Well folks, I’m back – refreshed and raring to go. Not.
My last work night was Sunday the 9th of September and I had to leave the cab at the garage. Chris of Titanic Struggles had been working the same shift and agreed to meet me there and take me home to get my luggage and then drop me off at my parents house in Harrow.
I emptied the cab of serious amounts of crap that had accumulated over the last year and finally I put the front of the radio-cassette together with the keys into an envelope and posted it through the letterbox. As we were driving away I realized I hadn’t removed one final thing from the arm-rest compartment – my wallet, with about £500 inside. I could have cried. Worst-case scenario was that the window would be broken and left overnight and I would inform the garage by phone. Before I did that I went back to the letterbox and stuck my hand inside. To my amazement and joy the envelope hadn’t gone to the bottom and I managed to pull it out – almost ripping it. Drama over and I finally came to terms that I was on holiday.
To spare you all the boring details let’s just say that the holiday went well and I did plenty of relaxing, drinking, eating, driving and seeing friends and family.
There is one incident of note, which I will tell you about. Two days after arriving I set out in my hired Ford Fiesta to find a pub that would be showing the England v Russia game live. I found quite a few places and settled for a place on the outskirts of Torrevieja. It was a small community called Chaparral and the bar was called Boz’s bar. Now I’m not a big drinker any more on account of driving for a living. But I have been known to let my hair down (metaphorically – as I have none) from time to time. I started drinking pints of San Miguel and by the end of the game, which England won, I was rat-arsed. I was getting concerned calls from my kids pleading with me not to drive the car back to where I was staying with my Mum. I remember very little of these conversations and have since been told that I was talking pure bollocks down the phone. I remember even less leaving the bar and getting in to the car and flaking out. Being a left-hand drive car I must have thought I was back in London as I got into the right hand side and promptly nodded off with the door wide open and my phone on the dash for anyone to steal. All I remember is someone shaking me and telling me in Spanish that I had been there for two hours and was in danger of getting caught by the police. So, probably still way over the legal limit, I drove the few miles home, the streets were empty as it was almost 2am and then had to endure the wrath of my Mum who was worried sick. All in all a very stupid thing to do but I think I can be allowed one stupid act every ten years don’t you think?
The flight back to England was delayed an hour and my son, who was picking us up got lost on the M1 whilst we waited in the freezing cold for him to collect us.
The following morning I had to collect my cab and waited on my street for a Licensed Taxi to drive along. After twenty minutes of waiting I got fed up and walked the few hundred yards to the nearest miniscab office and was picked up immediately and transported to my destination by a very talkative Somalian guy at a cost of £12.
The cab was waiting for me as I entered the garage but so was a nasty surprise. Jim, the genial Irishman, informed me that I had been photographed running a red light in Parkhurst Road and that another three penalty points would be added to my license, making it nine points in total. Only three more to go for a six-month ban and loss of my livelihood – I’m really going to have to take care now. I paid them £90 for three days rental and drove home. I never came out later on as there were a million and one things that needed doing at home but over the next two nights I managed to earn the best part of a double-bottle.
Whilst driving up St. James’s Street yesterday evening the doorman of Le Caprice was out there looking for a cab for one of the punters. When the guy got in he asked me for the private terminal at Gatwick. Welcome home London Cabby. Chris was on the phone to me at the time and was quite gutted at my luck, as his evening wasn’t going fantastically well. Once down at Gatwick it took a while to find his destination as I only ever take regular passengers to the North and South terminals. I opted for the South Terminal turn off and guess what? It was the wrong one. We got stuck in solid traffic, which added at least a fiver to the already high meter. His terminal was nearer to the North Terminal and as we arrived his pilot was there to greet him and almost bowed at him as if he was royalty. The fare was £101 exactly and he gave me six twenties and waited for the change. I gave him one of the twenties back as I couldn’t be arsed to give all my change away and he just shrugged and walked off.
I only did a few jobs tonight as one of them went straight past my front door and I couldn’t resist the urge to go in. It’ll still be there for me tomorrow, and the next day.
Check back soon.