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 café 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.