Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Already so soon??

Hi folks

following on from yesterday.....

With a full belly and a sense of optimism rarely seen as I'm generally a total pessimist I got out to work after my Chinese meal and started the arduous task of trawling the streets for work.

My first stop was the rank at Paddington Station where after a suprisingly short wait I took a French businessman down to Old Brompton Road. I then made my way to South Kensington but was unable to get onto the already overpopulated rank. A few nights previously I'd had a bit of luck doing the "Sloane Avenue Boogie" which means circling up and down Sloane Avenue until hailed. There's always plenty of work coming out from Chelsea Cloisters and Nell Gwynne House but there's also loads of cabs doing the same thing so by doing "The Boogie" you stand a better chance of being first to the job. So as it turned out I boogied half a dozen times and got nothing. Next port of call would have to be Victoria Station. En route I was hailed in Eaton Gate by a nice couple needing to go to Ennismore Gardens. The next fare took me out to Chiswick and I thought I recognized the guy from the TV or somewhere but couldn't quite place him but he did give me a nice fiver tip on top of the £17 fare. I was already doing much better than the previous night and my spirits and love for the job rose considerably.

Back on the South Kensington rank and I'm the second cab. A lady approaches the front cab and he shakes his head. "Aye aye" thinks me, "what's going on here then?". "Do you take credit cards?" she asks after arriving at my open window. "I certainly do" says I, getting all excited at the prospect of one of those elusive roaders I mentioned in yesterdays blog.
"Loveley" says she, "then can we go to Gilston Road please?". My face must have visibly dropped because she said "is that alright?" I told her that the company would charge her an extra £2, hoping it would put her off as it does to a lot of people, but she was fine with that and off we went to Gilston Road, about five minutes up the road, for the princely sum of £6.60. I must add at this point that I do enjoy doing credit card jobs and having the facility has actually got me my money when passengers have had trouble getting money from ATM's. So even though the monthly fees to Radio Taxis (£160) are quite excessive I'd rather have the facility than not. I've also been short on the radio work in recent weeks but that's just me being too choosy rather than the lack of work and I've made an effort in this last week to do whatever comes my way regardless of the destination.

The rest of the shift was pretty much the same with jobs averaging about six or seven pounds. I was passing by the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane and saw only a few cabs there so decided to put on. 2 minutes later I was on my way to Crouch End for the best job of the night at £34.

Chris was out and about as well and was earning pretty much the same sort of money but my nickname for him is Golden Bollocks because he always manages to do better than me by the end of the shift. He might come out a few hours after me but by the end of the night he'll be on more money. The nickname comes from the last three letters of his previous taxi, GBX, Golden Bollocks Extraordinaire. He'll argue that it should apply to me but he takes some beating.

My last job of the night was from the South Ken area. This guy had been to Royal Ascot and was wearing a top hat and tails. He was as drunk as a skunk and in a chatty mood and also name-dropping like it was going out of fashion. According to him he knew everyone who was anyone and had been in the Royal section at the racecourse mingling with the Queen and all her minions. I took it all with a pinch of salt as you must doing this job and he was at his destination within 10 minutes.

So all in all a better night but still not as much as I'd like and remember that tonight is Wednesday and potentially the worst day of the week.

God help us!!

Take Care.


I just read my emails and this one caught my eye and as I feel strongly about what our boys in the military are doing then I thought I'd share it with you.

Recently, British Royal Marines in Iraq wrote to Starbucks because they
wanted to let them know how much they liked their coffees, and to
request that they send some of it to the troops there.

Starbucks replied, telling the Royal Marines thank you for their
support of their business, but that Starbucks does not support the war,
nor anyone in it, and that they would not send the troops their brand
of coffee.

So as not to offend Starbucks, maybe we should support them by NOT
buying any of their products!

I feel we should get this out in the open. I know this war might not be
very popular with some folks, but that doesn't mean we don't support
the boys on the ground, fighting street-to-street and, house-to-house.

If you feel the same as I do then pass this along.
Thanks very much for your support. I know you'll all be there again
when I deploy once more.

Sgt. Howard Wright.
1 Platoon, Recon Company, Royal Marines


Also, don't forget that when the Twin Trade Towers were hit, the fire
fighters and rescue workers went to Starbucks because it was close by
for water for the survivors and workers, and Starbucks CHARGED THEM!!!

There are 227 Starbucks stores across the UK, and there's no doubt that
our soldiers would get the same response from this company, so let us
do our bit and boycott Starbucks to show them how despicable theiractions are.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Waterloo Bridge

Hi folks

A bit of news on the home front for friends and relatives.
My dad’s kidneys finally gave up the fight and he’s now on dialysis. He started off at the Hammersmith Hospital but has now secured a spot at his local hospital in Harrow and has to attend 3 times a week for four hours a time. He’s also being treated for angina and has a couple of narrowed arteries which need attention. In spite of all that he’s still quite upbeat about life and continues to work from home as a translator and lovingly tend to his tomato plants in the greenhouse.

My own diabetes sometimes gets the better of me and on a recent visit to the doctor I was to be given a new treatment which involved injecting myself (not insulin) but I managed to get her to hold off for the next three months as I promised to start excercising and eating better. I joined a gym nearby and after two sessions the gym closed for refurb for a month (just as I was getting in to it!!) and now I try and do power walking and other stuff until it re-opens. I still struggle with the food side of it and as I write this I’m waiting to take delivery of a Chinese meal I ordered for the boys and me.

Since my last post I think the work has picked up a notch. It got really desperate at one point and the standard joke amongst me and my mates is “I’ll meet you at Waterloo Bridge” where we would then contemplate launching ourselves off into an after-life less complicated. But thankfully “almost” normal business has been resumed and such drastic measures have been placed on the back-burner for the moment. I still think the quality of the work has diminished and those long runs out into the sticks are virtually non-existent. Well, at least I’m not getting them anymore, what about some of you other cabbies, are you getting the roaders?

There’s been a lot written recently about reclaiming the work we’ve lost over the years. Work from venues such as the nightclubs in and around the West End where minicabs (the enemy) now rank up (illegally) outside waiting to rip-off the revellers who want to get home to the suburbs. Now, lines of London taxis can be seen outside these same clubs and bars and the passengers will end up paying a sensible price via the metered fare and are realising just how badly they’ve been ripped off over the last few years.

I continue to ply my trade in the South Kensington area as well as Victoria. The average job from South Ken is about a fiver but the waiting time isn’t too bad. Later in the evening the nightclub nearby (Boujis) provides a steady stream of work and the jobs may (or may not) get a little more lucrative, such as Richmond, Twickenham and other nice destinations.

As far as stories go I can’t recall anything particularly meaty to recount. I did pick up a druggie in Earls Court Road one night and drove her to Beaumont Crescent in West Kensington. She had about £2 on her and went off to get the rest from her boyfriend who wasn’t to keen to part with any money so he stormed off leaving her to try something else. After the meter hit a tenner I cut my losses and pulled off. I was having such a good night I never batted an eye lid but I recalled 19 years ago when I was a fresh faced butter boy and four kids did a runner into the Chippenham Estate and I went home to sulk.

(Gone for Dinner)

That was nice. Sweet and sour chicken and special fried rice.
Now it’s time for work and I hope it’s better than last night.

Take Care.