico to London to escape a possible confrontation with the press. You would have thought his ghostwriter would have been a bit more careful with the claims in the book. There are a couple of major clangers with this story. Firstly Air New Zealand do not have a route between Mexico and the U.K. and in addition they do not offer First Class on any of their planes. They only have three classes, Economy, Super Economy and Business. Air New Zealand has joke that they will consider introducing ‘Sussex’ class if Ginge or Winge ever choose to fly with them.

While the number of Covid cases in the U.K. continues to fall from its pre-Christmas peak it seems that the number of cases in China is growing. In fact I hear that 60,000 Chinese ‘died from Covid’ in the last month. I really can’t understand the Chinese, they have been easing up on their Covid restrictions for a while now and things are getting worse, not better. It is only this week that travel restrictions have been lifted by the Chinese. Mind you I wouldn’t want to go to China, they would probably eat me!

Right, I’m done for another week. It’s horrible out there; dark, grotty and raining, I think it’s going to be a snooze in one of the big armchairs in the waiting room. With any luck I’ll be chatting with you next week.

© WorthingGooner 2023