It feels like a spring day today with the sun shining away in the sky with hardly a cloud in sight. But let's not kid ourselves as its only February the 8th and still a wee bit chilly round the kneecaps.
I recently turned 51 and my dear old dad will turn 82 this coming Wednesday. It's really easy when it comes to getting him presents as we all get him a few bottles of his favourite tipple, namely, Harveys Bristol Cream sherry. Between Christmas, his birthday and Fathers Day he can amass 20 to 30 bottles which keeps him going throughout the year.
The cab rent was due these last few days so I had to make the effort to get over to Camden to pay it. Minutes from the garage and I get a call from Chris aka @titaniccabby asking if I could pay his cab rent whilst I was there. Chris lives out near Watford and being an evening driver finds it awkward coming all the way in early to pay his cab so I have paid it for him in recent weeks. Whilst I was there the owner informed me that all cab rents will be a tenner more from next week bringing my rent up to the princely sum of £215 pw. It's still pretty good value for a 2 year old TX4 and knowing the owner as I do I know he's only doing it as a last resort because of whats happened recently with the makers of London taxi's going into administration and cancelling all warranty work. Theres many a cab owner been left severely out of pocket recently. Before I went to the garage I took the cab through the hand wash at Leake St in Waterloo. £5 plus tip for an outside wash was money well spent as it is now gleaming.
I am sitting on the RAFT awaiting my next job. That stands for Rail And Freight Terminal. It used to be that years ago and the name stuck but it's now the main exit for passengers from the Gatwick Express train. One would normally expect to pick passengers just arriving from gatwick but yesterday a guy came running out asking how long it would take to get TO Gatwick and how much. I said it would take an hour and would cost the best part of a hundred quid. He had a think about it, jumped in and said "lets go". He spent the entire journey ringing everyone in his phone book and telling them that he was taking a cab all the way to Gatwick Airport and that it was costing him a £100. The journey went according to plan. The route through Brixton, Streatham and Purley Way was suprisingly freeflowing. It took the whole hour and a few extra minutes to get there and the meter clicked onto £102 as I applied the handbrake at the South Terminal. "Do you take credit cards?" asks my punter. "Cash only" says me. I do actually take cards but 1. He never asked before hand and 2. I needed cash. "well I'm going to need a cash point" says the man begining to sound stroppy. Now if you're a world traveller there must surely be certain things you plan for. Having money on you should surely be top of the list. Or at least make the driver stop at a cashpoint en route as there is definitely no hanging around allowed by police at terminal drop off points. We exchanged a few words along those lines and the upshot was that I made him leave his bags in the cab whilst he went into the Terminal in search of cash. I sat there waiting for the inevitable "move along" from the police but he was back after £3 more had accrued on the meter and paid me the £105 and said "thanks for nothing" whilst snatching his bags out of the back. What a strange and miserable fellow!!!
One of the features of the rank for Paddington Station is that you can purchase, from a guy called Mark the pad, receipts and various other items ie bulbs, fuses, window signs and something i've been in need of since my cab was broken into, a coin dispenser. At £12 it's not cheap but after struggling with a "purse type" thing Jane gave me to use I was over the moon to be able to easily view and select the coins needed to give change. I would even go as far as to say my life is now complete......for now anyway.
When it comes to stopping for food I suppose I'm spoilt for choice. I have my prefered places and in general it will be Prêt à Manger, one of 3 better class kebab shops, The Astral down at Horseferry Rd (Tony's) or the New Oak. Tony has recently taken over a cafe on Harrow Rd next to Paddington, named it the Sao Vicente Cafe and put his stamp on it.
I tried it for the first time today and found it as I expected, as good as the Astral. I had a spicy chicken baguette, a coffee and a pecan tart all for £5.60.
I've been writing this blog throughout the day and it is now twenty past seven in the evening. Jane's driving us to the cottage for the weekend and the M25 is fairly busy as you would expect on a friday night with everyone getting out of town. We have to go via Tesco at Martleshem in East Ipswich to pick up some special ecologs for the fire. Can't seem to find them anywhere else.
I've also brought my blueray player along with half a dozen films to keep me occupied while Jane goes off to a baby shower tomorrow night.
Oh well, thats all my news.
Check back soon for more updates.
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