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


Morning all and my prayers have been answered this morning, it’s beautifully sunny this morning. It’s still not that warm but I love the sunshine. I see that Penny Mordent is selling that striking dress she wore when she was lugging that great big sword at the coronation of King Big Ears. Apparently, she says the dress is so well known she can’t wear it out.

More news from Scottishland about the disastrous ferry contract. It seems that they have had to cut the passenger capacity from the 1,000 they are designed to carry by 300. The reasons seem to be twofold. Firstly, they have had to make a lot of alterations to the ship at the demand of the maritime regulator because it didn’t reach the safety regulations for exits, passageways and stairways in the crew spaces. But secondly the number of crew carried is governed by the number of passengers the ship is registered to carry. So fewer passengers, mean fewer crew, which means less onerous safety regulations on crew spaces.

Somebody in the United States has opened the cupboard and let Vice President Camel Harris out. Having already been given the poison chalice of solving the crisis caused by millions of illegal immigrants on the southern border in which she has failed miserably, she has apparently got a new job. Yesterday she made a speech that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Since taking up the immigration job the numbers have gone up four-fold so I have little hope for a ceasefire.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has warned operators who use the Alexander Dennis Enviro200 and Enviro400 single and double-decker buses of a critical safety issue. Some 1,758 of these buses are in use in the UK and have been recalled to be checked because several have spontaneously burst into flames. Investigations have indicated that these electric buses have a problem with their air conditioner and heating systems. But being battery powered if the fire spreads to the battery it is almost impossible to put out. The manufacturer is looking for a solution but in the meantime says that drivers should turn off the air conditioning unit when the bus is unattended.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Be careful it doesn’t catch fire..
E40H/Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC – Route 345,
Fernando Garcia 49
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I understand that it’s not just here that royalty have been suffering ill health. King Harald of Norway, who at 87 became Europe’s oldest reigning monarch when the Queen died, was taken ill while visiting Malaysia. He was admitted to hospital on Langkawi Island last Tuesday where a temporary pacemaker was fitted and allowed him to fly home over the weekend. On arrival back in Norway he is expected to be taken directly to the Hospital Rikshospitalet in Oslo. King Harald has suffered ill health for some years and uses crutches.

When Russian troops took over Avdiivka they announced the capture of a US-supplied trailer-mounted AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel radar system. Quite a capture as this is a highly advanced 3D short-range battlefield radar designed for protection from air attacks and a priority target for Russian forces. However, the Russians have discovered that they have been fooled and the system they have captured is nothing more than a dummy, a very convincing dummy but still a dummy.

I see that the Arsenal women’s football team drew another 60,000-capacity crowd at the Emirates Stadium yesterday. They now have the six highest attendances in the Women’s Super League, and I was interested to see that unlike some clubs the tickets were all purchased and not given away. What I do hear is that the Arsenal women’s team now have a higher average attendance than half the teams in the Premier League.


Surprise, surprise, it’s raining again, and the forecast said it is going to last nearly all day. I have managed only a few hours on the windowsill so far this year. Today is what the Americans call ‘Super Tuesday’ when they vote in 14 state primaries to sort out who gets on the ballot for president in November. Should be fun, but as the results are announced overnight, I can’t be arsed to stay awake. The result will have to wait until tomorrow.

I read that Lord Sugar is to launch a company using the Amstrad name. Seventeen years ago, he sold the Amstrad name to Sky and for some years has been trying to buy it back because Sky haven’t used it for years, although some of the technology from the old Amstrad satellite TV boxes is in use. Sugar is launching Amstrad Digital, a digital marketing company to be run by his grandson. I suppose the addition of ‘digital’ makes it legal.

Rolls-Royce Submarines has announced that it is looking to employ 200 more people as it gears up for the AUKUS project. The builder of the reactors for every British nuclear submarine wants an extra 100 employees in Cardiff and an extra 100 in Glasgow. The RR Submarine Division already employs 4,000 people.

Yesterday the Rich Boy headed down to Swindon to start the demolition of the old Honda car factory. The developer Panettoni is calling the development ‘Panettoni Park Swindon’ and it is massive. There will eventually be 7.2 million sq. ft. of warehouses, industrial premises and data centres spread over 360 acres. Full planning consent has been granted for 1.2 million sq. ft. and outline consent granted for the rest. The first new buildings are due to be available later this year.

A big court win for The Donald yesterday when the top court in the United States, the US Supreme Court, overruled unanimously the Colorado Supreme Court’s ban on The Donald standing in the state’s Republican primary over what it said was his part in the January 5th ‘riots’. Part of the problem with the state judgement was that The Donald has never been found legally to have had any part in the so-called riots. The US Supreme Court judges were also worried that allowing a state to ban who could stand for president was akin to electoral censorship and that they were exceeding their power which only allowed them to ban people from standing for state positions, not federal positions. This has effectively set a precedent in those other states that have also banned The Donald and he is now free in every state primary.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
US Supreme Court Building.
US Supreme Court,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

ITV has sold its interest in the streaming app BritBox International to its partner the BBC. This is only the overseas version of BritBox, they will continue to share the U.K. version. BBC have paid £225 million for the deal and have also got an agreement with ITV to continue supplying their content. Apparently, ITV want the money to invest in their own U.K. streaming app ITVX and of course ITV will continue to earn royalties on their shows on the international version.

The DVLA put out some interesting data at the end of last week. They said that only 29% of cars sold last year had a manual gearbox. If someone had told me that I wouldn’t have believed them, I would have thought it was the other way around and 30% of new cars would be automatics but I suppose they could be EVs as automatics. But strangely only 20% of drivers took the test in an automatic, could that be because passing a driving test in an automatic means you can only drive an automatic?


Yay, no rain this morning, but it is rather wet underfoot. I hear that Trump and Biden have both been very successful in the ‘Super Tuesday’ primaries, so it now looks virtually certain that it will be Trump v Biden for president in the autumn.

SAAB has shaken hands with Poland on an order for its Carl-Gustaf recoilless anti-tank weapon. The order is worth $1.2 billion and includes thousands of launchers and hundreds of thousands of missiles of various types including high explosive, anti-tank and anti-personnel. The Carl-Gustaf was originally designed in the 1940s and is now in its 4th iteration. It is widely used by NATO nations and is used alongside NLAW by the British Army.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Even the Yank’s use the Carl Gustaf.
1 BCT Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle training,
Fort Drum & 10th Mountain Division (LI)
Public domain

The car sales data for February is in and once again the green lobby is shouting about a nearly 22% increase in battery EV sales over February last year. But it is rubbish really, as BEVs only took 17.7% of the total market and petrol cars took 56.6%. It’s all down to percentages, if you only sell 100 cars one month and 150 the next month that’s a 50% increase in sales. But if you sell 5,000 cars a month and increase sales by 500 the next month that’s only 10%. Who was it that said, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

American Airlines has placed a big order for new single-aisle aircraft. The order is split between three manufacturers, Airbus for 80 x A321neo, Boeing for 80 x 737 Max10 and Embraer for 90 x E175. The Boeing order, for a plane not yet certified, is a bit of a risk, so American has a backup position with a whole load of options for more A321neo planes and a clause in the Boeing contract for payments for delayed deliveries.

British Airways announced that over the next two years it is going to ‘invest’ £7 billion. Five billion pounds is in new aircraft it has already announced, so what it actually announced was £2 billion of spending over the next two years. So what are they spending it on? The big one seems to be a new cloud-based IT system to replace their aged servers. By the end of this year all BA planes should have wi-fi and offer free emails and messages to anyone in Business and First Class. They will also be building several new lounges and updating several others. You don’t get a lot for £2 billion these days.

Over in the world of cruising, I read that there are some 54 new ocean-going cruise ships due to be delivered between now and 2028. Of course, some of the new ships will replace old ones, but some will be added to the fleet like the new Cunarder Queen Anne, which is due this spring/early summer. The ships on order are due to deliver over 100,000 berths, that is an average of 2,165 per ship. Of course, some ships are much bigger than that and some much smaller. But one little point of interest is that one of those bloody great big cruise ships takes a loss less time to build than a Scottish ferry.

I have been reading an article about BBC Verify which says it should really be called BBC Biased over the Israeli-Hamas war. The article says that in the first few weeks after October 7th their diplomatic correspondent, Caroline Hawley, was apparently reposting propaganda from Gaza on Twitter without context or verification. Then they quickly accepted every word of the Hamas report of an ‘Israeli attack’ on a hospital. When the dust settled it turned out to be a Hamas rocket that had misfired and fallen in the hospital car park. But they had rushed the story on air. Recently we have had the case of the aid convoy which was mobbed and people killed. The BBC reports were credited to Mahmoud Awadeyah, whom the BBC said was a journalist. However, what the Biased Broadcasting Company didn’t tell you was that he worked for the Tasnim News Agency, which is a branch of the Iranian National Guards, an organisation vowed to the overthrow of Israel. This man has many anti-Semitic posts on the internet, did Verify bother checking whose report it was using?


Another sunny morning. Well, the budget yesterday was pretty much a total waste of time. Most of it was leaked in advance and the general result is pretty much neutral for most people. The only loser where Liebore who had some of their big ideas nicked.

An interesting report says that electric vehicles produce 1,850 times more particulate matter than petrol cars. This is because the exhaust from modern internal combustion engines is now highly filtered and passes through a catalytic converter. The problem with EVs is that they are so much heavier (about 30%) than ICE cars and as a result get through tyres and brakes much more quickly hence the huge amounts of particulates produced.

While on the subject of cars, I was looking at a whole list of things that you must comply with if you are taking the practical driving test in your own car. Most are obvious, like the car must be road-worthy, have an MOT (if necessary), be taxed, and have headrests and seatbelts. But did you know you have to have an extra rear-view mirror for the examiner? But there are certain cars that you can’t take the driving test in, these are the BMW Mini convertible, the Ford KA convertible, the Smart Fortwo (2-door), the Toyota iQ and the VW Beetle convertible. Apparently, these don’t offer the examiners ‘all-round visibility’. If you turn up for your test in one of these the test will be cancelled and you won’t get a refund.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Not allowed on the driving test.
Toyota iQ,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Ukraine is claiming that it has sunk yet another ship in the Russian Black Sea fleet. This time it is the patrol ship Sergey Kotov. Once again there is video on the internet purporting to show marine drones hitting the ship and some huge explosions going off. This time around, the Russians are saying nothing, neither admitting nor denying the claim. If this is true, the Russians are losing the war in the Black Sea to a country without a navy, now that must be embarrassing.

Do you remember before Christmas when I told you about the two Brighton Liebore women councillors who had been slung out of the party for not telling the truth about where they lived? Local councillors are supposed to live in the area they represent, and these two ladies were said to be living in Leicester. Since then, they have been sitting as independents, but the council has announced that they have been informed the two are resigning and by-elections are to be held.

Have you heard of KFC Chizza? Well neither have I. Apparently it hasn’t ever been on sale in Britain, but if you have been to Spain, Germany or Asia you might have as it’s been on sale there for some time. It started off in the Philippines in 2015 and has since been made available in South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and India. I know your next question is what is it? Well, it is a pizza like no other pizza you have ever seen. Two boneless extra crispy chicken breast fillets replace the dough and on top of them comes shredded mozzarella cheese, slices of pepperoni and marinara sauce. Strangely up to now this mixture has never been sold in the US, the home of odd foods, like grits, and biscuits and gravy. That is until now. KFC is test marketed the product in New York City. I wonder if it will get a test launch in the U.K.?

I see Peter Mandelson has stuck his nose into party politics again pronouncing on the two party leaders. According to Mandelson the Rich Boy is short and skinny and wears his trousers too short, While Lego Head is a porker and needs to lose weight. This is the first time I have ever agreed with Mandelson.


Yet another nice sunny but not-so-warm morning, but it started off well enough with a nice cat bowl of Felix chicken. I hear today is International Women’s Day. I can quite understand why women in some parts of the world need their lot improved, it can’t be much fun being a female in some countries, but it isn’t much fun being a male in some countries either. But there is little we can do about it here in the U.K. Back 100 years ago when IWD started it made sense to campaign for votes for women, and for equal education but in this country it seems to have become women complaining when a man holds a door open for them.

I hear that the number of aid trucks going into Gaza is running at an average of 277 a day. Not enough says the UN and Hamas. But how many aid trucks were going into Gaza before 7th October attack? The answer was around 50% of the current number. What is happening to the extra aid, are Hamas stockpiling it in their tunnels?

Interesting follow-on from the bit of news I gave you the other day about the increasing number of people passing their driving test in automatic cars. Obviously the vast majority of people taking a driving test are young people who would have just become old enough to hold a driving licence. Now news reaches me that insurance companies are charging under 25s about £900 a year more to insure an automatic than a manual car. I know that automatic versions of cars are more expensive than manual but that does seem an unprecedented extra cost. I don’t really understand why people want to pass their test in an automatic, are they so stupid that they can’t master a gear stick as seems to be the case in the US?

The Nationwide Building Society has struck an agreement to take over Virgin Money. If the the deal is allowed to go ahead by the regulators it will result in the country’s second-largest mortgage lender. Virgin Money came about when the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank Group, in 2018, bought Sir Richard Branson’s banking operation for £1.6 billion and changed the enlarged business’s name to Virgin Money. Now Virgin Money is being bought for £2.9 billion. If it is allowed to go ahead the new group will be worth about £366.3 billion. Nationwide say that Virgin Money will continue as a distinct brand for at least five years.

Apparently getting insurance for some of the EVs that are being imported from China is becoming difficult. It is reported that some of the Chinese manufacturers have launched their cars on the British market without having spare parts in the country and a lack of technical support. Consequently, insurance companies just don’t want to insure them and will either refuse to quote or will ask for a ridiculously high premium. A good example is the BDY Seal which is very hard to insure. In a recent report, someone looked for quotes for a Seal on a number of comparison sites and managed to get only four quotes all of which were very high. The insurance companies say it is not that the Seal is a bad car, it is the lack of companies able to repair one after an accident and a lack of spare parts in the country.

A couple of weeks ago I told you that Hull seemed to have some affinity to Wendy’s square hamburgers. Back in December they opened what was claimed to be the biggest Wendy’s in the world in an out-of-town shopping centre. Then they opened a new branch in the city centre. Now I hear that they are to open another branch in what used to be a fish and chip shop in the suburb of Bilton. This is to be another biggish branch with a takeaway, a restaurant and a drive-thru. Hull is quickly becoming a Wendy’s hot spot.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Wendy’s Square Cheeseburger,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Greggs the bakers claim they have replaced McDonald’s as Britain’s favourite seller of takeaway breakfast goods. Greggs made the bold decision to open branches at 5 or 6 am and to offer bacon rolls, sausage rolls, omelette rolls, various mixtures like omelette and sausage and coffee at that ungodly hour, as well as their famous pastry sausage roll. It seems to have paid off. I’m feeling quite hungry after writing that, I wonder what flavour Felix is for dinner?


It’s dull and grey again this morning although the forecast says it’s going to be sunny later. I hear there’s rugby on the tele in the office later and the bookies say England are going to get crushed by the Irish. I might just have to watch.

In a recent document called ‘Building a New Scotland: an Independent Scotland’s Place in the World’, the Scottish Government has claimed that in an independent Scotland they would continue to build warships for the Royal Navy. This has been pooh-poohed by the MoD who point out that it is British policy to build its own warships, support ships are a bit different. The problem is security. Many of the systems going into a warship are top secret. If Scottishland was to become independent, it would be a foreign country and hence not eligible to build our warships. More crap from the SNP.

In London, since Covid, councils have introduced loads of anti-car schemes, including bicycle lanes and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. One LTN in the South London borough of Lambeth has just been scrapped on the instruction of the Mayor of London, Sad Dick. The problem was the scheme in Streatham Well was causing all sorts of problems by forcing traffic onto the boundary roads. It was recently reported that 42 buses were stuck in a jam on Streatham High Road and one bus took 121 minutes to travel 2.9 miles along the A23.

Yet another problem with the Boeing 737 Max8. A United plane landing in New York suddenly suffered a failure of its foot pedal control of its rudder. The pilots managed to steer the plane with 155 passengers off the runway and to the terminal using the emergency tiny steering wheel. When mechanics checked the plane, it was found the rudder pedals were working, but a subsequent check of the black box backed up the pilot’s complaint. The mechanics swapped out several parts and the plane returned to service. The NTSB has been investigating the incident and has discovered that one of the parts failed to work after a cold soak but came back to life as soon as it warmed up. It sounds a bit like me I always become a bit inactive when it’s cold.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
More Max8 problems.
United Max 8,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

On Thursday, police got a report of a caravan being stolen from a Yorkshire caravan park. Thirty minutes later the police spotted the caravan being towed by a black BMW heading down the M1. Units were dispatched and a bit later the police pulled up the car on the hard shoulder. When the police went to talk to the driver, he was found to be an 11-year-old boy and he was surrounded by a heap of false number plates. After questioning the boy has been released on bail.

I’m sure you remember the disastrous Chornobyl reactor failure. I have read that while people have been moved out of the area worst affected by radiation, animals weren’t and there are numerous species surviving in the zone. Scientists say that in many cases the animals have evolved into different variation of the species better able to cope with the level of radiation in the area. None more so than the nematode worms that are thriving in the area. Apparently, they are normally short-lived lived and because of this they go through many generations in a few years. They have evolved far more quickly than other species and now appear to be immune to ionising radiation.

It’s traditional for all 20 acting nominees and the five directors nominated at the Oscars to get a goodie pack packed with gifts big and small. This year the bags are estimated to be worth €150,000 each. Some of the gifts are quite nice but I’m not sure of others. Items include three holidays, one in a Swiss chalet, a holistic wellness retreat 160km from Hollywood and three nights in Saint Barts. Health and grooming items make up the bulk of the parcel, including numerous skincare products, liver pills, topical glutathione and micro-needling, while consumables are also well represented, with bite-sized gluten-free cashew cookies, sugar-free cherry gummies, a sagar sugar experience, tequila, gin and a collagen peptides drink mix. Cats owned by the nominees get to tuck into a bag of raw dehydrated super food from organic Canadian brand Smack. Rather them than me.

That’s me done and it’s quite sunny out there this afternoon but I’m going to watch the rugby. Mind you if England are getting too badly beaten I might give up and head for the windowsill. I hope to be back with you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2024