Wednesday, August 28

Back To School

After the story of my Taxi Ride To Academia you might like to see how I got on with my exams.
I don't think I did too shabbily  for a Taxi Driver from up here in the wilds of Barrow in Furness where education is more  industry biased town rather than academic. With absolutely no previous exam experience and with no study or revision at all. Straight in from the street it felt rather, like a lamb going to the slaughter. Make me think that if a good education had been available to me then things could have been a lot different than they are now.
 But who knows eh!

Watch the TV show here

Sunday, August 18

Strangely Remote

When I went to collect my passenger from a Walney pub on Friday morning it wasn't quite what I was expecting. A red faced guy walked from the pub and opened the passenger door and dropped a TV remote control onto the front seat. I looked to him and then the remote quizzically and patiently waited for the story. None was forthcoming, I guess he was a bit embarrassed, he just handed me some cash and told me the address where the remote was to go. When I reached the home of the remote control the door was half opened by a puzzled looking woman in pyjamas, who stared blankly at the remote. But then a little girl appeared who looked delighted to see the wayward remote, and so without another word I handed it over and left. Who knows what the story was, your guess is as good as mine is.

Thursday, August 15

Short Skirt = Low Fare

A council is considering urging taxi firms to provide cheaper cab fares for women who wear revealing clothes.
Brentwood Borough Council is considering the bizarre move in a bid to stop women wearing short skirts or low-cut tops becoming a target for sex attackers.
The council is considering discounted taxi prices so that 'provocatively dressed' women can be driven back home and have less of a problem getting a ride. 
So lets get this right this council wants taxi drivers to subsidise fares according to what females are wearing.
Sort of the less they are wearing then the cheaper the fare!
I wonder who would be the judge of whether the outfit they were wearing was revealing enough. Would they have to do a twirl whilst the driver decided if they looked sexy enough or would it be up to the customer to point out how short the skirt they were wearing was?
Would the other attributes of the lady be taken into account, is she attractive enough to be at risk?
And isn't this all a bit sexist, I mean do cross dressers qualify.
Maybe the term Daft as Brushes fits some of the councilors in Brentwood like a well filled padded bra.    

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Wednesday, August 14

Norway PM Drives a Taxi

Maybe some of our politicians here in the UK should take a leaf out of his book.
Maybe it would take them down a peg or two and they may see what goes on in the real world. 

The Big Fella

The fare who I picked up early one morning at first glance looked like a big rough fella not the type you would like to be on the wrong side of an argument with. But somehow he seemed a bit quiet and subdued, after a few too many minutes of silence I tried breaking the ice by asking” been fighting” looking at the scratches and bruises on his face. 

He said nothing for a while just looked at me and obviously, thinking about what he was going to say. “It’s the girlfriend,” he said quietly, yes what about her I asked. She has too much to drink and then she batters me. I’m sick of it he said people think it’s me but no, I just stand there like a punch bag and take it.

That’s the third mobile phone of mine she’s smashed to pieces and about the tenth shirt she’s ripped to shreds. The next day she can’t apologise enough and always says it won’t happen again but it always does, I've had enough he said I can’t stand it anymore.
So male or female most cases of domestic violence I come across seem to have the demon drink lurking somewhere in the background.

Sunday, August 11

My Mate Jimmy

Heres one from a while back that I have revived.

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, 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."

Wednesday, August 7

A Taxi Ride To Academia

  It all started with a strange phone call from a Victoria who said she worked for the ITV Tonight programme.
Would I like to take part in the programme?
After getting over the initial shock, I got a few more details from her about what it was all about and learned that the story was to be about the controversial changes to the GCSE exams which are proposed for 2015.
It seems that they want drop the coursework part and make it all exams based a bit like the old O level      
or CSE.
So the challenge was to actually sit them both and then decide which you thought was the hardest.
Six candidates would take part in this, all in front of camera and recorded in every gory detail, all a bit terrifying I thought.

But why me, a mere Taxi Driver who left school many years ago at the tender age of fifteen without taking either of these highfalutin fancy exams? 
Well it seems that Victoria had read some of my views on the standards of numeracy and literacy of some of my fares. Such as the two who needed a calculator to divide a fare of £90 between the two of them or the many who just cannot tell right from left. But still, I like a challenge and despite reservations, I said I would have a go. After all I had left school such a long time ago that all the bad memory's had drifted away like ghosts in the light.

So it was off down to Manchester on the Monday and a drive round in the taxi whilst being interviewed on camera, scary stuff but as it was in my comfort zone, the taxi where I felt a bit more in control it wasn't as bad as I feared.  After a night in a hotel down Manchester, the really terrifying bit began. The building being used was the beautiful but huge and imposing Manchester Grammar School.
As we turned into the sports grounds and down the long drive to the stunning entrance some of the long suppressed dread and fear of school started to bubble to the surface. But once inside the crew and the other victims soon put me at ease again. I decided to keep positive and just relax and enjoy the day.
The other five masochist's were a bit of a mixed bunch and included a man who was a bookshop owner, a charity worker who delivered healthy food to needy area's, a lady who ran a successful review website, a lady who was a retired teacher and a very tall lady university administrator. The last two ladies (pictured) kept mentioning a place unknown to me called Academia one had worked there for many years and the other was still there, dunno what part of the world its in but it sure sounds exotic! The presenter we found was the well respected Aasmah Mir who soon put us all at ease. All in all it was a very slick well organised operation which was really interesting to see being pieced together.

  Three of us opted to take both exams on the subject of English leaving the other three with the dreaded maths.
Well if you want to know how I the long uneducated Taxi Driver from the grim north fared against better educated and far more academic folk from the big city you will just have to watch the Tonight show on the 22nd August. 

The group of exam candidates.
The two visitors from mysterious Academia.