Who is this Jackcabnory......

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

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

New app...new toy

So, a little bit of back story to bring you up to date before this one starts.

My lovely family bought me an iPad for my recent fortieth (yeah, I kept that quiet didn't I.....!) and it has brought me much joy.  As much as any inanimate object can. All the regular things, email, tweeting, emailing, browsing.

I've long held a desire to do some painting, call it the creative being in me.  I've always fancied myself splurging out on a bit of canvas. Expressing the inner Picasso or Turner.

Well, be still my beating heart. Along comes Paper, a nifty drawing, painting, sketching tool, which is quite simply, the dogs doo dahs.

It puts the ability to sketch, rub out, and also to rewind, enabling even the most clumsy doodler to ape the styles of anyone from Lowry (as suggested by one tweet pal today), to Larrson, Matt Groening etc etc.

I've peppered this post with a couple of my efforts. I'm hooked!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

New England

Before we got married, my wife and I visited a friend in the US. We planned the trip online, booking accommodation in two other areas (a small town in Vermont and also in Kennebunkport in Maine) wanting to see as much of New England as we could. Arriving at Heathrow for our flight, we were excited about the trip ahead.

With the twelve hour flight completed, we stepped off the plane and met Judd, our friend, in arrivals. Although we were a little tired, the fact that it was still mid afternoon in Boston and, the aroma of a fresh coffee, imbued us sufficiently with the energy to complete the final stage of our outbound travel.

We said our goodbyes to Judd and set off for our first stop: Kennebunkport, Maine. Although we had chosen to travel at the time of year just prior to the renowned "fall" season of mid September, we were still hopeful we would bear witness to the changing colours and tones in the scenery. We headed up the interstate, leaving the downtown area of Boston. Into the open country of rural Massachusetts; an overwhelming feeling of freedom came over us. We have traveled extensively in the UK by car and the experience wasn't always so enthralling. So it was quite amazing to feel so liberated in the knowledge that we had a 2 hour drive ahead of us.

It's so true, that old cliche - "everything in the states is so big".....it just is; wide open spaces, large portions, tall buildings. Everything is done on a much bigger scale. Despite this, we felt very cosy when we arrived in our bed and breakfast. We would be there for two nights, my recollection is a little hazy on details, but we seemed to get into a state of relaxation extremely quickly.

Maine is situated to the north of Massachusetts and it likewise has a coastline to the east. The wild Atlantic ocean stretching as far as the eye can see. The next landmass being that of home; dear old blighty. We hugged the ocean road for many miles, stopping to brace the wind that came back. Our next stop would be Westwards and to the neighbouring state of Vermont.

Our journey to Vermont was through mile after mile of forested landscape. Pine trees created a blanket of green that contracted with the almost clear blue skies above. Colours so vibrant they could almost have been made by felt tip pen. A Victorian B&B was our staging post here. Its owners had paid remarkable attention to details when furnishing the rooms. Our room had a bed that we almost needed a stepladder to ascend to; an authentic wrought iron roll top bath that stood freely in the middle of the bathroom. We were made to feel right at home by our hosts, receiving close attention as we were the only guests at the time.

Vermont is the birthplace of the now global brand of ice cream, Ben and Jerry’s, and we felt it incumbent of us to pay a visit to the factory where it all began. As children of the 70s, we did kind of feel like we were stepping into the pages of that great Roald Dahl book, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"; the rooms were garishly painted; it was a hive of activity and there were lots of opportunities to taste the different flavoured ice creams being produced; Cherry Garcia (named after the grateful dead singer, Gerry) and Phish food (named after the band of the same name).

We returned to Boston, where we stayed in Judd's apartment for another few days, taking the opportunity to visit the JFK memorial library. This has a reconstructed oval office with the desk that was actually in the White House at the time of his presidency, and also a small cutter that the keen sailor had used in his early years before coming to power.

This holiday will always have great memories for us. It was such a different time in our lives - a time that we always look back on with such fondness.

We will return one day, hopefully with the children that now fill our lives so fully.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

An open letter to Hailo

To Whom It May Concern

I have tweeted several times today, all without acknowledgement. The reason for my inquiry is to understand why myself and other drivers did not receive funds today, payment is normally made on a Friday. Tomorrow is however a bank holiday, and we have been told that payment will now not be made til Tuesday. The message so far communicated has been that payment is delayed;  "Due to the bank holiday weekend".  

Bank holidays are not inserted into the calendar on an ad hoc basis, Easter has been on the calendar since biblical times. So the question is, what more important item has been on Hailo's itinerary that pushes back the payment to drivers.  Much has been said this week of your recent successful round of additional funding, some $17 million. Venture capitalists are no doubt reassured that you have a bullish growth plan. Thanks in no small part to the excellent customer experience of your London venture; driven literally by drivers who now have not received monies earned in good faith.  The failure to authorise payments creates a situation where drivers are forced to further extend their cash flow on behalf of Hailo. This in the middle of one of several fallow periods in the year.

In addition, I should imagine these monies, accrued in a bank somewhere, will result in additional interest, even for one day. That Hailo benefits financially from this administrative failing is unthinkable. Certainly not when drivers, who may well have worked harder in the previous week, to offset the drop in business that Easter school holidays bring, are not in receipt of monies. 

Therefore I would urge Hailo to make a charitable donation of an amount equal to this interest.  If it helps, causes held dear by many are Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, or the Help For Heroes fund.

This would serve as a valuable gesture.  Your driver community would feel that, to stretch a metaphor,  Hailo has put it's money where it's mouth is.  

Hailo sees itself as the brave new world in the licensed taxi trade, the 'new circuit' in all but name. Trust and belief that this is to be a long term relationship, mutually beneficial to both driver and customers AND Hailo must be earned.

This is one such opportunity.