Larry’s Diary, Week Two Hundred And Thirty-Eight


Good morning everyone and welcome to another week’s worth of my ramblings. I saw the Rich Boy launched his ‘National Service’ big idea yesterday. Of course, as soon as anyone say’s National Service we all think of 18-year-olds doing two years in the Army, but I think he has misnamed this scheme as it’s far more about getting 18-year-olds giving up one weekend a month to volunteer in the community. Of course, there is a small number of spaces for some people to go into the military for a year, but I hear the vast majority will be asked to volunteer for the one weekend a month.

I have been reading that the Russian war with Ukraine is causing major problems for Russian civil aviation. Because of sanctions, the Russian airlines have not been able to get spare parts for their Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The Kremlin says this doesn’t matter as they are developing domestic civil airliners. Then I read that all efforts in the Russian aircraft industry had been concentrated on the military side, but in recent weeks it has eased a little, and some civil resources have been released. As a result, I hear that the Yakovlev MC-21-300 is being touted as nearing readiness for sale in 2025 or 26. But the 150 seat single aisle aircraft has suffered from sanctions. It now has Russian power plants, and about 50% of the plane that was to be made from Western parts has been replaced by Russian-made parts. Consequently, the plane weighs six tonnes more and it now has a range of only 2,200 Km. Who is going to want to buy this white elephant?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Not available in the West.
MC21 3,
Juergen Schiffmann
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

I hear the police are looking for a man who was seen walking in London on Saturday day wearing a Manchester United football shirt with ‘Hamas 7’ on the back. The only photo I have seen is from behind but what was clear was that the man had a huge bushy beard. What I find interesting is that Hamas is a proscribed organisation in the U.K. so supporting them is against the law, so whoever was wearing the shirt was breaking the law as was whoever printed the slogan on the shirt.

In September this year the Bluebell steam railway in Sussex is going to hold a festival celebrating a wide variety of craft beers, ciders and live entertainment. The special cask ales will be available at the Horsted Keynes station and another ten at East Grinstead Station with a special shuttle train service running between them. Steam train festivals and beer festivals are both very popular, so a combination of the two should do very well.

This morning Legohead Starmer made what was said was going to be a major election campaign speech in Lancing, West Sussex. Well, I started watching it and it was so boring it sent me to sleep. He started off talking about how he had been raised not too far away and had played football for a team whose matches were played on a field shared with a herd of cows. While I was awake I heard absolutely nothing new. He was the same old wishy-washy Legohead without anything new to say. Once again he told us his dad was a toolmaker and his mum was a nurse, something he told us so many times I can’t think anyone in the country hasn’t heard it all before.

I read that an Uber driver in London has just been found guilty of refusing to take a disabled person in the back of his cab and fined £600. The driver claimed he couldn’t take the woman and her assistance dog ‘because his family were allergic to dogs’. However, this is no excuse as under the law you cannot refuse a disabled person and their dog. Many Muslim taxi drivers don’t like picking up people with dogs as they are seen as unclean, and this appears to be what had occurred in this case.

I hear of a group of 24 female nurses at a Northumberland hospital have joined together to sue the local NHS over a trans nurse having access to the female changing room. They say he hung around in the changing room waiting to watch them change. When they complained to the hospital’s human resources department they were told they needed re-education. One nurse told how the man had told her he had stopped taking his hormone treatment because he and his female partner were trying for a baby.


A very dull and wet morning, in fact the forecaster says it’s going to rain nearly all day. The political news seems to be coming out more regularly now the election has been announced. Today I learn that a triple lock on pensions is not enough for the Rich Boy. In a move to pick up the grey vote, he has said that under the Conservatives the basic pension will never be taxed. So, they will be increasing the personal allowance for pensioners so that it keeps pensions out of tax. Will Legohead match this or risk losing the grey vote?

Ryanair recently put out their profit numbers for the last year and hidden away in all the blurb was an interesting bit of news that they are suffering badly from the delays on deliveries of the new Boeing 737Max planes they have on order. They said that so far they are 24 planes short and expect that to increase to 28 undelivered by the end of July. I have a couple of comments. I can’t see their mouthy boss will not be looking for compensation, and I wonder just how many other companies will be doing the same thing.

Yesterday Poland announced that they are to construct a defensive wall between Poland and Belarus and Russia (Kalingrad). They say they are going to build a ‘Maginot Line’ type defence with tank traps, minefields, berms and a wall. Do you remember what the Nazis did with the Maginot Line? They just went round it through neutral (at that time) Belgium. What would stop the Russians from doing the same thing by charging through Lithuania or Ukraine? Ok, it’s a long border with Ukraine, but the Russians seem to have troops already in Belarus so it would make it easy to bypass this new line.

I read that Bette Nash, the world’s oldest flight attendant, has died at 88. My scribe says he has been on some flights with very old flight attendants, particularly on United. This lady joined Eastern Airlines at the age of 21 and worked on the shuttle service between Washington, where she lived, and Boston. She had intended to fly on other routes but stayed on, even after Eastern were taken over by American Airlines, as she could spend each night at home!

Speaking of flight attendants, I learn about Erin Garrity who worked for Thomas Cook Airlines, when they existed. In August 2019, she was working on a flight from Cuba to Manchester when, despite taking a wide diversion, the plane shot up 500 feet when it hit a hailstorm mid-Atlantic. She was serving from a trolley at the time and reports say the sudden impact of the floor coming up was like her foot being hit by a hammer, instantly breaking her ankle in seven places. She had numerous operations and although now able to walk, she can’t stand on it for any length of time, meaning it was impossible to return to work as a flight attendant. Her union has supported her in taking action against the airline whose insurance, while denying responsibility, has paid out a six-figure sum.

I have been reading about a prison officer and part-time metal detectorist who found a Richard III half angel gold coin. The coin is very rare, with only six others having been previously found. When in circulation it was worth the equivalent of 3s 4d, but there is a lot of speculation as to what it is worth at auction today. The estimate I hear is about £40,000 but I must admit that sounds rather low. And no, I have never heard of a half angel.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
A Gold Half Angel.
Medieval coin hoard: Half-angel of Edward IV.
Oxfordshire County Council, Anni Byard
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations reports that an old Russian cargo ship, the Zelenga (built in 1978), has become stuck under a railway bridge over the river Don, near Rostov on Don. Apparently, the ship’s steering gear failed and instead of passing through an open bridge section, it got stuck under the next fixed span. The railway line that runs over the bridge is said to feed the new military supply railway line to Crimea. The ship is to be towed away and engineering will then inspect the damage to the bridge to see how quickly it can be returned to service.


It’s an odd morning, it was very wet overnight. When my morning Felix arrived it was dry and sunny, now it’s clouding up. But I hear it is only going to be for a short while before the sun is out again, I hope the forecast is right. Today the Liebore lot have decided that they will halve the NHS waiting list in the length of the next parliament. They say they are going to do it by having people work overtime, but what if doctors and nurses don’t want to work overtime? If this is the panacea why haven’t they implemented it in Wales where they run the NHS, and the waiting lists are longer than in England.

So, the Manchester Police say they are not going to prosecute Crayons over her housing problems. But they have sent the paperwork on to HMRC and The Electoral Commission who they say have the powers to prosecute in this case when they don’t. Of course, the BBC say she has been cleared, but has she?

But Crayons doesn’t learn when it is time to shut. There is a video out on YouTube showing her at a meeting of a group of Muslim men and thanking them for supporting her at the last general election and saying their support won the seat for her and together they can do it again. She then goes on to say how, in government, the Liebore party will recognise Gaza just as Ireland has done. Intriguingly, this is not currently a Liebore Party policy. Will it appear tucked away as a footnote in the coming Liebore manifesto?

This week Sky TV is closing a tranche of standard-definition channels, freeing up space for more and better high-definition channels. But there is a problem, despite how many times Sky has warned some customers that unless they upgrade their receivers they will lose channels, there are still lots of people out there with old Sky boxes that can only receive SD signals. If you have Sky Q, Sky Stream or Sky Glass, the boxes that are still on sale, then you are OK. There are some of the old Sky boxes that can receive HD transmissions, but many aren’t, so be warned.

Siemens Mobility, who manufacture electronic railway signalling systems, are about to relocate from their existing factory in Chippenham, Wiltshire, to a new state of the art factory at nearby Southpoint Business Point, as their lease is about to expire. Now I hear the lease on the old factory is available for a mere £1,048,810 yearly for the 209,000-square-foot plant.

The alcoholic drink producer Diageo is to test out selling its Baileys Irish Cream product in paper bottles. But don’t worry, the test marketing is going to occur in Spain. The 80 ml compressed paper bottles will be filled at Diageo’s Irish plant and sealed with a foil cap before being shipped to Spain. They will only be producing 2,000 bottles in this test run, with the idea that they want to test out how they stand up being shipped to Spain. I wonder if someone spills one they will land up being sued like British Airways, as I told you last week. Last year Diageo tested Baileys in aluminium bottles. They are obviously looking to see if they can find a cheap, lightweight packaging method.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
That’s not paper.
Baileys Irish Cream Liquor,
Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

After nearly 200 years, the London Evening Standard is to give up publishing every weekday and become a weekly publication. The Standard started publishing 197 years ago and started publishing and afternoon editions in 1859. In 2009 it was turned into a free sheet, with the model of surviving on its advertising income. But this just hasn’t worked with its circulation dropping from 850,000 daily to 250,000 in the last six years. When the standard first became a give-away paper it got an initial boost to its circulation in London, but it has slowly slipped. When it was a paid-for paper, it was sold all over the Southeast of England, right down to the Brighton on the south coast. I suspect the Brighton Evening Argus was delighted to have the market vacated and no competition. I wonder if they will now try selling in London, or at the least at London’s Victoria Station.


Another grey start to the day. The duty feeder put the kitchen radio on while sorting out my Felix and then sat down to read the Daily Mail while I tucked in. I bet they wouldn’t have done that if The Rich Boy was here. I heard that one of the Liebore lot has said that the NHS hire staff from overseas was wrong when their native health services need them. I just wanted the interviewer to ask why it wasn’t the same with British doctors and nurses going to the likes of Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

So, the junior doctors are to go on strike for five days just before the election. One of their leaders was on the radio saying the strike was not political. Of course it is, they think that a Liebore government will pay them the 35% they are asking for. Even the Shadow Health Secretary has said there is no way the finances would allow them to give them that much all at once, he would like to talk to them about paying it over several years. So what would he offer, my guess would be about 11.5% a year for three years. But the current offer is about 11% for the current settlement and talks have been going on over future years, but the doctors have walked away. I think they could see a solution being worked out, and didn’t want to settle before the election, as it would have been seen as a win for the Tories, and that would never do, so they broke off discussions and called a strike.

Here’s an odd little story. Bangladeshi carrier Biman Airlines has done a complete 180° turn on ordering new Airbus A350 aircraft. Back in January, it was reported that a committee had reported that if they placed a much talked about order for 2 x A350 planes, they would make huge losses. However, management weren’t quite so sure and a little while later a second group took just three days to report that rather than a loss they would make huge profits. Biman has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase of not 2 but 4 x A350s. The MoU includes a $5 million, non-refundable, deposit for each aircraft.

I am delighted to learn that the last remaining Blackburn Beverley transport plane has been saved for posterity. The plane was the last of its type manufactured at the Blackburn factory at Brough, East Yorkshire, and had been on display at the Fort Paull Museum near Hull for two decades before the site’s closure in 2020. The closure was caused by the land owner retiring and many of the museum’s exhibits have been sold off. This includes the Beverley which has been bought by a Museum for just £21,000 as it was thought it couldn’t be moved so was deemed to be scrap. However, it has been purchased by the Solway Aviation Museum, which maintains 23 heritage aircraft at Carlisle Airport. I understand that it is now being dismantled by volunteers and being shipped piece by piece to Carlisle where it will be rebuilt and renovated.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
My scribe’s cousin helped make these.
Blackburn Beverley C.1 XB289 47.V Blackpool,
Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Jim Ratcliffe, the new co-owner of Manchester United, has sent out a letter to all employees telling them that they are to return to the office full-time. If they don’t want to return to work or resign, their employment will be terminated. Good for him, Manchester United pay those people’s wages and as such get to determine where they work. If they don’t like it, they can leave and take their case to a tribunal. I suspect there is a clause in every single contract of employment that says the employer has the right to direct where the person works.

In the last couple of days, it has become apparent that Liebore is finding every excuse it can to purge its extreme left wing. First it was Diane Abbott, who although getting the party whip returned just before the closure of parliament, claims she has been banned from standing at the election, while Legohead says she hasn’t. Then Russell Lloyd-Moyles has been suspended from the party while an investigation into a letter about his conduct eight years ago takes place. As someone under investigation, he can’t stand for the party and the investigation is expected to run well past the final date for nominations. Next, we have Faiza Shaheen, who has been deselected as Labour’s candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green over tweets and social media posts. Of course, we mustn’t forget Corbyn who was purged ages ago. I wonder who will be next?

Last Friday United Airlines had a problem with the aircraft they were going to use on its flight from Newark, New Jersey to Dubrovnik. This led them to swapping to a replacement aircraft but unfortunately the spare plane had a smaller Business Class section. United did what all American carriers do, they offered money for people to stand down and fly later. First they offered $2,500 and then $3,000, but they still had three more Business Class customers than seats and they couldn’t downgrade them as both Premium Economy and Economy were full. So United boarded the Premium Economy and Economy passengers while debating what to do. One passenger claimed the gate agents proposed calling the police and saying three passengers were ‘unruly’ so they could deny them boarding. Eventually, the agents got what they needed, a couple politely complained they had paid a lot of money for their flight, and they weren’t happy at the delay. They were joined by a lady who, other passengers say, politely backed them up. They were promptly declared as unruly and dumped. Unsurprisingly the lady’s husband refused to fly alone, and the flight eventually took off four hours late with a spare seat in Business Class. I can see a court case coming.


It’s a bit of an odd morning, the sun is in and out like a fiddler’s elbow and it’s not as warm as I would like, but at least it’s not raining yet. The Titchy Richie has gone to the Northeast today to talk about fly-tipping and Legohead is in Scottishland to launch ‘Great British Energy’. He says it is going to be headquartered in Scottishland. I suspect this is to make up for the 100,000 lost jobs in the North Sea oil industry other parties predict the Liebore policies will cost, but has he thought what it will mean when he grants the Scots independence?

I see the five Bulgarians who ran the huge fraud on the DHSS I told you all about a bit back have finally been sentenced. Together they have received 25.5 years with the gang leaders getting 7.5 and 8 years in prison. The judge said that the sentencing guidelines meant that if they had stolen the same amount of money (£54 million) from the HMRC there would have got much longer sentences. When their various premises were raided, the police found thousands of fully charged mobile phones on shelving with the names of the non-existent claimants they were used for stuck to them. They also found spreadsheets detailing all the claims being made. When they have served their sentences they should all be deported to Bulgaria. The police are now looking at recovering as much money as possible, much of which they think has gone to one small village in Bulgaria.

Do you remember all the fuss over countries supplying tanks to Ukraine? The dam was originally broken when we promised to send some Challenger 2s, they were quickly joined by the United States sending some Abrams and Germany some Leopard 2s, adding up to about 150 tanks. Not the very latest tanks, but modern. Then along came a German-Danish-Dutch consortium who identified at least 165 ex-German and ex-Danish Leopard 1A5s and 1A5DKs tanks, but these are older tanks with only thin armour. Later Belgium chipped in with 30 more Leopard 1A5s. Today I hear that so far Ukraine has received just 50 of that nearly 200 tanks and 10 of those were delivered only this week. In addition, Ukraine rejected 10 refurbished tanks as being unserviceable. I do wonder what difference those extra 150 tanks will make.

With the Premier League transfer window due to open in a fortnight, I am getting fed up reading all the stories about who is going to be sold and who is sold by just about every club. Of course, most of it is just speculation to sell papers to a supporter of a particular club the headline of which says, ‘Manchester City to buy £50 million defender’. Of course, there are one or two true stories about players moving like Mbappe leaving PSG, as he is out of contract. But I think newspapers and radio stations have journalists sitting there making up stories.

SaxaVord Spaceport in Unst received its spaceport and range licences from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in December 2023 and April this year and on Wednesday it was declared open for operation. It makes it the first and only vertical launch spaceport in Europe. The first launch is scheduled for later this summer by a German rocket maker. At the moment testing is being carried out with rocket motors being fired on the site’s ‘launch stool’.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
It’s not very busy there.
Latitude Test Zone at SaxaVord Spaceport 1,
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Do you remember that old story put about to boost the Brexit campaign, and vehemently denied by Remoaners, that the EU planned to ban the flavouring used in smokey bacon crisps? Well, it has just become true! The European Food Safety Authority has just banned all eight additives that manufacturers use to impart the smokey flavour into all things, including, of course, smokey bacon crisps. I have seen the reports in the Irish press, and they are horrified at no more smokey bacon crisps. Intriguingly, the old ways of smoking things over wood smoke, to produce things like smoked haddock, smoked ham and kippers is still allowed but is not considered to be ‘green’. I wonder if we will now see people smuggling smokey bacon crisps over the border from Northern Ireland.

In a move attractive to customers from other cruise lines, the Royal Caribbean Group has announced that the three cruise lines in the group will match the tiers customers have achieved in other groups’ rewards schemes. I know my scribe WG is at the Caribbean level in the P&O system, which is their tier 4 for people with over 2,000 points, equating to over 200 nights at sea. Royal Caribbean award one Crown and Anchor Club point for each day at sea, so I guess if my scribe chose to sail with them he would receive the Diamond+ level which is for people with 175 points but under 700. Mind, I don’t think he will be taking up the offer, he has tried Royal Caribbean several times and was not impressed.


Today is officially the first day of summer but it didn’t feel like it when I woke up and headed out for my constitutional. I was quite chilly when I got back for breakfast. Mind you it is supposed to be going to be warmer later and dry so I might be OK for my normal Saturday afternoon outside snooze.

Yesterday, Legohead launched his idea for Great British Energy, the company that is going to lead his head long rush into removing fossil fuels from electricity production by 2030. I find it ironic that he went to Scottishland to launch the company where he wants to base the company when his big idea is likely to cost 100,000 Scottishland Jobs. Oh, and the man who likes to taunt Titchy Richie over going places by helicopter flew to Scottishland in a private jet, that’s not exactly very green.

I read that the US was a little bothered that if China were to invade Taiwan they could grab the highly expensive special machines that the Taiwanese chip manufacturers use to manufacture high-capacity computer chips. However, they have recently been reassured by the Dutch makers of the machines that even if the Taiwanese failed to sabotage the machines, they could be ruined remotely by the manufacturers, and they have carried out several tests to prove this capability.

Starting on Monday, the BBC is moving its One O’Clock News on BBC1 to its Salford Broadcasting Centre. The claim is they will use the same presenters as now, and viewers will not notice the move from London. However, the show will be stretched to one hour including the regional news, instead of the current 30 minutes followed by 15 minutes of local news.

Back at the end of February, Boeing were given 90 days to produce a comprehensive plan to address their “systemic quality control issues”. They handed the plan over to the FAA on Thursday. But the FAA hasn’t changed the cap on the monthly number of aircraft Boeing is allowed to build. The idea is the FAA need to approve the plan first, which could take some time, they will then need to ensure the plan is fully implemented before Boeing is allowed to slowly increase production rates. I wonder how much this is costing them?

I read that researchers have extracted viruses from 50,000-year-old Neanderthals’ DNA and now think that they were killed off by contracting these viruses from contact with Homo Sapiens. Interestingly, the same viruses are still about today and are associated with the common cold, cold sores and genital warts and cancer. The thoughts are that the Homo Sapiens had some natural resistance to these viruses while they were new to Neanderthals and caused an extinction event rather like that when the Red Indians encountered Western childhood illnesses for the first time. The researchers also extracted a virus that causes gum disease and tooth loss from the tartar on the Neanderthals’ teeth, so maybe the problem that killed them off was not being able to get an NHS dentist.

Yesterday, the 181,000-tonne MSC Cruises Virtuosa was due to bring its up to 6,334 passengers to the small Cornish fishing port of Falmouth. The town was ready for a bonanza day in the local shops as those thousands of foreign tourists thronged the streets, spending their money on tourist tat, eating cream teas and hundreds of pasties, and drinking hundreds of pints in the local pubs. The coaches and taxis were lined up to take them on excursions to the Blue Hole, Lizard Point, the Helford River for Tubing, Pendennis Castle and the National Maritime Museum. Shortly after 6 am, the huge ship entered the bay where it was due to drop anchor and start a tender operation to bring its passengers ashore to the town’s quayside. It is far too big to come alongside in such a small port. But the locals who had expected bumper takings were sadly disappointed, the ship promptly turned through 180° and sailed straight back out to sea. Apparently, the crew did a swift assessment and decided that the strong north-westerly wind would make a tendering operation too rough for the delicate passengers and the port call was cancelled. Instead, the ship spent the day at sea, heading very slowly to Southampton, where today it is safely docked in a port where it is possible for up to five ships of its size (and bigger) to be accommodated at the same time. The residents of Falmouth are left to imagine just what it might have been like with all those grockles spending money on grockle tat and grockle fodder.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
MSC Virtuosa not in Falmouth.
Croisière MSC VIRTUOSA au port de Casablanca,
Farid mernissi
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

It nice and sunny out there this afternoon, even if the breeze is a little cool. I think I can get my Saturday afternoon snooze on the windowsill tucked in the protected corner. The Sunday forecast is for it to be warmer, so I am really looking forward to my day of rest. Chat to you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2024