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


Morning all, a bit of light drizzle this morning, but not enough to stop the gardener from cutting the grass in the back garden for the first time this year. I heard him talking to the Rich Boy and saying he is a bit late with this year’s first cut as it’s been so wet.

For some time, I have been hearing rumours that Lee Anderson is joining Reform to be their first MP. I rather like what he says even if sometimes he is a bit awkward with the way he says it. I suppose he is more representative of many people in this country than a lot of the supposedly highly educated MPs in Parliament. I think he will sit well in Reform where his politics align far better as they are not woke.

On Saturday the Metropolitan Police arrested a man who was at the ‘pro-Palestine’ march with a placard saying that Hamas are terrorists. The man was assaulted by marchers and had his placard destroyed. As he tried to escape his attackers, the police forced him to the ground and arrested him for assault. Fortunately, a friend videoed the whole incident and showed it to the Met who had to agree he was the victim and de-arrested him. But did they arrest any of the attackers despite having them on video? Of course not, the Met Police is far too left-wing to do that. Incidentally, isn’t the official government policy that Hamas are terrorists.

The BBC is to put on productions of several of Dickens’s novels on Radio 4 soon. In the publicity puff piece, they have put out they compare the poverty and conditions of the working class in Dickensian Britain with the Britain of today. But this is total rubbish and typical of the BBC. In Dickens’ time the conditions of the working class were pretty awful, people who had jobs worked 15-hour days for a pittance, lived in slums, had cholera, children had to work and if you had no money or job you went to the workhouse. How does that compare to modern Britain!

On Saturday the MoD announced that HMS Richmond had taken out two Houthi drones over the Red Sea using its Sea Ceptor missile system. But what wasn’t immediately apparent was that this was the first use in combat of the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM). We have invested heavily in CAMM and it has been said we have bet the farm on it working. It is being installed as a replacement on the Type 23 frigates of which Richmond is one. It is also to be mounted on the Type 26 and Type 31 frigates currently under production. Richmond was supposed to replace HMS Diamond which had been in the Red Sea for two months. However, Diamond headed to Gibraltar and is now back in the Red Sea with Richmond. The speculation is that Diamond was running low on missiles and went to Gib to reload.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Watch out for the Sea Ceptor.
HMS Richmond,
Defence Images
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Something very odd is going on in Hull where the police have raided a funeral directors and removed 35 bodies to the local hospital morgue. Two people have been arrested on suspicion of interfering with a proper burial. The police say the bodies have been removed so they can be properly identified. Maybe I’m putting two and two together and making five, but it sounds to me that they have been mixing up the bodies. I shall have to watch for developments.

The first of the latest iteration of the Mini Cooper rolled off the production line in Oxford this morning. I was a little surprised to learn that it is a Petrol car. BMW are going to build an electric version at the same plant, but it is at least two years away. A spokesman said that sales of electric cars had fallen quite a lot recently and consequently they are holding back on the launch of the electric version. With any luck it will never be launched.


Surprise, surprise, it’s raining again. At least it stayed dry long enough yesterday for the gardener to complete his mowing. I must say the grass looked very nice afterwards with those stripes going up and down the garden. What a bloody fuss about a photograph yesterday, who really cares if it was photoshopped or not? I reckon 99% of the photos you see of celebrities are anyway.

I see the MoD has put out a bit of video of its DragonFire Laser weapon hitting a drone in a recent test. Apparently, the weapon is pretty good at hitting targets like drones and offers excellent close-in protection for warships. It is said to be able to hit something the size of a pound coin at a kilometre. I hear work is going on to make the laser more powerful so that it can hit faster-moving targets at a longer distance. Of course, we are not the only country that are developing laser weapons. The US and Israel are probably both ahead of us with the Israeli ‘iron beam’ weapon supplementing its ‘iron dome’ missiles for short-range defence and reports that the US is said to be ready to deploy a laser weapon on warships. The beauty of an energy weapon like DragonFire is that it costs only £10 a shot instead of hundreds of thousands a time for missiles.

After seeing how effective sea drones have been when used by Ukraine against Russia in the Black Sea, several other countries have apparently been looking at the technology. One who has announced that they are going to procure sea drones is Taiwan. They have decided to buy around 200 of the unmanned boats to protect themselves against a Chinese invasion. Mind you it seems to take three or four drones to sink a Russian warship, so if it takes a similar number for Taiwan the sink Chinese ships the Chinese navy doesn’t need to employ an awful lot of landing barge ships.

In Crawley, West Sussex they have several guided bus routes. These are concrete bus tracks which run alongside main roads. The buses that use them have little wheels on the sides that keep them on the track and that allows the drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel while whizzing past the rest of the traffic. However, the buses are getting old and need replacing, so the operator, MetroBus, has ordered 20 hydrogen-powered buses from Wright Bus the Northern Ireland manufacturer. But there is a problem, MetroBus is stuck in red tape. Two years ago, they applied for permission to install hydrogen charging equipment at their depot and with all 20 buses scheduled to be in service by the second half of this year, they still haven’t got permission from the Health and Safety Executive.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
A guided bus route.
Guided bus from Trumpington – – 2543891,
John Sutton
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

If you intend to drive in Europe this year you might spot a new experimental green line at the edge of the road. Until now the edge of the carriageway has been indicated by a solid white line, the solid green line runs parallel and just inside the white line. But what does it indicate? Well actually, it means nothing! It is testing a theory that the green line makes drivers see the white line better and the hope is fewer motorists will wander off the carriageway.

The Government has announced, what any sensible person has always known, that we need to construct more gas-fired power stations. Firstly, they are needed to replace old power stations that are approaching the end of their lives and secondly, they are needed to back up the unreliable intermittent supply from wind turbines and solar panels. Of course, the Greens are up in arms, moaning about carbon dioxide. But these are replacing old stations that will be stopping production. They would like us to import power from mainland Europe using undersea interconnections, ignoring the fact that much of the power comes from burning coal! Wouldn’t it be sensible if we just got on and burned our own fracked gas, but that is too much to expect from our current crop of MPs.

While on the subject of power stations I read of developments at two of the six companies currently competing for the rights to develop Small Modular Reactors in the U.K. Rolls-Royce have signed an agreement with a Polish company who intends to build a hydrogen plant in Poland. I assume they need a constant supply of power for electrolysis. And British civil engineers Balfour Beatty have signed an agreement with American SMR company Holtec. Holtec say if they win the competition, they will build a factory in the U.K. and export to Europe. They say the exports could be worth £4 billion a year to the country. All I can see from this competition is four or five disappointed companies. I think we will back one or two companies to develop SMRs, I rather hope one is Rolls-Royce as I want to see the U.K. benefit from the government investing in the technology, not the US, Japan, France or Korea.


Yay, no rain this morning (yet). A bit of good news this morning, GDP was back to growth in January, up 0.2%. Not up a lot I know, but it is better than December when it was down 0.1%. OK, it doesn’t officially mean we are out of recession, for that we need a full quarter of growth, but it does look like we are heading out of what was only a ‘technical’ recession.

The left-wing paper The Guardian has found another way to attack the Tories. They have splashed a tale about a donor who said that Diane Abbott, and the rest of the Liebore leadership should be shot and that she could make you hate black women. Unfortunately for The Guardian, they say this happened over six years ago and was in a private meeting. So is this another case of someone not accurately remembering what was said or deliberately stirring the pot?

A Which report has revealed that the stated range for EVs is regularly two-thirds of that given by the standard formula. Which tested a number of EVs on a track driving at a constant speed until the battery went from 100% charged to zero. A Lexus UX 300e (official range 273 miles) managed just 170 miles, a Volkswagen ID7 Pro (official range 383 miles) managed 254 and a Volvo XC40 Recharge (official range 331 miles) managed 252 miles. These are all sold as luxury long-range cars and cost over £55,000. Why would anyone spend that much on a car which doesn’t have the advertised range meaning that on a longish trip you are going to have to find a charger that is not in use and spend hours longer on your journey? The powers that be, want us all to dump our convenient petrol and diesel cars for a useless EV. If we must move to greener cars, why aren’t we being moved to hybrids that can make that range?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Don’t bet on it doing the stated range.
2021 Lexus UX 300e 1,
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Interesting event on a Chilean Boeing 787-9 flying from Sydney to Santiago via Auckland. Reports say that when the plane was about two hours into the three-hour leg to New Zealand, all the instruments went blank and the aircraft suddenly dropped several thousand feet before just as suddenly coming back to life. About 50 people were said to have been injured of which 15 went to hospital in Auckland. I hear the black box has been removed by the authorities. A very strange occurrence if the black box confirms the story.

The Greens are still moaning about the announcement by the government that we need to build gas-fired power stations. The idiot who runs that green electricity supplier was on the TV yesterday saying all we need to do was build more wind turbines and everything would be ok. I don’t know why it isn’t pointed out to him that today when the wind doesn’t blow, we must use gas and nuclear to replace it. If you have more wind power, then you need more gas or nuclear to replace it when the wind doesn’t blow. He then said why don’t we just replace the worn-out bits on the old power station. Is he that thick to think that you can like for like replace 30-year-old equipment? It just isn’t made any more and, in any case, a 2024 CCGT power station is about 40% more efficient than a 1994 one!

There is a nightmare possibility this year involving a football fixture clash at Wembley that is just about possible. The FA Cup Final is due to be played at Wembley on Saturday 25th May and the final of the Championship playoffs the following day, Sunday 26th. At the moment Championship sides Leicester and Coventry are both still in the FA Cup and both could reach the Championship playoff final. Obviously if one team reached both finals, they couldn’t play on two consecutive days. The obvious thing would be to put off the Championship playoffs for a week and play it at Wembley on the 1st or 2nd of June. But the Champions League final is to be played at Wembley on 1st of June and the stadium has been hired out to UEFA for three days before and after. I wonder what the FA will do if the worst happens?

American airline United is not a very happy Boeing 737 Max10 customer. Yesterday they told Boeing that due to the uncertainty of when, if ever, the largest version of the Max will be certified it was to stop halt work on its 277 aircraft order. Instead, the airline says it will switch part of the order to the smaller Max9, the same model that recently lost a door plug. But United still has a need for bigger single-aisle jets and has announced that it is now in discussions with Airbus about switching some, or all, of the order to the Airbus A321neo which is already flying but in huge demand. United is not a stranger to the Airbus A320 family and already has 176 in service and 174 on order. The problem with this solution to United’s problem is that production of the A320 family of aircraft is officially sold out for several years to come. However, if Airbus were able to juggle its order book, or somehow increase production it would see an order from United as something of a coup.


Dry again today, and a bit milder in London. News of the business of the funeral parlour in Hull is leaking out very slowly and it now seems that people were being charged for burial or cremation of bodies that were not actually happening and the bodies were still in the funeral parlour with some not even being stored in fridges. I will keep watching events.

I can’t say I understand the American military procurement system, but I hear that after 23 years the Lockheed F-35A Lightening is finally cleared for full production. That means Lockheed can expect to produce 156 F-35s a year for the next five years. The stupid thing is that they have been making this number every year but in small batches known as ‘lots’. The current production is Lot 17, negotiations for Lots 18 & 19 are in progress and Lot 20 are expected to be the first full-production aircraft. I wonder when we will buy the remainder of the F-35s we have a need for?

Another new illegal immigrant scheme has been announced. This will be in addition to proposed deportation schemes where migrants will be sent to Rwanda to be processed. This new scheme is to deal with illegal immigrants who have failed to get asylum in this country and can’t be returned to their country of origin, often because they have no proof of their origin. These people are in the U.K. with no permission to work and no recourse to public funds so this scheme is to get them to volunteer to go to Rwanda where they will be allowed to work and we will give them a £3,000 sweetener.

Yet more problems have emerged at Boeing and air fuselage maker, Spirit, in a FAA quality investigation. Eighty-eight quality items were checked, and Boeing passed only 56. Problems included an FAA inspector seeing a mechanic using a bar of Dove soap on a door seal and then wiping it clean with a wet cheesecloth. In another case a mechanic was found using a credit card to set a gap in a seal. Something seems very wrong at Boeing; quality seems to have taken a back seat of late.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Not a door seal lubricant.
Dove Soap Dove Soap, Cucumber and Green Tea,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I read that the giant redwood trees have taken a liking to life in Britain and its mild, wet climate. They were first introduced to the U.K. over 100 years ago and individual trees could live up to 2,000 years growing to 390 feet, if their Californian relatives are anything to go by. The British trees haven’t been around long enough to reach that height but are commonly 50 or 60 metres high. But what does surprise me is that there are only 50,000 giant redwoods in California while in Britain it is estimated there are 10 times that. One day tourists will be coming to the U.K. instead of California to see the trees!

I read of an interesting phenomenon called ‘reshoreing’. Back in the 1990s and 2000s many British companies moved their manufacturing to areas where production was cheap, often China or Eastern Europe where the cost of wages where much lower than in Britain or Western Europe. In fact, it was the policy of the EU to move production to its new members in Eastern Europe and things like car manufacturing was encouraged to move. But recently this “offshoring’ of manufacturing has started to reverse. Two things started the reverse of this trend, the cost of production in China has leapt and the ‘Amazon’ effect of people wanting things delivered the next day, which is not possible if it is being made on the other side of the world. Recently another thing has given a push towards restoring, the problems in the Red Sea have slowed deliveries even more. Manufacturers have had another look at production costs in the U.K. and decided that all things considered they can afford to move production back here and this is increasingly happening.

I see that the headmaster of Redbridge Community School in Southampton has written to the parents of pupils at the school apologising for the poor quality of lunches served in the school’s canteen. He explains that he has had numerous meetings with the provider about meal quality but to absolutely no effect. The problem is the school was set up under a PFI and all services and supplies are outsourced and controlled by a board. The school meals contract was awarded by the board to the contractor, Chartwell, and the school and local authority have no control over what is served. On the day the reporter whose story I read visited the school, pupils displayed items like a jacket potato that was only half cooked and a roast turkey dinner in which the meat was inedible, and the roast potatoes overcooked. Chips were potluck with some in a serving looking ok and others full of black eyes. The contractor said they endeavour to always serve nutritious and tasty food but have been suffering some ‘operational and staff problems’.


Back to rain again this morning when I made my excursion to behind the gardener’s shed. I see that voting has begun in the Russian presidential election today. I will give you one guess who will be elected president for the next six years. OK, Putin is not the only candidate, but he is the only one who is feasibly going to be elected. The main opposition is in prison or dead and even the leader of the Communist Party, who is on the ballot, has endorsed Putin.

You can understand why it is so important for football teams to qualify for the Champions League when you look at just the prize money they received for winning games in the qualifying rounds and then reaching the last 16. For example, I understand that Arsenal took their earnings in prize money to just a touch under £41 million by reaching the quarter finals this week. But it doesn’t stop there, the takings so far for four crowds of over 60,000 at the Emirates needs to be added and who knows how much that comes to. It is not just the ticket sales, to that you can add the sale of food, hot dogs, pies etc., even three course meals, drink (both alcohol and soft), programmes and souvenirs such as scarfs, hats, shirts and stuffed dinosaurs. Then you can add an amount from the television fees which is a share of a €300 million pot but won’t be known until the final is over. There is also something known as the UEFA Club Coefficient Ranking that rates clubs on how well they have performed in European competitions over the last 10 years. Arsenal are 14th which has currently earned them a bonus that continues even if they are knocked out of the competitions in the next round. At the moment that has increased Arsenal’s prize money to £63.73 million so far, without the TV money and another home game to come.

I hear that P&O Cruises has rescheduled a planned refit of its ship Iona causing the cancellation of two cruises in October 2025. The three-week refit has been brought forward slightly and this has resulted in people booked on those cruises being a little upset. Apparently, P&O has given them a full refund of their deposit and offered £100 each for up to two adults in a cabin on ‘cabin credit’ for a new booking. But passengers say that since booking the cruises prices have risen and to rebook a cruise will cost them a lot more overall and hence a bigger deposit. At the moment P&O are standing firm on their offer.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Heading to Dry Dock.
P&O Iona, Cadiz Spain,
A Guy Named Nyal
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The European car safety organisation Euro NCAP has announced that it will be bringing out new safety regulations as of January 2026. From then, indicators, hazard warning lights, windscreen wipers, horns and any other key safety features on the dashboard will have to be controlled by physical switches to receive their highest safety rating. This isn’t a problem for most cars as that is what already happens. But some high-end vehicles, particularly EVs, have switched some of these functions to touchscreen control. The wiper settings and lights have been more commonly moved to touchscreens. It doesn’t mean the end of touchscreens as they are most normally used for infotainment systems and control of non-safety related items like air conditioning and Bluetooth links to your mobile phone.

Apparently, the delayed connection of HS2 between its initial London terminal at Old Oak Common and its final London terminal at Euston is to start next year. Two tunnel boring machines have been almost completed and will be delivered to the HS2 Old Oak Common site later this year. They will then be dropped into an underground box, assembled and tested, before starting on the twin-bore tunnels to Euston. The regeneration of Euston station is believed to be going to generate more value than the cost of the work on the tunnel and the station. The report I read said the regeneration will contribute £41bn to the UK economy by 2053 and create 34,000 new jobs.

I hear that a multimillionaire has announced that he is going to build an exact replica of RMS Titanic. At first, I thought he was going to make it out of match sticks or to 1/24 scale, but no he says it is going to be full size and he wants to sail it across the North Atlantic to New York. I wonder if he will also be commissioning a replica iceberg. But seriously I wonder if it is possible under the current maritime regulations. One obvious thing is that the Titanic sinking changed the rules on lifeboats as there weren’t enough for everyone onboard. The Titanic was also steam-powered and employed 29 fire tube boilers 24 of which were double-ended and 5 single-ended. Stokers shovelled in over 600 tons of coal a day. Somehow, I don’t think that would be acceptable today.

McDonald’s has announced a change to the way it cooks its most popular burgers. They say they are to cook several of its most popular burgers like the Big Mac and double cheeseburger hotter so that the meat is more tender and juicier. They will also be adding chopped onions on top of the burger patties, so they are no longer cooked raw. The buns are also being changed with a brioche-type bun replacing the current sesame seed bun. I welcome these changes as I rather like fried onions, but why don’t they get rid of those slices of disgusting gherkin!


A wonderfully sunny morning and quite mild for a change. However, I heard the forecast and it’s supposed to be going to rain by the time I get finished with all my duties.

I hear there are going to be ten candidates in this year’s London mayoral election, all the normal candidates for the Tories, Liebore, Limp Dumps, Green, Reform and SDP are standing, as well as four independents. One of the independents is Count Bin Face, who says he is an intergalactic space warrior and has some interesting policies. He wants to place a price cap on croissants, rename London Bridge to Phoebe Waller-Bridge and bring back Ceefax. I don’t think that will be happening.

A little while ago the word in Westminster was that the Ministry of Defence were cancelling an order for 14 Boeing Chinooks in the new CH-47ER variant. I now hear that Grunt Shats has announced that the £2 billion order is in fact to go ahead. The ER stands for ‘extended range’ and the new helicopter will double the 600-mile range of the existing Chinooks in the British fleet. I hear that these new helicopters are destined to support the special forces and will be able to carry 55 fully armed troops, 10,000 Kgs of payload or a mixture of the two.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
14 more on order.
Boeing-Vertol Chinook HC.4 ‘ZA675’,
HawkeyeUK – Lest We Forget
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I have been reading that one of the growth industries in Ukraine is dummy weapons systems. These range from cheap recoilless anti-tank guns to inflatable tanks and plywood HIMAR rocket systems. Of course, it is not quite so simple to just make a blow-up tank, it must have the correct radar reflection, infrared signature and electronic radiation to mimic a real tank, but I understand all this is now made by the cottage industries and have accounted for many of the tanks Russia has claimed to have destroyed. Of course, it follows that if Ukraine is doing this then Russia is almost certainly doing the same. Nothing is new in any of this, I’m sure you remember how the Allies mocked up a whole dummy invasion army in East Anglia and leaked to the press that it was under General George Patton, who was widely pictured in the papers meeting his ‘troops’.

A new TV channel is to start streaming on the internet in the autumn and I understand that it will be available in Britain for £16 a month. Mind you who wants to watch North Korean TV is a mystery to me. The stream will carry the output of Korean Central Television which carries several North Korean highlights, like their home-made soap operas, military parades, political speeches, and missile launches. It sounds like riveting stuff.

The NHS has been looking at how it is to achieve ‘net zero’ and to that end has created a 48-man department with at least five people on six-figure salaries. To ensure nothing bought is going to negatively impact on achieving the ‘net zero’ aim new purchases must pass a 135-question assessment which even includes medicines. So, it doesn’t matter if something will save someone’s life, it can’t be purchased if it isn’t ‘green’. This also applies to ambulances, and they are going to have to be electric. Gone will be the days of filling up with petrol or, God forbid, diesel at the end of a shift and handing over to the next crew. Instead, the vehicle will have to be put on charge for five hours! In a trial, £150,000 electric ambulances could only travel 70 miles before needing to recharge, on average ambulances need a range of 160 miles and to travel 800 miles a day each. If you need an ambulance in the recharging time, tough, you will just have to wait. Or maybe the ambulance service will have to invest in extra vehicles to cover the charging time. We all know how much extra an EV is compared to a petrol car, so the same thing is going to occur with ambulances and the service is either going to need one hell of a lot more money or take a lot longer responding to call outs.

To add to Boeing’s current woes last month, they managed to deliver only 27 planes to customers, that is less than one a day for 29-day February (it’s a leap year). Meanwhile their major rival, Airbus, delivered 49. Not quite double Boeings output but very close. In the first two months of the year Boeing has delivered a total of 54 aircraft and Airbus, 79. Airbus had a slow January with only 30 deliveries but has picked up in February, while Boeing has produced planes at a constant slow rate, causing consternation for its customers. An example is Southwest Airlines, who only fly the Boeing 737, who have been told that this year they will receive only 46 new planes instead of the 58 scheduled for delivery meaning it is having to adjust its financial targets. By the way, Boeing lost $2.2 billion in 2023.

That’s my duties done and it’s raining again. The forecasters have got it right for once so I’m going to watch the rugby. After England’s last-minute win last week, I am doubtful about a similar win this week, some of those frogs are giants! Chat to you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2024