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


Good morning friends, another week is underway. It was a bit grey earlier, but the sun is trying to show here in the street. This morning I hear that China was behind the hacking of 40 million people’s data on the electoral register. That’s everyone who was on the register then, so it is almost certainly you. Mind, it mainly names address and age and whether you have a postal vote, but they would probably get similar by buying a set of phone directories. I suppose it would be useful if you what to rig an election. If we get a load of communist MPs elected, we now know why!

I have been reading a survey of car buyers in America and what it found needs to happen before buyers would consider buying an electric vehicle. The report said makers need to provide three things – a range of 350 miles, a full charge in under 20 minutes and a cost under $50,000. Apparently, there is only one car on the US market that meets these criteria. I bet if the poll had been taken in the U.K. the results would have been very similar, but I wouldn’t mind betting people would want to spend £25,000 or less. I can’t think of a single car in the U.K. that meets all those criteria.

Is the Carnival Freedom cruise ship fated? Some time ago it suffered a fire in its funnel and sailed for some time without its distinctive ‘T’ shape Carnival funnel. A new top to the funnel was fitted last autumn making the smokestack look exactly like any other Carnival ship. That was until Saturday when the ship’s funnel was hit by lightning and the funnel set alight. The ship’s firefighters quickly put the fire out, with the help of the captain who steered into a rainstorm. Unfortunately, this wasn’t before one of the burning arms fell off onto Deck 10 where it was quickly extinguished. I understand that no one was hurt, and the cruise is continuing but to the US. I guess whoever built that replacement funnel will be getting a repeat order.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
It was the port funnel wing that was burnt off.
George Town – Carnival Freedom (5756470231),
Roger W
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The new iPad Pro is nearly with us, and I read of one change that many people have been asking for is likely to be included. A couple of iPad generations ago Apple started to realise that people were not just thinking of their iPad as a big iPhone. One of the first signs of this was when the Apple logo changed to the right orientation when the tablet was started in the horizontal mode. Then came the Magic Keyboard and the front camera, as it became obvious that most people used the iPad horizontally and used face recognition to log on. But one thing has remained, the front camera is in the top left-hand corner, making FaceTime a bit awkward. Now I hear that in the new model the front camera will be in the middle, at the top, just where it should have been when a front camera was first introduced.

An interesting report is out today from Aurora Energy Research a group of academics from Oxford University has said that the Liebore plan for net zero by 2030 would cost £116 billion. But because of the time taken to build things like offshore wind farms much of this is totally impossible. An offshore wind farm takes 11 years to plan, design, manufacture, build and bring online. So, if we started today, we are looking at 2035 for the extra capacity to start coming online. But there is another problem, we are currently building 1Gw of offshore wind a year, under the Liebore plan we need to add 6Gw a year, every year to 2030 to get to net zero. Where does the steel to build this come from, where are the factories to build the wind turbines, where is the labour to build them? When you look at the Liebore plan it is clearly impossible and that is without asking where the £116 billion is coming from.

At the weekend it is reported that the Ukraine took out two more Russian warships, the large landing ships Yamal and the Azov. They were apparently in port in Sevastopol and were hit by French and U.K.-supplied cruise missiles. In addition. the report says a naval command centre and several other warehouses were also attacked. The Russians started the war against Ukraine with eight of these large landing ships, six of one class and two of another, in the Black Sea. The Russians have been using the ships to resupply troops in Crimea and other occupied parts of Ukraine but now only have one ship of each class left. However, in recent months Russia has been constructing a new railway to supply these areas so the ships may not be quite as important as they once were.

An interesting development in the Red Sea over the weekend when the Houthis launched five cruise missiles at a Chinese-owned tanker. One is reported to have hit and damaged the MV Huang but fortunately no one was injured. This came only a few days after the Russians and Chinese had meetings with the Houthi leaders who agreed that Chinese and Russian ships would be immune from attacks. But things in the Red Sea area are not always very clear. Saudi Arabia has been attacking the Houthis for years and supports the Yemeni government. The Houthis have been backed by Iran and Iran is a big trading partner with China who are getting close to Russia. But none of this explains why the Houthi attack took place, was it deliberate or was it a cock up, I favour cock up.


It was a bit dull when I first woke but there is a bit of weak sun now. My feeder today is one of the better ones who makes a fuss of me. Today she searched the cat food cupboard for a Felix Chicken pouch. She sat down with a paper and put the TV on while I ate and I saw that video on the news of the container ship Deli running into a bridge pier in Baltimore. Gosh, the bridge went down like it was made of playing cards. I was a bit surprised to hear the bridge was opened in 1977. By the way it collapses I thought it must have been much older. The ship is said to have been under the control of two harbour pilots. I suspect they are in trouble.

The train driver’s union ASLEF seems to have bitten the hand off the Avanti West Coast railway’s negotiators to accept their latest wage offer. The union immediately accepted the offer without referring it to members. So, what is the offer? It appears to be £67,000 per annum for a 4-day week. For every extra shift worked there is a flat payment of £600. This means an extra £31,000 a year for a five-day week. Many drivers used to work weekends to make up their money, now an extra two days will virtually double a driver’s wages!

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Driven for £67,000 for a four-day week.
Avanti West Coast train arriving at Lancaster,
Peter Trimming
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Yesterday I told you about the fire on the Carnival Freedom. Today it seems that on the scheduled return of the ship to Port Canaveral engineers have had a good look at the damage, and it is a lot more serious than originally thought. Consequently, the next two sailings of the ship have been cancelled at very short notice. Most American cruises are very short, and these are no different so the ship looks like it will be out of action for a week. Obviously, this was very disappointing for many passengers who were already at the port ready to board. I hear they are getting a full refund, a future cruise credit and out-of-pocket expenses.

The true purpose of smart meters is finally becoming clear and it’s just what we all expected. The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) has announced plans to charge for gas and electricity ‘in a new way’. They say that with the move from fossil fuels to renewables and net zero we need to get more people using off-peak electricity and let people charge their EVs cheaply overnight. That’s ok, but they then say they would like to introduce ‘surge charging’ and make people pay more for using power at peak times, and for this they need smart meters. I seem to remember being assured this was never going to happen.

Do you remember the Israeli raid on the Gaza hospital last week where a group of Gazan doctors were reporting for the BBC and made all sorts of accusations about the Israelis? According to the doctors the Israelis committed war crimes including executing patients and strip-searching doctors who were of course totally innocent. It has now emerged that doctors hired by the BBC as independent ‘foreign correspondents’ were nothing of the sort. They have been shown to have been Hamas supporters having published many pro-Hamas and anti-Semitic articles online. I wonder if the BBC will even mention it, let alone apologise, somehow, I doubt it.

Sizewell C nuclear power station came a step nearer yesterday when government-owned ‘Sizewell C’ bought 895 acres of land from EdF for the site of the proposed power station on the Sussex coast. The cost of the parcel of land has not been revealed but it is believed to be big enough for the two reactors, turbine house, auxiliary buildings, construction yards and accommodation for workers. The Sizewell C company will now be able to apply for a nuclear site licence. It takes as long to build a Hinckley, I will be dead and buried many years before it is finished.

The Donald had his bail bond, on the charge of inflating the value of his properties when getting a bank loan, reduced on appeal. The bail bond had originally set at a ridiculous $465 million but was reduced to a more reasonable $175 million. The Donald may be a rich man but, like many rich men all his money is tied up in investments, didn’t have the original sum to hand and couldn’t find anyone who could offer a bond of such a huge amount. Without a reduction The Donald stood to have several houses, office blocks and golf courses seized. He now has 10 days to come up with the money.


Morning merry readers. It’s a lovely sunny morning again, but chilly, however I read it is going to rain this afternoon. I chuckled when I was reading the paper this morning. An animal rescue took in what it thought was a baby hedgehog (a hoglet) and it was offered food only for the rescuers to realise I was the hairy bobble off a woolly hat.

The Ministry of Defence has asked industry to come up with ways of clearing mines. However, unless you can understand official talk you might not have realised that is what they wanted. They talk about mechanical breaching solutions for explosive barriers. They want something that will clear a path 4.5 metres wide by over 200 metres long at a time. This is longer than the system the Americans use but seems to have been based on the depth of Russian minefields in the Ukraine.

The roadrunners in London have come up with a new idea to fight Sad Dick’s ULEZ cameras. They have put bat boxes around the cameras. As anyone who has ever dealt with bats knows, they are a protected species, and it is illegal to interfere with them in any way. So once the boxes are up the poles it should be illegal to remove them as no one knows if they are being used and it would be considered interference if anyone looked in the boxes. I wonder if Sad Dick’s men will be ordered to take them down, and if they do, will they be prosecuted.

The RAF has air-dropped 10 tonnes of aid into Gaza. Of course, it’s a bit of a hit-and-miss way of delivering aid as there is not much of a guarantee that it will get to the people who most need it. But I always worry about people being hit by a big crate of tinned food crashing through their building. The film released seemed to show the plane making the drop over a beach so maybe that is a bit safer as a doubt many people are sunbathing and swimmingly in the middle of a war. Mind you I don’t think 10 tonnes is going to make a lot of difference a single truck can bring in three or four times that amount.

Second-hand car dealer, Simon Retallick, has been jailed for four years for scamming customers over several years. Many of the cars he sold from his Stockton on Tees garage were riddled with faults and many didn’t have, and wouldn’t be able to pass, an MOT test. In particular, one Citroen he sold was said to be a death trap. Retallick is said to have made over £100,000 from his scams. He often sold the same car to several people promising a full refund to each buyer in turn, as the car was returned as faulty, but not paying them. If he was taken to county court by a customer and ordered to refund them, he simply didn’t comply. Cleveland Police listed 37 victims who had paid for cars they hadn’t received or had been sold cars that were supposedly in full working order but were full of faults. I hope someone makes him bankrupt, so people get their money back.

Good news for Bournemouth Airport and it’s catchment area. From next spring Jet 2 are going to use it as a new operating base and will be basing two aircraft there. From April next year those planes will be operating 27 flights a week to the likes of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Alicante, Palma, Ibiza, Menorca, Antalya, Dalaman, Faro, Crete (Heraklion), Rhodes, Zante, Corfu, Madeira and Fuerteventura. The airline says they will be hiring 200 new staff. It looks like the fight the airport went through to lengthen its single runway, to enable it to operate the bigger jets needed to fly to some of those more distant places like Corfu, has paid off.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Coming to Bournemouth next year.
LS/EXS Jet2 B737 G-DRTI,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I read that the Royal Navy has signed a £135 million agreement with Systems Engineering and Assessment (SEA) for a new decoy launcher system for its warships. The system, called Ancilia, is small and can be retrofitted to almost all RN warships. It is on a flexible mount and will be in addition to the fixed system, SeaGnat, that is currently installed on RN ships. The new system, being manoeuvrable, is capable of being pointed at an intruder instead of having to turn the ship in its direction to launch the decoy. I wonder how long it is going to take to roll Ancilia out to the fleet?


It’s a bit grey this morning and cooler again. It wasn’t yet raining when I popped out, but it’s forecast once again. I see Lego Head is fed up with the Tories stealing his policies, so he has decided to steal one of theirs. He says he is going to implement ‘levelling up’. I thought it was already happening and millions of pounds had been dished out. But I have just heard Litha on the radio rabbiting about her Wigan constituency and how they could spend levelling up money on training people to be engineers. Pity they don’t have any engineering vacancies to put all the people they train into.

Today’s silly story is that Alan Titchmarsh has upset the North Koreans. For some unknown reason they have acquired one of his old TV gardening series and have been showing it to the nation, but they have been blanking out his trousers. It seems that he has been wearing denim jeans and the North Koreans think that jeans are a symbol of Western imperialism. Isn’t it bad enough for people living in North Korea without having Alan Titchmarsh inflicted on them?

Another day another Boeing problem, or more precisely two problems. The Federal Aviation Administration has mandated a fix on all Boeing 737 aircraft, so this one affects the last range, the 737NG, and the current range the 737MAX and any others still in service. The FAA have identified a single point of failure in the aircraft’s de-icing system that has the potential to shut down the de-icing from both engines at the same time. They say it has never happened, but it could happen, so it must be fixed. The fix is said to involve altering some wiring and introducing some additional diodes. At the same time the FAA has discovered a problem with the de-icing system on several 787 Dreamliners, where seals in the hot gas bleed system from the engine have been found to have failed exposing the hot air systems the de-icer uses to overheating and potential failure. All 787s must be checked and fixed if the problem is found. It never rains but it pours for Boeing, no wonder that the CEO has been dumped.

The business of the container ship that ran into the bridge support in Baltimore sounds like some sort of engine or power failure on the MV Dali. About a minute before it hit the bridge it suffered a loss of electrical power, all its lights went out and it apparently suffered a loss of propulsion and steering. The crew told the harbour authorities who immediately stopped traffic going onto the bridge. The ship just as suddenly got its power back but for only a few seconds, but now it had drifted off course and the captain ordered full astern and attempted to drop the ship’s anchor, but to no avail. The ship had too much momentum and ploughed into the bridge where a local highway team who were fixing potholes in the carriageway were flung into the water.

I read that economists are predicting that the cut in the fuel price cap at the end of this month will be enough to reduce the inflation rate to 2% as per the Bank of England target. However, in the subsequent month or two the rate will continue to fall to around 0% or 0.5%. Although this may sound good it is generally accepted that 2% is ideal as the economy needs a small amount of inflation to work so the prediction is for the BoE to have to slash interest rates soon to try to get inflation back up to 2%.

Lego Head Stoma has had to make another ‘U’ turn. This time it’s on renegotiating the EU exit deal. He has been saying he would renegotiate the deal when it comes up for review in 2025. However, he has had to rethink policy following the EU telling him they are happy with the deal and will not consider reopening it. In addition, the EU says that the negotiation of a veterinary agreement is far from the easy deal Liebore would have us believe. I also hear that Liebore had dropped plans to renegotiate a trade deal with the EU and instead is now talking about a security deal. The only problem here is that the French say they will veto any deal that opens the French defence industry to competition from the British defence industry. I get the impression that Liebore’s plans for government are being exposed as pie in the sky when examined more closely.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Sir Lego Head.
Official portrait of Keir Starmer,
Chris McAndrew
Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The ‘Christian convert’ who attacked the woman and her two children with alkaline and then drowned in the River Thames has been revealed as being granted refugee status after having failed a Christianity test, lying and being a convict sex offender. He initially failed the test by not being able to name four of Christ’s disciples and what the Old Testament was about. His appeal was granted because a Baptist minister gave evidence that he was a true convert, and this despite him having to be accompanied by a chaperone to protect female church members whenever he attended church. Oh, I nearly forgot, this Christian was buried with full Muslim rites.

I was interested to read that the Trump Media & Technology Group floated on the US Nasdaq Stock Market and immediately jumped in value, finishing the day up 16% on its launch price. Apparently, The Donald ended the day with a stake worth $5.5 billion. I guess he can now raise money against the shares to raise the ridiculous $125 million bail money on his New York court case. I understand that he can’t sell shares for six months under the float agreement, but he could use them as loan collateral.


A pretty grey morning at first and very wet under paw. But in London is getting brighter all the time am eating my breakfast. I see Crayons is getting deeper in the mire and is now being investigated by her local authority for electoral fraud. She told the press she had got written legal advice that what she did was legal, but she refuses to publish the advice. Why would you refuse to publish the advice if it cleared you?

Today is Good Friday one of the most important days in the Christian calendar. In London there are celebration lights up in several places including Oxford Street, Coventry Street and between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. But these lights have nothing to do with Easter, they are to celebrate the Muslim festival of Ramadan. We are a Christian nation not a Muslim one, and of course the lights were turned on by none other than London Mayor Sad Dick.

While still on the subject of Easter, I hear that airline passengers have been warned not to carry Easter eggs in their hand luggage, as hollow eggs can be used to smuggle contraband. Subsequently eggs must be unwrapped, have the foil removed and then be scanned. If you have a particular liking for those little Cadbury Creme Eggs, don’t put them in your hand luggage as you are likely to exceed the 100 ml of liquid rule. I never thought of the filling of one of those eggs as liquid.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Don’t Fly with one in your hand luggage.
Cadbury Cream Eggs,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

With the entrance to the Port of Baltimore blocked by the fallen bridge, I hear Carnival and Royal Caribbean have been rushing around looking for alternatives to the city’s Maryland Cruise Terminal which is inaccessible until the debris is shifted. Royal Caribbean’s next arrival in the port isn’t until April 4th when Vision of the Seas is scheduled to dock, so they have a while to sort that out. But Carnival use Baltimore as the home port of the Carnival Legend and it is due to arrive back from a cruise on 31st March. Carnival have acted quickly, and the ship’s home port has been temporarily moved to Norfolk, Virginia. Passengers will be bussed to Baltimore if they want it.

Insurance companies have revealed an interesting snippet of information. It appears that more and more London drivers are exploiting a loophole in the ULEZ and purchasing 40-year-old classic cars as these are exempt from the ULEZ charge. Heritage Car Insurance report they have seen a sizeable increase in Londoners insuring 40 and more year-old cars to avoid the £12.50 a day charge that Sad Dick has imposed on motorists whose cars don’t comply with his legislation. I also hear that tanks, tractors and traction engines are exempt, but these might be a bit pricey to insure.

Thames Water is in trouble after investors pulled out of a proposed deal to inject £500 million into the business which is billions in debt. The investors said they would inject the money if they put up the cost of their services by 45%. However, the water regulator, OFWAT, has refused permission for a rise that big so the investors are not going ahead with the cash injection. What now for Thames Water, the country’s biggest water company? They claim to have enough money to survive at least 18 months, but don’t rule out them being nationalised.

The Metropolitan Police can do things quickly when they try, which isn’t very often. On Wednesday afternoon a train from Bromley in Kent to London Victoria stopped at Shortlands station and two youths got on board. These youths had been seen arguing on the station platform and continued arguing on the train, where suddenly one of them pulled out a huge hunting knife and stabbed the other a number of times before jumping off at the next stop Beckenham. But passengers had already dialled 999 and at least one had recorded the incident on their phone. The victim was admitted to hospital where he is said to have life-threatening injuries. The 19-year-old culprit was arrested yesterday lunchtime and the police have recovered the knife. No news on the race of the culprit, which usually means was black.


A warmer sunny morning today. The big story this morning seems to be the resignation of the DUP leader after being charged with what the radio and television called an historical sex crime. Or what you and me would call rape. Fifty-seven-year-old Sir Jeffery Donaldson is married to Eleanor whose age is unknown. The police have also charged a 57-year-old woman.

The Rich Boys surprise Easter Honours List seems to have gone done like a bucket of cold sick with Liebore, as amongst those on the list were several Tory MPs and a big giver to the party. Of course, this has completely overshadowed the announcement to make the new leader of the SNP and the new Welsh Liebore PM Privy Councillors.

I understand they had a medical emergency earlier this week at Lewes Prison in Kent. It seems that a number are prisoners and celebrants were taken ill after a post-service meal. Those taken ill had all eaten a curry made in the prison kitchen. Apparently many had headaches, visual disturbances and were sick and at least 15 were detained in hospital, although many more were treated. There is a question as to whether it was simple food poisoning or if someone had deliberately slipped a drug into the food. Tests are taking place so we should eventually learn which it was.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
That looks a bit grim.
Entrance to Lewes Prison,
Paul Gillett
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I see that most of the big container shipping companies have written to customers who had containers at sea for Baltimore, declaring ‘force majeure’ and that they will dump the containers in various East Coast ports and terminate the contract of carriage. This leaves the customer to pay any onward shipping charges and port fees. At the moment only one carrier is landing containers at other ports and then transferring them to Baltimore Port and that is Maersk, who had chartered the ship that destroyed the bridge.

I told you yesterday about the Ramadan lights in London. I hear that on Thursday a journalist from the Telegraph was passing the offices of the City of Westminster Council’s City Hall and spied a big display in their window wishing people a happy Ramadan, but nothing for Easter. The journalist rang up the Liebore council and asked where the similar Easter message was. Suddenly, late on Thursday, a table appeared in the window with a bit of bunting around it, a few plastic eggs on it and a Happy Easter poster. Nothing to remind people that this is the nation’s most important Christian festival. It really does look like something thrown together at the last moment.

Ukraine is supposed to be getting the first of the over sixty F-16 aircraft promised it very soon, followed next year with another batch from a third country. But now I hear that Sweden is considering whether it should supply Saab Gripen multirole aircraft to Ukraine. The Gripen is a step change more advanced than the F-16 with an advanced air-to-air ability as well as a ground attack capability. It is claimed the Gripen can match the US F-35 because of its highly advanced electronics. We shall see.

Speaking of the Russo-Ukrainian war, it was reported earlier that Ukraine had hit and damaged two of Russia’s few remaining large landing ships in the Black Sea with cruise missiles. I now read that the latest satellite pictures of Sevastopol seem to indicate that the missiles hit four warships, but it is not clear how badly any were damaged. The third ship hit was a frigate that the Russians took from the Ukraine when they invaded Crimea. But the fourth ship is more interesting as it is one that the Ukrainians would dearly love to be clear of. The Ivan Khurs is an intelligence ship with high-power electronic listening capabilities, what in the Cold War days was called a spy ship. Apparently, the Ukrainians have been hunting it down since the start of the war, and it now has a huge scorch mark on its stern. Whether its capabilities have been affected only the Russians know.

That’s my duties done, and I think I can actually sit on the windowsill today, the sun is quite warm on my fur. This will be my first Saturday afternoon in the sun this year and I am looking forward to snoozing in the sun. Chat to you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2024