Back on a late one tonight and the difference in the time taken to earn and the manner in which it can be earned is so different to days, one tends to forget.
I started around six thirty this evening after a nice barbeque dinner with the kids. Having been on days for the last few weeks it was a bit of a wrench going out at all but as you may all be aware by now this is the third week and the third time in recent months that my cab rent times three is due. Yes six hundred smackaroos now have to be earned by about Thursday at the latest. Why do I do this to myself?
So after doing my first job from Paddington Station to Victoria Station I flew round to the rank and only had to wait a few minutes before a couple of well built African ladies approached me and asked to be taken out to Hackney. They had 2 enormous suitcases each plus other smaller bags and after getting it all into the cab I was completely fucked and out of breath. The journey there was uneventful apart from the sweat that started issuing from me due to the recent exertions with the freight. As we turned off Mare Street they directed me into a housing estate. The entrance was blocked by about six kids playing football and they seemed reluctant to step aside to let me through. Once through I stopped soon after and started to remove the cases. They seemed even heavier now. The kids seemed to take an interest and decided to surround the cab. I went back round to my side and removed my keys and locked my driver’s door then continued to remove more luggage. One of the ladies paid me and I got back into the cab. The kids were kicking the ball around right next to where I had to exit the estate. I once got cornered by a load of kids in a similar estate and I decided to drive through them. I did the same here and they all soon jumped out of the way and as I drove away the language coming out of their mouths would’ve made a navvy blush.
After a few more jobs in quick succession I found myself at the light at Hall Road and Maida Vale. Three people flagged me from one side of the road and an elderly gentleman was making his way over to me from the other side. I remained motionless and gave no indication that I’d seen either of the parties, something I often do so as not to give one or the other hope. The elderly gentleman got to me first and the three who didn’t looked at me as if I should say that they had flagged me down and it was their cab. The old boy turned out to be a nice trip down to The Millennium Gloucester Hotel.
A few more jobs came and went and I ended up on the Hilton rank on Park Lane. The doorman waved me over and opened the door for a young couple who, he said, were going to Charing Cross Station. The female’s first spoken words to her partner were:
“Don’t fuckin start alright; I’ve just about had enough of your crap tonight”
Charming thought I. They spent the whole of the ten minute trip hurling insults at each other. From what I could gather, the extremely pretty female had been attracting attention from admirers all evening and the boyfriend was just a little pissed off about it.
From Charing Cross I got a job up to Clerkenwell and then made my way round to the Kings Cross rank. The feeder section of the rank is next to St Pancras Station but that station has its own rank which only had one cab on it due to the fact that it’s not as busy as the Kings Cross rank. A burst of people came out of St Pancras and all you could hear was about ten cabs start their engines on the other rank and scoot over to the other rank cutting eachother up in the process. It was like feeding time at the zoo. Guess who got there first. Yup! I did and snagged a job down to London Bridge Station. A very talkative Staffordshire man who was a bit of a know-it-all. I duly humored him and received a good tip for my efforts.
There’s still eight more jobs to come before I call it a night, but of course I don’t know that yet. The London Bridge rank was chokka so I drove over to Waterloo and had a look at the Eurostar. It looked like I had just missed the work as the entrance hall was empty and the last cab’s tail lights were disappearing into the distance but I thought I’d plot up in case of any stragglers and also to select a better configuration on my iPod which, by the way, has to be the best invention since sliced bread. I did get a straggler but it was only over the Waterloo Bridge to the Strand Palace Hotel.
I stopped for a bite to eat at BK in Praed Street and whilst I was munching into a Whopper with cheese a guy poked his head into my half open window and asked if I was available. Before I could answer he said “You’re ‘avin Macky D’s that’s what you’re doin’ aintcha?” I said “Burger King actually but where d’you want to go” He and his pals wanted to go to Fabric, a night club in Smithfield, but I’d passed it a few hours earlier and it looked closed so I told him so. He then asked me to take him somewhere where they could get pills but I told him I didn’t know anywhere like that. Sunday is always a bad day for clubbing but I took them to Oxford Street where they decided to walk towards Soho in search of illegal substances and a good night out.
The last job worth mentioning was from Paddington to the Travelodge in Covent Garden. This lady had been caught up in some sort of delay on the train from Devon to London and it had added four hours to her journey time. She was livid with anger as she had had an evening out planned and it was now in ruins. She was telling me how she hated traveling by train but had no other choice as she had lost her licence when caught driving drunk last year. She only got banned for a year which I thought strange as a few drink drivers I know got three year bans.
So after a few weeks of ten to twelve hour shifts it was nice to earn my money in half that time and also to have something to write about due to the type of passengers picked up.
I may well have to do an early tomorrow as I play darts at my local social club on Monday nights but hope to resume evening/night work from Tuesday.