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


Good morning merry readers, and what a beautiful warm and sunny one it is. I see the contaminated blood scandal report is out later. This public inquiry started in 2018 and has taken ages to produce this report which is quite normal for a public inquiry, and heavens knows how much it has cost. One snippet I hear is that the report is so long that it will only be published online and not in print format.

The headline this morning is that the president of Iran and his foreign minister have died in a helicopter crash. Some of the facts are beginning to emerge and it seems the helicopter was a 30-year-old American-made one, sanctions have prevented the acquisition of more modern ones and official spare parts. It was flying in mountains, in fog, something it was not type-rated to do. So, the ‘Beast of Tehran’ is dead and will not be missed in the West, and probably by the ordinary people of Iran of whom he had thousands put to death. Apparently, they now have five weeks to hold an election at which someone equally bad will be ‘elected’.

I have been reading about a block of houses in Maidstone where they own land behind their houses where each householder has two parking spaces. One day, a couple of weeks ago. A householder came home from shopping to find a workman from a private parking company putting up signs saying the parking was for permit holders only and illegal parking would attract a £100 fine. When challenged the man said he had been told to do so and carried on screwing notices to a wall and lampposts. The woman immediately phoned the parking company who said they would investigate, but despite numerous calls and emails nothing happened. The woman even threatened to take the signs down but was threatened with prosecution if she damaged the signs. In response she threatened to sue them for damage to the wall and stress. The parking control company were apparently working for a private old people’s home on the other side of the road and only removed the signs when the home told them to.

I see Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary, says that when Liebore comes to power he will provide extra appointments and operations by having NHS workers do overtime at weekends and in the evening, thus reducing the waiting lists. All very good, but how is he going to induce NHS workers to do this overtime when it is currently available, and they refuse to do it? Will it be enhanced rates of pay above the current overtime pay, and where is the money for this coming from, is it yet another thing that the increased tax on non-doms is going to pay for or will it be a general tax increase?

Have the Ukrainians taken out yet another Russian warship of the Black Sea fleet? This time, they say they hit the Russian missile-armed minesweeper Kovrovets using surface-to-surface missiles. The Russians say they defeated a Ukraine ATACMS missiles attack at the weekend. I guess we will find out the truth soon when we see the satellite photos. Russian military bloggers say that since the end of last week missile and artillery fire by Ukraine has increased heavily. This is as a result to the long-awaited American military aid finally arriving.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Now sitting on the Seabed?
Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Another big order for Airbus was announced this morning by Saudia, the Saudi Arabian flag carrier. They have ordered 105 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, 12 will be the basic A320neo and the remaining 93 A321neo. This will take the Saudia Group’s Airbus aircraft order backlog to 144 A320neo family aircraft. Saudia has 37 old A320ceo and 22 A321 in its fleet, so even if this order is to replace existing aircraft there are plenty of new planes left over for expansion.

I understand the Go-Ahead Group, one of the bus operators in London, is on the verge of ordering 100 electric double-decker buses from Chinese maker BYD. They have had a competition for the supply of these vehicles, and I understand that the cost of procuring these buses from U.K. suppliers was about £500,000 each while buying them from BYD is around £400,000 each. However, it is interesting that the domestic manufacturers buy all the bus electrical gear and batteries directly from China and some buy it from BDYD. Is this another case of Chinese dumping?


A very dull morning and a lot cooler than yesterday. The Rich Boy has gone off to Austria on a flying visit, I understand he will be back this afternoon. I hear he is discussing the Rwanda scheme with the Austrian chancellor. Apparently, they want advice on setting up their own scheme. Isn’t it strange how the EU didn’t want to listen to us when we were members, but all seem to want our advice now we are a ‘third party’?

A new cruise line, Aroya, is due to commence sailing in December, but I can see it not being popular with many Britons. It is owned by a Saudi Arabian company and will operate cruises from Jeddah to Aqaba in Jordan and two Egyptian ports: Sharm el Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula and Ain Sokhna, south of Suez. But what I suspect is that there is one big thing that will make a lot of you say no thank you to a cruise on the ship. It has a strict no-alcohol policy and only serves soft drinks, fruit juice, tea and coffee. It also has a long list of things passengers can’t take on board, some make perfect sense, but others don’t. For example, you can’t take scissors, CDs or ‘magazines that violate public decency’ on board. So, you will have to leave your copy of Razzle at home. Some banned items are obvious: guns, ammunition and swords. Others are unlikely to be in the luggage of the average cruise passenger, such as soldering irons, tear gas and paint thinner. Other banned items include axes, handcuffs, drones, fishing nets and “sticks of all kinds and similar items, except those used for sanitary purposes such as toothbrushes”. So, no trawling a fishing net behind the cruise liner.

There was a lot of fuss in the weekend’s papers about the British only having one plane available to drop paratroopers for the coming commemoration of D-Day. The story was that now we don’t have any C130 Hercules aircraft any more, we didn’t have enough A400M available. The tale was that we needed 4 x A400M for the operation and only one was available. Admittedly the A400 has been a little unreliable and often as few as 11 of the 22 in the RAF fleet are available. But I understand that we only need 2 x A400M as we are only going to drop 181 paratroopers the same number as we dropped on D-Day, and they are definitely available.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
It’s a chubby little thing.
RAF A400M Atlas Aircraft,
Defence Images
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

After losing the West Coast Railway franchise some years ago, you might have thought Virgin Rail was dead. But it seems that they could be about to arise from the grave as they are looking at applying for an Open Access license to operate from Euston to Glasgow. Mind you I don’t know what will happen if they get a license before we get a Liebore government as they have promised to bring all the train operators under Great British Railways control. Liebore want to let the train operator’s licenses run out and then move them to GBR so that it costs nothing. But an Open Access operator costs the country nothing as they are not subsidised and make all their money from ticket sales.

I hear that Sad Dicks TfL is threatening to sue dozens of foreign embassies for not paying the congestion charge. The embassies say they have diplomatic immunity and don’t have to pay, while TfL say they are not exempt. TfL claim to be owed £143 million by embassies with the worst offenders being the US embassy which owes around £14.6 million. Other big debtors are Japan with £10 million, India with India £8.55m, followed by Nigeria at £8.39m, China with £7.9m and Nigeria with £6 million. Even Russia owes £6 million. TfL say they will take the non-payer countries to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which rules on disputes between countries. Do they really think this will work?

So, BT have decided to postpone the deadline for the rollout of digital landlines until 2027. They have finally accepted that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who use emergency alert devices like pendants and bracelets and they don’t work all the time on digital landlines. The problem is that the old analogue lines were powered at a low voltage by batteries so if there was a power cut, they carried on working. The new digital lines simply stop working in a power cut. So, with a digital landline there are loads of vulnerable people who can’t contact someone in an emergency. BT said they were going to give all these people an alternative, but my guess is it is proving impossible to do by the end of this year as originally planned.

Did you know that there are some 80 million reads of number car plates by ANPR cameras every day that are checked with the DVLC computers? Some of these are traffic enforcement cameras like those for bus lanes, speeding and yellow boxes and others are for car parks. But I read that they are only 97% accurate. This means that 2.4 million number plates are misread every single day! No wonder I continually hear of people getting tickets for things they haven’t done like entering the congestion zone or stopping in a box junction. I even heard of a man being sent a photo of him speeding in ‘his car’ when the photo showed a woman on a bike. 3% errors are far, far too high.


It’s another grey morning with sunshine and showers forecast, but it was sunny on the inflation rate, with it dropping to 2.3% which means the Bank of England won’t have to write to the government explaining why it is so high. Today should be an interesting day at the Post Office Horizon inquiry with the former CEO Paula Vennells appearing. Even yesterday, when the ex-company secretary Alwen Lyons, was giving evidence she was still saying ‘I don’t know, you will have to ask Paula’ and ‘I can’t remember’. I think I might have to watch and see her squirm.

In November last year the Virgin Group gave away 150 free cruises to people flying on a Virgin Australia flight as a publicity stunt. Very shortly after, Virgin Cruises withdrew from the Australian and New Zealand market citing the problems in the Red Sea and making it impossible for these people to claim their prize. After many complaints, Virgin has changed the rules and told the people they could claim their free cruise on voyages departing from Europe or the Caribbean. Mind you this means you can only claim your free cruise if you can afford an international flight. Is it any wonder the winners are looking for the airfares to be thrown in.

The Boeing Starliner space capsule is struggling to get into space. It was originally meant to launch on 6th May but this was postponed and rescheduled to 17th May but that date was pushed back to yesterday the 21st May. But once again it didn’t happen this time to a helium leak, and the latest date is now 25th May. If I were due to be an astronaut on that flight I think I would be a bit worried that I would be risking my life on a dodgy space system.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
That door is a bit thick.
Boeing Starliner,
Robert Markowitz
Public domain

In Italy the import of 115 Fiat Topolino cars has been delayed because they have a badge on the side that is reminiscent of the Italian flag. The car is the Fiat version of the Citroën Ami and is manufactured in Morocco. Back in 2002 Italy brought in a law that banned anything that falsely implied that something was manufactured in Italy and customs agents believed that having an Italian flag on the car broke that law. I wonder if we should have a similar law? It might be interesting to see how many things we consider to be British aren’t.

At the end of last week Ukraine launched mass drone attacks on the Russian port of Novorossiysk. This is the Russian port on the far side of the Black Sea to which many Russian warships based in Sevastopol were withdrawn as it was considered safer. Several videos have emerged on the internet of drones flying over and smashing into the port and its nearby oil refinery. The videos also show the ships in the port firing at the low-flying Drones with little or no effect. However, the same cannot be said for the buildings surrounding the port as they had holes shot through them like a Swiss cheese.

I read reports that massive reserves of oil have been found under the territorial waters of the Falkland Isles. The find is around half a trillion barrels which is far more than has been found under the North Sea (50 billion barrels) in all the 50 years it has been around. The value of this Falkland find is put at £33 trillion in current money. If this is correct, I can see why Argentina is pressing its claim to the islands once again. For a tiny population, like the Falklands, it could turn every resident into a billionaire. I wonder if they have a vacancy for a chief mouser with a love of Felix Chicken?

As the media has been reporting for some time, the web-based used car dealer Cazoo has been put into administration. In the last month they have made some 728 employees redundant, leaving just over 200 mainly employed in a separate part of the business which the administrator hopes they can sell as a going concern. I must say I won’t miss the endless adverts on the TV and radio. I wonder if they will be selling off the fleet of panel vans, they used to deliver secondary cars to customers?


A better start to the day than that torrential rain yesterday. When I heard that the Rich Boy was going to make a statement on an election, I thought I might pop out and be on camera. But it was so wet I gave up and stayed dry. Wasn’t I glad when the Rich Boy came back in with his suit quite sodden.

I recently talked about the government having talks with Korea about building a big nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey where the government bought a site. Now I hear they have announced that it is a preferred site “for a gigawatt size power station”. Of course, the NIMBYS have come out against it and say nuclear power is a dinosaur and we need renewables. What absolute crap! We all know we need more electricity and unreliable renewables are not cheap and require a backup for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. A nuclear power station will bring thousands of jobs for many years. A point of interest is that the original Wylfa A station used to help supply energy to an aluminium smelter on the island with cheap constant electricity. It is those same protesters that moaned about its loss and the associated jobs. Can a smelter rely on an intermittent electricity supply, I don’t think so.

Speaking of electricity, I hear that in South Africa the state generation company, Eskom, has decided not to close three big coal-fired power stations as planned but to postpone it until at least 2030. The three stations in question are Hendrina (10 x 200MW), Grootvlei (6 x 200MW) and Camden (8 x 200MW) which generate more than 10% of South Africa’s coal-fired power. Eskom has been short of power ever since the nation changed from white to black rule. Part of the problem was the new management of Eskom clearly weren’t up to the job. They started on a huge programme of powering the ghettos but didn’t have the money to do that and build the necessary generating stations. Although things are better today there are still blackouts when demand exceeds supply. Consequently, Eskom says if it follows the climate change plan to cut coal-fired generation, 30,000 South Africans will die. I wonder what Greta Thunderpants thinks of that simple fact.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Camden Power Station.
Camden power station near Ermelo, Mpumalanga,
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

I now read that the weekend Ukrainian missile attack on Sevastopol was more successful than originally believed. The latest satellite photos show that the missile corvette Tsyklon is also sitting on the seabed. Tsyklon is the first of the seven cruise-missile-armed Karakurts class corvettes to be commissioned. A sister ship, Askold, was badly damaged in November while under construction in a Crimean shipyard. Ukraine seems to be taking out Black Sea warships faster than they can build them. The problem is that Turkey will not allow warships from countries at war to pass through its territory into the Black Sea, so all replacement ships have to be built in the Black Sea shipyards.

In the period between July last year and March this year the Royal Mail fined 158,000 people £5 each for receiving a letter with what it claimed was a ‘fake’ stamp. This is a fantastic little earner for the Royal Mail bringing them in £686,000. However, Royal Mail put a hold on fining people in March when doubts were thrown on the validity of the software used by the Royal Mail to check if stamps are fake. I understand that Royal Mail are developing an app so you can check if the stamps you just bought in a Post Office are genuine.

I see the government is suggesting that every home in the U.K. should have three days supplies in case of future lockdowns. The suggestions are for the homes to have things like batteries, torches and radios available, even portable generators. It also talks about tinned meat and fish. But it doesn’t say that most important item, cat food. It really should be reminding people that they need to get loads of Felix Chicken pouches in stock, I don’t like tinned fish, especially those horrible pilchards in tomato sauce.

I hear that the Burton-on-Trent brewery, Allsopp & Sons is to open a pub on London’s Kensington Church Street. The brewery has been in operation since 1730 brewing bitters, ales and stouts, but this is the first time it will have ventured into the capital city. The new pub is to be called the Blue Stoops in a nod to the brewery’s original pub in Burton-on-Trent. The family-owned business, now run by Jamie Allsopp, is widely believed to have been the inventor of IPA. I suspect that Puffins will like the idea of this pub where cask ales will be available and beer engines with swan necks will be used to pull pints.


It’s a lovely sunny morning, warm and dry, I hear it’s going to cloud up later and could even rain. The Rich Boy was up early this morning and has gone to Northern Ireland campaigning. For the life of me I don’t know why, the Tories don’t have any seats over there and don’t stand any candidates. It’s all a bit of a waste of time if you ask me.

I saw a discussion in a magazine about the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft and missile systems. The article started by saying that the S-400 was seen as a replacement of the S-300 and a lot of expectations were pegged on it. But it has been a bit of a let-down and has proved to be rather vulnerable to drone attack. Which brings up the question of how many of these systems they have left. It is believed that the plan was to have up to 18 battalions of the S-400 or around 54 systems. Pravda, the Russian paper, says that a battalion consists of eight launchers with 12 missiles each. I really am a little confused as elsewhere I read that a ‘system’ comprises several launchers, a mobile radar and a command centre. I just wonder how many missiles and launchers Russia has.

In answer to a parliamentary question, I learn that we are likely to top up our order for the F-35B Lightening to 74, which is the full complement of 36 for each of our two aircraft carriers with a couple of spares. Then the answer went on to say we could also purchase the F-35A version for the RAF. The ‘A’ version is a conventional take-off and landing version of the plane but with 30% more range and 30% more manoeuvrability. Mind you, this is under the Tories and with an increased 3% budget. Mind you, Lego Head has not agreed on the 3% so if he is elected it’s all up in the air!

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Will we buy the F-35A?.
F-35A Lightning – RIAT 2018,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

As part of the ‘wash up’ process at the end of a parliament, the legislation cancelling the convictions of several hundred subpostmasters passed last night. This covers only cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, separate legislation needs to be passed in Scotland by their parliament. Those whose convictions are overturned are entitled to make a claim under the Horizon Convictions Redress Scheme where they can be awarded £600,000 without having to make a claim. Of course, if they feel they need greater compensation, they can claim it but must justify it.

I hear that another US fast food chain is coming to the U.K. and Ireland. Having never been out of England, this is one I have never heard of, although I hear that Carls Jr. Is big in the US. The group have signed a licensing agreement with Boparan Restaurant Group to open Carls Jr. restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland. I hear they sell all types of food including burgers and fried chicken.

I got to see quite a bit of Paula Vennells at the Post Office Horizon IT scandal, and my, didn’t she get a shafting by the lawyers? The lead council for the inquiry, Jason Beer K.C. had her tied up in knots even though her line of defence was mainly either I can’t remember that, or I was not told that by my underlings. I gave up on counting the number of times she said that something she had written in an email didn’t mean what it said. What a nasty woman.

So, the Dustman is going to stand as an independent in his Islington constituency after the local Liebore party selected a new candidate. Corbyn is currently still a member of the Liebore Party even if he has been thrown out of the parliamentary Liebore Party. But I always understood that a Liebore party member standing against another member was enough to get you thrown out of the party. Islington is going to be an interesting competition.


It’s another nice day with a decent forecast. Did you peeps read about the fire this week at the Hook Norton brewery? The bad news is the stable block was destroyed. The good news was that no one was hurt, and the dray horses were out in the fields. But the even better news is that the fire was contained to the stables, and everything else was untouched and continues as normal, including brewery tours.

When you look at Boeing’s problems with deliveries, it is no wonder that some airlines are not very happy as they are many of them having to hang on to old planes and are not getting the benefit of new, more efficient and cheaper to operate aircraft. Of course, the problem is right across the range, 777X, 787, and 737Max. But the biggest problem is with the 737Max where the likes of Southwest have 482 on order, United 347, Lion Air 229 and Ryanair 207. This is just some of the biggest orders and with Boeing production legally restricted to 31 per month when it had been 38 x 737Max a month, they are getting further and further behind every month. I suspect compensation will cost them dear.

A row has broken out between Turkish Airlines and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) in Lagos, Nigeria, after the Airline sacked seven Nigerian workers who they claim had been running a ticketing scam which had cost the airline $600,000. However, NUATE claim that this has all been trumped up by the airline in an attempt to drive the union out of the business. Yesterday, the union went on strike in Lagos and delayed over 300 passengers. I will be keeping an eye on developments.

I hear that the BBC comedy show Outnumbered is to return for a Christmas special. The show last appeared as a one-off at Christmas 2016, the last series finished two years earlier. I understand the same old cast will be taking part with the adults having now downsized and the three, now grown-up, children returning home for the holidays. I wonder if anyone in the office will remember the series and have it on the TV?

I read of a Newcastle man and his wife wanting to travel on the train to London who went on the LNER website and got a quote of £786.80p return for two anytime tickets. This wasn’t a last-minute purchase, they were trying to book a week in advance. If they had chosen to upgrade to first class it would have cost £1,049.60, but they do get a hot meal included for that. I think they should think about flying, I hear you can get an advance return fare between Newcastle and London for £70 a person.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
How much?
801220 LNER Azuma Kings Cross,
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, when a small strip mall was built the town council attached rules that said any restaurant in the mall would not offer alcohol or allow outdoor seating and would only sell “made-to-order or subway-style sandwiches.” The idea was to keep chain restaurants such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and KFC away and only let in smaller local businesses. However, local business ‘The Famous Taco’ tried to open in the strip mall and were taken to court, where the council argued that tacos weren’t sandwiches. At the end of the case, the judge ruled, “The court agrees with [the restaurant owner] that tacos and burritos are Mexican-style sandwiches, and the original written commitment does not restrict potential restaurants to only American cuisine-style sandwiches.” So, there you have it, tacos are sandwiches.

I read that in America (why is it always America), that the parents of a nine-year-old girl are suing American Airlines and a male flight attendant, after he set up a hidden camera in the lavatory and filmed several children in the toilet. In court the American Airlines attorney said the problem had been caused by the young girl allowing herself to be filmed. What an awful defence, how can you blame anyone, let alone a child, for being filmed by a hidden camera they didn’t know was there? The case continues.

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