Who is this Jackcabnory......

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

Monday, 21 May 2012

The writer..... A short story

The door opened into the dusty reception room.  The lady that emerged was equally dishevelled.  Mrs Sinha was a petit woman, standing only 5ft 1 inches from floor to the ends of her wispy greying hair.  It had been a full five minutes since I had first knocked on the door, waiting patiently for someone to respond.  I was waiting to discover what this, unimposing to the eye, yet formidable literary agent thought of my manuscript.

I had been labouring away at it for hours; many, many hours to be precise.  If you took these hours and strung them end to end, they’d reach the moon!  Oh hang on, that’s not the metaphor I was aiming for.  Hopefully you’ll catch my drift. (Slightly better that one).  So I was very anxious to know what Mrs Sinha, the renowned agent for bestsellers; “Find me the head of Balthazar Speranza”; “All the worlds an onion”; and “Meatballs - an opus,” would think of my work.  I had called it simply, “Labyrinthian tales.”

Fantastically epic in it’s title, I had written a tale of two medieval protagonists.  Each vying for the love of a dusty maiden.  Lucius Renoy and Horatio Formitude.  I painted a very detailed picture for the reader, giving plenty of illustrative descriptions of the castles and landscapes the story is played out against.  I had devoured all manner of historical tomes in order to make the story as authentic as possible in its’ fabric.

Mrs Sinha beckoned me through to her office.  “Sit down my dear, you look awful.”

“Well I am a little nervous,” I replied “your reputation does go before you.”

“That’s, er,” and then she paused, reinforcing my earlier comment.  I knew she was prone to being painfully truthful. “Very interesting, but really I’m a pussy cat.”

“Your story is marvellous.” Relief! “I really think we have something to work with.”  She then proceeded to heap praise on my work.  We agreed that we would meet again over the next few weeks to formulate some ideas.  Just to ‘polish’ some areas of the plot she felt needed a bit more shine.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Challenge

“It’s 5 o’clock,” whispered Harry.  “Yes, I know.” Came the reply from the confused bus driver. Harry had fallen asleep on the N85 routemaster as it wended its way through town. He had been with friends for a party in The Ram, and had stumbled onto the night bus; Knowing there wasn’t much time left until the day.  The day when he would face his fears and abseil down the largest building in London. The Shard.  Couldn’t they have called it something a little less dramatic he thought? He had enough on his mind, without worrying that the hand stitched climbing rope might somehow be affected by the cutting name of the building.

It stood 900 ft on the south side of the river. Pointing skyward, with gleaming glass windows. Hardly the best surface for walking down.  Harry was to be among the first group of people to participate in this charitable exercise, scaring himself witless in order to raise £600 for Cancer Research.

 Today was the first time he had allowed himself to get worked up about what lay ahead.  Up until now his focus had been the great cause, how much it meant to him and the value of the work the charity does.  His mother had died of throat cancer 3 years ago, and he knew how vital research was in conquering this disease.

The training had been very thorough.  Starting in a classroom, where all the safety measures were explained, he was shown the equipment that would be used; and the techniques, from the experts, that would ensure safe descent.

When the day arrived, he looked out and was pleased the weather forecasters had got it so wrong.  Blue skies and a very light breeze were different to the rain and gale force winds expected. As the train pulled into the station, he could see it.  Towering so high that, as so often happens with tall buildings, he felt like he was falling backwards when he raised his eyes to the very pinnacle.

A final pep talk was given by the instructors and a handshake, wave and hugs from friends and family who had gathered to witness proceedings.

The journey up 80 floors was made via two separate lifts.  The first from ground to 44, then a second for the final 36.  The feeling was indescribable.  Harry exited the lift. It was time to secure his harness and prepare for lift off! Or more appropriately, let down.  The wind was much stronger at this height, Harry felt extremely cautious as he was lowered into the desired position for descent, roughly 90 degrees out from the glass fa├žade.

The first few tentative steps seemed to last an eternity, but probably lasted only seconds. He kept listening to the instructors talking him through the ordeal and before he knew it was within feet of the pavement; “Come on fella,” came a cheer from the crowd, “nearly there.”

And then, touch down! He’d done it.  He hugged his dad and brothers, hoping that somewhere his mum was doing a jig in happy celebration of his achievement.

Next time, he thought, I’ll do a sponsored silence.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A tale of two decibels


Serene.  Look it up in the dictionary and it will tell you it means “clear and calm, placid and unperturbed.”  This is a broad description of my dining room.  It may seem simplistic, but when it’s not overrun with people; eating and drinking, doing homework or arguing, it is an extremely calm place.  I think it is here where I can sit and read, sometimes write and feel at ease.  This room signifies a lot of what I have achieved.  My wife and partner of 18 years, our children who have grown up so far and continue to do so.  They are all here when I sit and think, perhaps not physically, but it is only momentary.  They will return today from work and school respectively.  

This room is not much to look at, aesthetically unfinished.  But it is completely full of memories; Good and bad, happy and sad. Lyrical phrases like “Silence is golden” come to mind, but they’re right. My eyes do see.


“Four-oh-Seven!”  The eastern European waitress shouts for the third time.  It is not unusual for this to be the case at the little known portacabin secreted at the back of a disused petrol station in Waterloo.  The number refers to a the raffle ticket we customers are issued when we make our order for food.  This cafe, approximately 30 metres by 15, is busy most days of the week. Filled with London cab drivers, who whilst earning a crust will stop to eat one.  The hustle and bustle starts in the kitchen with staff sharing jokes with the regulars.  They, the regulars, then take their seats alongside their pals.  Conversations are frenetic and often revolve around fares of interest, family tales and, inevitably, the ridicule of each other.  All done with a rye smile and knowing look.

The cacophony of noise is elevated further by when viewing the TV screens that show rolling sports coverage. Expletives pepper the air, but this is to be expected when the subjects of derision and triumph are teams that have been lifelong obsessions for the patrons.  The food is good, the sporting results not always so, but the sense of kinship is palpable, without fail.