I got an excited call from one of my cabby mates earlier declaring that we were famous. Apparently the Daily Mirror had included an excerpt from the post I did recently when I picked up Michael Caine. I found the article online too so here’s the link for all it’s worth. Some of the other bloggers mentioned are worth a look as they have quite interesting blogs so give them a “butcher’s” if you have a moment.
A few posts ago I described driving away from a fare after being taken onto the Brunel Estate in Westbourne park because I had a feeling that it was a wrongun. I was promptly accused of allsorts by a few (or was it just 1?) commenters. In this weeks Taxi newspaper there is an article describing how a cabby, who lives on the estate, was attacked and robbed of all his money and possessions on the said estate. The article ends with a warning to all cab drivers to be on their guard. I rest my case.
I finally squared the cab rent with my garage and it’s a great feeling to not owe any money (to them anyway). I’ve been meaning to give the cab a good wash for a while now but so many garages have closed in the last few years that it’s hard to find one with a carwash that won’t rip the “For Hire” light off the roof. I know I could wash it myself on my drive but it’s too flipping cold to do that at the moment. I also need a front tyre as it’s going bald but I have to go to a particular place which my garage has an account with and it’s so out of the way that by the time I start work most afternoons or evenings it’s just too late.
In complete contrast, the diesel pumps at the Royal Oak Taxi Centre in Paddington are now open again. They were closed down last year by the authorities after being caught selling illegal red diesel. I used to use “The Oak” every now and then before they closed but I was sold a bad batch of diesel when I had my TXII and had to have the fuel filter replaced. I never went back and probably never will as the place still looks dodgy.
On the work front it’s all back to normal. The evening and night work has returned to normal levels and a six to eight hour shift can yield a decent night’s takings.
I was ranked at the Park Lane Hilton one day this week when I was called over by the doorman. A lady got in and her partner/husband came round to speak to me through the window. I only had the window a quarter down and as he was only little he must have been on tiptoes trying to speak to me. He had his two hands on the window and his nose was hooked over the top of the glass which reminded me of that cartoon everyone used to draw all over their school books with “Chad can see ya” written underneath. (Ignore the writing, this is the only picture I could find). Anyway, seeing that he was struggling I lowered the window and his hands and head came down also. He was whispering something to me which I couldn’t hear so I made him repeat it. Eventually I got that he wanted me to take them to The Phantom Of The Opera but not to say anything as it was a surprise for his lady. He also said they were pushed for time and that if I got them there quick I’d get double. I had serious doubts as to whether I could get them there in the few minutes we had before the performance started but fate was smiling on him and me as miraculously there was no traffic to speak of. I flew up Piccadilly, cut through Duke Street and St James’s Square did the cut through from Regent Street to Haymarket and arrived at Her Majesty’s Theatre in about five minutes flat. As we pulled up at the theatre I heard her scream with what I could only assume was delight and she started calling him a liar and punching him in the arm. The meter said £5.80 and he peeled off two tenners from a wad of notes and handed them to me thanking me and giving me a playful punch in the arm. It’s nice when your endeavours are rewarded as more often than not people promise a good tip and conveniently forget all about it after you’ve committed all sorts of traffic violations to get them where they want to be on time.
We had a little burst of snow here a few days ago and transport services were thrown in to chaos as per usual. The Evening Standard banners read “An inch of snow stops London” or words to that effect and travelers were left stranded as cabs couldn’t cope with the demand. I chose to have that day off so missed out on a bumper payday.
Here’s hoping for more snow.