Saturday, September 30

Forgotten luck

I had a fare this morning and it took five attempts before we finally set off, it was "just a minute" and then going back into the house three times and then twice round the block and back to get yet more forgotten stuff. And yes if you hadn't already guessed the fare was female but fellas can be just as bad sometimes. Perhaps they haven't heard of the old superstition that if you forget something it's bad luck to go back for it, yes it seems a bit daft to me too, but here's a dafter one. I had picked a couple up going into town and on the way the guy was getting dropped off to collect his car. His car just happened to be parked on Greengate Bridge but when he went to get out of the car the lady insisted on us driving over the bridge first and dropping him further away. This was she told us because if you say goodbye on a bridge you will never see each other again.

Friday, September 29


A strange message appeared on my data screen today, it started with the words "please can I have" and then an address. This had me baffled and so I radioed into the office and asked what it meant. Well it seems that everybody doesn't use text speak when ordering a taxi by text and these nice polite folk had sent a text beginning with please can I have, and then explaining when and where they wanted a taxi. Unfortunately all the computer wants is a time and a name and the address that you want the cab at, and so it had assumed that "please can I have "was the name. Strange things computers, they've just got no manners, might be nice if they built some in though.

Thursday, September 28

Irish Eyes

Picked up this Irish guy today, in his seventies now and ravaged by a lifetime of heavy drinking. But still he had the piercing blue smiling Irish eyes and his accent was still as strong as it was when he sailed into Liverpool over fifty years ago. His humour and the poetry of the Irish still shine through in any conversation that I have with him. Today when I dropped him of at his home which is a decrepit block of flats, I asked him how he felt about their intended demolition. "Well sir I moved here twenty eight years ago, and back then to get a flat here you had to be a priest with a letter from the pope, but now sir like meself who was once a fine figure of a man it's gone to rack and ruin even the rats have left because they wouldn't give them overalls" We talked a bit longer and then as he got out of the cab he leaned back in and said " thank you sir for taking the time to talk to this ole ruin about his ole ruin I'll say a prayer for you, and raise a glass or two to you tonight"

Wednesday, September 27


For about the third time this month I took a fare to the Citizens Advice Bureau and they were all going for the same reason. Advice on debts that they had run up and could not pay, it seems to me that we are fast becoming the most financially illiterate nation on earth. The passenger I took there even used the wrong word he said that he was going to sort his credit out, I've got news for you mate it's not credit it's debt pure and simple debt. I hear lot's of people I pick up talking about buying things on credit but they don't actually know how much they are paying for it, all they seem interested in is what the payments per week or month are. Maybe it's about time we started compulsory classes at schools and maybe making folk go on a course before they are allowed credit.


This was the vew when I stopped for a quick lunch break today.


I have just downloaded Barrows community plan from the local council website and among other stuff this one stood out. A breast feeding Café will be opened in Barrow before April 2007 and a ten week training programme will be run to train breastfeeding peer support mothers before March 2007. Well would you want your coffee with cream then?

Monday, September 25

Ugly Bug

This is a design for a new purpose built taxi for the north American market, not very pretty is it?

Sunday, September 24


When it rains people tend to try to park as close as possible to the supermarket doors, this leads to them frequently blocking the taxi pickup bays. This gets really annoying especially if like today free spaces are available three or four yards from the taxi bay. The daft thing is that it's usually the young and fit that tend to do it. Today was the usual story I had to double park to load up with a ladies shopping in the rain. I was parked alongside a black BMW whose driver had gone into our local Tescos. My passenger pointed at the car and when I looked closer I was amazed to see that it had been left with the engine running. But hey don't worry it was safe they had left two kids of about two and three playing in the front seats!


Sunday mornings I just love them, lot's of leftovers from Saturday this week in all sorts of states.
One of the first pickups was a guy who frantically waved me down practically jumping out in front of the cab. He had been stood at a bus stop and he looked really dishevelled, he asked to be taken to Dalton and on the way he told me his story.
Having not been out round the clubs and pubs of Barrow for a year or two he didn't realise that they now stayed open until five or six am in the morning "I just kept drinking and thought that they would throw me out at two am"he said.
Somehow he had ended up falling asleep in a bus shelter and had woken up to the ringing of his mobile phone, it was his wife who had been up all night trying to ring him.
By the sound of it she was not to happy with him and he was dwelling on the punishments that she would inflict on him. Wow would I not like to be in his shoes when he finally faced the music!

Saturday, September 23


Well it was a nice sunny Saturday afternoon and as usual our local population of boy & girl racers were out and about. Hey don't get me wrong I have nothing against them, and like a lot of people I admire all the work some of them must put into their cars. But after investing all that time and money it really does baffle me why they spend all day driving the one and a half mile route between the Strawberry Garage and the drive thru McDonald's. I mean it really isn't the dream mile is it? what with it's five sets of traffic lights , two roundabouts and two pedestrian crossings it really must get a bit boring. Today two young lads with girls in the back of two cars were attempting to race down Abbey Rd, what a waste of time! Lots of revs and noise but as the lights are only a few hundred yards apart they spent most of the time waiting at red lights and admiring themselves in the reflection of shop windows, even at one point being overtook by a laughing pensioner driving an electric buggy on the pavement. Come on folks get a life, there's a whole big world out there if you've got the car and some cash go and take a look at it. After all some of the best of it is only a few miles away right on our own doorstep.

Friday, September 22

Walney Airport

Here's a view of what I jokingly refer to when I drop off there as Walney International Airport.

Thursday, September 21

Frying Tonight

Now and again if I am stopped at traffic lights or in slow traffic I will get a distinct smell of cooking coming from a nearby car. No they are not cooking a meal as they drive, they are using vegetable oil in place of diesel as a fuel.
Ah but that's illegal you may say , but no it isn't it is only illegal if you are not paying the duty on it when used as a fuel. If you try to get away without paying this duty you are risking a fine of £500 and the confiscation of your vehicle by H.M. Revenue and Customs "nicknamed the frying squad".
Does it work ? well yes but the vehicles I have seen using it tend to be older cheaper models and so the owners don't have as much to lose if it does cause any engine damage.
Some filter used cooking oil which is the cheapest option, but also the smelliest, depending on what has been cooked in it, they say that used oil from Dunkin Donuts gives a lovely sweet aroma that causes hunger pangs not to be recommended if you are on a diet.
Most people use ordinary store bought vegetable oil which costs about 32p a litre plus the duty at 47p per litre making a total of 79p per litre which compares to today's price at the pumps for diesel which is approx 94p per litre.
To be fully legal you first have to (strange as it may seem ) register as a fuel producer with H.M. Revenue and Customs and then pay monthly per litre used, you can go one step further and send your fuel for independent testing and then you pay the lower rate of 27p per litre bringing the cost down to a very economical 59p per litre.
Sounds tempting doesn't it, but I don't know of any local taxi drivers that have gone down this route maybe they are worried about voiding the warranty's on their cars or maybe they would feel embarrassed at the supermarket checkout with a trolley full of veg oil.

Tuesday, September 19


One of my fares today was just going back home after being missing from there for two days.
It was obvious by what he was telling me that he had been up to no good, nowt to do with me and I couldn't really care less, but the excuse and the length's he went to to pull the wool over his partner's eyes were unbelievably stupid and selfish.
He had actually been to the(emergency) casualty department of the hospital and feigned the symptoms of a pending heart attack he said he had chest pains, shivers,sweats etc.
This led to him being kept in over several hours and being given drugs and a battery of tests on his frankly worthless heart.
He gleefully showed me the marks from the ECG machine and the dressings from where blood had been taken for pointless tests, it was a struggle to disguise my disgust at this waste of space.
Let's hope his partner see's him for what he is and throws the useless piece of garbage back out on his useless butt.

Monday, September 18


I picked up a lady today who was going to work at one of our local bookies, and she was telling me that trade is down due to the craze for Internet gambling. Well it seems that they have come up with a new idea to bring in more eager mugs oops! sorry I meant punters.
The new craze which they hope is going to sweep the country's racetracks next year is "Twilight horse racing" which apparently needed to have the rules changed before it was allowed.
The picture that immediately sprang to my mind was that the horses would have bicycle lamps tied between their ears and a red lamp fixed to the tail( they could call them taillights eh) but what they mean by this is that the tracks will be floodlit for the evening.
I still think the bike lights would be more fun to watch.

Sunday, September 17

Joy of Text

I picked up quite a few fares who had used the new service and booked their cab by text today, and they all thought it was great. It goes without saying that they tend to be the younger ones who have their phones permanently in their hands and are talking and texting at the same time.
Me I can't even understand a text when I get one it's a foreign language to me.
A lot of people still haven't got used to the idea of the ring back service yet, this is were we press a button in the cab and it makes their phone ring twice to let them know we are outside.
I have heard of some drivers who use it as a form of amusement with some of our slower to cotton on passengers. What they do is wait till the fare is just about to walk out the door and then press ringback, of course they go back in to check the phone, nobody there and so off they set again only for this to be repeated time and time again. I believe the record is six times with each time the victim ringing back the callback number only to get no answer.
How cruel of course I wouldn't dream of doing such a rotten trick, mind you I could be tempted with some of the not too pleasant fares we get now and then.

Saturday, September 16

Naming Ceremony

I see our infamous Tesco roundabout has been renamed after it's £800,000 rebuild, according to the signs it is now sporting the grand title of "The John Whinnerah Roundabout"a bit of a mouthful eh!
Local folk I have spoken with all agree that it will always be called the tesco roundabout no matter how much money they throw at it. Come to think of it when did they start naming roundabouts ,I can't think of any other local roundabout with it's own name.
Will we have an official naming ceremony with the Mayor breaking a bottle of Marshs sass on the crash barrier or maybe a celebrity cutting a ribbon and will we all get a slice of cake.


I was behind a car today which had a bumper sticker it read
Men are like parking spaces you can't find one and when you do, they are either too small or handicapped"

Hey not very P.C I know but it made me smile.

Friday, September 15


No excuse or reason for this photo other than I was parked on Walney for five minutes and I just never get tired of the views

Mr Popular

A pal of mine who's a dispatcher at another local taxi firm, which to save embarrassment I won't name tells me this story.
One of the drivers who hadn't been with them very long was getting married and so decided to put a note up on the board telling all the other drivers and asking for donations towards new laminate flooring for his living room in lieu of a wedding present.
Now it seems this driver wasn't exactly Mr popular with the other drivers as when he checked in the office after a few days nothing had been left for him. Six or seven more days passed and when he checked again a single shiny penny was taped to the notice.
And then a few days later even this insult was topped, by a two inch square of laminate flooring taped under the penny.
Oh well I guess it was a start, funnily enough he left that firm shortly after.

Wednesday, September 13

A Sign?

Our local Canon left today for pastures new, but is their something he's not telling us? Has Canon Peter Mann had wind of a promotion ,or is the name on the removal van a sign from above? Whichever it was it made me laugh when I drove past them loading up at St Luke's Vicarage today.

Tuesday, September 12


The long-running battle by the Burberry clothing group to move away from it's "chav" image has forced a seaside mini taxi off the road.
Burberry, whose traditional check has been adopted by chavs on baseball caps, scarves and clothing patches, has threatened legal action against a Brighton firm running a fleet of tuk-tuks -motorised rickshaws as taxis because one is decked out in the company pattern.
The ''chavrolet" was one of a dozen vehicles painted in a variety of colour schemes and operated by TucTuc Ltd. It was taken off the road at the weekend after the firm received a legal letter from Burberry saying that the colour scheme represented an infringement of copyright.
TucTuc's executive director, said: "We are disappointed that the 'chavrolet' will have to go.
"It's a tongue-in-cheek design and people thought it was quite fun and entertaining. We're not ruling out another 'chavrolet' with a completely different design in the future."
Burberry declined to comment yesterday but the firm has been anxious for some time to rid itself of chavs' unwelcome affection for its tartan.

Could It?

Abbey Park the private clinic located within the grounds of Furness General Hospital has closed recently. More or less on the day it closed barriers and tape were put up to stop people parking their cars on the now disused parking spaces. The rumours can't possibly be true that this is to stop people parking for free could it?
At £1.30 minimum and maybe wanting to protect the huge income from both visitors and staff, what do think could it?

Monday, September 11


A council is protesting to the Metropolitan Police after one its traffic wardens was arrested after he ticketed an officer's car.
The situation reportedly turned ugly after the off-duty policeman saw the warden putting an £80 ticket on his car, which was parked with two wheels on the pavement in Upminster, Essex.
According to neighbours, words were exchanged before the policeman dashed into his house, put on his uniform and called for back-up.
Then, when two colleagues arrived in a patrol car, he went back outside and arrested the warden on suspicion of using threatening and abusive behaviour. Now, Havering council has asked the Met to investigate the arrest.
According to one neighbour, the warden had just ticketed the car when the policeman, then wearing civilian clothes, began speaking to him and the exchanges soon became "nasty".
'It's hilarious to think a traffic warden can be arrested for issuing tickets – it just goes to show that even the police are fed up with them," added the neighbour.
"We're always having problems down here with wardens targeting motorists unfairly and this time one got his comeuppance."
A council spokesman said: "The council is very concerned about the arrest of its officer.

Sunday, September 10


This one from Bill, which appeared on his screen looks like something Wil would be more familiar with.


Early this morning I picked up three young lasses from a party, which must have been going on all night. Before they got in the cab they were saying affectionate farewells to two other girls, all hugs and smiles. But the moment they got into the cab they started with comments like "what a mess Sally looked and Tina's put loads of weight on and did you see those ugly guys they were with".
This went on until I dropped one of them off, and then "yes you've guessed it"the two left started pulling the one that had left to pieces. Do all women do this I wonder? I wish I could have taped them and then played it back to their so called friends.

Saturday, September 9


Some folk have a habit of just getting into the cab and then launching into a conversation, about the weather or whatever without telling me where they are going. Now a lot I do remember but a lot I don't, and so whilst they are talking I take a quick look at them for a clue.
Black ties and mournful expressions and I will start to head for the crematorium, flowers and smiles and it's good chance it's a wedding.
If it's morning chances are they are going to work and so I look for logos or works badges, easy if they work for Asda(Walmart) they wear the brightest shade of lime green you can get,( and believe me they would not wear these duds for anything except work).
Others have just the firms logo on a tie or a certain colour shirt or overall these are harder but I usually get them right. But my secret weapon is that I have a good sense of smell and can sometimes go on this alone. The most obvious one is our local scented candle factory, easy! the next is the fast food joints, they all have their own distinctive smell. We have two Italian restaurant' s on one street and I can smell who works in each by which uses the most garlic.
Within minutes of picking a fare up I can smell if they smoke (yes even wacky baccy) and if they have a dog, cat or other pet. Last week I picked a lady up and was able to tell her she had a horse and that she had recently used Neatsfoot oil on it's hooves. "Thanks she said what you mean is that I stink and need a shower then"

Friday, September 8

£140m of Scrap

I see our local MP has made the news about the140m computer system his department have scrapped.
The multi million computer system was meant to save taxpayers money and streamline benefit payments.
The system was launched two and a half years ago in an attempt to improve the way money was paid to people on unemployment and disability benefits. The Government hoped it would save about £60 million by simplifying the system.

John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary, decided to abandon the programme earlier this year after unveiling his plans to replace incapacity benefit with employment support allowance.
Officials said last night that another system would be constructed to handle payments under the new allowance. But a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said ministers hoped to salvage some of the old program to use in the new system.
Philip Hammond, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "So far this year IT investments of over £650 million have been written off by John Hutton. There is clearly a lack of capability in the DWP to manage the implementation of large-scale IT projects."
What baffles me is that we don't seem to read these things about John Hutton in our local paper, only positive spin with lots of lovely "photo ops". Is it a case of you scratch my back I scratch yours or is this a way of keeping him sweet in case his career takes him all the way to the top, as has been rumoured.

UPDATE SAT 9th--- An explosive outburst reported by one BBC reporter is being attributed to John Hutton he is quoted as "it would be an absolute fucking disaster if Gordon Brown was Prime Minister and I will do everything in my power to fucking stop him" wow who would have thought it of him, but hey still nothing about all this in the local paper.


It was early on a Sunday morning when I got a job to pickup in the Ormsgill area, as soon as I pulled up outside the young guy ran out of the house and into the cab. “Drive go go drive “he said waving his arms about franticly, “where too” I asked “just get me out of here for now he said. He looked really spooked and so I headed slowly, into town and left him to calm down for a while, and when he finally did he told me this tale. He had been out the previous night and had a good few drinks and towards the end of the night he felt that it was his lucky night as he was chatted up by a young attractive looking lass, well looking through the bottom of a beer glass she was anyway. She invited him back to her house and he jumped at the chance, early the next morning he was awoken early by someone moving about in the bedroom. Still groggy from the previous night’s booze he struggled to think were he was and who he was with, slowly it all come back to him and his eyes finally got used to the darkened room, and he made out the figure of a strange guy rummaging in the wardrobe and taking out clothes and shoes. Now he started to worry a bit and so he pretended to be asleep as the guy stood over the bed watching him for a while. When the guy left the room he shook the sleeping now not so pretty, or so young lady to wake her. “Who’s that your brother or something” he asked then the shock and panic set in when she replied “no its my husband” Trying not to panic he asked her if she was joking, but no she was deadly serious and so he then asked if the husband had gone “no he will be waiting for his breakfast, do you want some as well” she asked. " And so I had to get dressed and go downstairs and wait for this taxi” he said and all the while the husband was sat having his tea and toast looking strangely at him from across the table.
Of course I couldn’t resist making more of the situation by telling him that maybe the husband had been in the wardrobe all night with a video camera, and that he could be no 4 in the Dutch porn charts in a month or two.

Wednesday, September 6

Strange Names

My day of today, but no free time for me it was off down to Colne in Lancashire for a service on the car. I decided to take the eighty mile route down the back roads instead of the ninety seven mile route I usually take down the motorway's.
It's been a while since I have been down the old roads and I had forgotten about some of the strange and funny place names that you pass on that route.
Place's like Nook,Whoop Hall, Hutton Roof, Leck Beck, Dumb Toms Lane, Lawkland, Wham, Blacko, Little Middop.

But my favorites are Wigglesworth and Giggleswick, it always makes me smile for some reason when I see the sign for Giggleswick Girls High School.

Tuesday, September 5

Y, oh Y

I see one of the imported cabbie's from Eastern Europe I wrote about a week or two back has ran into a bit of trouble. The unlucky driver based in Plymouth picked two girls up who asked to be taken to the village of Lymington 18 miles from where they were. Unfortunately the poor guy who had never heard of the place tapped the wrong spelling into his sat-nav. He spelt it Limington which is a village in Somerset, 90 minutes and 85 miles later, he figured out by the less than happy sounds from his passengers that something was wrong.
As I always say you can't beat local knowledge, but I bet that at first he was smiling as his meter clocked up the pounds, unlike his poor customers.

Monday, September 4


I wonder if our local cabby's have realised that when the smoking ban reaches England in the summer of 2007 that it will affect them.
A Taxi will "as it is in Scotland at present" be classed as a place of business and as such no smoking will be allowed either by customers or more importantly the driver.
This means no smoking even when they have no passengers on board, I know for a fact that a lot of local drivers are heavy smokers and they are going to find this a bit hard to swallow.
Maybe now's the time to start and try to give up before they are reduced to standing outside of their cabs for a smoke to avoid a heavy fine. Not too bad in the summer but not so nice in the wind and rain.
So come on guys either give up now or get yourself an umbrella and a raincoat ready.

Saturday, September 2


It was mid morning and pouring down with rain when I pulled up outside the house on a quiet cul-de-sac, strangely lots of young guys were stood around in the front garden.
A bit wet for a barbecue I was thinking as I waited for my passenger, but they looked too quiet, something was wrong. At least six of them were talking nervously into mobile phones, feeling a bit uncomfortable and wondering what was going on I was glad when my fare come out and got into the cab.
The passenger was a girl who told me what was going on, apparently a big group of friends from the estate had been out the previous night and as happens they had spilt up during the night and all ended up in different places. The next morning one of the guys was found in a bad way at a friends house, no one could say how he got there and no one could say who found him and rang the ambulance. They thought he had been beaten, but then the doctors said he may have taken or been given some type of drug as well, and that it was vital that they know what this drug was.
And so the guys friends were on a desperate bid to find the truth of what had happened and maybe help save his life.
Let's hope somebody had the decency to come forward and do the decent thing and tell the truth about what went on that night.

Friday, September 1

Buggy Puzzle

I picked up a lone guy today who looked as if he had been left holding the baby, he was pushing a buggy and looking harassed. He lifted the squealing baby out and climbed in the back with her, leaving me to put the child's buggy in the boot. I looked at the buggy and didn't have a clue how to fold it down to go into the boot, and so I asked him "Ive not got a clue" he said and since he had a handful of squirming child it was up to me to sort out.
Every one of these things seems to be different with all sorts of hidden catches and secret manoeuvres needed to fold them. After about ten minutes I was getting nowhere with this thing despite using some of my best swearwords all I managed to do was trap my fingers a few times. And so I decided to ask somebody for help, the most likely candidate's to me would be anybody pushing a buggy and so I asked four or five passing mothers, who just looked at the buggy and just shook their heads.
It looked like I was stuck until an old lass of maybe seventy walked up looked at the buggy and within seconds it was folded and ready to go in the boot. "How did you do that" I asked "experience I have had six kids and nineteen grand kids"she replied "wow thought she looked a bit tired".