Saturday, August 02, 2008

Theres nothin like a muffin

Hello again to everyone. That was a long three days!!!!!

I said I wouldn't mention it but I will but won't name any names. I've been in a new relationship over the last few months and all my available time has been taken up with seeing this fantastic lady. She doesn't want to be mentioned on here so I won't say too much only that the last few months have been fantastic and I hope there are many more months and years ahead for us. That's all your getting from me on that subject.

My kids are all doing well in their various stages of life. My eldest son is still working for a top diamond company in the west end and has been moved from the IT department to the engraving section.

My second son, Michael, has been going to college over the last 9 months and has been studying building (plastering, brick laying. Carpentry etc). He has now landed a well paying semi-skilled labouring job and is really enjoying having money in his pocket. He's still playing darts and is thinking of stepping up to a higher level.

My daughter, katie, has just flown to San Diego to spend six weeks with her mother. Her grandparents have also gone for the second year in succession. When she returns she has a place in college to study photography.

I have been doing what I do best. Cab driving. I work pretty much the same hours every night and take pretty much the same money.

I recently had to swap my cab for another while it went up for it's six monthly inspection. When I got it back they had fitted a new steering wheel (no idea why) a new fuel cap (no idea why) new tyres all the way round and I think they've messed with the fuel mixture as it seems to run smoother. One thing they haven't touched, and for the life of me I don't know how they can get away with it, is the suspension. The non-existent one I'm always complaining about. To back up my complaint, the second passenger I picked up after getting the cab back said to me "Is your suspension knackered?" I started telling him my concerns and he concurred. He said he could feel every bump and seam in the road. All the other passengers I pick up are probably being polite by not saying anything about it but I would rather they did as I would end up finally leaving that garage for another. Chris is always saying that I must be a mug (but his word always starts with a C) for putting up with it but that's what I do, I take it and take it until I finally blow and do something about it. My annual trip to Spain is coming up on the 10th of September and I may use that as the excuse I need to finally move on by not returning to collect the cab on my return.

I’ve still been stopping with Chris for a meal or coffee break most days. We have three or four places where we’ll stop on any given night. Starbucks in Piccadilly is a regular as they have plenty of parking spaces outside and a fantastic selection of cakes and sandwiches to chose from. We’re pretty partial to the lemon and orange muffins but my favourite is still Rocky Road although lately I have found it way too sweet. One day last week I bought the coffees (Large lattes) and as I handed one to Chris as he sat in his cab he promptly dropped it on the floor, the lid popped off and all the contents spilled onto his carpet. He wasn’t best pleased.

As you all know I like to rank up on many of the railway stations to get my fares. The day before yesterday I was waiting on Kings Cross when an Arabic man came up to the window and asked for the Churchill Hotel in Portman Square. He proceeded to put a large case in the cab and got into the cab to push it further in. The door closed behind him without him touching it so I assumed he was done and drove away. He called out “Hey, what about my wife?” and when I looked back towards the rank a lady in all the Muslim gear was standing there with another case and frantically waving at me. Luckily the other cab behind me hadn’t pulled forward so I was able to reverse back about 10 yards and pick her up apologising profusely as she got in.

The rest of that shift went as planned and I reached my target at around 2.30, the last job ending up in Surrey Quays in South East London. I had my light on all the way back in to town but there wasn’t a soul about. The only bit of excitement was being caught as Tower Bridge was raised to allow a passenger liner that had been tied up next to HMS Belfast to leave the Pool of London on it’s onward journey. As it takes about 15 minutes to raise and lower it I stood outside the cab and watched the massive ship as it passed and all the passengers who weren’t sleeping decided to watch the departure from the decks and they waived at anyone who bothered to waive at them. Once it was on the east side the bridge was lowered and we all got back into our cars and cabs to continue on our way. I wondered where the ship was off to and envied those people on it.

Whilst on the London Bridge rank last week a pair of Catholic nuns were to be my fare. They asked to be taken to a convent near Jamaica Road which I had never heard of. As I left the station the left turn into St Thomas’s Street was closed off causing me to take an extended detour adding a good four or five pounds to the ride. Chris was on the phone to me at the time and slagged me off for “tucking them poor old nuns up”. When I arrived at the convent I knocked five pounds off the fare thus avoiding any further slagging and negative karma that may have been on its way to me.

I picked up an extremely drunk guy in Camden Town and he asked for Hendon. He told me he wanted Park Road so as I arrived I had to wake him as he had flaked out. As normally happens to waking drunks he didn’t have a clue where he was and started directing me all over the place. We finally arrived at his house after already having driven past it and he started looking for his money. At this point the meter was on £24. He had no money so we had to leave his house and find a cash point. Get to the cash point and he can’t find his wallet. Meter on £30. Back to his house to wake his unco-operative and pissed off brother. Meter on £37. Back to the cash point with his brothers card and the pin number won’t work. Meter on £44. Back to his house where he keeps me waiting like a lemon outside. I get out of my cab and bang on the door at 4am. He comes out apologetically with another card. I ask if there’s any point to all this and he says the card will definitely work this time. Back to the cash point. Meter on £53. No joy. I call him back over and tell him that he’s wasting my time and it’s costing him a fortune. I take him back home and get him to ring my phone so that I have his number and that I’ll come back when he’s sober and actually has my money which by now had reached £60. I drive away empty handed but go back the next morning after first confirming with him by phone that he had my money. This is the sort of crap that goes on during the night shift, who needs it?

Thursday 24th of July and I drop off an American guy in Golborne Road, Portobello and pull off heading for home. A young girl about 24ish frantically flags me down and asks for the notorious Wessex Estate about a mile away. She starts whispering into her phone (head turned towards the intercom which was on) “yeah, I’m on my way round, have you got it?” A drug run, I haven’t done one of these for ages. It’s normally blokes, which I end up leaving where they get out but as we arrived at the Ledbury Road side of the estate she handed me a twenty and said “don’t drive off I’ll be back in a minute”. I saw her enter one of the blocks and even saw the transaction take place with the hooded drug dealer. She was back in a few seconds and instructed me to return to where we had just come from. She spoke into her phone again telling the person on the other end that she’d “got it”. At that particular moment I felt a bit like Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver and thought how crappy the job could be at times. She’d given me a twenty to stop me from driving off (I know of some who would’ve) and asked for it back handing me a ten in it’s place which by chance was exactly the total on the meter. That was enough for me and I switched the light off and went home.

So the days are different but the stories are the same. Who’d be a London Cabby?

Check back soon for more exciting accounts of life behind the wheel of a London taxi.

20 comments:

John said...

Ah Love is in the air...
Best of luck, enjoy.

Rooney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rooney said...

I love your blog, but I don't see how the events of your last anecdote make your job 'crappy'. Do you feel the same way about dropping people at pubs?

london_cabby said...

Rooney:
when you're out in the wee small hours in a dodgy neighbourhood doing drug runs where anything is likely to happen to you then believe me it ain't glamourous and you just wish you were somewhere else. I don't mind dropping people at pubs or picking them up from there as long as they can stand up unasissted.

Rooney said...

I see your point, I hadn't really thought of it that way.

Terry said...

Well done on your impending Wedding??! Lol !

No seriously, a good womans just what you need. Just think, no more cooking.

Terry

steveg said...

So that's where you been.....

Can't say as I blame you mate - I too would prefer to spend my time shagging than writing a blog :-) (apologies to the lady if she is reading this - put it down to male schoolboy humour!)

Good win for the lads on the opening day last Saturday, lets hope we keep at it this year.

Out of interest, I understand you having a target for earnings on a given night (do you prefer this rather than work until a certain time?) But surely some nights are so good are you not tempted to hang in there and make hay whilst the sun (doesn't in your case) shines?

Steve

William Hanks said...

In situations like that of the drug run girl, people tend to argue it's their own choice and they pretend it to be freedom. I think they forget their freedom ends in the very place that other people's one begins. Not that it's really important what I think. Nevertheless, I do think your blog is great! Write on!

tim malbon said...

Hi. I am trying to get in touch with you about a project I'm working on to create an online community for New York and London that treats the two cities as one and uses the idea of 'twinning' (streets, areas, shops, bars, parks, landmarks etc etc) to help people from one city explore the other. Is there any chance that you can get back to me with an email address that I can then send some details about this to?

Tim

Rooney said...

@William Hanks: Your comment is a fairly ill considered one William. You seem to imply that all petty street crime related to drugs is the fault/responsibility of every person who uses drugs. This is much the same as as blaming every sat nav owner each time the window of your vehicle gets broken into in a car park. I've always felt that crimes are the responsibility of the people that actually commit them, but I guess you're the authority on freedom and morality. It would be hackneyed of me to ponit out that if buying drugs were legal, there would be much less petty crime associated with them. But I will say that anyone taking a taxi is probably buying a non addictive drug like weed and probably causing a lot less trouble than many of the 'clean' people on the same estate.

William Hanks said...

@rooney: I wonder how you could get so many ideas opposite to what I actually believe in from my post. I'm sorry if you think I intented to preach or some other such thing. I've nothing against people smoking weed, or even taking cocaine or whatever - I wish they didn't but if it's their own choice, so be it. I am no authority on freedom and morality. And I don't denounce people who take drugs either. I denounce the hypocrites who blame these people just because they happen to like ganja or so. What I was really trying to say is that nearly everything you do involves, in one way or the other, people around you, right? And when you want to use your right to act freely, then you should also take the responsibility for your deeds, otherwise the society of freedom turns into anarchy. When people advocate free use of drugs with this freedom of choice - which is perfectly all right with me - they ought to consider all those people they're going to deal with, like londoncabby himself in this particular case, many of whom disapprove of their taking drugs (which is their right, too). I realise there's too many "what if's" and "but's" involved and I am open to discussion. Well, that's my point in general. I hope I made myself a bit clearer this time.

Rooney said...

I think I did misunderstand you. I have been brooding about this subject today, sorry about my rather rude last comment. Now I understand it I think you have a good point. There is no real freedom for a whole society unless you live in one which is very empathetic and moral, to the point of being a utopia. People talk about the concept of freedom as if it something so much more simple and achievable. :)

William Hanks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William Hanks said...

No problem. I think it's always better to discuss the issue than to ignore it. It stimulates the brain, I guess :) I quite agree with your view there, too - it's so unlikely we are ever to live in a really free society. The thing worth considering is whether we at least try to head that way. It is my belief that discussing things helps us recognise the path there. So thanks for getting me involved! :)

Nicey said...

Good to see ya back and posting mate enjoy spain eh !

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