Larry’s Diary, Week Two Hundred And Nine


Good morning and welcome to another week of my musings. It’s back to Parliament today with the conference season over. Well, perhaps I should alter that a bit, as the SNP are holding their conference at the moment. I wonder if the SNP MPs will be there or in the Commons today. The SNP have had a rough time recently what with investigations into their finances, losing a by-election to Liebore and having an MP cross the floor of the House and join the Tories. Is the Rich Boy going to make a statement on Israel in the House this afternoon?

This morning there is a report out detailing the political parties’ spending on the recent elections in Uxbridge, Selby and Somerton & Frome. What the report shows is that the spending in the two constituencies by Liebore and the Lib Dumps seems to reflect where they are in the local opinion polls making space for each other. In Uxbridge, where Liebore had been predicted to win, the Limp Dumps virtually withdrew only to see Liebore lose to the Tories despite outspending them by £21,000. In Selby, again the Liebore Party outspent everyone else, spending close to the £100,000 limit with the Limp Dumps spending only a few thousand pounds. In Somerton the reverse was true, the Limp Dumps led the spending with close to the maximum and Liebore next to nothing. In these two consistencies spending matched the vote. Why is this interesting? Well, in the current competition in Mid Bedfordshire the Liebore and Limp Dumps are both spending heavily and could well split the opposition to the Tories without one or the other standing back.

I hear that the Barclay Brothers want to buy back the Daily Telegraph group from Lloyds Bank to whom the group owes money. Apparently, Lloyds are on the verge of launching an auction to sell off the Telegraph with potential bidders thought to include hedge fund billionaire Sir Paul Marshall, the German media giant Axel Springer and Lord Rothermere, the Daily Mail proprietor. It is said that the Barclay Brothers have forwarded a bid of over a billion pounds – which is much bigger than Lloyds believe the group is worth – in a bid to stop the auction.

Over the weekend the RAF flew British citizens out of Israel for once being ahead of the Americans. This morning the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas was loading American citizens in Haifa to take them to Limassol in Cyprus. The ship had been operating cruises out of Haifa, but these have been cancelled due to the current situation. The Americans put out messages to its citizens in Israel telling them to make their own way to Haifa where they will be boarded on a first come first served basis for the 12-hour trip to Cyprus. This seems to be a one-off operation taking advantage of Royal Caribbean moving the ship out of harm’s way.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Heading back to Cyprus.
‘Rhapsody of the Seas’ in Queen Charlotte Sound,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Apparently, the Department of Transport have drawn up plans for driverless cars that don’t even have a safety driver in the front seat and could be in operation by 2027. However, many vehicle developers have said this is not fast enough. But I ask, are driverless cars ready for use yet? In San Francisco, a 24-hour-a-day driverless taxi service has been launched and has hit problems. A host of failures including collisions with emergency vehicles and causing traffic jams, leading to calls for the public deployment of the technology to be paused.

Boeing and Norwegian company Nammo have revealed that they have developed a new sort of ammunition for 155mm guns. The new ammunition is boosted by a ramjet. The shell has an air intake with an aerospike projecting from it. Inside, the body of the shell is lined with solid rocket fuel that takes up little space because there’s no oxidiser in the mix. When the shell is fired, it quickly accelerates to supersonic speeds, where the ramjet kicks in. The air in front of the shell is scooped in, compressed, mixed with the fuel, and burns, generating thrust. The new shell is said to have increased range by 14 miles and has now exceeded 93 miles in tests.

I have been reading about a man in Leicestershire who decided he wanted to go green and install solar panels and a heat pump in his 1850 listed farmhouse. The consultants he talked to found that it wasn’t possible to insulate the house because of its listed status and the heat loss calculations showed that a single large heat pump would not be able to meet the heat losses of the house. So, what was the answer, well it was to install twin heat pumps. I wonder how much that cost.


It’s a lovely sunny morning, but bloody chilly when I ventured down the garden. So, the British Palestinian Council have complained that the Suella Braverman interpretation of the ‘From the River to the Sea’ chant as anti-Semitic is wrong. As Mandy Rice Davis said in court, “Well they would say that wouldn’t they.”

For today’s first story I ask what has happened to the Russian T14 Tanks that the Russians said a year ago were going into mass production and 40 would be in the field in Ukraine by this autumn? Well, autumn is here but the T14 isn’t. Russia says that a squadron of three were briefly used in Ukraine but withdrawn. Interestingly no one seems to have seen them. If this tank is as wonderful as Russia would have us believe, why was it withdrawn from active service and where are they and the other 37 that would make up the 40? Or is it all Russian propaganda?

This weekend it is the Race of the Americas Grand Prix in Austin Texas. The tyre supplier, Pirelli, has warned all the F1 teams that they should look out for tyre overheating. This has been going on for some years at this track and is apparently caused by it being very bumpy. Work has gone on several times to try and deal with the bumps, but the track is built on unstable land and as soon as the bumps are dealt with the ground moves and a new set of bumps appears. I only hope that the bumps aren’t too bad this weekend.

I read that Israel has rushed its latest laser anti-aircraft, rocket and shell defence into service. It is called Iron Beam and works alongside the Iron Dome rocket-based protection system having a radar system to pick up incoming weapons. Where a defensive rocket can cost up to up to $50,000 each, a single shot by the laser costs about $2. However, the laser has a much shorter range than the rocket and has to linger on the incoming rocket or shell for several seconds to destroy it. But it will be intriguing to find out just how effective it is as we are on the verge of arming ships with laser weapons.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
I reckon these numbers are way out now.
The Iron Dome system,
Facts for a Better Future
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

In the first nine months of this year, 400,000 drivers have escaped a ULEZ fine because TfL can’t identify them. Why you may well ask, when TfL boasts about their advanced database that is said to list every car in Britain and is linked to the DVLC’s computer. It appears that these people are all visitors to the U.K. and consequently TfL have no way of identifying them. Now the ULEZ has been enlarged that 400,000 is going to go up rapidly.

I hear of a pub in Stoke on Trent that has introduced a £100 fine for anyone who exceeded the three-hour parking limit in their car park. The notice says the fine applies to everyone, with no exception, so if you pop in for a long session or want to leave your car there as you are over the limit the sign implies you are likely to be subject to a fine. But the landlord says he doesn’t want to penalise customers so, ‘Have a word with the bar staff when you order a drink, and we will ensure you don’t get a ticket.’ So, all you need to do is park, pop in and order a half, give the barman your registration number and you can stay all day.

Following the fire in the multi-storey car park at Luton Airport, I have been reading about the problems associated with fires in electric cars. The first thing I learnt was the only way to definitely put out a battery fire is to dip the car into a bath of water. I remember seeing a film of firemen building an earth dam around a car and filling it with water. Other areas of concern addressed in a report included explosions of flammable vapour clouds emitted by electric vehicle batteries, as well as jets of fire and toxic water run-off from firefighting. No wonder the insurance premiums for EVs has leapt so much recently. I also hear that Luton Airport says that they now think that about 1,200 cars in that car park are write-offs. There are going to be some interesting insurance claims.


Well, I must say it’s grotty this morning and the forecast is that it is going to be worse over the next couple of days, particularly in the North and Scottishland. All the news this morning is about an explosion in a hospital in Gaza. The Palestinians say it was the Israelis and the Israelis say it was the Palestinians. It seems to be very hard to apportion blame to either side in the middle of what is effectively a war zone, perhaps we will know who is to blame one day in the future.

I understand that Japan Airlines has been having a problem with sumo wrestlers. Apparently, there was a competition on an island called Amami Oshima and dozens of the large chaps were booked to fly there on two flights, one from Tokyo and the second from Osaka. Airlines normally allow an average of 70 Kg for every passenger when calculating a plane’s take-off weight, but a Sumo wrestler’s average weight is nearer 120 Kg, so the flights were overweight. JAL’s first thought was to swap in a larger aircraft but the runway at Amami Oshima is particularly short, so this wasn’t an option. The solution was to put on a special flight from Tokyo to the island for all 27 sumo wrestlers utilising a 737 that could land there. But they also had to fly 10 wrestlers from Osaka to Tokyo to join the special flight. This was possible on a regular flight because twin-aisle planes are used on that service. I hear that on the special flight the wrestlers were asked to disperse around the cabin so as not to put all their weight in one spot and destabilise the aircraft.

A Russian general has explained to the media that most of the drones it is using in Ukraine are purchased from either China or Iran. However, he said this wasn’t acceptable as it is not hi-tech. He then announced that the military is to invest £618 million in developing its own drone programme and that by 2025 45% of all Russian military drones will be made in Russia. I find it surprising that if the drones are low tech why will they still be importing 55% of the drones used?

A man in Maidstone has been struggling for five months to get a replacement wheelie bin from Maidstone Council. Like most councils Maidstone supplies residents with a set of coloured bins, for their various waste and recycling, that are suitable for the back lift on the council lorries. This resident had a video from his home security system of the bin men collecting his green bin, complete with a lid, and returning it moments later less it’s lid. He phoned the council to ask for a replacement bin and was told that as the bin men hadn’t reported damaging it he would have to pay £25 for a replacement. Apparently, this is part of a new council policy designed to save £100,000 on waste services. The man had numerous conversations with the council who told him the bin could still be used without a lid. When he complained it was filling with rainwater, they told him to drill holes in the bottom of the bin. Then suddenly the council had a change of heart and without warning a man delivered a new bin complaining he had tried to deliver it the previous day, but no one had been home. The resident replied that if the council couldn’t be bothered to tell him they would be delivering a bin it was hardly surprising he was out. I wonder if the change of heart came after media publicity.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
What goes in this bin?
Decorated wheelie bins,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I read that Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has decided to double the number of single cabins it offers on its cruise ships. Research shows that the number of single passengers is increasing and the small number of single cabins on offer sell very quickly. The excuse in the past has been that they don’t make so much profit on single cabins. But odd things are happening with cruise pricing. My scribe tells me that on a recent booking he was asked for £300 more for the holiday in a single balcony cabin than paying a single occupancy supplement in a double balcony cabin. Has NCL spotted a way of making more money out of lone passengers?

The Liebore Party have been telling us that to see how good a future UK Liebore Government would be, we should look at the Welsh Liebore Government. They have been boasting that the waiting times in Welsh A&Es is less than in English A&Es and quoting Welsh Government numbers. But it has been pointed out for years, by Welsh doctors, that the figures quoted are not comparable. In Wales they have several ‘exemptions’ to the waiting times, like not counting time waiting for a scan or a specialist’s attendance. The Welsh Government has just accepted this and admitted that if these waits were included, as in England, their waiting times are much worse.

A man in Edinburgh has just received a bill for £17,340 for the replacement of the battery on his year-old Tesla. When the car wouldn’t start, he had it transported to a Tesla repairer who revealed that the battery had been damaged beyond repair by what it said was water ingress caused by the recent heavy rain north of the boarder. The man was obviously shocked and questioned the price only to be told that water ingress was not covered under the car’s seven-year warranty and that was the standard price for a replacement battery and the labour needed to do the work. What I can’t understand is how Tesla has the audacity to sell a car that leaks when it rains. I wonder if he will sue for selling a product not fit for purpose.


Morning friends, well today is going to be cold and showery according to the BBC, but I’m glad I am not the Scottishland’s chief mouser as the weather up there is much worse. An early start to the weekend here as the Rich Boy had flown off to the Middle East for two days of meetings with leaders starting in Israel this morning. As he is rarely here at the weekend I expect the folks in the office will start celebrating tonight. I hope they order in fried chicken.

The French defence minister has this week been talking about how the French armaments industry is going to treble production of 155mm ammunition for supplying to Ukraine. The minister says they will increase production of this 155mm ammunition from 1,000 shells a month to 3,000 shells a month. But this is a tiny number, as I understand that both Russia and Ukraine fire more than that number daily.

Dudley Zoo has a visitor problem. Its animal enclosures are regularly being visited by a black cat that is believed to be owned by a nearby resident. The cat has been reported as being seen in the spider monkey and the gibbon enclosures. What is unknown is how the cat can get in and out, but the monkeys can’t. The zookeepers have tried to catch the cat on several occasions, but it has always managed to escape them. The zoo has appealed to local people to keep the cat safe at home, they don’t think it is feral as it has a collar.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Which entrance does the cat use?
Dudley Zoo – Castle Hill – Entrance Gateway At Dudley Zoo,
ell brown
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Word reaches me of another airline looking at placing a big order. This time it is Cebu Pacific Air, a company that currently operates a 62 aircraft all-Airbus fleet. The airline is said to want to order between 100 and 150 planes from either Airbus or Boeing. The airline operates both single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft and is still waiting for several planes to be delivered. Of course, an all-Airbus fleet would mean substantial costs in introducing Boeing aircraft to the fleet so it points to an Airbus order, but you never know, Boeing might want to buy a new customer.

Oh dear, Greta Thunderbird has been arrested at a demonstration in London. Of course, the climate nutter was complaining about oil. She was outside the Intercontinental Hotel on London’s Park Lane trying to stop people from big oil companies gaining entrance to a conference. The police arrested five people for obstructing the Highway when they refused to get off the road and onto the pavement and then 14 more were arrested for public order offences. It is not clear which group she was in, but she was seen to be handcuffed and to be put into the back of a police van. I bet they let her go with a slap on the wrist.

I have been looking at stories and videos of the launch presentation of the new Citroen eC3 and it looks to be a step in the right direction for electric vehicles. Obviously, it is a B-segment car so it is not in competition with the big cars but when it goes on sale it will be the cheapest EV of its type on the market. In fact it is believed to be the only B-segment car under £25,000. With two levels of trim, the lower level is expected to cost around £22,000 in the U.K. with a 200-mile range and a comfortable fit-out. Mind you I still don’t think I would want one, I would wait and see what the upcoming petrol version of this new car is like.

Here’s an interesting thing I have been reading, parking fees are likely to increase because of electric vehicles. The thinking is that when an EV catches fire it burns much more furiously than a petrol car. This means that the car parking spaces need to be bigger to put more separation between cars to try to stop fire spreading. For a similar reason multi-storey car parks need to be equipped with sprinkler systems. Both these mean higher building costs and hence higher parking costs. But an associated thing is that if cars are packed close to each other, a fire in one tends to melt the plastic fuel tanks in nearby cars spilling fuel into the fire and sending burning fuel down the drains. This is what is believed to have happened at Luton Airport. Whoever decided plastic fuel tanks were a good idea.


Good morning all, not very warm again first thing this morning but at least it wasn’t raining when I ventured out. With last night’s bye-election results it’s a good job the Rich Boy is away, I don’t fancy testing the old saying about ‘kicking the cat’.

A couple of airline stories to start the day. A Ryanair flight from Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport to Edinburgh Airport was delayed by over two hours on Tuesday evening after a wheelchair-bound passenger was ‘left behind’ at the gate. The flight had started taxiing to the runway before the error was realised. It has started a row between the airline who claim the airport hadn’t delivered the passenger to the gate and the airport who say the passenger had been handed over to Ryanair and it was their fault. The second story is about an EasyJet captain who was bitten by a mosquito as he was waiting for passengers to board a flight from Amsterdam to Manchester. The passengers were left in the lounge for five hours while the plane was fumigated. EasyJet claimed it was in the passenger’s interest to delay the flight and issued the passengers with a £3.90 refreshment voucher.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Don’t visit in a wheelchair.
Aéroport de Bordeaux – Mérignac, France,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I see the consultants are to have discussions about pay with the Government. This is a very careful dance by both parties so as not to back down on previous statements. The Government have said they will not talk to the consultants while they are still striking, and the consultants have agreed to pause strike action. Then the government has also said that they won’t talk about this year’s pay offer, so it appears to be agreed that the discussions will be about the next two pay rounds. It looks like a compromise by both sides is on the cards. The consultants will get a long-term pay settlement nearer their demands and the Government will get to stick to this year’s pay increase. And about time too. Now that just leaves the junior doctors, perhaps this could be a framework for talks with them.

So, the Metropolitan Police have been using face recognition software to identify shoplifters. This is not the one-off person, but the persistent criminals who make their living from returning again and again. Apparently, the shops have, for some time, been taking the photo of persistent shoplifters so that different security staff can recognise them. They fed this database of offenders to the Met who said that in trials it identified shoplifters in 60 seconds allowing them to investigate the crimes as they had an identity to go on. But this is not good enough for the human rights mob who claim it is against the shop lifters’ human rights.

So, Sir John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), has said the supply of natural gas to all buildings needs to stop by 2050 if the UK intends to hit climate targets. Well, it hardly bothers this old cat, as I won’t be around in 2050 (if I was, I would be in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest cat). But what does he want to replace gas with, of course it is your old friend the useless, inefficient heat pump. But where did this 2050 target come from; well it was an arbitrary date plucked out of the air by politicians. What these green types never tell you about is the enormous costs associated with getting rid of gas boilers and replacing them with heat pumps. Then there is the cost of beefing up the electricity grid to supply the necessary power, then there are the flats that can’t be converted, the lower water temperatures heat pumps can reach, the extra insulation needed and the impracticality of the time scale.

A few weeks ago, I told you about the village pond in Matfield, Kent where intrusive Prussian carp had been found and the pond was drained to get rid of them. I now hear that work on the pond has finished, tons of silt have been removed, deep areas have been dug, the surrounding wall has been repaired, new planting carried out and the banks seeded with grass and wildflowers. It sounds delightful. Now it is being left to fill naturally with rainwater and it couldn’t have come at a better time with heavy rain forecast over the next few days and already is filling up. A decision on whether to restock the pond is due to happen at the next parish council meeting.

BT is about to disappear as a phone brand name and be replaced by its subsidiary EE. But it’s not just phones that are to be sold by EE, they want to venture into the world of electrical and electronic consumer goods. They are to open up many of their 450 mobile phone shops to sell the likes of smart kettles, smart TVs, smart fridges and games consoles. In addition, they intend to open up their web presence to selling smart home security and insurance to everyone, not just their subscribers. It will be interesting how they get on against the likes of Amazon and AO. I guess it will be their prices that will make them a success or a failure.


Good morning merry readers, well it’s back to wet this morning. Just as I hoped, the crew in the office had KFC last night (and no, I don’t like the new chips). I think someone got sent out to collect it from the shop, but I don’t really care as one of the girls stripped all the meat off a chicken leg for me. She left bits of skin for me too. I had already had my Felix, so when I had eaten the chicken as well, I was stuffed and headed straight back to my basket for a sleep and gosh did I sleep well. Anyway, I’m ready for my breakfast.

This morning’s first story reaches me from New College, Oxford. Due to over-running building work at a student accommodation block the University hired a complete corridor of rooms for them. A student arrived with his parents and when they walked into his allocated room, they found a prostitute sitting on the bed wearing a black lacy negligee. Complaining to reception revealed that she had hired the room between noon and five, despite it already having been booked by the University. The family had to sit outside the room and watch a succession of men going in and out of the room until the woman left at five and he could gain access to his room.

As I have mentioned several times before BT is shutting down its conventional copper wire phone and broadband network and moving over to glass fibre. I understand that this is due to take place over the next two years and will cost about £15 billion to enact. But it’s not all bad news for BT cost wise, I hear they expect to recover around 200,000 tonnes of scrap copper from the redundant wires bringing them in around £1 billion.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
How much copper is this?.
telephone wire cables,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Tesla has announced a £3,000 cut in the price of its Model 3 in the U.K. bringing its price down to £39,950. This is still a hell of a lot for a car even if it is the smallest Tesla. It is currently the country’s biggest-selling EV, but it is having its heel nipped by BYD who are catching up fast. But I understand that if you were to order one today you would be unlikely to receive it before next spring. This is, I understand, because it is the only right-hand drive car Tesla currently produce and there are production problems with them. This is the second Model 3 U.K. price reduction this year, but there have been many more in the US where Tesla are losing market share to BDY.

After being arrested and charged with a public order offence at a demonstration earlier this week you might have thought Greta Thunderbird would have thought twice before demonstrating outside the London offices of JP Morgan. But no, the silly little girl has been photographed amid a crowd blocking the entrance to the bank’s office in Canary Wharf. I wonder if she is trying to be arrested again before nipping off home to Sweden and not appearing in court here. I find it interesting that she doesn’t have a job but is said to be worth $2 million. Not bad for a 20-year-old who skipped years of schooling.

The story of the Italian international player Sandro Tonali is very interesting. Newcastle bought him for a £60 million fee back in the summer transfer window in a surprise deal with AC Milan. Tonali went back to Italy to join up with the Italian national team last week and was arrested by Italian police for illegal betting. The rules for football betting in Italy are a bit different to England but first films emerged of Tonali in a casino at a roulette wheel. Then tale of sports betting emerged, now it seems he was betting on AC Milan games he played in and is pleading guilty. The question now is have Newcastle been sold a pup, did AC Milan get rid of him before the police descended? Tonali must have known what was going on, but obviously didn’t mention it during negotiations or they wouldn’t have bought a player who is now likely to get a three-year ban from football.

I see the Lingerie company Victoria’s Secret have announced they are backtracking on the woke decision they took a couple of years back to drop the famous glamour models they used and move to what they called ‘ordinary size’ models. In effect this meant a selection of fat, weird-looking women. Well of course the result has been a large drop in sales. Now surveys have revealed that customers don’t want to see fat models display the undies on the catwalk, they much prefer seeing sexy lithe models they can pretend to look like. A classic example of ‘go woke, go broke’.

I’m done for yet another week’s tale telling. I hate this time of year as winter races towards us. I much prefer spring and summer. Anyway, it gets worse as next Saturday night/Sunday morning when the clocks go back. It has suddenly struck me that it will already be next Sunday when you read this, so you will have had an extra hour in bed. I think it will be a comfy chair in reception again today. I’ll be back with you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2023