Tuesday, February 24


Driving the taxi through Dalton with a lady passenger on board the other day, when she spotted a lone magpie.
 She saluted smartly and said aloud "good morning mister magpie how's your wife".
I looked at her with an open mouth so she gave me the explanation, that it was it was an old superstition more prevalent in the rural areas. Any more I asked? She told me a couple I already knew but another couple of fresh ones she gave me were never move on a Friday and never trust a man with squeaky shoes, that means he owes money.
Later that very day I had picked up a couple and the guy was getting dropped of before the lady. He was about to get out of the taxi when he was dragged back inside by the lady who got quite upset telling me that I mustn't drop him off when parked on the bridge. 
"Part on a bridge and you may never meet again" was the superstition  that had her under it's spell. 

Tuesday, February 17

Olde Times

Well after rereading our local council terms and conditions for taxi drivers here in Barrow in Furness I think that the whole thing needs a good update they use language such as the "term psychedelic and bizarre painting schemes" that one must surely be a hangover from the swinging sixties! 
 Then we have the total gobbledegook   "The track width and suspension characteristics shall be such as to provide good road holding performance and stability on cornering" surely if the taxi didn't it would not pass a taxi inspection or even the annual M.O.T test.
Then we have the requirement for the never used and cannot ever be used without danger of being sued, fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
Most modern council’s have now realised that drivers are not insured to use and cannot use these without proper training and have done away with the requirement.
"Radio scanners are prohibited" again that’s all a bit old hat nowadays most firms are on data and not voice nowadays so not much to listen to.

Then we come to the Hackney Carriage Byelaws they seem to have been written at about 1886 which was about the same time as our Town Hall was built.
“Cause the roof or covering to be watertight" and "cause the fittings and furniture generally to be kept in a clean condition, well maintained and in every way fit for public service" and how about this beauty “The taxi shall be fitted with a key flag or other device, the turning of which will bring the machinery of the taximeter into action and use the word hired to appeal on the face of the taximeter”
This was all obviously written by quill on parchment in the days of horse drawn hackney carriages and the last time they changed it and as it states at the bottom, hereunto fixed the common seal was forty one years ago!
I have saved the best bit until last "The proprietor or driver of a hackney carriage shall immediately after the termination of any hiring or as soon as possible thereafter carefully search the carriage for any property which may have been accidentally left therein."  
Then we have "carry it as soon as possible and in any event within 48 hours if not sooner claimed by or on behalf of its owner to the office of the council and leave it in the custody of the officer in charge of the office on his giving a receipt for it."
I and most other drivers have never heard of anybody taking lost property to the Town Hall and I bet this is another hangover from the dim and distant past.
So now I will have to find this officer in charge then handover the seven odd gloves, three single earrings, several soiled hankies and the cat box (the cat didn't survive its visit to the vets) that I have in my garage?

Thursday, February 12

Barking Mad

A middle aged guy gets into the taxi this morning constantly coughing his lungs up “are you a heavy smoker?” I asked when he finally caught his breath. "What do you mean"? He said. Well is smoking the first thing you do every morning when you get up.
 "No he said first I cough, then I smoke."

Thursday, February 5

Splashing Time

It rained constantly all day today and I was  getting peoples favourite comment to taxi drivers “I bet you drivers love it when it rains like this”.
 Well here’s one driver who doesn't, it’s no fun at all driving all day in the pouring rain you have to concentrate a heck of lot more to dodge all the people with umbrellas or hoods up who just walk out into the road.
 And if it’s raining from early morning people especially the older folk  just don't want to go out unless they have to and if they do they tend to be a lot more miserable than usual.
 But if it starts to rain when everybody is already out then that’s ok we have a busy time then. Showers are a mixed blessing people call a cab and then it stops so they walk and we get lot of no pickups.
 The only consolation is driving through deep puddles and splashing traffic wardens.