Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trees are falling in Knightsbridge!

Hi folks
You'll all be pleased to know that I’m still here, I've just been busy being a husband father and son.

Well it’s a beautiful sunny autumn day (but extremely windy) here in Central London. The leaves are falling from the trees and the trees are falling on top of people. Yes this is no joke. A passer-by was killed at 11am today as they walked past Knightsbridge Barracks. I quote from Sky News.
"A woman has died after being hit by a falling tree in London during high winds caused by the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo."
Traffic in the surrounding area is chaos and getting around is a real problem.

Work is pretty good at the moment. I think the recession is pretty much over; I've just got to educate myself to stay out for those extra few shekels to make life easier and not rush home as soon as I reach my regular amount.

I've been getting quite a few jobs out to London City Airport (LCA) recently. I don’t normally wait there because it can take quite a while to get another job and with Canary Wharf and Excel nearby it’s easier to try my luck there. The last time I went to LCA, sometime last week I chose to wait on the rank at Excel as I’d Googled the exhibition centre and found that there was indeed something on. Well I started as number four cab. Many other cabs came in behind me and many pulled off deciding that waiting wasn’t for them. After an hour I was number three…not good. After another thirty minutes I was…still number three. What a waste of my life. I pulled away and went straight up to Canary Wharf. After the cab was swabbed for explosives by the overzealous security guys I was allowed in. Just on the other side of the security barrier a guy ran up to me and asked how much the fare would be to London Bridge Station. “Now we’re cooking” I thought to myself. I quoted him somewhere in the region of £15 to £20. This would go some way to saving my shift. Not to be. The quote didn’t meet with his approval and instead I dropped him at Canary Wharf Jubilee Line Station. I did a few orbits of the Wharf and never trapped another job so decided to leave E14 empty handed, not for the first time either. Ironically, as I cruised towards the City on The Highway a hand finally went up and I got a fantastic job up to Marylebone Station from where I called it a night.

Whilst waiting on St Johns Wood cab rank recently the cab started making funny noises which I ignored. I took a job into town and halfway down Baker Street I got a battery warning light on the dash. After dropping my fare off I lifted the bonnet to find the fan belt was missing. I contacted the garage to make sure I could drive it without the belt and here I now find myself at the garage waiting whilst it’s fixed. The mechanic now has to change the alternator because there’s something wrong with that as well. I think that from now onwards I can expect stuff to go wrong on my fast approaching four year old taxi. I’ve already complained about a certain clunking noise coming from the gearbox area but nothing has been done about it. I think the policy at my garage is to let the cab break down, recover it and then replace the damaged part and sod the inconvenience to the driver. I think long-gone are the days when a mechanic would crack open a gear box or an engine and put the problem right, using all the knowledge he has trained for during his apprenticeship…it’s a crying shame these days. Well, it could be worse....if it was my own cab it would be costing an arm and a leg so there’s a lot to be said about renting.

I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment as a recent visit to my doctor gave me a wakeup call. A blood test revealed an irregular liver reading so my doc has referred me for a liver scan this coming Thursday. She said it may be the beginning of gall stones which would account for the change in what is always a good reading. Since that visit I have been low carbing and eating healthier and have lost about 11 pounds and my blood glucose readings are fantastic. Long may it continue.
UPDATE!! An abdominal scan today (thursday 23rd October) at St Marys Hospital has revealed that my liver, kidneys, pancreas and spleen are all in good health so good news for once.

Check back soon for more taxi and health updates.

Take Care.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I Got Hitched!!

Hi Folks
It’s been a while hasn't it?
On the 5th of July I got married to Jane.
The last 4 months had been so stressful what with the organisation and the putting together of the big event that blogging was impossible. We tied the knot at the Brent Civic Centre opposite the iconic Wembley Stadium and then celebrated afterwards at my local club which we had prepared the night before. It almost went off without a hitch until we had to place the rings on a little cushion. I searched my pockets high and low only to realize they were several miles away in our hotel room on the bedside table. We used stand in rings, which didn’t feel right but they had to do. The day was extremely hot and the venue was very stuffy and warm. My mother complained about the loud music but then again don’t all mothers. My son missed the ceremony all together as he got stuck on the underground during a signal failure. One of the tiers of our four tier wedding cake collapsed so it became a three tier. I think that was all the fails but on a better note the speeches went well and they were followed by our first dance which was to the Barbra Streisand / Bryan Adams duet I finally found someone, We all had a good boogie after that and Jane and I were amongst the last to leave at around midnight.

Me & Jane

2 days later we went to Torquay for five days and traveled all around the Torbay area taking in the sights and the local delicacies. I’m quite partial to seafood so I was in my element down there as there was always a seafood stall close by. A new item I've noticed them doing is fake lobster tails. I've googled them and apparently they’re made of Pollack…very tasty with vinegar. Anyone else heard of them?

On my return I had to collect the cab from the garage.
Someone had been using it for a week and had moved all my stuff around, re-tuned the radio stations, chucked all my cleaning rags out of the boot and even removed a magnetic pad I had stuck to the console to attach stuff to.

It is currently Ramadan and as per usual the work takes a dip as all our Muslim passengers abstain from venturing out during the day.
In spite of that I've gradually gotten back into the groove of work and if you know where to look you can still earn a living.

London, being a capital city is always full of tourists. The usual spots such as Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street, Leicester Square never fail to provide work.

Last week a family of Americans, I think they were from Denver, hailed me in Pall Mall and asked to be taken to all the main spots.
We passed Buckingham Palace, the Mall and Trafalgar Square then along the river to the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Shard then the Tate Modern, Parliament Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey New Scotland Yard and I finally dropped them off at the Hard Rock Café on Piccadilly. Total fare was fifty pounds and they gave me seventy and thanked me for being so informative.
That was easy money. I should probably start a tour company.

A bit of drama occurred yesterday, Saturday.
I was taking two ladies up to Creighton Avenue in East Finchley and was chatting them up to get the return journey back into town when my son Mike rang me frantic because he couldn't find our Jack Russell called Dude anywhere. Bang went my return journey and they weren't too pleased at being left stranded in East Finchley but an emergency is an emergency and I drove home.
The dog had already been missing for several hours and we drove around the area many times hoping to get a glimpse of his little black and white body. Mike (who’s 26) was distraught and very tearful as he blamed himself for Dudes escape. After what seemed like hours we decided to go home and print some posters. We stuck fifteen of them all over the area. I knew the dog was micro chipped but he didn’t have his collar on as we only put it on him when taking him for a walk. After that we turned to Facebook and Twitter to broadcast his disappearance urging people to “Share” and “Retweet”, and many did. I haven’t mentioned my mate Chris AKA Titaniccabbie for a while but he loves a cause and got straight to work contacting obscure groups on FB. It was one of these obscure groups that finally gave us our dog back. So, he’d apparently got out of the house without Mike noticing, crossed a very busy main road, made his way towards Kilburn Park Tube where he then became frantic and disorientated and was picked up by a young girl who took him home to show her mum. The mother took a picture of him put it on Facebook with a caption, a friend of Chris’s spotted it, Chris rang me, I rang the finder and within half an hour we were reunited with a very excited Jack Russell. The power of social media cannot be ignored and although he was missing for 10 hours the online bit only took about 3 hours, I can’t praise it enough.

Dude home safe and sound.

I went back out to work today but the weather was so muggy and my AC isn’t working. There was some sort of demo on in town and the gridlock started so I decided to call it a day. 
Best job of the day was Kings Cross Station up to Cranley Gardens in Muswell Hill £25.

Just had Doner Kebab and Chips and a pot of Haagen Daz Ice cream. Just what every diabetic needs…..not!!!

Check back soon for more news and stories.

Take Care.


Monday, February 24, 2014

The banns are up!!

Hi folks

After weeks of rain, which has seen severe flooding and has caused so much damage and misery to so many in the UK, the weather seems to have settled down. It feels like a Spring day with blue skies and sunshine here in South Kensington.

Work seems fairly quiet today when you would expect it to be busier after the school holidays. I've almost done 3 hours work and have taken peanuts.

I'm on a bit of a mission from now until July as Jane and I are getting married. The wedding notification went up at the town hall last week so unless anyone has any objections it should all go ahead as planned. As both of us have been married before we're not making it as big a deal as it could be but it will still be an event where all our friends and family can get together for a drink, a bit of food and a good old boogie if they want to.

I've been working away since Christmas and overall it hasn't been too bad.

I had a little episode the other day when I picked up these two shifty lookin guys in Paddington and they only wanted to go round to Westbourne Grove...a 3.20 ride. They handed over a £50 note which felt wrong from the start. I carry a small uv light on a keyring and a quick press confirmed it was indeed a fake. I handed it back to him and asked for some real money to which he tried to sound surprised saying he'd just been given it in the casino. He paid me in coins and off I went making sure to alert my fellow cabbies via Twitter (@thelondoncabby).
I drove around a while looking for my next fare and low and behold who is still in Westbourne Grove trying to hail another cab but these two guys. I pulled up alongside them told them they were all over Twitter and were well out of order for trying to trick us hardworking cabbies into laundering their funny money. They sloped off sheepishly and hopefully got the message. Idiots!!

Whilst sitting at traffic lights at Holland Park Avenue one day last week I could see movement out of the corner of my right eye. I looked over and a guy in a 4x4 was trying to catch my attention before the lights went green. It was none other than TV chef Heston Blumenthal and he was looking for the Uxbidge Arms. I gave him the necessary instructions and he sped off as if late for an appointment.

I used to have a list on my iphone of all the celebrities I've had in my cab over the last 23 years. It boasted of top names such as Michael Caine (twice) Richard Harris, Rob Lowe, Richard Dreyfus various pop stars and sports people and it was a great party piece to show off and impress. Well the list somehow got deleted a short while ago and I've never been able to populate a new one with all the names as I have forgotten most of them. A shame indeed!

We are still awaiting the payout from the accident we had in November. All documents requested from us and everything asked of us has been complied with. I had to stop the physio as it was making my arm worse and hopefully it will sort itself out. Hopefully the money will arrive in time to go towards our impending nuptuals.

The sky has now greyed over and it could mean rain, hopefully!

Check back soon

Take care


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone