Wednesday, April 29

Blue Badge

I see that down in the city of Manchester some cars have been impounded and the owners prosecuted for using fake blue disabled parking badges.(for overseas readers these badges allow parking on yellow lines for up to three hours).
 From what I see and hear every day on the streets of Barrow you don't need to fake a badge, it seems you get one even if it's your aunt's friend's sister in law that is suffering with an ingrown toenail. The town centre is littered with cars all badly parked using these badges as an excuse for their laziness and tightfistedness. 
I have watched these drivers park on yellow lines right next to a pay and display car park, and then stride several hundred yards across the car park to get to the shops, and even on occasion seen them run back for their forgotten walking stick. 
I had to double park and block traffic for a while today, as I helped my passenger a genuinely disabled lady into a shop. On the way back to the car I noticed that one of the cars blocking access was displaying a blue badge, but it was a large estate car filled with the tools and cable used by an electrician. 
There are obviously genuine users of blue badges but a large proportion are definitely taking the mickey. 

Wednesday, April 22

Free Advice Included

You must know if you have ever travelled in a taxi that drivers by and large are always happy to give advice. This can be on any subject and is given free with the cab ride whether you want it or not.

Take today for instance, I had picked up a lady with her pet cat from one of the local vets. She was in shock after paying out £400 just to get the ginger toms teeth cleaned. I knew vets bills were huge but this amazed me and I started at first to think about maybe going into the moggie molar cleaning business. But no I decided to pass on building a tabby tooth scrubbing empire and help out my customer.
So I suggested she pick up a pair of pincers from the pound shop and remove the problem teeth. I then suggested a nice soft diet for the cat and reassured her by telling her that after all cats don’t smile much so no one would ever know.

A while later I picked yet another woman up from the vets with yet another pussy cat. This lady was again moaning about the vet’s outrageous fees. She wasn't happy at all and was having a good moan because she was due to go on holiday and before she could put her puss in the expensive cattery she would have to pay for its inoculations and a check up.  
 So coming to the rescue yet again I suggested that she could save herself lots of money by simply having the cat put down and buying a new one when she got back.
Strangely enough neither of the feline owning ladies seemed to appreciate my kindly advice; maybe they looked shocked because they were thinking how much money my useful advice would save them.  
I'm even sure that I even heard the last lady swearing as she got out the taxi, obviously because she hadn't thought of the idea first.

Monday, April 20

Chit Chat

You know sometimes it really is a struggle to find something to talk about with the passengers especially ones I have never met before.
A lot of people just don't want to talk and after a while driving a cab you can sense this pretty much straight away and just turn the radio up a bit and get them to where they are going.
But others are more than eager for a chat; some of the old folk we pick up have not spoken to a living soul for days and days on end.
But the thing is that you have to find something safe and neutral to talk about, something in the local news or something we drive past usually starts a good conversation off.
But when nowt is going on it tends to be the fare that starts up on their favourite subject and it goes from there.
But some things can run into problems and are best avoided, take politics for instance we all can get a bit heated on that and so it’s best not to go into it too seriously.
I have lost count of the times when I have had to bite my lip whilst listening to some ould dear complaining about all the foreigners coming over here and nicking our jobs. This in a town which is 99% white and has near full employment.
Still there is always that sure fire safe bet “Football” but problem is I am just not interested in football at all. I usually don't mention this and just let them amaze me with their vast knowledge and skills in management and just hope that they don’t notice my eyes glazing over.
 It’s best not to mention that I don't like football or I get the same open mouthed stupefied expression as if I had just casually mentioned that I knew their mother and wondered if I may be their real father.
The only real safe bet is of course the weather; everyone likes a whinge about it being too hot or too cold.  That is except for the women who I picked up the other day when it just happened to be very misty.  It turns out according to her that the government is causing it and using the mystery mist as a secret weapon to control and spy on us all.
What a load of rubbish eh!
 Everyone knows it’s the aliens that are doing it.      

Thursday, April 9

No Go Area

A while back now I had a job to pick up two people from nearby Ulverston and take them the hundred miles or so to Liverpool airport. When I arrived at the address I opened the boot ready to load the cases only to be told that they had none to load all they had was a plastic Tesco carrier bag.
Now to me a couple with no luggage going to the airport seems more than a bit strange.
So I asked them to pay up front and then enquired about the lack of luggage. Well the guy said we don't really want to go to the airport, we just said that for convenience but it’s not far from there though. 
He paid me no problem and told me he would direct me once we got off the motorway and into Liverpool. They were a bit of an odd couple with him being older and from this area she being a true scouse who swore every other word. I listened to them argue all the way down the motorway about nowt in particular and just as they were about to drive me mad at last we turned off the motorway. The guy started to give me directions which seemed to take us in circles several times this caused more arguments between them and it was decided that the lady( and I use the term loosely) would direct me the rest of the way. We drove into Edge Hill and then into what looked like a giant demolition site. Row upon row of terraced houses all boarded up with corrugated iron sheets, no sign of life not even passing or parked cars.
 I began to get a bit nervous and asked are you sure it’s round here, yes she replied “just a bit further. So keeping one eye on the road and the other on the passengers I drove slowly on. Ten minutes later she shouted “stop stop” and even before we had fully stopped she jumped out and ran swearing and shouting towards the only house in all the dereliction that had doors and windows. The guy handed me a ten pound note as he got out and said “thanks mate that’s for you none of the local taxis will come down here” I guess that explains the airport story they gave.

Sunday, April 5

Easter Parade

Easter Sunday and all the big supermarkets are closed and it was exactly the same ritual performance as last year, it’s what I call the Easter Sunday parade, with hundreds of cars full of desperate retail junkies driving around in circles looking for a supermarket that’s open for business.
They just can't believe that the stores dare have the audacity to close their temple of consumerism just when they want to go shopping as they usually do every single Sunday.
 They don't just look at the car park, see it’s empty and realise the store is closed, and drive away, nope they have to drive right up to the store entrance and stare at the locked doors with wide open mouths.
They actually form an orderly queue to do this and then they all drive off to the next supermarket down the road to repeat the mournful ritual. It seems that they just don't know what to do with their sad selves without their Sunday shopping fix; wonder what they did before the stores started Sunday trading!
Sunday shopping seems to have replaced church services and even the great British pub liquid lunch to become some people’s sole source of a social life. Whole family's seeking the great nirvana of retail therapy clog the aisles as they engage in epic gossip sessions with others who they only ever see in the hallowed retail cathedrals. Pity the poor layperson who actually just wants to dash in and out and grab a quick bite for lunch. None of the gossip congregation will give an inch to let anyone else past them and will use their empty shopping trolleys as a weapon to stop the philistines from invading the hallowed ground.   

 We taxi drivers could make lots more money if our phone operators just didn't tell customers that the stores were shut. We could then just take them on a nice leisurely trip round all the closed supermarkets and then back home again, but apparently that’s bad public relations so we don't do that.

It’s still a great pity though it would be a nice little earner eh!