Larry’s Diary – Week Two Hundred And Twenty-Five


Hi folks, it’s another working week and surprise, surprise it’s raining again. I see The Donald has won the Republican Primary election in South Carolina, trouncing his opponent Nikki Haley by 59.8% to 30.5%. Which was a little embarrassing for her as she was twice the Governor of South Carolina. It’s Super Tuesday soon, when voters in 21 states select their candidate on the same day. Haley appears to be hanging in there hoping for a Super Tuesday miracle.

I read that Angela Raynor, the Liebore deputy leader, appears to be in trouble for hypocrisy and maybe even breaking the law about declaring where she lived. Crayons took advantage of the law that allowed her to buy her council house for a 25% discount and later sell it for a £48,500 profit. But here it gets a bit murkier, it is claimed that after marrying her boyfriend she moved into his house (also bought from the council at a discount) a mile away and her brother moved into her house. Nothing illegal with this even if it is hypocritical of her to be campaigning to stop the sale of council houses and housing association properties. But it is reported she still claimed to live in her house for the purpose of voting and it being her official address.

The Rich Boy has gone off to Yorkshire today for an away day Cabinet meeting. The exact location is being keep secret ‘for security reasons’ but I hear it is in South Yorkshire and easy to get to by train. I suppose this is why the re-announcement of money being reallocated from the cancellation of the northern leg of HS2 was made yesterday. I see the electrification of the railway line from Sheffield to Hull was announced again. I can’t remember how many times this has been announced and then cancelled. Hull has always been a bit of a ‘poor relation’ city so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the electrification cancelled again!

The Lee Anderson fuss is interesting, over the weekend it was reported as him saying in an interview that Sad Dick was controlled by Islamists, and this was racist. Of course, this is almost impossible to prove so it might or might not be true and even if it was Sad Dick would never admit it. Then this morning I actually heard the full quote and it was interesting that the last sentence had been ignored all weekend where he also said Lego Head was controlled by Islamists. Why wasn’t this last bit reported, was it because it couldn’t be described as ‘racist’?

A new species of snake has been discovered living in the Amazon. It is closely related to the green anaconda, which has been seen to grow to about 26 feet long and is a type of boa constrictor. The green anaconda is found in South America and Trinidad. The new snake although like the green anaconda is said to have a 5.5% difference in its genetic makeup. That might not sound to be much, but this is a similar percent difference between humans and chimpanzees.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
He’s a brave man.
Green Anaconda,
MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The children’s film Mary Poppins has had its certificate revised up from ‘U’ to ‘PG’. Why, what has changed in the film which came out in 1964? The answer is absolutely nothing, the film is still the same as it was when it was released 60 years ago. Actually, it’s modern snowflakery, with people being upset by the use of the word ‘Hottentots’ in the scene where sweeps are dancing on the rooftops. Hottentots was the name given to the Khoikhoi people of Southern Africa by the Dutch settlers. The word means stutterers and comes from the click-based language the Khoikhoi use. I wonder if the Khoikhoi complained, I somehow doubt it.

Death Valley in the United States is so named because of its inhospitable climate and lake of water. However, this winter due to unusual weather conditions a lake has formed and it is getting deeper daily. The lake, on an old salt flat, grew to seven miles long by three miles wide and then started to shrink as the rain stopped and it started to evaporate. Just recently more wet weather has caused it to start growing again.


At least it is dry this morning, with a bit of hazy sunshine. I had a chuckle this morning when I saw Sniffer Joe on the TV telling the world that a Gaza ceasefire was imminent only for Hamas to say it was rubbish. But it was Sniffer that made me laugh, he made his announcement while licking an ice cream cone. What serious politician would do that, I remember the Millipede and the bacon sandwich, it killed his party leadership. Is Sniffer senile or is he suffering from ‘brain freeze’ from too much ice cream?

P&O Cruises have announced that their bookings in January hit a new record. But I hear that they could have been so much better if they had been able to announce who their second flight partner was for flights to the Caribbean next winter season. This year the two ships based in the Caribbean, Arvia and Britannia have been served by charter flights operated by TUI and Maltese charter carrier Maleth. While few complaints have been received about the TUI flights, the same cannot be said about Maleth with flights often being delayed for hours, with one Christmas return resulting in people being stuck in Bermuda for several days. They also were said not to offer the same level of service as TUI with respect to onboard catering, no seat-back entertainment and no chance to upgrade to Premium Class. I hear that many people who experienced Maleth have been holding back from booking until they know they will not be flying to the Caribbean with Maleth. P&O have said they are negotiating with a second carrier to operate alongside TUI and Maleth have said they will not be flying on behalf of P&O after the current contract expires.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
P&O Britannia.
P&O Britannia, St. Lucia,
A Guy Named Nyal
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Last week EE turned off the last of its 3G base stations, it happened to be in Belfast. The other mobile operators O2, Vodafone and Three, are all working on closing networks and expect the last to be gone by 2025. The strange thing is that the 2G network is likely to remain until the mid-2030s as it is much better for remote spots and is used by smart meters. The freed-up wavelengths will be used to infill holes in the 4G and 5G networks.

I have been reading about the new Amazon device that has just gone on sale in the U.K., the Echo Hub. It has an 8” colour touch screen and can be mounted on a wall or using a supplied stand it can sit on a shelf. Apparently, it can control 10,000 devices like the ring doorbell, the burglar alarm, the curtains, the lights, fire sticks and even door locks. It can also link a series of items together and as well as touch controls it can accept voice control via Alexa. When you get up in the morning, for example, you could say, “Alexa, start my morning routine,” and it could put the radio on, switch on the kettle and open the curtains. When you leave home you could say, “Alexa, my going out routine,” and have it turn off the lights, set the alarm, lock the doors and turn the heating off.” Of course, it’s not going to be cheap, and I do wonder how it would react to ‘Meow.’

I hear that the new Cunard cruise ship, Queen Anne, has ‘sailed’ through its sea trials under the control of Cunard’s first female captain, Inger Thorhauge. The ship sailed from the builder’s yard outside Venice and spent two weeks at sea putting the ship and its equipment through all sorts of tests. I understand it is now in dry dock in Palermo having its hull painted to its in-service standard before it goes through its finishing touches. Its maiden cruise is scheduled to be from Southampton at the end of April.

It’s not only in Britain where building a new railway line has gone over budget and is taking much longer than planned. Rail Baltica is a programme to build a 900-kilometre line through Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. I hear that it is currently £2 billion over its £4 billion budget and substantially late. The idea is another one of those grand EU plans to link the three Baltic nations into the EU network. The problem is that the track gauge in the Baltic is the 1520mm of Russia, so to allow through trains to other parts of the EU the new line must be standard gauge of 1435mm. The line is supposed to be finished by 2026 but it has been agreed that this date is impossible to meet.

Do you remember back in 2021 when Boris Johnson announced Great British Railways and how it was going to take over from Network Rail? Despite the new company not yet existing I hear that there are 200 people working on the project on full pay, who have very little to do and often do little more than attend a meeting a day. Sounds like a pretty good job to me.


Morning folks, dull and cloudy this morning. I see that the motion of no confidence in Mr Squeaker has now reached 87 with the whole of the Plaid Cymru party signing up. Mind you as there are only three PC MPs that probably doesn’t worry him very much. The majority of signatories are SNP and Conservative. I understand that Liebore MPs haven’t been signing as they got exactly what they wanted out of last week’s fiasco.

I understand that building contractor, Willmott Dixon have walked away from a contract to refurbish the Cliffs Pavilion Theatre in Southend. Back in June last year Southend on Sea Council and Willmot Dixon agreed a pre-construction agreement to do the work. However, negotiations to finalise the details and the cost of the contract failed and the contractor gave up. This is not the first time they have stepped away from a contact. Earlier this month Willmot Dixon walked away from a £57 million contract with West Sussex County Council for a school project. The problem seems to be that councils have put aside sums for projects that are less than the actual cost. They then try to negotiate the contractor down to the amount they have and are surprised when the contractor won’t agree to be paid less than they have estimated the cost.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Back out to Tender.
The Cliffs Pavilion,
John Allan
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

News out of Russia this morning that as of the 1st March it will be halting exports of petrol for at least six months. I doubt Russia has taken this decision lightly as it makes a lot of money out of its petrol exports. So why have they done it? It seems that petrol supplies in Russia are struggling to satisfy internal demand to motorists and in particular farmers. Russia says that a break in exports will allow them to maintain refineries. However, the question is, are Russia hiding problems caused by Ukraine’s continuing attacks on infrastructure, including refineries?

I hear that Southampton’s Liebore council overspent by £7.7 million last year. This coming year they say they will be £39 million short and consequently they won’t be able to legally set a budget, as by law the budget has to be balanced. Instead, they are asking for special permission to sell off assets. However, they have admitted that this will see them through next year and they will have similar shortages the following year. They say the only answer is more money from central government and expect to be bailed out by a new Liebore government. Where will a Liebore government get the money from to rescue spendthrift councils, will it be tax increases or the magic money tree?

I read of a cyclist in London who claimed he saw a Range Rover driver using a mobile phone handset. So, he filmed the driver on his helmet camera and forwarded it to the police. The police watched the video and realised that to make it the cyclist must have been on the wrong side of the road. Consequently, the police have decided to prosecute the cyclist who has been charged with riding a cycle on a road without due care and attention. A police spokesman says the video shows the cyclist clearly riding at a motorcyclist coming the other way and forcing him to pass between the bicycle and very close to the Range Rover.

It’s not just sales of EVs that are struggling, I hear that sales of heat pumps fell by 5% across Europe last year according to the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA). Total sales fell 5% over the 14 countries for which data exists reversing the trend of previous years. In some countries the fall was quite substantial and sales last year dropped 36% in Italy, 42% in Finland and 46% in Poland which is understood to have followed the drop in gas prices across Europe as the peak price reached because of the Ukraine war eased. We were one of the few countries to buck the trend with increased sales of 4%. Are things green falling out of favour?

I have been hearing a story from the London suburb of Ealing. The council has been pursuing one Ali Bahbahani over a house he owned in Walgrave Road that had been illegally converted into flats without planning permission or building regulations and had an extra room built in the garden which was also rented out as accommodation. The council have been chasing Ali Bahbahani, who lives overseas, for over ten years. Firstly they were demanding that the building be returned to its original condition, but when this was ignored and Council Tax went unpaid, they asked the court for a confiscation order. When the case came to court it had to be adjourned because someone appeared impersonating Ali Bahbahani. In a later hearing the confiscation order was granted and Bahbahani fined £1.2 million with £16,000 costs. The building has now been sold by the council and the new owner is talking to the council about what he must do to regularise the planning permission problem.


Good morning my lovely readers. It’s Thursday so it’s another by-election day. This time it is in Rochdale which doesn’t have the most wholesome of reputations. This time the Liebore Party can’t win because they have disowned their candidate for anti-Semitism. As have the Green Party with their candidate, not that you would know it if you relied on the BBC for your news. With the huge number of Muslims in the constituency it’s a fair bet George ‘The Cat’ Galloway comes out on top.

I read that construction contractor Costain is moving its HQ from its current offices in Maidenhead and its London office into 70 St Mary Axe, in Central London’s business district. The building is known locally as the ‘Can of Ham’ and Costain has taken the whole 7th floor. Costain say they are doing much of their business in London and this move will bring them closer to their clients. However, they also have a lot of people employed in Maidenhead and once the HQ facility is moved to London they will be moved to a new building, yet to be identified. The ‘Can of Ham’ is a modern green building, is rated ‘Excellent’ on the BREEAM scale, has the highest energy efficiency certification and parking for 328 bicycles.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
The Can of Ham.
View of 70 St Mary Axe from Bevis Marks and Heneage Lane,
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

In the United States, McDonald’s have teamed up with a cosmetics firm to produce a nail varnish the same shade of red they use in their branches. If it was in the U.K. I would call it post box red. The nail varnish comes in a pack that is designed to look like a packet of their ‘fries’. Not being a user of nail varnish (claw varnish?) I don’t know if at $9 it is good value. I wonder what the policeman on the door of No 10 would do if I turned up with bright red claws, would he think I had attacked someone and it was blood?

News reaches me from Russia about the Sukhoi Superjet 100. The 103-seater regional jet has apparently hit a wall. Before the war with Ukraine the jet had received about 400 orders, almost all from Russian or satellite nations. However, the war caused sanctions to be placed on Russia and these hit the plane extremely hard. This was because many of the parts and electronics were imported from the West and the engines were a joint venture with a French company. Consequently, production of the plane has come to a complete halt until a new version can be launched with Russian-produced parts and Russian-produced engines. Of course, this means that the jet will have to be recertified, but this can only happen in Russia. The previous model was certified in Russia and in Europe by the EU’s EASA which meant that it was certified by many other authorities under reciprocal agreements. This included the CAA and the FAA. However, in 2021 the EASA certification was withdrawn under sanctions. This means that when the jet is eventually certified in Russia, it will not be able to export it to the West. I suspect the ‘Russified’ version will eventually go into service within Russia and its satellites, but I can’t see it ever being exported to the West.

Yesterday the High Court decided against the Ginger Whinger and his appeal against his loss of everyday armed police protection. When he didn’t get his own way over being half in and half out of the royal family he buggered off to Canada and then to California. It was the Metropolitan Police’s decision to withdraw armed protection from him overseas that triggered him. He seems to think it is unreasonable to not let him pay the police for armed protection. If he was allowed to do this, every single celebrity coming to the country would demand the same thing reducing the police to an armed protection service.

TUI has recently undertaken a survey of passengers on its short-haul charter flights to find out what they took with them. Some of the results were interesting, they found that 49% took teabags with them, 38% coffee, 34% slippers and some even took a kettle, sliced bread and stock cubes. Almost all of these are available in European countries and are just additional weight in the luggage. Even so TUI is increasing its short haul luggage allowance from 15 Kgs to 20 Kgs. I wonder what people will use this to take with them, maybe ready meals.

Do you remember the story of the Crooked House Pub, near Dudley in the West Midlands? Known as Britain’s wonkiest pub, where its walls were at odd angles due to land slippage? Last August, within two days of it being bought, it had a substantial fire. It was then immediately demolished by the owners without the council’s permission. The local council have now served an order on the company that owned the pub and two of its directors ordering them to rebuild it as it was before the fire. The owners have threatened to declare bankruptcy, but the council say that the order will still apply to anyone foolish enough to buy the pub.


Well, it’s mighty wet in London this morning, I woke to rain beating on the window, but as it was still dark outside, I said ‘white rabbits’ and went back to sleep till it was light. I hear that, as I predicted, Gorgeous George won by quite a margin on the back of his support for Gaza. But overnight there have been some disturbing reports of ballot stuffing, illegal postal voting, Muslims being forced to swear on the Quran to vote for GG and other candidates receiving threats of violence and death. I wonder if anyone will be brave enough to complain to the Electoral Commission?

The story reaches me that American Airlines is getting very close to placing an order for around 100 narrow-body jets. The rumours say that they have been talking to Airbus, Boeing and Embraer about the planes. The word on the street is that they will buy a small number of Boeing 787 Max8 and the rest of the 100 will go to Airbus A321neo with deliveries not starting until 2027. The size of the Airbus order book is an embarrassment with some 8,000 planes outstanding, meaning that planes ordered today will not be delivered for years. Consequently, people who require planes earlier are placing some orders with Boeing solely to get them more quickly, and this appears to be going to happen in this case.

In the ‘you couldn’t make it up department’ I hear that Russia is denying that Ukraine shot down another A-50 command and control aircraft this week. Instead, they claim they shot it down themselves! Why on earth would they do that, surely it is worse to say you shot down your own plane than to admit that Ukraine shot it down.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Who shot it down?
RF-93966 37RED A50(U) Russian Air Force UUMB 2,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I have heard that the French mounted a big rescue operation in the Channel yesterday when something went wrong with another boatload of illegal immigrants. At least this time it all happened in French waters, and we weren’t involved. The Frogs are not saying much but it has emerged that four rescue boats and a helicopter were used to pick up 180 people. One person was picked up out of the sea but died and two others are reported to have gone overboard from the people smugglers’ boat and have not been found. What I find interesting is that the rubber boat the people smugglers are using are getting bigger and bigger. It used to be 10 or 20 in a boat now it’s nearly 200 at a time. Just think how much money the smugglers must be making when they charge thousands of Euros per person for the one-way trip.

Tata, the owners of Jaguar Land Rover, have confirmed the site of their Giga EV battery factory is to be at Bridgewater in Somerset. Tata say their battery subsidiary, Agratas, has bought a site and will be proceeding in building the £4 billion factory on the site. It is known as the Gravity Smart Campus, and was a WWII armament factory. The site was operated by the Royal Ordinance Factory up until 2008. Tata say the new factory will support 4,000 local jobs and should produce its first battery in 2026. On its own it should be able to produce half the projected batteries needed by the U.K. car-making industry.

Ukraine has announced that it is to build a standard gauge (1435mm) railway line from Lviv to the Polish border so that it can connect with the European network. Like many of the ex-Soviet Union nations Ukraine’s railway tracks are all built to the Russian gauge (1520mm). The problem now is that trains all have to stop at the border where passengers and goods have to be transferred from one system to the other. The ultimate plan is to extend the standard gauge to other Ukrainian cities. To go to the smaller gauge is relatively easy as the smaller gauge trains should fit the existing infrastructure like tunnels, bridges and stations.

The home insulation scheme is supposed to be spending £1 billion over three years insulating houses to help get the country to Net Zero. However, eight months into the scheme they appear to have achieved only 3% of the target. It has been calculated that getting to the full target at this rate will take 60 years. I think I can safely predict that the scheme will be very quietly dropped.


Is it ever going to stop raining here in London? Another night when I got woken by rain beating on the window. I held off going down the garden until I was busting, I was not going to use the cat litter unless I absolutely had to. I managed to avoid the heaviest of the rain and only got a little wet.

To sell more cruises P&O are inviting travel agents to visit many of their ships when they are in Southampton this summer. On 16 days over the Summer, a total of 1,000 agents will be able to visit a ship and have a guided tour of the ship including the various cabin types, restaurants and entertainment venues. After which they will have a three-course meal in one of the main restaurants and then be allowed to explore on their own. They will also get free Wi-Fi while onboard and vouchers for free soft drinks. If I were working in a travel agent’s selling cruises, I would be agitating to have my employer let me go on one of these trips.

Babcock International have applied to the Fife Council for planning permission to build a huge building on an open storage area next to Rosyth Dry Dock 2. The purpose of the building is to aid with the dismantling of the seven old nuclear submarines parked there. Another 20 old nuclear submarines are scattered about the U.K. Babcock say if the permission is granted the programme should allow them to denuclearise Rosyth by 2035. Local people will be delighted to see the back of the old submarines, one, HMS Dreadnought, has been there for 44 years.

I read that the Ukrainians are claiming to have shot down another two Russia planes making 15 in just over two weeks. I really don’t know if it is the truth or porkies, but the Americans have said that the Russians have changed their tactics. The Yanks said the Russians had been using a lot of glide bombs against Ukraine’s hardened bunkers but to launch one their planes must pop up high to be able to make the bomb glide the 25 km it is designed to do. It is when they pop up they become vulnerable to the US-supplied Patriot anti-aircraft missiles which have a 200 km range but are useless against low-flying aircraft. Consequently, the Russians have taken to launching over their own territory and the Ukraine has been moving Patriots closer to the front line and protecting them with S200 missiles which are good at low level but useless at height and range.

Boeing are reported to be looking to buy Spirit, the company that builds their 737 Max fuselages. The aim is to bring the control of quality in-house. The odd thing is that it used to be a division of Boeing and was floated off as an independent company. I suspect the Spirit factory in Northern Ireland is watching developments closely. The NI factory was owned by Bombardier and builds a major part of the wings for the Airbus A220. I can’t see Airbus wanting to buy parts manufactured by a Boeing Company. An answer could be for Airbus to buy the factory.

I hear the Germans have sent an anti-aircraft frigate to the Red Sea to support the anti-Houthi operation called Prosperity Guardian. The Hessen had a poor start to the operation. They detected a drone over the Red Sea and as it wasn’t broadcasting IFF, asked the Americans if it was one of theirs and were categorically told no. So, the Hessen launched two SM2 missiles at it, both of which failed. It was only then that the ship was informed the drone was actually an American MQ-9 MALE UCAV. Red faces all around.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
How’s the SM2 missiles?
Sachsen class frigate Hessen – – 3055370,
Chris Gunns
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I have been reading about a school who got fed up with girls coming in wearing false eyelashes, so it decided to ban them. This resulted in a high number of girls truanting, claiming the ban was injurious to their mental health. So, what did the school do? They didn’t pursue the girl’s parents and fine them for non-attendance, instead they changed the rules to allow them to wear false eyelashes. How crazy, the children have been shown that they can get what they want by protesting. No wonder we see thousands on the streets protesting about Gaza every weekend.

I’m done for the week. The rain has stopped and it’s quite sunny out there this afternoon, unlike last week. Mind you it is a little chilly, but I am going to chance the windowsill for a bit. If it’s not too nice I can always resort to the armchair. I hope to be back with you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2024