Larrys Diary, Week Two Hundred And Twenty-Two


Hi folks, it’s another week and I am here again, bringing you all the news that’s fit to report, and some that isn’t! The Rich Boy, or as I have heard him called in the office, the Prime Miniature, disappeared to Northern Ireland yesterday and stayed overnight to meet the Tea Shop today. I wonder where he stayed. Perhaps it was the Europa in Belfast, the posh hotel that was blown up umpteen times during ‘the Troubles’. I hear they do a delicious Irish breakfast with white pudding and potato bread.

Yesterday was the 1st Sunday in February, and for some years now it has been ‘National Yorkshire Puddings Day.’ I don’t know if my scribe knew this before he had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for his Sunday lunch. But ‘Yorkies’ have been around for hundreds of years with documents describing them going back to at least 1700. Not everyone eats them with roast beef, these days they are very popular with even Christmas dinner. I hear that ‘up North’ they eat them with gravy as a starter or with golden syrup as a dessert. I could go for the starter, with nice meaty gravy, but I don’t have a sweet tooth.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
As a Starter?
Yorkshire Puds,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I read that the joint venture of Babcock and Supacat have started production of 70 Jackal 3 High Mobility Transport vehicles for the Army. They will be building the vehicles at a special building in the Devonport Royal Dockyard and for a change the plan is supposed to be that they are all delivered by the end of August. I guess they have gone to the expense of setting up a production line in the hope that they will get export orders.

Did you hear that Russia and Ecuador are having a dispute? I understand that Russia is not happy because Ecuador swapped a load of old Russian-supplied military equipment for $200 million worth of new military equipment from the United States. The report says that in retaliation the Russians have banned imports of bananas from Ecuador. The President of Ecuador described the Russian equipment as virtually ‘scrap metal’ and that they need decent equipment to enable their forces to fight the drug lords. I wonder if there will be a banana rush in Russia just like we had a toilet roll rush in the UK.

Over the weekend I read moans in the dead tree press that our Type 45 are under-armed and have no land attack missiles, unlike the US warships. Apparently, the ships were designed to have vertical launch missile tubes in the forecastle. However, to save money, they were never fitted. Instead, the treble height space is equipped as a gym with exercise bikes and weights. What a silly mistake, not being able to launch cruise missiles at our enemies. Is the same mistake being made on the current build warships?

I read that motorists are considering suing both the Department of Transport and Transport for London over speeding fines they have received on the eastbound A20 near Sidcup, Kent. The road sign shows a 50 mph limit, but the actual speed limit on the stretch of road is 40 mph and hundreds of motorists have been fined, they believe unfairly. A temporary 40 mph limit was put on the road due to flooding, but not signed. How anyone has got a speeding ticket under these circumstances is impossible to know. They say ignorance of the law is no defence, but in this case, there is no way people could ever have known the law to be ignorant of.

Nestle have launched a new version of its popular Aero chocolate. This one, however, is a bit of a cheat, aimed at people who don’t like or can’t eat nuts. The new treat is hazelnut-flavoured but contains no nuts. In a blind tasting people confirmed that it really did taste of hazelnut and was lovely creamy chocolate. It seems very wrong to have nut-less nut flavour chocolate, but it looks like a winner for Nestle.


This morning the media is full of news of King Big Ear’s and his cancer. They all are saying the same thing as the only hard news they have is what was announced by the Palace. But it doesn’t stop them speculating and making things up. I suspect, with hindsight, we might have guessed that something was up when on Sunday the Palace announced that William was to resume his royal duties despite Catherine still being obviously unwell. What sort of cancer it is and what treatment Big Ears is undergoing will eventually emerge, but right now it doesn’t matter.

I see Lego Head Starmer is still indulging in deliberately sending out mixed messages on his £28 billion a year green scheme. It has been confirmed that it is being watered down but by how much depends on who you listen to and what day it is. Lego Head says the scheme has not been dumped and it will happen, but carefully he avoids saying when it will start, how much a year will be spent and how long it will take to get to spending £28 billion a year. The policy is all about being net zero by 2030 something that is clearly impossible. Where are the millions of green cars going to come from, where is the electricity going to come from? The one nuclear power station being built won’t even be online by then. It’s just that he can’t tell his voters that he can’t deliver, so he just pretends it will happen until he gets into power and can say there is no money to do it, even ignoring the time scale the scheme is never going to work.

Stellantis has announced that it is to slow production at its main electric vehicle plant, Mirafiori, in Turin. Among its products are the electric versions of the Fiat 500 and Maserati, sales of which have been much slower than predicted. Production has been halted until the end of March and employees furloughed until 3rd March. EV sales in most of the world have slumped as the early adopters have dumped them and gone back to petrol. The only place switching to electric in large numbers seems to be China and that is because when the Chinese government want something they make it happen. In Italy the newish government has started offering subsidies of up to €13,750 (£11,770). How very different to here where subsidies have been dropped for all but business customers.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Is the rear tyre flat?
2015 Fiat 500e EV USDM,
Rutger van der Maar
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I have been watching an American Cat on Twitter. Mr Kitters has a mini camera with a microphone on his collar and I can see what he sees as he patrols his garden, walking through the grass, digging in the mulch, watching the next-door cats fighting from under his bush and pouncing on a leaf. It looks like American cats are much like British cats, but this one is meowing all the time.

I see HMS Richmond is to replace HMS Diamond in the Red Sea. Diamond is a destroyer and Richmond is a frigate, but both are air anti-aircraft ships and armed with vertical launch Sea Viper missiles. But the same problem still exists, although it is armed with ship-to-ship harpoon missiles it has no land attack capability, something that the Royal Navy ships seem to lack. The only part of the navy with land attack capability are submarines which have the capability to launch cruise missiles via torpedo tubes. I wonder if Richmond has a full load of missiles and if we have spares somewhere in a friendly Red Sea port, as I understand they can’t be rearmed at sea, as a dockyard crane is required to pop the missiles into the launch silos.

Wendy’s, the American burger chain that has over 2,500 branches worldwide is continuing its expansion in the U.K. despite it taking longer than planned. The home of the Square Burger re-entered the British market a few years back after withdrawing a few years before due to poor sales. This time round they aimed to have 45 outlets open by the end of last year, but only managed 30, mostly in London and the Southeast. However, they have recently opened up in the Midlands and North and have outlets in Manchester, Sheffield and Hull. I see they have just applied for planning permission to convert an empty shop unit in Hull city centre into the company’s second Hull outlet. Sales in Hull must be good if they are opening a second branch in the city.

Prince Harry arrived in London this morning after flying in from California and flying over the pole. It seems King Big Ears phoned around his family over the weekend to personally tell them of his diagnosis. I am surprised that the ginger one answered the phone to his “Dear Papa”. I’m sure that if the Whinger had got there first, she would have hung up on him. Anyway, he knows good publicity when he sees it so he dropped everything and leapt on a plane to Heathrow leaving his other half to look after the children. However, Big Ears has started his treatment, and it is sure to have knocked his immune system, so will he be happy to be close up and personal with his son who has just spent hours on an air-conditioned plane breathing in other people’s germs.


Morning folks dull and wet again this morning and cooler again. At least it is only rain here in the south, the forecast says snow In the north of the nation. I hear the Ginger one met King Bigs yesterday but only for 45 minutes. Having spent 11 hours on a Jet from LA he obviously hadn’t made much of an arrangement to meet the king as he had to hold back his helicopter flight from Buckingham Palace to Sandringham where he intended to recuperate between his cancer treatment sessions. If the king is having radiation treatment it can build up on you and make you feel quite ill. Surely someone who didn’t just want the headlines would have visited his father quietly at Sandringham. But it makes a better story to rush to the place and hold the king’s plans up.

Yet another problem for the Boeing 737 Max. Boeing have announced that they have found that at least 50 737 fuselages have two holes that have been mis-drilled and need to be repaired. It is amazing how many faults related to manufacturing errors are being found, Boeing’s QA department must all be worried about keeping their jobs. I also hear that Alaska Airlines, whose plane it was that lost the door plug, reason they have had to cancel thousands of flights because of the Max 9 being grounded. So far, the bill comes to around $150 million, and they have every intention of handing the bill to Boeing.

Yesterday it was the turn of Spanish and Bulgarian farmers to protest their lot and block roads around their countries with tractors. The problem is the same across the EU, the farmers all say that the EU environmental and net zero rules are making it almost impossible to make a profit on many crops. It seems it is not just one rule but a combination of the regulations that have been imposed on them without consultation. Things like bans on weed killers and pesticides, high costs of fuel, energy and fertiliser and having to let 4% of their land stay fallow. For a big farmer, the fallow land can equate to tens of thousands of Euros annual income.

I told you a while back that Germany had ended its objections to the U.K. selling Typhoon jets to the Saudis and before that I told you the Saudis were negotiating with the French to buy 54 Rafales and that they were likely to join the Anglo, Italian, Japanese Tempest programme. Now I hear that they are in negotiating with Airbus to acquire several A330 airborne refuelling tankers. I find it interesting that the Saudis have chosen the European aircraft rather than buying the American alternative. They are also said to be negotiating for the A400M transport plane. I suppose that with their huge oil income money for new air force planes is not a problem.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
On its way to India?
Airbus Military A400M Atlas – RIAT 2014,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The initial findings of the US National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the Alaska Airlines door plug blow out was released last night and it makes bad news for Boeing. It reports that there is no evidence that the four bolts that were meant to secure the door plug were ever in place. As I mentioned earlier Boeing are a rather troubled company at the moment and I hate to think how much this will cost them in compensation, lost and cancelled orders. They must be thankful that Airbus A320 aircraft family is sold out for several years to come.

I told you earlier about yesterday’s farmers’ protests, well today’s news is that the EU has started to make concessions and is changing its ‘greenhouse’ gas emission plans in draft legislation. Its plan to demand a reduction in nitrogen, methane and other emissions linked to farming by almost a third has been dropped completely. Also, today Ursula von der Liar, the European Commission president, announced she was dropping her plan to halve the use of pesticides. In yet another climb down the EU has also had a recommendation urging EU citizens to eat less meat removed from its plans. Will these concessions be enough to stop the protests? I doubt it, all the things dropped are in the future and it is the farmers’ current income they are bothered about.

Yesterday the monthly numbers for new car sales were out and the only thing the BBC reported was that one million sales of EVs had been reached. As usual the Biased Broadcasting Company failed to report that the number of private EV sales had dropped sharply again. Overall new car sales for the first month of the year were higher than the equivalent month last year and just like in December, the sales of EVs were only supported by subsidised business sales. The best-selling car last month was the Kia Sportage followed closely by the Ford Puma. Both are mild hybrids, which basically means they can do perhaps 30 miles in EV mode before the petrol engine cuts in. A recent survey of mild hybrid owners showed that most of them never used the EV option, and they only bought the car because they wanted to be safe if ICEs are banned.


Good morning all, it’s horribly wet in London this morning and I had to dry myself off when I return from my garden excursion. At least the forecast says it’s only going to rain here. Further north, where the rain bumps into cold air they are going to get snow. The weather girl said up to a foot deep, that’s taller than me! I would have to keep my tail erect so that people could locate me.

Was it really worth the Ginger Prince spending 11 hours on a flight from LA to Heathrow only to spend 45 minutes with his ‘Dear Papa’ before heading off to his central London Hotel (Claridges?) where the walk-up price for one night in a suite is about £3,000? He headed back to LA yesterday afternoon. I can’t see him flying anything other than First Class, so that would cost him about £12,000 for a return ticket. But would he want any old member of the public in the pod next to him, so would he be happier paying for more tickets and leaving them empty? Of course, he could have one of his security staff there, but I wouldn’t mind betting they were back in Economy. Then his brother refused to see him. Obviously, he paid an absolute fortune for 24 hours in Britain and 45 minutes with his dad, I wonder if it was worth it.

So, the Advertising Standards people have ruled that battery EVs can’t be advertised as having ‘zero emissions’. The ASA has ruled that the claim ignores what sensible people have known for years, that the manufacture of EVs produces loads of emissions. They also point out that generating the electricity used to recharge an EV produces emissions. I had noted that several manufacturers had already been saying ‘no tail-pipe emissions’ in their advertising. Which is of course true but a little misleading as EVs don’t have tailpipes!

I see a poll in the American press has revealed that 76% of the American public don’t believe that Joe Biden has the physical and mental abilities to be president. The interesting thing is that the question is not about the upcoming presidential election, it was about his capability right now. It used to be a weekly cock up in a speech or a stumble on the steps of Airforce One, then it became daily and now it seems to be twice a day. But what are the Democrats doing supporting him for their nomination for president? I suspect he is going to get the nomination and be forced to stand down on health grounds shortly before the election. The Democrats will then put up someone like Michelle Obama or Killery, with the excuse that there is not enough time to hold new primaries.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
President Obama the Second?
US First Lady, Michelle Obama, speaking at Mulberry School for Girls, London,
UK Department for International Development
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Finnair has decided to change the way they charge for baggage. The idea is they will have a combined weight limit for luggage and the passenger who will be weighed on check-in. So, if you are fat, it will reduce your baggage allowance or if you are tiny you will get an increased baggage allowance. I am waiting for the fatties to start whinging that the system is against their ‘human rights’.

I have been hearing several indications that vegan food has passed its peak. Little things have been reported like companies cutting the number of meat-free lines they produce because they aren’t selling. Or the man in Manchester whose daughter convinced him to turn his greasy spoon into a vegan outlet and his business collapsed. Today I heard about Pret a Manger and its vegan outlets. A couple of years ago, to huge fanfares, they opened eight vegan outlets spread between London and Manchester. They have failed miserably and quietly been closed one by one. Yesterday they announced the closure of the three remaining outlets in London as sales have dropped so low as to make them unsustainable. You know the saying ‘Go Woke Go Broke’.

After a month or more of stories that the Liebore Party was considered ditching its ‘£28 billion a year Green Prosperity Plan’ coming from one half of the party, and it was proceeding as the cornerstone policy for the coming general election coming from the other half, it might just have become a little clearer today. Ages ago it emerged that £10 billion of the £28 billion was already committed by the Tories. Then the time scale started to be adjusted, then it was no longer going to be £28 billion a year from the first year in office but a slow build-up to that amount that probably wouldn’t be reached in the ‘first five-year term’. But Liebore has been terribly muddled about where the £28 billion was coming from, they categorically state it will not come from new taxes, but Rachel Reeves seems to have dismissed borrowing it, so is the answer growth or maybe from the new tax on ‘non-doms’ or VAT on private school fees. However, both of those have already been spent many times over. Then yesterday a paper pointed out that the £6 billion a year in the total for a home insulation programme was short by another £6 billion a year. This extra amount seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back and the GPP is going to be left to die naturally and should not be mentioned again (unless of course you are a Tory pointing out that Liebore always run out of money).


Well, it is dull and wet yet again this morning, so it was a quick sprint down to the bottom of the garden and back. What a difference between Prince William and the Queen Consort and Prince Harry. It became apparent late last night that it was the Ginger one who cut the meeting with the King short as he had to rush off back to the US where he had been booked to present the major award at an LA awards ceremony. By contrast William has reversed his decision to not perform royal duties until his wife is fit so as to support his father. He was presenting medals at the Place and then at a fundraiser for an air ambulance. The Queen had an appointment in Salisbury and was due to fly there from Sandringham in a helicopter, but it couldn’t fly due to bad weather. Consequently, rather than cancel, she spent nearly seven hours travelling by car. Who makes the better decisions William and Camilla or Harry?

Word reaches me that the Prime Miniature is considering holding the general election in September, before the party conference, instead of the widely expected date in November. The later date would allow him to announce the date in his set-piece conference speech and then toddle off to see the king. But as I hear it the Tory’s coffers are full, they have recently had some huge legacies and donations and don’t need the money-spinning conference to fill the coffers for an election. However, the Liebore Party finances are said to be rather poor and in need of the boost of a party conference. By going early, before the conference season, they hope to not give the other parties a chance to refill their financial reserves and to get an advantage on political spending.

I read that if you want to avoid Alzheimer’s disease researchers say there are a couple of things can do. Don’t pick your nose, as research shows that it can introduce germs and viruses into the nose from your hands and they can then migrate to the brain and could cause Alzheimer’s. I’m not sure if they have positive proof that this happens, only that it ‘could’ happen. The other finding is that men taking Viagra have a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s than those that don’t. The research apparently showed that 29% less people taking Viagra developed the disease. In this case, I wonder if what was really discovered was that people with an active sex life were less likely to suffer Alzheimer’s.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
The Little Blue Pill
Tim Reckmann |
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

A company called Community Nuclear Power claim they are going to be the first in the U.K. to build and operate a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) power station. They say they have a site in Teesside and an agreement with Westinghouse to build a four-reactor 1.4 Gw power station and have it in operation by 2030 which would be before Hinkley Point is ready. There are a few problems here, not the least being that they don’t have planning permission and the Westinghouse SMR has not been approved for use in the U.K. Westinghouse are one of six companies (EDF, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy International, Holtec Britain Limited, US-based NuScale Power, Rolls-Royce SMR and Westinghouse Electric Company UK Limited) that have been contracted by the government to develop an SMR for Britain but no decision has been made and nuclear approval alone can take years to get.

There are some strange things going on at London Lionesses football club. The Championship side are struggling this season and are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. On Wednesday evening they were due to host Arsenal in the last 16 of the League Cup. However following an early afternoon pitch inspection, the referee called the match off as the ground was waterlogged. Then at seven forty last night, just when the match should have been coming to the end of its first half, they announced the sacking of their manager and her assistant. What a strange time to pick, I wonder if it would have happened with the match in play. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to wait until the morning?

A wildlife charity has proclaimed that the countryside is ‘racist’ because of the number of white visitors. What utter rubbish. How can an inanimate object be racist? The countryside is open to everyone, just because black people don’t choose to visit it doesn’t make it racist. Surely this is a matter of culture, the white population of Britain has always enjoyed walking in the countryside and picnicking. But this doesn’t seem to be matched by the black population probably because it has never been a thing in Iraq, Afghanistan or Jamaica. Is the Notting Hill Carnival racist because it is hugely attended by black people? It would be racist if black people were rounded up and forced to go on a country hike.

Someone has made a bit of a balls-up with a road sign on the A449 to Monmouth. The Welsh Language version is Trefynwy, which translates to ‘Town on the Monnow’. Unfortunately, the new road sign has included and extra ‘w’ naming the pretty little town Trefwynwy which translates as ‘Egg Gas Town.’ My scribe, who has been there often, says this does not match his experience. I wonder if this was the sign manufacturer having a little joke or a genuine mistake.


When I first got up the sun was already out. Either I was up late or it’s getting light earlier.

Late yesterday afternoon Lego Head finally announced his long-expected U-turn on its £28 billion ‘Green Prosperity Plan’ and of course it was all because of the ‘evil Tories’. I did hear that the idea was to wait until after the Budget and blame it on the Tories spending all the money in tax giveaways, but they got themselves into such a mess over the different wings of the party’s views that they eventually had to rush the announcement out. They blamed all sorts of things, including the Liz Truss budget and interest rates, but the truth is they had messed up on the costing and it was just not financially practical. They tried to pretend that they were still going to do the things in the plan just not now. However, the only thing they quoted was their home insulation plan and for that they had allocated £6 billion a year. A recent report had said the planned number of homes would cost £12 billion a year so even that has been cut in half.

Authorities in the US have decided not to prosecute Sleepy Joe on the basis that he is a frail old man, and his memory is hazy. Sleepy Joe then stumbled and spluttered through a news conference where he said his memory was good and he is still going to run for a second term. If his memory is so good then why does he not remember things like to take his feet out of the toe clips when he comes to a halt on his bike, the name of Hamas and the leaders of France or Israel?

I read that the neighbours of a vulnerable woman in Manchester were worried about her not being at home and reported the matter to the police. The police gained access to her home to look for her. I can quite understand this as she could be dead or doing what missing persons often do like hide in the loft or the cupboard under the stairs. But these officers didn’t stop there, they settled down in front of her TV for four hours and watched Come Dine With Me and Netflix. I can understand that the police need to know if the woman came home but I’m certain a neighbour would have let them know.

Years ago, the world’s biggest carmaker decided to go against the tide and not throw all its considerable weight behind EVs. Instead they backed a number of horses and decided to sell all sorts of cars powered by petrol, diesel, battery, various hybrids, hydrogen and now ammonia. It could be said they have covered all bases and were ridiculed by much of the media for not putting everything into EVs. In the last few months Toyota have been proved to be following a sensible path as more and more motor manufacturers have been scaling back EV production and losing money. I find it interesting that the media is now taking a major interest in hydrogen power not just for cars but also for domestic heating. Could Toyota have the last laugh?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Hydrogen powered.
Toyota Mirai car,
Richard Hoare
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The first Type 31 frigate being built at Babcock has just met an interesting milestone. It has been weighed! The naval architects who designed the ship had calculated the weight of the ship at this stage, with the hull and superstructure complete and a coat of rust-preventing paint but without equipment, armaments and crew. The ship was lifted on 84 hydraulic jacks, equipped with load cells and the true weight established. Babcock have not revealed how close, or not, the two weights were.

In the US, unlike in Britain, you can only buy a new car from a dealer. Years ago, in the U.K. car manufacturers launched online platforms where you can pick your model and work through its customisation to build the car of your dreams. Then you can choose the way you want to pay for it and check out. In the US the main dealers have never allowed this to happen, and all cars have to be bought through a dealership. However, Ford have just launched a web tool where prospective buyers can configure their new car right down to sorting out the finance. But that is where it ends, the program tells you where you can find the car you have configured and sends you to the dealer that has it in stock or on order. Seems a bit of a waste of time to me when you could just visit the nearest dealer and haggle.

I’m done for the week. No nice sunny spells out there this afternoon. As it was not quite so cold, I did consider the windowsill but then I saw rain on the window, so it was back to the armchair again for the afternoon snooze. I hope to be back with you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2024