Why do a I love Bank Holidays? Quite simple really, switch the meter on and there's a lovely big red "3" glowing away on the left hand side. Saves having to stay out past 10pm at night.
Having got up to the garage to pick up the cab and having spent £20 on getting the train to London Bridge and then a cab to Three Colts Lane, I loaded up with fuel and started work. I wonder how it is that the bloke who has the cab before you always manages to work it so that the fuel light is shining away when he leaves it, yet I always leave a load in the tank.
Anyway, having been in for its 6 monthly inspection I was hoping that the cab would be in good nick. Turning away from the garage there was a clunking from the steering. At the first set of lights I put my foot on the brake and the cab came to a halt with an almighty juddering come from the front wheels.
Knowing how much of a fight it is to get the mechanics to even acknowledge the fact that you aren't actually invisible I decided to bear with it for the weekend and give the cab back with a note when I returned it on Tuesday. Hopefully everything will be done when I pick the cab up again on Friday week. That's right, more time off for me this weekend to go to Clapham in Bedfordshire to sit and listen to music and drink beer at the Rhythm Festival. With my brother doing the driving and me not having to work until the following weekend, I should have plenty of time to sober up.
One more thing about the cab on its pick up was that having gone away with adverts on the side I returned to pick it up with new ads for the company my wife works for. I have to say that their adverts are fairly effective since lots of people read the "capital knowledge" details on the side such as "You may face imprisonment if found drunk in charge of a steam engine or cow" and "It is illegal to get into a taxi if you are suffering from the plague".
Anyway, on to the weekend's work, and it was great to meet up for a cuppa with Steve, one of my mates from the knowledge who had finally got his badge after 4 years of trying. Well done mate. Congratulations also to Foz and Polish Chris who also got their badges and did their first work as London Green badge cab drivers in the past couple of weeks.
Right, really, it'll be about work now, honest, and not about my weekend off, music, or stopping for a cuppa. Things were fairly steady all weekend, what with the Olympic handover party going on in The Mall, and the Notting Hill carnival going on over at Ladbroke Grove. Luckily I wasn't forced over towards the carnival at all except for one lady who wanted to go from Edgware Road to Notting Hill Gate. I told her I'd get her as close as I could and headed along the Bayswater Road, where we abruptly came to a halt well short of Queensway. Nothing moving and four police vans blocking the road dealing with some sort of incident. With £10 on the clock she decided to bail and accept my apologies.
The weekend passed off fairly peacefully for me, with lots of people chatting about the Olympics, especially one family from Bahrain who were rightly proud of their country's medals. Sadly I picked up no Australians so couldn't join in with our new national sport of gloating.
Some of the better jobs were one French family going from the Victoria and Albert Museum, to their hotel, The KK George in Templeton Place, and then from there on to St Pancras. (One for all those knowledge boys and girls who question why we need to learn the turnarounds for places like that, although in the real world U-turns and the reverse gear help a lot).
From St Pancras I picked up a young lady who had travelled down from Leeds, wanting to go to Seven Sisters so that she could take part in the Miss Zambia UK competition. She was struggling to walk to the cab in front thanks to the high heels she had already put on, and as she reached out a young man reached the door before her. I fully expected him to hold the door open for her but no, he jumped in and left her standing on the rank. What a gent! I can only think he must have been in a hurry to get away from the station since there was definitely no shortage of cabs on the rank.
Another man and his young sons were picked up at the Holiday Inn Forum in Kensington wanting to do the Short trip to the Big Easy restaurant on the Kings Road. all were in a good mood, and they explained that they had spent the day doing the tour of Buckingham Palace. However, the staff weren't too happy since one of the boys wasn't feeling too well and actually threw up on the carpet in the banqueting hall. How about that for a story to tell your grandchildren later in life.
Having poodled around the hotel ranks for a while (and getting annoyed at the driver who picked up 20 feet behind me outside the Mandarin at Knightsbridge while I was on point at the rank - "Sorry mate I didn't see ya". Perhaps you shouldn't be driving without a bloke waving a red flag in front of you then.) I turned from St James Street towards the Ritz hotel in the hope that the rank might be moving. Nobody there, so I put on, switched the engine off and settled in for a wait. Before I could even find the page of the book I'm reading (Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon) the doorman opened the rear doors and told me through the window "Whichever Heathrow Terminal does Aeroflot please". Lovely way to work towards the end of a day. Two passengers who don't speak English, a run straight up the A4 and £50 on the meter on arrival.
The bank Holiday Monday was fairly quiet, so thank goodness for the Rate 3. Lots of Station to Station stuff and not much traffic, but it would have been painful at one of the lower rates.
Tuesday was fairly slow and I was happy to drop the cab back at the garage at around 7pm. Not so happy that I had to walk as far as the East London Mosque before I found a cab that would take me to London Bridge Station for the journey home. Still, at least I'll save myself a few hundred quid in rent these next couple of weeks.
And so on to my weekend away at the Twinwood Arena. Can't wait!