Sunday, April 30


Another super Sunday and a busy one at that, but the difference was that today I seemed to be picking up lots of leftovers from the Saturday night as well. This always tells us day drivers that the previous night was busy which was expected with it being the end of the month and therefore pay weekend for a lot of folk. As it got later in the day it got hard to tell whether people were on the way home from the night before or setting out to go drinking for the super Sunday. On more than one trip it was picking up a refugee from Saturday and then taking a Sunday reveller on the return.

Old Roose

This is one of the few examples of early Victorian railing and gates to survive intact in the Barrow area. All the rest were used as scrap during the second world war, there are many houses and public buildings where you will find just the telltale half inch of iron sticking out from the stonework. This row is called old Roose and is well hidden from the road and a lot of locals don't know where it is.

Saturday, April 29

Bar Divers

I have picked at least three people up in the last two weeks who have had quite serious leg injuries. All of them after a bit of coaxing come out with a similar story, and all the tales of calamity have a link they were all injured falling off bar stools in the same nightclub(I won't say which one but it floats). It seems that while they had relaxed on these tall stools and enjoyed a few drinks they had slipped there feet inside the high footrests. Unfortunately they had forgotten about this when they went to stand up and ended up flat on the floor with snapped ligaments etc. There may be more people out there who have suffered the same fate but are too embarrassed to say. I mean falling of a barstool doesn't give you a lot of street cred maybe they tell people they were injured skiing, skydiving or something else with a bit more kudos.

Friday, April 28

No Grow

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

Thursday, April 27

One of Ours

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

Wednesday, April 26

B.B.C. Interview

I did an interview for B.B.C. local radio Radio Cumbria which went on air 10 th April. Part of it is here if you want a listen , you never know you may have been mentioned. recording courtesy of Bill Clark
Just click here !!!

Tuesday, April 25


Unfortunately Bills skill doesn’t extend to photography this is what happened when he tried to take a snap of me.


You may think you are being driven by a taxi driver when you are picked up in a cab. But lots of drivers have other ideas; some just think of themselves as driving the cab to make cash while they wait for something better to come along and others have skills and trades which they could go back to at any time. And others have a parallel career and just use the income from cab driving to keep body and soul together until they hit pay dirt. Bill (pictured) is a talented radio presenter and has done lots of work for radio stations all over the North West. So think twice before you dismiss your driver as just a cabbie.

Monday, April 24

Bit Wet

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


This car I spotted today is not a police car just a wannabe but look at the licence plate.

Sunday, April 23

St Georges

Despite the build up by the press and the breweries St Georges day was something of a damp squid round here. Some of the pubs and restaurants had boards outside advertising specials etc, but didn’t look busy .I never picked up any fares that were going out because it was St George’s day. On asking a few people about it they said they might celebrate it if it was made a bank holiday but as it is sandwiched in between Easter and Mayday I can’t see that happening.


Quite a few cars are now starting to fly the England flag in the run up to the 2006 World Cup in June. As we passed a car sporting one of these today my fare an elderly lady asked,” what’s that flag for St Georges day?”. Jokingly I replied” no they have to have them to warn everybody that they are a bad driver” just at that moment a car with flags on pulled out in front of us “oh yes” she said I get it that’s why he must have two flags he’s a really bad driver.”

Saturday, April 22

Car Hunt

I went on a hunt the car mission this morning, about the third in the last month or two. I had picked a guy up who had been out drinking till the early hours and now he had decided it was time to pick the car up. As with the rest he was full of confidence that it was just a straight forward taxi to the car and then drives it home, and just like the others his face fell a mile when the car was not where he thought it was. So it was a blank expression for a minute or two then he exclaims “I know" and directs me to another pub car park two miles away, but of course the same thing happens there also. He gets increasingly panicked as we try another two places where he thinks he may have left his car. But at the last place we try and with £9.00 on the meter there is his car, great big smiles from him until he puts his hand in his pocket for the keys. "Dohh! "

Friday, April 21

Sweets n Cake

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

Thursday, April 20

Vacancy for King

The king of Piel Island Rod Scarr has abdicated leaving a vacancy to be filled interested? The vacancy is actually as landlord and tenant of the islands only pub the Ship Inn, the pub has been long neglected by its guardians the local council. The landlord of the Ship Inn is traditionally known as the “King of Piel”. The title comes from the time of Lambert Simnel when he declared himself king. This tradition has also given rise to the “Knights of Piel”. In the Ship Inn is an old oaken chair and anyone who sits in it becomes a “Knight of Piel”. The “Knighthood” ceremony must be performed by the “King” or another “Knight”. The new Knight must then carry out his duties which include buying everyone a drink, being a moderate smoker, an ardent lover of the opposite sex and of good character. One of the rights of a “Knight” is if he finds himself shipwrecked on Piel he may go to the Inn and demand a night’s free lodging and as much as he can eat and drink. The haunting remains of Piel still hold a fascination for many people who see the island floating in the distance. It retains its sense of remoteness although it is just half a mile by sea from Roa Island and can be reached by ferry or by tractor when the tide is out. The twenty acre island comes complete with it own ruined 14th century castle, six cottages which are only occupied in summer months and a marsh pond full of local wildlife.

Mobile Makeup

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

Wednesday, April 19

Lonely Hearts

Spotted this today on the notice board at our local supermarket is this the beginning of a new trend I wonder. It brought to mind a lady passenger who was telling me all about her relationship break-up and about how she finds it difficult starting a new social life at the age of forty. Well I suppose she’s right especially if you don't want to get involved in the cattle market of the local club scene.

Tuesday, April 18


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


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


Mrs O,Malley apart from the spelling she's that good they named her twice.

Monday, April 17

Gas Flare

Some big flare offs from the nearby gas terminal tonight this view from my window.

Morning After

The morning after super Sunday and lots of leftovers, people who wake up with a bad head in a strange place. They all looked a bit delicate so it was up loud with the radio and lots of shouting at them. But the best was a guy who was wearing a girl’s blouse several sizes too small in a nice shade of lilac, the first thing he said was” don’t say a word” but he then went on to tell me that he had got into a fight and had his tee-shirt ripped off. Or that’s what he told me anyway, wonder what his mum thought when he walked in wearing it.

Sunday, April 16

Super Sunday

Super Sunday for those of you who don’t know is the Sunday before a bank holiday Monday. Due to some clever marketing by the breweries they have really taken off in the last few years and lots of people attempt to drink from noon until early the next day. I say attempt because by late afternoon lots of them are the worse for wear. In the last three or four years' lots of people have started to go up to Dalton to drink there, maybe because there are not that many pubs in Barrow with beer gardens. That and the fact that all the pubs in Dalton are close together, but it sure gets crazy all we seem to do all day is drive back and forth to Dalton.

Easter Parade

Easter Sunday and the same as last year, what I call the Easter parade hundreds of cars driving round looking for a supermarket that’s open.
They can’t believe that they have the audacity to close when they want to go shopping as they usually do every Sunday. They don’t just look at the car park and see it’s empty and realise the store is closed, nope they have to drive right up to the store entrance and stare at the locked doors with open mouths. They actually form a queue to do this and then they all drive off to the supermarket down the road to repeat the ritual. It seems that they just don’t know what to do with their selves without their Sunday shopping fix, wonder what they did before the stores started Sunday trading. We could make lots of money if our phone operators didn’t tell customers that the stores were shut. We could just take them a nice trip round all the closed supermarkets and then back home again, but that’s bad public relations so we don’t do that. Pity though.

Double Decker

A free bus was running from the model railway exhibition to the Dock Museum via Walney all over Easter. The buses were provided by Barrow Transport a group who preserve buses from bygone times. The bus pictured is a Leyland with a Park Royal body made in 1958.

Friday, April 14


I was talking to a guy today about percentages and proportions all sorts of interesting stuff. When I dropped him off  I thought of a few rules that seem to apply whilst working as a cabbie especially in certain areas of Barrow.
  • The scruffier the house you pick up from the better the mobile phone they will have with them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The whiter the trainers the lesser the vocabulary usually limited to innit,nectar,latta,mingin,wotever,

Wednesday, April 12

Easter Custom

It seems that the old custom of displaying Easter eggs in the window is dying out. On my travels I have not seen any houses with a decent display. A few years back most houses with children used to have eggs in the window, daft place really the chocolate used to melt but as I found out recently it was not as I thought to make the other kids jealous but has its roots in earlier customs. I had picked an elderly lady up and she explained to me that in earlier times before the chocolate egg they had Pasch or past eggs, which were hard boiled eggs which where dyed and painted. Before they were rolled down a hill in the traditional Easter Sunday pastime of past egging they were displayed in the front window. She also told me that empty pace-egg shells must be crushed as it was believed that witches used them as boats (mad eh). I did see one house with an Easter wreath on the front door which I have never seen round here before, wonder where that idea originates from.

Tuesday, April 11

Red Light

It seems that we are to have a major facelift at one of our busiest road junctions the traffic lights at Rawlinson St and Holker St. What this means to me is that some overpaid bod from Carlisle in a green reflective jacket carrying a clipboard will come along and make it into another disaster just like the next junction up the White House lights which has been "improved". Anymore "improvements like this and Abbey Rd will end up as a no go area for motorists.

Monday, April 10

Who's Syd

Local elections are coming up shortly you can tell by the apathy, but I would like to know who SYD is.

Sunday, April 9

Pie Guy

Two guys and one lady in the cab this morning, one of the guys happened to be gay. They had been out all night partying and were still very drunk. The lady comes out with the classic question “is your brother fat because you’re gay then”? There was silence for a minute or two and then the gay man said “no it’s because he eats too many pies”” Oh yes” she said” I eat pies too does that make me fat as well?” He just looked her up and down in silence for a while and then they all started screaming and arguing luckily they were getting out by then, was I glad to get rid of them.

The Rose

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

Saturday, April 8

Reluctant Fare

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

Friday, April 7


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

Thursday, April 6

Hairy Bikers

My daughter poses for a photo with the Hairy Bikers as the boys sign the book.

I went to a book signing today for the book "Hairy Bikers Cookbook" by Geordie Si King and local lad Dave Myers. The book follows on from a highly successful television series of which I have been an avid viewer. Not only a cook book" but a stunning travelogue full of anecdotes, maps behind the scenes pictures and delicious laid back food". The book follows their journeys on motorcycles to Portugal, Namibia, Isle of Man Ireland, Transylvania, Turkey, Vietnam, and Mexico, all with a good sprinkle of down to earth northern humour. I was surprised to hear that Dave is a reader of my column in the Evening Mail it's good that he keeps in touch with local news and going on's.

Wednesday, April 5


This is the new Hilton Hotel being built close to the Science Museum.

Cheap Daytrip

Had to take the cab to Colne for some warranty work today, so whilst I had the courtesy car I had a ride into Manchester. I had the wife and nine-year-old daughter with me and so we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. A great day out with lots to do and see especially for the kids , and the best bit is that it's all free! The only cost involved was to park in the museum grounds which was a fiver , but that’s not bad for secure all-day parking in the centre of Manchester.Xperiment is a gallery with lots of hands-on interactive exhibits for children of all ages. But my wife found the best bit was that it overlooks the outside set for her favourite soap Coronation St and they were filming scenes whilst we were there, Some of the characters she spotted included Rita Sullivan, Audrey Roberts, Nathan, Frankie, Tyrone, Lloyd, Becky, Shelley, well I don't know any of these characters but I did recognise Roy Hudd who the wife tells me is a guest star. So what's your excuse whilst the kids are off school? There’s lots more free stuff whilst your there including, The Peoples History Museum, The Lowry, and The Imperial War Museum North.

Tuesday, April 4

Prison Guide

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

Rural Day

Lots of rural work today down country roads like this, This leads to Aldingham on the coast road Morecambe Bay

This house Rampside hall has twelve chimneys known locally as the twelve apostles.

The hall was built C; 1588

Monday, April 3

Black Gold

I noticed today that a coal truck had lost part of its load on Greengate St. Not that many years ago people would have appeared with buckets and carried it off. But no not nowadays it was just left to be crushed under the wheels of passing traffic. I wonder how many people would actually know how to light a coal fire in this age of push button central heating.

Sunday, April 2

Buggy Rage

This area seems to becoming a hot bed of electric buggy rage, In StAnnes Lancs a 76-year-old man was questioned by police after driving into a group of shoppers and then lashing out with his walking stick. In Kendal a babies pram was wrecked when it was hit by a buggy in a supermarket aisle. Finally, in Broad Ing Cumbria a 77-year-old lady was hit and knocked to the ground. I have myself noticed pensioners on souped up buggy's trying to run over our much loved local pigeons on Dalton Rd. Now I believe that the Department of Transport is considering driving tests for them, good idea make them all use Taxis!