Hello everyone, it looks like a similar day to yesterday, sunny periods and showers! At least it’s not too cold, just a bit blustery. The word this morning is that the government is looking at cutting funding to universities that offer useless degrees like pottery and the history of dance. If you want to get a degree that will lead to a well-paying job all well and good, but is there a demand for potters? If you must study dance, perhaps you should study Musical Theatre and Dance, at least there is a decent demand for people this trained for theatres and even the likes of cruise ships.
Talking of woke, I hear that an infant’s school in Slough has introduced a wooden birthday cake to help children celebrate their birthdays. Apparently, it was a tradition that the kids brought in a birthday cake, to blow out the candles, and share with their classmates. But the Power that Be in the school have decreed that cake is not good for the little one. So, they have banned cake, but wanted to keep the tradition of blowing out the candles. So now they have a wooden cake that they slot candles into. I wonder how long it will be before the cake catches fire?
Interesting bits leaking out about Sad Dick’s plan for an expanded London ULEZ. It seems that leaked paperwork has shown the expanded scheme will only make money for the first two years of operation. After that it will cost more to operate than it raises. But Sad Dick of course can’t have that, so the leaks say he has people working on road pricing in the form of a pay-per-mile scheme. The plan is that you will have to install an app on your phone or install a black box in your car. These will report how far you have driven, and you will get a monthly bill. But what if you don’t take your phone with you in your car or install the app? Well, that is where the ULEZ cameras come in. Cars driving around will have their number plates read and compared to those using the app or black box. Those with the app turned off will be fined. I predict an epidemic of cloned number plates.
I see Russia is reporting an ‘incident’ on the Kerch road bridge causing an ‘emergency’ and the bridge is closed to vehicles, the railway bridge seems to be unaffected. The Crimea administration is suggesting that people needing access to the Crimea use other routes. The pictures I have seen show a great big hole where the roadway appears to have dropped into the river, with many bent girders. But another video that appears to have been filmed from a moving train, seems to show a complete bridge section at an odd angle slipped off its support. Reports say that the bridge was hit by two ‘drones’, but they would have to have been big drones, more like cruise missiles.
Last Thursday Ryanair cancelled its mid-afternoon flight from Tenerife to Malaga. Passengers began checking in at 1 pm for the flight and its departure time was gradually put back an hour here and two hours there until at 11 pm it was cancelled and passengers were asked to go to the passenger services desk where a scrummage developed. Passengers were told that the next available flight to Malaga was the following Thursday if they wanted to accept it. They were also given a one-night hotel voucher. Flights with other airlines were either fully booked or on sale at a very much higher price than they had paid Ryanair. Ryanair offered alternative flights to Seville or Madrid but no onward transport. So basically, Ryanair abandoned a plane full of people in Tenerife for a week, I thought the wonderful EU had rules about things like that.
I always understood that Manzi’s eel and pie shops were an East End institution. Where the locals went for a bowl of jellied eels or a pie and mash with or without liquor, which I understand was a sort of green-coloured gravy. Well, the group was taken over by Minor International and have just opened a big fish and seafood restaurant in Soho. But this restaurant is nothing like the old jellied eel shops. I hear it still sells upmarket fish and chips, but it also sells oysters, lobster thermidor, pots of mussels and seafood platters. I doubt they will be getting many customers from the Old Kent Road.
I see that the two big Spanish football teams are looking at trouble with the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules. The idea of FFP is to stop big clubs spending loads of borrowed money which smaller clubs just can’t do. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have submitted FFP accounts where they have included as income the sale of future media rights. EUFA have discounted these sales and says they should actually be counted as debt. For example, Barcelona has sold the income from 25 years of future income from several income streams including TV rights for €700 million and Real sold the future income from its Bernabeu Stadium for €366 million. Not being able to count these sums against this year’s income seems to have rather restricted their purchasing of new players this transfer window.
In the French town of Béziers, near Narbonne, all dogs are going to have to get a genetic passport. The local mayor is fed up with his people having to clear dog poo from the streets, he says that they collect over 1,000 dollops every month in the town centre alone. In future they will be DNA tested and matched to the doggie genetic database. People who fall ‘foul’ of the law will face a €122 fine for not clearing up behind their pooch. The initial scheme is due to start now and run until June 2025. Oh, and don’t think you can get away with not registering your dog, owners who cannot show a genetic passport for their animal, when asked, will be subject to an instant €38 fine.
Good morning friends, it is rather nice and sunny here in Westminster today. I learn that the game of ping pong with the Immigration Bill finally got through the Lords last night. Once again, the Lords, led by Archbishop Wokeby, did their best to wreck the bill. But in a series of late-night votes the bill was passed and is now expected to become law this week. I guess the trick was holding the votes late at night and in the early hours of the morning, when loads of the old duffers were tucked up in bed.
A new drug called ‘Donanemab’ is claimed to be a breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In a test of 1,800 early-stage sufferers, it has been shown that 35% showed an improvement. Donanemab works by removing plaques of a protein called amyloid that build up in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s and people who had the drug as a monthly infusion showed a drop of plaque in brain x-rays. 47% of those taking the drug showed a halt in the progression of the disease and 84% showed a reduction in plaque. However, in a very small number of cases a side effect was the swelling of the brain.
This week in 1914 the very first night bus started in London. It ran on Route 94 between Cricklewood and Liverpool Street. When I read about this, I was surprised that the night bus service didn’t start before then. Admittedly this was a motor bus and before that buses were mainly horse-drawn. But the reason why night buses hadn’t been run before wasn’t because the horses needed to sleep, but because electric headlights weren’t invented until 1914. Electric internal lights for buses were only invented the year before.
The Russian subsidiaries of Carlsberg and Danone have been seized by the state. PooTin has signed a presidential order taking over the subsidiaries and putting them under state control. These are some of the few Western companies still trading with Russia since sanctions were imposed following the Russian “limited military operation.” It looks a bit like Russia cutting off its nose to spite its face by grabbing companies willing to trade with it.
I have just seen a newspaper article that raves about some of Britain’s beaches saying they compare to anything in the Caribbean. It is true, some of these beaches look wonderful, wide open, white sand, shallow water, tree-fringed bays. If you were transported there, not knowing where you were, on initially opening your eyes you might indeed think you were on a Caribbean Island. But that thought wouldn’t last long, as the temperature would only match the Caribbean on a few days a year and the North Sea, channel or Atlantic would be much colder than the Caribbean. Oh yes, you might be lucky and land up on the British beach on one of the few nice days, when it is not raining, or snowing, or dull and grey or foggy, but it will never be the same as a fortnight in Antigua where there are 365 white sand beaches, and the temperature rarely drops below 80°F.
There seems to be a merry-go-round developing in the world of sports presenters. I used to enjoy sneaking into the office on a Saturday afternoon and watching Jeff Stelling presenting the Sky football show. His style of humour appealed to me. But he retired at the end of the last football season. Not really surprising he had been with Sky for 30 years and is 68. Then his morning I learn he is to move to TalkSport and present their breakfast show, replacing Laura someone who I don’t know. She has resigned to move to TNT Sport (which is the new name for BT Sport) where she is replacing someone else who is moving on. And so, it continues, it’s all a game of musical chairs and each time someone sits down I bet they get paid more!
So, the Aussie state of Victoria has quit from hosting the next Commonwealth Games only three years before the events are supposed to take place. The premier of Victoria pulled the state out at this late time saying it was because of the rise in costs. He said the estimated cost has gone up from A$2.6 billion to A$6.0 billion and the state could not afford it. However, I hear that this big jump was caused by the way in which Victoria chose to hold the games, by spreading them all over the state, holding events in the likes of Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat among many other places. The Commonwealth Games Commission is now desperately scrabbling around looking for a new host, someone who has the stadiums and the infrastructure capable of holding the games that have been held every four years with the exception of WW2. Is the dear old mother country going to have to step in again?
A pleasant morning, nice, sunny and not so blowy today. As I ate my Felix, I heard on the radio that the rate of inflation had fallen more than expected by the ‘experts’. Last month it didn’t fall as much as the ‘experts’ expect. You know I think the problem is that the ‘experts’ are not very ‘expert’.
I have just read a report on a train accident that occurred at Enfield Town station last October. The station is at the end of a line where Transport for London runs a commuter service into London Liverpool Street. A train terminating at the station crashed into the buffers and rode up over them before coming to a halt inches from the glass booking office. The inspector’s report said the train carrying 75 people approached the station at 10 mph and 70 metres from the buffers the driver briefly applied the brakes, but it was seven seconds later that he applied full emergency braking. This was not soon enough to stop the train and it crashed into the buffers and the leading carriage rode up in the air and over the buffers before stopping fractionally before hitting the booking hall. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The driver said he had slept badly the night before and was momentarily distracted. However, he was tested for drugs and alcohol which revealed traces of cocaine in his blood. The report said he had probably taken the drug the day before. The driver has been sacked.
Dale Vince, the ‘green’ entrepreneur’s latest idea is to launch an “electric airline”. The man, who is a bigger self-publicist than Richard Branson, says he is in the process of applying for licenses and landing slots from the Civil Aviation Authority. That is all well and good, but it seems he plans to start flying next year before electric engine planes are available! The idea is to acquire planes with conventional engines that will be switched over to burning hydrogen, in another year or two. Vince says the planes will be 19 seaters, generate the hydrogen on board and have a range of 350 miles, they will switch to electric when available. Well, I wish him good luck, I’ve a feeling he is going to need it.
I thought it was a joke when I read that the British Army is testing out a special electric bike for Special Forces. The Stealth H-52 has a special camouflage paint job and even comes with a gun carrier on the handlebars. The idea was inspired by the Ukrainians who used soldiers on 200-mile range bikes to attack the Russian tanks in the early days of the war when the Russians were attacking Kiev. The bikes being evaluated cost about £6,500 each and allow troops to whizz around the battlefield on the silent bikes. This is not the only lesson learned from the conflict in Ukraine, I hear that our soldiers have been trying out new anti-drone weapons that include laser rifles and light truck-mounted microwave weapons. It sounds like something out of Star Wars.
Babcock International have signed a memorandum of understanding with the US nuclear submarine builder HII to jointly exploit the AUKUS agreement and the dismantling of nuclear submarines. Babcock have the contracts to support all the Royal Navy nuclear submarines at Faslane and at Devonport. Babcock also own the specialist company Cavendish Nuclear who work on the likes of dismantling old nuclear power stations and nuclear reprocessing plants. I understand that the British and American companies will be pooling knowledge and expertise in the dismantling of both countries’ disused nuclear submarines. It’s not as if there isn’t plenty of work to be done there as the Royal Navy have 27 old nuclear subs in storage at Devonport and Rosyth.
The word in Downing Street today is that Tata is poised to announce the battery plant in Somerset that I told you about. Winning more battery plants in the U.K. is essential to the domestic motor manufacturing industry. We have currently only one such plant in the U.K., at Nissan in Sunderland. We could have a second at what was British Volt in the Northeast, but no one seems to know if that is actually going to be built so I’m going to call this our second. The government has worked hard to win this plant and it should lead to 9,000 new jobs in the Bridgewater area.
When we left the EU, we rolled over the trade deals with a load of countries. But it was always the intention to renegotiate these deals to include things that we were interested in, but the EU wasn’t. Today it was announced that we and Turkey have agreed to start talks on an upgraded free trade agreement that will include data, digital and services. It is services that are of immense importance to us as 80% of our exports are services. Turkey is a big manufacturing nation making motor vehicles, clothing and electrical goods.
Well, it isn’t raining yet in London, although the forecast is just awful. I heard someone on the radio talking about the Uxbridge bye-election yesterday and they described Sir Beer as being an Ultra Low Charisma Zone which I rather liked. Anyway, I see that after the ULEZ election in Uxbridge, many Tory MPs are begging the Rich Boy to postpone the 2030 phase-out of petrol and diesel cars. They say it would be a winner of a policy and this cat agrees.
I read that the pro-PooTin Hungarian TV put out a video of drinkers in a bar singing and chanting while waving glasses of beer in the air with a voice-over saying it was Ukrainians in a bar celebrating the attack on the Kerch bridge. The only problem was if you listened to what the people on the video were signing you would have heard “Will Grigg’s on fire”. It was actually Wigan FC fans singing about their goal-scoring forward back in 2016 which had been widely available on the internet. I suppose Hungarian TV didn’t expect their viewers to be able to understand a British Football song.
A lovely bit of video on the internet this morning. Another ‘Just stop Oil’ slow-walking mob were blocking the street in London and enraging the motorists who were furiously sounding their car horns. A man jumped out of his vehicle and flattened a protester with a single punch. I am amazed that I have not seen video of this happening before. I have been wondering just how long it would take for the public to snap, I expect to see more violence being reported now the dam has broken.
From today citizens of five countries coming to the U.K., who could previously come in without a visa, will need one. People coming from Dominica, Honduras, Namibia, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu, are affected. Apparently both Dominica and Vanuatu have been operating systems where people could buy citizenship, and this has led to a loophole where some people have used it to gain entry to the U.K. People from Namibia and Honduras have been using their easy access to the U.K. to claim asylum and people from Timor-Leste have been regularly gaming the system to enter the country to overstay and work here.
A new fossil unearthed in China has proved to be very interesting. It freezes in time a fight between a small mammal and a dinosaur. But it is not as you might expect a dinosaur hunting the mammal for its dinner. It is actually the other way around; the dinosaur is actually a small plant-eater about the size of Cocker spaniel and the mammal has been identified a smaller cat-sized animal that is taking a bite out of the dinosaur’s ribs. Unfortunately, we will never know who won the fight as the pair appear to have been instantly buried in volcanic ash before the fight concluded.
The Scottishland police say their investigation into the SNP’s missing £600,000 has moved on. It now seems they are looking at misappropriation and embezzlement of the money. Of course, the police are not saying who they suspect of misappropriation or embezzlement, but perhaps some clues might be gained from who they have arrested and questioned under caution. I hope it is just the wheels of justice turning very slowly and we eventually have a court case and learn where the money went, otherwise the Scottishland police are going to look mighty stupid.
On Tuesday I told you that the Australian state of Victoria had withdrawn from holding the Commonwealth Games because of the cost and speculated that the U.K. might have to step in. Today I hear that Sad Dick wants London to step up and rescue the games. Well of course London has the stadium and many of the other facilities to host most of the events without having to layout a fortune on new facilities. The London Stadium complex springs to mind as a base for many events but the one big problem I see is accommodation, not for visitors, there are plenty of hotel rooms in London but for competitors. Thousands of flats were built for the Olympics, but these have now been occupied by Londoners. So, a huge flat building project would have to be started almost immediately. I wonder if Sad Dick could find the money or will he expect central government to cough up?
Hi everyone, it’s a pleasant morning, not as cold and sunny. Well, I see the bye-election results are in and it’s Limp Dumps one, Sir Beer one and the Rich Boy one. What I see in the results is that in the seats the Tories lost the opposition backed one party and the other did nothing even losing deposits. In Bozzie’s old seat of Uxbridge Sir Kerr had expected to win but didn’t because of ULEZ, and the combination of Limp Dumps and Liebore couldn’t overcome Sad Dick’s disaster of a scheme.
It seems that the EU is still upset by the U.K. Brexiting and indulging in petty retribution. In a recent report they referred to the Falklands as the Malvinas. I hear we put in an official complaint that the EU was not using the official, legal name of the islands. The EU’s reply was basically ‘since you are no longer in the EU what we call them is none of your business.’ Don’t tell me they aren’t still upset about quitting and them having a 25% drop in income as a result.
We appear to be turning into an authoritarian state with a record number of £50 fines issued for minor breaches of what most normal people would consider trivial offences or not a real offence at all. What sort of offences are we talking about? Well, it seems that it included flying a kite, climbing a tree, feeding birds, swearing, playing ball games and sleeping in public. If you go to the park don’t fall asleep while sunbathing or you could get a £50 on-the-spot fine. I wonder if they will be after me for napping on the No 10 windowsill?
Yesterday a new group calling themselves “Just Stop Pissing People Off” kettled a bunch of “Just Stop Oil” slow marchers on the pavement. The new group appears to have turned up in large numbers and by sheer weight of numbers simply surrounded the protesters and herded them onto the pavement. The protesters simply sat down, and the counter-protesters stood in a circle surrounding them. What is very noticeable in the video is the complete lack of any police being in attendance.
Why are so many things these days justified on the basis of being green? I read that in between Littlehampton and Angmering two stretches of the A259 totalling 2 km long have been turned into dual carriageway. The report says this will save 620 tons of CO2 per year. No mention of the time it will save users or the reduction in accidents. There is also a cycleway, and the official opening was by a council official who cut a symbolic green ribbon before riding her bike along the cycleway. What a load of poppycock.
I hear that so far this summer the online tour operator, On the Beach, has collected over 100 copies of the Ginger Whingers autobiography ‘Spare’. They said holidaymakers have been dumping copies all over the place. They have recovered virtually new copies that have been left in rooms, reception areas, around pools, and in rubbish bins. The problem is what to do with them as it appears no one wants the book. They have tried second-hand bookshops who say there is no demand, and libraries who say their existing copies are not being borrowed. I wonder what will come of the books if On the Beach can’t find someone who wants them? They’ll probably get pulped.
Today it has leaked, that after the Queen’s funeral, Ginge and Whinge asked for a lift back to the US with Sniffer Joe on Airforce One thinking that it who do their reputation no harm to be seen with the Senile President. However, the request was quickly refused. It seems that extra passengers on Airforce One must pay for their own airfare. Obviously, the likes of Sniffer Joe and Dr Jill, their security men and officials fly for free, but the pool reporters and other non-essentials all pay. By all accounts Whinge was not very happy and made a snivelling phone call, only to upset Dr Jill. Apparently, Dr Jill has decided that Ginge’s Invictus Games are not going to be graced with her presence.
Morning all, it was still dry when I headed down the garden and that bloody squirrel was up the bird feeder. I see he has wrecked one of the feeders so that he can get at the birdseed. I tried creeping up on him, but he saw me coming and ran. He had dropped loads of seed on the ground and just as I got back to the house, I saw there were pigeons tucking into it. But it had started to rain a bit, so I left them to it.
Yesterday I told you about Ginge and Whinge trying to hitch a ride on Airforce One. Today I bring you the news that following a series of falls on the aircraft steps Sniffer Joe has given up using the standard 26-step airstairs, covered in a red carpet up to the plane’s main door. Instead, he has been using the shorter 14-step built-in airstairs to the lower floor door into the cargo hold. I guess there is less chance of a stumble on the shorter stairway. I wonder if there is an internal lift between the plane’s two levels, or if he just feels happier climbing the internal stairs out of camera shot.
I learn that residents in the southwestern suburbs of Berlin have been warned to stay indoors and not to let children play outside side because of reports of an escaped lion. People living in the districts of Kleinmachnow, Stahnsdorf and Teltow have also been told to keep domestic pets and farm animals indoors and not to go for walks in the woods. People reported filming a lion chasing a wild boar and then it is supposed to have been seen by two police officers. Despite the local zoos and a circus reporting no missing animals, the authorities are taking no chances and a helicopter with an armed man on board has been up searching woodland where it is thought the lion could be hiding.
A bit of bad news for Scottishland football supporters. The Nordic satellite broadcaster ViaPlay are pulling out of broadcasting in several countries including the U.K., USA, Canada, Poland and the Baltic states. ViaPlay currently have the broadcasting rights for Scotland men’s football and the Scottish League Cup and will be immediately laying off 25% of their employees. Scottishland doesn’t seem to have the best of luck with its choice of broadcaster having previously sold their rights to Irish company Setanta, who went bust. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned in that taking the biggest bidder doesn’t always pay off, it might be better to accept a slightly lower offer from an established company.
Some time ago I told you that Chelsea would have a massive clear out of players this because of the Financial Fair Play rules. Well, I read that so far they have moved out 13 players which must have saved them an awful lot on wages. Three of them have gone on free transfers, so they can’t be counted on the transfer fees profit and loss balance sheet. But it all gets very complicated as 12 players who were out on loan have re-joined the club. It must be very complicated for anyone working in the Chelsea HR department!
Yesterday I read an article about ‘white’ hydrogen. Apparently ‘green’ hydrogen is manufactured using ‘green’ electricity (solar or wind) while ‘white’ hydrogen is found naturally in the ground. Until recently it was thought that ‘white’ hydrogen was a rarity, but there have been several recent accidental finds. For example, a man drilling for water in Mali was smoking a cigarette and blew himself up when he hit a large pocket of hydrogen. Now the American Geological Survey says that there is probably at least a 100-year supply easily recoverable. One of the unexpected things about ‘white’ hydrogen is that it seems to renew itself as it is extracted. It seems that a natural process is occurring deep underground and as the gas is drawn up it is replaced by the process making even more and making the pressure increase. I wonder what the green idiots would think about a strike of natural hydrogen under the U.K.
The Carnival Cruise ship Carnival Pride has broken down mid-cruise. The 2001-built ship is sailing on a series of cruises out of Dover this summer. It is currently on a 12-day round trip from Dover to the Baltic where it has suffered propulsion problems. The decision has been made to let it limp into Kiel where it will be repaired, in the meantime passengers have stayed on board and it has acted as a floating hotel. The Pride was supposed to sail from Dover today on a 10-day cruise, but that trip has been cancelled and passengers are being refunded. Passengers currently on the ship in Germany are being moved to hotels until flights back to Britain can be organised.
That’s it for this week. The weather today is quite good, so I think that calls for a nap on the Windowsill. But tomorrow’s forecast is rain so I think it will be a snooze on one of the reception waiting room chairs. I’ll be back with you all again next week, everything being OK.
© WorthingGooner 2023