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


Good morning merry readers, and welcome to another week of my scribbles. No sun this morning, and not as warm as yesterday, but the sweaters have disappeared from the office. So, the Rich Boy is going to make a big speech later today about the dangers we are facing in the next few years, particularly from AI and Russia. I shall listen with interest, but I hope he doesn’t forget China.

Did you watch that song contest? I saw a bit but decided it was so bad I would rather do a patrol round the estate and retire to my cat basket. I wondered if I was watching a bondage porn movie. It was weird and political, and I am hardly surprised to read that the BBC’s audience dropped hugely. I hear that Greta Thunderpants even turned up and got arrested.

Interesting news from Russia, where I hear they are sacking the Defence Minister Shoigu, but as yet no reason has been given. Well, the word I hear is that he and some of his close colleagues have been running a big scam, embezzling money and using the war in Ukraine as a big cover-up. I hear that his replacement is going to be an economist. The Russians have a bit of a problem in that if they were to put him on trial, they would have to admit to very high-level corruption. I somehow expect to hear soon that he has died in an accident, or of some awful illness. PooTin has a bit of a reputation for bumping people off.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Before he was sacked.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s official visit to India (17),
Russian Ministry of Defence
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

I read of a Spanish man who bought an old house that had been empty for about 40 years and set about refurbishing it. Very early in the work, he started finding old Nesquik tins hidden in the walls. On opening them he found they were packed with bank notes. Unfortunately, they were Peseta notes that were withdrawn from circulation years ago and replaced by the Euro and the general date to exchange them expired years ago. However, I do hear that the Bank of Spain has so far agreed to exchange about £30,000 worth. He thinks he has found about another £17,000. He intends to use the £30,000 to install a new roof. Either it is a very big house, or new roofs are very expensive in Spain.

If you are an old bus enthusiast, I hear that there is to be a vintage bus rally in Worthing on July 28th. I understand that there will be all sorts of buses there for you to see on the seafront, including everything from single deck to double deck, via open top. I hear there will be rides along the seafront and a free bus operating from Worthing station to the rally, saving you a ten-minute walk. I shall have to ask my scribe if he is going.

One of the things that seems to have slipped under the spotlight is that legislation calling for the sale of petrol-fired motorcycles to be banned from 2040 is about to be introduced. That is all types of motorcycle from the smallest moped to the largest high-powered motorcycles, although some of the smallest mopeds could be banned from 2030. There are electric motorcycles already on sale, but they are less than 2% of motorbike sales, have an awful range, less than 100 miles and are mostly incompatible with EV chargers. I wonder what will be next, a ban on petrol mowers?

I was in the office yesterday afternoon and the boys were watching the Man United v Arsenal match. I won’t comment on the results except to say I was delighted to see a London team win, but it was the rain that intrigued me. About 10 minutes before the end of the game, the thunder and lightning arrived. Then it started raining, not too much at first but by the time the referee blew for full time it was pouring down. And it was then that it became apparent that the roof needs fixing at Old Trafford, in both the real and metaphorical sense. The water was pouring off the roof in one corner, like a waterfall. I understand that the new Man Ure investor, Jim Ratcliffe, says they need to spend £239 million on infrastructure, and watching that he seems to be right. The water was pouring down on some seats. Can you imagine having paid good money to have sat there? I wonder what they will choose to fix first: the rotting stadium or the rotten team.


A wet night and early morning, but now I have had my Felix, I see it has stopped raining and the sun is trying to come out. The news this morning is that the number of unemployed has gone up a bit, but at the same time the number of people employed has crept up a bit also. I don’t really understand where the extra people are coming from, it’s not school leavers as the term doesn’t finish until July. I guess it must be immigration.

I hear that the US Air Force wants a new air refuelling tanker ‘no later than 2040’. They put an F-35 together with the render of a ‘stealth’ air refuelling tanker concept put out by the Lockheed Skunk Works. I have always wondered what the point of was having a ‘stealth’ aircraft like the F-35 and air-to-air refuelling it from a non-stealthy tanker. Surely the enemy will know where the F-35 is when it is refuelling. I suppose this is why they need a new tanker plane, but I would have thought it was needed now, not in 2040.

The word reaches me that Tesla has a bit of a problem in that worldwide it is selling around 10% less cars than it is producing. You would think the answer would be simple, you cut back the number produced to match the number you are selling. But, apparently, for some undisclosed reason, Tesla doesn’t want to do this and is instead storing cars. In the States that seems to be in the car parks of shopping malls and in Germany at airport car parks after their own facilities have become full. It seems that Tesla currently has over 45,000 cars in storage. Mind you I suspect they are all left-hand drive as they don’t make many right-hand drive these days.

After their huge crowds at the Emirates this year, Arsenal Women have announced that they intend to play more matches there this coming season. However, I hear that they will play at least 11 matches there as opposed to the six they did this season. The idea is that they will play a minimum of eight of their home WSL games there. If they get through the Women’s Champions League qualifiers (which are held as a mini tournament on a ‘neutral’ ground), they will play the three Championship League group stage matches there. If they don’t qualify, they will play all 11 home matches there and only their home FA Cup and League Cup matches at Boreham Wood, where every game they played there this season has been a 3,000 sell-out.

Maybe I’m putting two and two together and making five but I see that the new Saudi state-owned airline, Riyadh Air, has announced that it has placed an order for narrow-body aircraft, but it is not saying who with, how many for, or what model. The talk was all about them wanting to simplify the fleet they were going to order and only having two aircraft types. They have already ordered 39 Boeing 787s for long-haul and taken operations on 39 more. Now is the turn of the short-haul fleet, and the word was they would need around 100 of this type. Now I see that in last month’s numbers, Airbus showed an order for 59 A320neo family aircraft. Is it too much of a jump to say this order is from Riyadh Air and they have also placed an equal number of options?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
A fake Riyadh Plane.
Riyadh Air Boeing 787 at Dubai Airshow 2023,
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

German armaments manufacturer Rheinmetall has announced that its experimental long-range ammunition is going to be supplied to Ukraine by the German government. The Ukraine already has ‘Volcane’ long-range ammunition from Germany, but this 80-kilometre range ammunition is only available in limited amounts. The new ammunition is said to be compatible with the latest weapons that Ukraine has received like Archer and Caesar mobile Howitzers and is capable of 100 km range. I wonder if we will be buying the ammunition?

Liebore-run Oxford Council has announced a “vexatious behaviour policy”, which basically says that council employees and councillors can ignore anyone who annoys them and makes persistent or unjustified complaints. So, the council is basically giving people permission to ignore anyone at any time if they don’t agree with them. Don’t make more than one complaint that your council house is damp, you may be labelled a persistent complainer and ignored. Personally, I think this is “vexatious behaviour” by the council.


It’s a beautiful morning, warm and sunny, very unlike yesterday’s start. I think I am going to rush through my jobs and get out onto the windowsill as soon as possible. It’s PMQ’s today and rumours on the street say another MP is going to cross the floor of the Commons. No mention of from which party to which party, just so long as it’s not Natalie Elphicke rejoining the Tories.

Spoons has announced that it is going to show all the England and Scotland Euro matches in nearly all its 809 pubs across the nation. However, there are 21 pubs that will not be showing the matches. So, if you hate footie then you can search them out. The reason that these 21 pubs will remain football-free zones is very simple: they don’t have TVs.

I understand that one of the things that has delayed the completion of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station by six years was the writing of a 37,000-page Environmental Impact Statement. One of the things included in the EIS was the provision for the protection of fish that could swim into the power station’s seawater cooling intake. This was estimated to be a maximum of 48 tonnes a year, similar to the catch of a small commercial fishing boat. So, what are they doing to help the fish? Firstly, there is a catch and return scheme that will take any fish that get through the intake grills and return them to the sea alive. Secondly, there is supposed to be a chain of 288 underwater speakers to protect the inlet, but that is being debated.

Yesterday Grunt Shatts announced how he is intending to spend a large chunk of the recently announced increased defence spending on new ships. Including three, possibly six, for the Marines, but who will get the order for these is unknown as I suppose they will have to go through the tendering process. But I am interested in the announcement that both the Type 26 and Type 31s will be equipped with land attack missiles, something that is sadly missing from the existing fleet. But there is no clue what it might be. I can only guess it will be vertical launch as that is what is being installed on both types.

I don’t know how many of you know about the tradition of people hiding little rubber ducks on cruise ships for other cruisers to find. The finders usually take a photo of them and the duck to post on the ship or cruise website before re-hiding the duck for other passengers. It is a harmless bit of fun, and passengers can either take part or ignore the whole thing. Before you ask, I think my scribe just ignores the whole thing. But he happened on a chain of emails where someone was moaning about the ducks on a ship and there were over 5,000 replies. Some people take things a bit too seriously.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Ready to be hidden.
Rubber Duck,
Josh McMillan
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I read that the Drax Power Station group is to acquire a wood chip-fired ship to move wood chips from the United States to Japan where they want to open a new market. This is being called ‘Bio Ship’ but my guess is it will be going back to the old steam-powered technology that worked very well for many years with both coal and later oil-fired boilers raising steam to drive a turbine. This is exactly the technology that Drax uses at its Yorkshire power station where it burns wood chips in boilers that were originally designed for pulverised fuel (coal) firing. It is many years since a boilermaker has manufactured a boiler for a ship. As the ship is going to be built in Japan, I suspect a number of Japanese boilermakers will be dusting off their old marine boiler designs and modifying them to take wood chips and looking at ash disposal systems.

I read that Disney Cruise Line are going to offer a lot of three, four, and five-night cruises out of Southampton next summer. I rather suspect that this is Disney making a bit of a mistake here. The Yanks go for these short cruises out of the likes of Miami, mainly because they don’t get the same amount of holidays as we do in the U.K. In the States you are lucky to get 10 working days and if you are off sick you will probably have to use some of your holiday as sick days. We don’t tend to go for short cruises, unless it’s as a ‘booze cruise’ and they tend to be infills between week, 10-night or 14-night holidays. I understand that my scribe has a 16-night and a 19-night holiday booked amongst his outstanding cruise bookings.


Good morning my merry readers and I am a very happy moggy this morning. It was Felix Chicken in my bowl, and it is not currently raining, what else could you ask for? I don’t understand what is going on with the Tories, they have suddenly started coming up with ideas that they should have been implementing years ago. Today it is more ‘stop and search’ and no teaching young children about sex or encouraging them to be transgender. If they had done that a few years ago, they wouldn’t be in the pickle they are currently in.

So, Taylor Swift is embarking on a 15-venue tour of the U.K. and the promoters are rubbing their hands together. It’s not only the £200 a ticket that they are happy about, it is the estimated £800 a person that will be spent. The word I hear is that it will give a £1.0 billion pound boost to the economy. Now I quite like her, but I don’t think I could name a single song she has done. However, ask me about the Beatles, the Rolling Stone or the Who! It must be my age!

I had a little chuckle when I read about an American cruise ship ‘Margaritaville at Sea’, that failed a surprise US health and safety check in Alaska. The cruise ships are checked on a 100-point scale and need to get 88 points to pass. All cruise ships entering US ports are subject to these checks which can be a pain as they intend to be a bit picky. I suspect this is one reason many cruise lines avoid going into American ports in the Caribbean, avoiding the likes of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The ‘Margaritaville’ just failed on 86.5 points and probably would have passed if the inspectors hadn’t spotted six people in a hot tub with a four-person capacity.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Margaritaville at sea.
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

After reporting to you that I don’t know who was going to build the 3+3 Multi-Role Support Ships for the Royal Marines, I now learn that the build is going to be shared between BAE and Babcock. This is hardly surprising as they are the two major naval shipbuilders in the country. But all the details are still missing, like how much it is worth, will one supply modules and the other assemble, like the aircraft carriers, when construction will start, who is the lead contractor, what armament will the ships have. There is an awful lot of detail still to be announced.

I hear that Eurostar, who operate trains from London to Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels through the Channel Tunnel, are shopping for new trains. Apparently, they want 50 new trains, some of which are to replace their oldest trains and the remainder are to add to the fleet so they can operate to some new cities. They are not yet letting on which cities they want to serve, but if I was a betting cat my money would be on the south of France and Germany. There is plenty of spare capacity in the tunnel where only 400 trains, passenger, freight and shuttle, pass through each day when there is capacity for 1,000.

I see that Sky TV is launching what is being described in its advertising as a new channel called Sky Sports+, but it is not really a new channel, people who select that ‘channel’ will in fact be launching an app that will allow up to 100 live stream channels to arrive in their Q Box, or streamed TV or device. So, Sky Sports subscribers will be getting all these live sports events that Sky have the rights to show free. I understand that they will be showing every EFL club at least 20 times a season. I wonder how this will affect the times at which matches are played?

I have been looking at the new iPads that were launched yesterday. As there weren’t any new iPads last year the new models have attracted a lot of attention. The top-of-the-range iPad Pro is very powerful, probably too powerful for the average user, but if you are someone who wants to edit their home movies, maybe it is the one for you, but it is very expensive. Next in the power rating is the iPad Air which is probably powerful enough for most users and a lot cheaper than the Pro. Then comes the plain old iPad, again cheaper but not as powerful, but still much better than the model it replaces. At the bottom of the heap is the iPad Mini, which is physically much smaller, more like a big mobile phone. Again, it is a powerful device and easy to pop in your pocket. I think I would be looking at the money in my piggy bank and going for the iPad Air.


It’s a lovely sunny morning and the forecast says it’s going to be a nice day for the channel migrants. So, Lego Head has decided to follow previous Liebore leaders and issue a set of pledges for the upcoming general election. They are all a bit wishy-washy washy including the likes of ‘Set up Great British Energy’ which really means nothing. My favourite is to employ 6,500 more teachers. No mention of the cost. What does it cost to employ a teacher? Ok, they will start at a minimum of £30,000 PA but you can at least double that for all the background costs. But I wonder, do we have the 6,500 classrooms for them to teach in, how many new schools is that, what will that cost? I think this will go the way of the ‘Ed Stone.’

I hear that BAE Systems are currently ‘actively pursuing’ the sales of over 200 Eurofighter Typhoons. I understand that the Italian Parliament is currently looking at a purchase. Germany and Spain are both said to be looking at additional aircraft. In addition, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are believed to be interested in a purchase. I don’t know how strong this interest is, but it can’t be bad news for BAE.

A bit of good news for Rolls-Royce this morning, the Polish Government appears to be backing them in the SMR race as their Polish partner, Industria Group, has received permission on principle to build SMRs. I understand that the idea is to manufacture the modular plants in the Rolls-Royce U.K. factory and export them to Poland for Industria to assemble. Is Poland ahead of us in the race for SMRs?

A man is suing British Airways for £5,000,000 over an accident in front of a check-in point at Heathrow. The man has already been awarded £130,000 in 2021 but his lawyers at the time warned that he could take further legal action if his injuries proved to remain. The man is claiming that he now suffers from regular severe headaches, some lasting a fortnight, and is unable to work. But what was the ‘accident’ I hear you all asking. Well, he slipped over on a puddle of Baileys that had been spilled on the floor in front of check-in and banged his head on the ground. I understand BA say there is a limit on the amount that can be claimed under the Montreal Convention, and they will be defending the case.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Mind you don’t spill it.
Bailey’s Irish Cream,
Ruth and Dave
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

It seems that Manchester City’s owners have a bit of a problem coming up next year. The club is owned by City Football Group – a conglomerate of clubs from across the world which is ultimately overseen by City’s Abu Dhabi owners. The conglomerate includes clubs in France, Spain, Japan and Austria, but it is the group’s ownership of Spanish Club Girona that is causing a problem. Girona have qualified for next season’s Champions League and so have Manchester City. But UEFA rules state that only one club owned by the same people can play in one of their competitions. UEFA have written to the Abu Dhabi owners telling them that if both clubs wish to play in next season’s competition then the City Football Group will have to reduce its holding to below 30% in one of the clubs. I wonder which clubs the owners will choose?

Some time ago Saab and Babcock signed an agreement to design and develop a corvette for Sweden and possible export. Now I hear the Saab and Babcock are to cooperate on the design of four Luleå-class corvettes for the Swedish Navy. This is rather a large Corvette at 100 metres long, almost as large as a frigate. Babcock will provide engineering support including structural design and auxiliary systems, supporting Saab to complete the basic design phase. I wonder if Sweden have the naval shipyard(s) capable of building these warships?

I really can’t understand why anyone would want to buy the Royal Mail, or International Distribution Services as it is now called. The current bidder has offered 350p a share (they are 320p a share as I write this), but Czech billionaire, Daniel Křetínský, must think he can make money from the purchase or he wouldn’t be bothering with it. But why should we allow the Royal Mail to be owned by foreigners, no one else does. Nearly all the European equivalents of our Post Office have been privatised or part-privatised but none have been allowed to be bought by foreign nationals.


It’s a bit dull this morning and the forecast says it might rain down in the South of England. Apparently, we could just catch the edge of the big low-pressure system that has caused huge downpours and lots of flooding. I hope it’s not going to be that bad here.

What’s this I read about Pat McFadden, the Liebore party’s national campaign coordinator’s manipulation of the Common’s rules over constituency housing rules. The story I read says he was buying a constituency home on a mortgage when the rules changed so that MPs could no longer claim the mortgage payments on their expenses. So, it is said he moved into a rented house next door and claimed for it on expenses while he rented out the original house for £700 a month. Apparently, this went on for years and was permitted under the rules at the time, mainly because no one thought anyone would be so devious as to come up with such a scheme and outlaw it. So, he pocketed over £40,000 to rent one house while having a tenant pay rent on the house he owned on a mortgage. It may not have been against the rules at the time, but it was against the spirit of the rules.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Was he on the fiddle?
File:Official portrait of Mr Pat McFadden crop 2.jpg,
Chris McAndrew
Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Last weekend St George lifted the championship trophy in Holland. They managed to draw when their goalkeeper managed to score during injury time. However, the other team in the draw, SV De Valken, raised a complaint, saying that the match referee sent off three of their players and an official and added 15 minutes of injury time before blowing for time after St George scored the equaliser. After the game the referee was pictured celebrating with the St George team and lifting the trophy above his head. The Dutch FA has now banned the referee for life.

I hear that next week it’s the turn of the ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells to appear. Up to now no one has accepted any responsibility for the disaster that was the Horizon system. Every witness has claimed it wasn’t anything to do with them and not a single one of them seems to remember anything. Vennells was at the top of the tree so the buck should stop with her but I am wondering if she will blame Jane MacLeod, who was the Post Office’s General Counsel for several years and now lives in New Zealand, beyond the reach of the enquiry to compel her to appear and she is refusing to even appear via internet.

I hear that on the day the Russians opened their new northern front they hit the Ukrainians with intense electronic jamming in the area. First they jammed the channels that the Ukrainians used for the video from their drones leaving them blind and then jammed the Starlink receiver/transmitters that the Ukraine Army relies on making them fall back on radio and landlines. I understand they overcame the jamming attack after a few days, but I hope our forces have been watching and learning. I know that many of the drones in use on the front lines are adapted commercial drones that can be purchased in a hobby shop and our military drones are supposed to have agile frequency hopping, but we need to learn.

I hear that we are talking to the Korean nuclear power company Kepco about building a nuclear power station on the disused site at Wylfa on the island of Anglesey. The government has recently bought the site from the collapsed consortium that had been looking at the site. But why Korea? Well, it seems they use the same type of reactor, PWR, as EDF are building at Hinckley C and plan for Sizewell C, but have been able to build them for around 25% of the cost and much faster. In fact, Korean nuclear power stations are the cheapest in the world, cheaper even than Chinese or Indian, while us and the US are the most expensive.

The French Post Office launched a novel stamp this week. Thursday was the day of Saint-Honoré, the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. So the French celebrated the day by producing a scratch-and-sniff stamp celebrating the famous French baguette. The €1.96 stamp shows a baguette dressed with a red, white and blue bow and has been printed with ink that includes microcapsules that are intended to release the smell of a bakery when burst. I hear it is only a limited edition stamp. I wonder what will come next, perhaps one of those smelly French cheeses.

That’s yet another week finished and I just spotted the sun out for a few minutes between showers. I wonder if I can get my Saturday afternoon snooze on the windowsill in today, I’m going to try. The forecast for tomorrow, my day of rest, is much better with warm sun in the afternoon. Chat to you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2024