Friday, August 31

Defence Cuts

Could this be the end result of the government defence cuts?

Wednesday, August 29

Karma Kab

Maybe I should take a leaf out of the book of Karma-Kabs from London, and import myself a nice Ambassador car from India. I can just see myself riding around in one of these silk and satin decorated, ragga music playing, incense burning works of art.
And maybe I would get a better class of customer, after all, I should think our local chavs and moshers wouldn't want to be seen dead on one of these magical mystery tours.
Larger-than-life personality company boss Tobias of Karma Kabs says . "Step into one of my cabs and you get a complete environment. "We don’t just take you from A to B, because I don’t like A and I don’t like B. With Karma Kabs, it’s the journey that counts not the destination."

"My car is like my house and when I invite you in, I want you to feel a relaxing calm. If you’re cool enough to appreciate that, great. If you’re not, we won’t take you again, you’ve got to have cool clearance to do business with us. Our cars don’t stink of air freshener, and you won’t get a lot of irritating nonsense about football and the weather from our drivers. We’re based on the principle of Karma and Karma is the fruit of the seeds that you’ve sown in your life."
Well, that sounds just up my street, I'm seriously tempted especially when I find that they charge upwards of £40 an hour. Yep, that's my kind of Karma! Now where did I put my kaftan.

Tuesday, August 28

Long Job

If a builder or tradesman doing a job for you had caused chaos and then took four or five months longer than they should to finish the job would you use them again? Now it can't be denied that when Barrows Astra lights junction was "improved" recently this is exactly what happened. Most of us would use our common sense and stay well clear of any outfit that performed like this wouldn't we?. The contractors, most sensible folk would agree should never be seen in this town again. But imagine my surprise when I saw who was starting work on the latest controversial £2.4m road scheme. Yes, you guessed it, the exact same firm and with the exact same crew. Work they say is expected to last "about" five months. But some would say that maybe some of the young guys on this crew might just stretch this one out until they reach retirement age.

Guilty Week

Well, the six week long school holidays are just about over and sales of Vodka and Valium will soon plummet. The last week is the one I call " guilty week" this is when lots of parents suddenly realise that the holiday is nearly over and they haven't done a thing with their kids. This means that we will be really busy as they rush around trying to cram treats like movies, bowling and dining out into the last few days. Others are still trying to rig the kids out in their new school uniform, and of, course as usual wrestling matches will break out over that last school jumper or blazer. Many mothers tell me that they feel blackmailed into paying high prices for school stuff that has to have the school badge on. Of, course this badged stuff is only available by paying premium prices at certain approved local suppliers. Parents, especially the ones with a few kids tell me they feel that this is unfair and that the market should be opened up to competition.

Monday, August 27

Last Lost Weekend

Well, that's the last bank holiday weekend of this year over and done with, and a busy one it was too. All the super Sunday boozers were out in force, with records surely being broken for this years drunken staggering champion and the world's shortest skirt. Talking about staggering has anyone else noticed the way that alcohol affects girls differently depending on hair colour. You can always tell between a true or suicide(dyed by their own hand) blond when they have had a few by the bright red flush and the loud high pitched voice. Brunettes and raven haired lasses tend to get very overemotional and either want to fight or talk you to death in a very deep voice. Redheads, on the other hand, tend to lose all power of speech and tend to sit there with a sickly kind of grin on their faces. But it's the walk of a ginger-headed drunk which defies all laws of gravity and decorum, you never see them fall, and they are the best fun to watch.
As I pulled in to pick up by the moshpit at the free open air concert held at the back of Barrow town hall on Sunday evening I was staggered by the noise. The whole car was vibrating and when I opened the window to speak to my fare we couldn't hear each other, even though only about a foot apart. Even on nearby Cornwallis streets taxi rank, drivers who normally get out for a smoke wound up the windows and stayed in the cab. But everyone who was there seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, and why not you can't get owt cheaper than free.

Saturday, August 25

Friday, August 24

Boats For Sale

Anyone interested in three brand new Corvettes, never used, delivery mileage only?
These three potential bargains are tied up in our local docks here in Barrow awaiting a buyer. Ordered by the sultan of Brunei allegedly the richest man in the world at a cost of £600m.
When BAE finished building the ships in 2004, the Government of Brunei refused to accept them, claiming that they were not up to specification. BAE took Brunei to arbitration and three years later the matter was settled. The arbitrator found in favour of BAE and the remaining value of the contract was paid.
The corvettes are high-speed vessels designed for use in coastal protection, specifically the defence of Brunei’s offshore oil assets.
Defence sources believe that the real reason for Brunei’s dissatisfaction with the vessels is that they were overcommissioned and, therefore, too complex.
The ships are armed with Exocet Block II antiship missiles, Seawolf surface-to-air missiles and a front-mounted gun.
If you are interested, bear in mind that these boats have been designed with the doors and beds constructed for smaller sailors, so start looking for mini-sailors first.
The ships being designed for a warmer climate also lack heating, so you may need to equip your mini-sailors with fur coats.

Wednesday, August 22

The Money tree

I found this money tree whilst walking by Ingleton waterfalls. WHAT! you don't believe me?
Check out Two Steps Back for more photos.

Monday, August 20


We had reached the end of the cab ride and it was time to extract the fare. "Two thirty please" I asked and waited patiently to be paid. "Sorry what did you say" said my fare, I repeated "two thirty." "You should see a dentist then" my fare replied handing me some cash and quickly getting out. I'm afraid to say that it was a full five minutes before the joke suddenly dawned on me, doh!

Sunday, August 19

My Mate Jimmy

It was 7:30am on a wet Sunday morning and the party was still in full swing as I waited outside a town centre house for my fare. After a minute or two a guy dashed out and opened the cab door and thrust some cash into my hand. "Your fares coming out" he said "do us a favour and pretend you know him, it's just a windup." Being a lover of a good windup I more than willingly agreed. He then quickly told me the guys name and address and a few more handy facts about him. Moments later my fare, who looked as if he had just woken up after spending the night in a hedge, staggered out.
 As soon as he got in the car I greeted him with "Hi Jimmy are you going home then mate?" He looked at me quizzically and nodded and after a minute or two asked "do you know me ". I gave him my best hurt expression and replied" Yes course I do, hey! You're not mad with me for not making your birthday bash last week are you?" "Err no mate" he replied and then kept giving me sideways glances as I asked him "how his sister Marie was doing" and" was he still seeing that skinny lass." When we reached his street he asked stunned "do you know where I live as well?" "Of course I do" I said as we pulled up outside his house. Bewildered he started to look in his pockets, for cash to pay me "no Jimmy have that one on me" I said. "Thanks mate" he said sorry for not recognising you, I think the drink is getting to me" "What do you mean?" I asked "loads of people were talking to me last night and I couldn't remember who they were" he said. As he walked away I could hear him muttering to himself about "not touching that stuff again" and "never going out again."

Saturday, August 18


The lady passenger I picked up from our local hospital was furious. She told me that she had been waiting for months to see a specialist about a skin complaint. Finally after weeks of suffering she gets to see the Doctor and undergoes a battery of tests, spending nearly the full day in the clinic. At the end of all the tests and examinations she is called into the consultant's office to be told the diagnosis. She sits waiting nervously to be told the verdict, wondering if and hoping that she can be cured. The Doctor sits at his desk ignoring her whilst he reads the notes and then finally looks up and says "yes OK you can go now." "But what's wrong with me you haven't told me" she pleads "ah yes he replied you have itchy skin". The poor lady told me that she was so flabbergasted by this; she just thanked him and walked out. A few days later another passenger I picked up from the hospital was also very upset, this one a young lass who had visited the emergency Doctors clinic up there. She had gone up suffering with back pain and again she had been given an equally strange and vague diagnosis. The poor lass told me they said "your too fat" and "to go on a diet." She was the first to admit that she was a little on the large side but said "OK but they could have been a bit more tactful." Myself I put it down to a language problem, if as in days long gone when our Doctors were taught Latin both women would have walked out happy. The lady with the itchy skin could have milked her case of "sensilus cutticula " for all it was worth. And our portly young lass would have been more than happy to follow a strict diet to cure her "nimbis corpulentus".

Translations to Latin available here.

Friday, August 17

Tight Fit

If you ever do get to visit Japan, it may be a good idea to avoid water parks at all costs. Especially the ones with wave pools, it looks like they get a tad crowded eh!

Monday, August 13


More revelations are coming to light just days after wayward aristocrat Charles James Spencer-Churchill, known as Jamie Blandford faced Oxford Crown Court for an unprovoked road rage attack. It was on Monday that Blandford, whose ancestral home is the Blenheim Palace estate, in Oxfordshire, appeared before Oxford Crown Court.
The court heard how he turned on a motorist screaming abuse and kicking his door in a unprovoked road rage attack.
He admitted criminal damage, dangerous and careless driving on two separate occasions.
The peer, a father-of-two with a long history of drug abuse is now being investigated for racially abusing a Taxi Driver.
It was in July that driver Davinder Singh responded to a booking to take Charles James Spencer-Churchill to the West Midlands for a morning appearance on a different driving matter.
The 51-year-old peer, son of the 11th Duke of Marlborough, called for a cab to pick him up from his farm home, in Oxfordshire, to take him to Coventry.

Mr Singh, 46, said his problems began when he rang to check the exact location of the remote farmhouse. He claims they escalated when he arrived and was greeted by a torrent of abuse.
The shocked driver contacted police and Blandford was arrested and questioned on suspicious of racially-aggravated behaviour the following day.
"It was just unbelievable," said the father-of-four. "I can put up with rudeness but not racism. There is just no excuse for it.
"I was having trouble finding his house so I called him and he said 'Why are you f***ing ringing me? You are the taxi driver you should know where you are f***ing going'."
The driver claimed that when he arrived he was greeted by even more derogatory racial remark and called a Hindu.
"He said I should remember I was a guest in this country and I replied that I was British," said Mr Singh.
"He looked me up and down and said 'You? British?'.
Mr Singh, who has been a taxi driver for almost 25 years, said it was then that he turned down the £120 fare and drove off.
"I would not take it," he explained. "Even if it was the Prime Minister I would not take him if he spoke to me like that.
"He told me I would never work for the company again. It was like he was saying he could do anything because he was rich and I was poor.
"When I saw the Marquess of Blandford on the order I was thinking he would be a polite gentleman but he is just a racist and there is no excuse for that."
The angry cabbie said: "I am going to press charges against him, definitely. I am not going to let this go away."
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police confirmed that they had arrested a man following a report from Mr Singh.
"On July 20, a man was arrested for racially aggravated public order and bailed pending further investigations," he said.
Mr Singh said: "I don't know what people think of him but this man should not be out and about.
"The way he spoke to me he thought he was above the law - it is about time the law does something about him."
Well I for one say, good on you Mr Singh nobody should be allowed to get away with speaking to someone like that aristocrat or not!

Sunday, August 12

Bulletproof Rucksack

Well it's just about half way through the summer holidays for the kids, and lots of parents are starting to shop for the kids back to school outfits. We have been picking them up from all the big supermarkets and school suppliers loaded up with uniforms and sports gear, and every one of them, especially those changing schools moaning about the big outlay. But one item that we should be thankful that we don't seem to need or have in any of our local stores just yet is the Bullet proof backpack
Brought out in response to the Columbine High School shootings in the USA this ordinary looking rucksack comes with a high tech lining that's bullet, knife and machete proof.
And this is no high tech device. All you have to do is put it on and the bag's straps act as a handle that allow the pack to be used as a shield.
It's lighter than a standard police vest and marketed as being capable of withstanding a wide range of bullets, including nine-millimetre hollow-points and is priced at $175 or £85 in sterling.
I know that some of us think that things are getting rougher in our local schools but lets just hope that we never feel any need to go out and buy these things.

Saturday, August 11

Foulney Island

I had a walk over to nearby Foulney Island on my day off. What a beautiful place, check out the photos on Two Steps Back

Sold Out Again

Despite widespread opposition our council have approved the spending of £2.4m on the new one way system. Once again we have money spent on our behalf without consulting the end user, which of course is us the locals who drive on these roads every day. Most local folk I pick up seem to be convinced that these plans are drawn up by someone from the remote north of the county who doesn't live or work in Barrow. Local government has been advised time and time again by ministries that they should consult with users before imposing schemes that effect locals livelihood's. But their is one thing that they seem to have overlooked, which would be glaringly obvious to any local driver and will lead to big problems. The whole thing will be bypassed by simply turning right and driving through our local Tesco car park. Now of course turning this car park into a race track will be hazardous to folk attempting to push their shopping trolleys ( whilst avoiding the seagull carcasses) back to the car. But of course if the scheme is in place for Christmas , those of us who are nostalgic about Christmases past will once again be able to enjoy the peace and goodwill of a few hours stuck in the queue to the infamous magic roundabout.

Thursday, August 9

Double Jeopardy

Local taxi drivers are incensed about the jailing of a 61-YEAR-OLD cabbie with a serious lung disease after failing to pay £12,000 owed to the Child Support Agency.
After he was sent to prison for 43 days his wife said “When they took him away he was shaking and I thought he was going to have a heart attack"

Most local drivers take the view that it's an injustice to jail a man for a debt which he fully intended paying off. Let's face it this man was working trying to earn an honest living just like the rest of us drivers. Suffering from emphysema and pleural plaques on his lungs, he could have quite simply claimed sickness benefits instead of working for a living and then the debt would have ended up being paid by the taxpayer. But unlike the ordinary working man we as self employed taxi drivers are punished twice in cases like this. Losing your liberty is bad enough, but added to that the loss of employment that follows and you have a case of double jeopardy. To drive a taxi you must have a police CRB check to prove you are a fit and honest person, and if you are convicted of any offence you must inform the local authorities, who then will no doubt take away your taxi licence. Maybe as some drivers are saying it doesn't make sense to work for a living, one driver remarked to me" if he was a druggie or alcoholic the case wouldn't even have reached court"

Monday, August 6


Wow! I have just come across a site which actually advertises old classic American diners for sale. I love these things theirs just something about them that evokes classic old time America, but maybe that's because I'm English eh!
One bargain recently sold is the Moondance, a well known Manhattan landmark at Grand Street and Avenue of the Americas near the Holland Tunnel.

The buyers, Cheryl and Vince Pierce, got a decent bargain price of 7500 dollars on the downtown diner, it has had bit parts in a Spider-Man movie and television’s “Sex and the City” and “Friends.” Jonathan Larson, who wrote the hit Broadway musical “Rent,” even worked there as a waiter in the 1980s, according to a diner preservationist who helped find a home for the Moondance.
The Moondance is set to be lifted onto a flatbed truck next week and driven 2000 miles to the oilfields of south-western Wyoming. Let's hope that maybe one of our taxi bloggers in New York will capture the event on camera.

Sunday, August 5

Damsel in Distress

When I drove into the quiet cul-de-sac, early this Sunday morning a car passed driving out. Then as I waited outside the address I was given the car returned and a couple got out. That's our house the guy said indignantly, and we don't want a taxi theirs no one in. Oh well wrong address I replied and started to turn the car around to go. But as I was turning round I noticed the twitch of an upstairs curtain. Things were quiet and I had driven two or three miles to the job and so I had an idea. I drove off and parked up in a side street and waited until the couple drove away in their car and then drove slowly back up to the house. A minute or so after I pulled up I was proved right by the disheveled half dressed young lass, who after checking that the coast was clear dashed out to the cab. She finished dressing as we drove and thanked me for coming back and then explained the situation, which I had already half guessed. Her boyfriend , the indignant couples son had sneaked her into his room the night before. Early next morning he had gotten up early for work, leaving her to wake up with a bad head in a strange bed. I just hid she said, it's not the way I wanted to meet his parents, their a bit strait laced.

Flying Ant Day

Some Barrow folk were walking around waving jackets or bags around above their heads, others would not leave the house. Cyclist and motorcyclists stopped and pushed instead of riding, barbecues were canceled and even the most dedicated smokers moved back into the pub. And the cause of all this panic and mayhem was nothing more than the common ant. Admittedly their were millions upon millions of them, in some places the sky was almost black with the clumsily flying beasts. Known as "flying ant day"it happens once a year when conditions are just right for the ants nuptial flight. No one seems to know why they all choose the same time but the mating flight only lasts for about three hours after which the poor males all die(typical eh!) The females which survive bite of their wings and set about establishing new colony's, so be warned stock up on ant powder.

Saturday, August 4

Losing the Plot

It's all too common to see folk fly into a fit of road rage nowadays but when a driver who happened to be a lady stopped in the road unsure of driving between badly parked cars, it wasn't a driver who flew into a rage. I was sat patiently waiting for her to decide what she would do when I was startled by a shriek of rage from my male passenger. He then jumped out of the car and ran towards the terrified lady screaming abuse and swearing. I quickly reversed back down the street, and at that he left the lady alone and ran after his runaway cab. At first I refused to let him back in the cab, but after he apologised to the driver I relented. This had all happened before we had even got out of his street, but when I set about turning around to avoid the snarl up he got agitated again. He pleaded with me to wait until the road was clear because he had to go to his destination by a certain route. As we waited for the road to clear I caught a scent which gave me a clue about him. Most folk will know that after eating garlic or curry etc, that next day we excrete the smell through the pores in our skin, but my fare had a very different smell. He had the telltale odour of fresh raw mince, which is a side effect of some strong anti-psychotic drugs. As we drove and kept strictly to his route, he opened up and told me a little of the cause of his problems. He had been as he put it a "blow monkey" (cannabis smoker) for a few years but had lately been using the super strength skunk variety which is more and more widely available. This as he puts it made him "lose the plot"he went on to say that he thought that he was "living in a full time nightmare, with no way out. "This stuff is dangerous, people should be warned " he said.

Wednesday, August 1

Drivers Nightmare?

Two women threatened to cry rape unless a Luton taxi driver handed over his takings, a court has heard.
Carlie Clark, 19, and Selina Dunning were convicted of robbing taxi driver Muhummed Laqib after he picked them up in Welwyn Garden City, Herts.
The Driver, who works for Anglia cars, told jurors how Dunning warned him: "Whatever your takings are tonight you are going to give them to me or I am going to make a noise you raped me."
When Mr Laqib replied "Go on then", Clark, who was sitting in the back of the cab, tried to strangle him with a belt, while Dunning went through his pockets.
But the taxi driver of seven years managed to get free, grabbed his takings, and ran up the road and after being further attacked and chased by both girls managed to struggle free.

River Patrol?

The Flood Police - Jubii TV
The Flood Police - Jubii TV

It takes a special sort of daftness to do this, I wonder if he would have taken the same chance in his own car. Cheers to Bill for this one.