Monday, August 30, 2004

Notting Hill Carnival

The Notting Hill Carnival is in full swing at the moment and I'm just waiting for it to die down for tonight before I go out. I was out in it yesterday and was really busy for the duration of the evening but the later it got the lairier the punters. The last lot were picked up in the west end and wanted Bonchurch Road in Ladboke Grove. They were all high on poppers and by the time I was half way there I had been offered poppers, charlie and a drink of Dom Perignon Champagne all of which I gracefully declined. Then they wanted the radio on full blast and could I put 90.20 FM on. I duly obliged and the cab was rocking from side to side as they danced to the beat. As we approached the Carnival area the roads had been re-opened and I was able to drive through although there were still loads of people in the middle of the roads obviously well drunk or worse. What will it be like at this moment I wonder?
I had a nice job on Saturday night. The trains were out at Paddington and there were queues of people trying to get everywhere. I picked up a lady who wanted to go out to Henley on Thames. She wanted a price and I told her £90 to which she tried to haggle me down to £70 but I was having none of it so she agreed to pay in the end.
Oh well I think I've put it off for long enough. Notting Hill here I come.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Bulb Change Fiasco

I've been doing a lot of walking and a lot of sleeping this last week but not too much on the work front. All sorts of other things going on in my world. Kids will be back next week and maybe I can get back into my routine.
Went out last night and started promisingly enough. Then I noticed my off-side headlight had gone. If you read back a few months you'll know I had trouble changing the bulb on the near side. Well on the off-side theres this great big air filter casing positioned directly over the headlight unit and it had to be removed first. After fumbling about for about 15 minutes it finally came away...but in two pieces!!
The bulb change was slighlty easier than the near-side but then it took me a while to get the air filter back on. Once it was back on I tested the lights (I know....I should have done it first) only to find that the side light bulb had decided to go as well. Off it all comes again but I'm getting better at it now and after a totall time of about an hour to change two poxy bulbs I was able to go back to work.
I did about another 3 jobs then ended up on Tower Bridge where I was flagged down by a drunk Welsh guy who was in the dog house with his missus for not having been home for the last four days and had to get to Fulham liveley and would I also posibly know where he could buy booze after 11pm (It was about 11.45pm) because it could quite probably save his life. I know a couple of places and luckily the first place I tried in Vauxhall sold him the drink. Then he gets a call from the wife saying she had 6 guests at the house and could he bring in some food. He opted for kebabs and wanted me to stop off at the first available shop at which point I told him about the famous Kebab Kid on the New Kings Road. It's a bit of a Fulham institution is Kebab Kid but he'd never heard of it as he'd just moved into the area. 8 kebab and chips later and £50 lighter he emerged from there with a frown on his face. I had warned him that they were more expensive than others but they are the best around. "50 bloody quid mate!!" he say's getting into the cab" I says jokingly (but serioulsy too)"yeh and I hope you've got some money left for me" as the meter fast approached £40. A couple of turns later we pulled up outside his house and I got the customary drunk persons hand shake and telling me what a sound bloke I was (I've known that for years by the way) and I'm thinking "never mind all this bollocks mate where's my wedge?" He handed over £45 and disappeared into the house carrying the booze and the food to face the wrath of his angry wife. I wished him the best of British luck and drove off into the night..

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Flamsbury Park?

Welcome readers.
Another typical Saturday night out there. I started pretty late today as I was really tired for some reason. Some nice jobs tonight. Kensington to Angel, Kings Cross to Putney Bridge, Fulham to the West End. From Oxford Street I stopped for a guy who stuck his whole head and shoulders in the cab window. I thought he was going to grab my money bag or something like that. He started muttering something like "Flamsbury Park". I said "Do you mean Finsbury Park?" and he nodded then muttered some more (I hate mutterers!!) about a hotel. So, double checking I said "What do you mean one of those hotels on Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park?" to which he muttered yet again something resembling an acknowledgment. Of I goes heading for Camden Town and then turn into Camden Road and guess what? He starts muttering again. I think I was ready for a row by now so I pulled over and said "do what mate?" to which he replied "I think I'm being ripped off here". I said that no one was ripping him off and where the hell did he want me to take him. He started muttering some more and then his phone rang and he started muttering into that. During all the mutterings I established that he wanted the Bloomsbury Park Hotel on Southampton Row. Bloomsbury - Flamsbury; sound sort of similar don't they? Any way to cut a long story short and to save myself a load of grief that this guy probably would have given me I turned the meter off at £10 and took him back into town to his hotel at a loss of about another tenner. The moral of this story is make sure if your passenger is a mutterer you get the correct address out of him.
By 2am I'd had enough and was looking for a fare home when this lovely trio of people flagged me down in Old Brompton Road and asked to be taken to Notting Hill Gate, Royal Oak Tube and finally to West End Lane in West Hampstead. A nice job to take me home and a crisp £20 note as well.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Pissing Down

Where the hell is all this rain coming from? I was over Blackheath tonight and it was absolutely lashing it down with loads of lightning thrown in for good measure. I actually hate being out when there's lightning as I have this morbid fear of being struck by it, well somebody has to kop it from time to time so why shouldn't it be me?
Work was really slow and I was just contemplating going home when I got flagged down outside Bar Cuba in Kensington High Street. Four people or a four-hander as us cabbies say to Gipsy Hill, Sydenham, Honour Oak and finally to Blackheath. That is one mother of a journey and I had to drag out all of my South London Knowledge from somewhere deep within to complete the run. (We haven't all got navigators Deano!!!) I'm telling porkies, the final bloke had to direct me from Honour Oak to Blackheath and fair play to him he knew some back streets I'd never driven down in 14 years of cab driving. All in all a nice job and £60 was handed over at the end, very nice.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Jean Gushue

It is with much sadness that I have to report the death of Robert and Dianne's mum, Jean, who died yesterday Sunday 15th August after a long illness. She was a great lady who I met many times and worked together with her on the spread for Dean and Dianne's wedding a few years ago. She will be greatly missed by all her family and anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her. God Bless her.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

I need a rest

I've been working sporadically this last week. A half day here a day off there. I've decided to take a week off in September to go to my parents place in Spain as I need to re-charge my batteries so these next few weeks will see me grafting a bit harder to leave everything in order at home. It all starts today but only after the Chelsea match is over as it's always a nighhtmare around Stamford Bridge for a few hours after each game. I went to the pictures last night with my brother to see The Bourne Supremacy and thought it was a much better film than the first if only a little more manic.
I've been doing a virtual walk to Edinburgh with my brother and we've both bought pedometers that measure our steps and convert them into miles. I've only managed about three miles in the last few days so am only, on paper, just outside Cricklewood approaching Staples Corner....only 405 miles to go!!
I've just noticed that the hit counter has reverted back to normal.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Caught Offguard

So much for my "Loser Spotting Skills".
I got flagged down in Notting Hill by a guy who was obviously out of his tree on some drug or other. He asked to be taken to South East London and told me he'd "look after me". Whenever anybody says that you know it'll mean the exact opposite. He waived a couple of his mates over. I think they'd been expecting me to refuse to take them. My instinct was telling me to drive off but I had pulled into a lay by and couldn't pull away without running the guy over. From the second they got in I got "How much you gonna charge us mate?" and "Do us a deal we're south Londoners" and similar requests. I told them it would be about £30 to Crofton Park which for those of you not in the know is between Peckham and Forest Hill, not my 2 favourite places in London. It was quite obvious that they wern't used to paying Black Cab prices and soon they were whispering to eachother which told me they were plotting to do a runner when we got there (Any of my readers ever done a runner from a cab??).
To cut a long story short, I don't like feeling uneasy in my office (cab) and just came out and told them I wasn't taking them all the way and that I would drop them at the best railway station for them to catch a train. They tried to argue but I was having none of it and as I dropped them at Blackfriars Station I could see two City of London Police officers standing near the station entrance so they paid up the £15 and skulked off. You have to go with your instinct in this job and in future I'll lock the doors and drive off as I normally do. Apart from that one the rest of the jobs were ok.
I recently bought Fleetwood Mac's latest album "Say You Will" and have been playing it to death in the cab. There's some great songs on there and after a few years experimenting with different line-ups the original band members minus Christine McVie have re-formed. Listen to Illume by Stevie Nicks which is a beautiful tribute to all those who died on 9/11.
Best job of the night was from Notting Hill Gate to Hendon £22.
I haven't done any shopping this week as the kids are away so I stopped off at KFC on the Harrow Road for a Fillet Tower Burger before I went home. Yummy Yummy!!

Monday, August 09, 2004

Peace and quiet

Pretty quiet round here without two of my kids, who are in the States on holiday. It's nice to get the TV remote and watch what I want for a change. Ain't it hot? I hate the sun and love it when September comes around and things start cooling down.
Did any of you get caught out in the storms last week? It took me three hours to get home from Harrow and the worst part was when we only moved 500 yards in an hour and a half!!
Worked yesterday and today and there's still plenty of people out there who'd rather grab a cab than walk in this heat. It's generally all shorter jobs at the moment. I can't remember when I last did something with a bit of distance in it.
Nothing exciting to report mainly because my "Loser Spotting Skills" are back to their best after being caught out a few times in the last few months, what with the spewers and suchlike.
The counter at the bottom of this page seems to be going mental and shows me as receiving thousands of hits. If you refresh the page it seems to jump hundreds at a time, pity it's not linked to advertising where they pay you out on the amount of hits the page gets.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Spur of the moment

I've done sweet FA the last few days. My son has started his first job ever and my other two kids will be away on Thursday to visit their Mum in the USA for the whole of August, it'll be great to get some peace and quiet round here not to mention a serious, and I mean serious, reduction in the weekly foodbill.
I just went out to get some electric from the garage down the road and ended up on a number 6 bus into the west end. I walked through Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and then Soho and ended up in Oxford Street where I jumped on a 98 bus back home. I have been known to do crazy things like that from time to time. My daughter is cringing as I write this, she thinks I'm a right muppet, she may well be right.