Friday, February 01, 2008

Alkies and Karma

I’ve been steadily busy since the last post. I’m now into a routine where I like to be out the door and in the saddle by 7pm at the latest. That way you get the busy spell leading up to the start of the shows at the theatres and after 8pm there’s a steady stream of people heading out to dinner or home from work. I’ve done a few nice runs out into the sticks. One was from Big Ben to Leatherhead, which was a change from the normal.

It was my birthday on Wednesday. I’m now 46 but feel like I’m 56. I have aches and pains everywhere and am always thinking the worst. I picked up a 90-year-old last night and he looked good for his age. He was enjoying life and even had long-term plans that you could quite believe he will achieve. My goals are much more realistic suchas, pay the cab by Tuesday, pay the rent every Friday. It’s not all doom and gloom though. I have two football matches to look forward to over the coming weeks. This coming Wednesday I will be going to the New Wembley Stadium for the first time to see England play Switzerland and the following week me and my eldest son are going up to Leeds to see our team play Nottingham Forest, always a great occasion.

My second son, Michael is between jobs but is now taking driving lessons once a week and really enjoying it. I haven’t played darts for a few weeks as there weren’t any league games but I shall be there this Monday where we play in a tournament arranged by our captain.

I managed to get to the garage soon after last post and bring my account up to date and had a few bulbs changed and the fan belt tightened. Since then I’m back in the same position and hope to be clear by this Tuesday. There are some funny noises coming from the suspension. Now some of my mates reckon I’m paranoid about suspension and that I think all the cabs I’ve driven have had dodgy suspension. I believe they have and that I must be one unlucky SOB when it comes to suspensions. Even after this present cab came out of its annual overhaul it felt the same and has steadily worsened. We’ll see what they say on Tuesday.

What else has happened in the last few weeks? Oh yes the Boeing 777 crash at Heathrow. Those passengers had a very lucky escape thanks to the two pilots. I can’t speak for other nationalities but British pilots always inspire confidence in me and give me a good sense of security so whenever possible I try and fly British.

I’ve been stopping for coffee with Chris on most nights. We mostly stop at Gloucester Road as there is a large selection of establishments to choose from but it all depends on where we are. A few nights ago we stopped at the Piccolo in Gresham Street in The City (Business District) and another night we stopped at Grosvenor Gardens in Victoria. Whilst at this particular place I took the opportunity to pop into the arcade to get some change. It’s frowned upon to simply go in and get change and then walk out so I often put a couple of quid in one of the slots. I had £12 in the bank on one machine and in all my excitement I hit gamble instead of collect and lost the lot.

A couple of nights ago I pulled up for this guy. On closer inspection I could see he was rat-arsed. The doors were locked as he tried to get in without speaking to me first (I hate that). He came to the window and couldn’t even speak coherently. He wanted to go out to Hackney but didn’t know the name of the road, the postcode or anything that may help me get him home. He may still be there now on that corner in Belgravia!!

A Saddam Hussein look-alike flagged me down in South Kensington last week. He had four cans of beer in his hands and looked a bit unsteady but not enough to cause me to drive by. Once inside, I wish I had. He was looking for his friend who had walked off and started directing me. He knelt at the partition and tried to get his big head in the gap but my screen was doing its job. He then started crying, yes crying. He was telling me that he was an alcoholic and that AA had fucked him up somehow. He then passed his beers through the screen and told me to have them (they’re still in my fridge) as he was trying to stop drinking. I felt sorry for the guy but also aware that I was just trying to earn my nights money with the minimum of hassle. We pulled into Reece Mews where he told me to wait while he checked at a house. “Will you wait for me?” “Of course I will” “D’you promise?” “Yes” Man gets out trying to leave the door open but the camber in the road is enough to partially close the door but keep the “Door open Bleeper” bleeping. I roar off out of the mews with him trying to catch me. Sorry mate but I don’t need the grief.

This last week has been pretty quiet, for me anyway. Every night I’ve ended the shift a few bob short of my target. One day, I think it was Monday, I could do nothing right, I’d rank up at Victoria or South Kensington, wait longer than normal and then get a job going just around the corner. Yesterday took the biscuit as I did about 25-30 minutes on Victoria only to go to the Hesperia Hotel, which practically adjoins the station. I moaned a bit and got a fiver for my troubles.

Two streets from home, a few nights ago, an oriental-looking young woman hails me. Now, I’m like a few hundred yards from home but open to offers if it’s gonna be worth my while. She wants to go to Hounslow she says to me climbing in the back. On closer inspection she has a loser-quality about her and I’m already thinking to my self “get the money upfront”. I didn’t even have to ask her as a young guy appeared from somewhere and said “Don’t take her, she hasn’t got any money” She screamed something at him and got back out and stormed off down Salusbury Road. Chris was on the phone to me at the time and we laughed at the close call. I’m probably due a bit of grief but hopefully not too soon. A lady I took to Camberwell last night gave me a twenty and two tens for a £22 fare and I gave her one of the tenners back. “You’re honest” she said thanking me. “It’s the only way to be” I replied. That should give me some good Karma.


John said...

Happy birthday.

Roy, Dublin Taxi Driver said...

I never leave without seeing corrie or eastenders first! 46! I'm 45 and still only a youngfella, did you pay your freight or are you still 3 weeks behind?

steveg said...

Happy Birthday for last week mate

Don't get too excited for the trip to Leeds - if they play as they did at the weekend against Tranmere, you will be hugely disappointed - however, we Leeds fans are an optimistic lot, I too will be there for the Forest game, hoping for the now becoming elusive win!

Want to meet up for a pint in the Peacock before the game?



london_cabby said...

Roy: Too much else on this week so never happened. Freight is will be £800 due from Monday.

Steveg: Any trip to Leeds gets me excited. Hoping Macca does the biz and turns it around but deep down never wanted him there and think the appointment was rushed to appease the fans. Will take a rain-check on the Peacock as we'll be cutting it fine on the day and won't really have the time. Will be sat somewhere in the West Stand Lower Tier singing my heart out for the boys.

steveg said...

Ahhh shame - no worries mate - enjoy your day anyway - I realise the problems travelling up for a night match from London can bring!

I'll be in the Kop at the centre about 6 rows from the back (Right in the thick of it!).



Nicey said...

Nice one mate I am loving the blog
Happy B Day

Marion said...

Happy Birthday! Enjoy your time with your sons and well... Thanks for this London Cabby thought sharing. I wouldn't have googled something like that but after the article in the Time Out for the best Blogs I had a look at yours and might get addicted!

So thanks for that!

Anonymous said...


I am writing from Time Out and wanting to get in contact with you in regards to our 50 Best London Websites List.

Please could you drop me an email?

Hope to hear from you soon,


Anonymous said...

Love reading your blog. One of the best around.

Misha said...

Visiting London was a little like reliving fairy tales from my childhood. Growing up reading about a land filled with kings and queens, singing a song about the London Bridge, and being told in seventh grade Geography class that Thames is pronounced “Tims”, were enough to create in me the desire to visit this place at some point in my life. I am deeply grateful for being given the opportunity to travel to this amazing city. I was amazed of a quantity of Limo London owners. I love going to Cities and getting lost in the history of the place, I can do that every day in London. Next time you go to London, open your eyes and look around you. It is like an another world.
Thanks Lyd for your fascinating blog, pictures.
Keep up the great work!