Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Gherkin

I’m working days at the moment. I can’t make my mind up whether I prefer them to nights. It’s nice to be home in the evening but the days are much longer for the same or less money and I still have all the chores waiting for me when I get home.

I was out by 10am today. I trapped almost immediately on Maida Vale and took her to the Eastman Dental Hospital in Grays Inn Road. When she got in she asked if I minded going a particular route. I always prefer passengers to name their route so that if we hit traffic then it’s their fault. She rattled off the name of every single street she wanted me to take, about 15 in all. I would have taken her a completely different way and avoided the traffic we hit on three of the streets she requested but the passenger is always right.

What I like about days is that there’s plenty of work. The rides are much shorter on the whole but there’s more work out there than evenings. Also the banks are open, all the nice sandwich bars and eateries are open and the shops are all open so I can park on taxi ranks and do a bit of shopping.

We have a building in The City called 30 St. Mary Axe but it is affectionately known as “The Gherkin” due to its shape. Today was the first time I’ve ever been asked for it by its nickname. I was too close to get a photo so here’s one off the web.

30 St. Mary Axe, aka The Gherkin

Since I am now renting my cab I have to make a weekly visit to the garage to pay the rent. It’s in Kentish Town a bit off the beaten track but there’s always a bit of banter to be had with the lads. They also check that the various fluid levels are topped up and it’s customary to tip whoever does it one or two pounds so there’s always a scramble to be the one who checks the levels. Today the discussion was about all the drivers getting fines for various traffic offences. The garage manager, Jim, a genial Irishman, had a stack of summonses for various drivers who had been caught by the dreaded cameras breaking some law or other. There’s a new law being introduced as we speak that gives priority to cyclists at the head of a traffic queue. They have their own box marked out and cars stopping inside these boxes risk a fine and three points on their licence. 12 points and you get a six-month ban. I’m on six points at the moment but I’m really trying to behave myself. The points last for three years so I still have two years left.

The “For Hire” light on the top of my cab is very dim and during the day people seem to have trouble deciding whether I’m for hire or not. I’ve been getting blank stares from would be passengers and have seen them in my rear view mirror flagging the cab behind me. I forgot to mention it at the garage so I popped into Halfords in Battersea and bought a couple of stronger wattage bulbs. I fitted them straight away and guess what? It made no difference whatsoever. I think that the lens on the “For Hire” sign isn’t refracting the light properly. I’ve tried cleaning it inside and out but it’s still the same. I’m sure it’s costing me fares; in fact I know it is so I may even pop back to the garage tomorrow.


Dogbait said...

Looks to me like the space shuttle ready for launch.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. Interseting to read while I'm at work. Are you going to Cardiff? Marching on....

london_cabby said...

I wish I was but will have to settle for the TV

wil said...

I like unique structures. They make a metropolitan skyline more interesting.

Boxy, rectangular buildings are sooo dull.