Monday, February 8


Today was one of the very few occasions when I found myself lost for words, I usually have no problems understanding just about any nationality, but today the two lasses who got into the back of the cab might as well have been speaking broad Martian. In the end, they had to point to where they wanted to go. They started to talk to each other and it dawned on me that they were actually Irish, I’m usually Ok with the Irish brogue but this dialect was one I had never heard before. Still we had a laugh and got there in the end, but this reminds me of the drunken lady I picked up a while back one rainy day.
She was so drunk that she could not speak at all and she just waved her hands in the direction that she wanted to go. When we eventually got to her house she wasn’t capable of counting the fare so she just threw her bag at me to get the cash out for myself. Next comes the bit I was worried about, there was no way she could walk and I didn’t fancy carrying her rather large bulk into her house, you never know what you may be accused of later. After banging on a few neighbours doors, I managed to get some folk who knew her and her drunken habits to help her in. If this is the state she gets in the middle of the afternoon I wouldn’t like to see her after a heavy night out!

Thursday, February 4


I was talking to another driver one day this week, he works for one of the last firms in town which still uses the old voice over the radio airwaves system to dispatch work. After about five minutes sat in his car listening to the squeaking of the high pitched voice on the radio my head was hurting and it made me really glad that the firm I work with now uses computer dispatch.
 Some drivers say they miss the banter on the radio, but that’s a small price to pay for a whole lot less stress. Back when we used radio we had some operators whose voices tended to really grate on your nerves especially after four or five long hours you felt like you had to get out the cab and bang your head on the pavement to stop the torture. You know the type of voice I mean the one that you just wouldn’t want them shouting you up for breakfast in the morning after a boozy night on the town.

 We can still talk to the office by radio if necessary to make bookings etc, but some days I can work all day and not know who the dispatch operator is. This works the other way as well some of the operators tell me that drivers come into the office and they haven’t got a clue which driver they are talking to.

Thursday, January 28

The Grim North

One of my fare's today was telling me that she was a barrister up here in Barrow on a business trip from that there London and that it was her first time oop north. “Well, what do you think of the grim north?” I asked,” well I was baffled when none of the taxis stopped when I hailed them I had to take the number off the side and ring for one myself,” she said. I explained that most cabs here are private hire and that most hackney cabs also work for company’s when not on the rank. Then she went on to say (which a lot of visitors also say) how green it was and that she had been expecting a grim grey industrial town. Shortly afterwards we were going down from a high point at the top of Hawcoat looking out seawards over Walney Island towards the Isle of Man, and she was impressed by the fabulous views of the miles of empty sandy beaches. “I bet it gets busy during the summer,” she said and was very surprised when I told her that we get very few visitors.” Well someone sure wants their butt kicking “she said anywhere else and they would be promoting it for all they were worth.

Wednesday, January 27

The Rose

A young girl passenger was telling me about her crazy Saturday night out this morning. It involved lots of alcohol, drunken fallouts, regrets and only hazy recollections. But I think the rose she left behind on the back seat of the taxi tells the story much better than words.

Tuesday, January 19

Lost Tip

A very nice ould lass who had enjoyed her cab ride went to give me a nice tip today, unfortunately as she went to hand it over she dropped three of the pound coins. They rolled down the middle of the front seats out of reach, never mind I reassured her I will get them later. I had forgotten all about them and had picked up three or four fares in the next hour or so. That is until a lady in the back seemed to be bending down and taking a long while to get out of the cab at the end of the ride. Yes, you guessed it the three coins had gone, she stole my tip, what a dirty trick eh! The tip actually came to more than she had paid for her short taxi ride, what a darn cheapskate taking food from my mouth. I could have had gravy on me chips tonight!

Wednesday, January 13


Another busy Sunday and the morning started off with lots of leftovers from the Saturday night. One of the first was from a house in the next town five miles up the road, but the fare had still not appeared after ten minutes of me waiting patiently. It was 8: am and so there was no way I was going to blow the horn and rudely wake the poor local folk up. I was pressing ring back which calls the customers phone every few minutes and after a while I faintly heard a phone ring, it was coming from the backyard of the house where I was supposed to pick up from. I got out and opened the door and there was my disheveled drunken lady fare sitting on a dustbin, she must have expected me to drive into the back yard to collect her. 
She was only going up the road a half mile or so to a local hotel, as we got nearer alarm bells started in my head when she slurred that she was going to collect her car. But as we pulled into the hotel car park she swore when she saw that her car was blocked in by four or five others. I let out a sigh of relief because I knew that the hotel staff wouldn't even consider waking up the paying guests to move the cars for some drunken lady. I was proved right and returned her back to her dustbin within a few minutes.

Monday, January 11

False Impression

Early one morning I had a call to pick up from what I thought was a really dodgy place. My screen just gave the flimsy location of school playing fields in the nearby town of Dalton, when I got there I could see absolutely nobody about, not even the usual early morning dog walkers and was just about to give up when four lads appeared out of the gloom as if from nowhere. 
They all wore bulky dark clothes and hoodies with most of their faces covered and looked pretty dishevelled, I was half inclined to do the sensible thing and drive off sharpish but business was slack so I decided to chance it. They all climbed in the cab and they asked to go to the next village up which was about an eight-pound fare. I was pleasantly surprised when they paid up front and turned out to be a nice bunch of lads well spoken polite and friendly. 
So I guess it’s true sometimes you can’t always go by appearances.

Wednesday, December 30

Numbers Game

A driver’s number or call sign can be very important to him; some drivers want their lucky number or a number that means something significant to them. This leads to drivers trading numbers and even in some cases swapping firms if they can’t get the number they want.  A while back one of our local drivers swapped from number sixty-one to number fourteen because he said "it was too many syllables in sixty-one for him to say on the radio."
 You will find that not many taxi firms have a driver thirteen; I guess you will think that we are a superstitious lot, but round here thirteen is reserved for a call for help. So if you hear your driver shouting thirteen and giving his location you know that you have really spooked him and that you will be surrounded by twenty bloodthirsty cabbies within minutes.

Friday, December 18

Black Eye Friday

Way up here in this part of the North of England, we tend to call the last Friday before Christmas “Black Eye Friday.”
 It's the day most people finish work for the Christmas holidays and they tend to finish work early about lunch time and they then head straight down to the pub for a long boozy session.
 I find it amusing when it gets to about four o'clock in the afternoon I then start to pick up some of the less hardened boozers when they have had enough and want to go home.  Lots of them are then telling me what a good night they have had; they are convinced that because it's dark that it must be very very late at night. I never tell them any different and just drive them home.
 Once a year drunks I call them the very worst kind of drinker because they just aren't used to it, give me a seasoned drinker anytime.  They take ages to come out of the pub shaking hands, hugging everyone in sight, and then going back into the pub several times for yet more long emotional farewells. Then once you get them into the taxi, the struggle is then to get them out of the taxi at the other end, because you are, their new very best friend in the whole wide world and they want to tell you their life story many times very very slowly and emotionally. Then its handshakes and if I’m very unlucky big bear hugs, but of, course none of my new found best friends ever recognise me ever again.
Still it's all good sport, Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Sunday, December 13

Holding The Baby

Some stuff will just never find its way onto these pages, some stuff which I see and hear would just be too hurtful to the folks involved. Other stuff can be told after the passage of time this is just one such story. This took place a good few years back now and maybe the people involved have hopefully changed for the better, who knows let's hope so. The job was to pick a fare up from a large house which was split into flats, it was a rough sort of place and I had to wait a while before someone finally appeared. Then two guys walk out carrying a girl between them who looked unconscious, they heaved her in the back of the car and told me the address she was going to. I went to set off but one of them almost as an afterthought shouted for me to wait and went back into the house. The two guys both of whom were drunk then staggered out with a baby held between them.The baby of no more than twelve or thirteen months old was thrust on the lap of the semi-conscious girl. The girl was that far gone she could not speak or even keep her eyes open and so when we got to the address I was given, I took the baby off her and knocked on the door fully expecting someone sober waiting there to look after the both of them. After knocking for a while with no response, the girl roused herself enough to stagger to the door, open it and fall in. She then tried to take the baby from me, but looking at the state of her I was not so sure that was such a good idea. I had a look around the house in case someone else was about but found nobody at all. I then tried knocking on the neighbour’s door to see if they could help, but they simply didn’t want to know. 
 Very reluctantly I put the baby down and left, I suppose I was guilty of not wanting to get involved. But of course, my mind wouldn’t settle, I kept thinking about what could happen, but then I kept reminding myself that the child would probably be taken into care if the authorities found out. I radioed into the office and had a talk to the lady operator she didn’t hesitate “phone the police you’ll never forgive yourself if anything happens to that child” she said. I drove around aimlessly for a bit longer but the more I struggled with it the more I realised that something just had to be done. The phone call was made and I never did find out what happened over it. I just sincerely hope I did the right thing, but who knows what's for the best. did I make the right call I wonder?

Wednesday, December 2

Prison Review

I always like to listen to people's regional accents and then try to guess exactly whereabouts they are from. Today I guessed correctly that my fare was from the Salford area straight after him saying where he was going to. He was that much impressed that I had said Salford and not the rival nearby Manchester that he strangely decided to give me the full low down on all the many prisons he had been in up and down the country.
 It was like an insider's guide with all the good and bad points of Her Majesty’s accommodation from all over the country. Apparently Armley jail in Leeds is best avoided" the screws don’t like you if you aren’t a tyke". But our local jail Haverigg "is just a holiday camp" compared to most. I just wish I had could have written it all down now, you never know when it may have come in useful eh!

Tuesday, November 24

Little Freinds

A mother and her daughter who would have been about seven or eight got in the taxi today at one of our local supermarkets. As it was mid afternoon and after the standard "been busy, and the weather's crap" conversation I said "no school today then" nodding towards the lass in the back who was sat there looking bored and scratching her head.
 "No, she came home with some little friends yesterday," the mother said scratching and shaking her very long head of hair. I didn't know what she meant by this, but she must have noticed my blank baffled expression and so she went on to say "aye it only takes one kid whose parent doesn't treat them and the full class has them" Again I looked at her blankly for a few seconds and then noticed that both mother and daughter were scratching their heads in unison. Then the mite-sized truth dawned on me and the irresistible urge to scratch my own head started to torture me. Being the polite type, I resisted the urge to scrat for the long long two miles till I got them home and out of the taxi. I spent the rest of the afternoon itching my head after that, just like you are trying to stop yourself doing now!

Thursday, November 19

Numbers Game

Why oh why do people make the single biggest investment of their life’s investing tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds in bricks and mortar and then fail to furnish it with a simple £2.00 house number. How the heck they expect people to find them when I regularly find whole sides of a street with only one or two houses numbers between them I don't know. It’s bad enough in broad daylight but how on earth can they expect the emergency services to reach them in a crisis at night, or even worse the pizza delivery guy!
 Come on folks you can even get self-adhesive numbers buy one for your house now; it may save your life one day.
 Maybe there is a business or fund-raising idea here apparently it’s been tried successfully in other countries so why not here.
And maybe we should ban those pretentious house names and numbers in those silly illegible scripts.
 Whilst on the subject I know of at least one house on a street here in Barrow numbered 12/a instead of 13 and another which doesn’t have a number thirteen at all, superstitious lot ain't we!

Tuesday, November 10

Reluctant Fare

I went to pick up a guy from a house party this Sunday morning and when I arrived outside the house he came staggering out and gave me the fare and sent me away. This was the second time he had done this strange thing that morning.
He explained drunkenly that he had not yet had enough beer to go home and face the almighty rage of his wife "she’ll rip my face off and feed it to the dog" he said." Can you send me another taxi in half an hour, I'll have a few more beers" he said. How many more taxis he paid and sent away after that I don’t know perhaps I should have parked around the corner and kept going back for the money every twenty minutes.

Monday, November 2

Pie Eyed

I had two guys and one not so lovely lady in the cab this morning, one of the guys just happened to be gay.
 They had been out all night partying and were still totally steaming drunk. The over the top drunken lady all of a sudden comes out with the classic weird question “is your brother fat because you’re gay then”? 
There was a stunned silence for a minute or two and then the gay man said “no it’s because he eats too many pies” 
 Oh yes, she said," I eat pies too does that make me fat as well?” He just witheringly looked her up and down in scornful silence for a long moment and then they all started screaming and arguing at the top of their voices, luckily they had reached the destination and were getting out by then, boy was I glad to get rid of them.

Wednesday, October 28


I was talking to a guy today about the rules of percentages and proportions and all sorts of interesting stuff. When I dropped him off  I thought of a few rules that seem to apply whilst working as a cabbie especially in certain areas of Barrow.
 Please don't take offence cos I'm only messing!

#The scruffier the house you pick up from the better the mobile phone they will have with them.

#The amount of rubbish in the front garden is proportional to the screen size of the giant T.V in the front room.

#The bigger the rottweiler the more outrageous the kids names, come on Porsche, Gypsy, Paris, Buster, Diesel gerrin the taxi)

#The complaints about lack of cash are directly proportional to the amount of times that they are picked up from the bingo hall or boozer.

#The slower they limp out of the house when they think somebody is watching the quicker they run into the off-licence (grog shop for our foreign readers) when you drop them off.

#The bigger and more pretentious the house the lesser the chance of a tip.

#The scruffier the house you pick up from the more blingy the jewellery worn by the fare.

#The more expensive the trainers the lesser the vocabulary usually limited to innit,nectar,latta,mingin,wotever,

Wednesday, October 21

There And Back

It has seemed really strange picking up the one- half left of an elderly couple who have been regular fares for a good few years now. When the lady was alive up till a month or two ago it was her who did all the talking, simply because the ould chap was very deaf and it was hard to have a conversation with both being in the back seats of the taxi. The first time that I picked him up when he was alone I made sure that he rode up front with me so that we could have a proper conversation.
 It was a seven-mile trip and so after offering condolences for his loss I started to ask him about his life and times past. It wasn't easy with me having to talk really loud and repeat myself a few times but wow it sure was worth the effort. Amongst other things, he told me the story of him being posted to Japan within months of the Japenese surrender. He shivered as he told me about the horrors he saw when passing through Hiroshima on the way to his first posting. Then he broke into a smile as he told me how he was the butt of a practical joke by his sergeant within the first week of his duties of transporting military vehicles between bases.  The sergeant made him memorize a phrase in Japanise,  which remarkably he could still clearly recite, this was to be used when he was stopped by the Japenese military police.  Laughing he said it seemed to work every time, but he found out later the reason they looked at him so confused was because he was actually saying in Japenese "There and back to see how far it is."    
I have had a good talk with him on the few times that I have picked him up since but couldn't help but notice the deterioration in him lately, he really is struggling. Today he was telling me about his health problems and then he told me how his doctors had given him a list of his ailments that he had to have on display prominently at home in case he collapsed.  I was left struggling for adequate words when he went on to calmly ask me what Alzheimer's meant because that was one of the ailments on his list.

Monday, October 19

Silly Sausage

This morning after four or five supermarket runs, I found that I had acquired a spare packet of sausages in the boot. I didn’t know exactly which fare had left them behind and so rather than waste them I handed them to my lucky next passenger with the words “there you go you’ve won the sausages every tenth fare gets a free half pound of sausages”.
I don’t know if she believed me, but she seemed very pleased with her sausages.

Opp North

Now that the Welsh have signs in Welsh and the Scots in Gaelic it seems that us northerners are about to follow the trend. We tend to drop our Hs and Ws so it has been realised that millions of pounds could be saved by spelling things as we say them for example otel, old folks ome, orse stables, wheelbarra, central eating, any more examples welcome remember it all started with this sign in Barrow--- __ops sorry Barra.

Tuesday, October 6

Mobile Makeup

You know it always amuses me the way that some people really make themselves comfortable when they get into the taxi. Even though they may be in the cab for only a short time I see people adjusting the seats and wriggling about like a tired dog about to get settled. Women seem to be the worst some really make themselves at home, they start putting makeup on and brushing their hair using the vanity mirror and on one occasion a woman even took out a can of highly scented deodorant lifted up her jumper and sprayed her hairy armpits. I have been asked to slow down and avoid bumps whilst they carefully apply their lipstick and eye makeup.  But you know how it is, sometimes the temptation is just too great and I have to brake and swerve to avoid the odd imaginary cat or two on the road. 
You would think that with all this pampering and preparation that they would want to show off their good looks, but I have found that a lot will ask to be dropped round the corner from a pub or restaurant so they can slip in unnoticed.

Monday, September 14

Long Gone Landmark

My fare was a lady along with her two grandchildren who were roundabout ten and twelve.
She was trying to describe to them the place that she wanted to meet them later on, but was having no success at all. She was getting madder and madder and the grandkids more and more perplexed.
For the tenth time she said almost at scream level “by the bank on the corner down from the Railway Arms pub and the police station.” 
The kids just looked at each other completely baffled.  This is when I interrupted and pointed out that every single one of the landmarks she mentioned had all closed down, some of them many years ago. The poor kids wouldn’t have had a clue what the heck she was talking about. 
This got me thinking about just how many people use landmarks that are simply not in existence any longer. 
I still get asked to go for fares at the back of Stollers in town which is a furniture store which moved to the outskirts of town maybe twenty years ago and the fish market that hasn’t sold a fish for many a year. Or I get asked to turn left at the Astra lights as they recall the cinema which was demolished lots of years ago. There are many more of these long gone landmarks which folk use, as well as names of places which have long been changed some several times over. 
I feel sorry for the younger new taxi drivers who must get baffled by all this ancient history! 
But still it will get worse, the rate that pubs and clubs are disappearing nowadays. You know that most folk use pubs to give directions and so when they are all gone we shall all be completely hopelessly lost!   

Monday, September 7

Determined Lady

My fare was an ould lass who was partially sighted and very bad on her legs. She asked to be taken to the local crematorium and then back home again. I explained that the crematorium was closed for building work and that services were being held in a local church instead. She looked horrified and was silent and crestfallen for a moment or two. But then she straightened up and said in a determined voice " I have been going up to see the memorial book with my late husbands name in it for the last twenty six years on the anniversary of his death, So I am not  going to stop now; lets go!"   
As I expected when we got there the building was covered with scaffolding and fenced off.
 But I spotted a small sign on the boarded up door of what would have been the room where the memorial book was kept.  I was as happy as she was to find that at least someone in our parks and cemeteries department had the compassion and good common sense to have the book on display at a low window at the side of the building. 
I drove her round and helped her out and stood back to let her have time reading the book. After a minute or two she called me over to tell me that her sight had gotten that bad that she couldn't see her husband's name in the book. I found the name and read the beautifully illuminated script for her and watched her face light up.  I dropped her off at home and she still had the smile of triumph on her face.    

Sunday, September 6

Mystery Job

One of our female drivers picked up a lass from our office today. She was driving a firm's car plastered with signwriting and sporting a big taxi sign on the roof. The lass said " Oh Hi **** I haven't seen you for years, where are you working at nowadays?" Dohhh!

Sweets n Cakes

Its funny how some old ladies want to feed you up sometimes, like today one old dear gave me a mint and later another a toffee. But to top this just as I was about to go for a coffee a lady gave a slice of her home made lemon sponge cake to go with it delicious. This reminds me of the local taxi legend about the old lady that used to give her driver a little bag of unsalted peanuts every time she was picked up. This went on for months until one driver said “no thank you I don’t like peanuts” she was said to have replied “no neither do I but I like the chocolate coating”---think about it.

Tuesday, September 1

Guilt Week

Well the six week long school holidays are just about over and sales of Vodka and Valium to stressed out parents will soon plummet. The last week is the one I call " guilty week" this is when lots of parents suddenly realise that the holiday is nearly over and they haven't done a thing with their kids. This means that we will be really busy as they rush around trying to cram treats like the zoo, bowling and dining out into the last few days. Others are still trying to rig the kids out in their new school uniform, and of course as usual wrestling matches will break out over that last school jumper or blazer.

Monday, August 24

Car Hunting

I went on a hunt the car mission this morning, about the third in the last month or two.
 I had picked a guy up who had been out drinking till the wee small early hours and now he had decided it was time to pick the car up. As with the rest he was full of confidence that it was just a straightforward taxi ride to the car and then driving it back home, and just like the others his face fell a country mile when the car was not where he thought it was. So it was a blank expression for a minute or two then he exclaims “I know" and directs me to another pub car park two miles away, but of course the same thing happens there also. He gets increasingly panicked as we try another two places where he thinks he may have left his car. 
But at the last place we try and with £12.00 on the meter there is his car, great big smiles from him until he puts his hand in his pocket for the keys.  "Dohh! "

Friday, August 14

Wet Nightmare

A while back now I got a job not too far away from where I was parked, I didn't recognise the name which come up on my screen but thought nothing of it. The job was to pick-up outside a small supermarket but as soon as I got near I recognised the fare.
 I was out of there like a shot I had picked her up a few weeks previously and she not to put too fine a point on it stank. 
The smell was definitely urine and as she got out I noticed that she had green crystals on her trousers were it had dried out. This led to losing an hour or so to clean the car and so it was a quick u-turn and away, but sure enough as I turned in front of her I could plainly see that she had recently wet herself, it was lucky I remembered her.
Lot’s of people say aren't you frightened of people being sick in the back of the car. I don't work nights so it doesn't affect me but the guys who do tell me that you can tell when people are going to vomit and so stop and get them out. But it’s the young ladies who are desperate for a pee who are the biggest problem apparently they do it on the back seat now and again and you don’t know about it until the next fare gets a cold (or if its recent warm ) wet backside.

Sunday, August 9

One of Our's

If you use taxis on a regular basis then it’s always best to find a firm that you really like and then stick with that firm like glue. 
If you do this you will then become what we call “one of ours” and that’s like a VIP pass with a lot of drivers and operators.
 One of ours will get priority every time even if it means your £2 fare over a £10 fare. Drivers get to know “one of ours” and if they see you waiting anywhere they will radio in and make sure that your cab is on its way.
 Drivers know that the “one of ours” customers are our bread and butter and are prepared to go that extra mile to make sure that you stay “one of ours”.
 Some drivers get very protective about “one of ours” and if they see you get into a rival firms cab they will radio back to base accusing the rival firm of poaching you or wanting to know if a driver has upset you. So today's lesson is find a good firm and stick with it folks!
 Oh by the way the one I am with is. or

Friday, July 31

Bust Boosters

I was talking to a lady the other day and she was saying that she was beginning to suspect that she had been ripped off. It seems she had sent for a course of pills that would firm and enlarge her already more than generous boobs.
 This she told me had cost her over a hundred pounds for a three month course, but reading the ingredients it seems they contain nothing more than herbal extracts.
 Even more of a give away was that when she checked on the internerwebs nobody had a good word to say about these so called miracle boob pills.  So she had decided that as she had already paid for them that she should take the three month course and see what developed. 
But I laughingly pointed out to her” what if they do work ,but only on one boob at a time” you may be left with one going north and the other heading south never mind one larger than the other”.
” Well I would send for some more then” she said, maybe I said but that may be the catch they will probably charge ten times as much for the second course of bust boosters.

Sunday, July 26

Phone Home

Had a guy in the cab this morning and we were merrily talking away when his phone rings, he answers and says to me” it’s the wife” and put his finger to his mouth and says “shhh” 
He then says to his wife “yes I am just going through Salford now love I wont be able to make it back home until tomorrow “Salford is about a hundred miles down the road from us and I thought at first he must be a bit mixed up.
 But he then started to describe things we were supposed to be passing such as Strangeways gaol and Boddingtons brewery and even told her that he would call at one of the Asian sweet shops in Cheetham Hill and get something for her. When he finally hung up I looked at him questionly, but he said absolutely nothing about it just shrugged and carried on with the previous conversation.
It just shows you though with mobile phones you could be absolutely anywhere who’s to know eh!

Saturday, July 25


I took a lady to the local train station today, she told me she was off to Preston on a university course. 
I asked what she was studying and her reply was “breastfeeding” I was amazed to hear this and thought she was pulling my leg.
 But no she assured me that she was a midwife and that she was on a twelve week course all about breastfeeding. She did assure me that it would be just theory with no practical work involved.

Monday, July 20

The Burnt Charcoal Suit

One of my lovely passengers, who's a hairdresser was telling me a couple of stories the other day which she assures me are both true. 
The first was told to her by someone who works at the local crematorium. They had a visit from a lady who had recently been widowed and whose late husband's funeral and cremation having taken place only two days previously.” I've come for the suit “she said the staff were mystified by this request and so sat her down and asked what she meant. It turned out that she thought that the customers at the crematorium were undressed prior to being cremated.
 Upon being told that this wasn't so she said “I would have dressed him in one of his old suits if I had known that”.
The second was that a young lady kept coming back to the shop to complain about her perm. It keeps falling out she said, and so the shop redid her hair, this happened three or four times and the shop staff were baffled. On her last visit they sat her down and asked her a few questions about just what she was doing with her hair.
 They found that she actually thought that a perm meant just what it said, and so when she washed her hair she just towelled it and expected it to dry exactly how it was when she left the hairdressers.

Sunday, July 5

Placebo Effect

Two young lads, about eighteen or nineteen who were passengers in the taxi today had had a drop or two to drink but were polite and well behaved.
They had a bit of a run around calling at a house to get changed and the grog shop for more beer, but the last port of call before I dropped them off threw me a bit.
They asked to stop at a shop that sold amongst other things tropical fish supplies.
They both dashed in and within fifteen seconds come out again swallowing some of the "other things" that the shop specialises in.  Legal highs, plant food, bath salts call it what you will but it's what a heck of a lot of the younger generation are gleefully consuming.
Now to me the way these two jokers started acting really weird after a maximum of maybe two minutes of necking this unknown white powder could have had one of two explanations.
The first is that this magic space dust works as soon as it hits your tongue and somehow you are in nirvana within seconds.
The second and the more plausible explanation to me is that maybe some of the effects are psychological a bit like giving a four year old wine gums and telling them that it will make them drunk.  The placebo effect they call it, all in the mind. But seriously if they are going to consume this mystery crap shouldn't the people who supply it take the time to check that they know the effect it will have on them and how long it will last and what the risks are. 
Or maybe it's all a bit of a magical mystery to them, but what the hell it sure keeps the money rolling in for them.         

Sunday, June 28

Billy Boy

There’s always at least one crazy driver on every single taxi firm the one who’s singing to a different tune, dancing to another crazier beat.
 One I know who meets and exceeds this criteria is known as Billy Boy. Now when most drivers find something spilt or crumbs on their seats they clean it up but not Billy Boy he tastes it. 
Twice now he has had to get a cab to pick him up from the next town's railway station when he has helped passengers onto the train at Barrow station and the train has set off before he could get off.
 This is a man who decided to relieve himself on Walney Island beach at nine thirty on a busy Friday night and whilst doing so had to leap for his life when a car drove straight at him onto the beach. This turned out to be his own car which he had left with the handbrake off.
 He had to call for another car to tow him back onto the road. 
This is a man who a passenger tells me asked them” where do you want it then up the back passage”? We really hope he meant the taxi.

Friday, June 19

Party Food

Some of the old folk I pick up say the strangest things, one old lass today was on her way to the dentist.
” I'll have to get my teeth fixed today” she said” us pensioners are having the Mayor for tea” (Which thinking about it afterwards doesn't seem such a bad idea at all, there must be lots of local politicians who would make a good meal for our pensioners) Then she went on to tell me that you can now get goose grease locally and that heated and mixed with a bit of camphor it would make an ideal chest rub. 
With a serious expression she said” it works you know you don't see geese with colds”.

Sunday, June 14

Magic Roundabout

As usual this morning a bit of road rage was going on at our famous Tesco magic mini roundabout. 

When I reached the roundabout I heard the screech of brakes and saw the usual macho shaking of fists and posturing, and I could hear the two drivers shouting and abusing each other.
 In the end one of the drivers screeched off in a cloud of tyre smoke. Unfortunately for him this was witnessed by a policeman in a plain car and he followed him. When I passed he and the P.C. were having words but I was disturbed to see a boy of about seven or eight sat in the front seat of the car. Its bad enough acting in this way anyway but to let a child witness it is truly moronic. 
The approach to our magic roundabout is the one place in Barrow I would consider speed humps. There is this unfounded faith in the idea that the faster and more aggressively you drive at it the better and that everyone will automatically give way to traffic from the right. This and the assumption that every driver will indicate are often proved wrong.
 Or do they just hope that everyone else has brakes and insurance.

Tuesday, June 9

Yan Tan

I took an old guy to Ulverston one morning this week and when he counted the coins out to pay the fare he said “here’s dick tan lad keep the change,” This had me baffled so I asked him to explain what he had just said.
 He told me that it’s an ancient form of counting still in use by some of the Cumbrian upland sheep farmers to count their flock.
 So here goes with one to ten, don’t know if any of the spellings are correct this is just as he said them. 1 yan 2 tan 3 teddera 4 meddera 5 pimp 6 settera 7 lettera 8 hovera 9 dowra 10 dick .
It sounds like it may come from the Old Norse but best of all I like the one for 15 bumfit and the one for 20 jiggot.
 Right I'm off for a dick minutes rest might catch you in bumfit or so.

Wednesday, June 3

Body Bits

It was one of my rare days off today, so as usual it was clean up time with the taxi. Vacuuming the inside I always find the same stuff, hair clips, the odd coin, and lots of glitter from the girl’s makeup.
 But it's the bits of people's bodies left behind that never fail to amaze me, always lots and lots of hair of every colour and not just head hair believe it or not.  Yes the I vacuum up the occasional hair which definitely looks like the pubic variety, how it gets there I just cannot figure.
 Fingernails I can understand there's a heck of a lot of nervous people out there.
 But I never see passengers bite their toenails yet I also find them on the floor.

Friday, May 29

Meth Lifestyle

I had two meth runs in a row one day recently, for those that don’t know meth is short for methadone which is a liquid heroin substitute doled out by the pharmacist and has to be drank whilst in the chemist’s shop.  This is a daily thing for these people and part of their normal routine, but don't go thinking that it’s all shady young chavs in hoodies, it’s both males and females and with a wide range of ages from twenties up to fifties.   
  Some say that these people have a drug problem but no to a lot of them it isn’t a problem at all.  With most of the long term users it’s simply a way of life and they know nothing else. Think of it this way, what wouldn’t you give to be free of all responsibility and to just treat life as one big game. Usually no fixed address so no bills to pay and no kids to look after, just like most of the users they are brought up by relatives or end up in a care home. Cash isn’t a problem easily earned by small time dealing, supplying other users. 
They tend to give the wrong destination when ordering the cab and it then turns into a run-around and a drop off on a vague street corner after going from one side of town to the other and back. Now sometimes if I stay real quiet with more than one fare in the taxi folk seem to forget I am there and talk about all sorts of strange stuff, today was just one of those occasions. This kind of opened a window onto the wild crazy lifestyles that some of these users take for granted. And it does sometimes seem that they can experience crazier stuff in a week than most of us see in a whole lifetime.  Three people in the taxi and they were all pretty silent until the meth had been taken and then they started to relax and talk between themselves.
One story was the tale of a fellow user who had not been able to go to his brothers’ funeral that week from his prison cell. “Naw the screws wunt let him go cos he’s an high escape risk he got out of the cop van in Lancaster and was on the run for a week, then when they got him he squeezed out of the skylight of the sweatbox (prison van).”  The lass then responded with “they double cuffed me when I went to me nanas, why didn’t they do that and put him on a lead” (a long chain from the cuffs to the prison officers) just then the actual guy they were talking about rang them using a smuggled mobile phone direct from his prison cell. They seemed to treat this as nothing out of the ordinary apparently mobiles are quite easy to get hold of in jail. 
They spent the rest of the cab ride laughing and telling each other stories about how they got caught for dealing and what cars the police were “sneaking around in”.  They didn’t think it fair that the police were now using cars with blacked out windows to watch them from and even using rough old cars to follow them with.  
Wow how some folk live eh!

Tuesday, May 26

Foul Mouths

I picked up three huge Australian rugby players today and I fully expected a bit of cursing from them. But not a bit of it, not a word was said that couldn't be repeated at the vicar’s tea party. Not that I have ever been invited to the vicars tea party that is. The trio of polite good mannered blokes were a pleasure to drive for,
This was in sharp contrast to the next bunch who happened to be pupils from a local school they seemed and looked okay, that is until they opened their mouths.
 Now I've been around a fair bit, but I have never heard swearing and profanity the like of which was casually uttered by these girls of thirteen or fourteen. If only the mothers of the foul females could have overheard them!