Larry’s Diary – Week Two Hundred And Thirty-One


Good morning readers it’s a rather pleasant morning mild and a bit of sunshine but it’s going to rain again later. I enjoyed my trip down the garden in the sun and found a bowl of Felix Beef awaiting me when I got back. I was delighted to see that weird woman child Greta Thunderpants was arrested twice on the same day at a climate change demonstration in The Hague. Isn’t it time the police locked her up and threw away the key?

An interesting survey from the Andrew Jackson Society this morning. Apparently, they found that 46% of British Muslims sympathise with Hamas and only 25% think that Hamas attacked Israel on 7th October last year. Isn’t it illegal to support a terrorist organisation in the U.K. and Hamas have been declared a terrorist organisation. So, when will we be seeing this huge proportion of Muslims arrested?

In the United States cicadas emerge from underground to breed every July. But it is not the same ‘brood’ that emerges every year. There are believed to be only 10 broods that are considered ‘periodical’ – where the juniors live underground sucking the sap of plants and emerge to a cycle. But the length of the cycle varies depending on the ‘brood’ and this year it looks like two broods, one with an eighteen-year cycle and one with a thirteen-year cycle will coincide. What is odd about this is that these are the two largest broods and come July you can expect trillions of the insects out there in New England. If you are scared of insects, I suggest you avoid the place this July.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Ugly looking things.
Cicada exuvia,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

For the third time in two years Serbia has announced that it wants to purchase 12 Rafale fighter jets from France to replace the 14 MiG-29 received from Russia when they were a Russian satellite. The problem is France is reluctant to sell the package of jets to Serbia for several reasons. It is worried they could be used internally, against Kosovo and that the aircraft order is paired with Meteor air-to-air missiles and Paris doesn’t want to sell Meteor missiles to Serbia because it is a non-NATO member. It is very unusual for Paris to turn down an export order especially one worth €3 billion.

I was reading a story at the weekend that attempted to explain why the latest version of the Boeing’s Dreamliner, the 787-10, has not been the huge seller that Boeing expected. Yes, it has so far met enough sales to recoup its development costs, but the article argued that Boeing has expected to sell far more than the around 260 currently flying and on order. The article pointed out that the -10 was built to sell to customers who wanted to upgrade their best-selling first-generation Boeing 777 and 777LR fleets. But this just hasn’t happened with numerous customers moving to the Airbus A350-900. But why? Apparently the A350-900 has a cockpit that is very similar to that used across the Airbus range which means pilot conversion training takes four days as opposed to four weeks for the B787-10 as Boeing cockpits are different for every model. This means if you already have any Airbuses in your fleet the cost of training becomes significantly lower. But it’s not only that, but Boeing also did the upgrade to the 787 to the -10 on the cheap and used the same wings as the 787-8 which are much smaller than the Airbus. This is significant, because aircraft store fuel in their wings and the Airbus can fly 2,000 miles further than the Boeing. Is it any surprise that Airbus A350-900 customers are now buying the bigger A350-1000 which is available and flying as opposed to the second generation B777-9 and -10 which are the nearest thing to compete with the size and range of the A350-1000 but isn’t yet certified and is more expensive.

I see that Froggy troops took part in today’s changing of the guard at Buckingham Place. The reason was to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the signing of the Entente Cordial between Britain and France. It is not often you hear the French national anthem being played at the Palace. In the reverse, British troops took part in the guarding of the French Elysée Palace, the home of the French President. What was noticeable was that both the French in London and the British in Paris were armed!

You may remember me telling you that some time ago I told you that the Russians were trying to assemble 42 x Citroen C5 Aircross car kits at the old Stellantis plant in Kaluga. Now I hear that Russian company, Automotive Technologies, has confirmed that they are to set up a production line to assemble C5 kits made by the Dongfeng Motor Group, the Stellantis Chinese partner. Stellantis say that they have no control over either their old factory or the sale of these car kits made by Dongfeng, and they have written off €144 million last year on the loss of the factory.


Gosh was it windy overnight, the windows were rattling, not much rain though. However, I see that there has been a lot of flooding in some places on the south coast. Not because of the rain but because there was a very high tide last night and much of the flooding was caused by the high winds blowing the seawater up the rivers and them bursting their banks.

The new hate crime law in Scottishland is going well. In just a week there have been over 10,000 complaints meaning that hundreds of hours of police time are being used on this. I hear that to try to get on top of things at least 40 Scottishland police are doing overtime every day. I wonder how much longer this farce can go on before Humza Useless admits that it is all a horrible mistake.

Lego Head Stoma has announced that in government he intends to set up negotiations with the unions for the wages of care workers. Now, I somehow think that this has not been thought through very well. A £1 a week increase will come to about £1.5 billion a year and who is going to settle for £1 a week? So even if the settlement was for £10 a week, we are looking at £15 billion a year. As many care workers are employed in private care homes this can only result in their cost’s going up from their already extortionate rates. I suppose this could be considered an unfunded promise as there is no mention of where the money for public care is coming from.

You may remember me telling you that Virgin Trains was looking into running trains from St Pancras to Europe through the Channel Tunnel. Now a little more of their plans has emerged. Of course they plan to run a service to Paris, but they would like to run services further afield to Belgium, Denmark, Germany and even Switzerland. But that is not all, I understand they are also interested in running services on the East Coast Mainline out of Kings Cross. The idea is to apply for open-access services like those run by Hull Trains, Lumo and Grand Central, but they are not revealing where they want to serve yet.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Are they coming back?
Virgin Trains Pendolino (UK),
Luxury Train Club
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Microsoft has announced that they are going to open a new office in London for the development of AI. At the moment they haven’t announced where in London the office will be or how many people will be employed there. Mind you it is a logical place to open an office dedicated to AI when you understand that there are already 50,000 people employed in AI in the U.K. That means that when Microsoft do start recruiting, they have a deep pool to fish in.

A story reaches me from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic where the Russian missile corvette Serpukhov is reported to be ablaze and badly damaged. Depending on who you believe this either was, according to a Russian Navy spokesman an accident while the ship was being repaired or the act of their operatives according to a Ukrainian spokesman. I have no idea which to believe and either could be correct. The Russians could be covering up that the Ukrainians have infiltrated a Baltic naval yard, or the Ukraine could be making use of a Russian accident. Either way the Russians are down another warship.

The Italian shipyard has received a huge order from Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). The order is for eight new cruise ships for the three lines that form the NCL group. First NCL is to receive four ships in a new class, each displacing around 200,000 tons and carrying 5,000 passengers. Then their middle market line, Oceania Cruises, is also to start a new class of ship with two new 86,000-ton displacement cruise ships carrying 1,450 passengers. Finally, NCL’s upper segment subsidiary Regent Seven Seas Cruises is scheduled to take delivery of two 77,000-gross-ton ships, each with a capacity of 850 guests. I haven’t yet heard the total cost, but eight ships is not going to be a pittance.


Morning Puffins and it’s a very pleasant one, the sun is out and it’s not raining yet. I see that Tesco have their annual results out this morning and they seem to be doing pretty well. Turnover up, profits up, dividends up, outlook excellent, if I were a wealthy fat cat I would have to think about buying some Tesco shares.

Two bits of news reach me about the AUKUS agreement. Firstly, what was only speculation before seems to be hardening up, Canada is interested in joining the alliance and has held talks with Australia, the U.K. and the US on joining them in building nuclear-powered conventionally armed submarines. The AUKUS agreement has various pillars, and the proposed procurement of submarines is part of the top level, Pillar 1. This pillar also includes sharing of all sorts of security information, code-breaking, electronic warfare data and much more so Canada, already part of the Five Eyes agreement would be joining at the top tier. Then at Pillar 2, come the Japanese and New Zealand who would both like to join the agreement but not the nuclear submarine part. The Japanese are wary of nuclear-powered ships and New Zealand probably can’t afford their cost. The U.K. and Australia have already invested £2 billion each in the design and development of the new class of submarine.

If you visit one of the major European ports that are used to import cars you will find the same thing, acres and acres of unsold Chinese EVs. The ports of Zeebrugge, Bremerhaven, Livorno and Piraeus all have the same problem, Chinese EVs are being delivered to the port far faster than they can be sold. It seems the Chinese manufacturers have badly overestimated the number of cars their dealers can sell and thousands of cars, still owned by the manufacturer are sitting in dockside car parks waiting to be sold to dealers. Some cars in Zeebrugge docks have been there for 18 months. I suggest that if you are stupid enough to buy an EV you check when it was manufactured, where it has been since and what state its battery is in.

The Australians have decided to make their own spin-off from ‘Death in Paradise’. In ‘Return to Paradise’ an Aussie who has been working as a top murder detective at Scotland Yard reluctantly returns to her home town of Dolphin Cove, following an ‘incident’ in London. It seems that several years ago she dumped her prospective husband at the alter and her return is not well-liked in the small town. Of course she joins the local police and solve tricky murders just like ‘Death in Paradise’. It seems half the cast are ex-Home and Away actors and actresses, perhaps the show should have been based in Summer Bay.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
It isn’t real.
Summer Bay ‘Home and Away’ Surf Club at Palm Beach, Sydney,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I see Elon Musk is engaged in a big dispute with a Brazilian Supreme Court judge. The judge is investigating ex-President Jair Bolsonaro in what is claimed to be his attempts to stay in power after the election. Justice Alexandre de Moraes issued a court order demanding that ‘X’ (Twitter as was) immediately ban a number of right-wing politicians and fine them £16,000 a day for not complying. The court also ordered that ‘X’ should not publish information about this ban. Musk says this is a matter of free speech and he is reinstating the banned people in the full expectation that he will have to stop trading in Brazil.

The Post Office Horizon IT system enquiry has been taking evidence from Alan Bates, the man who broke the whole scandal. I must admit that it was interesting to see him on the TV as we went through all the problems he had encountered with the system, the Post Office and with ministers. But what I found intriguing is that the Post Office has suddenly found 70,000 documents that the postmasters have never seen before and were not available for the previous court cases. How can the PO hide 70,000 documents, someone needs to serve time over this.

The police have arrested the man who is suspected of stabbing a woman to death in Bradford at the weekend. The man was arrested in Aylesbury and charged with murder. A little of the background has now leaked. Apparently, the murdered woman had been in a relationship with the man who was the father of her child, some reports say they were married. She had reported him to the police for threatening to kill her and he was on bail. But it appears that the man, Habibur Masum, who was reported to be from Oldham, was in fact from Bangladesh and was here on a student visa. I suppose we will now have to go through the expense of a trial and keeping him in jail for 20 years.


It’s a bit grey this morning but mild, I hear it’s going to get warm for the next few days, I can hardly wait. I was intrigued to read this morning that the U.K. has risen to the fourth biggest exporter in the world. Only China, the United States and Germany are ahead of us in the list. Of course, this is after we were told that trade would be a disaster leaving the EU our biggest trade partner. Well, it seems trade with EU has hardly changed and our being free of their trade agreements has allowed us to do deals outside the EU restrictions, just like the Brexiteers said would happen.

It has only taken four years for the NHS report into gender dysphoria to see the light of day, and it is damming. It shows how the numbers attending for treatment rose from five to 50 over 20 years, then in the next 10 years it went up to three thousand and the majority of kids being treated was originally 70% boys but is now 70% girls. The report basically says it is wokery and there are major worries about the long-term effect of the puberty-blocking drugs prescribed being irreversible and what they do to bone density. The majority of people in this country already knew that this treatment was unnecessary and dangerous, and it was only a few politically motivated people who pushed this. Perhaps it would have been better to send them to a physiatrist?

I read that three airlines have this week started to operate from Gatwick. Azerbaijan Airlines, Turkmenistan Airlines and Uzbekistan Airways have all started to offer services to their home nations with onward connections to some odd places. So if you want, or need, to fly to Baku, Ashgabat, or Tashkent there are now direct services on these airlines. I wonder how high the usership will be?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Now flying to Gatwick.
AZAL Azerbaijan Airlines, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, VP-BBS – LHR,
John Taggart
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The ECHR has excelled itself once again with its ruling that the human rights of six seventy-year-old women have been breached by Switzerland because they have not done enough to protect them from climate change, and they are in danger of dying. This ruling is binding on all members of the ECHR, so it includes us and is not appealable. This is of course total rubbish; people are far more likely to die from the cold than from heat. The likes of Extinction Rebellion are, of course, ecstatic and will no doubt be quoting the ruling next time they are in court for glueing themselves to the road. I think it is yet another good reason to wave goodbye to the ECHR.

A gang of Bulgarians has been found guilty of stealing money from the DHSS by making fraudulent claims for various benefits. The gang of five, three women and two men operated in North London. The way they worked was to advertise help for people with their claims and applications for NI numbers from what was described as a fraud factory at the back of a shop in Wood Green. The gang collected the applicants’ personal information and then forged things like pay slips, and letters from landlords & GPs before submitting claims and being paid over £54 million in payments like Universal Credit. The five were found guilty and remanded in custody until May for sentencing. Another band of foreign crooks who we are going to have to pay to keep in prison.

The French parliament has just passed a new law firmly aimed at people who move to the country and then complain about things that happen in the country and on farms. You cannot now make complaints on things like being woken up by cocks crowing, cows mooing, church bells ringing or the smell of muck spreading. Perhaps it’s time we had a similar law.

In the war between Ukraine and Russia both sides are very good at propaganda which sometimes makes it very hard to work out if they are telling the truth about things they announce. Take the example of helicopters. Ukraine claims to have destroyed over 350 Russian helicopters while the independent reports say the number lost is nearer 125. Ukraine claims to have destroyed nine helicopters on Wednesday morning alone by using the recently supplied American Long Range Army Tactical Missile but there is currently no independent evidence. However, a Russian helicopter crashed to earth in Crimea on Wednesday and unusually the Ukraine say they didn’t do it. The Russian media has confirmed the crash, so was it a mechanical accident, pilot error, or shot down by its own side? I doubt we will ever know.


A lovely morning, sunny and warm. I took my time strolling down the garden and back enjoying the sunshine. I see the inflation numbers for February are out this morning and it was a growth month once again. It was only up by 0.1% but if it had shrunk by 0.1% the media would have been all over it, but as it was positive it hardly gets a mention. Oh, I also see the January numbers were revised up to plus 0.3%, see if you find that anywhere else.

Another odd story reaches me from my French cousin, Laurent. In the small northern French town of Pont-Sainte-Maxence, just over a year ago, a short road was constructed. Now a court has said it was constructed illegally and told the local council who built the road to pay the local League for the Protection of Birds, that brought the action, €1,500. The problem was the council had issued a Certificate of Exemption to the protection of the woodland the road passed through. The court ruled the certificate was issued wrongly. However, the court didn’t issue any order as to what should happen to the road.

Never to be outdone on all things green, new laws have been brought in by the SNP to ban the sale of wood burners and ban the installation of gas boilers in new build houses. If you buy a new build house in Scotland you will now be forced to have a useless heat pump, like it or not. The only problem with heat pumps is that they need electricity to work and in some remote spots there is no mains electricity. That is why many remote houses use wood burners. I wonder how many will now do so illegally.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Now banned in Scottishland.
Wood Burning Stove,
Rubber Dragon
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

You may remember that last week Israel bombed the Iranian Consulate in Damascus killing the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and six other top military leaders. The Iranians have been making a lot of noise about retaliation and I told you how the Israelis have been messing about with the GPS signal in the area to disrupt any possible Iranian drone or even bomber attack. So far, the Iranians, much to many observers’ surprise, have done nothing and I have been listening to speculation as to why. Of course, there are those who say that Iran doesn’t have the capability to hit Israel as their airforce doesn’t possess any bombers and most of the fighter bombers they have could only reach Israel if they were air-to-air refuelled several times, which is somewhat unlikely Iran is capable of. Of course, I suspect that the real deterrent is that Iran knows that the moment it tried something like that Israeli aircraft would be taking out every Iranian nuclear facility with precision stand-off weapons, something they have shown themselves to be highly capable of doing. I don’t think Iran will risk that sort of retaliation but to save face they could mount an attack with a swarm of drones which they know Israel can easily defeat.

It is a convention that proposals for new laws in the U.K. parliaments are discussed with the monarch while the bill is in draft form if it may affect their personal wealth, their private property or their public functions. This is to save the embarrassment of the monarch refusing to sign an act. It seems that a proposed new Welsh environmental law has just fallen foul of this convention and the new law was amended to exempt the monarch from prosecution for ‘rural crimes’. Apparently the ‘chief legal adviser’ to the Welsh Government wasn’t very happy but eventually agreed to the change. I wonder what ‘rural crime’ the King is committing, has he been illegally growing potatoes or rustling sheep?

In Japan, Burger King has launched, for a limited period, what it is calling a ‘Fake Burger’. Apparently, it is just a burger bun filled with fries and a slice of cheese. Isn’t that just a cheesy chip butty? I suspect that it would be a big seller if it were ever launched in the U.K. But please don’t call it a ‘Fake Burger’, call it what it is, a chip butty and offer it with or without cheese and the option of tomato sauce, brown sauce or good old salt and vinegar.

Last year China added 47.4 Gw of coal-fired power to its grid. That is more than double the amount of coal-fired power added in the rest of the world added together! China promised to cut coal-fired electricity generation but has clearly done no such thing. World coal consumption was up around 2% last year mainly on the back of Chinese consumption but Indonesia, India, Vietnam and Japan had large jumps in coal usage for power generation. Part of the Chinese problem is that they do not have a national grid. Their grids are all local to provinces and this leads to each province building its own surplus power stations. If the grids were interlinked there would be no need for this. Surely a country with a centrally planned economy would find it cheaper to link the grids than to build surplus power stations.


A warm, dry morning and a very pleasant stroll down the garden before breakfast. I’m going to rush through my tasks so I can get out on the windowsill later. I can’t let the sunshine go to waste.

The ‘fake’ Royal Mail stamps problem has taken an interesting turn this morning with the claim that the fakes are being mass-produced in China. There is no suggestion that it is a Chinese Government operation, but it is suggested that it is the work of criminal gangs and the criminal scheme is being ignored by the government. That might explain why fake stamps have been purchased by customers from small shops, but it certainly does not explain how people have bought fake stamps from post offices and the major supermarkets who get their stamps directly from the Royal Mail. Is this another scandal in the offing?

Last month Airbus delivered twice as many new aircraft as Boeing. But that is only the start of the year. Boeing has the number of planes it can manufacture monthly restricted by the authorities after its serious quality problems. They are limited to 36 new planes a month until they can demonstrate they are meeting all the quality thresholds. On the other side of the Atlantic Airbus plan to produce about double that number, about 800 planes this year. Both Airbus and Boeing would love to produce more, Boeing can’t legally, and Airbus is constrained by subcontractor capacity.

I told you that EV sales in the U.K. were falling. Now I read that Volkswagen has suffered a 24% fall in European EV sales in the first three months of the year. Their EV sales in China are up by 74% but this is not enough to show an overall increase in EVs as the actual number sold was not huge, making a big % increase easy to achieve. Overall worldwide sales of VWs were down in it first quarter of the year.

A bit of news reaches me from the US of A where American Airlines has signed a deal with Airbus to update the 150 A320ceo aircraft it owns. The idea is to upgrade the electronics on the planes to the same standard as their A320neo fleet. Not only will this make them easier to operate with the updated air traffic control systems being installed across North America, but it also means pilots can switch quickly between aircraft types. Just as I finished writing that paragraph, I heard that Air Canada has signed a similar agreement for its 76 A320ceo aircraft. Airbus seems to have found a new income source.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
To be upgraded.
N483UA United Airlines 2001 Airbus A320-232 C/N 1586,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I read that the owner of a business in Singapore recently flew in Etihad Airways Business Class with his six-year-old daughter. As airlines do, they picked out random customers to answer a satisfaction survey. But in this case, it was the six-year-old who got the survey and her dad let her get on and fill it in. The little girl wasn’t very impressed with the airline. Apparently, they didn’t offer her any chocolate, the kids’ pack in Business was the same as that in Economy and she felt it should be better. They only gave hot towels to adults. The inflight entertainment didn’t start until after take-off. The young lady was so unimpressed that she gave the flight only one out of 10.

Spain and MSC Cruises have come up with a solution to the Bolivian MSC passengers who arrived in Barcelona with fake visas. The majority have been deported back to Santa Cruz in Bolivia on a flight chartered by MSC Cruises. Four Bolivians were allowed to stay in Spain because the small family had relatives living in the country. I suspect that everyone is happy that things have worked out, Spain has got rid of 65 illegals, MSC has got their ship released for the cost of a charter flight and the Bolivians have gone home.

That’s my duties done and I’m off to sit on the windowsill today, the sun is lovely. This is only my second Saturday afternoon in the sun this year. I feel the need to get outside in the sun, it has been far too wet this spring and I have spent far too much time in the reception armchair. Chat to you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2024