Friday, November 30


After the recent case were a pedestrian died after being run over by a 93 year old motorist ,calls are again being made to introduce special tests for over 70s. Eugene Goody, a veteran of the Second World War, was returning from his daily visit to his wife's grave when he ran over Stephen Friede, after failing to see a red light. Goody was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence at a Crown Court in London after admitting causing death by dangerous driving. He is thought to be the oldest person convicted of such a charge.
Goody was also disqualified from driving for four years and told he would have to take an extended test if he ever wanted to get behind the wheel again.
In addition, he will be subject to a curfew between 10pm and 7am every day and his car will be sold to help pay prosecution costs.
Research shows motorists over 70 are three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured on the roads than younger drivers. The number of drivers over 70 has risen by 300,000 in less than two years and more than three million hold full licences.
Whilst not being ageist, after seeing examples of granny rage and doddery dithering every day I am all for the idea of tests . Today myself and my amazed passengers watched spellbound at the parking antics of an elderly couple in Barrows church Street. The car was the senior delinquents weapon of popular choice the "Nissan Micra"fully loaded with the obligatory nodding dog and brown floral cushions on the parcel shelf.

Even though the parking space was huge and could have been driven straight into, it was turned into a huge maneuver blocking the road for at least ten minutes. After several failed attempts with the car mounting the pavement and scattering pedestrians the drivers wife decided to get out and guide him. We all held our breath, when after much loud revving and arm waving the gap between cars narrowed with the wife in danger of being crushed. Instead of moving out of the danger area we were stunned when she actually braced herself and started to try and stop the reversing car with her outstretched arms. I closed my eyes and one of my passengers reached for her phone to call an ambulance. But when I opened my eyes by some miracle she had either stopped the car with some well hidden superpowers or the driver had finally found the brake.

Magic Door

The amazing disappearing car door
Check this one out It looks quite a neat idea but I find myself wondering what happens in the case of a crash or a flat battery even. Are the poor folks just left trapped in the car or what?

Thursday, November 29

Skip Hunk

I just happened to be browsing through the pages of that well-known waste trade magazine "The Skip" recently, as no doubt you all do regularly. When I happened to come across this picture and piece about a local lad who seems to have hit the big time.
"The Skip hunk for February is Shaun from H Wicks Skip Hire in Barrow-In-Furness and he’s all pumped up and ready to woo the nation's ladies with his facial contortions and penchant for woolly hats."
Shaun, then goes on to tell us a bit about himself and believe me, it is a bit, guess he's the strong silent type eh! "Well, I’m a skip truck driver for H Wicks up in Barrow-In-Furness – and that’s about it. Is that good enough?" Not really – what do you do in your spare time?"I like walking my dog, Rusty and breathing in the fresh country air – it makes a change from picking up smelly skips all day long."Do you have any messages for our female readers? "Yeah – Garlic is the new Viagra!"
Hmm, OK. Have you got any amusing or strange stories that you’d like to tell our readers?
"Don’t be silly, I live in Barrow – nothing happens here!"
That’s a shame. Thanks for the photo anyway. Keep pulling those faces!
Now then form an orderly queue girls, one at a time.

Wednesday, November 28

Unlucky Matt

It seems that Carlisle taxi driver Matthew Champney doesn't have the best of luck. He had
his licence suspended for one week in 1998 after being convicted of three motoring offences in five years. Then in May his hackney licence was revoked permanently after he was convicted of overloading his cab by carrying two extra passengers in the boot. Champney later told council officers that the two men were drunk. Helped by two other friends, he had put them in the boot as a “light-hearted prank”, intending to drive over speed humps. The chairperson of the regulatory panel didn't see the funny side and said the men in the boot could have vomited and choked to death.
But now he has hit the headlines again after a man was jailed for five years for threatening him with an imitation gun and blackmail.
David Wardle pulled a gun on Mr Champney in Workington and held it to his cheek.
The 36-year-old, of Station Road, admitted possessing an imitation gun while committing a crime and was jailed at Carlisle Crown Court.

In sentencing, the judge said the taxi driver must have been "scared out of his wits" during the incident on 17 July.
Then he pleaded guilty to blackmailing Mr Champney by demanding that he drove off without being given the £70 he was owed, and to possessing an imitation gun while committing a crime and breaching the terms of an Anti-Social Behaviour
During the trial Mr Champney told the jury he picked up Wardle, another man and two women from the Sportsman pub in
Carlisle, knowing his office had already told them the trip would cost £70.
He said Wardle, who was sitting in the front, behaved strangely on the 35-mile journey, and played a CD so loudly on the car stereo that he thought the speakers would fail. Then Wardle put together a collapsible walking stick, removed its rubber bung and threatened to poke his eye out with the exposed metal spike.
“I was so scared I nearly pulled into a lay-by and got out of the car,” he said.
When they arrived outside his first floor flat, Mr Champney said, Wardle said he would go into the house to get the money.
But instead an older relative, Dale Wardle, who lived in the downstairs flat, came out to tell him he would only get paid if he returned for the money next day.
After Mr Champney said that was not good enough, David Wardle returned, leaned through the open car window and pointed the gun at him. “He held the pistol to my right cheek and said ‘This is your proof you are not getting paid’,” the taxi driver said. Wow this guy leads an eventful life doesn't he? or it like this all the time in the wild north of Cumbria

Long Ago

Doesn't it all seem so long ago now, but it's not that long back when none of us had any idea what political correctness meant? Advertisements like these would lead to an outcry nowadays eh!

driver woman

1970: Your wife won't be able to stall the car or grind the gears - and there's even one pedal fewer to confuse her with the Mini Automatic

tomato sauce

1953: You don't need a knife, a bottle opener or even your husband to unscrew the cap of this bottle - just a little twist of the Alcoa HyTop Closure, made of pure aluminum, and that ketchup is ready to pour.

Tuesday, November 27

Green Car

2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

I am still trying to get my head round the amazing fact that the USA state of California, which is considered to be the most environmentally friendly has announced a two ton 5.3 litre SUV as the green car of the year. They boast proudly that the Chevrolet Tahoe is the first hybrid SUV, and that fuel efficiency is 30% better than a standard V-8. They then add insult to injury by going on to say that during city driving where a large percentage of SUVs spend their time every day, the 6.0-liter two-mode hybrid Tahoe achieves 50 percent better fuel efficiency. Or is it only me that thinks that SUVs have no place in the city or the town for that matter. As a matter of fact I would go as far as to say that they should be taxed out of existence except for necessary mountain road and rough terrain use.
General Motors issues the following load of tosh!

"GM promised they would use hybrid technology, and use it where it would make the most difference – on their biggest vehicles. They have delivered with the Chevy Tahoe,” pointing out that this vehicle ends the argument that efficiency and vehicle choice are incompatible. He adds that automakers should now make their entire fleets fuel efficient as fast as they can retool."
"The Tahoe Hybrid features seating for up to eight passengers, a 60 cubic foot cargo volume with the second and third row seats folded, the ability to carry up to 1400 pounds of cargo, and a tow rating of up to 6,200 pounds."
Wow should I be impressed? maybe not, when I know fine well that most of these monsters will carry no more than two or three admittedly overweight passengers on short inefficient city commuting trips.

Monday, November 26

Good Craic

My first weekend of for many a month and it was away to Dublin we went. We flew from Blackpool airport which was a revelation compared to the hustle and bustle of the usual Manchester. Dead easy! park round the corner stroll across to the single small terminal and ten minutes later walk onto the plane, no escalators, no crowds and no cops walking round with submachine guns. At thirty minutes the flight was the shortest I had ever been on, no sooner had the mainly East European cabin crew done the usual safety lecture and we were touching down at Dublin's huge and busy airport. The bus ride into Dublin took longer than the flight and had me wondering if we had landed in the wrong country. Not a single word of English was heard on the crowded bus, most passengers seemed to be Polish or east Europeans. We stopped at a hotel just off the main street in Dublin's O'Connell St which seems to have every taxi in Ireland ranked on it waiting for trade.

Dublin must surely be a shopping addict
s paradise with miles of department stores and designer outlets by the hundred. But every loal corner shop I passed seemed to be exclusively Polish owned and ran. And despite most folk having warned me that things would be expensive over there bargains can be found especially from Penney's which is the Irish version of Primark. Food and drink do seem to be a bit more expensive, but all good quality and a staggering choice from every corner of the world. A good few pints of Guinness were sampled and enjoyed in what after all is it's native city. Being the weekend the famous Temple Bar district was full of stag and hen party's with a surprisingly big age range, all determined to have a good time.

Some would have been caught out by the long forgotten to the English, call of "last orders please" this except for nightclubs comes at 11:30 on weekdays and 12:30 Friday and Saturdays.
What was noticeable away from the city centre was that a good few pubs had been sold and closed and converted into off-licences, they tell me this is a result of the smoking ban which has been in force for a year longer in Ireland, I wonder is this a sign of things to come over here in England? All in all a very enjoyable weekend and well worth it just for the craic.

Thursday, November 22

Dublin Weekend

Well I am off to Dublin for the weekend tomorrow, no doubt I will have something to post about when I get back.

Monday, November 19

Big Bad World

It seems from a Letter published recently in our local Evening Mail that a lot of folk just don’t seem to know how the taxi industry works. The writer complains of drivers working long hours “as much as sixty or eighty hours a week or more” and goes on to say that the taxi bosses shouldn’t allow this. Well the truth is that 99% of taxi drivers are in effect their own boss. Most are self employed contractors who actually pay their taxi company’s a weekly fee or “radio rent” to provide them with work via radio or computer screen. Therefore it is up to the driver to go out there into the big bad world and go and earn his or her own wages, paying their own tax and expenses as they go.

No weekly wage packet or monthly pay check for us or guaranteed minimum wage. And no sickness or holiday pay, and if the worst happens no big fat redundancy payments either. If we were to be on a weekly wage I should imagine that the taxi service wouldn’t be half as efficient or as cheap as it is now. I mean if you were getting paid by the hour would you rush round looking for fares that may turn out be difficult or drunk? No obviously not, you would pick and choose your fares, why not you would be getting paid anyway eh!

The reason most of us work such long hours is simply because we have to make up for the times when we are parked with no passengers “if the wheels ain’t turning we ain’t earning.” Mind you I must add that most of the fares we get on our firm are neither difficult nor drunk wonderful folk all of them. Go on get a taxi eh, we need the work.

Evil Ka

Sunday, November 18

Tell it to the marines

A violent drunken assault by a Royal Marine on a taxi driver left him facing little more than a slapped wrist.
Corporal Darren Lewis pleaded guilty to assaulting taxi driver Habibi Babak by beating him in an incident in the early hours of Friday, October 26. He also admitted damaging a £100 perspex screen in Mr Babak's taxi. The court was told that Lewis carried out the assault at about 3am in Exeter city centre after Mr Babak had picked him up from outside a nightclub. The driver told Lewis he needed the fare of £20 to Exmouth upfront. But Lewis said he did not have enough money and would get the rest in Exmouth when he got to his girlfriend's home. Mr Babak asked him to get out of the vehicle or he would call the police. Father-of-one Lewis refused and when Mr Babak said he would drive to the police station he still would not get out. While Mr Babak was driving to the police station, Lewis broke the perspex divide in the cab and grabbed Mr Babak and pulled the back of his jumper tight around his neck, causing abrasions to his skin. Lewis told police he was drunk but that Mr Babak drove erratically and he did not know where he was being taken. He said he grabbed him because he wanted to get out. Now I have the greatest respect for our forces and we all know that aggression and violence are actively encouraged in some parts of our forces, and can be a good thing on the battle ground. But don't they teach them that they should be a little more restrained in normal everyday life? Well it seems not, and it also seems that Exeter Magistrates have no idea about the punishment fitting the crime, and that every case, civilian or military should be treated equally. After the following mitigation, (which I would say is totally irrelevant unless the Marine is suffering and being treated for PTSD in which case I would have hardly thought that promotion was appropriate.) The marine was ordered to pay £50 in compensation to Mr Babak and £60 court costs, which is on par with a minor parking offence. But that's OK folks because he has to go in front of a colonel for a dressing down-wow, how harsh! "Mitigating, Peter Seigne told Exeter magistrates Lewis had just returned from high-altitude training, a stressful exercise where he was in a position of high responsibility. He said Lewis had spent a number of months on active service in an extremely hostile war zone. Warrant Officer Miles Hall said that Lewis, based at 42 Commando in Plymouth, was being considered for promotion and had no disciplinary record in the marines, but would face a colonel over the assault."

Saturday, November 17

Ma&Yi Say

More from the China Daily.
"A Frenchman working in Hong Kong has been fined for exposing his buttocks to a taxi driver.
A 41-year-old cabbie, surnamed Ma, said he picked up Paul Mouette, 26, and his three friends in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, one early morning in August.
Mouette was drunk and asked Ma if he was gay, before taking down his pants and exposing his buttocks.
Mouette was ordered to pay HK$1,750 ($220) in fines and legal costs"

Meanwhile a pet taxi is helping animal lovers get out and about
A taxi service for pets has been doing a brisk business since its start a month ago in Changsha, capital of Hunan Province.
The company's owner, surnamed Yi, said he had transported more than 20 dogs and cats in less than a month.
He said he saw a lot of potential in the business because more and more local residents are raising pets at home.
Yi converted his van into a special pet taxi after he realized that few cab drivers were willing to pick up his girlfriend because she wanted to bring her dog in the car.
Many of Yi's friends, relatives and neighbors now regularly call him to carry their pets around town. Many of them enjoy taking their pets to the city's outskirts for walks.
I would say that Monsieur Mouette is lucky that he dropped his pants in Mr Ma's taxi rather than Mr Yi's, or he may have ended up with a damaged rear end.

Taxi whisperer

A whisper from China tells me the story of a driver who thought he had a ghost in his taxi. This from the China Daily.
"Voices in his cab sent shivers down a driver's spine late last week when the chatter he heard did not come from the woman passenger in his vehicle."
"The eerie encounter on a road in Anshan, Liaoning Province, was explained only after the cabbie stopped the car, opened the trunk and found a drunk mumbling to himself. The man was so tanked he could not tell how he got into the vehicle even after police arrived. He was allowed to leave after sobering up." I think I would have been tempted to leave him in the boot for a day or two longer myself.

Friday, November 16


This one fascinates me, a nice reminder of past trips to Paris though .

Wednesday, November 14

Tune Up

It seems that the latest idea from Japanese road engineers is in tune with my ideas on road calming. Instead of speed humps as traffic calming a team from the Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute has built a number of "melody roads", which use cars as tuning forks to play music as they drive along.
This melodic idea works by using grooves, which are cut at very specific intervals in the road surface. Just as travelling over small speed bumps or road markings can emit a rumbling tone throughout a vehicle, the melody road uses the spaces between to create different notes.
Depending on how far apart the grooves are, a car moving over them will produce a series of high or low notes, enabling cunning designers to create a distinct tune.
There are so far three musical strips in central and northern Japan, one of which plays the tune of a Japanese pop song. You are warned of the tuned area by coloured musical notes painted on to the road. The system was the brainchild of Shizuo Shinoda, who accidentally scraped some markings into a road with a bulldozer before driving over them and realising that they helped to produce a variety of tones.
The speed for achieving melody road playback is set at 28mph at the moment but experiments continue for tuneful lower speed music. It is said to work both ways go too fast and you hear a discordant racket, and too slow sounds like our familiar rumble strip

Sunday, November 11

Nice Boots

It was still dark early this Sunday morning when I picked my first fare up, a guy with an overnight bag and a face glowing white in the last of the moonlight. Shakily he told me he was going to Furness general Hospital for one of their weekend queue busting surgery parties. He seemed very tense and nervous, and so being the kind considerate guy that I am I started some small talk. "You know how all the female nurses on TV hospital dramas are all like glamour models?" I asked. "Ohh yes " he stammered nearly smiling, "well in real life they are all look like Russian shot putters, only not quite as feminine " He groaned in appreciation of this useful titbit and so I decided to tell him more. "You know when they say--this won't hurt a bit" I asked. "Yes" he said brightening up "well" I said "they are lying." When we reached the hospital and he was getting out, I hopefully pointed to his new looking expensive boots "what size are they?", I asked innocently "I take a ten myself" He didn't answer me but I must have put his mind at rest, because he ran into the hospital.

Saturday, November 10

Whispering Grass

What is it about whispering that makes us pay more attention to other folk's conversations? Talk in a low voice and nobody pays much attention, but there's something about whispering which makes us all sit up and take notice..... or is it just me. If you have something private to say, say it quietly don't whisper, whispering is the surest method of drawing attention to the juicy gossip or that embarrassing situation you were in the previous night that you don't want revealed. And of course the very worst place to whisper is in the back of my cab. You should know that all taxi drivers suffer from selective hearing, moan about the fare or the rotten weather as loud as you wish and we just smile and nod and not hear a word, but whisper "keep the change" and our hearing is suddenly superhuman. Just this week two guys huddled together and whispered in the back of the cab and of course I could hear every word that was said. It seems that the latest batch of grass or cannabis to arrive in town is chopped very finely and one of my fares was worried that he had been duped, and sold oregano instead. This was soon checked out by the guy who said he was more experienced, tasting and smelling the dope. Whether he meant that he was more experienced in Italian cookery or dope is open to question.
Most women seem to be wise to the fact that whispers draw attention, and tend to talk in code and hand gestures. That is apart from the pair I had in the back of the cab today who exchanged juicy details of the night before by text message, yes even though they were sat right next to each other. Going by the giggles it sounded as if they had had a good night between them.

Free Rice

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Friday, November 9

Ears a Good Un

One of Britain's strongest men today attempted an unlikely record - pulling a London double decker bus 10 metres (32ft) using only his ears.
Manjit Singh, who already holds a number of unusual strength records, attempted the feat at London's Hyde Park to help celebrate World Records Day.
Last year Mr Singh pulled a passenger aircraft weighing 7.4 tonnes a distance of 3.4 metres (11ft) using his ears.... so the 10 metre target with a 7.5-tonne bus represented his stiffest challenge yet.
Unfortunately it proved too much for him, and he gave up after around 5 metres.

Tuesday, November 6

Honest Luv

Finally I emerged blinking into the unaccustomed bright light and holding up my now loose pants. Twenty four miserable hours locked in a dark spider infested cellar on a food free diet. Twenty four long lonely hours with only an occasional chink of light from under the locked door, at which I would wail "It was only a joke luv, honest." Women eh! no sense of humour.
(this of course is all a result of the last post "screwdriver"

Monday, November 5


I had picked up a fine figure of a woman today and was taking her the few miles to our neighbouring town of Dalton, when embarrassingly I got a flat tyre. So of course I got out with the intention of changing the wheel and resuming the journey. The problem was I couldn't prise the hubcap off, no matter how hard I tried. After a few minutes of struggling, the lady leans out of the window and says "Would you like a screwdriver?"
I replied, " Well we might as well...I can't get this bloody wheel off."

Sunday, November 4

Turkey n Tinsel

Early Sunday morning and I just couldn't believe the amount of keen workers streaming over the bridge to our local BAE shipyard. What was going on? I have never seen it so busy at the weekend. All was explained when I picked a fare up on his way to work there. He told me that this weekend was the last one for the workers substantial overtime payments to go into the pre Christmas pay packet. Funny when you think that the shipyard was struggling to get folks to work overtime all year, but here they all are, practically running to get to work.
Speaking of the dreaded Christmas, we all like to moan about it, but spare a thought for the poor fare who was telling me his tale of woe. The poor blighter is a hotel worker at the less than sedate seaside resort of Grange Over Sands (known locally as god's waiting room). November is the start of the "Turkey and Tinsel" season. Twice a week coach loads of overfestive pensioners descend on his hotel expecting the full Xmas and New Year knees up. The poor
wretch is made to dress up as Santa and tells me "you wouldn't believe how frisky some of the old lasses are after a few hours at the free bar. "Gripping my arm he croaked "you don't know what fear is, until you have thirty overexcited lady octogenarians fighting to get into Santa's sack."
Needless to say turkey, crackers, tinsel or anything to do with Christmas are banned in his house.

Saturday, November 3

Street Art?

Driving down Barrows Ramsden Dock Road I was amazed to see what looks like Barrow Islands entry for the famously quirky Turner art competition. And after seeing past winners I would not be surprised if they have a first prize in contemporary sculpture right there on display on the pavement. But I can't see the poor householders who have had these windmill bedecked red flashing monstrosities dumped on their front doorsteps being too impressed. Are we that desperate to save a few Milli amp of power that we have to go to these extremes? Or is it just a case of the Dock developers wasting tens of thousand of pounds in an effort to convince us all that they are green and extra environmentally friendly? Or worse are we the rate payers funding these eyesores? Maybe they could have just used a low energy bulb and saved a few bob, it would have been a lot easier on the eye too.

Friday, November 2

Want One?

Check this out I know that you will want one for yourself when you see it. But unfortunately production stopped back in 1964. They were produced on the Isle of Man, which is fifty miles off the coast and visible on a clear day from here in Barrow.

Stuck Truck

I see that yet another sat-nav blunder has landed one of our now overwhelmingly foreign truckers in hot water. Has anyone else noticed the decimation of the once proud UK haulage industry, all we see on the highways and byways now seems to be eastern European registered trucks? In the latest mishap a Czech lorry driver was stranded for three nights in south-west England after his satellite navigation system directed him down a narrow country lane. Yuri Odenhai, was on his way to pick up a cargo in Devon when his 40-tonne truck became stuck fast on a sharp bend near the village of Ivybridge. The trucker's company, Kohlman and Hasek, refused to pay for an expensive recovery operation at the weekend, meaning the 50-foot (15-metre) long, eight-feet wide truck remained wedged in place. Odenhai had tried to ask for directions before following the sat-nav down the lane but his English was not too good and nobody understood him. The lorry was finally towed out by a tractor after a tree surgeon cut away surrounding vegetation. Mat Auburn, said his family took pity on Yuri and invited him in for meals during his ordeal. But he preferred to stay in his cab overnight rather than find hotel accommodation. The diversion put a few extra miles on people's journeys, and we can safely say that it won't be the last of these incidents.