I finally got a TXI on Friday. As I said before it was the one I drove for two years before I bought my own cab. Since I gave it back in 2003 there has been a double team working it day and night and it feels that way too. I’m sure the gearbox is on its way out. I’m getting a very peculiar smell every time I pull off, I’m sure it’s the gearbox fluid leaking onto the exhaust pipe. Apart from a few signs of age it’s still a more comfortable cab to drive and has a decent sound system, aircon, electric windows all round and is in better condition. Having said all that, I had a bit of grief with it today whilst I went for a coffee and a slice of cake at one of my hangouts in Baker Street. These cabs are fitted with an immobilizer and in a few areas of London the remote thingy just will not work (I found this out later). So I’m sitting in the cab having my refreshments. I put the key in the ignition, press the immobilizer which should then prepare the cab for starting. Nothing. I try again, and again, and again. Nothing. I take the key out. Lock and unlock the doors with the central locking button to try and free up the immobilizer. Nothing. I get out and lock the doors with the key. I try and unlock the door, guess what? It won’t unlock. I’m standing in Baker Street with an icy wind whipping down the street, locked out of my cab and my steaming cup of Bene Bene coffee is on the dash staring at me. Now where did I put the other key that was given to me? Oh there it is sitting by the gear lever! Bollocks!!
The key in my possession was the ignition key and by chance it also locks all cabs as do most Ford keys. But one thing they don’t do is unlock all cabs, for that you need the correct key which was sitting inside my nice warm cab whilst I stood outside scratching my head and debating what to do next. I rang the garage and the owner picked up the phone. I explained what had happened and it was decided that I would have to somehow get into the cab and punch a code into a keypad that was concealed behind my visor. I had the owners’ permission to smash a window, start the cab and then drive over to the garage where someone would fit a new window. D’you think I could find something to smash the window? I couldn’t get the wheel brace out of the boot as I had the wrong key. Last resort…..ring supermechanic. He was empty in Knightsbridge and was with me in 10 minutes. After a quick evaluation of the situation he said there was nothing he could do mechanically so out came his tyre iron and after five wallops the window finally smashed. People stopped, stared and walked on with a “what the hell is going on” look on their faces. There was shattered glass every where. All over the driver’s seat, all over my stuff in the luggage well, everywhere. My coffee was intact albeit luke warm but seeing as I was frozen stiff I guzzled it down in one gulp. I retrieved the key that had caused the whole problem and got my handbrush from the boot. I swept out as much glass as I could onto Baker Street, sat in my seat and rang my garage for instructions on how to enter the code into the keypad. After two attempts the cab started. I thanked Supermechanic for his help and let him get back to work. I drove over to my garage with the wind howling through the broken window. I had the heater on full blast so it wasn’t too bad. Once at the garage two mechanics got straight to work on it. One of them vacuumed the glass out of all the nooks and crannies while the other one started dismantling the door panel to get to the window mechanism. The owner was milling about and looked like he had the hump. Maybe he thought it was my fault, which it most certainly wasn’t. How was I to know that there were two keys to do the job normally done by one? I thought the other was the spare. And how the hell would I know that in certain parts of town the immobilizer cacks out? Apparently Greater London House in Hampstead Road and Holborn are two other areas where I'll have problems. Has anyone else ever experienced similar problems with their cars? Anyhow, it only took them 30 minutes to get it all fitted and working and I bunged them a fiver each to keep them sweet. I’d left home at 3pm and it was now fast approaching 6 and I hadn’t earned a bean yet. I drove home first to sort out my daughter's dinner. The other two had eaten in a café earlier. I finally got out at 7pm and started setting up all my bits and pieces in the cab. I turned on my satnav. Nothing. What now? Somehow the battery had drained from my ipaq wiping the internal memory clean of all my data. (Ipaq owners can confirm this happens when a battery goes completely flat) All my data had vanished but luckily I had it all backed up on my PC. Back indoors I went, put the older more reliable battery onto the ipaq and transferred all my data, maps and satnav back on. After the day I’d had so far I was in no mood to go to work but with Christmas just days away off I went for the third time.
Nothing really spectacular happened. I picked up a few drunks. I got stuck in a mega traffic jam whilst en route to Brentford as there were road works just after the Hogarth roundabout and basically in six hours I made some decent money. Now I’m off to bed as I have to be up in four hours to drop my daughter to school. Night Night.