I got a call from a cabby mate of mine. He wanted to test my knowledge, as he does from time to time, and he had a very obscure point to test me on. There are many, many adornments, anomalies and protrusions situated on buildings all over the capital such as “the policemans hook” or Hitlers dog or the one he asked me about, the London nose, which, until highlighted by somebody else, are almost impossible to find out about. As ever, I am always intrigued when something like this is brought to my attention and I will have to verify it with my own eyes the first chance I get. I checked Wikipedia and found that they had a short paragraph on the nose in their “Admiralty Arch” section, and I quote: “An infamous feature of Admiralty Arch is its "nose". On the inside wall of the northernmost arch there is a small protrusion the size and shape of a human nose. There is little or no public information as to why it is there. The nose is at a height of about seven feet, and would sit at waist high for anyone riding through the arch on a horse. Tradition holds that it is Napoleon's nose. It was to be rubbed by anyone riding through the arch.” I have since passed through the Arch and witnessed this nose for myself but am yet to rub it, so I can now use it in my repertoire of places of interest when I’m chatting to a passenger. I have yet to witness the Policeman’s Hook (St. Martin’s Lane area) or Hitlers Dog (Location unknown to me), and probably a hundred other curiously interesting things around town.
After my trip to Manchester last week the cab has really been misbehaving. The gearbox has been leaking constantly and several large puddles of fluid have formed on my drive. The engine has been emitting serious amounts of black smoke and I have had several cabbies and motorists pull up next to me to tell me what I already know. A sign of how bad things are with the gear box really hit home when I picked up four large men on one particular night and struggled to climb Muswell Hill. I ended up putting the cab into first gear and praying it would make it. By the Friday just gone I’d had enough and drove to my garage. £400 rent was owed and I had to overdraw the money from a cashpoint as I never had it on me. The owner was in the office as I arrived and I told him my problem expecting some sort of bullshit. He got a mechanic straight onto it and the mechanic took it for a road test to see what he was dealing with. When he came back he said to me “D’you want the good news or the bad news?” “Go on” I said. “The smoke problem I can sort out but the gearbox is fucked. I found bits of clutch in the fluid”. “Lovely” I joked. The owner was standing there hearing this too and started muttering something about a thousand pounds under his breath. It was decided to make an appointment for the gearbox to be overhauled at a garage in East London and they would call me with the exact time and date, probably next Wednesday. Here’s hoping they can put things right for once and for all.
As my holiday draws ever nearer the urgency to work harder increases, but it still isn’t at the critical stage as I still go home all to easily. Now that the football season has started I find my self staying in to watch games when I should be out. The last ten days will probably see me “wake up” and get my finger out.
Friday night was, as expected, extremely busy. I found myself working in and around north London. I would get all the way in only to trap a job back out to places like The Angel, Stamford Hill and even did one as far as Woodford.
This weekend is the Notting Hill Carnival and preparations were well under way this evening for Europe's biggest street party. Many streets are closed off during this time and traffic is always chaotic. I will try and avoid the area if at all possible.
Hopefully there’ll be something a bit more “meaty” to blog about in a few days so I’ll leave you all with that to look forward too.
16 days to go.
Check back soon.