Wednesday, August 30


Picked lots of noisy kids up this week, it's the week before the schools go back and so it's the last minute rush for school uniforms. One woman was totally oblivious to her three unruly brats in the back, she just seemed to go into a trance as her kids fought screamed , and then rolled both windows down and started to throw things out including the taxi firms business cards. Still she just stared ahead deaf and blind to the chaos in the rear. That was when I braked and pulled over and without saying a word got out rolled up the back windows and placed my new sign that I bought a while back from Lancaster Castle, onto the dash, then I just looked at them for a minute without saying a word. They looked at me and then at the sign and that was it not a peep out of them for the rest of the journey. Funny thing was the mother never said a word, but she gave me a good tip with the fare.

Tuesday, August 29

Pink Bloody Ladies

Just read a piece in the Evening Mail about the ladies only taxi service Pink Ladies, they are a franchise outfit whose nearest outfit is based in Carlisle. It seems they are looking for some mug to take on the franchise for Barrow, I use the word mug because that's exactly what anyone would be who took it on. This outfit is run as a club in an attempt to get round the licencing regulations,this means they can sidestep rules that ensure minicabs and cab firms are licensed and their cars are roadworthy. this is being challenged by genuine cab firms who are understandably incensed by the fact that we in the trade who are abiding by the law and paying for it dearly are facing unfair competition. What's to stop any cowboy outfit from calling themselves a taxi club to avoid police and medical checks on their drivers and the strict insurance and mechanical conditions on the cabs. Barrow Taxi Drivers Association spokesman Henry Fayyazi was quoted as saying "I don't think Barrow taxi drivers would object to Pink Ladies as long as they are subject to all the checks that taxi drivers have to go through". Well Henry, it appears that they aren't, so here's one that does object, and strongly at that.

Sunday, August 27

John Simmit

Ere guvnor guess who I ad in the cab today? one of those Tellytubbies, no not La La or Tinkywinky nor Po, but the coolest one Dipsy! yeah, you know the green one with the top hat. Mind you I didn't know that when I picked John Simmit the guy who played the character up from the Abbey House Hotel and took him to the station. It turns out he was here to appear in his new and talented role as a stand-up comedian at the Jongleurs comedy club event at the Canteen Media and Arts Centre. What a nice guy I enjoyed a good yarn with him on the drive into town and he tells me he likes the area and hopes to visit again soon especially now he has been told about the Laurel and Hardy Museum in nearby Ulverston. So let's hope local folk support the canteen and go there in droves so we can see more of this talent heading in Barrows direction.


Looks like our local; Asda is playing keep up with the Joneses with Tesco by starting with a full refit at the same time. This has led to lots of my fares complaining about not being able to find anything in either store, and lots of taxi drivers complaining about not being able to find the taxi pickup point in Asda, they keep moving it without telling us, leading to us or the fare to be waiting in the wrong place grrr! The partly completed new larger roundabout outside Tesco does seem to improve traffic flow, but let's reserve judgment until it's finished, and lets hope the long awaited new entrance is started soon and maybe finished before the madness of Christmas, which as we all know will fly up now that the school holidays are about over.

Friday, August 25

Beach Bums

During the summer months especially on a Sunday morning, I seem to pick leftover party goers up from the so called all night beach parties that take place mainly in the Earnsie Bay area. This is a beautiful area with long stretches of often empty beaches and a huge nature reserve with many rare species within the sand hills including ,so they tell me up to 25% of the country's rare Natterjack toad population. On my day off I had a walk down there and yes the beach was deserted and pristine as usual, but walking back through the sand hills you can't help but see what a mess these weekend party animals are leaving (animals being the operative word). Broken glass and empty cans, and much worse, some of it being a health hazard, and lots of remains from fires dotted among the sand hills. With this being such an important local amenity why do we let this happen? surely local police, coastguards and wardens should be keeping an eye out for this lot at the weekend and if not why not?


The following is an edited version of a piece posted by kind permission of Wil a fellow taxi driver from Maui Hawaii.

"ICE "
If it hasn't already arrived in your neck of the woods, it'll be coming soon.
"Ice" is the street name for smokable crystal meth. It originated about five years ago in Hawaii and is very easily produced by processing some over-the-counter" cold/sinus/allergy medicines. About three years ago it began appearing on the "west coast" of the US, and showed up on the "east coast" shortly after that. It is slowly but surely working its way into America's "heartland". The transformation of to the over-counter" cold/sinus/allergy medicines into "ICE" is very cheap and simple and does not require volatile chemicals, such as "crack" (smokable cocaine) does.The drug is not really physically addicting (like heroin) but its harm comes from the psychological addiction. It stimulates the pleasure centres of the brain and releases massive amounts of endorphins.
Street value is very inexpensive but the "high" only last a few moments. To get that "rush" again, you have to have another "hit", and then another, and another, into a never ending downwards spiral. And it then doesn’t take long to go through their savings and any cash they can lay hands on. Eating becomes rare since the addict would rather have another "hit" than spend money on food, either for themselves or their families. It doesn't take long before they've lost their jobs, their possessions and their housing. The hunger for gratification is constant. Let’s face it; the body just loves that wonderful rush of endorphins. It makes all your troubles just disappear. Once the addict has reached the point where they have nothing of value to sell then they only have two choices left “crime or prostitution”. Personal pride is gone by then and besides, just another "hit" will stifle any guilt that they have left. Emaciation and physical neglect are the late stages until the body just withers and dies.I know that that it is just starting appearing in London. The rest of the UK and Europe will see it very, very soon.The police, everywhere, have understated how pervasive this drug is in their communities. Politicians are ignoring it and few newspapers are doing the necessary follow-up to inform the public.
“So I guess all I can say is "Take Heed."

Wednesday, August 23

Gretna Green

I had a bit of business up in Carlisle today but didn't have too much time for a good look round, so that's on the cards for one of my days off. But I did take the opportunity to make a quick raid over the Scottish border to the world famous "old smithy marriage room" The reason Scotland was chosen by runaways was for the difference in its laws surrounding marriage. Firstly, the marriageable age in Scotland was 16 as opposed to 21 in England. Secondly, in Scotland, a couple only had to declare their intentions to be husband and wife for their word to be law. So young lovers, sure in heart, were drawn north like bees to the honey pot. And of course, because of its proximity to the border, Gretna became the stopping point of choice for those wanting to get wed in a hurry.

Monday, August 21

Itsy Bitsy

I don't mind spiders at all, they just don't bother me, but going by the reactions I have had in the back of the cab lately, they sure do bother some people. Apparently, I have had a spider as a non-paying passenger for the last week or so. I've never seen it but going by the screams and quick exits that some fares make it must be a scary one. Every time someone mentions it I check the car out and despite searching high and low all I have found are a few silky threads. They tell me it's small and red and very quick, it must be to survive my weekly assault with the hoover. But one thing its good for is keeping kids quiet in the back after the first scream most get to the furthest corner and just watch in silent horror. Think I might get some more and keep them in a matchbox just to threaten the kids with.

Oh, the photo is of one innocent insect  the daughter nearly scared to death by screaming when she found it in the bath.

Sunday, August 20

White Light

For a while now I have felt that staggered traffic lights aren't a good idea. Daily I see drivers taking a chance and going through just after the light has turned red, mainly because of the sheer frustration of the time taken for the lights to go through it's phases for each junction in turn. Barrows White house lights are one off the worst offenders and today for the third time this week the point was proven again. I was following a car up Abbey Rd and the lights were red but the car went straight on without even slowing down. What the problem seems to be is that they see the traffic coming towards them down Abbey Rd and they assume wrongly that as in normal junctions that the lights must be green, and so they don't even look at the lights especially if they are from out of town and don't know that we have such crazy junctions here. How long before we have a serious accident here or at one of our other staggered junctions.

Saturday, August 19

Yo Taxi

Here's one from Terence Arjo New Yorkers hail a lot of cabs, and it can become quite competitive at rush hour when it’s raining, or late at night when bars and nightclubs close. This battle forces New Yorkers to risk their lives wading into oncoming traffic, frantically trying to get a cabbie’s attention.Yo, Taxi! is a coat embedded with a persistence of vision display, shown through a single row of LEDs positioned in the cuff of the coat. When the wearer raises his or her hand and begins waving it in the natural taxi hailing gesture, the LEDs illuminate. The POV strobes in time with the wearer’s action, creating the illusion of the word “TAXI” floating in mid-air.

Fair Fare

Well, we finally got a small increase in fares, and not before time, what with the vast increase in the cost of fuel and insurance , never mind the cost of living something had to give, and I think the local firms realised this. Even though this was all kept hush hush up till the last minute leading to drivers frantically rushing round trying to get their meters adjusted, all the firms seemed to pitch the increase at about the same level. But as usual, they all managed to sneak in an increase to the fees that they charge to us the drivers, ahh well in one pocket out the other

Animal Lover

These two photos from Bill they were taken down a seldom used road Buccleuch Dock Road and two houses are located at the bottom of this dead end I guess one of them is an animal lover.

Friday, August 18

A Women Scorned

As soon as my lady passenger got in the cab she asked me if I knew of a driver called Tony(I won't give his full name) who worked on our outfit, I did but I replied" no not really", so she began to describe him in the most unflattering terms, you know she said the small fat ugly one, well I said that could describe a lot of our drivers. And so she goes into even more gory detail, until finally, I said" yes I know who you mean"." He was my former husband" she said and then went on to tell me what a useless piece of trash she thought he was and how he had cheated on her and robbed her. "Why don't you use another cab firm to avoid him then" I asked "oh no I follow him around as he moves from firm to firm and tell all the drivers about him" And so as I was a captive audience for the next ten minutes or so I was treated with tales of how he was a bad father a bad lover and the full list of all his many nasty bad habits. A bit later I passed this driver and even though I took everything she said with a pinch of salt ( you know a woman scorned and all that)I couldn't help looking at him in a whole new light.

Thursday, August 17


My day off and so it was off to the nearby Town of Lancaster for a day out, some great shops and buildings in Lancaster with lots of little cuttings and alleys, I love the one in the photo, Bashful Alley what a name wonder were that comes from? Some great pubs too Ye olde John O'Gaunt still retains a lot of the best features of a typical local boozer. Finished the day on a tour of Lancaster Castle which is still in use as a prison and a working crown court. They still hold the record for a public hanging, seven seconds from the condemned cell to the gallows and pronounced dead! Public hangings carried out there include the nine Pendle witches as well as countless public floggings. Australia benefited from the many petty criminals sentenced to be transported there since transport was free going ,but they had to pay if they wanted to return after they had served the sentence. It's a strange feeling being locked in one of the old cells and then the light being turned off for a minute or two no wonder many went mad or died in the many months they had to wait for trial.

Monday, August 14


One of my first jobs this morning was to pickup a guy from Dalton going to Barrow; it was early morning and so not too many folk around except for a chap painting his windows nearby. Now let’s get this straight I am in no way homophobic, I see most things on this job and most don’t shock or surprise me but our window painting friend was gobsmacked when he saw my fare kissing his boyfriend goodbye, what on his nice quiet suburban front street in Dalton never! His mouth was wide open and he was staring and never noticed that he was now painting over the glass in his windows. But I did have to suppress a laugh when a bit later my fare was telling me that he was going camping that night.

Sunday, August 13

Boob Job

A couple of young lasses I picked up today tell me that the “bouncers” whoops sorry I forgot its door persons now, isn’t it now that we are all politically correct. Anyway they were telling me that some of the male doorpersons have a new way of telling if young ladies are over eighteen and so allowed on the premises. Apparently they don’t need to look at the faces or check the ID, they just check to see that they have a well developed bust! So now you know girls when you try to get in the local clubs stick that chest out and in you go, pity if you’re a late starter or even a non starter you may have problems so take your ID.


Billy another local taxi driver I know had a pickup from Hawcoat going into town. When he pulled up outside the fare was walking down the garden path carrying a large plastic bag, being the helpful type that he is Billy jumped out and took the plastic bag from her and placed it in the boot. When he got to the place where the lady was going he jumped out to get the bag for her, “oh no I don’t want that it’s just a bag of trash she said I was going to drop it in the bin on the way out but you insisted on putting it in your boot” And so that was Billy driving round trying to find a bin for this ladies trash, maybe he won't be so keen to help next time. Mind you this doesn’t surprise me coming from a driver who took a fare to Dane Garth the local mental health facility instead of Glen Garth the local posh hotel.

Friday, August 11

White Scar Caves

My day off and so it was off to White Scar Caves which is about forty five miles away near the small town of Ingleton, just over the Yorkshire border. What a great experience especially for kids they love it deep underground. Whilst we were on the tour it got quite busy and we had to squeeze past people on their way out. I had to laugh when we overheard a tourist say “why don’t they have a separate entry and exit tunnel” I mean this cave was formed naturally over millions of years by the natural action of water. But thinking about it I guess if it was located in Florida it would be made into some sort of theme ride with carpets, escalators and lifts, and maybe the odd scary dinosaur and caveman to add interest, thank god its not eh!
If you visit the website (link above) make sure you take the virtual tour.

Thursday, August 10


Lots of fuss going on about the so called eavesdropping of the royalty’s phones, but it turns out that it’s only the voicemail from mobile phones which has been overheard. I thought most people knew that this was possible, but no it seems that theirs lots of muppets still out there with the default PIN numbers to collect their voicemail. If you don’t want to allow stalkers, suspicious spouses, Nigerian fraudsters or dodgy reporters to listen to your voice mail change your PIN now. If your not too sure here is the default PINs for UK mobiles if yours matches change it fast.
(Default PIN codes)
02 = 8705
Orange = 1111
T-Mobile = 1210
Virgin = 7890
Vodafone = 3333

Wednesday, August 9

The Answer

Its funny the things you find out are going on in the town when you talk to people you pick up, sometimes you have to take it with a pinch of salt but a lot of the times it turns out to be true. Take the two from this week the first was a guy who was working on the site on the corner of Duke St and Cavendish St, now at first glance it looks like the steelwork for a new building is going up, but no he tells me it’s to be a giant open book!. “What” I asked incredulously” what’s that all about?” he tells me that it’s a new art installation to tell the history of shipbuilding in Barrow. Wow can’t wait to see that finished and would love to know how much it is costing us, my bet is that it will equal or exceed the fine imposed for the legionnaire’s scandal. Next up is a guy who is working on the new Tesco expansion and he tells me a tale of somebody looking at the plans the wrong way and the offices being built on the wrong side of the building, he says nobody noticed until they were completed and that this has cost tens of thousands of pounds. If this is true nobody will be too surprised they do seem to have history of doing things back to front just ask anybody who’s trying to get off the car park stuck between the building site and the roadworks.

Tuesday, August 8


I was just dropping a young lady passenger off when she looked at me and exclaimed “you did my wedding.” This had me worried for a minute or two “what have I done wrong I thought” then she said “you write taxi tales in the local paper and you wrote about my wedding day” Oh yes? I said gingerly not knowing whether this was good or bad “yes it was funny and very accurate I was stressed that day you were right”. And so I was unmasked for the first time, but I have had people in the car talking about it quite a few times now and they have never guessed and I have never let on.

Monday, August 7

Guess What

This is something thats going up in the centre of Barrow on one of our main streets, I want you to try and guess what it is going to be and I'm betting that you will be wrong. Answer in a day or so.

Sunday, August 6

Eastern Imports

The latest commodity to be exported from East to West is currently rolling off the production line in Prague and heading, literally, straight for our streets. Apparently a school over there is training potential taxi drivers; these taxi drivers come fully adapted to the British market, complete with knowledge of the Highway Code and a good grasp of English. So far around 200 Eastern European drivers from Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have arrived in Britain having studied at the taxi school in the Czech capital. Most have been recruited for firms in Plymouth and Inverness but with promises of earning four or five times as much over here than back home I think maybe it won’t be too long before we see some locally. This is going to be even more likely when even poorer countries join the EU such as Bulgaria and Albania. Maybe some local cabbies should think about when and not if this happens and maybe smarten up a bit and to remember that we are a service industry and the only way to compete is to give a good service to the public.

Saturday, August 5

Posh State

First job this morning was a return to the cemetery and back, and to be honest the lady was a bit morbid. “Aye she said me husbands in there an me mother and sister, but theirs room for me to join them as well when I go”” Lets hope it’s later rather than sooner” I said, she was silent for a minute or two then she said” aye maybe”. The next job was a young lass she had been written on with felt tip pen all over her arms, she had made the mistake of falling asleep at a party. Now she was feeling the worse for wear and just wanted to get home. She said “my parents will go crazy” why? I asked you seem old enough to do as you please.
“Oh no we live on a posh estate and they worry what the neighbours might think when I get out of a taxi with no shoes on and in this state”. Do people really think like that? I would have thought they would have been glad to see the daughter home safe and sound and hey! stuff the posh neighbours on the posh estate.

Friday, August 4


I wonder what’s happened with the cycle lane at the junction of Barrows Rating lane and Abbey Rd. at about three yards long it’s either shrunk in the wash or we seem to have one of the shortest cycle lanes in the country. I wonder how much of our money has been wasted on these underused roads to nowhere. The longest cycle route on Abbey Rd has lost most of its green non slip coating and cyclists tell me it is dangerous in wet weather, looks like we have been ripped off by dodgy contractors. Let’s face it what’s the point of spending huge sums of money on these lanes and still allowing cars to park on them no wonder most of our local cyclists ride on the pavement. Then we have Greengate St where they do the opposite, with many thousands of pounds spent on a shared lane on the pavement cyclists choose to ignore it and risk their necks when drivers try to squeeze past them where the road has been narrowed to make room for the cycle lane.

Thursday, August 3

The Mills

My day off today and so I took along walk down through Cavendish dock to the Greenway which is a path following the old railway line to the Concle at Rampside. As I walked past the old paper mills I couldn’t believe the devastation of the place how has it been allowed to get to this state? It seems it’s just a dumping ground for rubbish and a place where local petty criminals go to burn out and dump stolen cars and motorbikes. Whilst I was there three or four chavs on motorbikes all without helmets etc, flew past with scant regard for the safety of the walkers down there, and clouds of dust blew in all directions from the lunatic car driver doing hand brake turns etc, to impress his lady chavess both of them no more than fourteen. Looking at the development plans for the docks this area is marked as a wetland nature reserve, how can this happen with this blot in the middle of it, surely something must be done or the scheme will be a complete waste of money.
Let’s see this dangerous dump flattened along with the Mall and let’s see it done sooner rather than later.