Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Down on the farm

It was a hot shift tonight.
Still with no aircon in my cab the thing was to try and drive as fast as possible to get the air flowing in through all the windows but sometimes that’s easier said than done. Another minus point about the particular cab I’m driving is that although the heat is turned off at the source I still get blasts of hot air rushing in from somewhere under the dashboard. It’s more than likely the heat from the engine finding it’s way through all the nooks and crannies of these poorly manufactured vehicles. Another problem that had me stumped until last night was a clunking noise coming from somewhere at the front of the cab. Whilst driving over the many speed bumps around town I would hear a secondary noise. I thought the shocks had gone again (which incidentally have been working great and together with the welded wings now give a half decent ride). When I got home I got a spotlight out and went to look under the cab when I noticed the bonnet was unlocked. The security catch was the only thing keeping it from flying fully up at speed. I pushed the bonnet down and pulled it upwards again and it opened immediately. The catch must be knackered. I put some WD40 on it but it’s still no good. I drove the whole shift tonight with the bonnet rattling and clunking but as it wasn’t a busted shock or worse I wasn’t overly concerned. I’ll be going to the garage tomorrow to get it sorted.

A couple of guys flagged me down in Bishopsgate and wanted Metropolis, a table-dancing bar in Bethnal Green. They were completely rat-arsed and started messing about in the cab almost straight away. We stopped for one of them to get some money and the other one remained in the cab and took the opportunity to introduce himself. He said he was Lou from New York and shook my hand with one of those exaggerated strong handshakes that some men feel they must do. He then started talking about wishing he’d been accepted in the US Marines but had been rejected on account of a busted knee. He was very bitter about it and felt he should be out in Iraq “kicking some ass” as he put it. The other guy came back and it turned out he was Australian. The conversation carried on about Iraq and ended up about WWII and how both of their Grandfathers had fought in that war. They got quite heated about it and finally asked me who I would want to go in to battle with if it all kicked off again. Jokingly I said the yanks as they have all the hardware. The Aussie never took it well at all and turned on me quite strongly. Lou had to drag him away as I’m sure he wanted to attack me. What a dickhead!!

The last job of the night saw me at Victoria Station. No brooming tonight you’ll all be glad to hear. A couple of tanned babes walked up to me and in a broad Cockney accent one of them asked me how much the fare would be to Hornsey and then on to Tottenham, she never said where in Tottenham otherwise I might well have broomed it or over quoted the price just to scare them off. I hate quoting prices as I often get it horribly wrong. So I quoted a price and off we went. I heard one of them on the phone telling someone how they had asked a Gatwick Airport cabbie how much he would charge them to take them home. Apparently he had quoted £110. From Gatwick to where they were going £110 is a good price but they obviously thought otherwise and took the Gatwick Express to Victoria and ended up with me. I dropped the first girl of in Hornsey and continued towards Tottenham. After about a mile from Hornsey she started directing me down all these back streets that I’ve never been down before. After a multitude of lefts and rights we enter a housing estate that somehow looks familiar. It had an creepy aura about it and I knew I didn’t want to be there any longer than I had to be. I said to her “What’s this place called?” “What this estate? Oh it’s the Broadwater Farm” Although I'd never been here before I still knew it.
There had been riots on this estate in 1985 and a police officer had been hacked to death. I know it happened 21 years ago but I remember the night well as it was well publicized and reported on the news and I remember reading about it in “The Sun” for the next few days. She went on to say it’s a much safer place nowadays and has been exstensively cleaned up and modernised. She paid me, gave me a five pounds tip and I got the hell out of there as fast as possible.


wil said...

I remember that riot.

Bernie Grant should have been used as a police baton training dummy for his comments.

When I am asked to guesstimate a price I usually respond by bracketting it.

"Oh somewhere between $10 and $20. Whatever the meter says when we stop."

Anonymous said...

still think i would prefer to fight alongside the aussies, hardware or not!

Bill said...

Hi Cabby, just wanted to drop you a line saying how much I enjoy reading your blog. I live in Toronto, Canada where 80% of cabbies smell terribly, and don't speak english.

You're "a breath of fresh air!".

Anonymous said...

a lot of cabbies in london dont smell too clever with the weather we are having.

CapricornCringe said...

Love your blog! I'm a 'damn yankee' who's never been to London. I can almost 'see' it from your descriptions. If I ever get across the pond, I hope I land in your cab :)

london_cabby said...


If you ever get over here and dont mind paying £50-£60 i'll collect you from Heathrow ;o)


london_cabby said...

New post coming soon, its just been too hot to do anything. Check site tonight around 3am UK time

wil said...

Check site tonight around 3am UK time

What day at 3am UK time? [big smile]

Where my son lives, Central Valley of California, the high yesterday was 113f (45c) and their low was 83f (28c).

Heard a rumor that Death Valley tied its record of 134f (57c).