Good Friday. What's good about it? Other than it being the day we all teach our kids about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by telling them that a giant bunny is going to come round and lay chocolate eggs?
I'll tell you what... it's rate 3 all day. As one driver put it though "It might as well be rate 103 for the amount of work there is out here." Plenty of people in town although for the most part the weather was fine so lots of people out for a "bracing walk" and not many hailing cabs. That was until it started hailing on the cabs. Those tin boxes get really noisy when that happens. And I already had a fare from Victoria Station to Copeleston Road in East Dulwich. A lovely lady (I would guess was somewhere in her 70's) who had been in Torquay for the week. Came back complaining that she wouldn't go again because "It's full of old people".
My day started at The O2 dome. No real reason, it's just that it's on the way in for me, and occasionally a job comes in that will allow me to get into town without being empty all the way. Makes sense, don't you think?
Not to one of the Suburban drivers (or "Yellow Badges" ranked up there). As usual I got out of the cab at the back of a rank of about 7 cabs to stretch my legs and have a smoke. I've had some good conversations with some of the drivers over there, mulling over the price of fuel, the state of English football etc. Small talk.
I decided to strike up some small talk with one of the drivers "No extras today is there?" I asked with a smile thinking perhaps, like New Years Day we might get a little more per journey than just rate 3. Greedy I know, but every little helps.
The other driver looks at my badge and immediately sneers "Wot? Daan choo nar yer mee-aah oor summink?". Oh goody, I've just bumped into one of the only surviving donors in a brain transplant operation.
"There's nuffink fer yoo Awl-Londern drivers rand 'ere. Yood be be-aah off up taan. This is a suburban rank". Immediately I realise I'm in danger of being told "We don't like strangers round 'ere", "Keep off the moors during a full moon". He all but said in true "League of Gentlemen" style "This is a local rank for local drivers".
"Well mate I'm an all-London driver, and last time I looked, Greenwich was still part of London."
"Well, there's still nuffink for yoo 'ere".
Yeah right mate, with the Jubilee line and north Greenwich Station closed it was going to be dead there all day. I left the moonraker and his mates to their quiet day on the rank and headed into town after waiting about 10 minutes to see if anything was moving - other than his mouth while he read The Sun.
Of course The O2 does have plenty of work in and out, especially when the Eagles are playing there. I went in on my way home on Saturday night and as usual the queue of customers was longer than the line of cabs. I wonder if the local would have been happier to see all of those customers turn their attention to local mini-cab firms rather than let the Green Badge brigade help them out on nights like this. Somehow I doubt it.
I managed to get back there for four jobs, a couple into The Devonport in Greenwich, four people to The Novotel Excel, a family to Blackheath Village and a really friendly bloke to the Holiday Inn Express in Silvertown Way, who left his credit card in the back of the cab. Sadly I didn't find it until I'd got all the way home to Medway, and despite my best efforts to ask the hotel to get him to call me, he checked out the following morning presumable paying either by cash or by another card.
I did feel sorry for one driver on Friday. While the rest of us were working on rate 3, he was telling me he'd had some work done on his cab the day before which had meant the meter had lost its memory and needed re-programming. Poor bloke was scraping for work and when he did get it he was on Rate 1.
All in all it was a fairly successful weekend meaning I could spend Sunday and Easter Monday with my wife and daughter, both of them nursing a couple of colds between them.
Real world jobs for the Knowledge Boys and girls
Paddington Station to Sloane Square Hotel
Cranbourne Street to Lord of the Rings
Parliament Square to Tavistock Hotel
Coventry Street to Sanderson Hotel
and finally, I spotted this while stuck in a traffic jam on Saturday afternoon. Any ideas where?