Thursday, 28 February 2008

Thank you for the days

Back into town again today. I really need to try to get some more night shifts in, or somehow talk my daughter into staying at school a bit longer so that I'm not having to dive back home just as the day gets going.

One thing that's noticeable about the days is that a lot of people don't talk quite as much as those who are out in their leisure time of an evening. Quite a few just get on their mobile and chat away, like the two blokes I picked up from Liverpool Street Station going to London Bridge. All the way down Bishopsgate, both of them were on their phones, holding different conversations, one having a go at his (presumably) soon-to-be ex-wife, telling her how he didn't want to discuss it with her and how he just wante dto sort her out with some money and not see her ever again, while the other was talking to a mate about football and arranging a good beer-up. Left me wondering whether the two conversations were linked at all.

The only decent job i had today was a nice straightforward run from Liverpool Street Station (again) out to City airport, which left me at the far East of town at about going home time. Everything else was just bitty jobs, all less than a tenner. One was a nice job from just West of Oxford Circus to "My mate's pub please, it's just this side of Edgware Road". We had a laugh about the destination so I replied with a wild stab in the dark. "The Larrick in Crawford Place?" brought an amazed "... Yeah, that's it... How did you know?" from the customer. It really was just a lucky guess, but I'll be having a go at The Lottery this weekend, just in case.

Everybody had the money to pay the fares today which was nice, all except one guy who could only pay me with a note from the Bank of Ulster since he had just flown in from Belfast and had no English on him. Another one to check out when I put some tax money into the account.

Forgot to mention another lost job from Monday. I had been on the rank in Liverpool Street for about 10 minutes and had finally made it to point when a couple came outof the Andaz Hotel further up and started talking to one of the cabbies further back down the rank. She then looks down towards me and waves a hand, at the same time that her partner starts walking down towards me. I figure I'd save them a walk so leave the rank and drive the 50 yards or so towards them. Every little helps in the battle for a nice tip... especially from the people who stay at the expensive hotels - i guess the only way they can afford to pay those prices is to not pay out big tips to people like cab drivers.

As I pull up she looks at me, I wind down the window expecting to be told her destination. Instead, I hear her telling me that she's already booked a cab but he hasn't turned up, and did I know where he was. of course I didn't but I can take you if you need a cab. "We've already paid for the journey" I'm told. So i tell her just how pleased I am that she's shared that particular story with me, and that I'm delighted she's just cost me another 10 or 15 minutes waiting in the rank that I'd just been at the head of. "Sorry". Yeah right love, "sorry" doesn't fill the fuel tank.

Another great customer from last week was a guy who was down from Scotland. He'd been working in London and had managed to get himself a ticket to watch Spurs playing their home leg of the UEFA cup match. However, he'd been watching Rangers playing on the big screen in The Cock at Smithfield before setting off for The Lane.

First stop, a cashpoint please. "No worries." Cashpoint sorted, we head north. We have a good chat about the state of British football, and surprisingly the architecture of football grounds. (any self respecting football anorak should already have read the excellent "Football Grounds of Britain" by Simon Inglis.) However, as we get closer to Tottenham High Road he's starting to tell me how he's full of beer and needs a toilet. I tell him we're not too far if he can hold on, so he holds on... and on... and on... until with £16 on the clock just north of Seven Sisters Road he throws two tenners through the partition and tells me, "it's no good mate, I gotta go".

With that, he jumps out of the cab in the middle of a traffic jam and he wanders off bent double towards (I guess) a convenient alleyway. My guess is he found a pub after that and then maybe saw about 20 minutes of the second half. Good luck to ya!

Real World job for the knowledge boys and girls

Marriott County Hall Hotel to National Gallery


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