Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Obama Edition

Hi folks
Has it been that long again?

Well here I am again, sitting at the PC with my trusty Jack Russell at my side. He’s only here because I’m eating a bag of Pistachio nuts and is hoping for a hand out. He’s already had about a third of the bag but until he hears the rustle of the empty packet he hangs around just in case. Don’t you Dude? (like the name?)

I guess I should give a mention to president-elect Barack Obama who as we all know will lead the free world into happier times, hopefully. He’s already said it may not happen this term, or the next so that’s all bases covered just in case he turns out to be no better than Bush. Good luck to him all the same as he’s going to need it.

My girlfriend, who’s called Jane, doesn’t like me mentioning her on here so I won’t other than to say it’s all going well, extremely well and we just had a great break in Norfolk where we visited the towns of Kings Lynn, Sandringham, Huntstanton and Wells-next-the-sea. She’s also just started a new job in her hometown of Ipswich and is, as far as I can tell, enjoying herself. I’ve probably already said too much for her liking so I’ll stop but as it’s a blog about me and my life I felt I should update anyone who’s remotely interested.

And so to work. As I’d be lost without my notes I’m going to refer to them and write chronologically if that’s OK with you all and I’ll try and make it sound as interesting as I can.

Sunday 12th October. Did about 17 jobs going to all corners of London. Whilst on the phone to Chris (remember him?) I was driving a guy to the Citadines on Northumberland Avenue from Victoria. I had both earphones in so as to hear Chris clearly when I notice the guy in the back gesticulating through the mirror. I’d been deep in conversation and suddenly snapped back to reality when I realised I’d gone sailing past Northumberland Avenue and was fast approaching Waterloo Bridge. I removed one earphone and made my apologies and looked for somewhere I could legally make a U turn. It’s not a very nice feeling when you do something wrong and it makes you look unprofessional. There’s no option but to knock a couple of quid off the fare and keep apologising but as it turned out this guy found the funny side of it and paid me, including a tip.

During that same shift I was returning from town after dropping of at Ontario Tower and was double-flashed by the camera in the Limehouse Link. It shows up in the trade paper as one of the camera hotspots but as of yet I haven’t received any notifications so hopefully I won’t receive any more penalty points this year.

Monday 13th October. I was all set for work when another cabbie mate of mine also called Chris, but we call him Silver Chris, popped in for me to have a look at his PDA, which was on the blink. As I’ve mentioned before, most PDA’s need to be used constantly as they lose their charge and all data is lost. The long and short of it was that I couldn’t get the satnav to work so convinced Chris to buy a similar PDA to the one I use. Before he had time to give it a second thought I’d surfed to eBay and he’d bought the required items and then had to log onto Paypal to pay for them. He told me after that he’d felt like he’d been raped as it was all over so quick and he was several pounds (£’s) lighter because of it. The items have since arrived and I have installed satnav and mapping software for him and he couldn’t be happier. I sold the other PDA on eBay and recouped most of what he’s spent so all’s well that ends well.

Thursday 16th October. Jane came to town for the day and we had a pleasant few hours at Brent Cross Shopping Centre before she went home with her son.

Friday 18th October. Was a stressful shift on account of being caught in the West End and unable to get out. I fought my way to Piccadilly westbound and was hailed by the doorman of The Ritz. The trouble was that I had stopped on a box junction, which is monitored by cameras and he turned away to go and get the passengers leaving me stranded and blocking the road. Five bubbly girls then approached me and asked for Sloane Square so I told them to jump in. Girls never just jump in, they have to faff about first. So, I’m still blocking the road, the traffic is honking at me to get out of the way and these girls are all deciding who should get in (as there was 10 in the party). I’m fed up, I’m stressed out so inevitably, like every dormant volcano, I eventually blow!!!!! I could probably be struck off for this but I effed and blinded for all I was worth and eventually they all crammed in and I pulled off the box junction. Then one of them decided to spoil it for all of them. “And don’t fucking swear at us right?” she piped up. The red mist descended over me and I swerved in to the pavement and just said “out!!!”

Her: Oh come on mate we’ve waited ages for a cab
Me: I don’t give a f***, get out.
Her: Why?
Me: Because you should learn to keep your mouth shut.
(Can I just say that after the fact I wasn’t too proud of myself and this sort of thing only happens once in a blue moon)

I was on the phone to the gf at the time and it was the first time she’d heard me lose my cool and wasn’t too impressed with me. The five girls all filed out of the cab and the last one left the door open telling me to get out and close the door myself. There was a nice couple waiting right there for a cab so they just got in and closed the door and I was off to the Intercontinental Hotel just up the road.

The following Saturday 25th October I did my shift without any dramas and at around 3am I dropped off in Selsdon, deepest South London, set my satnav for Ipswich and set off. For the next three days I could forget about work and enjoy some female company and build up my strength for the following Wednesday when I would return to work.

On the Thursday I got up bright and early and headed out to do some chores. I ended up round the back of the Cumberland hotel where there is a cab rank and I walked round to the Prêt a Manger for a latte and a cheese and pickle baguette. I placed the coffee on the dash while I ate my baguette and then forgot all about it as I accelerated away. The coffee upended and burst open all into the luggage-well. I was gutted, to say the least. Now a week later and the milk that soaked into the carpet is now going off and there is a very peculiar smell emanating from it. I gave my daughter a lift somewhere the other day and as she got in she said it smelt of “arse”. Passengers, being polite, wouldn’t say anything but I’m sure they can smell it too. I bought a tin of Febreeze last night and I think it’s masking the smell quite well.

Last Saturday, the 1st of November was a very busy shift. The fanbelt had been screeching for the last few days and I tried to adjust it with a lever I had but it wasn’t strong enough. I went to one of those pound shops on Kilburn High Road and bought the “Mother of all Crowbars”. I don’t know why they’re called pound shops because it cost me £6.99 but it did the job and also doubles as a bit of extra security for those long dark cold nights ahead. The shift went really well and I even picked up a nice job from Brixton out to Brentford, which is unheard of for me, but the Academy had just turned out and they were crying out for cabs.

Monday 3rd of October saw me take my daughter to the cinema to watch Eagle Eye. It was action packed from start to finish and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes fast paced films. The popcorn and drink was nice too.

Wednesday 5th November was Bonfire Night where everyone lets off fireworks and light fires with effigies of Guy Fawkes on top. Work was brisk and I started at Paddington with a job to the Marriot Marble Arch. On arriving the American offered me an American Express card. “Sorry mate I don’t accept cards” I said to him. “What if I don’t have any cash on me?” he says. “Then you shouldn’t be getting in to a cab without the means to pay” “But I do have the means to pay” waiving the card at me. “Not in this cab mate, you’d better go inside and get some cash”. He wasn’t too impressed. I’d stopped the meter at £5 when we arrived and had I kept it going it would have now been at around £8 by the time he returned but all I got was the £5 and not even a thank you nor anything similar.

The next few jobs kept me in and around central London so I stopped for a bite to eat at the Astral in Regency Street. I bought a tuna and sweetcorn baguette a latte and a custard tart and drove up to the Raft in Victoria to wait for a job whilst eating but as I arrived there was a burst on and I had to eat as I drove my fare to……..wait for it……back to Regency Street. On the way there I clipped the back of a cab that had made a half left turn then stopped abruptly and now I have a nice scuff mark spanning both my nearside doors and my rear wheel arch. I have to go to the cab garage to pay the rent tomorrow so I hope they have a new advert to cover the marks up. I waited for the driver of the cab to get out and approach me but after a few moments he never bothered so neither did I.

The only thing to ruin my night other than the scuff marks was when I dropped a nice lady in Putney and asked for the £25 fare. She handed me what I thought was a twenty and a five and I drove off. On closer inspection I saw that it was a ten and a five so I’d done myself out of a tenner, which took me a while to get over, I actually felt like chinning someone but it wore off eventually. What goes around comes around.

You may have noticed the Coolbox Hire link in my side bar. That company belongs to my sister and she had a large order of 10 cool boxes that needed delivering last week. Today they needed collecting and returning to her so I helped her out by picking up five of the said boxes. The traffic there and back was ridiculous and I don’t know why anyone would want to put themselves through that on a daily basis. No thanks. I’ll stay on nights for now.

Catch you all later. LC


cannwin said...

Love the idea of reading about a cabbie in London. But do you really just blog once a month? I think it would be fun to read about your adventures every day. We don't have big city excitement in South Dakota and I love London so I'd love to hear more!

Anonymous said...

Im just wondering why you dont pick up in BRIXTON !

Terry said...

Because every week someone in Brixton is shot, stabbed, run over or seriously injured, why would anyone want to go anywhere near the toilet apart from liberal left wing freaks?

If Russia ever attacks, lets hope SW9 takes a direct hit.

Nicey said...

Good to see ya back dude, glad that its working out with the ladyeeeee

Anonymous said...

Brixton not 2 bad now, I am a cabby and was born their!

Good blog, glad your finding work I am finding it tough at the mo, maybe I need to work nights.

london_cabby said...

Cannwin: I'd love to be able to blog every day but I can be quite lazy and only post once I feel guilty enough of neglecting my readers. If something extremely blogworthy happens then I may do a qicker post but every three to four weeks is about normal for me. By the way I'd love to visit Mount Rushmore one day are you close to it?

About picking up fares in Brixton. Terry has said it all but there are odd occassions when the potential fare looks OK to stop for but not too often after 11pm at night.

To the last poster: Being born and raised in an area always helps. I have no problem with putting my light on in most places in North west London including dodgy places like Harlesden but once I go south and south east I don't fancy it as much though southwest is OK too.

Anonymous said...

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, Keep your doors locked & the low life's out Be lucky & be safe APW

cannwin said...

Ah, Mt. Rushmore. I guess I'm close to it, maybe 8 hours, it's on the other side of South Dakota and it's a rather long state. We saw it when we moved here. It only costs $10 for parking, so really you could park outside and walk if you wanted to. And the towns around that area are pretty cute -for American standards, there no York- Places to see would be Deadwood, SD and the Crazy Horse Memorial, oh and Sturgis in August is interesting (they have a Motorcycle Ralley there and it gets about 40,000 people every year. Fun to see terrible to drive through with a moving van).

South Dakota is a surprisingly touristy location. I wouldn't have ever imagined living here until a year ago and I was blown away by the amount of tourism they have. Definitely worth seeing.

jo said...

"Now a week later and the milk that soaked into the carpet is now going off and there is a very peculiar smell emanating from it. I gave my daughter a lift somewhere the other day and as she got in she said it smelt of “arse”. Passengers, being polite, wouldn’t say anything but I’m sure they can smell it too."

I laughed my A*%? off when I read this, but I would freak out with a bad smell like that - I would be sitting there thinking 'I hope people don't think it is me?'

Great post LC!

Love big sis x

Moomin said...

Great window on the underside of the city, really enjoy reading your view of life, makes me very glad to be in the country, with Red Deer for neighbours! Thanks to the Guardian for flagging you up, I'm glad to have 'met' you ;oD

steveg said...


Good to see you back again - with regard to Sunday 12th October and the speed camera - looks like you are home clear mate, the OB have only 14 working days to get the notice of intended prosecution (NIP) to you, and if after that you can send it back to them politely telling them what they can do with it - here is a link to all you ever wanted to know about how to handle a speed camera ticket etc

Hope this helps you


Steve (Leeds)