Thursday, August 28, 2008

Get Well Soon Ed

Hello everyone and apologies for the slow down in posting but as I said in the last one I’ve been otherwise engaged. Talking of which I recently spent a few days out of town visiting aforementioned person and enjoying the delights of the east coastal towns of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. Being an ex-seafaring person I took the opportunity to do a bit of boat-spotting and visiting in the ports of Felixtowe and Lowestoft and all those happy memories from my days gone by came flooding back. I think you have to have done it to appreciate it. I also bought a souvenir boat to go with my ever-growing collection in my maritime themed bedroom. We also visited the model village in Yarmouth and I was overheard saying that it was similar to the one in Beaconsfield to which the village person said “yes but this one’s better than Beaconsfield”. I’m not sure about that but will have to check it out again some day.

So as my annual trip to Spain approaches I have to say I don’t really fancy it this year. I could think of a few better things to do instead of sweltering in 90-degree heat for a week with my mother but as it’s an annual commitment then I’ll just have to grin and bear it.

While I’m on the subject of family may I just mention my cousin Ed who is recovering in hospital in Northallerton after a serious operation. Me and all my family wish him a speedy recovery after a very serious scare and our thoughts are with him, his mum and dad and his brother and sister at this time.

I’ve had some really nice jobs since I last posted.
Saturday the 2nd of August saw me sitting third on the South Kensington rank when a lady weighed down with shopping bags approached the front cab with a piece of paper. He shook his head and she approached the next one. He also shook his head and finally arrived at my window. The piece of paper was illegible but rather than refuse her I asked where she was going. In a heavily Russian-accented voice she asked for what sounded like the Pilsbury International Terminal. “Never heard of it” thought I, but never one to give up – in my thirst for knowledge- I took another look at the paper and noticed it was a map and ringed on it was an area east of London, not east London but east of London so putting two and two together I said “do you mean Tilbury??” “Da Tilbury” she exclaimed. I’d done a trip to a passenger ship here many years ago so I knew exactly where she wanted. Funnily enough on that occasion it was also Russian. I told her the fare would be in the region of £100 and she tried to haggle me down to £80 but I said no and off we went. The journey was uneventful but very pleasant and more maritime memories came flooding back as I approached Tilbury docks, as this was where I went on a ships visit as a student of the sea school in Gravesend in December 1978. (For any merchant sailors out there the visit was to the OCL container ship MV Discovery Bay. ) As I arrived at her ship the meter read £98.80 so not a bad estimate and she handed me £95 in notes and started fumbling about for the rest so I told her to forget it. As I was preparing to leave a couple emerged from the vicinity of the ship and asked if I was for hire. Now I’m not supposed to pick fares up outside the Met but as they only wanted to go locally I agreed to take them and I dropped them at the Park Inn at Thurrock and then made my way back to London.

The following night I was having a coffee with Chris at Marylebone Station and after we finished he went towards Paddington and I drove onto the station rank at Marylebone. A guy came out and asked if I also did trips out of town, “yes I do, where would you like to go?” I answered, barely able to contain my excitement. “High Wycombe” I got straight on the phone to Chris to gloat about a job which could have been his had he gone on to the rank ahead of me and he was well gutted.

I’m calling on all cabbies to help me out with something here. There’s a cut through from High Holborn via the archway to the Renaissance hotel, which ends up in Lincolns Inn Fields. Chris told me about it the other night and I had to go and see for myself. From what I can see it can be done both ways and is not illegal (as far as I can tell). Can any of you confirm this? I would imagine it’s used all day long when the traffic’s bad but there’s not much call for it at night. It’s a bit like the one at Lower Robert Street onto Savoy street, now there really is a “blinding little cut through” as my knowledge mate Noel used to say.

I recently had some trouble with my iPod and wasn’t able to connect to iTunes. I tried everything such as connecting to other computers and even went to the Apple store in Regent Street but the queue was too long. I eventually found an alternative program on the net called Annapod and bought it online and it now works fine and I can edit and add tracks to my heart content. Chris came round to add some songs to his iPod and when I hooked it up and tried to do a few transfers his whole iPod got wiped, all 2 and a bit thousand songs gone. He was quite philosophical about it, the old chris would have gone mental. He went off to work and I attempted to recover all the lost songs, which I eventually found in an Annapod folder so if any of you have the same problem connecting to iTunes I suggest this program, it’s only about fifteen quid.

I was visiting my girlfriend at her place of work in the St Johns Wood area when we decided we’d like fish and chips for lunch. I had parked the cab up in a side street and didn’t want to lose the space so decided to hail a cab in Finchley road. As a silver TX2 stopped for me I asked him if he minded taking me to the Seashell in Lisson Grove waiting and bringing me back and also did he mind the smell of fish and chips in his cab. I think he was going to refuse me but thought that it would probably be a nice job money-wise and agreed. I never told him I was a cabbie and he started giving me all the cabbie spiel to secure a better tip at journeys end. I just smiled to myself and humoured him. When we arrived at the Seashell I asked him if he fancied a portion of chips but he declined. They never had any rock salmon ready so I had to have cod, which is my least favourite fish. I made my way back to the cab, which had turned round to face the way we had come for the return journey. Back at my destination the fare ended up at £12 and I gave him £15 and I wished him luck for the rest of his shift. The cod wasn’t too bad but give me rock every time.

So for the next 13 days I have to graft hard to get everything ready for my week away. I paid my cab yesterday. For the last 6 weeks I have paid on time and have found it so stress free as opposed to those weeks when I have to find the best part of a grand. The genial Irishman has left the garage due to ill health and there is now a very efficient girl in the office called Nicola. I just had a new set of ads stuck to the side of the cab yesterday, which is already turning heads. I also asked the owner to consider me for the next TX2 that becomes available as I plan to make regular trips to Suffolk to see my gf who lives there. The new Mercedes Taxi is now out on our streets but I have yet to see one. I’ll be monitoring the feedback over the next few months and may even decide to get one of them. Watch this space.

The New Mercedes London Taxi


Anonymous said...

The cut through at the top of Lincoln's Inn Fields for the hotel is indeed correct.

dogbait said...

Ah, "Pilsbury" Docks. My last view of England before emigrating to Oz. Can't remember much as I was only 3.

Anonymous said...

Hi mate,

The cut through brings you down to whetstone park from holburn place.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if cut through is completely legal or not but i'm sure the hotel will get p*ssed if we all start using it. The hotel put a doorman out at night so not sure if you could do it then.

Anonymous said...

LC put the woman down and start blogging again, come on get your priorities right!

Anonymous said...

Hi mate

I've seen the Merc taxi out and about whilst up town. I don't like it and all of the other cabbies i've spoken to don't like it either. Doesn't look like a cab and the ones i've seen had bright orange taxi stickers down the sides and back to remind people that it is a taxi, which sums it up really, it doesn't look like a taxi!!

They're huge as well which will make them more awkward to use. The rear wheel steer system is a bit heath robinson to as you have to make sure the cab is under 5mph, then press a button on dash to engage rear wheel steer. In any other cah you just chuck a u turn, end of!! Try this for an example: You're ranking at Liverpool street and have parked too close to cab in front and want to pull out. Where as now you just engage reverse and then drive and the superb steering in cab will get you out of trouble; in the Merc taxi you engage reverse but you won't be able to engage rear wheel steer as the system will recognise you are next to a kerb and therefore not engage as otherwise you'll mount the you have to get out of the space with normal steering!

What we need is a TX4 style cab with Merc underpinnings! No chance of that.

Anonymous said...

Your all the bloody same you london cabbies, Arrogant son's of bitches, not satisfied with dropping fare's out of town you take to stealing what limited work we out of towners have,

Pull your finger out Noddy
cars depreciate in the wet

chris said...

I was'nt never gutted, for you getting my job to High Wycombe
I was elated

london_cabby said...

Your Job!!!!!
Face it son, you don't know where to look.

london_cabby said...

As for the annonymous comment about knicking your work well I forgot to mention that it was a freebie but they gave me a nice tip!!

Anonymous said...

Short video clip of a London Mercedes Vito taxi:

Anonymous said...

STAG said...

Did you get that parking ticket sorted out?

london_cabby said...

Yes I had to pay £120 which should really only have been £60 but the manager at the garage said the first letter never arrived which is why he went to appeal. Frankly I think with his illness and everything else he just overlooked it but he's now left the garage and the new assistant there seems to have it all under control so hopefully I shouldn't have any more problems like that one.


Rooney said...

I use the cut through in view of the doorman quite a bit and he seems fine about it. I'm not a cabbie, but I found it by following one.

Anonymous said...

So you've been otherwise Engaged
So when are you getting otherwise married son

John said...

Enjoy your week(s) of sunshine. this summer was shite.