Monday, May 26, 2008

Not A Happy Bunny

(Only True Leeds Fans Will Understand The Next Few Lines)
It was the first leg against Carlisle all over again. Freedman and Beckford were invisible. All those thousands of Leeds fans disappointed, no, gutted, distraught, crestfallen and probably even suicidal. That’s just Leeds United Football Club for you. The misery is unbearable and I don’t want to think about them any more until next season, it’s just too harrowing.

On a brighter note I almost accepted a pair of soiled panties as part payment for the fare tonight but then decided I needed the money more. I picked up a couple of thirty something women. Both had a skinful and they started trying it on with me from the word go. “would you do me?” said one of them in a broad Glasgow accent. If I’d been standing in a bar somewhere then maybe, no, definitely. But whilst at work and weary of these types of proposals I let her down gently by saying “my girlfriend wouldn’t like it”. They kept on and on and I got into the swing (once I’d got over my initial fright, shock, fear of fresh women) and the banter was fierce but it was never, ever gonna be more than that. When we arrived in Chiswick (yes even posh Chiswick has loose women residing there) the fare was £18 and the other one said “let’s call it a tenner and you can have the knickers I’ve got on” and started to lift her skirt up to remove them. I said “no thanks luv, I’d rather the money if you don’t mind” Then she said “why not, they’re clean” and I said “look, a jokes a joke but just pay me what’s on the meter OK?” They weren’t too pleased about being rejected and paid the fare and muttered some name under their breath. This sort of thing happens from time to time but to be honest I’d rather just have a boring shift.

Just paid my cab Friday. £800. That was painful. I also had the Xeta equipment removed as I wasn’t doing it justice and also the rent has just gone up to £19 per week. So it’s just me and the streets again until I feel the need to be part of a circuit again.
That’s all I can muster for now folks. More eventually………………..LC

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Marching On Together?

Leeds United, my beloved football team, played the first leg of the play-offs last night and I stayed in to watch it. Apart from a few memorable moments in all the years of supporting them, it’s mainly just been misery and despair. We lost the home leg 2-1 and now need to beat Carlisle at their place on Thursday night. Glutton for punishment that I am, I will be staying in to watch that too. Because of the football I never played darts tonight. We needed to win our last game of the season to win the league. The Captain was texting me to try and get me to come there instead of watching the game but it was no contest. My two boys went as usual and managed to easily secure a 12-2 victory thus winning us the league and promotion to the first division. Leeds should take a leaf out of our book.

Since I posted last Wednesday I have carried working on relentlessly.
I met up with Chris the next day for a Cornish pasty and a coffee at Marylebone Station. He’d also bought me a blood pressure monitor and we sat in the back of my cab taking our blood pressure in turn. Mine was 144 over 92 and anyone who knows about blood pressure will know that’s a pretty high reading. I had to see the doc the next day and she put me on some different meds to try and bring it down. I always have a chuckle to myself when I’m in with her because you get no sympathy whatsoever from her. In fact she is totally devoid of any emotions and just wants you out of there asap.

I’m still getting attacked by anonymous commenters for the infamous “20p” incident in Old Church Street. Guys, or Gals for that matter, there’s no need to be so nasty. When I read those posts again they seem fair to me. But I suppose it takes all sorts to make a world doesn’t it?

The other night I was driving back towards town after a fare to Camberwell when a guy flagged me on the Vauxhall one-way. He had a bit of paper in his hand, which always gets me excited. He said he was completely lost and wanted a cab ride out to Weybridge.

Me: You know that’s a £70 to £80 fare mate?
Him: What?? It’s not far from here is it?
Me: Yeh it’s about £70 to £80 from here.
Him: Well I’ve got no other option at this time so let’s go for it.
Me: No problem mate that’ll be £80 up front and you’ll get any change that’s due.
Him: We’ll find a cash point when we get down there.
Me: There’s one just round the corner, I’ll take you there instead shall I?
Him: Whatever!

I’d anticipated a spot of bother but as it turned out he got the money and paid me upfront. I got the postcode off him and once in the vicinity I asked what we were looking for.

Him: The Moreland Lodge Hotel 46 Portsmouth Road KT11 1BW

was how he told me the address.
There wasn’t a hotel with that name at the address it was the Cobham Lodge Hotel, obviously a name-change had occurred at some recent point.

Me: Are you sure it hasn’t changed its name?
Him: No, mine charges £55 per night that one (the sign outside said) charges £77.

I drove up and down Portsmouth Road twice before I decided the Moreland Lodge never existed anymore. He had the phone number on the piece of paper, which I rang from my phone. “Hello, Cobham Lodge Hotel, may I help you?” Came the reply. Nuff said. £75 and a receipt and I’m homeward bound once again.

Friday and Saturday night were typical. Lots of people going out to clubs and bars. Lots of drunk people coming out of clubs and bars.
The Elton John song “Saturday Nights Alright For Fighting” sprung to mind as I pulled up in the traffic in Fulham Broadway at the same moment that a crowd of young men decided to start a mass brawl. I felt a bit too close for comfort as these guys were laying into each other with venom. One poor bloke was getting pummelled by two men. He received a punch in the face, which knocked him backwards, cracking his head on the pavement. As his head hit another guy booted him full in the face. I must admit it was quite sickening. My punter, who I was driving to Munster Road, was shitting himself and started panicking. A couple of those plastic-coppers came running towards the fracas and to give them due respect they steamed straight in and started separating everyone. Within seconds three police cars arrived from different directions with sirens wailing and the group of lads started dispersing in all directions. With the action at an end cars that had slowed to observe moved off and I was able to continue my journey to Munster Road.

As I said earlier, tonight’s shift was short on account of me having stayed in to watch the football. I got out at 10pm then had to return home as my daughter had no keys to get in. I still managed a respectable nights takings and finished the shift off with an Underground job from Holland Park Station to Greenford. It was only one pickup and drop and I was chatting to the guy about his job and he said he was waiting to be accepted as a train driver where he will earn 41k instead of the 22k he was presently earning to collect tickets, sweep the platforms and take loads of abuse from the general public.

Should be back to normal tonight.

Be Lucky.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

"Running To Stand Still"

So we have a new Mayor now and we’re all waiting to see how his policies may affect us in either a good or bad way. I voted for him as I’ve always voted for the Conservatives for good or bad and one policy I will be looking forward to seeing the Mayor implement is ridding the streets of the Bendy Bus. You only have to get stuck behind a couple of them in Oxford Street to know they’ve always been a bad idea on our narrow streets.

One commenter on the last post said, and I quote “you need to stop being so lazy, who goes to work and has a break straight away?” Now rather than attack him back I should probably take a few moments to explain my situation for anyone remotely interested. I live with my three kids. For reasons best known to me I get very little help in running this home so it is inevitably down to me to do everything. I cook, I clean, I vacuum, I take the rubbish out, I do the laundry, I do the shopping and basically do everything that needs doing. So most days I’ve already done a full days work before I have to go and do my shift in the cab. The reason I may go straight to the Royal Oak Taxi Centre is because I fancy something different from what my kids have had and they are geared up to provide me with that something. Also, if it’s already after 8pm then that is a good time to eat as the work dies down till 10pm. This job is not like a 9 to 5 job where you do 4 hours then have a meal break; it’s unique so that you can work when it’s busy and take a break during the quiet spells. Me, lazy? I don’t have the time to be lazy.

Leading on from above, I haven’t had a day off now for over two weeks. The cab has been paid along with various other monthly bills and a saying I find myself quoting to people when asked how I am or how work is is that “I’m running to stand still” (which also happens to be the title of one of my favourite U2 songs). London is still recovering from the Easter break, which seemed to have gone on for much longer than other years.

Since I resumed the medication for my various ailments there have been a couple of times when I’ve had to rush home as one of the side effects has kicked in causing me to “run for the bog” Not nice when you’re on the other side of town and can only use your own toilet. Still, it seems to have settled down now and isn’t as much of a concern.

Work has been pretty uneventful and looking through my notes reveals only a few talking points. Last Wednesday I took a guy from Oxford Street down to Clapham. He paid me off and I drove all the way to Victoria before getting my next ride. There was a problem with the trains and an old fella asked me how much to Gatwick Airport. I quoted him £90 and he nearly had a heart attack probably expecting to hear about £30. “Don’t act so surprised mate” I said to him “it’s a thirty-mile journey and it’s around £3 a mile” He thought about it for a moment then said “I’ll do it for eighty” like it was his decision. I then thought about it, weighed up my options, which weren’t that good and agreed. We chatted most of the way until I hit the M23 and arrived at a deserted North Terminal at around 2am. He handed over the agreed £80 and got out of the cab. I looked on the back seat and there was a pretty large bag sitting there. “Oi mate!!” I called out to him as he was walking away. “You’ve left a bag on the seat” “It was there when I got in” he replied. So he’d sat chatting to me all the way from Victoria with someone else’s bag sitting on the seat next to him. “I thought it was yours” he added. Why the hell would it be mine? It’s a pity the guy I’d picked up when Chris left his moneybag in the cab wasn’t as honest. I pulled over a few yards away and inspected the contents of the bag and found, amongst various items, a laptop. It looked like a nice one too. My son told me it was Israeli, I forget the name but it began with Lan… or something similar. Anyway, there were lots of forms of ID in the bag and I rang the guy the next day. I returned it to him at his place of work in the Regent’s Park area and he gave me a £40 reward, which exceeded my expectations.

Thursday the 1st of May was Election Day and I waited outside a polling station in Battersea Park while my passenger voted. He was talking to someone in the street and I felt I knew this person and I was wracking my brains to know where from. It eventually dawned on me who this person was. When my passenger returned I asked if he knew the person. I then asked if he was a barrister. He said yes to both questions and I knew it was the defence barrister from my two-week jury service stint. He’d worn a wig and gown in court so looked completely different in his tennis attire. My passenger asked if he was any good and I told him that we’d acquitted the defendant so he must have been.

That same shift I did two nice jobs out into the sticks. The first one was from Berkeley Square out to Rickmansworth. I came back in from there to do a few more jobs before ranking on the Hilton in Park Lane. Two blokes came out and asked for Potters Bar. I drove through Potters Bar and eventually dropped them in a place called Cuffley and went home from there.

Monday was Mayday Bank Holiday and the meter was on rate 3 all day. I started at 7pm and worked almost non-stop until 2am. I finished up with my first London Underground account job in three weeks, Waterloo to Rayners Lane.

Before I went to work yesterday I saw on the news that there was an incident in Kings Road, Chelsea and never thought anymore about it. Once at work a few jobs took me down to that area and there were police sirens and helicopters and all sorts of things going on. It turns out that there was an armed siege going on at a house in Markham Square which resulted in the shooting and killing of a gunman

The rest of the shift was pretty uneventful and I ended it with another Underground job from Morden Station in south west London to Mornington Crescent.
More soon.