Monday, July 30

Power Cut

What a disaster the recent local power cut was for us, we ended up twiddling our thumbs for nearly two hours. Tens of thousands of pounds worth of the latest technology sat silent and useless in the office. With even the phone's being controlled by power consuming microchips, the office fell strangely silent with none of the usual chirping ring tones and constant buzz of the operators taking calls. What folk forget is that it is the small businesses that suffer when we have these power outages. The big stores up town have sophisticated power generators to fall back on, and their staff gets paid come what may. Just in the area surrounding our office we have dozens of small businesses all self employed people just like us trying to earn a living. But with the butchers slicing machine out of action he was forced to send big catering orders elsewhere. Dozens of hairdressers with no light and no hairdryers had to turn away trade. Local lushes waited thirstily for their tinnies outside the grog shops, as the tills wouldn't open for the staff to serve them. Half orange lady's stood outside the sunbed shop waiting to be cooked on the other side. The only business that didn't seem to be affected was the nearby massage parlour, whose trade even seemed to pick up, well I guess their was nowt else for folk to do whilst they had no work.

Sunday, July 29

Driver From Hell

Taxi driver from hell? stolen from Man of Lettuce.

Hairy Bikers meet the Tellytubbies

My fare who I picked up midday Sunday from Lancaster railway station, turned out to be an exhausted but still cheerful Dave Myers, the locally based half of the famous Hairy Bikers.
He was on the last leg of his epic journey back to Roa Island all the way from Singapore, wow! no wonder he was tired. He had been over there to a glitzy promotion for the show on BBC Worldwide channels which are now screened over there. Despite only being in Singapore for a whistle stop tour of only a couple of days, the boys managed to fit a lot in a short time. Dave told me of meeting up with the Tellytubbies, who were also there to promote their show which is a big hit over there. So much so that Dave tells me he was amazed at the sight of grown men wanting to hug the Tubbies everywhere they went. Dave and screen sidekick Si King ended up going out on a boozy night out with the tubbies and Extreme Survival star Ray Mears.
The mind boggles at the thought of what a strange get together that must have been, but as Dave said "it was a good laugh and well worth the hangover"

Friday, July 27

Wrong Number

My day off and it was time to head to our local landmark gent's hairdressers Ken Riley's for a head crop. Whilst chatting with the lovely young lady who was doing her best to tame my unruly mop, she told me of a problem she has with her phone number. It seems that her home phone number is only one digit different from our busiest local cab company's. This leads to lots of late night phone calls from misdialing local drunks looking for a ride home. The previous night, she tells me the conversation after she was woken from a deep slumber by a boozed up lady went like this. Drunk -can I have one now? hairdresser-one what? drunk- don't mess me about I want one now!
hairdresser-yawns and says" no", the drunk then launches into a five minute foul mouthed tirade of abuse and slams the phone down. Our long suffering hairdresser climbs back into bed and is just settling down when the phone rings again and yes you've guessed it"can I have one now" I was telling another cab driver about this and he told me that he has a similar problem. His phone number is one digit from that of a local lady's dress shop. Now this particular dress shop specialises in outfits for the more generous well rounded figure. He gets calls now and again from lady's asking if a dress they want is in stock, his standard ploy is to ask "and what size is that in madam" then whatever the reply he would answer "sorry can't help you, but I can give you the number of a marquee rental company, Rent-a-tent"

Thursday, July 26


We've all heard of the online encyclopedia Wickipedia, but now for all those sick depraved jokes that we all say we despise here is Sickipedia. Be warned the material is racist, sexist,homophobic, and just about any other ist and bic you can think of. But you can if you register edit the stuff just as in Wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 25


I see that a San Francisco cab driver has lost his appeal to change his medallion number from the 666 he was assigned.
Byrne, a 30-year veteran driver, was assigned No. 666 only last August, after another applicant refused to accept the number. Since then, sources said, Byrne has been involved in at least one accident -- even after taking the precaution of having the cab blessed at Mission Dolores.
A few years ago it is said, the cab held by medallion holder 666 "burned to a crisp on Good Friday ... and the only thing remaining after the fire were the numbers 666, visible in the rubble."
"The number 666 has been associated with evil and with Satan for hundreds of years. The number first appears in the Revelation of St. John the Divine. Revelation describes Armageddon and offers the number 666 as a method of recognizing the followers of 'the beast,' or evil.''
"Do you believe in the Mark of the Beast yourself he was asked?''. "No. But there is a lot of negative energy around that cab".
On the meeting agenda is a four-paragraph resolution explaining the problem and requesting that Medallion 666 be retired and that Medallion 1307 be issued as a replacement -- even though that number begins with the spooky digits "13."
Thomas George-Williams, chairman of the United Taxicab Workers union, said No. 666 has "quite a history" and that cabbies love to tell ghost stories about it between fares, but that the commission ought not to get involved in superstitions.
He said taxi drivers already must remember there is no 13th Avenue in San Francisco. The name of the thoroughfare between 12th and 14th avenues was long ago dubbed Funston Avenue, to keep Armageddon at bay.
"I think this is going to make the city look a little silly for taking it up,'' George-Williams said. "Where does it stop? I don't think the city needs to spend time getting involved in something like this.''
The debate was the best show to play City Hall in some time. It featured commissioners bickering good-naturedly with one another, the head of the cab drivers union arguing before the board with red horns on his head and several other cabbies pleading for common sense, a quality not always found in the stone building at Civic Center.
Commission President Paul Gillespie said he favored granting the request, "and hopefully we can do this quickly so we never have to deal with this again.''
But with the underworld, the Book of Revelation and the Mark of the Beast at stake, quickness was not to be. Six cabbies had something to say during public comment.
"How dare you take Lucifer's number away,'' said Thomas George-Williams, president of the cab drivers union, who was sporting the red horns. "This is a serious issue.''
A cabbie named Tom warned the commission that it was "opening a can of worms" and would soon be deluged with requests to retire other numbers. A cabbie named Barry pointed out that 666 was the address of SS Peter and Paul's Church on Filbert Street, an outfit not thought to be in Satan's pocket. A cabbie named Grasshopper said it was a "bad idea to get into mysticism and voodoo.''
"Where does it end?'' said Vice President Patricia Breslin. "I lived at an address of 666 and I did not go over to the dark side.''
Commissioner Malcolm Heinecke said he might approve the request if the commission decided to charge a "significant fee.'' Commissioner Ton Oneto pointed out that the number had been around for at least 30 years and San Francisco has somehow survived.
And then the clerk called for a formal vote, and the commission voted 5-1 to grant sympathy to the devil and keep No. 666 on the books. Only Gillespie -- who said he had once driven cab No. 666 himself and was versed with its implications -- voted to kick the number out.

Tuesday, July 24

Trade Plate Man

Anyone who has traveled the highways and byways of the UK will have seen a trade plate man. These are the guys we see stood carrying their red and white number plates at major road intersections and motorway service stations, trying to thumb a lift. Their job is to deliver new and second hand vehicles to dealers the length and breadth of the country. After they have made the delivery most of them opt to thumb a lift back home again, this is because most are self employed and they have to pay their own expenses.
I gave one a lift to the outskirts of town up to the first big roundabout where he would find it easier to beg a ride. After chatting with him for a while I got the impression that it's a hard lonely life with long hours. It's only down to luck when he manages to get lifts that are going in his direction, and he told me of countless hours stuck at wet and windy junctions. Just before he climbed out I said "well I hope you get home to something nice for tea tonight" he gave a sickly smile and replied "maybe not I have an appointment at six for a Vasectomy"
"Ouch" so if you see trade plate man on his travels take pity and give him a ride home eh!

Monday, July 23

Danger Limos

After a two year old girl was killed in a five car collision on the M25 in Essex on Saturday. Questions are being raised about the safety of the many limousine conversions on UK roads. The vehicle involved a stretch Hummer was impounded by police as was the drivers mobile phone. Maybe it's time that the whole industry was examined and brought into line with our heavily regulated taxi industry.
Surely some sort of qualification should be needed to take these monsters on our mainly unsuitable roads. But it seems that anybody can drive a limo without any training or experience and unlike the taxi industry no police criminal record checks are needed. When you think that a lot of these limos are hired for the use of children going to party's and proms that can't be right. Of course we can't attribute blame to the driver in this case that has still to be investigated. The other thing that is disturbing about this case is that reports suggest that the driver was moonlighting from his job as a bus driver. Again questions need to be asked about hours worked and the lack of legislation about this involving these dangerous heavy vehicles.

Piggy in the Middle

I knew as soon as I clapped eyes on my fare that he was trouble. The clues lay in the litre bottle of vodka in each pocket and the tell-tale "blow-holes"in his cheap fake designer polyester track suit. For those that don't know "blow-holes" are the tiny holes burnt into the clothes of cannabis smokers, they are a dead giveaway(check your local MP for them), that and the sweet sickly smell. He slouched in the front seat and cheekily cranked the radio up and wound his window right down. We hadn't got very far when he spotted a huge ape like chav walking along with his slavering rottweiler. "Slow down it's Wayne" he shouted, thinking he wanted to exchange grunts with his pal I slowed when we got alongside the ape. My fare stuck his head out of the window and then even though he looked as if he couldn't blow the skin of a rice pudding, swore and threatened him with a good kicking. This of course enraged the ape like chav who roared and dashed towards the car, at this the huge dog seemed to scent blood and strained to be let go. Before they got near to the car I set of at speed, with the crazy fare next to me laughing like he was deranged. He was still laughing when we reached the junction a half mile up the road, but it was a Friday afternoon and he hadn't counted on the heavy traffic. With no sign of a gap in the traffic, his laughter subsided and the colour started to drain from his face. He was watching the ape like chav and his now drooling rottweiler getting closer and closer in the mirror. This left me in an awkward position, did I tell him to get out and run, or did I let the Ape chav and his doggy share him for lunch. Either way I would lose out ,if he ran I didn't get paid and if he stayed, well dog hairs are notoriously hard to get off the upholstery especially if they are mixed with blood. The now nervous fare wound his window up and shrunk back in his seat to await his fate. Just as the dogs huge jaws appeared at his window I spotted a small gap in the traffic. A bit too small really but with a screeching of brakes and a blare of horns we were out. My relieved fare offered me a swig of his vodka or to "lay some weed on me" whatever that means but I declined his kind offer. Still a tip would have been nice, but that wasn't forthcoming.

Sunday, July 22

Al-Fayads Chopper

It seems that one of Mohamed Al-Fayed 's helicopters owned by his Air Harrods
charter company has had to make a forced landing on a local school playing field. The chopper has been stuck there all day and seems to be sinking deeper into the soft ground.
The strange thing is that the school Walney Secondary School is only a mile or so from Walney airfield. This is what they have to say about this nine seater aircraft which is the one used on occasion by ex prime minister Tony Blair.

"The Sikorsky S-76 is the first choice helicopter for heads of state and captains of industry, as it is known to be one of the most reliable and powerful helicopters in executive charter operations.
Our S-76C+ offers more a comfortable and elegant interior fitted to meet today's highest standards of luxury. With a separate air-conditioned cabin, improved soundproofing and Sikorsky's 'Quiet Zone' gearbox, it achieves the lowest noise levels of any helicopter in its class. You can relax and enjoy the journey or perhaps conduct private business meetings with fellow passengers while keeping in touch using the latest onboard satellite telephone equipment. With long range capability, a top cruise speed of 175mph, flexible seating configuration and room for six suitcases or eight sets of golf clubs in the baggage compartment this aircraft is the perfect choice for business or pleasure."
Sound posh eh! but unless they were dropping in for a game of golf at the nearby Furness Golf Club, it looks like it's broken down.

Saturday, July 21

Who's This

Who do you think this character is then, and where do you think I spotted him?
(and no it's not me!)

Friday, July 20

Outside Loo

I spotted this strange looking car on Barrow's Hollywood Park, now this is someone who wants to be noticed. Apart from having a toilet bowl with a flashing light on the roof rack their was a garden bench, gnomes, plant pot, plastic cats, ladders and a flag. A large sign proudly proclaimed "Huddevilles King of the English Eccentrics" and another that he was "King of the Motorway and a True Brit Patriot" He was even parked in an odd manner, not for him one of the hundreds of surrounding parking bays, this guy I can see is one who doesn't go with the flow.

Tuesday, July 17

Bin Laden

What a nice little earner our local council have just quietly sneaked in, this one under the Environmental Protection Act 2005. As from Monday 22nd November local folk here in Barrow can be fined £100 for putting their wheely bins, recycling boxes, bin bags or other waste receptacles out on the wrong day. On any given day driving round the town centre you will find at least six, and as many as twenty wheely bins in most back streets. Now that is a big earner £600 up to £2000 or more easily earned in minutes. Only thing is that they just might have a hard job proving whose bin is whose, at £100 a time not many folk are going to admit it's theirs. In principle I agree with the idea, we have had big problems with vandals setting fire to these bins and resulting in the fire damaging nearby buildings and cars. The other thing is that it looks so dam scruffy and drags the area down to look like a slum, basically some folk are just to dam idle to bring their bins into their backyard. A much more sensible idea would be to remove the offending bins and if they want them back, which obviously they would, they should pay a sensible fee, say £30 or so. And what about the local businesses, many of whom seem to keep their trade waste bins permanently outside, will they be given time to make other arrangements?


From what quite a number of fares tell me the stupid craze of tombstoning has been raising it's ugly head here in Barrow. Tombstoning is foolishly jumping of cliffs or high structures into water, at least two people in the UK have been killed attempting it lately. Apparently a group of high spirited lads, who were enjoying a night out on our local floating nightclub got a bit carried away with the effects of too much booze. They were on the outside smoking deck and one of the group was bet a hundred pounds that he wouldn't jump over the side. He having drunk more than enough beer and wanting to show of in front of the girls, foolishly did so. Luckily for him he survived the extremely cold water and managed to make his way to the dockside. After he had struggled up the steep high ladder to the quayside he expected to be greeted by his equally foolish mates with his hundred pounds winnings. Instead he was met by a posse of burly policemen who chucked him in a van, and handed him an eighty pound fixed penalty fine. You can't beat a bit of swift justice eh!

Monday, July 16


VANCOUVER - The world's first Toyota Prius cab driver is sold on hybrid technology, which allows his vehicle to run on either a gasoline or electric motor, or both in tandem. Vancouver's Andrew Grant says his 2004 Prius paid for itself in less than 24 months through savings on parts, service, labour and fuel. As the highest-mileage 2004 Prius on the road, Mr. Grant's cab will be shipped back to Toyota in Japan to be stripped down for research. As the highest-mileage 2004 Prius on the road, Mr. Grant's cab will be shipped back to Toyota in Japan to be stripped down for research. Few, if any, other hybrid drivers could say the same thing, but that's due to the fact that Mr. Grant and his partner keep their Yellow Cab on the road for 22 to 24 hours a day, and average 160,000 kilometres a year. They get the posted fuel economy, or better, because the car is always operating at normal operating temperature. And because the gas motor is not running all the time, they are not wasting fuel while idling, an enormous advantage for a taxicab. Mr. Grant said the Prius burns between 10 and 15 litres of gas per 12-hour shift, compared with between 35 and 55 litres for a regular cab, depending on whether it has a four- or eight-cylinder engine. Assuming the Prius averages 15 litres and regular cabs average 40 litres, that means he and his partner are saving 50 litres a day, or 1,500 litres a month, he said in an interview. In addition, he said the vehicle costs only one-third the usual expenses on maintenance over a 24-month period because it has fewer wear-and-tear components. His current Prius recently surpassed 400,000 kilometres with no hybrid component failures. As the highest mileage 2004 model on the road, it will be shipped back to Toyota in Japan shortly to be stripped down for research, just as with the 2001 model that Mr. Grant turned to taxi duty back on Nov. 1, 2000. Mr. Grant also suffers less when gas prices climb. "Every 10 cents a litre that gas goes up, we're looking at a $1.20 to $1.50 per shift increase in fuel costs," he said. "A regular cab driver is looking at between $3.30 a shift and $5.50 a shift. That is just phenomenal."

Sunday, July 15

Lucky Find

This barnful of rare and valuable cars is alleged to have been discovered by a couple who bought some property in Portugal. The property comprised a lovely farmhouse and a large barn, no one had lived in the house or on the property for 15 or more years.
The new owners they say, while exploring their property, decided to look in the barn,
which they had not entered before purchasing the property. The barn door was padlocked and welded shut, but after much work with a grinder this is what they are said to have found.
"check out the pics and see if you recognise any of the cars"

Digital Air

As I drove into the local Morrison's supermarket garage for some fuel, I was amazed to see what looked like a demented pensioner running round a car in circles and bobbing up and down. When I got closer I could see that he seemed to be trying to check his tyres. Just as he got the valve cap off the final wheel the machine just stopped working. Then after he had regained his breath and taken a handful of pills he picked up his sticks and drove of in disgust. Why didn't he just restart the tyre inflating machine I wondered, but all was explained when I went into the garage to pay. A sign was on display to tell us that they are now charging for air, it seems that if we spend £15 on fuel we will be granted a whole three minutes of fresh air. How generous of them eh! but if you aren't a super fit athlete and can't manage to check your tyres in that time, they have a special offer on air at 10p for a minute's worth at the moment. The sign goes on to tell us that the reason for this charge is that they have installed a new digital machine. Wow digital eh! how high- tech finally air has gone the way that they tell me TV and radio is going, that should be a big improvement then. But wait a minute the new machine is exactly the same as the old machine. Now if I didn't know better I would think that they were trying to hoodwink us into paying for ordinary air by calling it digital, but they wouldn't do that would they-- would they?

Friday, July 13

Game of Chance

Now that the UK government has dropped it's plans for Las Vegas style super casinos, gamblers looking for a high risk thrill would do well to head up to Barrow. Our crazily designed Tesco junction would make even the most hardened gamblers palms sweat and mouth go dry as they play this mad game of chance. Today I was actually on the roundabout coming from Abbey Rd when a driver who was at least twenty yards from the Hollywood Park direction accelerated straight at me. My lady back seat passenger squealed and moved seats away from the target door. I stopped bringing the busy Friday afternoon traffic to a standstill, and then had a heated discussion with the driver. Who insisted that he had the right of way and that" no he shouldn't slow down at the roundabout" and "no he didn't see the give way signs" and "they didn't apply to him anyway cos he was in a hurry" My passenger meanwhile, normally a quiet meek matronly type, rolled down her window and loudly traced the guys ancestry back several centuries, pointing out the female sides lack of morals and the male sides over fondness for livestock. Something has to be done to make this vehicular one armed bandit safer before someone is killed. Now I normally hate speed bumps but the only option I can see apart from scrapping this £1m roulette wheel is to install them on the lead up to this crazy dice with death.

Thursday, July 12

Worlds Oldest Running Car

The worlds oldest car is soon to come up for sale at auction, but no wonder they didn't make many of them. What with half an hour to make enough steam to go and a plentiful supply of wood and coal needed to keep it going, I wouldn't fancy using it as a taxi.
The four-wheeled car, called La Marquise, was built in 1884 for the Count De Dion, one of the founders of the automobile manufacturers De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux. It has only had two other owners since, according to Gooding & Company, the auction house selling it.
The four-seater, fuelled by coal, wood and paper, takes about half an hour to work up enough steam to go. In an 1887 race, La Marquise hit an average speed of 26 miles per hour on a 19-mile course. The following year it won the world's first motor race, beating out its three-wheeled competition, another De Dion-Bouton.
The steam-powered La Marquise was built in France in 1884 by De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux, one year before Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz each independently built their first gasoline-powered cars in Germany. Twelve years later, Henry Ford built his first automobile in the US.

Tuesday, July 10

As the Crow Flies

The guy I picked up from a guest house which is on the outskirts of Barrow was more than a bit annoyed. He had travelled up from way down south by train and was working at the shipyard here for a week or so. He had booked his room on the internet and what made him book that particular guest house was that it was advertised as being three miles from Barrow. He being a keen environmentalist thought that would be ideal for him to walk into work in the mornings. But they must have meant three miles as the crow flies, this would have meant him swimming over the bay and trespassing through industrial sites and swimming across two docks. By road it was over six miles and much to far to walk, and so it was costing him £15 a day in taxi's. Nothing against the guest house, it's a really nice place but they really should check these things before publishing it world wide on the Internet.

Monday, July 9

Smoke Zombies

Well it's over a week or so since the smoking ban came into effect and I thought I would give my view on how it's going. One of the first things I have noticed is how quickly folk adapt to the outdoor life with regulars from one pub near to the town centre even bringing their own garden table and chairs to use. Mind you in a dirty back street next to the rubbish containers isn't exactly the Mediterranean lifestyle, and having to move when cars want to pass may spoil the ambiance.
It's strange and somehow reminiscent of a zombie horror movie how I keep seeing long forgotten faces from the dim and distant past, emerging grey faced and blinking into the unfamiliar sunlight, as I drive past the now smoke free pubs and clubs.
One unwanted side effect that some of my fares who live near to the Town centre pubs have told me about is a big increase in noise. When it's quiet in the early hours of morning they tell me that the smokers in the back streets and yards near pubs can be heard for miles. One lady complains that her tiny tot has developed a whole new vocabulary of swear words and keeps reciting dirty jokes. But the thing that keeps most awake is the constant coughing and spluttering from the late night revelers.
It had me puzzled at first when I kept seeing taxi's parked in strange places, behind trucks or trees and hidden down dead end back streets. But it seems that the phones have been red hot at the town hall from folk complaining about some drivers ignoring the ban. As a result warnings have gone out to the die hard smokers amongst the drivers, and they are playing ostrich. Come on guys stop sticking your heads in the sand, a taxi with it's door signs, plates and roof light is hard to hide. If you want a fag step out of the car and smoke it, thats all it takes.

Sunday, July 8


A dwarf got into my taxi the other night and started complaining about the fare! When we reached his destination he paid jumped out and said by the way I'm not happy you know!
I said which one are you then?

New Shoes

A Scottish taxi driver who had to surrender his Nike's as evidence after he kicked a terror suspect has a new pair of shoes.
"It was a good pair of trainers I had been wearing at the time," Alex McIlveen tells us . "It's great to get this new pair, I have gone for Lacoste instead of Nike, but I reckon they will do just as good a job if I have to deal with any more terrorists."
McIlveen, 45, tore a tendon in his foot when he kicked one of the men accused of crashing a Jeep at the airport in Glasgow. The clothing store chain USC gave him his choice of new sneakers for his heroism.
"After hearing Alex's story we couldn't help but feel the have-a-go hero deserved a replacement pair of shoes," a USC spokeswoman said. "It was the least we could do and I'm delighted that Alex found a pair he liked."
McIlveen got a £60 parking ticket while confronting the terror suspects, but police later canceled the ticket.

Friday, July 6


As the old lass, who was in her eighties walked away from the cab after I dropped her of something caught my eye in the rearview mirror. I stopped the taxi and called her to wait, and turned round to check what she had left. On the back seat as I suspected there was the plastic bag she had been carrying. As she walked back towards the car I reached round to pass her the bag, unfortunately I missed the handles and ended up picking up the item which was on top of the pile in the bag.
I don't know who was the most embarrassed when this turned out to be a huge white pair of bloomers(knickers, panties), presumably hers I guess by the way she snatched them and stormed of.

Thursday, July 5

Green Bombs

You couldn't make it up could you? BAE which of course owns our local ship and submarine building yard has announced that they have gone all environmentally friendly. Only a PR consultant could come out with trash like this, the company, one of the world's biggest arms-makers, says it has been "making investments in creating products that reduce the collateral damage of warfare."
Reduced-lead bullets and recyclable explosives are among the developments being put forward by arms manufacturer British Aerospace ecologically-sound weaponry they call it, so if you get shot in future you may not have to worry about getting lead poisoning as well, great eh! "We're looking across a range of all the platforms and areas we produce, and trying to improve all the mechanisms," Deborah Allen, director of corporate responsibility for the company said. "Everything from looking at making a fighter jet more fuel-efficient and looking at the materials that munitions are made of and what their impact on the environment would be." BAE stress that the point of these developments is to make sure that they minimise the wider impact of the weapon's use. In some cases, the weapons have been changed to reduce collateral damage and to make sure they are as accurate as possible. We all have a duty of care to ensure that from cradle to grave products are being used appropriately and do not do lasting harm In others, the environment has been the key factor. The idea behind the lead-free bullets, for example, is that if they get lodged in the environment, they "do not cause any additional harm". Ms Allen said that this is partly a response to people becoming more environmentally aware. "No company, regardless of what they make, can now just make a product, bung it out there, and then forget about it," she said. "We all have a duty of care to ensure that from cradle to grave(sic) products are being used appropriately and do no do lasting harm." Another of BAE's ideas is what has been described as a "bang-free bomb". In fact, although the explosion is quieter, the bomb has been re-engineered so the risk to the user of exposure to the bomb's fumes is reduced. "This is to ensure they are safe to use, that they only go off when they are supposed to go off, and that they do the minimum of collateral damage," said Ms Allen. "What we have to do is ensure that the person deploying the bomb is not going to be put at extra risk for using it. "These things are going to be used, and that, unfortunately, is an aspect of the modern world. We just have to make sure that our customer is safe using these things." BAE are developing landmines which turn into manure over time "Unfortunately, as much as we hate the idea of war, it is a reality of life and it does happen," she said. "I think it's only going to be beneficial if, for example, explosives have a limited shelf life, which does away with the problem of landmines exploding anything up to 20 years after the initial deployment has taken place." For example, she cited explosives that eventually turn into manure,(which as we all know is impossible because manure is from animal droppings such as bullshit, what they mean is fertiliser from the nitrates contained in most explosives, manure is what they are talking!) which essentially "regenerate the environment that they had initially destroyed." "It is very ironic and very contradictory, but I do think, surely, if all the weapons were made in this manner it would be a good thing." Well what can you say to that, how the heck did Ms Allen keep a straight face at the press release.

Wednesday, July 4

One Last Holiday

It was late and about bed time as I sat enjoying a well earned drink in a quiet outside bar on a hot night on the Island of Crete. My ears pricked up when I heard two guys talking with a familiar North Cumbria twang, and as most folk would do when they hear a local accent when abroad I started a conversation by asking where they were from. Turns out that they were from the Carlisle area, and were a father and son. The father was in his seventies and the son in his forties, but what struck me was that during the conversation the son said "we used to come to Crete when I was young and so I thought I would bring dad here for one last holiday". It was then that I looked more closely at the father, was he ill and not long for this world? He looked fit and well but something in the occasional look of bewilderment and the way he spoke of long ago events as if they were recent, reminded me of a lady passenger I had picked up a few months back. It was a sunny Sunday morning and the lady was dressed in her finest, she seemed happy and bright when she got in the cab. this soon changed when I asked her "where to love". She didn't answer for a minute or two, and so I set of driving and waited "I don't know" she said and started to get upset. And so after driving round and chatting for awhile just in case she remembered, I took her home again. As she got out( forgetting to pay but who cares) she squeezed my arm and said"it's Alzheimer's you know it's stealing my mind.
When the son had taken his father to bed he rejoined me and confirmed that the father was suffering from the dreaded Alzheimer's. He went on to tell what a nasty incurable stealer of thoughts and personality this disease is. His final words were "you know I thought I was coming on this holiday for my father, but I think maybe it's for me, to remember the good times and to say goodbye before it's too late.

Monday, July 2

Slogging and Slobbing

Just to prove that I never spent all of the time on Crete just slobbing around check out Two Steps Back for some photos taken on the 18k(11.5miles) gorge walk through the Samaria Gorge Do believe me this ain't no walk in the park, it's rough terrain and hard going in the afternoon sun. Mind you I bet Dogbait does little strolls like this before breakfast!

Sunday, July 1

Critical Security Alert

It seems that the critical security alert due to attempted bombings in London and the failed suicide bombing at Glasgow airport have had an effect on the local taxi trade. As crowded places like nightclubs are thought to be one of the soft targets that these cowards and lunatics want to bomb, police imposed parking restrictions near to all clubs and the bigger bars. Unfortunately this is just where all the main Town centre taxi ranks are located, and taxi's were forced to park elsewhere. And of course with it being Saturday, the busiest night of the week, this of course led to some loss of trade and some drivers were complaining, but in the main most accepted that it was a necessary evil and just got on with the job. The traffic cones were still in place for most of Sunday, but later in the day things seemed to be back to normal, lets hope it stays that way. I'd forgotten about it being the first day of the smoking in enclosed public places ban, but was soon reminded by the small groups of nicotine addicts standing outside the local pubs. It seemed to be quite amusing to them at first as they laughed and joked on the wet pavement, but as the rain got heavier the joke seemed to be on them.