Please, shoot me if this blog becomes a platform for a series of standard issue cab driver stories and/or political rants. It isn’t why I started this. I’ve had my say about Boris and am happy to leave it at that for now, although I will reserve the right to let off some steam in the future. But I’d like to bring to you, my t’interweb friends, a more positive and occasionally light hearted view of London and its cabbies. Not for me the trend of certain cab “spokesmen” who only ever seem to appear in the media when they have something negative to say. (London Cab Drivers Club, please take note) I give you a prime example this week of cab drivers only showing themselves to be perennial moaners. In the 2 or 3 news items I listened to about the plans for sorting out traffic for the 2012 Olympics, the only quote from the taxi trade was from “Taxi” newspaper (which, by the way, is easily the best trade journal) saying the proposals would undoubtedly be a disaster. So we’d be better off not making any plans then, and just crossing our fingers that the athletes get to their races on time? The traffic around the 2012 games may well be a disaster but to come out immediately after the first proposals are published and be quite so negative seems a trifle previous. Surely a case of, if you can’t say something positive, keep you’re trap shut.
In order to offset that slight rant and negative cabbie view point, I’m going to tell you about one of my jobs yesterday. Again, not something I plan on doing too much as 99% of the jobs I do are deadly dull. Victoria to Paddington? Yawn. Paddington to Kings Cross? Double yawn. See what I mean? But yesterday at about 5pm after a busy afternoon, I was sat outside the Radisson Portman Hotel, 2nd on the rank. Having a bit of a rest before the rush hour and catching up on Football Weekly, a punter talked to the cab on point, and then came to my window. “How far to the Wharfedale Astoria mate?” he asked in a broad midlands accent. Here we go I thought, nutter alert. “Do you mean the Waldorf?” I responded. “That’s the one mate, how far is it?”. It turns out that he’s down for a weekend away with his girlfriend, and they are staying at the Waldorf. But he’s got his knickers right in a twist ’cause they are completely lost, his Sat Nav is bust and Dirty Dancing starts at 7:30pm. Could I show them the way to Newport Place car park, then take them on to the Waldorf? The guys carefully laid plans for a romantic weekend away are facing ruin and I think he might cry any minute. What could I do but help him out? So, after extracting some money up front, off we set to Chinatown, then the Wharfedale (poor bloke) with 2 very relieved punters thanking me to the heavens. I’ve never driven quite so carefully in the cab and even remembered not to use bus lanes while he was following me. And so I left them with what I hope was a positive view of London cab drivers and a parting shot of “Sure you’ll be able to find you way to the theatre?”. For those that don’t know London too well, Dirty Dancing is playing at the Aldwych Theatre. Which is next door to the Waldorf. See, us cabbies are hilarious.
This is not, I will add as a final thought, an anti Sat Nav post. Far from it, we all need their help every now and then. But the real moral of the story is, as Mrs. Cabbie would succinctly put it, why don’t you buy a farking A-Z? Save you £20 odd and a bit of humiliation in front of your girly.