Sunday, October 12, 2008

AW Says We're Quits!!!

Hi there people
Over the last few weeks I’ve been over to Suffolk to visit the gf a few times, had a few ding-dongs and made up again so at present everything is hunky dory and long may it remain so. I visited Bury St Edmunds on my latest trip and spent a few rainy hours there. I’ll have to return in the summer to check it out properly as I was well impressed with the place.

On the work front all I’ve been reading and hearing about is the bloody credit crunch. There’ve been banks collapsing left right and centre, other companies folding, billions wiped off share values but I’ve found it busier than ever out there so obviously people still can’t be too skint as they’re taking more cabs than ever at present. Long may that continue too.

90% of all customers are fantastic but there are still the few idiots out there who try your patience. A few days ago I was hailed by a couple of guys who looked dodgy, to say the least, at Vauxhall. They wanted me to drive somewhere nearby to collect someone who was “ill**” and then drive them all to a hospital in Carshalton. I asked if that person were likely to be “ill” in the cab, and by that I meant were they likely to get sick. Their answer wasn’t convincing enough so I refused. The last thing I needed at that time on a Friday night was a cab full of puke, and the smell that always accompanies it. One of them proceeded to kick and punch the cab as I started driving away, almost certainly denting one of the rear panels. I was chatting to the gf at the time and lost my rag and was just about to jump out and dent a few of his panels when the gf convinced me it wouldn’t be worth it and her soothing tones soon calmed me down. (Cheers darling!!) But this sort of behaviour can be a regular occurrence in the evenings and thankfully it isn’t my cab but a lot of owner drivers out there wouldn’t have let it go so any potential cab booters out there reading this please think twice before you do it.

** Ill invariably means pissed as a newt and likely to get sick especially on longer journeys.

I picked a guy up in Cavendish Square the other night. He’d been to the nightspot at No.5 where inside he’d met and spoken to ex page 3 model and pop star Samantha Fox and her lesbian partner (according to him). He’d been intoxicated by Fox’s apparent beauty and couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it. Once he’d finished telling me he rang his mother and about four different friends and had the same conversation with all of them. She had obviously made an impression on him and I had to admit to myself that in the late 70’s and 80’s she’d been a page 3 favourite of mine along with the luscious Linda Lusardi. Oh Happy Days!!!

I was driving along the western end of the Kings Road when a guy flagged me down and asked to be taken to East Dulwich. “Simple enough route” thought I. “Over Chelsea Bridge, Clapham Old Town, Acre Lane, Herne Hill blah blah blah Simple”
“Why are you taking me this way?” he pipes up.
Me: What way should I be going then?
Him: Vauxhall Bridge or even Westminster Bridge. (He’s obviously on drugs!!)
Me: What from where I picked you up?
Him: That’s the way I drive it.
Me: But that don’t make it the right way.
Him: I use satnav and it always gets me to my destination.
Well all I can say in answer to that is thank God for the Knowledge.

I was dropping four Aussies in Harlesden recently when my phone started ringing. A check of the caller display told me it was none other than Titanic, my mate Chris.

Him: Where are ya? (This is said in an Irish accent, don’t ask)
Me: Harlesden.
Him: I’m holding a job here to Northwood Hills and she wants a price. D’you want it?
Me: Yeah, where abouts are you?
Him: Baker Street.
Me: Go on then.

He’s done this for me before whilst waiting at Baker Street Underground Station for a radio job but I’m often a lot nearer. The danger is the passenger won’t want to wait and they’ll walk out onto the street and get another cab there. So I had to drive like a maniac all the way from Harlesden cursing every red light that seemed to be changing as I approached. He got her to wait in the cab and I was there in about 10 minutes and finished my shift with a nice fifty pound ride out into my favourite part of London. Cheers Chris I owe you another one, mind you AW says we’re quits!!!!

Being a diabetic it goes without saying that I have to watch what I eat. By the same token I also have to watch it if I don’t eat as I can be in danger of suffering from low blood sugar, or a hypo, as it’s called. I had to drop my daughter at Charing Cross recently and as I approached Admiralty Arch, as I hadn’t eaten anything all day a hypo started taking a grip of me. I started feeling really rough and knew I had to get some food inside me pronto so I chucked her out at the Arch as the traffic was solid and spun round and headed for the Astral CafĂ© in Regency Street and ordered a Spag Bol. While I stood with all the other cabbies waiting for my food I grabbed a bar of chocolate out of the fridge and started munching it. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes for the nourishment to kick in so as I sat in my cab after my meal a wave of relief washed over me and I was good to go about 15 minutes after that. I must get a stash of sugary things and keep them in the boot for such occasions.

Saturday the 4th of October found me driving south down Marylebone High Street when four dudes flagged me down and asked for the Griffin Strip Club in Clerkenwell Road. They were all well oiled or even high on something but they asked for some music and if it could possibly be rock music. Now, as some of you might know, I often have my radio on whilst eating my meals in the cab and my radio station of choice is Virgin. Well they have recently changed their name to Absolute Radio as apparently Richard Branson has nothing to do with them anymore. They have a female DJ on in the evenings (don’t know her name yet) who plays all the great numbers from the 70’s and 80’s. I’m talking Pink Floyd, Led Zep, AC/DC, Yes, Free and many more. The four dudes started head banging (including air guitars) to Free’s Alright Now followed by Boston’s More Than A Feeling and were really pumped up by the time I arrived at their destination so I got a nice tip and plenty of thanks for the great music. So if you’re into rock check out Absolute Radio on FM or the net.

I went to the cab garage yesterday to pay my weekly rent and the owner was at the helm as all the hired help had finished for the day. His one solitary TX4 was still sitting there in the garage after the PCO revoked all the licences of the ’56 plated cabs due to them mysteriously catching fire. Luckily he only has the one and is still earning money from all his older cabs but I pity these one man bands that are now forced to rent another cab and still meet the payments for their useless TX4 whilst investigations are ongoing. The latest trade papers say that there will be compensation due when it’s all sorted but I would be very dubious of ever receiving a penny from them. Good luck to all affected cabbies out there.

Check back soon.