Monday, July 30
Sunday, July 29
My fare who I picked up midday Sunday from Lancaster railway station, turned out to be an exhausted but still cheerful Dave Myers, the locally based half of the famous Hairy Bikers.
He was on the last leg of his epic journey back to Roa Island all the way from Singapore, wow! no wonder he was tired. He had been over there to a glitzy promotion for the show on BBC Worldwide channels which are now screened over there. Despite only being in Singapore for a whistle stop tour of only a couple of days, the boys managed to fit a lot in a short time. Dave told me of meeting up with the Tellytubbies, who were also there to promote their show which is a big hit over there. So much so that Dave tells me he was amazed at the sight of grown men wanting to hug the Tubbies everywhere they went. Dave and screen sidekick Si King ended up going out on a boozy night out with the tubbies and Extreme Survival star Ray Mears.
The mind boggles at the thought of what a strange get together that must have been, but as Dave said "it was a good laugh and well worth the hangover"
Friday, July 27
hairdresser-yawns and says" no", the drunk then launches into a five minute foul mouthed tirade of abuse and slams the phone down. Our long suffering hairdresser climbs back into bed and is just settling down when the phone rings again and yes you've guessed it"can I have one now" I was telling another cab driver about this and he told me that he has a similar problem. His phone number is one digit from that of a local lady's dress shop. Now this particular dress shop specialises in outfits for the more generous well rounded figure. He gets calls now and again from lady's asking if a dress they want is in stock, his standard ploy is to ask "and what size is that in madam" then whatever the reply he would answer "sorry can't help you, but I can give you the number of a marquee rental company, Rent-a-tent"
Thursday, July 26
Wednesday, July 25
Byrne, a 30-year veteran driver, was assigned No. 666 only last August, after another applicant refused to accept the number. Since then, sources said, Byrne has been involved in at least one accident -- even after taking the precaution of having the cab blessed at Mission Dolores.
A few years ago it is said, the cab held by medallion holder 666 "burned to a crisp on Good Friday ... and the only thing remaining after the fire were the numbers 666, visible in the rubble."
"The number 666 has been associated with evil and with Satan for hundreds of years. The number first appears in the Revelation of St. John the Divine. Revelation describes Armageddon and offers the number 666 as a method of recognizing the followers of 'the beast,' or evil.''
"Do you believe in the Mark of the Beast yourself he was asked?''. "No. But there is a lot of negative energy around that cab".
On the meeting agenda is a four-paragraph resolution explaining the problem and requesting that Medallion 666 be retired and that Medallion 1307 be issued as a replacement -- even though that number begins with the spooky digits "13."
Thomas George-Williams, chairman of the United Taxicab Workers union, said No. 666 has "quite a history" and that cabbies love to tell ghost stories about it between fares, but that the commission ought not to get involved in superstitions.
He said taxi drivers already must remember there is no 13th Avenue in San Francisco. The name of the thoroughfare between 12th and 14th avenues was long ago dubbed Funston Avenue, to keep Armageddon at bay.
"I think this is going to make the city look a little silly for taking it up,'' George-Williams said. "Where does it stop? I don't think the city needs to spend time getting involved in something like this.''
The debate was the best show to play City Hall in some time. It featured commissioners bickering good-naturedly with one another, the head of the cab drivers union arguing before the board with red horns on his head and several other cabbies pleading for common sense, a quality not always found in the stone building at Civic Center.
Commission President Paul Gillespie said he favored granting the request, "and hopefully we can do this quickly so we never have to deal with this again.''
But with the underworld, the Book of Revelation and the Mark of the Beast at stake, quickness was not to be. Six cabbies had something to say during public comment.
"How dare you take Lucifer's number away,'' said Thomas George-Williams, president of the cab drivers union, who was sporting the red horns. "This is a serious issue.''
A cabbie named Tom warned the commission that it was "opening a can of worms" and would soon be deluged with requests to retire other numbers. A cabbie named Barry pointed out that 666 was the address of SS Peter and Paul's Church on Filbert Street, an outfit not thought to be in Satan's pocket. A cabbie named Grasshopper said it was a "bad idea to get into mysticism and voodoo.''
"Where does it end?'' said Vice President Patricia Breslin. "I lived at an address of 666 and I did not go over to the dark side.''
Commissioner Malcolm Heinecke said he might approve the request if the commission decided to charge a "significant fee.'' Commissioner Ton Oneto pointed out that the number had been around for at least 30 years and San Francisco has somehow survived.
And then the clerk called for a formal vote, and the commission voted 5-1 to grant sympathy to the devil and keep No. 666 on the books. Only Gillespie -- who said he had once driven cab No. 666 himself and was versed with its implications -- voted to kick the number out.
Tuesday, July 24
I gave one a lift to the outskirts of town up to the first big roundabout where he would find it easier to beg a ride. After chatting with him for a while I got the impression that it's a hard lonely life with long hours. It's only down to luck when he manages to get lifts that are going in his direction, and he told me of countless hours stuck at wet and windy junctions. Just before he climbed out I said "well I hope you get home to something nice for tea tonight" he gave a sickly smile and replied "maybe not I have an appointment at six for a Vasectomy"
"Ouch" so if you see trade plate man on his travels take pity and give him a ride home eh!
Monday, July 23
Surely some sort of qualification should be needed to take these monsters on our mainly unsuitable roads. But it seems that anybody can drive a limo without any training or experience and unlike the taxi industry no police criminal record checks are needed. When you think that a lot of these limos are hired for the use of children going to party's and proms that can't be right. Of course we can't attribute blame to the driver in this case that has still to be investigated. The other thing that is disturbing about this case is that reports suggest that the driver was moonlighting from his job as a bus driver. Again questions need to be asked about hours worked and the lack of legislation about this involving these dangerous heavy vehicles.
Sunday, July 22
charter company has had to make a forced landing on a local school playing field. The chopper has been stuck there all day and seems to be sinking deeper into the soft ground.
The strange thing is that the school Walney Secondary School is only a mile or so from Walney airfield. This is what they have to say about this nine seater aircraft which is the one used on occasion by ex prime minister Tony Blair.
"The Sikorsky S-76 is the first choice helicopter for heads of state and captains of industry, as it is known to be one of the most reliable and powerful helicopters in executive charter operations. Our S-76C+ offers more a comfortable and elegant interior fitted to meet today's highest standards of luxury. With a separate air-conditioned cabin, improved soundproofing and Sikorsky's 'Quiet Zone' gearbox, it achieves the lowest noise levels of any helicopter in its class. You can relax and enjoy the journey or perhaps conduct private business meetings with fellow passengers while keeping in touch using the latest onboard satellite telephone equipment. With long range capability, a top cruise speed of 175mph, flexible seating configuration and room for six suitcases or eight sets of golf clubs in the baggage compartment this aircraft is the perfect choice for business or pleasure."
Sound posh eh! but unless they were dropping in for a game of golf at the nearby Furness Golf Club, it looks like it's broken down.
Saturday, July 21
Friday, July 20
I spotted this strange looking car on Barrow's Hollywood Park, now this is someone who wants to be noticed. Apart from having a toilet bowl with a flashing light on the roof rack their was a garden bench, gnomes, plant pot, plastic cats, ladders and a flag. A large sign proudly proclaimed "Huddevilles King of the English Eccentrics" and another that he was "King of the Motorway and a True Brit Patriot" He was even parked in an odd manner, not for him one of the hundreds of surrounding parking bays, this guy I can see is one who doesn't go with the flow.
Tuesday, July 17
Monday, July 16
Sunday, July 15
The new owners they say, while exploring their property, decided to look in the barn,
which they had not entered before purchasing the property. The barn door was padlocked and welded shut, but after much work with a grinder this is what they are said to have found.
"check out the pics and see if you recognise any of the cars"
Friday, July 13
Thursday, July 12
The worlds oldest car is soon to come up for sale at auction, but no wonder they didn't make many of them. What with half an hour to make enough steam to go and a plentiful supply of wood and coal needed to keep it going, I wouldn't fancy using it as a taxi.
The four-wheeled car, called La Marquise, was built in 1884 for the Count De Dion, one of the founders of the automobile manufacturers De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux. It has only had two other owners since, according to Gooding & Company, the auction house selling it.
The four-seater, fuelled by coal, wood and paper, takes about half an hour to work up enough steam to go. In an 1887 race, La Marquise hit an average speed of 26 miles per hour on a 19-mile course. The following year it won the world's first motor race, beating out its three-wheeled competition, another De Dion-Bouton.
The steam-powered La Marquise was built in France in 1884 by De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux, one year before Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz each independently built their first gasoline-powered cars in Germany. Twelve years later, Henry Ford built his first automobile in the US.
Tuesday, July 10
Monday, July 9
It's strange and somehow reminiscent of a zombie horror movie how I keep seeing long forgotten faces from the dim and distant past, emerging grey faced and blinking into the unfamiliar sunlight, as I drive past the now smoke free pubs and clubs.
One unwanted side effect that some of my fares who live near to the Town centre pubs have told me about is a big increase in noise. When it's quiet in the early hours of morning they tell me that the smokers in the back streets and yards near pubs can be heard for miles. One lady complains that her tiny tot has developed a whole new vocabulary of swear words and keeps reciting dirty jokes. But the thing that keeps most awake is the constant coughing and spluttering from the late night revelers.
It had me puzzled at first when I kept seeing taxi's parked in strange places, behind trucks or trees and hidden down dead end back streets. But it seems that the phones have been red hot at the town hall from folk complaining about some drivers ignoring the ban. As a result warnings have gone out to the die hard smokers amongst the drivers, and they are playing ostrich. Come on guys stop sticking your heads in the sand, a taxi with it's door signs, plates and roof light is hard to hide. If you want a fag step out of the car and smoke it, thats all it takes.
Sunday, July 8
"It was a good pair of trainers I had been wearing at the time," Alex McIlveen tells us . "It's great to get this new pair, I have gone for Lacoste instead of Nike, but I reckon they will do just as good a job if I have to deal with any more terrorists."
McIlveen, 45, tore a tendon in his foot when he kicked one of the men accused of crashing a Jeep at the airport in Glasgow. The clothing store chain USC gave him his choice of new sneakers for his heroism.
"After hearing Alex's story we couldn't help but feel the have-a-go hero deserved a replacement pair of shoes," a USC spokeswoman said. "It was the least we could do and I'm delighted that Alex found a pair he liked."
McIlveen got a £60 parking ticket while confronting the terror suspects, but police later canceled the ticket.
Friday, July 6
I don't know who was the most embarrassed when this turned out to be a huge white pair of bloomers(knickers, panties), presumably hers I guess by the way she snatched them and stormed of.
Thursday, July 5
You couldn't make it up could you? BAE which of course owns our local ship and submarine building yard has announced that they have gone all environmentally friendly. Only a PR consultant could come out with trash like this, the company, one of the world's biggest arms-makers, says it has been "making investments in creating products that reduce the collateral damage of warfare."
Reduced-lead bullets and recyclable explosives are among the developments being put forward by arms manufacturer British Aerospace ecologically-sound weaponry they call it, so if you get shot in future you may not have to worry about getting lead poisoning as well, great eh! "We're looking across a range of all the platforms and areas we produce, and trying to improve all the mechanisms," Deborah Allen, director of corporate responsibility for the company said. "Everything from looking at making a fighter jet more fuel-efficient and looking at the materials that munitions are made of and what their impact on the environment would be." BAE stress that the point of these developments is to make sure that they minimise the wider impact of the weapon's use. In some cases, the weapons have been changed to reduce collateral damage and to make sure they are as accurate as possible. We all have a duty of care to ensure that from cradle to grave products are being used appropriately and do not do lasting harm In others, the environment has been the key factor. The idea behind the lead-free bullets, for example, is that if they get lodged in the environment, they "do not cause any additional harm". Ms Allen said that this is partly a response to people becoming more environmentally aware. "No company, regardless of what they make, can now just make a product, bung it out there, and then forget about it," she said. "We all have a duty of care to ensure that from cradle to grave(sic) products are being used appropriately and do no do lasting harm." Another of BAE's ideas is what has been described as a "bang-free bomb". In fact, although the explosion is quieter, the bomb has been re-engineered so the risk to the user of exposure to the bomb's fumes is reduced. "This is to ensure they are safe to use, that they only go off when they are supposed to go off, and that they do the minimum of collateral damage," said Ms Allen. "What we have to do is ensure that the person deploying the bomb is not going to be put at extra risk for using it. "These things are going to be used, and that, unfortunately, is an aspect of the modern world. We just have to make sure that our customer is safe using these things." BAE are developing landmines which turn into manure over time "Unfortunately, as much as we hate the idea of war, it is a reality of life and it does happen," she said. "I think it's only going to be beneficial if, for example, explosives have a limited shelf life, which does away with the problem of landmines exploding anything up to 20 years after the initial deployment has taken place." For example, she cited explosives that eventually turn into manure,(which as we all know is impossible because manure is from animal droppings such as bullshit, what they mean is fertiliser from the nitrates contained in most explosives, manure is what they are talking!) which essentially "regenerate the environment that they had initially destroyed." "It is very ironic and very contradictory, but I do think, surely, if all the weapons were made in this manner it would be a good thing." Well what can you say to that, how the heck did Ms Allen keep a straight face at the press release.
Wednesday, July 4
When the son had taken his father to bed he rejoined me and confirmed that the father was suffering from the dreaded Alzheimer's. He went on to tell what a nasty incurable stealer of thoughts and personality this disease is. His final words were "you know I thought I was coming on this holiday for my father, but I think maybe it's for me, to remember the good times and to say goodbye before it's too late.
Monday, July 2
Just to prove that I never spent all of the time on Crete just slobbing around check out Two Steps Back for some photos taken on the 18k(11.5miles) gorge walk through the Samaria Gorge Do believe me this ain't no walk in the park, it's rough terrain and hard going in the afternoon sun. Mind you I bet Dogbait does little strolls like this before breakfast!