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


Good morning readers, and what a beautiful morning it is in London, sunny and warm. But to add to good things, the rumours have Hamster Useless resigning later. Mind you he could hang on by the skin of his teeth if the Alba party vote for him. The only problem is the Alba lot are even more extreme than the SNP.

The Ministry of Defence has announced that they want the U.K. to develop its own hypersonic missile by 2030. They say it’s going to cost £1 billon but I not sure how they know that. They haven’t said what sort of missile it will be, and how it will be launched. Of course, we already have a hypersonic missile, the submarine-launched ballistic missile Trident. But is my understanding that ballistic missiles, despite re-entering the atmosphere at about Mach 15 are the easiest to stop. So, my guess is it will be either a standoff missile or a cruise missile, which could be air or ship launched. Of course it might be cheaper to buy from America.

I had to laugh at the news that a British private company has bought several of Iraq’s surplus tracked Howitzers and has given them to Ukraine. The irony is that the 122mm Gvozdika and the 152mm Akatsiya are both of Russian manufacture. I don’t know if the types are already in service with the Ukrainian military, but I somehow doubt that spare parts and ammunition are going to be a problem.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Gvozdika on its way to Ukraine?
File:2S1 Gvozdika VS.jpg,
Srđan Popović
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The Irish government is not very happy this morning. It seems that in recent weeks channel migrants have been catching the ferry across the Irish Sea and then crossing the border into the Republic in increasing numbers. The Irish say the numbers have increased by 80% since the Rwanda Bill was passed. Now they say they are going to pass emergency legislation to send them back to the U.K. I hear that the relevant U.K. minister is saying to the Irish, we will not take them back unless France agrees to take them back from us. It was Ireland and the EU who insisted on no hard Border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Whilst writing about channel migrants, I hear that as of today we are to start detaining immigrants arriving on small boats and housing them in camps rather than housing them in four-star hotels. The idea is that they will be available to ship to Rwanda as soon as we are ready. I also hear that the EU boss Ursula von Liar has started investigating sending illegal immigrants to a third country. Is the Rwanda plan working even before King Big Ears has signed it into law?

A story reaches me from the United States where American Airlines have been having problems with its booking system. A 101-year-old lady has been flying from her home to her daughter every winter for years to benefit from the warmer winters in LA where the daughter lives. But since the old lady had reached 100 the booking system can’t cope and knocks 100 years off the year of birth. So, on her last trip she became a one-year-old baby. Her daughter escorts her on each trip and books to adult fares. Fortunately, the cabin crew so far have been very good, and everyone has had a good laugh, but one day there is going to be a problem unless American Airways sort out the computer bug.

I must say I am not surprised that Hamster Useless resigned as the SNP First Minister this Lunchtime. He says he is going to hang on until a replacement FM is elected. So, he has made a huge political miscalculation in kicking out the Greens who were holding up the coalition. But who will be brave enough to want to take on the role as they will be in exactly the same position, needing an electoral pact for the SNP to stay in government. In the meantime, there is still a motion of no confidence in the Scottishland Government to face later this week.


A second warm and sunny day running. I got all my jobs done early yesterday and was out in the glorious sun until my stomach told me it was time for food. I was happy to see it in the bowl waiting for me so I scoffed it and thought I’d have a littlest snooze before retiring to my basket. I just woke up in one of the Rich Boy’s armchairs!

I read that QatarEnergy has placed what is claimed to be the biggest-ever commercial ship-building order. They have placed an order for 18 supersize LNG carriers with the Chinese State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). The ships will each be able transport 272,000 cu m of LNG making them the biggest LNG carriers ever built and will cost around $350 million each. QatarEnergy already own 14 LNG carriers that are a little smaller at 250,000 cu m. I suppose Qatar is benefiting from the collapse of the Russian gas export business.

The USA have purchased 81 Soviet Era combat aircraft from Lithuania for an average of under $20,000 each. The planes include MiG-31 interceptors, MiG-27 fighter bombers, MiG-29 fighters, and Su-24 bombers from the 1970s and 1980s. The planes are all obsolete and of no use to Lithuania. The US say they will not be flying the planes as most are not safe to fly. So, the planes are to be scrapped for their rare metals and any spare parts that can be given to Ukraine or sold to other nations still operating them.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
A Mig 31.
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31, NATO ‘Foxhound’,
Clemens Vasters
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Crystal Palace FC has announced plans to spend £150 million over the next five years knocking down and rebuilding their main stand. With Financial Fair Play becoming more and more important the number of bums on seats becomes important as they bring in the money. Palace have one of the smaller grounds in the Premier League and the replacement stand is designed to add around 8,000 seats taking capacity to 33,674.

I hear that Oman is the next Middle Eastern nation to look at buying the French Rafale fighter jet. From what I understand Oman would really like to buy the American F-35, but the US has made the decision not to sell the F-35 to Middle East nations because they have supplied them to Israel. Oman currently flies 24 F-16s and 12 Tornados. But the Rafales would be in addition. The word on the street is that Qatar is looking to buy another 25 Rafales to add to the 36 it already has, and that Saudi Arabia is looking at buying 100. Other potential customers are said to be Serbia, Malaysia, Iraq, Columbia, and Bangladesh.

I recently told you about the Chinese-made competitor to Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737. The Chinese Commercial Aircraft Corporation (COMAC) C919 received an order for 100 of the longer-range version of the plane at the weekend. Unsurprisingly the order came from China Airlines which is, like COMAC, state-owned. China Eastern Airlines had already ordered 100 of the planes, so I now fully expect the last of three big state-owned Chinese airlines, China Southern Airlines to buy 100 C919s. I am certain that these orders are being pushed on the airlines by the government.

Royal Caribbean International had a bit of a costly problem with their cruise ship Radiance of the Seas at the weekend. The ship was supposed to sail from Vancouver up to Alaska last Friday but when the passengers boarded, they were told the ship had an engine problem and they would sail on Sunday with a revised itinerary. But late on Saturday they were told the cruise was cancelled and everyone would have to disembark on Sunday. Until then they would be given a free bar and free internet. They would also get a 100% fare return in the form of a Future Cruise Credit. In addition, RCI said they would help with the cost of return travel where it was necessary and with any necessary accommodation costs. If I was bumped off a cruise, I suspect I wouldn’t want to sail with the company again but giving a Future Cruise Credit ties you in.


It’s started off nice and sunny again but the forecast on the radio this morning says it’s going to rain this afternoon with thunderstorms. I don’t like thunderstorms, all those flashes and bangs. Sometimes it makes my fur get a static charge, but then people who stroke me get a shock and that is fun.

I read about a cat in America who got herself couriered to California. The cats’ servants got an order for work boots from Amazon delivered and sent them back as they didn’t fit. However, their cat climbed in with the boots before the box was sealed. The driver of the truck taking the box back to the warehouse heard the cat and took her to a vet where she was scanned, and her chip revealed her home address. Her owners flew to California to collect her.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Is there a cat in there?
Amazon Parcel – not sure this was the best place for it to be left!
Haydn Blackey
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Another story reaching me from the US is that Sniffer Joe says that his uncle was eaten by cannibals. He related a story saying that during World War 2 his uncle’s plane crashed in New Guinea and his remains were never found as he was eaten by the locals. This has rather upset the Government of Papua New Guinea who claim they are being insulted and they don’t eat people. In WW2 about 9,000 US servicemen went missing in the New Guinea jungle and their bodies have never been recovered. The problem was the jungle was impenetrable and inhabited by wild animals and poisonous snakes. Flyers who crashed in the jungle were rarely ever rescued.

I read that Royal Caribbean International has decided to call a halt to all its ships from calling at its own private port in Labadee, Haiti. RCI bought a large area on the Haitian part of the island of Hispaniola and have turned it into their own port and beach resort fenced off from the rest of the island. But Haiti is in a state of civil war and in the first three months of the year some 2,500 people have been killed and injured. RCI say that for the foreseeable future their ships will be calling at the likes of Grand Turk instead. I am surprised that RCI have not decided to call at the Dominican Republic which shares Hispaniola with Haiti.

The attendance numbers for the Women Super League and Championship have surpassed 1,000,000 for the first time. Every WSL side, bar West Ham, has played at least one match at the stadium of their male team. Mind you I think they can thank Arsenal for about a third of that number on their own. They have played six of their home WSL matches at the Emirates, where they have twice played in front of over 60,000, twice over 55,000 and 42,000 and once. Their other home matches have been played at Boreham Wood where the much smaller 3,500-seat stadium is usually sold out. Their average home attendance for this season so far has been over 37,000.

The Post Office appears to have backed away from its position that it stamp scanners are perfect in detecting fake stamps. In a surprise move they are suspending the £5 fine they have been levying on the recipient of a letter bearing a ‘fake’ stamp until July. At the same time, they say they are developing an app which will allow users to check whether the stamps they have been sold are real or a fake. I wonder what the PO will do when the scanner says the stamps you just purchased in the Post Office are fakes.

I am delighted to see that the Health Secretary, Victoria Atkins, has told the NHS to stop being woke and that ‘Sex is a biological fact’. Consequently, they are to stop using terms like ‘chest feeder’ and ‘people who give birth’, to ban trans women (who are men) from being on women’s wards, and to give women the right to request a doctor of the same sex for intimate care. I really can’t understand how previous Health Secretaries have not got to grips with this sort of thing. Could it be appearing now because there is a general election on the horizon and the Tories are at long last doing something the people of the U.K. actually want. Of course, the wokerati are not happy, but who cares what they think.


Did you hear the thunderstorms last night? The thunder woke me up about two o’clock and went on for ages and ages. I lost at least an hour’s sleep which isn’t very good when you are an old cat like me! This morning, I hear that we are likely to lengthen the opening hours for pubs in England during the upcoming Euros. Does that mean we are going to get an influx of people from Scottishland to watch their games in our pubs?

Earlier this week a new TV service called ‘Freely’ launched. I didn’t bother to talk about it earlier because it was a bit of a soft launch. The service is a bit like Sky Glass and brings you live TV over the internet, but unlike Sky TV it is only for free channels like BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. The bigger problem with it is that at the moment the service is only available on TVs with the app built in, a bit like a Freeview TV. So as at this time I understand it is only Hisense 2024 4K models have this capability and some Vestel sets will have the built-in capability later this quarter. The big problem is that there is not an app available yet for phones, tablets and PCs although through the owners of the service I hear one is coming. The whole service is not going to be used very much until the app is generally available either as a download or built into every TV sold.

I was astonished to learn that the Republic of Korea Air Force still operates the F-4 Phantom fighter jet. The plane first joined the RoKAF in 1968 and is due to be withdrawn from service this year, that’s over 50 years in service. The U.K. also introduced the F-4 as its principal fighter aircraft in 1968 but it last flew in British colours in 1992, that’s 24 years in service which is pretty good. I see that Korea buying the F-35A which is a little bit of a jump from the F-4.

You may remember that when the war in Ukraine started over two years ago, we sent them loads of NLAW anti-tank missiles and they were used against the Russian armour that was sent to attack Kiev. The missiles all came out of our reserves and of course they became rather depleted. Back in December 2022 we placed a £229 million order for thousands to replenish our stock and I understand that we are regularly receiving the order in batches as they are produced in Belfast. However, I do wonder if we are still shipping them to Ukraine or if we are building up our stock.

I just watched a video on the internet where they dry dock the Silverseas cruise ship Silverseas Spirit and cut it in half. Then they move the two bits apart and slid a pre-assembled module in the middle. The module was mostly prefinished with cabling and plumbing so once it was welded in place the systems only needed hooking up. Two months after entering the dry dock the Sprit sales on a commissioning journey 49 feet longer, with 32 additional cabins and weighing 3,500 tonnes more. When it sailed out of the dock it looked like it had always been that size.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Cut in half, ready for her insert!
Silversea Silver Spirit lengthening in Palermo,
Luigi Rosa
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

If you have ever been to London, you will probably know that many of the city’s skyscrapers have names, some official, some unofficial. There is the Shard, the Cheese Grater, the Walkie-Talkie and of course the Gherkin. Well, the Gherkin is over 20 years old now and in need of refurbishment. It has 41 floors of offices with a restaurant at the top for the mainly legal and financial firms that occupy the building, I hear that one American legal firm, that occupies six floors, is to move out to facilitate the refurbishment. I wonder if Belinda’s Wright Refurbishment tendered for the job?

Do you remember when the door plug fell out of the Boeing 737Max, an iPhone got sucked out and fell 16,000 feet to the ground and survived with just a cracked screen. People asked at the time a phone can fall on a bathroom floor and be killed stone dead, but it can still work after falling 16,000 feet. I read that an investigation has revealed that a phone dropped from that height will never accelerate to more than 60 mph because of its flat shape causing air resistance. It then landed on grass growing in rain-saturated ground giving it a relatively soft landing. If you were to drop the same phone onto a bathroom floor the chances are that the floor is tiled with disastrous results.


No sun this morning, but at least it’s dry. Some overnight results are in for the local elections, and it looks like the Tories are losing seats but it’s to everyone, Liebour, Limp Dumps and Independents. But they are not going to Liebore in the huge number that was predicted.

Tesco has launched a legal claim against Scania, the Swedish lorry manufacturer. Scania has recently been fined $800 million for working with five other European truck makers to fix and coordinate prices. Tesco claim they have been affected detrimentally by Scania’s actions. I presume Tesco bought Scania trucks and believe they have been overcharged. This is one to keep an eye on.

Talking about legal action, I read that 10,500 London black cab drivers have entered into a class action to sue Uber over misleading TfL in its application for a licence to operate in London. I hear the cabbies are claiming that Uber drivers are picking up fares directly on the street, without going through the Uber control room as they promised TfL would be the case. Apparently, the cabbies are saying that this was always the case and Uber lied in their application. Another one to watch.

Over in Wales, a man is due to appear in court on the 13th May because he is refusing to pay a parking fine. He was issued the fine in a Welsh car park that was operated by an English company based in West Sussex. He claims that he is refusing to pay because the fine was in English, and he wants it in Welsh. The case has been thrown out by a Welsh judge twice but on appeal the court ruled that there had been no legal grounds to dismiss the case and it will now go to court for the fourth time. I understand that there is no right under Welsh law to demand the paperwork is in Welsh, however some companies do supply their paperwork in both languages as a courtesy.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Welsh car park.
Pen y Pass car park,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I have just been checking the date in case they were 2 x April the first this year. I read in a paper that KFC had launched a perfume in the US. It’s called ‘No 11 – Eau de BBQ’ and I hear it is already sold out in the U.K. I don’t know how much it costs here but the article I read said it cost $13.82c in the States. But just who would want to smell of KFC BBQ sauce or even of KFC Fried Chicken, I suspect you would be followed down the street by dogs and cats.

Last month Coca Cola launched a new version of its Fanta Zero (sugar) Orange and said it has a “new irresistible taste”. Unfortunately, this appears not the be the view of customers as I see chat on the internet saying the new version is awful and demanding a return to the previous version. Coke put out a press release when the new version was launched saying “People will love it.” Well, it seems they don’t, I wonder if Coke will bite the bullet and go back to the old version, somehow, I doubt it. I suspect they will bluff it out and hope for the best.

The guys in the office have one TV tuned in to the Post Office IT enquiry. I have been watching bits and pieces and am amazed how so many of the witnesses seem to be covering their arses when answering questions. It is also interesting how many of them have poor memories and keep saying either, “I can’t remember that,” and, “I have no knowledge of that.” Sometimes they get caught lying, and just go silent for a minute while they try to dream up an answer. Then they blame it all on someone else, the buck is continually passed upwards and sideways. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that all the people in the management levels at the Post Office and Royal Mail were complicit in one big coverup.


It’s back to a warm sunny morning, I only hope it lasts all day so I can get outside this afternoon. The Rich Boy was up in Yorkshire yesterday and didn’t come back here, so I don’t know what he thought about the election results, but I can bet he wasn’t very happy. The guys in the office didn’t seem to be too happy.

In the States, SouthWest Airlines published their latest set of results this week and they lost $230 million. They put the whole loss on down to not being able to operate all the services they had scheduled because of they are not being delivered the Boeing 737Max aircraft they have ordered. Consequently, they have been cutting services and even some routes. I see a big claim for compensation coming.

The British startup airline Global, who plan to operate cheap flights from London to New York using only A380s, ferried its first plane from where it had been in storage in the Mohave desert to Prestwick this week. The plane used to belong to China Southern and was still in their colours, but the odd thing was it made the trip all the way across the Atlantic with its undercarriage down. It seems that the airport in the States didn’t have the ability to carry out all the preservice checks necessary on the plane. To check the working of the undercarriage they needed stands to hold up the plane while the undercarriage went through its cycles, but they didn’t have any. So, they will now be getting that check done in the U.K.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
China Southern A380.
B-6137 | China Southern Airlines | Airbus A380-841 | CAN,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I understand that the government’s decision to ban sand eel fishing in British waters has upset the E.U. The idea of the ban is to stop the decline in the British puffin population who live on sand eels. But the Continentals have been hoovering up the little fish to turn into fish meal and don’t like being banned from their traditional fishing grounds. But it’s not that we are picking on the EU, we are banning everyone including our own fishermen in order to save the puffins.

The Russian Ministry of Defence recently put out a video showing T80s rolling off the production lines with factory-made ‘cope’ cages ready attached. The idea is to protect them from being taken out by Ukrainian FPV drones. But the Ukrainian drone operators have found that the answer is to attack the tank in pairs. The first one blows a hole in the protective cage which the second one then flies through to attack the tank in its more vulnerable regions. I wonder what the next move will be, double cages, and triple drones maybe.

A while ago I told you how the Ukraine was never going to sign extensions to the carriage contracts to take Russian natural gas in pipelines across Ukraine. Now I hear that Gazprom have had a spectacular fall in revenue last financial year leading to a loss of 629 billion roubles (£5.5 billion). It’s not as if Russia doesn’t have the gas to export or customers who would be willing to buy it despite Western sanctions. The problem is Russia put all its eggs in one basket, relying on exports through pipelines to Europe. They could sell to China, but don’t have the pipeline capacity to make up for the huge volumes that Europe used to take. They also don’t have plants to turn it into LNG to allow it to be shipped by sea. Both Pipelines and LNG plants take years to plan, design and construct so they aren’t a quick answer to the Gazprom conundrum.

The G7 countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and Italy) have agreed to phase out unabated coal-fired power stations by 2035 in the name of climate change. This seems a rather daft announcement to me, as many of these countries are well down that path already, in fact we are on the verge of closing our last coal-fired power station and it was hardly used last winter. But it’s not the G7 nations that are the big users of coal. The world’s biggest users of coal for power generation are China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam and you don’t see them in the list of G7 nations making this pointless promise.

That’s me done for another week and as the sun is still out and it’s quite warm, I’m off for my Saturday afternoon snooze on the windowsill. The forecast for tomorrow is more rain so I’m going to make the most of it while I can. Chat to you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2024