Hello peeps and welcome to another working week in the fun palace that is Number Ten. A report out this morning has said that Sue Gray broke the ‘Civil Service Code’. Well, I find it very interesting that she refused to give evidence to the enquiry. Now it has been shown that she has acted against the rules, will Sir Beer Korma do the honourable thing and withdraw her job offer? I rather doubt it.
It makes a change for your favourite cat reporter to be able to bring you a bit of good news and to be able to tell you it is ‘because of Brexit’. The Isle of Man herring fishing industry was decimated by the EU fishing quota which cut it to zero, meaning that what Manx boats that survived had been reduced to catching scallops. Under the deal struck when we left the EU, the EU’s fishing quota in British waters is being reduced annually and returned to the U.K. Consequently, we have announced that the Isle of Man fleet will now be allocated a 100-ton herring quota and 253 tons of langoustine. It’s a return of the much-loved Manx kipper!
So, Sniffer Joe is finally to visit these shores. The president who pretends to have Irish roots, but whose family tree shows he is more English is going to pop into the U.K. during a trip to Europe that also includes Lithuania and Finland, on the 9th and 10th of July. During the visit he will also be going to Windsor Castle to meet with King Big Ears the Woke. I wonder if Joe will know where he is, who he is meeting, and manage not to fall over.
As Norway receives its F-35A jets from the US it is making its fleet of F-16 fighters redundant. These are just the sort of planes that you might expect to be going to Ukraine, but no, the displaced Norwegian jets have been snapped up by Romania. The Romanians have contracted to buy 32 ex-Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16AM/BM models to replace its fleet of old Soviet MiG 21 fighters that are well past their sell-by date. The aircraft are to start to be delivered later this year after they have been upgraded with some up-to-date American electronics.
Still on the topic of fighter aircraft, I read that eight World War 2 Hawker Hurricanes have been found buried in a Ukrainian forest. Apparently, the planes were a small part of the 3,000 Mk 2 Hurricanes that went to the Soviet Union during WW2. These planes were built on British and Canadian production lines and were mainly paid for under American lend-lease agreements. This usually meant that at the end of the war the planes that had not been destroyed in action (which was a huge number) had to be returned or destroyed. It is believed that these eight planes were buried rather than returned. Of course, these plans are not much use having been underground for nearly 80 years, but I hear that enthusiasts are hoping to make one working model out of the eight.
I hear that in America there seems to be a noisy campaign being mounted by vegans to get more vegan dishes on cruise ship menus. I talked to my scribe about this as he has recently returned from a two-week cruise to the Mediterranean. He tells me that it is true that there was a limited number of vegan dishes in the main dining room, with usually one vegan dish available on each menu. However, many of the dishes were suitable for vegetarians with often three (in addition to the vegan) dishes being available on each course. The question is how many vegans go on a cruise, is it economical to cater for them? WG tells me that one evening he ate on the same table as a vegetarian mother and daughter who said the food on board was wonderful and the waiters couldn’t have been more helpful, bringing vegetable spread for their rolls and almond milk for their coffee. It’s those loud American minorities shouting again.
I read that a new method for the disposal of dead bodies is about to become available in the U.K. thanks to the Coop FuneralCare. The idea is the body is put in a plastic bag with water at 160°F and potassium hydroxide. The flesh and organs then dissolve away leaving just the bones. These are ground down to a powder and returned to the loved one in an urn, just like the ashes after a cremation. The process, called Resomation, is claimed to be ‘greener’ than cremation using 1/7th of the energy of a cremation and produces only a 1/3 of the greenhouse gases. Even the resulting liquid goes into the water cycle. I don’t really like this idea of ‘boil in the bag’ funerals.
Good morning people, there was a bit of weak sun when I trotted down the garden this morning, but I am a little disturbed to see that rain is forecast for later. Today the judicial review of Sad Dick’s ULEZ expansion scheme gets underway in the London High Court. I will be keeping my eye on events, in the hope that the judges stop Sad Dick in his tracks over what is clearly a money-raising exercise.
The laws about protesting have just changed mainly as a result of the tactic being used by Just Stop Oil, XR, and the HS2 protesters. It is now illegal to interfere with a public transport project by tunnelling and can attract a maximum three-year sentence and the same sentence is applicable to anyone found in a tunnel. Supplying food or equipment to somebody in a tunnel will attract a six-month sentence. British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence Police now have the same rights as the ordinary police to remove people who glue themselves down or lock onto objects. I suspect that the disruptive protesters will soon have a new replacement tactic.
I read that the French post office has signed a deal with Michelin to test their new Uptis tyre design. The new tyre is airless. It is to be made in sizes to replace existing tire sizes as a direct swap. The design has a standard hub and tread, but between them are hundreds of rubber spokes that allow the tyre to compress and give the same ride feel as a pneumatic tyre. Initially only three La Poste vans are to be equipped with the Uptis tyre, but this is due to quickly expand to a total of forty. There is no news as to when the tyre will be generally available to the public.
I just read a little article by Nadine Doris about her electric car. Apparently, she wanted to do the ‘right thing’ and got a Renault Zoe. Just before Christmas she set out from London, with her daughter on board, to collect her mother from Lytham St Anne’s to bring her back for Christmas. It was a cold, wet, dark day, so on the motorway she had on the heater, the wipers and the lights. She said you could literally watch the charge on the battery draining. When I got down to 30%, she realised what range anxiety was. Her daughter worked out they probably had enough power to get to a supermarket on the outskirts of Lytham where there was a fast charger only the app said it was out of order. Instead, they stopped at a motorway service station which the app said had a working fast charger. At first all they could find was a bank of Tesla super-fast chargers that were of no use to a Zoe. Eventually they found a fast charger hidden behind the lorry park and it eventually clicked in and started charging the car, but it was going to take 45 mins to get to 80%. It was then that she decided that Britain just doesn’t yet have the infrastructure for pure electric vehicles and they aren’t ready for long runs. In the new year she traded in her Zoe and now drives a petrol hybrid safe in the knowledge that she can pootle around locally on battery and switch to petrol on a long run. I think some people in the government need to spread the article and learn.
I read that in a major effort to keep the prices of its aircraft competitive, Boeing is negotiating with Indian aircraft parts manufacturers. Having learned about the lower cost parts available due to the very low wage levels in India, Boeing are now investigating assembling planes there. It always worries me when I see anything assembled with the cheapest labour and made with the cheapest parts, especially when it’s something like a car or plane. In my view high-tech and cheap simply don’t go together. If I was flying on a plane assembled in India, I would be worried that someone had been cutting corners.
Ukraine has issued a warning to Russian civilians not to vacation in the once popular holiday towns on the Crimea Black Sea coast. The sandy beaches and warm sea have long been a popular holiday destination for both Russians and Ukrainians. But since the Russians grabbed Crimea several years ago only Ukrainians living in Crimea have been able to get there and it has become a much more popular spot for Russians who crossed to the beaches over the Kerch Bridge. Last year the bridge was attacked and put out of commission for a while by Ukrainian forces, which led to a fall in Russian tourists. Then there were attacks by drones on Russian bases close to popular beaches and tourist numbers fell further. I read only recently of a hotel that is only 10% occupied and pictures on the internet show almost deserted beaches. The new warnings come as Ukraine has started its long-promised offensive and has gained longer-range weapons capable of hitting anywhere in the Crimea. Mind you, would you want to go on holiday in a war zone?
This week sees the end, after 47 years, of production of the Ford Fiesta. Since first going on sale in 1976 the eight generations of the Fiesta have been probably Britain’s most popular car topping the bestseller list for nearly all that time. So why are Ford doing away with it? It has been sacrificed in the drive to EVs and will be replaced by the Ford Explorer EV which is due to go on sale in the U.K. later this year. But will the Fiesta buyer want an EV, which in its basic form will only have a range, on a good day, of 220 miles? If they do it looks like they will have to dig very deeply into their pockets. The current Fiesta starts at just over £19,000 while the Explorer EV, is expected to start at about £40,000 on launch!
When I headed for my cat basket last night it was pouring with rain, but this morning it is quite dry, and the sun is trying to come out. The feeder put the radio on for the news while they opened my pouch of Felix Beef. I had to put my paws in my ears to shut out the NHS lovefest that was going on. All the stories of how wonderful the NHS is on its 75th anniversary. No mention of waiting lists, long waits at A&E, strikes, and some of the worst cancer outcomes in the world. All I heard was how the NHS saved my life. And then the sickest thing of all, the Rich Boy and Sir Beer are missing PMQs today to attend a religious service to celebrate the NHS’s birthday. The NHS is the new religion!
I had to laugh when I saw that an ‘expert’ was claiming the ‘Allo Allo’ was the principal cause of Brexit. I really can’t take such a thing seriously. The old BBC show was a wonderful comedy, full of innuendo and stylistic Germans, French, British and even the Communist resistance. But it took the Mickey out of them all. The useless Gestapo, the upper-crust RAF officers, the gay German tank commander, it hardly promoted any of them, they were all equally stupid. I just can’t see how it promoted Brexit.
The fuss over Coutts Bank, which is part of the NatWest empire, closing Nigel Farage’s personal and business accounts got a bit more confusing today. That Coutts told Farage it was closing his accounts is now not disputed. Farage says it came out of the blue and no reason was given for the closures. He speculated that it was because the bank didn’t like his politics. Today Coutts put out a statement saying they closed his personal account because the balance fell below its minimum requirement, which is apparently £3 million, and that it didn’t offer business accounts to people who didn’t have one of its personal accounts. It then added that Farage had immediately been offered a NatWest account. Today Farage hit back, saying he definitely had not been ‘immediately’ offered a NatWest account. He said he had only been offered a NatWest personal account when he went public with the row last week, after he was refused a personal account by six banks. He also said he had not been offered a business account. Someone, somewhere, is telling porkie pies.
I have just read about the body of a sperm whale that had been washed up on the beach of the Canary Island of La Palma. Scientists wanted to find out what had killed the whale and set about quickly inspecting the body during low tide. The result determined that the whale had died from sepsis which was caused by a ruptured colon. But what caused the rupture? One of the scientists discovered that in the whale’s colon was what initially appeared to be a huge rock. However, on closer inspection it was found to be a 9.5 Kg lump of ambergris, a rare substance much in demand by perfume manufacturers and estimated to be worth €500,000. Ambergris comes from the indigestible remains of squid and cuttlefish the whale eats. It is usually vomited out in small bits, but sometimes clumps together into bigger lumps and this seems to be what happened, in this case the clump got so big it ruptured the whale’s colon.
Unless you are a die-hard Chelsea fan you probably never heard of Abdul Baba Rahman. He signed for Chelsea back in 2015 for £14 million, on a five-year contract. He played a handful of matches for Chelsea before going out on loan to a succession of clubs, before spending the last two seasons at Reading who last year were relegated from the Championship. The strange thing about this tale is that midway through his eight years out on loan he was offered and signed a new Chelsea contract and was still contracted to them until 2024. He has now been signed by POAK Athens, one of the clubs he played for on loan. During his Chelsea years he has been a constant in the Ghana national team earning 51 caps and playing in the final of the African Cup of Nations. I can’t help but wonder why it has taken so long for Chelsea to sell him.
Another odd story comes to me from Wales where a nurse from Wrexham has been struck off the nursing register for having an affair with a patient. The patient, who was being treated for kidney disease, was found dead in a hospital car park with his trousers round his ankles. The post-mortem established that he died of a heart attack. All I can say is what a way to go, and I bet it was a hell of a shock for the nurse!
I hear that the Ministry of Defence is considering a temporary solution to the gap between the outgoing Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missile and the new missile being developed jointly by the U.K., France and Italy which is not expected into service until 2030. They are considering a supersonic missile from Israel called Rampage. The missile is said to be capable of Mach 1.6 and has been proven in action by the Israeli Air Force in Syria where it has successfully breached the Russian-supplied air defence missiles and destroyed military bunkers. Perhaps the best thing is it is cheap, at a published price of around $900,000 a time, a cost which is sure to be reduced for a bulk order, and it is available right now.
Sometimes I read about things and wonder about Britain. I understand that BAE Systems are on a recruiting drive at its Rochester, Kent plant, where they are looking to increase their 1,500-work force by another 500 people. They are looking for everyone from trainees and apprentices to experienced engineers. The plant develops and manufactures electronic systems for everything from warships to spacecraft. Now I understand there are a million unemployed in the U.K. so you would think that it would be easy to find the new staff. But I hear from many sources that hiring people is not always easy, and in recent times numerous companies have said they are looking for large numbers of people and failing to find them. Why?
Wow, what a lovely morning, sunny and dry. I think I might be able to get in some windowsill time this afternoon. I see the Privileges Committee has recommended that Chris Pincher is suspended from the Commons for sexual assault. I suppose with that surname it was inevitable.
Did you hear that there was an emergency evacuation of the White House on Tuesday? Security men noticed traces of white powder and raised the alarm. Because nobody knew what the powder was it had to be treated as if it was a terrorist attack. Could it be anthrax or a deadly nerve agent? With all the staff standing on the White House Lawn brave men in hazmat suits went into the building to test the powder. Fortunately, they had taken a drug testing kit with them, and the powder was revealed to be the remains of a line of cocaine. It was only then that someone pointed out that Hunter Biden was paying the family a visit. The White House publicity machine quickly pointed out that the drug was found in an area open to the public.
Sad Dick-run Transport for London has made fools of itself once again. For some time, they have been banning various advertising on the side of buses and on the Underground. It used to be quite common to see bra adverts on the side of the escalators as you descended into the depths of the tube, but TfL decided that they had to be removed as they might corrupt us. Then they decided to try to make us into healthy eaters and banned all adverts for unhealthy food, which they deemed to be things like McDonald’s, KFC and chocolate. I hear that if you go on an escalator these days most of the adverts are for films or West End plays. But TfL have recently banned an advert for a musical that is transferring to the West End from Broadway. Why you ask? It seems the advert included a picture of a wedding cake, a feature of the musical, and it broke the unhealthy eating rules. Idiots!
I’m not really sure if it would go down well in the U.K. but McDonald’s have launched a wedding special offer in Indonesia. For the equivalent of £185 you can get 100 boxes of chicken nuggets or 100 cheeseburgers or even 100 chicken burgers. I could see it going down well as a late-night snack served just before they play the last dance at a U.K. wedding, but I don’t think it will replace the traditional wedding breakfast of a chicken breast, roast potatoes and two veg. Me? I’d just be happy with the chicken in any form!
I hear that Mexican Airline Viva Aerobus have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding to purchase 90 Airbus A321neo aircraft. Viva is an all-Airbus airline and this buy will take their fleet to 170 Airbus aircraft. The A321neo is the biggest of the A320 family at 240 seats and is said to be 50% quieter and 20% more fuel efficient than the current aircraft Viva fly.
I learn of a fight between two passengers on a BA Boeing 777 flight to St. Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport. The incident occurred about two hours before the plane landed in St Lucia when a passenger took a bottle from the galley, broke it and attacked another passenger. A third passenger tried to intervene and was slashed by the man with the bottle who was eventually overpowered. A nurse on board performed first aid and when the plane landed two men were taken to hospital for treatment. The third person was arrested and is in the custody of the St Lucia Police. I expect to hear of this sort of thing on a charter to Benidorm, not a scheduled flight to St Lucia.
The ‘Just Stop Oil’ nutters turned their attention to Wimbledon today disrupting play on two outside courts. It seems that the heavy security has been successful in stopping the idiots from getting their orange powder into the ground. It looked like they had improvised and torn up a lot of paper to make confetti and had bought a 1000-piece Wimbledon jigsaw, at the souvenir shop, that they threw on the court! The players got down on their hands and knees and at first I thought they were doing the jigsaw, but they were just helping clear up.
Hi everyone, it was another lovely morning when I popped to the bottom of the garden this morning. The sky was cloudless, and it is forecast that it is going to be very warm. I see the ULEZ expansion scheme in London is causing friction in the Labour Party. The by-election in Uxbridge has really helped stir things up, with the Labour candidate coming out against ULEZ expansion, which is the pet scheme of London Mayor Sad Dick. Sir Beer Korma was pressed for his view yesterday and six times refused to answer. Labour Assembly Members yesterday voted to Double the ULEZ scrappage scheme. We all know the only reason Sad Dick is putting in the scheme is that it is estimated to bring in £26 million a month. If it really was a scheme to improve air quality, polluting cars would simply be banned completely. But Sad Dick will allow those cars to continue to pollute as long as they pay £12.50 into his coffers.
The Royal Parks Police, a division of the Metropolitan Police, stopped a parcel delivery van in Richmond Park because their computer revealed the van wasn’t insured. When a vehicle is seized by police, they normally give the driver a chance to take anything not actually part of the vehicle out of it. In this case the driver unloaded all the parcels and piled them up under a tree. Another van from the same company arrived a few minutes later and loaded the parcels. A spokesman for the police said they didn’t want to be responsible for delivering the parcels!
I am delighted to report that Greta, the climate change idiot, is in trouble with the Swedish police. She has been charged with disobeying a police order at a demonstration in Malmo back in June. The police said they told her to leave the area and she refused so she was arrested. It was not the most serious of offences and the usual punishment is a fine, but the maximum penalty is six months imprisonment. Wouldn’t it be nice for her to go to prison? Can you imagine what it would do to the poor little thing’s mental state?
The England under-21 football team have been playing in the under-21 European Championship in Georgia. The British TV companies have not been interested in buying TV rights and UEFA have been showing the matches free of charge on their website. The England lads have done very well and have reached the final where they will play Spain on Saturday teatime. Strangely the BBC have made a last-minute bid to broadcast the match. However, there is a small problem caused by the BBC’s blanket coverage of Wimbledon. If UEFA decide to sell the rights to them, they will have to show the match on the Red Button and on iPlayer. If I ran UEFA, I’d tell them to do one.
While coming into dock in San Francisco yesterday the Ruby Princess had, what Princess Cruises described as an ‘unexpected incident’. Or in plain English, it ran into Pier 27. The ship was returning to San Francisco at the end of a 10-day Alaskan cruise and was due to drop off 3,328 passengers and pick up an equal number when in turning 180° it hit the pier. From the pictures I have seen it has a big dent in the stern and scuff marks down the side. At the time of writing the damage was still being inspected and it was not clear if the ship would be able to sail.
Go Ahead London has just placed an order for 141 BYD Alexander Dennis battery-electric buses. This takes the Go Ahead order for these buses to almost 300 to be delivered this year. This year’s order is actually for 169 Enviro400EV double-deckers and 130 Enviro200EV single-deckers and they will be used to fulfil new contracts Go Ahead has won from Transport for London. The new order will mean there will be 577 BYD Alexander Dennis battery-electric buses in the Go-Ahead London fleet. The electrics are made BYD in China and mated to Alexander Dennis chassis built in Falkirk and Scarborough.
I hear that there is a new Beatles record in the works featuring actual performances by the Fab Four. It appears that way back after John died, Yoko Ono gave the three remaining Beatles a cassette with three demo songs on it with John singing. This is understood to be a song called ‘Now and Then’ which is the only one of the three never published because George Harrison called it, “F*cking rubbish”. Ringo has confirmed that all four of the original Beatles perform on the new track. The only question is, is it any good or is George, right?
Morning all, it is much cooler this morning, that fearsome heat of yesterday has gone. It was quite pleasant when I got up. The man on the radio tells me it is going to be very wet later with thunderstorms from mid-morning until late afternoon, so it looks like it’s no windowsill for me today.
I told you that the BBC had made a last-minute bid to show the final of the European Under-21 Championship when it became clear that England were going to be involved. Well, they have been pipped at the post by Channel Four who are showing the whole match this afternoon. It seems that showing the match live on terrestrial television appealed more to EUFA than the BBC offer of showing on the Red Button and on iPlayer.
I also hear that Lewis Hamilton has been a naughty boy and turned up late for a driver’s press interview at the British Grand Prix. He was referred to the stewards who gave Mercedes a warning. But they said it would be dealt with more harshly if he did it again. Apparently, he was only a few moments late because of congestion in the paddock.
Businesses in Jersey are not very happy. The Royal Mail has announced that they are withdrawing the post plane from early August and all mail to the island will in future go to the island by ferry. This means that first class mail will now take a minimum of two days and it is this that has upset businesses. Royal Mail and Jersey Post have decided that the use of a plane is no longer financially viable and in addition will help towards their climate change commitments. Royal Mail say that letter post has fallen dramatically since Covid and that packets and parcels have increased and that sort of business is more suited to ferries. However, hospitals have pointed out that the delivery of blood and tissue samples to the mainland for pathology tests could be a major problem.
I have been hearing a strange dispute coming out of America where the US Navy is at loggerheads with Boeing over an order for 20 F-18 Super Hornets. It is a little confused, but I’ll do my best to explain. The Navy wants Boeing to give it access to the computer code that their existing F-18s use so that they can do more of the maintenance themselves. Then along came the Biden administration and allocated funding to buy 12 Super Hornets last year and another eight this year. The Navy hadn’t asked for these planes but decided they could use the order as leverage to get the code and withheld the order. Now the Navy has decided that with China playing rough over Taiwan the plane would be useful but in the two years the order has been withheld the price has gone up and they can now only afford 16 aircraft. The other problem is that Boeing is closing the F-18 production line in 2025 and no one is sure if even 16 planes can be produced before then. I wonder what is going to happen.
The TV shopping channel Ideal World suspended broadcasting a few days ago as it looked for a buyer. It was sold only six months ago, and the new owners were in trouble. The channel has now called in administrators, and they have said that trading was not good enough to sustain the business and they were closing down and making 275 people at the Peterborough HQ and studio redundant. The administrator says they will try to do their best to fulfil any outstanding orders.
With the summer holidays fast approaching I hear that the numbers travelling around the world is back to pre-Covid days. For example, the number of fights between Britain and the US is over the number of pre-Covid and transatlantic passengers is consequently well up. Cruise lines have had record a ‘booking season’ in the US and European bookings are not far behind, with many full cruises. Package holidays to Europe are supposed to be going very well at about 92% of pre-Covid. So, what better time for the European air traffic controllers to take industrial action. For a change it is not us Brits on strike, so if your flight is not going across European airspace you should be OK. But the majority of flights do go that way, so good luck.
That’s me done for another week and I must decide what to do. The weather means the windowsill is out, but I could snooze on one of the reception waiting room chairs. But there is a lot of sport on TV this afternoon and I might pop into the office where the big screen is sure to be tuned in to something. It could be the test match is on from Headingly, the F1 qualifying is on, the tennis is on (but that is not my favourite), there is a ladies’ T20 test match on and the England U21 football is on at teatime. I wonder what they are going to be watching? I’ll be back with you all again next week, everything being OK.
© WorthingGooner 2023