Wednesday, November 29

Speed Zone

I am wondering if someone has made a mistake with the recently installed speed humps on Barrow's Fairfield Lane. Every other road or street that I can think of that has speed humps is in a speed reduction zone, these are clearly marked as you enter and leave them with the speed limit(usually 20mph) and telling you that it's a speed reduction area. Have they jumped the gun by installing speed humps without first advertising their intention of declaring Fairfield Lane a speed reduction area. And as there are no signs to tell us what the speed limit should be, can we if we damage our cars by driving at the normal 30 MPH send the repair bills to the council?

Tuesday, November 28

Magic Hump

Speed humps we drivers have every reason to hate them. They force even good drivers to drop their speed to unnecessarily low levels, they can cause damage to both vehicle and passengers, and the process of slowing down and speeding up is bad for fuel economy there's a queue of other interested parties who haven't got a good word to say about them either. Environmentalists dislike them because they cause pollution - 80 per cent more carbon-monoxide emissions have been reported on roads with conventional humps. The emergency services say they present such an obstacle for them that they have cost lives. Residents complain about the noise humps cause; bus companies often withdraw services when they're installed on routes. Now a British company claims it has found a way of retaining the one benefit of speed humps - reducing speeding - while overcoming the downsides. The Transcalm is an inflatable rubber speed hump that uses a valve to detect vehicle speeds. If the driver is sticking to the limit, the hump deflates, enabling the car to maintain a constant speed. The valve can be tweaked so larger vehicles such as buses and the emergency services can cross them at whatever speed they like. And they're quicker to install than conventional humps, says the maker, Dunlop. What a brilliant idea,but at £2500 each I doubt we will be seeing many around here, they will stick to the big lump of tarmac method I fear.

Monday, November 27

Hairy Beauty

Lot's of young girls lately when I take them to the local college tell me that they are doing a hair and beauty course there, it seems to be a very popular choice. Some of them tell me they hope to work on cruise liners when they qualify, and" see the world and get paid for it" they say to me. Well maybe I'm being cynical but I can't help but think that some of them are being seduced by the glamour and think that they are going for the easy option, well they may be in for a shock. The many hairdressers and beauticians that I pick up regularly, tell me of long hours and hard work and of being on their feet for hours on end. As for the exotic life on the ocean wave traveling the world on cruise liners, well I've spoken with lasses that have tried that, and they tell me the story's of never getting ashore because of overwork, poor cabins below decks and being treated like dirt by snooty passengers. But I must admit it seems to be a growing trend in Barrow with beauty salons seeming to be springing up on every street corner. I just wonder how many folks in our, well lets face it mainly working class town go in for a hot stone massage or a reiki or Indian head massage, as I see advertised outside some of these posh shops.

Sunday, November 26

Big Spend

Well this weekend the Christmas shopping frenzy has started in earnest, with all three of the bigger supermarket's being swamped with folk eager to get rid of their hard earned cash. Both Tesco and Asda have finished their multi-million pound makeovers, and today I sneakily used Tescos as yet unopened new road and entrance to North Rd, and the verdict; great it will smooth traffic flow no end. The new first floor is great, but being open twenty-four hours I would warn drunks against popping in on the way home especially if you are carrying your plastic, you may wake up next day at home and wonder how the forty-two inch wide screen telly got there. Asda seems to be attracting a lot of blind deaf motorists, OK they may miss the huge signs and markings which tell them TAXIS ONLY and stop in our bay by mistake. But when I draw alongside them and shout and point at the signs, they neither hear or see me, they just seem to stare blankly ahead.

Clootie Well

Have a look at this one from Joe in the Highlands of Scotland " Dating back to pre-Christian times, a 'clootie well' is a magical spring where you leave an article of clothing, a clootie. The idea is that if you are sick, you can leave your sickness in your clothing and as it decays away, so will your sickness." I've seen something similar in Greece but never knew we had anything like this over here, cool!

Saturday, November 25

Speed bandits

This idea from Copenhagen seems a good one to me let's have them on every street, I would for one would definitely slow down. Here's the link as some find it annoying playing every time they visit

Friday, November 24

Time to Pay

A customer today when we reached his destination and it was time to pay the fare started to mutter. He was rummaging in his pockets for a while and then started to swear, he had had a few drinks and so I didn't take much notice. That is until he started to pull out crumbled notes and loads of small change, and mutter something I couldn't make out. " What's up is something wrong" I asked "it's not usually that much he said" I looked at the meter which read £4.60p, and thought "well we've got a tightwad here" no that's right I said and waited for the fare. I was baffled when he then started to count out notes and coins and hand them over saying "I still think you've overcharged me but here's the £13.16p" I looked at him and then at the meter at a loss as to what was going on, and then it dawned on me he was actually looking at the twenty four hour digital clock on the radio, and yes you've guessed it the time was sixteen minutes past one. When I pointed out his mistake it was harder to tell whether he was more relieved about the price or more embarrassed about his mistake.

Thursday, November 23


Have you the balls to display your balls on the back of your car or motorcycle? Hand finished in the USA these terrific testicles are available now for only $25 and $1.50 postage for each extra nut. Available in lots of different colours and finishes including blue balls for married guys and hand painted camouflage balls for military types.

£180.000 Parking Jackpot

The folk who operate the pay and display car park at Barrow's Furness General hospital must be rubbing their hands together and jumping up and down with delight. What a windfall the recently painted double yellow lines on nearby Dalton Lane must be for them. At least sixty extra cars will be forced to pay to park on the hospital's expensive car park, that's a minimum extra income of £300 per day, £2100 per week, £9000 a month and a staggering grand total of £108.000 a year. Quite why the yellow lines were put there is a mystery, no problems that I can think of would justify this unjustified and unwanted parking ban. It's not as if the patients and staff who parked there caused any problems for local residents, very few houses front onto this part of the road and the ones that do have huge drives.

Wednesday, November 22

Deflated Ego

Today I was left scratching my head and wondering whether I had been insulted or not, what do you think? here's the tale. Now and again when I pick a fare up, they will look at me for a while as if they recognise me. Sometimes they say something and other times they aren't too sure and I see them glancing at me sideways for the whole journey, and then they tend to hesitate just before they get out the cab, and then some take this last chance to satisfy their curiosity. Others just get out and leave it at that, other times the boots on the other foot and I think I know the fare from somewhere, but every time this happens with me I will ask them and I have had some good chats about past times with folk. Today a guy did the usual sidelong glances and then he asked if my name was Bond, no I replied why? He went on to ask me loads more questions about which school I went to and where I was brought up. I'm sure I went to school with you he kept saying, and seemed to think I was telling lies and that I really was his long lost schoolmate. But later he mentioned that it was his birthday at Christmas, and this is when I didn't know whether to feel insulted it's his ninety fourth birthday!

Free Taxi Rides

There is apparently an amateur taxi driver in Seattle who drives around in an old checker cab offering free rides. He says that he does it for fun and as a hobby, but when I checked the video out from Drive Time I get the impression that he's in it for the girls.

Monday, November 20

Hairy Bikers series 3

Today I finished the day of with a trip to Lancaster and picking up Dave Myers, one half of the hugely popular Hairy Bikers. Laden down with bags he was on the last leg of his marathon thirty six hour journey home, from Argentina where he had been filming for a third series of the motorcycling, cooking, travel and generally letting the good times roll The Hairy Bikers Cookbook
He did tell me some titbits from the new series but let's wait until it's release in spring , but I can tell you that Dave manages to mention Barrow more than once or twice.

Saturday, November 18


This local taxi driver is being made to resit his test and has to endure driving round with learner plates on in the meantime. They tell me this is because of overuse of indicators and failure to meet the target for splashing walkers when it rains on Barrow's man made lake on Rawlinson St. But worse of all he was found to be unable to steer with his belly whilst eating a Greens meat-n-tatie pie with one hand and talking on a phone in the other hand. Hey just joking mate honest!!

Friday, November 17

Nuclear Arms

What's going on here I thought when I dropped of down Barrow's Ramsden Dock Rd this morning. The place was crawling with police, being naturally nosy I went a bit closer thinking maybe I would take a photo of whatever was going on. But as I drew closer I noticed that the police cars were nice new shiny silver ones and not the clapped out blue and white bangers that our local bobby's have to plod around in. Closer still and then I saw that they were carrying big black guns, and that they didn't didn't look all that welcoming. I decided against the photo and quickly did a u-turn , closely watched by at least fifty pairs of unfriendly eyes. It turns out that I had arrived just as the town’s first ever road shipment of Plutonium-based Mox nuclear fuel was due to be delivered for shipment on the Atlantic Osprey. Glad I got out of there when I did 1.25 tonnes of nuclear fuel and dozens of guns somehow make me feel a little uneasy.

Shabby FM

I do wish Barrow's new local radio station Abbey FM would get their act together and get some proper local news and not repeat the same stuff time after time. All day today we have had to put up with the breathlessly exited female newsreader telling us that someone has had a jacket nicked from a car on Barrow's Church St. She goes on excitedly imploring us for information and witness's to this dastardly crime. I know some people say that Barrow is a bit of a backwater with a low crime rate but surely we have more going on than this. Or maybe it was one of Abbey FMs staff who had the jacket nicked. Next thing we will be getting told when the traffic newsreader's mother is crossing Abbey Rd so we can all slow down.

Burnt Offering

Spotted this offered on Barrow's freecycle group website "MFI wardrobe. Approx 6ft x 4ft x 2ft. In pieces, ready to be put together. Colour, brown." After the recent huge fire at MFI I can understand why it would be in pieces and brown, just slightly singed, but would go well with the charcoal carpet eh!

Wednesday, November 15

Mads Tips

Read Mads lifestyle and financial tips some real good advice in there, most of it common sense but nice to see that Mad has taken the time to write it all down. I like the bit about relaxing and taking it easy whilst working .

My Ship

This is destined to be a classic! footage from Barrow's Tesco supermarket security cameras, I know most of the character's on this footage by sight some like the manly transvestite, known as the cock in the frock are local legends. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 14

Mail Board for the Bored

This little lot I found on the local Evening Mail message board my reply is at the bottom, funny thing is that I think maybe this may have been started by one of the reporters just to see what is stirred up.

"oh, how we all laugh at the weekly Evening mail column known as Taxi Tales, where one of Barrows finest (sic) taxi drivers ridicules the people who pay his wages."

"Here's a few questions for him, why do Taxi drivers stop in the middle of the street,(completely blocking it) when parking places are often available, why do they let people sit in the back with children on their knees(illegally), why do they double park in cornwallis street (so they can chat to each other without getting out of their car) why do they beep their horn(also illegal) to alert the passenger they have arrived,even in the early hours?"

"Are taxi drivers above the laws that other drivers are expected to follow?"

"Professional drivers, don't make me laugh!"

"All is not lost however because I once saw a taxi double parked outside the post office on Lesh Lane when there was loads of places to park only a few feet in front of him, what he did'nt reckon on was the police car that pulled up behind him."

"These taxi drivers think they are a law to themselves, sudden u-turns in the road, parking on Abbey Road outside of the Railway facing on-coming traffic !!!, I once saw one turn into Dalton Road from Abbey Road !!, only one headlight working, etc etc etc"

"Or © trying to get a good nights sleep when some cretin starts sounding his horn across the street because someone at a party has called a Taxi at 3.00 A.M. if"
"Or (D) wondering why it's one law for the ordinary driver and another for the taxi driver."

My Reply
Hit the nail on the head there "why do the parents do it" it's a parents responsibility morally, but by law after the age of three and up to age 16 the driver has to see that the child is safely strapped in. As for parking well if you order a taxi you would want it outside and not have to go looking for it down the street wouldn't you . A lot of folk we pick up are disabled and need door to door service would you have us throw the poor granny out half a mile away from home?. Headlight out don,t think so pal taxis are by law amongst the most regularly tested and inspected vehicles on the road. Most local firms have callback nowadays and so the horn blowing is a thing of the past. As with any group we have the good and we have the bad but remember one thing if you drive badly for too long you won't last too long driving a taxi. Insurance premiums start at £2000 per year but rise rapidly if you have accidents

Monday, November 13

In theDark

Now that the dark evenings have arrived big time I can't help but notice the amount of street lights that aren't working. Even a lot of the fancy newer light's in the town centre are out, are they not checked now and again? I see that the towns Christmas(whoops sorry it's winter holiday now according to the PC brigade) light's are going up this week with lot's of guys using cherry- pickers to attach stuff to the tops of lamppost's . Funny thing is that a lot of the light's they are attaching tinsel and baubles to still don't work, why don't they give the guys a box of bulbs and a hammer and maybe they could fix some of the lights whilst they are up there.

Sunday, November 12


Going by this Sunday mornings pickup's Saturday night must have been really busy. I was still picking drunks and leftovers up until well after lunchtime. I was amazed when I went to pickup at a certain town centre boozer at 8am this morning,( yes thats right 8am) to see at least twenty or thirty revelers outside all waiting for taxi's. Some started arguing when I pulled up, they all claimed it was their taxi, but I insisted getting the fare whose name was on my screen. The four passengers I picked up reminded me why I don't work nights they were drunk, swearing ,loud, obnoxious and aggressive and "yes you guessed it they were all girls." What should have been a two mile round trip turned into a tortuous seven mile zig zag all over town as they argued as to who should be dropped of first. For the whole journey I was repeatedly informed in a loud scream that the lovely young lady in the back would "f***ing piss her knickers if I didn't stop going over the c***ing bumps". I wonder if you filmed them and played it back next day when they were sober, would they be embarrassed? maybe not but if their mum's saw it they certainly would be.

Saturday, November 11

Boom Boom

Lot's of football fan's in town for the Barrow versus Bristol Rovers match at Holker St. This for some reason meant a huge show of strength by the Police, with many special constables and reinforcements brought in from out of town. But of course it was raining and blowing a gale and so there was no chance of the opposing fans having a scrap. The police even brought in dog patrols, but when I think of police dogs I tend to think of big snarling German Shepard's and not the cuddly assortment that minced up and down Holker St today. None of the fur ball's held on huge chains by handlers in full black SWAT team gear would have frightened anything but a very nervous pussy. Mind you I did hear that Basil Brush was in town today doing a show at Forum 28 so they may have been friend's of his. Boom Boom!

Friday, November 10

Big Brother

Cumbria Traffic Police have been showing a big presence in Barrow this week, mainly during the tea time rush home. Most folk seem to assume that the police van's parked on the main routes out of town are speed traps. This impression is helped by the signs placed near the van which say Police cameras. But the truth is that the van is equipped with the latest numberplate reading technology, this reads your vehicle registration as you drive past and instantly check's it on the Police National Computer. This tells them if the vehicle is wanted in connection with any offences and if it is taxed tested and insured. Any problems and they have a traffic car ready to stop you within half a mile. And don't think it won't get you if you're on the other side of the road, cameras cover both sides. So be warned big brother is watching you, we are now the most closely monitored country in the world, and if Mr Blair gets his ID cards implemented it will get even more like big brother.

Name Rank Number

When I picked up a middle aged couple today they weren't going far, just a short hop round the corner. Neither said very much apart from the guy who sat in the back asking for a pen and when we got to the destination the lady paid the fare and got out first. The guy held back and tapped my shoulder and held his hand out, great I thought a tip. He then pushed something into my hand which I thought was a fiver maybe, then he said shh and got out the car. When I looked at what he had given me it was a scrunched up piece of paper. On it was written a name a rank Sgt and what looked like a service number. I was left scratching my head what the heck was that all about. Who knows, he looked too serious to be joking, there's some strange folks about.

Thursday, November 9

Spare Tarmac

I see that Barrow has suffered another fresh rash of speed bumps, the new eruption has appeared on Fairfield Lane. Quite why they have chosen this road to dispose of more surplus tarmac, I don't know. This road is nearly always littered with badly parked cars, and so is only fit for one car at a time to pass. This was proven when the work was delayed quite a few times due to parked cars blocking access for the workmen. Strange when we get these speed humps in places like this and yet round the corner within a few hundred yards we have a school, with none of the roads leading to it's gate hindered by any speed bumps. Who decides where these thing's are to go, no doubt they are not from Barrow, maybe they would be better employed finding the many pothole's we have to dispose of the ton's of surplus black tar they seem to have.

Tuesday, November 7

Hot Humour

Even whilst the last of the flames were being damped down by fire-fighters, jokes started to be told about the huge fire which destroyed Barrow's M.F.I furniture showroom and the adjoining Allied Carpet store. A bit cruel maybe but that's the way Barrow folk are, we seem to revel in black humour especially in the face of adversity. The first one told to me early Monday morning was "They are are having a sale at M.F.I. today lots of cheap black ash furniture" and "Allied Carpets are having a special on charcoal carpets". No doubt about it there will be more in circulation, and even in more tragic circumstances I have heard Barrow folk use humour as a way of dealing with things. In a crisis other folk will dig the insurance policy out but a true Barrovian will put the kettle on for a brew and sit down and try to see the funny side.

Monday, November 6

Chinese Whispers

Over this weekend at least twenty different fares told me of the demise of one of Barrow's most well known characters "Russell the dog walker" as he is known. Some told of a sudden heart attack and some even went as far as telling me that he had been murdered. It seemed that by Sunday night that it was the talk of the town and everybody knew. Monday morning and I find myself driving down a country lane near the village of Gleaston. As I rounded a bend I was shocked to see what must surely have been a ghost! but then again ghosts aren't usually seen dragging two Jack Russell terriers and they don't give you the thumbs up when you pass. I was straight on the radio to the office, to tell them that I had spotted Russell alive and well, but no they said everyone says he's dead. "If he is then I've seen my first ghost" I replied. Later that day he was spotted in the town centre giving folk his usual greeting's of "now then me ol jack rabbit"and" ow yu doin ya old stag". Yes I can truly say that Russell is one of a kind and we're all glad that he's still alive and kicking.

Sunday, November 5

Guy Fawkes

Driving down a Barrow Road tonight it seems more like a reenactment of world war two than Guy Fawkes night. The battle was between the two estates separated by a main road Chavway on the low ground and Onsick Green the high ground. The winner being the side which made the most noise for longest. Similar battle's raged between rival estates the length and breadth of town. Unbelievable amounts of giro's were spent at the local dodgy dealers in exchange for illegal display fireworks and all loaded into the disability funded people carrier's to be carried back to the opposing estates. Fence's were ripped down and thrown on the hurriedly built bonfires along with the wide screen TVs and settee's that had been in the front garden since last year. Who won? well that's hard to tell, and by the time all the packs of yellow Lynx lager and wacky baccy had gone neither side cared anyway.

Saturday, November 4


I see that the local paper the Evening Mail picked up on the Danger Mall story I did on Sunday. I still can't believe that I was the only one to spot this danger. Or maybe I wasn't! some folk just don't want to get involved, maybe they think that if they ignore these things they will just go away. Well the truth is they don't and you need to shout loud and long before anyone in authority condescends to listen to the man in the street

Friday, November 3

Post Haloween

Well it was a quiet Halloween this year with not much trouble due to an increased police presence on the street's. Trouble is that it seems that the local brats have decided to leave the real mischief making until afterwards. For several nights on the trot so far our local taxi drivers have had to put up with eggs, and even worse stones being thrown at cabs in certain parts of town. Don't the parents of these little darlings ever wonder where they are when they go on their nocturnal vandalism sprees. It may seem like fun to these kids but when driver's are out there doing a public service and trying to make a living it's no joke. Perhaps the police should like the little thugs consider Halloween as a week and not just the one night.


I see that the recently refurbished Theatre Bar in Barrow's Cavendish St has introduced a dress code, no track suits or baseball caps. Now to me this is as daft as our floating nightclub the Blue Lagoons no trainers policy, it's just another excuse for bouncers "oops sorry" door persons to pick and choose who they would like to let in. Many of my fares tell me story's of being refused entry and door staff using the dress code as an excuse. If one of the door staff didn't like you at school or work, then you simply don't get in. You've got even less chance if you went out with his sister, or even worse his mother or the very worst case scenario his gay brother. No matter how someones dressed at the end of the day it's that person's behavior that should be judged not his clothes, thugs wear suits too! And it does just seem to be the fellas who have to conform to this adaptable dress policy, is this sex discrimination?

Wednesday, November 1


On my day off I went down to Leicester, which is a good four hundred mile round trip. Going down the motorway during the rush hour in the morning makes me realise just how lucky we are in this relatively quiet neck of the woods. How some folk must hate it when they have to commute in and out of some of the bigger city's twice a day, it must be pure torture. Driving through Manchester city centre a week or two back in the pouring rain and big queues at the bus stops were getting drenched, they could see the bus a few hundred yards away but it would take another fifteen minutes before it reached them, poor blighter's! Later coming back up the M6 when it was dark I couldn't help but notice that once you get past Preston coming north all of a sudden there's no more lights on the motorway. Are our northern councils too slow to pay the electricity bills, or do they think we have better eyesight. Surely we pay just the same road and fuel taxes up in the sticks, so why are we left in the dark. And since when did we become the Lake District Peninsulas? nobody asked me if I wanted to live in this spin doctors name for Furness but apparently that's were we are now all living, according to the fancy signs at the A590 turnoff.