It’s Monday again and it’s wet again. Everyone was watching football in the office yesterday; at times they had two games on at the same time (on different TVs!). I had trouble working out what the games were, Scots, English, men, women and finally some stuff from America where they all were padding and helmets to stop them from being hurt. Can someone explain the offside rule to the Spuds, they must have thought they had scored four or five times only to see a man holding up a flag.
So, there was an anti-Semitism March by 100,000 people in London yesterday. It was remarkable how different it was from the pro-Hamas one the day before. Yesterday there was no trouble, no rude shouts and only two arrests. One was someone shouting at the marchers and the other was Tommy Robinson who appeared to have been arrested for simply joining the march. Like him or loath him, I fail to see what he had done other than have breakfast in Weatherspoon’s and walk out of the doors where he was pepper sprayed and frog marched away by 20 or 30 police. The police seemed to be showing their bias once again. What I want to know is why wasn’t Sad Dick marching.
I see the new book by Covid Scabies on Ginge and Whinge is published tomorrow. Selected bits have already been leaked to the media which of course show the Royal Family in a bad light and praise how wonderful Ginge and Whinge are. Scabies says he didn’t talk to the Californian exiles while writing the book. Now that seems to be carefully worded so as not to rule out being briefed by them before he started writing things. I do wonder who buys this rubbish, are they in their right mind?
The Rich Boy is off to a Global Investment Summit at Hampton Court today. It is the second meeting of its type, to bring together big organisations who are going to invest in the United Kingdom. Last year’s summit brought £10 billion worth of investment into the country. This year it is a touch short of £30 billion and I am told that much of that has been since the Autumn Statement eased a lot of taxes on businesses. I understand that the same crowd are all off to Buckingham Palace for dinner with King Big Ears this evening. As it’s a load of Yanks and Krauts I bet they love it.
Do you remember the Rich Boy’s wonderful idea of bringing in a rolling ban on smoking so that 16-year-olds will never be allowed to smoke? It was based on a similar scheme that was brought in by New Zealand’s Labour Government. But times change and so do governments, and that is just what has happened in New Zealand. A new centre-Right government is now in power, and the new finance minister has reversed the ban. He says that not banning smoking will pay for the tax cuts he is bringing in. Which makes me wonder how much tax the ban in the U.K. will cost the exchequer.
It is lovely seeing the Israeli hostages being released, especially the young children. Yesterday they included a nine-year-old Irish Israeli girl who at one time was believed to be dead. Of course, the Irish Teashop, Leo Verruca, had to get his oar in, and put out a statement on Twitter where he celebrated getting his girl back who he said was ‘lost’. Well, his use of language was pretty poor, the little girl wasn’t ‘lost’ she had been kidnapped by Hamas and was being held hostage. This language has particularly upset the Israeli Government who have demanded the Irish ambassador to Tel Aviv come into see them for a word in his ear.
On the 8th of November the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) put out a report criticising petrol retailers for not passing on to customers falls in the wholesale price of petrol. They pointed out that over the previous 31 days the retail price of petrol had fallen by 3.5 pence a litre which was hugely different to the fall in wholesale prices. But CMA’s report does seem to hit home, in the last 14 days the price of petrol has fallen by 3.75 pence, which is in line with the fall in wholesale prices. But hasn’t it always been the case prices go up like a rocket and fall like a feather?
Down here in London it is very cold again this morning, but at least it is dry at the moment. Once again, the weather forecast got it wrong. At the weekend they were telling us it was going to snow as far south as Hampshire, two days later they tell us the front is passing to the South of the U.K. and for most of us it is only going to be freezing cold. Of course, there will be snow in parts of Scottishland and maybe the extreme Northeast of England on land over 1,000 feet above sea level. But the good old Met Office have again proved incapable of forecasting the weather more than a day ahead.
When the Russians invaded Ukraine nearly two years ago a consequence was that they were thrown out of a European project to send a rover to Mars. The Rosalind Franklin Rover is being built by Airbus at Stevenage for the mission in 2028. The Russians were to supply an instrument, but of course that has now been cancelled. Yesterday it was announced that the University of Aberystwyth has now been awarded a £10.0 million contract to build the new instrument, an infrared spectrometer named Enfys – meaning ‘rainbow’ in Welsh. The instrument is to analyse soil down to a depth of two metres.
Tesla are having union problems in Sweden. The Swedish union IF Metall has been trying to negotiate an agreement to represent Tesla workers at its repair centres. But they only represent about 10% of the Tesla workforce and Tesla aren’t playing ball. But IF Metall has enrolled the assistance of several other Swedish Unions including those at PostNord who have the contract to deliver packages for the Swedish Transport Agency who supply all the license plates in the country. Tesla is suing the Transport Agency for not supplying it with plates. The court has told the STA that it must allow Tesla to pick up the plates and has given them seven days to comply or face fines. Watch this space.
I read that passengers on the cruise ship Pacific Adventure have been up in arms. The ship left Sydney for a cruise to several ports in New Zealand before it was to return to visit three ports in Australia before returning to Sydney. Unfortunately, the weather was extremely rough, the sick bags in the stairwells were disappearing rapidly, and the passengers were looking forward to setting foot on dry land in New Zealand. However, the ship was banned from entering the port on ecological grounds. Apparently, there were three immature mussels and a tiny bit of coral on the hull breaching New Zealand’s ‘invasive species’ regulations. Normally divers would have gone down and cleaned them away but the weather was too rough. Consequently, the ship had to spend more time at sea. The passengers were initially offered a 50% future cruise credit and A$200 cabin credit. But when many passengers said they wouldn’t cruise on the ship again, they have been given a 100% cash refund. Not bad, they have in fact had a free cruise.
Today the world’s first commercial airline flight powered by sustainable aircraft fuel (SAF) takes off. Virgin Flight 100 to New York takes off from Heathrow this morning. It will be loaded with 50 tonnes of SAF. The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787 with Rolls-Royce engines on fuel made from plant waste and old vegetable cooking oil and is reckoned to have 70% less carbon output. I hear that we didn’t have enough SAF in the U.K. for the flight and have had to import some from the US to make up the volume. I have seen lorries collecting dirty used oil from chip shops and I hear this is the sort of oil they recycle for SAF. I wonder if the plane will smell of chips.
Have you seen the Christmas advert for ‘Charlie’s Bar’ in Enniskillen on Facebook? It cost the pub £700 to make and features many of the pub’s regulars as actors. The main character had done some amateur dramatics but is now retired. It is about loneliness and has an old man laying flowers on his wife’s grave before being ignored by everyone on the way to the bar. At the pub, he is sitting on his own with a Pint of Guinness when another customer’s little dog comes over to him and makes friends with him. The dog is swiftly followed by his owners, who join the old man and become friends. The pub put the advert on Tic Tok on Friday and by yesterday had received over 6,000,000 views. Obviously, it has proved a wonderful advertisement for the pub, dragging many extra customers to the pub.
Last week I told you that Uzbekistan where thinking of buying French Rafale aircraft to replace their Russian-built aircraft. Today I hear that another Russian satellite state, Kazakhstan, is looking to dump its MiG-29 and MiG-31 fleets and replace them with the Dassault-built multi-role plane. The MiG-29 is designated as a fighter aircraft and the MiG-31 an interceptor, both roles that the Rafale can do. On a one-for-one basis Kazakhstan would need around 43 aircraft.
Morning all, gosh was it cold when I wandered down the garden this morning. I had a chuckle when I read that Covid Scabies book had been pulped in Holland because that language version included two names that he claimed were the ‘Royal racists’ who asked what colour Ginge and Whinge’s first-born was going to be. As the manuscript for other countries didn’t give any names, it makes me wonder if this is a publicity set-up.
Last night there was a lot of trouble in London as over 2,000 people gathered and cars drove round and round. Apparently, they were celebrating Albania Day. Fireworks were fired at the police and arrests were made. Who knew there were enough Albanians in London for 2,000 to gather! If it were Romanians (their day is coming on Saturday) I wouldn’t have been surprised because there are loads of them in England, mainly washing cars at Tescos.
Airbus has just produced its first A321neo on its new Toulouse assembly line. Until 2021 this line was where the A380 was produced. With A380 production now finished, Airbus decided to convert the line to produce the A321neo versions of the A320 family of jets including the XL and XLR versions. With 6,800 A320 family aircraft to be delivered it makes sense to add another production line to the seven already in operation worldwide. There are four in Hamburg, one in Atlanta, one in China and now two in Toulouse. Airbus is currently building up to 76 aircraft a month, but at that rate it will be a long time to work through that massive backlog of orders.
The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 has just returned to service following a major refit and the reviews say it is now magnificent. I hear it was beginning to look a bit tired, with carpets and soft furnishings looking a bit warn. Apparently, it has come back looking as good as new, with fresh carpets everywhere and all the soft furnishings replaced, including armchairs, sofas and loungers. The main pool and whirlpools have been retiled and the theatre stage has received a new electronic back wall and even the planetarium has received new electronic seats that recline at the touch of a button. The QE2 is just about the only ship at sea that I have a chance of going on as there is an onboard kennels and cattery. I wonder if they serve Felix Chicken?
Some time ago I told you about the first British test crop of haricot beans being grown in Lincolnshire. Why is that important, well it is because it has never been possibly to grow haricot beans in the U.K. and the beans we need for the 2,000,000 tins of baked beans we eat every day are all imported. Scientists at the University of Warwick have produced a modified bean and the first crop grown in the U.K. has now been harvested. Most are being saved as seed stock for next year, but I hear some have gone to the Princes Foods factory in Lincoln where they are being test canned. Unfortunately, they will not go on sale to the public, as I’m sure you would like to try them. Princes Foods produce 264 million tins of beans every year for Branston Foods and supermarkets’ own brands.
At the Covid enquiry yesterday it was Gove’s turn to face the questions. What is noticeable is how every single person asked says any problems were not their fault and blames someone else and that we should have locked down sooner. Then Gove had the audacity to say that there was now a consensus that the virus was man made. He was quickly shut down by the questioner who said, “We are not going there.” I get the idea that the outcome of the enquiry has been predetermined.
Back in April London’s Westminster Council became Liebore for the first time in its history. Like all Liebore councils they have been looking at how to raise more money. Of course, they have decided the easiest target is the motorist and have decided to put up parking charges. Under the existing system, if you drive an electric vehicle and park at a meter, you pay the full charge of 96p for the first 10 minutes and the rest of the four hours are free. Under the new rules, ‘designed to encourage low emission vehicles,’ EVs will have to pay the full cost of £18.18. It you are a local trader, and need to park all day, it will cost you £36.96 for eight hours. Westminster Council say that the growth in EVs means they can no longer afford to give them subsidised parking and they will also be introducing charges for residents’ EV parking permits based on battery size as the bigger, heavier EVs damage the roads more. The free ride for EV owners is clearly coming to an end.
Good morning humans from your cat reporter and it’s cold again in London, but at least it’s not wet at the moment. The Rich Boy is not going to be cold today as he is off to the COP28 meeting in Dubai with King Big Ears and ‘call me Lord Dave’. Interestingly they are all on their own private jets. It’s not as if there is a shortage of daily scheduled flights to Dubai, there are 25 a day including seven direct flights from Heathrow. They could easily have filled a First-Class cabin. I bet it is so warm out there that they have the air conditioning on at their five star (or more) hotels.
Another Liebore run council has gone bust and I read they say it’s all the fault of the evil Tory Government. Nottingham City Council has been struggling for ages with a vast overspend of their own making. It spent money on numerous loss-making schemes and never seems to have learnt a lesson. For example, it invested £17 million in rebuilding a shopping centre and its partner went bust leaving it to pick up the bill. It started an electricity supply business called Robin Hood Energy that lost money in every year it traded. It spent £16 million ring fenced for housing on general expenditure and now says it is on track to overspend by £21 million this year. So, it has issued a Section 114 notice under which it will carry on providing only those services it has to by law, like social services, and waste collection.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen has said she wants the U.K. to apply for membership of the EU. She seems to be under the misapprehension that the EU is wonderful, and that the U.K. want to be involved. But how on earth is anyone going to vote to rejoin a grouping that would demand we join the Euro, demand free movement and that we pay vast amounts for the privilege. I think what she really wants is our money to help rescue the failing EU.
Yesterday, for the fourth time in eight days a broken rail has messed up train services through the Thames Valley into London. This is way above the norm, in fact, one broken rail in eight days would be unusual. Why has this happened, could it be because Wales and Western Region lines have been at the bottom of the heap when it comes to maintenance? To me, it looks like they have been saving money on maintenance at the expense of safety. If someone was walking the track a cracked rail would be found before the rail broke.
On Talk TV last night Piers Morgan revealed the two members of the Royal Family named as racists in the Dutch version of Covid Scabies book on the California two. Morgan named the alleged racists as King Big Ears and the Kate the Princess of Wales. I can’t imagine any two less racist people, so I don’t believe a word. I have been told, on good authority, that when Ginge first dated Whinge a jokey conversation along the lines of, “Do you think a baby would have ginger hair?” occurred. There is no way in the world that is racist.
Has the huge storm that hit the Black Sea and surrounding areas, wrecking boats and flooding massive swathes of land, wrecked the pens of the trained dolphins at Sevastopol where the Russians kept them? The dolphins are said to have been trained to retrieve items from the seabed, place mines, and assist divers. A writer on the Forbes website says he has been studying satellite pictures and they show the pens have been destroyed. Now that points to the dolphins escaping, but people are only guessing, the dolphins may have escaped but on the other hand may have hung around because they know they get fed regularly there. I wonder if those who escaped followed Douglas Adams and left a note saying, “So long and thanks for all the fish.”
Last night 18 Just Stop Oil idiots gathered outside the Rich Boy’s London house (not No. 10) where they proceeded to bang pots and pans to make as much noise as possible. What happened? The police arrested 16 of them. I have a couple of questions, why were only 16 of them arrested and how come the police were so quick when they normally let JSO protesters do whatever they like? Yet another sign of police bias.
Good morning all and it’s still cold. The Rich Boy went off to Dubai early this morning, but I hear he is coming back late this evening, but I don’t know if he is coming to Downing Street, going to his London house, the official country home or this house in Yorkshire. I hope he is not coming here as then I might get KFC in addition to my Felix.
Jenny Harries, who was the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency and head of NHS Test and Trace during Covid, has been giving evidence at the Covid Enquiry. One of the things she said was that there was no proof that face masks made any difference to the transmission of Covid. Now I’m not in the slightest little bit surprised to hear his, there was a lot of speculation at the time with plenty of people pointing out that the mesh in the masks was much too coarse to stop the virus. What amazes me is that some people are still wearing the masks, even when walking in the open air or driving on their own in a car. One thing is sure, if Covid comes back you will all be expected to wear the useless things again.
I read that Thailand is in the market for four Frigates for its navy. It currently has one fairly modern ship built by the now-bankrupt South Korean company Daewoo and several very old Chinese frigates. The bidding process has not yet started, and the Thais are in preliminary negotiations with several suppliers including Krupp, a Chinese company and Babcock International. One thing the Thais want is to build the ships in Thailand and it is likely to be a requirement of the final contract. One thing in Babcock’s favour is that their Arrowhead 140 design is already being built in Poland and Indonesia proving that they are willing to transfer designs to third parties.
Members of the RMT union have voted to accept a backdated 5% wage increase for the last year. After rejecting offers, the union finally put one to its membership without making for or against the other, something rail operators had been asking them to do. It seems that the membership was happy to accept the offer when asked. Now it is just the train driver’s union ASLEF that are still sticking. They have had a similar offer from the Rail Delivery Group but haven’t had a chance to vote on it. The offer would give drivers an increase in their median salary from £60,000 per annum to £65,000 for a four-day week. Nice work if you can get it.
The two giant pandas at Edinburgh are no longer on display as they have been recalled by China. Giant pandas only live in the wild in China and the Chinese will only ever loan them to a foreign zoo. The pair in Edinburgh have been there for 12 years and have been a very popular exhibit, drawing in big crowds. For some unknown reason China has decided to call home all its Pandas from all over the world so it comes as no surprise to see Edinburgh’s pair going home.
On Wednesday evening Arsenal played Racing Club Lens at the Emirates Stadium in London. The result was a thumping 6-0 win for Arsenal, something that upset the visiting 3,000 Lens supporters. They let off flares and the ground was swathed in smoke for long periods. They chucked disposable lighters at Arsenal plays, one of whom caught one. They even ripped out a seat which was thrown at players. I wonder if UEFA will take any action? If they do it will probably be against Arsenal for not strip-searching everyone coming into the stadium for flares, lighters and spanners to dismantle seats.
The Royal Caribbean Cruise ship Quantum of the Seas has left a number of passengers on the dockside in Australia. The ship was going on an eight-day trip and it seems that a number of cabins were double sold. Passengers who had booked ‘guaranteed’ suites turned up at the port only to find that Royal Caribbean had sold all the suites, and none were left for the ‘guaranteed’ customers. A ‘guaranteed’ fare is where customers pay a reduced price and are allocated accommodation at the last minute. I understand my scribe books a ‘standard’ fare as he prefers to pick what cabin he is in, he doesn’t want to be next to the laundrette, the lifts or under the nightclub. I hear that these disappointed passengers have been offered all their money back and 25% in future cruise credits. That’s not very generous.
Gosh, it’s Saturday again and it’s getting colder. Now we’re in December we are getting Christmas-like at number 10. However, they have stuck a bloody great tree bang in front of my windowsill. They were decorating it yesterday and I popped out to see what was going on and someone took my picture by the tree. I was looking disgusted, and I was, the tree makes it hard to get to the windowsill and it blocks my view of who is coming and going.
I hear that today is Global Fat Bike Day. Having no idea what a ‘fat bike’ is, I have checked up and found out that it started off as a standard bike with extra wide, or ‘fat’ tyres. The idea was to put more rubber in contact with the ground. But that wasn’t enough for some people and they started building their own special bicycle frames to take even fatter tyres. I understand that now you can buy special fat bike frames. I wonder if they make one for cats?
If you are travelling to London Stansted Airport on the Stansted Express from London, I hear there is a problem with the ticketing system that could cost you a big fine. Londoners are used to using their credit, debit and smartphones to pay for their train, Tube and bus fares in London, but for some unknown reasons they can’t be used on the Stansted Express. They can be used on both the Heathrow and Gatwick Expresses, but you have to have a ticket for the Stansted Express. However, the silly thing is that you can use your electronic payment system to pass through the ticket line at Liverpool Street, but you need a ticket to get off at London Stansted. Why can’t you check in electronically? It is because the train stops at Tottenham Hale, and you can use electronic payment to get there. There are notices up at Liverpool Street, but dozens of people are missing them and being fined every day.
I have found some videos on the internet featuring identical twin girls, who must be about two years old, trying all sorts of food. They sit there in their identical highchairs and mum, and sometimes dad, serve them identical plates of food. One girl (Gwen) always wears pink and has a pink water bottle to wash down the food, while her sister (Anna) is in purple. The only trouble is the video is from the US and consequently the food is American, and they try things like meatloaf and hot dogs. But what amazed me is that they try everything and have very few things they don’t like. But one is crazy for, of all things, pickles, and wants them with everything. However, she doesn’t like mushrooms and picks them out of her food and gives them to her sister. They are at the stage of learning to use cutlery but still prefer to dive in with their hands especially to stuff broccoli in their mouths which they love. They are delightful.
As we get nearer to a general election Liebore are slowly revealing where they stand on lots of things and the more they tell us the more I fear Sir Beer moving into Number 10. They have already backed down on spending £28 billion every year on ‘green’ things, but yesterday it was their plans on Europe that bothered me. That lump Lammy announced that their main foreign policy would be to get closer to the EU. Despite the country voting to get out of the EU and all its restrictions, the Liebore lot, who were mainly ‘Remainers’, want to get us back together with them and all that means; EU Laws, free movement and the Euro. No thanks from this cat.
The England Ladies football captain, Leah Williamson, was one of the best-paid British ladies footballers, earning what is said to be £150,000 a year at Arsenal Ladies her WSL club. Then last April she became the third Arsenal lady footballer to suffer an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in a short period. But as they say, it’s an ill wind that blows no good and I hear that while out injured she has become a multi-millionaire and is now reported to be worth £4 million. She has signed contracts with Gucci, Nike and Pepsi to promote their products and is often seen on the red carpet at major events and on the front cover of fashion and health magazines. I suppose it helps being a pretty blue-eyed blonde to be paid that amount. I understand she is back training and hopes to be playing again in the new year, just like her teammates Beth Mead and Viv Miedema who have both recovered from ACL injuries and are back playing. I wonder if playing again means she will have to cut back on the promotional work?
Sometimes I can’t get my cat brain around Premier League football. Tonight, Manchester United are due to play at Newcastle and were going to fly from Manchester to Newcastle, about 150 miles by air, but their flight this morning was cancelled because of the cold, snowy weather. Instead of flying the poor pampered lot are having to go by luxury coach on what is now a three-hour journey. But one coach is not good enough, the team are spread over three coaches. Does every player and substitute have a bed and a personal massage on the trip? In the old days the players used to go everywhere by coach and play cards all the way. I bet cards are banned these days.
I am finished for yet another week. Although it’s lovely and sunny out in the street it’s freezing cold out there and that bloody great tree has left my windowsill in the shade, so I will not be going out there this afternoon. Like the last few weeks, it’s going to a comfy chair in reception where I can keep toasty by the open fire. See you all next week.
© WorthingGooner 2023