Wednesday, February 28

Famous Fat Dave

Famous fat Dave's five borough eating tours of New York, A New York taxi driver who will take you on a tour of the gastronomic delights of New York city, and boy what a tour!

Taxi 1968 Style

This I have been told is of Barrow's Bill Clark, back in his early days of driving a cab.


I hope they don't make this new Taxi Driver Uniform compulsory, I just don't think that it would suit most local drivers that I know! But if you want one yourself here's the link.

Tuesday, February 27


Psst fancy a rare bargain hey OK it is uninhabitable, painted purple and in the middle of nowhere, but Rigg Beck, a dilapidated property set in a priceless acre of the Lake District national park, is expected to set records as the most expensive wreck sold in the park when it comes up for auction in April with a guide price of £250,000 bet hey do the maths you can't go wrong.
The landmark property in the Newlands Valley, 3½ miles from Keswick, is for sale with rare outline planning consent to be either restored or — more likely — to be knocked down and rebuilt. The wooden house was built in 1881 by a Canadian who lived locally. Once run as a hotel, it has also provided lodgings for actors performing at the then Century Theatre — now replaced by the Theatre by the Lake — in Keswick, a list that includes Tom Courtenay, Bob Hoskins and Victoria Wood. It was also a favoured haunt of Ted Hughes, the late poet laureate, who was a frequent visitor; the owner, Varya Vergauwen, has kept copies of letters and poems that he sent her. It was Vergauwen, a sculptor who enjoyed a bohemian lifestyle and is now in her eighties, who painted the house purple after buying it in 1956. Since falling into disrepair 18 months ago, the boarded-up property has attracted only vandals and ghost-hunters — there are local rumours that the house is haunted The property is divided into two flats, but Wright believes that planners would consider granting permission to build one large six- or seven-bedroom house. “It is a complete mess,” he says. “Nobody has lived upstairs for over 10 years, and it will be cheaper to demolish the property and rebuild it than to renovate it.” “The market is very strong,” says Wright. “It is driven by scarcity. A six-bed country house will sell for £800,000 to £1m. Houses in good spots will always fetch a premium.”


Too late folks, this 1960's Batmobile went under the hammer today, at Coys spring classic car sale and was expected to fetch in the region of £75:000. But at over six meters long you may struggle to find a parking space big enough in the UK . UPDATE: sold for £120;000, never mind better luck next time.

Monday, February 26

Good Aura

You meet some odd characters in this job and you soon learn not to be too quick and judge folk by first appearances, and the couple I picked up today proved the point. The guy was huge, so much so that the front seat had to be pushed right back for him to fit in the cab. With long hair and a wild beard he was every inch the picture of a hells angel type biker complete with the tattoos and red neckerchief. She on the other hand was small and dainty and had the look of a downtrodden housewife. The guy started to give me directions and as he spoke I was surprised by how cultured he sounded, but before he could finish he was rudely interrupted by the shockingly deep and gruff voice of the lady contradicting him and telling me to take them to a different address. The "lady" then swore and belched loudly before settling down for the ten mile or so trip to Ulverston. The guy seemed to be an all round good egg and we got along great, chatting about all sorts of stuff as we drove along interrupted only by occasional belching and swearing from the back seat. He must have caught my badly hidden look of disapproval, and when a huge tattooed hand gripped my shoulder, I thought "this is when things turn nasty" but no I was wrong, he said " her aura is a lot nicer than her persona you know" I had no answer for that as I didn't have a clue what he was talking about. He then went on to tell me that he had the gift of being to able to see the good and bad vibrations coming from deep within a persons spirit. I looked at him afresh but no to me, he still looked every inch the big hairy biker type and not the sensitive spiritualist type. I wasn't going to ask but when they both got out and he leaned back in to pay the fare he held his hand close to my forehead for a few seconds and then pronounced "yes you have a light purple aura with a kind soul". Well that's all right then isn't it?

Sunday, February 25

A Load of Bollards!

I wonder how much the fancy electronically controlled bollards, which have been installed at the entrance to the small private car park behind Barrow's town hall cost. I would not be surprised if the price was £20:000 or £30:000 or perhaps even a lot more, but certainly the money would have gone a long way towards repairing some of our potholed roads and broken streetlights. It seems that when our VIP,s drive up a special pass card is inserted into a slot, the light turns green and the bollards slide silently into the ground allowing our bigwigs entry into the prestige car park. All this without even having to get out of the car and risk getting their hair wet or their shoes dirty

Saturday, February 24

Text Freedom

The text- a-taxi service we offer really seems to be taking off lately , but it seems to be having some unexpected benefits for some disabled local folk. When I picked up a lady today she didn't say a word when she got in the cab, she instead handed me a piece of paper with the address she wanted taken too. Shortly after we had set of she indicated to me that she was deaf and also unable to speak, but that if she could see my face she could lip read. I asked her what she thought of the text-a-taxi service and did it help her at all, her reply was a double thumbs up and a huge smile. When we reached her stop she wrote on her notepad and showed me the two words "independence and freedom" wow what can you say what a bonus. Let's hope that more folk in this situation are made aware of this really useful aid.

Friday, February 23


Well looks like all of us taxi drivers will be out of a job by 2030, maybe they are right but don't you think it will all be a lonely soulless experience, a bit like a meal from a vending machine.
"Driverless cars that can predict the actions of other vehicles and negotiate busy city centre traffic will be commonplace by 2030.

US researchers believe cars equipped with the latest positioning technology and advanced artificial intelligence will be safer than those driven by humans within 25 years.
At the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science conference designers unveiled "Junior", a modified VW Passat that will enter a £1 million contest later this year to navigate its way through a simulated urban environment including other robot vehicles and traffic laws.
The prototype was created by the same team from Stanford University, California, that in 2005 won a prize of the same size for "Stanley", a vehicle that used sensors, lasers, cameras and on-board computers to navigate a 132-mile course through the Nevada desert.
Prof Sebastian Thrun, one of the car's designers, said: "Today we can drive about 100 miles before human assistance is necessary.
"By 2010 I expect this to go up to 1,000 miles, and by 2020 a million miles. By 2030 we should be able to deploy this technology on the open highway, and reliability will exceed that of humans by orders of magnitude."
Junior will have to be significantly more advanced that Stanley, as it will have to negotiate its way through roundabouts and one-way systems, respect rights of way and predict what other vehicles will do.
The race, to be held at an airfield in California owned by Nasa, the American space agency, on Nov 3, will involve having to cover 60 miles in six hours. The prototype has had its steering, throttle and brakes modified to be completely computer-controlled.
It has a spinning array of 64 lasers to provide it with 360 degree "vision" for a range of 150ft, six video cameras, bumper-mounted lasers, global positioning receivers and movement sensors.
Junior's computer reads maps and chooses routes from information collected fron the car's instruments 200 times per second.

Wednesday, February 21


Even the giant DDH boat shed looks nice when reflected in Walney channel, for those that don't know this is the largest indoor shipbuilding facility in Europe, complete with it's own 24.000 tonne shiplift.

E-Mail from Downing St

I along with 1.8 million others received an e-mail from Tony Blair at 10 Downing St in response to my registering for the online petition against road pricing.
In an e-mailed reply to all the signatories he wrote that no decision had yet been made on pricing, but the aim of a scheme would be tackling congestion.
"Funds raised by pilot projects would be spent on local transport," he added.
"I fully accept that we don't have all the answers yet"
The petition appeared on a section of Downing Street's website set up in November to allow anyone to address and deliver a petition directly to the prime minister and calls for the scrapping of "planned vehicle tracking and road-pricing policy".
"Let me be clear straight away: we have not made any decision about national road pricing. Indeed we are simply not yet in a position to do so."
But he said that allowing congestion to grow unchecked "would be bad for businesses, individuals and the environment", costing an extra £22bn in wasted time in England by 2025.
He goes on to say: "I know many people's biggest worry about road pricing is that it will be a 'stealth tax' on motorists. It won't. Road pricing is about tackling congestion."
Well do we believe him? the taxi trade for one, has a lot more to lose than most, being unable to avoid using congested roads at peak periods we are going to pay through the nose which ultimately will have to be passed on to the public. Only problem being is who pays the road toll when we are traveling empty between fares?

Tuesday, February 20

Pancake Tuesday Flip

Long delays today because of this overturned car on Barrow's Walney Rd, just how they managed to flip over here I don't know.

Monday, February 19

Legal Vultures

I get used to being told all about folks illnesses and what operations and treatments they have had, and some fares even go so far as to ask for my opinion on their medical problems. I as always tell them that I don't know and that"I wanted to be a doctor but just never had the patients" I think that maybe it's a case of a problem shared is a problem halved. But this last week I have picked two different fares up who were each going to see their solicitor about marital problems and divorce, both of these folk I had never met before in my life and yet both of them within half a mile of picking them up were telling me all the personal details and the reasons for the intended divorce. Both of them seemed to be upset about what the former partner had supposedly told their solicitor about the reason for the breakup and telling me they were going to tell the solicitor all about the nasty habits the former partner had, whether this was picking their noses or biting their toenails in bed I don't know, but is it worth the muckraking, what does it gain? I told both of them I know nothing about the law but that they were just the sort of clients that solicitors love, the more they disagree and complicate things the bigger the bill gets.

Sunday, February 18

Sunny Sunday

Well one of our first sunny Sunday's this year, a great day to be out and about, and lot's of folk were, but the only thing was most of them seemed to be heading in the direction of the supermarkets. What is it with us and our obsession with Sunday shopping, surely their are better things to do? A lot of the working mothers I picked up were harassed because of the half term school holiday, it makes it very awkward when both parents are working. It sure does seem to have come round quickly, the standard moan was "they never seem to at school nowadays" Being cruel I added to the misery by telling them that when they do go back it's only for four weeks as Easter is early this year. Isn't it strange the way Easter moves about from year to year? apparently Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. Simple eh! but whats a vernal equinox? Hey I'm not telling you go Google it or better still ask the kid's.

Saturday, February 17

Worlds Worst Cabbie

Well what would your reaction be to this wind up, I would say that he was lucky to get away without getting a thick ear.

Wednesday, February 14

Trash Car

A car crash in West Yarmouth Boston USA led police to the discovery of a filthy car filled to the brim with trash and rubbish. According to police, there was so much trash inside 53-year-old Ann Biglan's Ford Focus, it completely filled the inside from the floor to the ceiling front and back. The copious amounts of trash apparently caused the crash. Biglan told police several old coffee cups and pieces of trash fell onto the gas and brake pedal, which caused her to lose control while backing out of a parking space near the West Yarmouth Post Office. Police said the trash that fell on the pedal caused the Focus to pick up speed, drive over a curb, across Route 28, hit a Ford Explorer and back over a sidewalk. Biglan's car finally came to a rest after crashing into a flowerpot in the parking lot of the West Yarmouth Mobil gas station. No one was injured during the crash. Bigan is charged with impeded operation of a motor vehicle, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, failure to use care in backing, operating with a rejected safety inspection sticker.
Click the link below for the video

Tuesday, February 13

A Shortcut Too Far

Whilst I was driving a pair of drunks over from Walney onto the next pub in town, one of the well oiled pair suddenly piped up from the back seat "oi cut through Tesco car park it's quicker" I just replied "no I won't" and carried on down the usual route. This seemed to wind him up no end, and he started shouting that he was paying the fare and that I should drive which ever way he wanted. After coming to an abrupt halt I turned round and suggested he might like to get out and walk the rest of the way, his pal who was slightly less the worse for wear, told him to shut his mouth and apologised, which wasn't a bad plan considering that it was pouring with rain. The thing is that I don't mind taking a short cut or two if somebody's running late for something important, but cutting through a supermarket car park, and dodging pedestrians and shopping trolleys, just so some drunk can get to the next pub five seconds quicker I draw the line at. The other thing is that I don't think that it's any quicker anyway despite one or two local drivers who tell me that they use this route all the time, the way I look at it is that the more folk that use it the quicker that Tesco will install the dreaded speed ramps.

Fur Bike

I can't quite see where this Russian biker is coming from, why does he have a fur trimmed bike? I mean how would you keep it clean and how would you stop the local cats and dogs peeing on it?

Monday, February 12

Top Gear Taunts Rednecks

Don't know about you but I find this clip from Top Gear contrived and manipulated beyond belief, when you ask for trouble you usually get it and believe me these guys screamed for it.

Saturday, February 10

Stags and Hens

It seems that a night out at Newcastle's Quayside this weekend would have been like going out round Barrow. At least four bus loads of party's to celebrate stag and hen nights set of this Saturday morning, with about fifty or sixty on each coach, chances were that they will have bumped into each other. One group who I dropped of at the pub, where they were planning to have a beer and breakfast, told me that service might be a bit slow at Barrow's Tesco supermarket over the weekend at least fifty on their hen party work there. Apart from the obvious different sexes what set the stags and hens apart was the luggage they each carried , the hens all had mainly pink wheeled suitcases with at least three outfits and as one revealed to me lot's of wine and spirits , but women being women she also told me that they had covered every angle, with every hairdressing and beauty product known to man and snacks and painkillers for the hangover the next day. The stags on the other hand didn't travel much lighter, each carried a huge crate of beer with a small plastic bag on top containing a toothbrush and a clean pair of undies. Later when one of the hen party coaches drove past going out of town decorated with pink banners and inflated condoms, I thanked my lucky stars I was driving a Taxi and not that coach. It's bad enough when we get two or three rowdy drunks in the cab but imagine fifty or sixty of them rolling about, I only hope they all tipped him well.

Friday, February 9


This sunset taken from the small hamlet of Paradise near Ireleth in Furness, with this for a view no wonder they call it paradise, Click to enlarge.

Top or Bottom

Barrow's mainly pedestrianised Dalton Road isn't on a hill, as a matter of fact it's pretty level, and yet lots of folk refer to one end as being the top and the other as the bottom end. The only problem is that opinions widely differ as to which end is which, some refer to the Abbey Rd end as the top and others the Duke St end . I usually try to clarify this before we set of, especially now because of the road closures, if I head for the wrong end it can add a long detour round the town. But with one confused customer this morning things got a bit silly. She wasn't local and had been asked to meet a friend at the top of Dalton Road, and so before we set off I tried to figure out which end she meant, "by the amusement arcade" she said "there's one at each end" I replied. "Oh just go to the nearest I'll recognise it when I see it" As I drove slowly down the Abbey Rd end of Dalton Rd, she shook her head and said "no it's the other end" and so I began the tortuous trek right round the town centre to get to the other end. As she was about to get out of the cab at the other end her phone rang, she answered it and then going red she said "we've just drove past her down the other end" And off we set again all the way round again, still never mind the meter racked up nicely!

Thursday, February 8


Has anyone played this board game yet? apparently it was one of the best sellers this Christmas.
"Destination' is the fast moving taxi game that will take you on a journey through the streets of London in your very own black cab"
"As the driver you will visit famous destinations in the city, collecting fares and trying to avoid the traffic lights. "You must not run out of fuel or lose your licence, and don't upgrade to a Turbo Taxi too quickly - you could run out of cash and may need a Log Book Loan to bail you out!"
"The aim of the game is to be the player with the highest earnings - if you survive the shift!!"

Wednesday, February 7

Close Shave

I couldn't help but smile when I heard of the health and safety inspector who has been banned from driving after he was caught shaving as he passed a police car.
Edward Hutcheson, told police that he was due to deliver a first aid course and was running late.
He was using an electric shaver and leaning forward to look in the rear view mirror of his BMW estate as he overtook a line of rush hour traffic at between 60mph and 70mph.
He was spotted on the A9 in Perthshire Scotland by a police patrol car that took chase and caught up with him a mile later.
He was banned for six months at Perth sheriff court and fined £300 after being found guilty of careless driving near Auchterarder last March.

Tuesday, February 6

Chocolate Girl

I had a job today taking a young lass to a photographers studio, she was very nervous and told me that this was her first time in the studio. I was amazed when she went on to tell me that she was going to be stripped and covered with molten chocolate before she was photographed, and even more astonished when she said she was paying good money to have them do it. Apparently it's all the rage and quite a few lasses were given gift vouchers to have it done as Christmas presents. Being the gentleman that I am I did of course offer to dig the box brownie out of the attic, and put a few choccy bars in the microwave and do the job for nowt. She foolishly declined my kind offer but did say she would show me the photos in a week or two.


Hey I want one of these too, if you can't handle a bike try a trike, definitely unusual with the two wheels at the front.

I Want One

I want one of these gadgets, and I dare say that a lot of Taxi drivers would appreciate one, some local drivers have a DVD player in the cab but they don't look half as neat as these. Pity they aren't available here in the UK though, I don't think the US version would be any good over here.

Monday, February 5


For the second weekend now I have passed the major road works at Barrow's Astra lights and wondered what was missing. Stopping to look I could see that no diggers were digging no drills were drilling and no workers were working. Despite this being one of the busiest junctions in the whole of Cumbria and that one of our major roads Holker St is blocked and causing long diversions, nobody was working there all weekend. Why? surely it's only reasonable to assume that every daylight hour would be used to get this work done, and this main crossroads open again and if not why not. To add insult to injury I see that they have now narrowed the outward bound side of Abbey Rd down to one lane, that should add to the fun at rush hours.

Sunday, February 4


Furness Abbey looms out of the mist in the vale of the deadly nightshade,
( taken early this morning, click to enlarge) And I can tell you it can be a bit spooky alone that early in the grounds of this seven hundred year old majestic ruin.

Small World

Got this on comment on Ice Storm today which was posted on Jan 25th from Arron(he of the Truck Driver Blog) in Oregon, how strange eh!

"I had not watched this till you posted it.
A friend in Seattle called yesterday and asked how I liked the ice storm.
(we talk every month or so)
I told her I didn't have to work that day but I saw this video that you posted and couldn't believe it.
She said, oh I saw that too.
One of the parked cars belonged to her daughter!
So - A guy Ive never met posted a video of a Portland news clip, I see it and tell a friend 150 miles north and her daughter who lives in Portland was part of the whole mess."

"Makes one dizzy."

Saturday, February 3

Red Hot

Photo is taken from the coast road looking out to the bay at 8am. if you click to enlarge you can clearly see the sea mist that rolled in to blanket Barrow for the rest of the day.

What would we do without the British weather,everyone knows that we are obsessed with it. What else would we talk about, our UK weather changes that often that it always gives us something to talk about. How boring if we lived in a country with a constant warm climate, "nice day then eh" and that would be it, end of conversation. As it is theirs always something to whinge about, and don't we just love doing it, nine out of ten conversations in a taxi start with comments about the weather. But today I was caught out by doing just this and ended up with a red face. I had two old lasses in the back and we were talking about how mild it is for this early in the year. I mentioned that it has been the warmest January for nearly a hundred years; and they were saying that bulbs were starting to come up in their gardens. Then without thinking I said "yes I was red hot in bed last night"they then both started cackling like a coven of witches. I was baffled for a while until I figured out that these two sweet old ladies weren't quite as innocent as I thought.

Friday, February 2

Pink Ladies Bust!

Well it seems that the comments I made in the post "Pink Bloody Ladies" back in August last year have been proved correct. The Hull, Carlisle and London branches have gone out of business and the firm itself has gone into administration. They are apparently still trading calling themselves Pink Ladies Warrington but for how long I wonder. When the Carlisle branch opened they had lot's of free publicity including some in our local paper which is based eighty miles away, but strangely no publicity was give to the swift demise of this doomed from the start outfit.