Who is this Jackcabnory......

London Cab Driver, part-time Singer, micro/macro blogger, runner and primary school teacher in the making.....

Monday, 29 December 2008

.....erm where did 3months go to??

Sorry folks (he says assuming anyone has been an insomniac in need of my witterings!)..... but you know how it is, with work/kids and various other bits'n'bobs, I seem to have found it almost impossible to find the time to scribe!

It's been an eventful time, chasing the ever decreasing pound...... preparing for Christmas, racking my brain for what to by my mum (sorry, I'm sure I'm not the only off spring to have the same conundrum every year!). But having said that, I'm now in the middle of an overdue and much needed two week break until the 7th.

Had a great time over the 2 main days, the purchase of Nintendo's finest gaming products were greatly received - "Wow I can't believe Santa new we wanted a Wii and a DS!" - and it must be said are being enjoyed by young and old alike!

Then had the great privilege of being Usher (click here if you are unaware of the duties of said person at ye olde British wedding - not to be confused with rap star of same name) at one of my best friends wedding, attended by the great and the good (and one or two of the not so good, but hey what would a good wedding be without the someone who should have stayed at home!) it was a bloody fantastic day, the best of all worlds, having your outfit provided, getting fed for the day, and being able to sing with the band, but not be involved with the setting up/breaking down!!

I did pay for it yesterday, and some of today, if truth be known, but think I'll be chipper tomorrow......

On the work front, it's been very interesting.... let's spin the tombola of memories and see what falls out....... these are not necessarily in chronological order......

So far, I have picked up 3 people who work at the HQ of M&S (v large department store in the UK) one lady worked in Men's Pants - not literally, but she was responsible for making sure that each store had required number of Y-fronts etc. Next a lady who sourced and arranged transportation for all the exotic fruits that discerning folk like to keep in their cupboards. And lastly a lady whose job it is to go round and buy set items to see if their up to scratch - a secret buyer if you will.

Celeb watch

picked up the v funny Justin Lee Collins which was the week of the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand affair (those not aware pls see here for synopsis of "scandal"). His comments among many were top notch, best of all "I don't know Russell Brand but I think he's F'ng Sh*t"... along with amazement that Jonathan Ross had come out with the comments he did.

Another friend phoned me one night and asked if I'd heard of Paolo Nutini, yes says I, being aware of the Scottish singer/songwriter..... he had been conveyed by my friend from Soho one night in November, back to North London. He and friends had partaken of the hospitality and wares of several establishments and was unaware that his credit cards and phone had been left in my friends cab, luckily this was quickly realised and my caring cabby friend (is there another type!) made use of phone and located them (for they were neither walking quickly or in a specific direction) to return them.

I saw the rather brilliant Eddis Izzard in another cab unfortunately - and he was plugged into his Ipod, so maybe not one to engage in too much chat....

I must pass on a great web find that I've made (with thanks to Radio 5Live for putting me onto it....) the great/witty/knowledgeable and talented Stephen Fry has, for sometime now, been producing podgrams from his website, and they are quite brilliant, stand out episode has to be the "Compliance Defiance" where he waxes lyrical about the "PC" attitude taken with the production of some TV programmes..... get yourself to Stephen Fry.Com to see what I mean....

All that leaves me nearly finished, save to mention two completely different nuggets of information that I'm sure you've been missing ..........

Mash ups? yeah me too, but they're the collision of two songs that together are altogether more brilliant that either song on their own - well maybe I'm over egging it, but listen to this one below of Snow Patrol and the Police and you'll get an idea of what I mean

And finally, you couldn't make this one up, and I promise you I haven't...... In recent weeks as I said at the top, I've been working many hours to get to this hallowed holiday. One such way is to work nights, which led me 2 weeks ago to Canary Wharf one Friday night at around midnight. Here I was hailed by a couple, asking to go to London Bridge station. It's fair to say they made themselves very much at home in the rear of the cab, VERY MUCH AT HOME, if I were not already certain of the activity (she going up and down in a very sustained rhythmic pattern) then I was left in no doubt when, nearing London Bridge Station, I see that roles have been reversed, and her good gentlemen was now assuming control (!), and I turn to see a quite hairy rear end practicing his press ups (!)...... the story, if not unusual enough, gets better. We arrive at London Bridge, where suitably satisfied female passenger alights, and matey says "Highgate pls driver" - off we jolly well go.... we arrive and I ask for the £48 fare, and he dully gives me £50 and...... yes you may well have guessed, waits for change and asks for his RECEIPT!

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! (as they say in Wales) to one and all, and one of many resolutions is to be more frequent in the writing of this column......

Saturday, 13 September 2008

It's September Baby.....

..... and finally this week, folk seem to have returned from their summer (he say's tongue in cheek, as August was "the wettest since 1912"....) breaks, and pickings are nearly consistent!

My Black Cab Sessioning carries on, I had a shout to do one on Tuesday, with a band called Lambchop, must confess had no prior knowledge of them, but it was a nice mellow end to the day as Kurt of said band did a cover of a Dylan song, can't tell you which one..... look out for it on their site in due course....

Here follows some musings/sightings from the last few weeks
Cabby etiquette - now here's a funny unknown by most fact, if I were to be travelling along one of London's many byways looking for that friendly hand gesture thus securing a fare, it is common practice that another cabby would not willingly pull out in front of me from a side road. Should I let him out then it is also common practice that he wouldn't nab the fare that would rightly be mine. So I do indeed let a fellow cabby out onto Fenchurch St one morning, and sure enough, no sooner had I let him in front of me, a hand shoots up! but fair play, the guy gestures to the punter that I am behind him. I stop and pick the guy up and he says "I don't know what the other guys problem was?!" I then explain aforementioned practice, to which he replies "It's nice to see that sort of thing still happens" - and he would be right!

This is a random fact I know, but I was pretty impressed at the ingenious thought behind this particular car design - not something I'm prone to taking much stock of..... I saw a car similar to the one below on the Kings Rd this week - get a load of the way round no side mirrors - just strap it on the spare tyre!

Finally, celeb spots, no fares for me personally but a good friend of mine (who shall remain nameless for tax purposes) had the following this last couple of weeks......

Alex Turner of T'Arctic Monkeys

Ricky Wilson aka Chief Kaiser, from Gt Marlborough St to Kings Cross

Lastly, my own top sighting on the corner of Gt Marlborough and Regent St Jimmy Page from the Zeppelin that is Led......

That's all for now, cheerio!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The Black Cab Sessions...

Well, the first 2 sessions were released yesterday and today, adding them below, a very enjoyable weekend had by all, and keep an eye on the black cab sessions for the remaining 3 this week....

Here's the official blurb!

Not a lot more to add at the minute, caught sight of Lilly Allen outside the Opera House in LDN today..... that brightened up an otherwise non-eventful day!

Will write more soon


Saturday, 2 August 2008

Fast Show/Coldplay and Police Bikes.......??

Evening all, some comments/customers of note from the past couple of weeks......

Charlie Higson..... he of Fast Show/Randall & Hopkirk & Young James Bond Novels, from Holborn Circus to Strand. He's working on some kids books for Penguin at the moment and is hoping to do another sketch show with Paul Whitehouse and some of the Fast Show alumni early 2009...... you heard it here first! Very nice bloke

Picked up a lady who works for the child support agency and she mentioned how much of a thankless task it is - the single mothers moaning cos they ain't got their money from the errant fathers, and the errant fathers moaning they haven't got the money to pay said single mothers! - anyhow, to my horror she recounted some of the "comprehensive" applications they receive " 'is name was John and he's from Scotland" and "he's got a tattoo of a shamrock on his arm", you'd think they would get to know these people in some way, thus increasing the chances of :

a) the relationship lasting
b) having a little bit info on tracking them down in those situations where they beggar off!

Anyway, where was I - oh yes summer !! erm, where does everyone go, they don't tell you that at the PCO! it's not the end of the world, but not having had a busy period to compensate, it's a bit tough..... oh well, all part of the practical learning curve of the job.

So there I am, approaching Cannon St from Eastcheap, wading thru the shocking traffic (in complete contrast to no-one around, summer holidays etc etc) and I hear sirens, so being the obedient fellow I slow down to discern from which direction they're coming, low and behold a traffic cop on bike appears and is turning right in front of the cab. He is doing so slowly, so slowly in fact that, cue embarrassing moment 1 - he loses balance and drops the bike, Then he turns the sirens off and begins lifting the BMW lump back up, he tries, and he tries but to no avail - cue embarrassing moment 2 - I ask politely if he would like some assistance, and bike is duly righted. As I drive there is if possible, a final embarrassment as the blethering thing just won't start for him, let's hope he didn't have to wait long for the AA.....

As some may know, I've only been doing the job since Feb, and full time since May, but I can't believe the number of celebs or just generally people that are famous/connected in someway that I have had the pleasure of transporting. On Thursday I spin down New Bond St, as it is a reasonable picking ground for work, and at the top a guy hails me, after telling his girlfriend where Berners St was, he jumps in and asks for Brook Green in Hammersmith. We get chatting and he say's he is going to EMI, who have one of their main offices there. So I ask if he works for them, "no, I work with one of the bands signed to the label" oh say's I, which one "Coldplay" he says......

So the nosey/muso type in me needs to dig deeper, it transpires he is Phil Harvey, who is a school chum of Chris Martin, used to manage the band and now works with them on the creative side (videos/artwork etc etc). A very interesting chat ensues, I don't think I came across too inquisitive, but should he ever read this - tks for indulging me!

Lastly an example of how a rotten day can turn round, this Friday I left home at 6.30 and by 12.30 had made a very VERY small amount of revenue..... then I'm ranked at Kings Cross and a saintly figure approaches the cab, puts a suitcase in the front and says those magical words "Heathrow, Terminal 5 please....!" How I could have kissed him.......

Tis all for now, just to say that following my Brian Wilson experience, I've agreed to head west in a couple of weeks to film some sessions at the Green Man Music Festival........ I'll let you know how it goes.....

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Beach boys and other such happenings....

Well, well, well, following my last post on who's who I have a tale to tell which tops that and some.....

There is as some of you may have seen a bunch of guys who have got together and created something call The Black Cab Sessions and seeing as I have a foot in both camps, I decided to contact them.

We've been emailing since April and only recently could we agree on a mutually suitable time and date.... so 3 wks ago I rock up to Abbey Road studios and await the arrival of Mr Brian Wilson - yes that Brian Wilson! - he artistically arrives half hour later than scheduled.

In the meantime I have assisted in the tech set up and sound check (for which we could only settle on "Happy Birthday"). So all ready to go, as you may know, the licensed number of people in the back is 5, so we had to bend the rules slightly when Brian and 4 band boys get in, so Jonny, filming, had to squeeze between the jump seats.

So off we go to their hotel in Park Lane, trying to avoid as many bumps as possible! (easier said than done). A tune off the new album and a verse and chorus of "California Girls" later, job done. The fruits of this journey will be on the Black Cab Sessions in Sept to coincide with the release of the new album, word has it that it looks good.

Other than that, it's been fairly uneventful, I've taken to doing just days for now, it suits me and family better for now.

Thanks for reading, have fun

Monday, 23 June 2008

My who's who....

As promised, here's a list of some of my passengers in recent weeks, 2 from my meanderings today....

Joanna David - from Kensington up to her house in Little Venice.... lovely lady, was chuffed that someone remembered "the old bag" - her words not mine!

NB - Mum of Emilia Fox and married to Edward Fox......

Paul Merton - from HMV Oxford St to Adeline Place - he'd just bought a copy of the best of Paul Merton, his agent had yet to send him it so he wanted to check it out...... For anyone interested he has just done another trip for Channel 5, this time to India and it features an interview he did with the world record holder for consecutive kicks to the groin..... the record is 45!!

Stephanie Cole/Simon Shepard - Hot off the press, picked these two and 3 other luvvy types up from Equity House and took them to Pitfield St. They were all discussing the fortunes of a theatre in Bristol, read here for more details........
Other than that have had more jolly japes with various folk, got my first run out to SW19 today which was nice as it came around 10.30 when city traffic can be a bit light..... fairly busy most of the day and the last run of the day was Berkeley Square to Hanger Lane.... twas to the Diageo building there, which is accessed by using Hanger Lane roundabout and then coming back into town and doing a left at traffic lights...... this however was mentioned too late by one of the passengers and meant we had to go down to Greenford and come again..... oh well, it's all on expenses!
I'll try and write at least weekly from now, cheerio.....

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Blimey, it's been too long.....

.... sorry for taking so long to post anything else, doing the job full time has taken a fair bit of adjusting and to be honest I've just not found the time to do t'blogging. Am taking advantage of the hour I have while Mrs Jester and the kids watch "Dr Who".....

Well it's been an interesting few weeks, the sheer physical nature of the job has been amazing, I know I'm not digging holes or anything, but driving for 10 hrs or so a day is bleeding knackering.

In the last two weeks I've tried my ideal working week, which is Mon-Wed in early and home by late afternoon/early eve and Thur-Fri, take kids to school and go in after lunch until whenever.

So far so good, although from talking to others long in the tooth, things are slow and the credit crunch etc (I do hate that term) have taken their toll - my philosophy is that if I can survive in this climate, things can only get better.

I've had some very interesting customers, a couple who I said I'd mention on here, as they're doing good things,

One lady, I picked up from Borough High St and took her to Waterloo, she runs a pet insurance company called Animal Friends Insurance , and had just had lunch with a journo who she had paid towards his trip to China to investigate cruelty to animals. The company are a non-profit organisation, and plough the profits back into animal welfare, have a look at them and if you insure your cat's 9 lives, think about using them.....

Another was a guy I happened to pick up one Friday as I was heading back down Regents Park Rd from Primrose Hill, we were equally surprised to see each other, but neither of us complained. This guy, a fellow SE Londoner originally, now living in Notting Hill, runs Reach To Teach, who run mobile schools for rural Indian villages that don't have access to these facilities.

It was great to here this guy speak with such enthusiasm for what he does, the area is where his parents are originally from, so he has an affiliation with the country and isn't just doing it because it'll look good on his CV - Good Luck Sanjeev!

In terms of the day to day cabbing biz, I must say that I have got all my nerves out of the way, and am starting to get used to the regular tram lines that you travel, rush hours meaning stations to office, lunchtimes offices to watering holes and evenings any of the above.

As I said before most people are very nice, giving you a preferred route if you ask, or in a lot of cases leaving to you "cos you know the best way...." However, this rule is always subject to exceptions, the example I cite I'm sure will be repeated many times as I travel this road to retirement.....

I'm ranked at London Bridge and I reach the front of the queue,

Lady X "Knightsbridge please, I'm going to Harrods"
Me " OK "

So off I set, seconds later we're at the bottom of London Bridge St

Lady X "Knightsbridge please, I don't want to repeat myself 50 times!"
Me "That's ok, I did hear you at the station"

Before we go further, let me paint the scenario, it's a weekday, it's 5.30pm, we're going from SE London to SW London.......... I've elected to go to Blackfriars/Embankment/The Mall/Constitution Hill etc etc (apologies to those non-techies among you).

So we're in the inevitable traffic in Northumberland Ave, when she pipes up

Lady X " You're supposed to take me the quickest way, I don't want to go the scenic route"
Me "Well madam, I'm sorry but this is rush hour and I can assure you I've taken the route that is best and others would do the same"
Lady X " I don't care, what choice do I have"
Me "Madam, you are entitled to get out if you are not happy, they're are plenty of cabs around"
Lady X " I can't do that can I, I need to ring my friend who I'm meeting" (no phone call made, intriguingly enough)
Me "Well, I'll do my best"

We then eventually get to Belgrave Sq and I cut through to get to the rear entrance of Harrods, anything to get this cow out of my hair!!!

Me "that'll be £13.40 please"
Lady X "Here you go (hands me £20), you'll need that on the dole queue, the DOLE queue is very long you know!"

And there we parted company, hopefully never to meet again....

Oh well, that's all for now, I'll post again tomorrow with my who's who list of recent customers..... you can't wait can you!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Blogging on a Sunday.....

Evening all, this is the first blog written from home.... the only place I have regular PC access now - as I'm full time self-employed - no longer having the ability to use and abuse the Internet from the office!

Well, after a great farewell drink up in the old Cross Keys in Gracechurch St, I eased into the first of May very gently. The kids were off as their school was being used as a polling station, so we eventually made our way to our allotted station and added our X in each of the 3! ballot papers - I didn't vote for either Ken or Boris as 1st preference - lets hope Boris makes a good bag of it...... Then back home and some lunch, off we go day 1 of a brave new world.....

It started off small, with a very short journey, Eastcheap to the bottom of Mark Lane, £2.60 on the clock, but I think out of sheer embarrassment * the good lady gave me £3.

Then another less upwardly mobile gent, Old St just W of the roundabout, to the junction of Clerkenwell Rd/St John St.

Next up, a Korean lady with infant in tow, going from Gt Portland St to St Paul's, nice enough, but she was relaying the story of her journey to Gt Portland St - to see her paediatrician, who had complained that she was 5 minutes late - she was tempted, and I think she should have, tell to shut up as she was getting £250 for all 10mins of her time!
If it's possible, I saw someone who is weirder in the flesh than on the box, the one, the only ex- Mr Liza Minnelli - David Gest......

he was so far up his own rear, that I think he would have needed a proctologist to find his way home - very glad he was not in the market for a lift anywhere......

A few more jobs, of lesser note, and then decided I'd done my lot for the day and returned to ye old homestead.

Out on Friday, for a long day in the saddle. Went up to pay the rent and then on to the job in hand, it was quite slow, I think a lot of folk had taken the opportunity of extending the bank holiday weekend.

Fell in a trap which I'm sure befalls all of us of at some point...... picked up at Addison Rd going to Cadogan Square.... get to Lennox Gardens only to discover the bloody meter wasn't clocking up any money...... arghhhh!!!!! oh well, luckily it's only happened a couple of times.....

Then, almost in a sick repeat of an appearance with dear old Mr O'Connor - I was flagged in Grosvenor Crescent to go to the Hungarian Embassy... ok, off we go I pull up in no time, for tis only the other side of Belgrave Square, outside the..... Bolivian Embassy - sugar I think to myself.... fortunately for me the plucky Hungarian was understanding and after a few moments we were at the correct embassy and he was out with a smile.

Heard a great story on the radio, they were asking people to relay how apprentices/new folk at work were wound up by their new colleagues, and someone rang in to say how a new person at an artists studio was asked to provide a copy of her artistic licence - boom boom!

Next I saw an ex-colleague (who for very good reason cannot be named, for fear of his current colleagues knowing what his purpose was there!) in Victoria, so fingers crossed for him, whoever he may be!!

Thought I'd occasionally feature a lesser know part of Londinium in these mutterings, but one of many that are rattling around my head from the years of knowledge to get where I am today....

This sculpture is called ‘Seven Ages of Man’ by Richard Kindersley, inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’is a rather totem like statue in Queen Victoria St, almost up near Blackfriars Station, below is a pic, and it's quite bizarre

I've discovered that my nemesis, for want of a better word, are jobs to Primrose Hill/Hampstead and any points in that general direction - I can only describe it as a sinking feeling when you hear anything in that region - especially when, after asking for a preferred route, they say "oh, I don't mind, whatever you think!!!!" . Well, I'm sure with time the panic attacks will lessen...
Oh well, my Friday finished not so late, with a job from Margaret St to Ilderton Rd, unable to drag myself bag into town, I decided to call it a night.
More soon, have a good bank holiday if you've got one tomorrow where you're reading this....
* it's amazing how many people ask if you mind awfully taking them to here or there, it's quite strange - after all, they're the ones paying!

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Blog oh haze-blog!

Bonjour, today is my last day of office work after nearly 20yrs and it feels very strange.... tomorrow onwards I'm officially a cabby!!

More tales follow of my days in the saddle......

As I'm in shipping (albeit for an hour!) it was interesting to discover that the Danish guy I took from Portman Sq to Portland Place was a good friend of the CEO of Maersk Line - the biggest shipping line in the world!!

Met someone for lunch near the office in London Bridge and saw The Hoosiers and Robyn recording a BBC programme in Borough Market..... you can watch it here Hoosiers were playing their new one which is earily like "Love Cats" by The Cure.

Had the best job yet last week, got flagged in Gresham St to wait in Goldsmiths Lane for someone, eventually after 2 people reassuring me that someone was coming, 2 Spanish guys arrive, imagine my glee - engine off meter on, up to £10 before we select drive, and they only went to Blackfriars!

Great example of making sure you establish the exact destination when it has an almost identical soundalike alternative. This one being a young lady going from Roland Gardens to the O2 centre - Greenwich says I, thinking I'll make this home afterwards..... no Finchley Rd she says.....

A good start the other day, 2 jobs which involved taking customer from point A to point B, waiting and then a return to Point A....... they were

Southwark St - Spa Rd
NSPCC - Hatton Garden (for wedding ring to be adjusted/altered)

A couple tip on whats good, I've always been lucky with Grays Inn, dropped off and then got another on straight out - so worth hanging around for minute or two.

The Connaught Hotel now has no loo facility, think there used to be one in the basement before but no more!

Well that's it for now, more soon

Thursday, 24 April 2008

More tales of the unexpected....

The length between posts are getting longer, but at least this will be a bumper edition..... I've taken to jotting down memorable journeys while I'm out, otherwise they all become one!

Took a lady from London Bridge one morning, she asked me to take her to Deutsche Bank on London Wall, then she says "and once you've dropped me off, can you run me over and kill me - cos I don't want to go!" I think I'd be with her if I hadn't made the choice to do the knowledge.....

My first possible chucker (he/she who looks like they will vomit!) from Victoria to Brixton, she kept hiccuping all the way, and wasn't interested in my suggestions to open the window "I'll be fine" she kept saying, she was quite clearly trollied - fortunately she kept it all in and was last seen meandering up Tulse Hill.

Met up with some new boys at the Astral cafe, one of which was Headlong, check out his blog as well. Swapped stories of fun customers and the best toilet breaks in town!

Got another celeb the other Friday, was almost finished for the night and heading east along Tooley St, hailed by a gent and his partner was Paula Wilcox - she of Man About The House and more recently, as she was eager to point out, Emmerdale (she plays Hilary Potts) they were going home to Albert Bridge Rd, then changed their minds en route to the City Inn Westminster. Very nice couple....

A good example of when it goes slightly awry...... took a lady from Seymour St to Waterloo, so I was doing my best to avoid traffic - but importantly didn't say this at the outset, a cardinal sin as I'm learning - so went down thru Berkeley Square/Piccadilly Duke St St James/Pall Mall/ etc down to Gt George..... as I'm waiting in the traffic (the first major lot) just before Parliament Sq, I ask which entrance she wants.... then she says "well we've come the long way, so the taxi rank pls"... I apologise etc and then feel quite uncomfortable until we get there - meter finishes on £13,20, I say let's call it a tenner, she says oh no, lets say £11 and we leave each other on a good note.

Got some more but I'll add them to the next post - am full time from 1st May, so looking forward to a full stretch...........

Monday, 7 April 2008


It's been a while since the last one, been a bit snowed under at work handing over to my lucky successor.... and also Tiscali have continued to work at snail's pace in re-connecting our broadband!!

Been out over the last few weeks and mostly it's been ok, had a great encounter on Friday night with a guy who I picked up outside the Hilton Olympia in Kensington.

Me "Where to sir?"
He "Soho"

So of we trundle, I then decide to narrow the destination down....

Me "Where in Soho sir? do you have a venue"
He (sounded like) "Beach, I need beach"
Me "You need a club called Beach?"
He "No I need a beach, I want a beach for pleasure. I want to pay, I don't want a club. you know a house I can go to?"
Me (errr this isn't in the information pack?!?) "I know the area (I don't in that sense if my wife or mother are reading this), I can take you"

So I decide Brewer St is favourite, aiming for the variety of "Massage" signs that are evident.

He gets a bit impatient around Vigo St, obviously he's been away from home for some time and is anxious to release his frustration! We arrive at Brewer St - although not too early (boom boom) and he jumps out and duly pays the fare.

I see another couple waving on the other side of the road and take them up sharpish on their request to go to Old Church St!! Let's hope he left for Naples the next day with a little less baggage than he came with....

The evening finished very conviently for me, as I live SE and needed to end up at Millwall FC for the annual re-setting of the meter to take in the recent increase (around 4%). I get flagged on Fulham Rd nr Chelsea's ground, and get a fare to Eltham, we agree £40 and it comes to £45, so everyones happy. Off I go to Zampa Rd and in 30mins am re-tariffed and away to bed.

Went out Sat around 1pm and a slowish afternoon which improves from around 4.30ish.... I did a few jobs out of London Bridge, one down to Long Lane SE1 and then an nteresting job for anyone doing the knowledge, from Long Lane SE1 and they asked for the other Long Lane nr West Smithfield......

I'm sure I picked up a high class (although with a touch of mutton about her) call girl, she was going from the Crown Plaza in Buckingham Gate to a private members club (no pun intended, those were her exact words) in John Adam St.....

Hey ho, just over 2 weeks to go before the final plunge in full time cabbing......

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Made me laugh......

"Fine for back-to-front thong man

Batchelor had gone out in the thong to feed the pigeons a pieA 58-year-old man who fed pigeons wearing only a skimpy thong which was back to front has been fined £150. Neighbours spotted David Batchelor in his street in Perth in the underwear which left his genitals partly exposed"

Full story here

Ahh bless him, a thong the wrong way round, that's got to be uncomfortable....

Will post some more stories from the road soon.....

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

More ramblings.....

Well, more tales from the road.... can't remember too much of last weeks shenanigans to be fair, picked up Paddy McGuinness he of Max & Paddy and Phoenix Nights fame. I took him to Bafta where he's on the panel judging this year's TV entertainment gong........ nice enough chap, although my mate at Sky has told me he was a little bit xenophobic when he was on Soccer AM a while back..... anyway -speak as you find!

Picked up a group of girls in Mortimer St who were many sheets to the wind on Friday night.... I won't share with you some of the pearls of wisdom and in depth descriptions of anatomies they were spouting, I'll leave that to your imagination.....

Quick note to anyone new to the "hailing a hackney carriage game" if the "TAXI" sign is not lit/extinguished/off/not shining bright, this means said taxi is already carrying person(s) and cannot be engaged in your transportation....... this was sadly lost on the 3 blokes who, whilst I'm stationary on Oxford St with lady in back, kept remonstrating with me, I point several times to the rear compartment, but to no avail. Eventually I slide front passenger window down enough to talk "Can you, hic, go to St hic Johns Wood hic mate?" no say's I, I've got someone in the back..... "oh, hic, shorry mate"

Managed to do ok from 1 short and 2 long eve's last week, have been out today for the first trial of an "early" day. Left home about 6.15am and finished up around 3.45pm - was ok, happy enough with the winnings of the day. A few assorted city jobs this morning, a poor woman from Charing Cross who was in plaster from a ski-ing injury picked up a couple of weeks ago, proceeded to take her to Ava Maria Lane, via an assortment of embankment/Aldwych and back on embankment owing to the blinking traffic!! (that don't teach that at the PCO).....

Had my 1st trip to the House of Lords....... it's like Fort Knox in there! anyhow, I'm off now. My band (I'm sure we all call it "My" Band! but it's reasonably democratic) has plenty of plans afoot for new songs and a new marketing push..... web site needs a revamp, so anyone who knows a cheap web design/someone who needs a gerbil - no guinea pig, let me know.......

Anyone who wants to see what we're like can make their way to either

Charlton Park Rugby Club - April 12th tickets £5-7 on the door

Cutty Sark Greenwich - April 13th between 10.30/Midday on the route of the London Marathon

Will aim to get some decent pics and post them for anyone who can't make it..... oh pretend you care!!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Cabs, gigs and stuff......

So, week 3 for anyone keeping count.... out on Wednesday feeling pretty awake (from the 9-5) so off we go with a Queen Victoria St to Royal Opera House, which then changes to a Somerset House and on to Queenstown Road, nice so far. On the way the silver shadow develops a knocking sound which I hope will pass....... it doesn't and get progressively worse as the evening draws - bit cheesed as I was hoping for a long evening in the saddle.... but as I didn't fancy the idea of waiting in nowhere junction for the breakdown at some silly time at night, I decided to get home and take it back to the garage next morning.

So, Thurs I did just that, took it in and following a sharp intake of breath, I'm told "you'll need another cab mate", but that's the beauty of rental, 10mins later I'm on my way back to the office in Hong Kong livery!

Went out Thurs from work and did a couple of hours, eventually heading for a gig at The Roundhouse Camden, so according to the law of sod, I end up at Westminster Pier at 6.45 when I'm due to meet a mate there at 7....... anyway, no prob's, using all my shortcut/back double tricks, I make it by about 7.20.... but what a gig, Mr Newton Faulkner, eagerly anticipated and not disappointed where we, a true entertainer, with just a small band, drummer and bass player who joined him sporadically for numbers.... but he was awesome, here's a clip of the night we saw him (you tube via someones mobile phone) but at least gives you a flavour.

He finished the night with a cover, just on the acoustic, of Bohemian Rhapsody - amazing and did it great justice - Freddy would be smiling up there!

So, to Friday, and the first long day in the saddle, went out at about 12, headed for Canary Wharf as suggested by others and managed to trap (apparently that's the term for getting a fare, but that's the first and last time you'll hear it from me !?!) a job to the Wolseley in Piccadilly, then some more around the west end, headed out to Kensington where I needed to get some more change (oh the joys) can't recall a lot of the others in the afternoon but ended up meeting a couple of fellow new tadpoles in the pond at around 9 at the Astral, had a great chicken curry, they no about portions there! anyway a chinwag on various jobs of the day and off I go about 10 for the last session of the night. Got a few jobs around West End, then headed back to London ?Bridge, the rank at the station was empty, so headed back on to Borough High St and got flagged by a couple of lads, "Chiswick and then Kew Bridge?" erm.... it's midnight and I'm really not sure about you boys..... oh well, in for a penny.... they jump in, quite clearly having had a skinful "Do you want some money mate?" they say, "No, as long as you've got it lads, I'll trust you" , "yeah, no worries mate....." - we'll see So off we go with me not sure for at least half the journey. But as my mother says "never judge a book by it's cover" and she was right, they were fine and I finished the night with a £35 job - It being 1.15am, I decided that was a wrap and went home.

Ventured out yesterday afternoon, but to be honest it was pretty quiet, even though it was raining ("everyone wants a cab in the rain" hmmmm?) I think what didn't help was the fact that it was International Womens Day and all the sisters were marching thru town..... I and several female passengers were at pains to understand what the point was.... but I am now reliably informed that....

"It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women"

So, go girls, you is wonderful

NB - anyone seeking more information pls go to http://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Had to make another refusal as well, I'm just turning into Queensway when a guy approaches me "Kings Rd, pls" seemed pleasant enough, then I catch sight of the Budweiser he's sipping - "Not with that I'm afraid", "Well, I need to finish it" he says... so we agree to disagree on how he'll get down to Chelsea....

I finished up about 6, all in all a good week and enough to cover the adventures of the week to come...... I'm off to watch some more of Heroes "Season" 1!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Coffee by candlelight.....

So the end of week 2! went out each night wed-fri from the 9-5 and enjoyed again, every fare a different tale..... a few notables from this week

American couple in tux etc from Rochester Row to Natural History Museum on Wed, headed for some posh bash no doubt.......

Some French guy on the pull last night, pick him up in Ladbroke Gardens "Sutherland Ave pls" so off we go, quite straight forward Ken Park Rd/Westbourne Park etc etc, then on the way he says "after we pick my friend up, we go to Dorchester?" - no problem with me.... so eventually we find 115 Sutherland Ave (which is a bugger as there's parking in the middle of the road!!) and then off to the Dorchester. I had to laugh on the way as he does loads of wooing etc, and then a phrase which shows he up to date with modern web social networking "Are you on Facebook", well it made me chuckle.

Took another group of togged up City folk from Fenchurch St to the Whitbread Brewery for a bash.......

Met up with my ex-cop who is in his first week for a coffee at the Astral last night, but when we got there it has echoes of the war!!! there they were mid power cut, desperately providing sustenance to fellow licensed boys in need for watering.... unfortunately for Mr D (my ex-cop, although he still is a cop!) they were not able to provide a hot coffee for which he was hankering!

Lastly had my first refusal last night, had parked in the rank in Glasshouse St for a necessary WC break and sandwich, when an Irish fella comes to the passenger side front window. He brandishes his phone, so I drop the window enough to take it and read the message about meeting a friend in St Martins Lane "come on mate, I'll give you £15" no I said, I'm having a break, more remonstrations follow, and I re-iterate that I'm not up for it (a) sandwich half finished b) didn't like the look of him, maybe he was kosher, but better safe that etc... I did try and direct him the few hundred yards straight across Leicester Sq, which would have been as quick as a cab ride and cheaper.....

Anyway, that's all for now, eldest has come down with pox that the youngest had a couple of weeks ago, so my birthday celeb's will have to be low key this year.....

More stories from the smoke soon.....

Monday, 25 February 2008

Buckingham Palace?

Did my first Saturday this weekend, and again an enjoyable experience. Started off at the London Eye and after a couple of mins got a family looking for "Buckingham Palace" (they even showed me the photo from their guidebook, in case in my panic I couldn't place a mental picture)

Oh yes says I, lovely - nice and easy to get rid of the everpresent butterflies before the first one of the day..... then a spin round back to Birdcage Walk where no.2 hailed me for "The Lion King" okey dokey, nice and easy - Ahh that is until we

a) wait 8mins for the Coldstream Guards to march from Guards Barracks over to Liz's house

b) take about 15 more to get as far as King Charles II Island (Trafalgar Square) - Cockspur St was shut due an "incident"

So, I tell them that it would be quicker for them to walk as although the meter was ticking over nicely, they had already expensed £14 for barely a mile!
Then my first job south, Westminster Bridge to Liberty St ( no I didn't know it either, it's off Cauldwell St for those interested). Then I was ready for a sarnie, so quick snack and then I decided to head west and avoid the still ongoing shenanigans in Trafalgar Square. Got a couple of jobs from Ken High St, one to Ladbroke Square (via pet shop in Abingdon Rd) and another to Powis Square. Then Pembridge Square to Ennismore Gardens..... back up to Kensington and got my first "Cashpoint on the way please...." which was Moscow Rd to Lamb & Flag Rose St. Then whilst taking an age to get out of Cranbourne St (whilst dying for the loo!) I got a couple of guys going to Regents Palace Hotel Sherwood St...... great! just in time to dump the cab on the stand in Glasshouse St and make that urgent pit-stop.... then a coffee to liven myself and a quick look at the musac in Zaavi Piccadilly.

Next on the list was group of 4 obviously down from the midlands if my accent detector is correct, they were off to Marriot Regents Park Hotel, so no great shakes there, straightforward enough. A wee job from Regents Park Rd - Englands Lane (they all count!) then back down to the West End, picked up some Danish folk from New Bond St to Notting Hill Gate and then I'm not sure what was inbetween, but I got hailed in St Martins Lane going to Blackfriars Rd and that was me for the day. Turned off and headed SE to my niece's birthday party.
A good day, great first week, managed to take enough to cover this weeks rental, which is the main thing, and will post my review of Wed-Fri eve's activity........
PS - interesting statistics revealed by TFL on the Cabwise text facility..... tell your friends!

Friday, 22 February 2008

The evening shift

Now that I've handed in my notice, I'm planning to work Wed-Fri eve's in the cab from work and get a feel for London town after dark.

First job after fueling up was Stamford St - Victoria Station, then had a Pimlico Rd to Charing Cross Rd, very nice chap - very interested in the journey to become a cabbie and we chewed the fat on how so many are miserable beggars!

Then my first celeb of the job, Trevor Sorbie - hairstylist to the masses! on his way home from his salon in Covent Garden, good luck in the Ready Steady Cook battle with Nicky Clarke!! Great guy, let's hope all people in a similar position are as grounded as himself.....

Then onto Chelsea for a Dr who was on her way to meet her sister at the Peacock Theatre for an Argentine Tango experience, sadly we didn't get there on time thanks to the traffic, I did my best leaving Cheltenham Terrrace at 7.05 for a 7.30 performance......

Then met up with a mutual COP (for the lay man - Call Over Partner, someone you go thru the long painful of knowledgeness to get where I am now) at the Astral Cafe in Horseferry Rd, which at 8.30 is Cabby central!! great chat and tips from some old hands!

Then off homewards, before being flagged in the Cut, Waterloo by a guy who for most of the journey I thought may kill me!!! turned out to be just really, REALLY inebriated, but hey ho you gotta get used to the folk who've had a bit of sauce!

So 2 days and still enjoying, tomorrow is my first Saturday experience, will let you know how it goes...................... toodle pip

Thursday, 21 February 2008

First day.....

So, with only mild intrepidation, I slung my shiny badge around my neck and got myself behind the wheel of the silver beauty (sounds romantic, indulge me just this once!) and off we go.

Now, in hindsight I shouln't have been surprised that things were a bit slow, I head in at 1pm on a Wednesday mid half term week.... so my first bite took a bit of time.

I'd just pulled away from the stand on Soutwark St when said 1st victim (fare) raises her hand.... "Mare St, Hackney pls" wonderful comforting words as anyone in our line of work will testify. So a lovely miander up Bishopsgate etc etc up to the Ocean venue (great to be able to swing round rather that um and arr about a bloomin TA). This is free I tell her, no can't have that says she, so £12 will be going to Gt Ormond St next time I'm up that way.

Then I get a group of 3 gents on their way from Kinglsand Rd to King St Covent Garden, swung back in Covent Garden and got a hand up to go from Wellington St to Coach & Horses PH in Greek St.

Then I had a mooch about, have this inate desire NOT to sit at a rank if at all possible, next trapping was Kings Rd to Gatwick Express (nice and easy) a Dutch couple in town on business for the day. Then grabbed another in Eaton Sq going to Claridges, Swedish guy who is on his way back to his land of birth today after 26yrs living here! had a nice chat and received £13 for a £6.40 fare - nice to get a reward for passing the time of day!

Managed to get a job almost immediately on New Bond St going up to St Johns Wood,Hall Rd to be exact, really nice American guy.

Then lastly a couple going from Weymouth St to Ebury St.....

All in all a great experience, only out for about 4hrs but plenty for the first day, and managed to take a reasonable amount. Out for my first evening session after my current day job finishes (only 7 weeks of both...)

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Job done....

Had the final appearance this morning, 4 runs no problems, probably the most comfortable one of the 15 I've had.... Then off to Starbucks for a sarnie and a read of the papers, then back for a chit chat on the trade tips etc. Finally off to LP for me new toy - baffled by all the nobs etc, not out today, will be out tomorrow and will post a first day on the job....

Oh well, last small mention is that as we mortgage with a certain bank, then it seems all you taxpayers are entitled to a front door key! queue politely!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Nearly D-day

Well, just under 12hrs or 1 more sleep as my mum would always say.... before my knowledge finals that is.... I'm more eager than Britney in tattoo parlour...... anyway am feeling a whole mixture of excitement/anxiety/nausea etc etc.....

Sadly though some idiot has gone and given the good trade a bad mark in it's preverbial copy book, see here for the sad story - hope they string him up and melt his badge down for something useful.

Well good luck to Inspect Gadget of the yard and Con, a friend of a friend who is also up tomorrow.

All being well I'll be posting some sort of celebratory tome here soon.

Back to nursing my poorly 5yr old with the pox! (chicken that is)

Monday, 11 February 2008

Disco Todd Rock

Had a good weekend, entertainment packed, that was after spending an hour waiting for the nice men at the breakers yard to liberate a seatbelt for me...... firstly went to to see a youth production of Disco Inferno at a local theatre..... great singing from all especially the two leads.

Then out for a nice quiet meal with my better half and then onto see Sweeney Todd, my first big screen musical experience..... being a lover of stage shows, I wasn't that keen on it, but thought what the heck! And loved it, Johnny Depp is quite brilliant, great voice and just captured the character exactly (did have flashbacks of the Ed Scissorhands a few times). Helena Bonham-Carter was good also - helps being Mrs Burton?!? - Timothy Spall/Alan Rickman great as the beadle/nasty judge respectively. An interesting "straight" appearance from Sacha Baron-Cohen as Adolfo Pirelli, interesting in a good way! Go see it, on the big screen if you can.....

Finished watching some Chris Rock DVD's borrowed from a friend as well - very funny, yes peppered with expletives, but what isn't. Very astute obsverations of life and great self-decpritating about the US of A!

Well, just about done for today, have 1 week til my finals up at the PCO..... can't wait, normal office life is really tedious now, keep having to stop my myself from saying/writing "I Don't Care Anymore" at every opportunity (nows there's a tune.....)

Tara for now

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

A Really Hard Job.....

Spoke today to a dear old friend who is just back from a 3month tour in Basra, thought it might be good to show the sleeping accomodation to demonstrate just what a bloody amazing thing it is they're doing. We should take our metaphorical hats to them, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the conflict, they're out there doing their job.

And if you reading this, it's great to have you back in blighty!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Man Flu!

Now, I nearly had a hangover this morning (get together after work with a few old colleagues, one of whom just returning from Australia after 8yrs)...... and this sums up what we all know we're like - males that is........

Monday, 4 February 2008

Blog Roll 1

Well, this is the second attempt at a blog, I set one up last year but owing to lack of time, it didn't get very far.

I hope to post at least once a week and more in time, I'm a 9-5 office waller at the minute but in 2 wks I hope to get my green badge (licensed London Cab Driver) and then hand my notice in at work.

I've lived in London all my life, am married with 2 boys and looking forward to my new lease of life.......

As any reading the butterboys' blog will know, the knowledge takes around 3yrs or so and I'm now in the process of arranging all the minutiae of detail that you need (and quite frankly don't think about), accountants (being self employed now) bank accounts, oh yes and a taxi......

For those interested have pre-booked a Silver TXII with those nice chaps at LP in Dunbridge St.

I'm also in a quality covers band (I would say that I know) and hopefully will be giving that some more attention in the coming weeks and months......

Quick update on my weekend, a gig in a members club Friday night (no it was not at all salubrious!) and then went to a wedding reception in Tunbridge Wells on Saturday night - The High Rocks, a very nice venue. Sunday began with an early morning at Church (not my usual start to the 7th day, but eldest son has a monthly commitment to go as part of his membership of the Beavers, the first step in the Scout Movement.......

Oh well that's all for now, cheers!