Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fish & Chips and trips to Wembley.

Hi folks

So, the Olympics came and went. It was all very pleasing to the eye but for us cabbies it was a non-event and I for one was glad it all ended. I did manage to attend a paralympic event and I was really impressed with the stadium and the atmosphere created by the full house. It will be interesting to see who gets it next and what sort of atmosphere their fans can generate. The football teams in the running for it are Leyton Orient FC ( geographically, the nearest but poorest supported club) and then the two Premiership Big Guns, West Ham United FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC (arguably the better supported club out of the two). Lot's has to happen before one of them gets it and I won't bore you with all the details so watch this space for updates.

I've been working days and nights recently depending on whether Jane is around or not. She occasionally has to house-sit whilst her bosses go away on trips to Malaysia or the States. They are currently in Kuala Lumpur so Jane has been house-sitting there for the last week and has another to go. I visit her when I like but, although it's a luxury townhouse worth millions, I don't like to spend the night. I always prefer my own bed and home comforts. We still have the bolt-hole in Suffolk until Christmas but plan to set up home together on the fringes of London so I can carry on cabbing. Nothings been decided yet and for the moment I remain a Londoner.

On the work front it remains busy-ish. Day work still sees me starting around 8am and finishing at 6pm.Its normally pretty uneventful hence the lack of postings recently. I work, I stop for a break, I continue until 6ish and if I'm in a position to collect Jane from work I do, otherwise she has a mile to walk home. The most excitement I get is when the cab rent is overdue and the guvnor of the garage is on the warpath looking for me. I've never really been good with money and frequently fall behind. He'll generally wait till I'm two weeks overdue (£410) before he starts ringing. It generally goes like this : "Hello Carlos, I'm a bit skint this week are you coming in today?" if I haven't got it I'll say something like "Oh sorry mate I'm out of town till Wednesday I'll come and see you then." He'll reply with "OK mate see you then then" he never gets any tougher than that and that's probably why people take liberties with him. He always gets it in the end. I've ended up owing him as much as 5 weeks rent before now and he still never said much about it. Mind you it was tough getting over a thousand quid together in a week and I try not to fall too far behind but there's always loads of other bills to pay as well.

I've put a few marks on the cab in recent months. One was a tight turning off King Street in Hammersmith. I got in OK but had to reverse out and managed to scrape a two foot gash on the two offside doors. Luckily the adverts took the brunt of it and by the time the next lot of adverts were stuck on the dents can hardly be seen. Whether they get passed by the examiners in the forthcoming overhaul is another matter and thankfully one that doesn't concern me or my wallet.

The next one happened by Bishops Park in Fulham. I'd just dropped off a fare and as there were people milling about the park gate I decided to hang about to try and get a job. Before I knew it I was surrounded by four teenager yobbish looking types. "How much to Southfields mate?" asks one of them cockily. "I ain't going to Southfields" says I. "Why not?" says he. "Because you don't look like you can afford it" Says me.  Then one of the others asks me something from the other window. I'm starting to get alarmed as they look like they're going to make a grab for one of my phones which I have held in those stick on grip things on the windscreen. I decide it's time to get out of there and proceed to drive away. One of them opens the back door as I speed away and it hits off a parked car's bumper and slams shut causing me to jump in my seat. As I drive away I look in the rear view and they're all making hand signals and calling out to me. I keep going and pull up a safe distance away to inspect the damage. Another scuff mark and a dent on the nearside back door which, again, disappeared after another change of adverts.

The cab itself has been back to the main dealers to have  a few repairs done under the warranty. The door locks on these cabs are sub standard since the Chinese took over the manufacture of the parts. My own drivers door lock gave up on me and I was forced to use the outside handle to get out for about a week until I gave the cab back to the garage to go on holiday to Valencia recently. When I got it back they'd fixed my door but neglected the other locks which all require attention. I've also sprung another leak and am getting through 3 litres of water every other day so the list of jobs is growing ever-longer.

I recently picked up Paul Freeman the actor. He's a personal favourite of mine and I had just been watching him 12 hours previously in Strike Back: Vengeance. I took him up to Golders Green Station where he told me he was to take the train to a further destination. I told him I loved his work and he went away with a smile. Was that cringey of me?

Night work definitely suits me better. It's so much easier to get around and the jobs pay better. I took my money in under 8 hours tonight, unheard of by day. Best jobs of the night were a £30 and a £50 job. The £30 started at the Sheraton Park Tower. 2 Arab girls going first to Kitts Nightclub in Sloane Square where I had to wait double-parked whilst one of them went in to do something, then onto Amika, another club which turned out to be closed then on to the current in-place for the ace faces of London, namely, Novikov, an Asian Fusion restaurant in the heart of Mayfair.

The £50 job started at Piccadilly and went to Richmond via Tanya's Fish & Chip Shop in Barnes. The punters were so full of praise for the chippy that I went straight back there after I'd dropped them off to try it for myself. I was gutted they never did Rock Salmon (it's the only chip shop fish I like)  and had to be content with Chicken & Mushroom Pie and chips which were absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend the place, it's on Barnes High Street.

Which reminds me, I picked up a nice young couple from the Cumberland Hotel last week. They were dressed up real nice and thought they were going to a classy restaurant. They handed me a bit of paper with the restaurant name on it. It was the Fryer's Delight on Theobalds Road. Now I happen to know it's a good chippy and I'm not knocking it in any way but these people were severely overdressed to sit in a working mans chippy and I told them so when we were about 30 seconds away from the place. As I pulled up outside the guy exclaimed "Oh my God, it's a shithole!!" I told him by all accounts the food was OK and that many a cabby had graced the premises with their presence but perhaps they'd like me to take them elsewhere. They heartily agreed and I took them (after she had consulted an app she had on her iphone) to the OXO Tower Restaurant on the South Bank. As we arrived at the place they were greeted by the sight of many similarly attired diners and they felt more at ease saying "this is more like it!!". I received the fare plus a nice tip for my efforts.

Whilst I was at work this evening my team Leeds United beat Southampton (from the Premiership) 3-0 in the Capital One Cup (The League Cup to you and me) to move into the quarter finals and only two games away from a trip to Wembley!! Well I can dream can't I?

Take Care Out There