Friday, June 22, 2007


I seem to have found the secret to eternal wealth and happiness. Well it’s really no secret. I’ve always known that to get what you want you have to go out and earn it. From last Sunday I have been putting in some serious hours and reaping some serious rewards. I can’t say too much as a few of my readers hate it when I reveal specifics for fear of arousing the interest of the people that take notice of these things.

So without revealing too many details I have to tell you that last Sunday was my best day ever. I recently joined the Xeta radio service and have been doing account work and cash alike. One of their accounts is with the London Underground and from midnight 7 days a week we have to take all members of staff home to every corner of London and the Home Counties. I have done this sort of work whilst on other circuits and the account seems to follow me around. As a gentle re-introduction to my radio-working life I was allocated a job with six pickups and six drops. The cab only seats five so the sixth pickup would obviously have to be after at least one passenger has got out. The first pickup was at Victoria Station and the passenger was almost 20 minutes late in appearing causing a chain of complaints all down the line as everyone else wondered where the hell I’d got to. I should also say that it’s not a conventional radio circuit. I have an O2 XDA IIi PDA as my terminal and any communication with control is via mobile phone. Needless to say I was called a half dozen times asking me my present location and eta to pick up. The six pickups were Victoria, St James’s Park, Westminster, Embankment x2 and Barking and the drop offs were Mile End, Upton Park, Barking, Upminster Bridge, Upminster and finally Grays Station in Essex. My satnav and mapping equipment really came into it’s own here and I was glad for it. I’d started the day at 11.30am and by the time I’d dropped off at Grays Station it was 1.45am on Monday morning. I never got home till 2.30 so at 15 hours in the saddle I have to say that’s the longest I’ve worked…ever.

I also did a rare job out to Heathrow as the train service from Paddington was down. My fare was a young Pakistani guy worried that he’d miss his flight. He had three hours from point of pickup and it only took 30 minutes but he never stopped fretting the whole way. Then he asked me for some discount from the £51.80 fare so I knocked the £1.80 off the end. How generous am I?

I used to work the airport years ago but it’s been a while since I entered the feeder park where all the cabs queue up. The main reason I haven’t been there is because a Cab Tag needed to be purchased at a high cost and I have always been put off by this but seeing as I was having a good day I took the opportunity to buy one. The actual tag was free for first timers so I only had to put credit on it in order to enter the queue. The waiting time was minimal and I was allocated Terminal 1 as my point of pick up. The traffic back into the Terminal area was manic and to make matters worse I had it in my head that I was picking up at T3. As I arrived on the T3 rank I realized my mistake and had to pull off and drive all the way round again. I ended up with a local to the Thistle Heathrow and had to ask another cabbie where it was as I’d been out of the loop for too long. You’re given an hour to complete a local and then you can go straight back to the Terminal and hopefully a nice job out into the countryside or one back in to town. Mine went in to Piccadilly and straight back into the work.

Last Sunday was the 25th anniversary of our victory in the Falklands War of 1982 and there were celebrations in Horse Guards Parade. Veterans proudly displayed their medals and I was hoping to pick one up so that I could let him off the fare. I never managed to pick one up but my brother in law did and never charged the fare.

Since Monday I have been out continuously working 12 hour plus shifts. Inspite of all that hard work I once again owe 4 weeks cab rent but it should be paid by Monday. I have a list of faults I need them to look at, most importantly the suspension which is making some extremely weird noises. I also had to change another wheel recently as the tread was below the minimum limit allowed.

My holiday is now booked and paid for September the 10th. I now have to work towards that and make sure there is money to meet all bills while I’m away and that I have enough spending money. Roll on September.

BT Tower

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What a pleasant week I’ve had!!!

During the last week I’ve been screamed at, insulted, reported and stoned. And I don’t mean stoned as in illegal substances either.

The screaming happened as I was taking a fare to South Kensington from St Johns Wood. She’d only given me the area and not the street name so as I approached her turning (Thurloe Street) I was unaware I had to take the left and drove straight past it. The scream of “left, left, left!!!!” could have curdled milk and poisoned you to death at the same time as it was both screechingly loud and venomous at the same time. I’m sorry but I only have one word for women like that: SLAGS. On the phone all the way, not paying attention, expecting you to be mind readers and then talking to you like shit. I should put a sign up saying something like “If you’re a slag then fuck off!!”

As you may be able to guess I’m feeling pretty belligerent at the moment, probably not the best time to do this post but what the hell.

The insults were thrown at me as I stopped for an American guy who could barely stand up on the corner of Kings Road and Limerston Street last night. I should’ve done what the three other cabs before me did and just drive past him but I always feel like I can handle most situations. So he gets in and slumps in the back seat.

Me: Where to mate?
Him: f^$@&^$$(incoherent babble)
Me: What?
Him: (Starting to close his eyes) c@&*p^%$”$£$ (more incoherent babble)
Me: I need an address (loudly)
Him: Dunno
Me: I can’t take you without an address.
Him: Drive (indicating forward)
Me: No I need an address otherwise you’ll have to get out.
Him: Fughhh Offf!!

I jumped straight out of the cab and ran round to the nearside, yanked open the door and told him “I’ll give you fuck off you cunt, out!!!!!” He starts eyeing me up to see if he fancies his chances then starts telling me to fuck off again. There was a restaurant full of diners eating al fresco right by where I stopped and they were all enjoying the show. I knew they’d all be witnesses should matters take a turn for the worst so I made sure I just kept control. “get out of the taxi now!!” “Fuck off” he responds. Nothing for it but the old make out you’re calling the cops routine. I get back into the cab and make like I’m dialing and then fake a whole conversation with the emergency services controller making sure he could hear me describing him as a “little bald fat yank wanker”. (No offence to any decent Americans out there but when you lose it things just come out the way they do). That did the trick and he started getting out of the cab. As he got out I said “why don’t you stick around and then you can tell the cops to fuck of as well” He hurled a final few insults at me and walked off towards Sloane Square. Some people.

The “reporting” if you could call it that was a few days ago. I started work around 8pm and made my way to the Paddington Taxi Rank. There were no cabs on it and there was a little kid around 10 years old on a bike weaving uncertainly on the empty road. I gave him a wide berth and waited at the lights. Next thing he pulls up alongside my open window and says that I nearly ran him over. He was just trying it on as I was nowhere near him. I told him to get lost and that he was trespassing on station property. He proceeded to write my number plate down on a scap of paper and declare that he was going to report me. 10 years old and he’s already behaving like a twat. This country is in deep shit!!

And now to the stoning. Driving south along Grays Inn Road. A black kid with a hooded top is standing in the centre of the road. As I pass he throws a handful of stones at me. Luckily the four windows were down as it was hot but unluckily I caught one in the face. The kid runs off laughing while I pull over to check in the mirror. A lump is developing nicely and strangely I feel no pain, just a numbness spreading across my temple. Why he did that to me I have no idea. He probably did it for a dare or to look big in front of his mates but it won’t be long before he kills someone. I really despair of what is happening in this country.

I need a break and am planning a trip to Spain in September. I can’t wait.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My name is not Chris.

Hello there, avid readers.
First and foremost, my name isn't Chris. If you read "Chris the trouble magnets" comments in my last post, Chris being the person I was writing about, you'll see he mentions my name or one of a few names I go by. To date I answer to at least four different names.

Now that we've got that cleared up i'll reply to a few comments.

Ted Martin: I had an idea I read about it on your blog. I'd love to be able to have a laptop with lots of attatchments and gizmos but there's no way I'd be able to have a stand for it in the area immediately to my left as that is where we put luggage, unlike cabs in the US where they have enormous trunks (we call them boots). So I guess i'll have to settle for the much smaller PDA and subscribe to an isp like T Mobile that has WiFi hotspots all over town. Love your blog. Keep it up.

Jo: Hi there sis. I love over nuked pasta. Not overcooked where its all soft but over nuked where its crispy or even chewy at the bottom of the container. They do some lovely fillings for baguettes in the Piccolo my favourite being barbeque chicken. I've been going there for practically the whole 17 years I've been a cabby and only ever heard of one case of someone I know dropping two stones in a few days because he caught salmonella from a dodgy chicken escalope. What was yer man thinking taking you there for a meal? You'dve had a better feed up at the taxi shelter in Warwick Avenue or the Royal Oak!!

Tomartin: Feel free to use any of my material as it's there for everyones enjoyment and use but just don't expect me to participate in anything as I don't have the time or inclination.

Cabhack: I read so many blogs when I have the time and often link to them from other sites that I forget where I read them. I enjoy all the cab blogs and many others too. I read yours all the time and enjoy your stories so consider yourself "Blogrolled".

If any other cabbies want me to blogroll them just let me know.

Over the last few days I have watched the whole of 24 season 6. Jack's the man.

Since my last post I have paid the £800 cab rent and am hoping to pay a single week in the next few days before it runs into two weeks again. They never said a word to me and secretly I think it suits them to have some of us pay late as it just gets put straight into a paypacket for one of the mechanics.

The only incident worth writing about happened last night. It was fairly quiet and I was driving along Oxford Street towards Marble Arch. At the traffic lights I had more or less made up my mind to call it a night when one of my backdoors opened and a very evidently gay 50 something got in and asked for Ealing. He started rambling on about having been touched up by a rugged unshaven type without his permission in a bar close by. I knew I'd be blogging it so started goading him to tell me more about it. He went on to describe the ettiquette involved in these places and how this guy seemed to ignore it. He said in cases like this you would have to slap them across the face and tell them, in no uncertain terms, to go away but as he was only slightly built and the offender was "massive" he felt scared. I think he mistook my interest as a sign that I wanted some sort of involvement with him as he then proceeded to "chat me up". I laughed inwardly and just humoured him. We got to talking about all sorts of things "gay related" and I think he thought he'd cracked it when I gave him the bad news that I was not a cock lover but a pussy lover. After a while he asked me to pull over in Uxbridge Road and proceeded to puke his guts up between the cab and the kerb. He felt much better and declared that none of it had landed in the cab, much to my relief. He carried on with the sales pitch of why I would love to take it up the arse and to nosh a bloke off but I'm glad to say that I'm still 100% hetero sexual as we speak. He puked up once more in Ealing Broadway and soon after we reached his house. He'd also been talking about his dog and me about mine so as a last resort he asked if I'd like to come in and see his doggie. I think not.

Check back soon

Friday, June 01, 2007

It always happens to Chris!

Tuesday’s shift started with me putting £30 diesel in the tank at the Texaco in Edgware Road. I shot round to Paddington and got my first job, a shortish one to Mayfair. Being the third cab I had to wait for the other two in front of me to load up and pull out. The front cab was loading about 5 passengers and shitloads of luggage so it was taking quite a while and everyone around me was getting impatient. I already had the meter running and from the £2.20 flagdrop it had increased to £3.40 when the lady in the back pipes up. “Do I have to pay for being stuck here?” Luckily she caught me on a good day and I’d fully intended to reset the meter before she spoke. I told her so and she calmed down. The front cab was still trying to get all the luggage in the cab but was making extremely slow progress. In the end I had to reverse out, as it was, by this time, all clear behind me.

Being a Tuesday, I never expect too much but this one was turning out to be a good one. Most of the jobs were under ten pounds but if you do enough of them in quick succession it makes for a great shift. I ranked up at South Kensington at least 5 or 6 times. When I sit on ranks I like to scan the area with my iPaq to see if I can lock onto any wireless networks. Lot’s of them come up but are nearly always secure. I managed to lock on to the Pelham Hotel signal but my browser defaulted to the hotel homepage and wouldn’t let me surf the net. I read on someone’s cab blog that they use a laptop with an internet connection that only costs them $60 per month for unlimited browsing. Is that possible? I’d like to do something like that here so if anyone has any suggestions drop me a line.

So whilst admiring the Pelham homepage a guy walks up and asks for Richmond. I love jobs out that way. He was on the hurry-up as his girlfriend had arrived on a train at Richmond station and was waiting out front for him. He asked me to step on it and that he’d see me ok at the end. We got there in about 15 minutes and she was there waiting. He said to keep the meter running as they were going on. The little forecourt at Richmond Station is very tight and I was sort of in everyone’s way so I hoped he’d hurry up. He seemed oblivious to my problem as he stood there chatting and kissing her. In the end I had to honk the horn and as nicely as possible tell him to get his arse in gear as it was getting stressful. Once back in I said “where too now?” “Back to South Kensington please driver” It doesn’t get any better than that.

Wednesday’s shift was totally uneventful apart from the fact that I stopped at the Mayfair Piccolo for dinner. Spaghetti Bolognese, Chicken Escalope, a buttered baguette, two homemade custard tarts and a large latte all lovingly prepaired for me by Tina. I sat on the Intercontinental rank along with a few other dining cabbies and felt thoroughly bloated after eating all that. Although it was uneventful I still managed to take £8 more than Tuesday.

I never slept a wink on Wednesday night as I had a few things on my mind. I had to go for my annual retinal screening this afternoon and hopefully they won’t find any problems with my eyes. Michael came with me and after the screening we went to the cafĂ© in Kensal Rise for lunch. I had Chicken Curry rice and chips and Michael had Spag Bol. I went home after that and got at least four hours sleep. When I got up there was no one at home so I had to ring around to see what everyone was doing.

I was at work by 8.05 and went straight to Paddington where my first job took me down to Hammersmith. After a few more jobs I got a call from my cabbie mate Chris. He normally works days but has been doing a lot of work on his garden and occasionally comes out to play at night. Whenever Chris is out in the evenings the chances of some sort of occurrence happening are greatly increased because he is the type of person that that sort of stuff happens to. Over the years he has had to call the police out on several occasions because of passengers pulling some shit or other on him. Tonight he picked up two people heading towards West Hampstead. The guy got out first and left the extremely drunk woman to go a further mile up the road. He was on the phone to me at the time and I heard him call through the partition to wake the lady up. It took several attempts by him for her to realize she was on planet Earth and she eventually woke up. I heard Chris tell her the price, which was around £15. As it was getting stressful he said he’d call me back. When he did he said that she’d had no money on her. She wanted to go into the house to get it and when Chris asked for some collateral she refused and called him a tosser. Wrong thing to say. Doors locked, next stop Fortune Green Police Station. He’d parked outside the Police Station and, reluctant to leave the cab unattended lest she get away he attempted to ring those inside. All they had to do was come outside and sort it out but they kept him waiting ten minutes. Chris flagged another cabbie and asked him to go inside and see what was keeping them. They eventually came out and mediated. She agreed to let Chris hold her phone whilst she went indoors to find some money. She came back out penniless and they had to drive back to West Hampstead to the Barclays. The fare had increased from £15 to just under £30 and he said she had tried to give him the £30 plus an extra £10 for his troubles but Chris refused the extra money (He’s funny like that ain’t ya Chris?) I would’ve took the money and then slagged her off for calling me a tosser but that’s just me. Thankfully these occurrences don’t happen too often but I suppose it makes for good blogging fodder when they do.

So whilst Chris was having fun trying to get paid I was quietly going about my business of driving hither and thither for maximum returns. A nice little five job sequence happened for me during the above period. Oxford Street to Waterloo, Waterloo to Bermondsey, London Bridge to Clapton, Shoreditch to Greenwhich, back through the Blackwall Tunnel and up onto Canary Wharf where I was tested for explosives by the keen security guards. Passing the test (I’m no Al-Qaeda) I trapped a job 100 yards short of the rank all the way to Lavender Hill. £118 is what I netted for that little burst and after a really tough week I finally have enough to pay my cab garage the £800 tomorrow. I’ll be glad to get that out of the way yet again and I’m sure they’ll be glad to see me. On my last visit there I had asked them to ring me if the money wasn’t paid after two weeks but I never received the call. Well it’s hard to receive calls if your phone’s switched off!!
Check back soon.