My fare was a lady along with her two grandchildren who were roundabout ten and twelve.
She was trying to describe to them the place that she wanted to meet them later on, but was having no success at all. She was getting madder and madder and the grandkids more and more perplexed.
For the tenth time she said almost at scream level “by the bank on the corner down from the Railway Arms pub and the police station.”
The kids just looked at each other completely baffled. This is when I interrupted and pointed out that every single one of the landmarks she mentioned had all closed down, some of them many years ago. The poor kids wouldn’t have had a clue what the heck she was talking about.
This got me thinking about just how many people use landmarks that are simply not in existence any longer.
I still get asked to go for fares at the back of Stollers in town which is a furniture store which moved to the outskirts of town maybe twenty years ago and the fish market that hasn’t sold a fish for many a year. Or I get asked to turn left at the Astra lights as they recall the cinema which was demolished lots of years ago. There are many more of these long gone landmarks which folk use, as well as names of places which have long been changed some several times over.
I feel sorry for the younger new taxi drivers who must get baffled by all this ancient history!
But still it will get worse, the rate that pubs and clubs are disappearing nowadays. You know that most folk use pubs to give directions and so when they are all gone we shall all be completely hopelessly lost!
My fare was an ould lass who was partially sighted and very bad on her legs. She asked to be taken to the local crematorium and then back home again. I explained that the crematorium was closed for building work and that services were being held in a local church instead. She looked horrified and was silent and crestfallen for a moment or two. But then she straightened up and said in a determined voice " I have been going up to see the memorial book with my late husbands name in it for the last twenty six years on the anniversary of his death, So I am not going to stop now; lets go!"
As I expected when we got there the building was covered with scaffolding and fenced off.
But I spotted a small sign on the boarded up door of what would have been the room where the memorial book was kept. I was as happy as she was to find that at least someone in our parks and cemeteries department had the compassion and good common sense to have the book on display at a low window at the side of the building.
I drove her round and helped her out and stood back to let her have time reading the book. After a minute or two she called me over to tell me that her sight had gotten that bad that she couldn't see her husband's name in the book. I found the name and read the beautifully illuminated script for her and watched her face light up. I dropped her off at home and she still had the smile of triumph on her face.
One of our female drivers picked up a lass from our office today. She was driving a firm's car plastered with signwriting and sporting a big taxi sign on the roof. The lass said " Oh Hi **** I haven't seen you for years, where are you working at nowadays?" Dohhh!
Its funny how some old ladies want to feed you up sometimes, like today one old dear gave me a mint and later another a toffee. But to top this just as I was about to go for a coffee a lady gave a slice of her home made lemon sponge cake to go with it delicious. This reminds me of the local taxi legend about the old lady that used to give her driver a little bag of unsalted peanuts every time she was picked up. This went on for months until one driver said “no thank you I don’t like peanuts” she was said to have replied “no neither do I but I like the chocolate coating”---think about it.
Well the six week long school holidays are just about over and sales of Vodka and Valium to stressed out parents 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 the zoo, 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.