Tuesday, February 28

Booster Seats

I see that new rules regarding booster seats may be coming in as early as September. Under the plans, all children over three and shorter than 4ft 5in will have to use a booster cushion, child seat or a suitable child restraint while travelling in a car fitted with seat belts. The new rules are also to stop parents cramming the back seat with children. If seat belts are provided, the number of people in the rear will not be able to exceed the number of seats with belts or child restraints. I wonder if this means that we will have to equip ourselves with four booster seats and a tape measure to check the little darling’s height before we set off.

Monday, February 27

Rear View

Driving down Abbey Rd into town with a guy in the front, we were talking away when we both noticed at the same time something about the car in front. The driver’s side door mirror was pulled right in so that it would be impossible to see behind and as we got closer we could see that the lady driver had also adjusted her rear view mirror towards herself. She was adjusting her hair and makeup as she drove along at forty miles an hour. 
She obviously couldn't see us behind and we were laughing away at her. This went on for about two miles and we were right behind her when she stopped at the many red lights and made even more adjustments in both mirrors.
 Eventually we were turning left so we were stopped at a red light on the inside lane right next to her, it took her a while to realise that she was being watched and laughed at and when she did she went bright red and set of before the light went green. I said to my passenger that if you could get hairdryers, hair tongs, or straighteners that plugged into the cigarette lighter some of these women would actually use them.

Sunday, February 26

Speed Humps

I drove through Dalton today and noticed that the speed humps on the main street Market St have been altered. Some have gone altogether and others have been reduced to what I would call a reasonable height. This is great news for a lot of people, bus passengers were I believe being thrown from the seats onto the floor when they went over them. A lot of drivers especially those who drive locally all day complain that they cause or aggravate back conditions and other medical problems, not to mention the expensive damage that they cause to their vehicles. There is a lot that need attention in Barrow itself some of the earlier ones are starting to fall apart now due to lack of maintenance, lets hope that this is the beginning of the end for them.


This lady was spotted today mopping the road outside her house.

Saturday, February 25

Short Trips

At least six or seven people I picked up today, when asked" where to" gave me the address that they had just come out of. I usually say OK and then ask for the fare, they tend to look at me blankly for a moment and then realise what they have said. One of these days someone will pay me and then get straight out again.

The Abbey

Furness Abbey is always good for a wind up with the odd tourist, when I drive past it with them I say that they are waiting for the builders to pebbledash it and install plastic windows.

Friday, February 24


A young lady today was dressed as Tinkerbelle complete with the wings; it’s not that often you get that on a Friday afternoon. She was going to work at the local Pizza Hut the staff were dressing up to raise money for charity. She was telling me she felt a bit embarrassed getting into a taxi dressed like that, don’t know why I find it worse when it’s a bloke dressed like that.


I saw this today on a local street and grabbed this photo. It reminded me of one Sunday a while back, I had picked a guy up who had obviously been out all night. He was still the worse for wear but in a good mood laughing and joking as we drove through to Dalton. He was still laughing at one of his jokes when we pulled into his street, then he stopped the entire colour drained out of his face and he looked really shocked. What’s the matter I asked, but then I saw the problem outside his house was a pile of plastic bags with clothes (his I guess) thrown in. And to make it worse it was pouring it down with rain and there was what looked like an expensive stereo balanced on top.

Thursday, February 23


I seemed to be picking up lots of people from abroad this week, including Poles, Slavic, Chinese and a real nice Australian guy from Perth called Colin.
A bit later I was trying to figure out what language this guy who had just got in the cab was speaking, when I realised that he wasn’t foreign at all, unfortunately I had accidentally shut the electric window up trapping his hand. He was just swearing with a strong Scottish accent.

Monday, February 20

The Wake

Today I picked a lady up from a wake which was for a young chap who had died in tragic circumstances. It was heartrending to see his young children playing outside in the sunshine; obviously they were too young to understand the full implications of what had happened. They were wearing Manchester United football shirts with daddy written across the back. The lady was glad to leave as peoples emotions were beginning to surface as the alcohol took affect. I have had experience of these occasions and they can be highly charged some let there emotions out with tears but others with anger and I have known them occasionally end in violence.


I was watching a TV programme called terrets camp and it brought to mind an incident which happened last summer. It was a Saturday lunch time and I had picked up from the new gas terminal which was under construction, the fare was a contractor from Newcastle, he was huge with a shaved head and tattoos. He asked to be taken to a pub in town and then started to ask questions about the massage parlour which is near the pub. He must have had some form of nervous tick when he got excited; he dropped his head to his left shoulder and grunted loudly like a pig. I tried to just carry on as normal but he asked more about the massage parlour and then squealed and grunted even louder. He said he was going to visit the massage parlour after a few beers. I wonder what the girls in the massage parlour made of him, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall.

Sunday, February 19

Sore Sunday

Funny how people hurt themselves on a Saturday night but it doesn’t hurt till Sunday morning. I had two trips to hospital in a row this Sunday both had injury’s to the same leg, the first had been at a party where they played an old punk track and of course he thought he would see if he could still pogo like back in his younger days. The next said he had fallen over a kerb, bet he couldn’t find it the next day though. Reminds me of a few months back when I picked up a guy still very much the worse for wear who had fallen the night before. When he woke up he saw something white on his elbow so he tried to brush it off, unfortunately it turned out to his bone sticking out! He was still laughing about it but that will have stopped when the stitches went in. On the way to casualty I said to him, you know when the nurse says this wont hurt a bit? “Yes” he said “well there lying” I replied.

Sea Jade at low tide

Sea Jade at low tide on Walney channel with Jubilee Bridge in the background.

Saturday, February 18

Half Term

Lot of folk moaning about it being half term for our schools,” they are never there” they say. The shop staff I pick up say they hate it because some parents just let there kids run riot in the shops. I tend to agree with them some parents I pick up with kids have no interest in or control of them whatsoever. They don’t even have any interest in the children’s safety they let them stand up or climb about the cab, and as for seatbelts if the kid says no that’s it forget it. Still I suppose sales of vodka and vallium will soar while they are off.

Wednesday, February 15

No buzz for Henry

Henry Fayyazi who is a taxi driver and spokesman for the Barrow Taxi Drivers Association in an interview with the Evening Mail was asked "What gives you the biggest buzz about being a taxi driver?” His reply unbelievably was
” I don’t like my job and the only buzz I get out of it is when my shift is over and I am going home in one piece." What’s he doing in the job then? Maybe its time he had a change of career, then reading the rest of the article its more of the same the jobs not rewarding and the hours too long why do it then? I believe that Barrow council are looking for traffic wardens that might suit him better.

Tuesday, February 14


Picked up from the railway station today, the guy was a bit unusual in that he was carrying a Shepard’s crook; don’t see a lot of them round Barrow. He looked like a biblical character complete with flowing grey hair and a long beard. Apparently he was down from one of the hill farms on the Furness fells. Diamond of a guy though they don't make em like that any more.

A Valentines Tale

A lady I pick up now and again bears a remarkable resemblance to Hyacinth Bucket in character as well as looks. The first few occasions she went to great pains to tell that me “oh of course I am not from round this dump” and that the “yokels are a lot of dirty rabble not fit to walk Barrows filthy streets”. This went on for a month or two until one day she come out of her house with her husband close behind her. Poor devil I thought pity him he must have a dogs life. He got in the front and his wife in the back and I waited for the usual haughty remarks,” have you got everything” she said to him. I looked at him expecting to see a poor downtrodden sort of guy who daren’t answer back. He looked back at me winked and smiled then said to her “as always darling”. When she answered I was shocked by the change in her voice and tone she sounded ten years younger and spoke to him with a permanent smile on her face. So she was human after all, I looked at her in a different light after that.

Monday, February 13

Customer service classes

I see that over in San Jose California cab drivers have to attend a four hour compulsory customer service course, which they have to pay for themselves.(this is from Joann’s blog Taxi vignettes) This is something we should expect over here some time soon, what happens inCalifornia today happens over here a year or two later. I don’t think it would be such a bad thing myself especially for new drivers to the trade. Maybe something like the course the local bouncers attend is a good idea with a first aid course and lessons in dealing with unruly passengers safely. The other thing they have is a compulsory annual drug test which again I would have no objections to it would maybe help keep the rogues out of the trade.

Sunday, February 12

Rainy Sunday

It rained all day today and I was constantly getting peoples favourite comment “I bet you drivers love it when it rains like this”. Well here’s one driver who doesn’t, it’s no fun at all driving all day in the pouring rain you have to concentrate a lot more to dodge all the people with umbrellas or hoods up who just walk out into the road. And if it’s raining from early morning people just don’t go out unless they have to and if they do they tend to be a bit miserable. But if it rains when everybody is already out that’s ok we have a busy time then, showers are a mixed blessing people call a cab and then it stops so they walk and we get lot of no pickups. The only consolation is driving through deep puddles and splashing traffic wardens.

Friday, February 10

Taxi driver attacked

There is a piece in the Evening Mail about a local taxi driver being assaulted, I know it’s of no consolation to him but this type of thing is rare around here and lets hope it stays that way. Quite a few passengers have mentioned it to me along with comments on large groups of youths hanging round the streets at night. I know this is intimidating for a lot of people, especially older folk but really it’s not a new thing, it’s been going on for years.
 Maybe the difference is that they have no fear of any consequences of there behaviour. This was brought home to me when a friend called the police about kids throwing stones at her windows the policewoman who attended had more to say about my friend’s reaction of shouting at the kids. You can't do that she said it’s not allowed you'll upset them. Well we can’t have that can we the poor kids. I replied with a comment on the usefulness of electric cattle prods but we won't go into that. Anyway how do you tell if a chav is posh? They throw empty Lambrusco bottles at your car instead of Lambrini!

Thursday, February 9


Driving through Dalton with a lady passenger the other day, when she spotted a lone magpie. She saluted smartly and said aloud "good morning mister magpie how's your wife". She told me it was an old superstition more prevalent in the rural areas. Any more I asked? She told me a couple I already knew but another couple of fresh ones she gave me were never move on a Friday and never trust a man with squeaky shoes, that means he owes money.

Wednesday, February 8

Pyjama Game

A lass I picked up was wearing pyjamas, which believe it or not is not that unusual. It’s mainly Sunday mornings when they have stayed with friends after a night out; they don’t like to go home in the previous nights clothes. But this was on a Tuesday afternoon and she had not a hair out of place and was covered in fresh makeup. So much so that it must have been all over her hands judging by the handprints she left all over the backseats and doors. It must have been industrial strength because it was a nightmare to clean off, pity the poor guy who gets any of that on his collar.

Tuesday, February 7


A guy gets into the car this morning coughing his lungs up “are you a heavy smoker” I asked. "What do you mean"? He said. Well is smoking the first thing you do every morning when you get up. "No he said first I cough then I smoke."

Monday, February 6

Nasty and Nice

This morning I was threatened with a parking ticket by a local traffic warden don’t know why because he could see I was picking up a fare. This was at 8a.m with no other traffic about just me on a yellow line watching my fare walk towards me. Who knows maybe he had had a bad weekend or his missus didn’t put enough sugar on his cornflakes. This was more than made up for later when I picked up a lovely Venezuelaion lady going to Lancaster University a round trip of about ninety miles. This lady had travelled a lot and was good company so the miles just rolled by, I had a bit of a drive round Lancaster and could tell how much more vibrant things are there, maybe that’s what we in Barrow need more of an emphasis on gaining university status rather than trying to attract crappy pizza parlour and call centre jobs.

Sunday, February 5


Why do lasses go out on the town in boots or shoes that are so obviously uncomfortable. On Sunday mornings I always pick up lots of them carrying the previous night’s footwear. This morning I picked up three in a row all carrying high boots with big heels, if they hurt why wear them? Still that’s women for you. Reminds me of a Sunday a while back when I picked up a lass going to one of the villages about six or seven miles away from Barrow she had been out all night and was still pretty drunk. Still in a good mood she was talking away about her night and things that had happened and all the while she was emphasising points by waving her arms about. After about three miles she was still in full flow when suddenly she stopped and quickly put her hands down and went bright red. That was when I knew she had realised she had her knickers in her hand and had been waving them about for the last ten minutes. She slipped them into her pocket and didn’t say much after that; they were red by the way!

Saturday, February 4


This morning a lady I picked up had obviously been badly beaten she was covered with dried blood and badly bruised. I said” where to the hospital or the police station?” No she said and then broke down in tears I asked who did this to you and she told me it was her boyfriend, I then tried to talk her into going to the police but she said no because he had just gotten out of jail on licence and if she reported him he would have to go back for two years. She showed me what this animal had done to her, she had strangulation marks on her neck, a black eye, deep bite marks, bruises on her ribs where he had kicked her, and cuts all over her arms made with a knife. I was sickened,” what brought this on” I asked knowing full well that nothing could excuse what this animal had done. She told me he had taken up bodybuilding and was using steroids and that this may have brought it on. I told her never mind the two years jail this animal deserves ten or more but she would not change her mind, she said she would have a shower and then maybe go to hospital later that day. I felt helpless but what can you do if she won’t make a complaint to the police herself they can do nothing about it. I just hope he rots in hell!

The Fright

I didn't take a lot of notice when the lady got into the back of the car and asked to go to town on the way she asked me to pull up outside a post office while she did an errand. I was just sat there daydreaming, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted something small and furry making it's way from in between the seats towards me. I was out of the car quicker than a Danish cartoonist leaving a mosque. I thought maybe a rat must have gotten in somehow. Just at that moment the lady walked up to the car and seeing my expression guessed what had happened,sorry she said I should have told you I had my Yorkshire terrier in my pocket and thought it would be ok to leave her in the car.

Thursday, February 2

Scouse Trip

A while back now I had a job to pickup some people from Ulverston and take them to Liverpool airport. When I arrived at the address the people turned out to be a couple with no luggage, which I found strange. I asked them to pay up front and about the lack of luggage. Well the guy said we don’t really want to go to the airport we just said that for convenience it’s not far from there though. He paid me and told me he would direct me once we got off the motorway and into Liverpool. They were a bit of an odd couple with him being older and from this area she being a true scouse who swore every other word. I listened to them argue all the way down the motorway about nowt in particular and just as they were about to drive me mad at last we turned off the motorway. The guy started to give me directions which seemed to take us in circles several times this caused more arguments between them and it was decided that the lady( and I use the term loosely) would direct me the rest of the way. We drove into Edge Hill and then into what looked like a giant demolition site. Row upon row of terraced houses all boarded up with corrugated iron sheets, no sign of life not even passing or parked cars. I began to get nervous and asked are you sure it’s round here, yes she replied “just a bit further. So keeping one eye on the road and the other on the passengers I drove slowly on. Ten minutes later she shouted “stop stop” and even before we had fully stopped she jumped out and ran swearing and shouting towards the only house in all the dereliction that had doors and windows. The guy handed me a ten pound note as he got out and said “thanks mate that’s for you none of the local taxis will come down here” I guess that explains the airport story they gave.

Wednesday, February 1


Found this photo of a Barrow built submarine the Lempit. She is on show at a museum in Tallin Estonia.

Wheelchair access

Come across a blog by a local wheelchair user and he mentions the outfit I work with. This is lifted directly from his blog.

TaxisPrivate HireThere is a Taxi company called A1 which have wheelchair Taxis, there Telephone number is 01229 838383.Please note we can never get a wheelchair taxis, after about 8:30pm Sunday - Thursday!This company is good, when you get into the cab they are friendly, don't charge you more for using the service, and don't start the meter running until you set off!It's also advisable if you want a non wheelchair cab phone ahead, just to say that the boot needs to be big another to fit a wheelchair. most taxi firms have taxis, which they use to pick up wheelchairs as they have large boots!
Hackney (Black Cabs)If you are on a night out, there are No Hackney Taxis (These are Taxis which you don't need to book!), which means you either need to booked once which is Wheelchair friendly or walk home.We often get into a non wheelchair and put the wheelchair in the boot. Please note you need to be assertive when flagging a cab down. As most will just pass you by, if you do flag one down often you need to convince them that a wheelchair can fit into the boot.”

This is what he has to say on clubbing in Barrow again a bit of an eye opener.

Clubbing“I'll warn you now the only places with Disabled Toilets are two Pubs, "The Furness Railway", and "Yates"; these are just pubs not clubs.There are no disable toilets down Cornwallis Street (This is where all the Nightclubs are), so if you need to go to the toilet, two options --Option 1 - Recommend to us by the Police, "The Backstreet"... please don't do this!Option 2 - Go Home
There is a toilet in the club “Circus Circus”, which they use as a disabled toilet but you can’t move your wheelchair when you inside! If you walk you could try to use this toilet, just as a member of staff behind the door for the key, as the lock doesn’t work it the “Radar Key”.
No Club has access to the any other floor so you’ll be stuck on the bottom floor. There are steps into some clubs but I wouldn’t worry as the Bouncers can help you over these steps.
Princess Selandia
I’m going to give a special mention to this newly built club, as this is the most popular club in town.
This is clubs is situated on boat; there is no wheelchair access, as they are a lots of steps to get onto the ships then more steps to go to the bar!
Which means you’ll need to be carried on-board which we did to get on Christmas Eve.
The only other issue I have with this club is that there are no disabled toilets. If you are disabled you’ll need to use the woman’s toilet, as the men’s is downstairs!
If you a man you will need to use the woman’s toilets, which is just a normal cubicle which barely fits a wheelchair in!
That’s My Wheelchair Guide to Barrow, hope you enjoyed the Read!”