Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Skepticab blog of randomness to 11/6/16

My musings for the week as I cart people around:

Monday the sixth

You're my best mate...

It's only just after midday and I've just taken a bloke from one pub to another.  Apparently I'm his best mate.


I witnessed a man fall over in the street.  At first I thought he had been knocked over but it turned out he had lost his footing on the kerb and had fallen in the road as a car was coming round the corner, just missing him.  He wouldn't let me call an ambulance even though he was bleeding from his head and his hand, so I just gave him a lift home.  I think he just needed to sit down and lick his wounds.  Thank goodness for leather seats so I could clean the car up quickly afterwards.


A and her family were getting away from their old home to their new one.  Apparently 'he' had hidden much of their stuff in the garden, including A's knickers in the nettles.

Tuesday the seventh


Despite explaining that I needed to go a longer way round to get to the station because of the traffic but would only charge the shorter route, a customer still complained that I had overcharged, which I hadn't (and wouldn't).  It can be frustrating that some people assume you are on the make.

Atom bomb

Mr F was serving in the Royal Navy during the war and was taken to see the damage from one of the Atom bombs.  It was interesting to hear his views on how we are making a mess of this world for our grandchildren.

GP advice

V has been told by his GP that he is worn out.  He can't stand to look at his bag of bones in the mirror.
"What chance do I have?"

Fear of fire

L suffers from depression and anxiety, in particular she has a particularly strong fear of fire so had to take her kids to her mum's house as there were thunder storms brewing.  I didn't tell her that I had seen some lightning in Harlow just a few minutes before.  At least there is some logic to being afraid of fire.  I once worked in a pub with a young lady who had a real phobia about pineapples.

Edward and Alice

Chris was going to a rehearsal for a play about Edward Elgar and his wife, which will be touring in the autumn.  He told me all about it.  If it comes to Harlow I hope to go.

Wednesday the eighth


A young lady, on seeing my Charles Darwin finger puppet on the dashboard, asked me if I was religious.  She seemed very happy when I said no, and we had a lovely chat about atheism and science.

Lost accent

I took a US couple who were just visiting her family in Harlow in the cab.  She left Harlow in 1975 and has no trace of an English accent, let alone a Harlow one.

Poor healthcare

Most people are full of praise for the NHS but occasionally things go wrong.  This lady had gone into hospital a few weeks ago with severe vomiting but despite the hospital being told by the ambulance crew and her husband, and it being on her notes, nobody had taken into account her type 1 diabetes (I am also a T1D).  She ended up going into ketoacidosis, which can be extremely serious and was unwell for much longer as a result.  She's okay now though.

Thursday the ninth


Sometimes you have really nice conversations with people, especially on longer journeys.  This couple from Massachusetts were just passing through.  Conversations on the US election (she will be probably only vote for Hilary Clinton through gritted teeth), family history, anti-semitism in their town, the MG TD brought back from England by his father after the war, etc.  They asked me to take them on the return journey to Heathrow but I was otherwise engaged, sadly.

Titania and Oberon

In response to seeing the William Shakespeare finger puppet on my dashboard, two primary school children told me about the story of Titania and Oberon from A Midsummer Night's Dream that they had been learning about at school.  They were very excited to get me because they had seen me passing Staple Tye when they were on their way to school that morning.


Ron, who I wrote about on 21/3/16, was telling me more about his history.  His father was a fishmonger in Kennington in 1940 but died when an incendiary bomb exploded in the factory next to the shop.  He was evacuated to Staffordshire but moved back to London, this time to Tottenham, when his mother married a butcher (so they would have been okay for meat, I guess).  One evening he was at the cinema when there was an almighty explosion.  They came out to find most of the windows for a mile around had been smashed, courtesy of a V2 rocket landing nearby.
Image result for v2
a V2

Friday the tenth


T suffered a stroke a few years ago and had to relearn how to do basic things such as talking, eating and walking.

Standing out

Y moved to Harlow from Liverpool when she was 10.  She had to wear the uniform from her old school for the first few months and with her Scouse accent she stood out like a sore thumb.  She dropped her accent quickly.  She felt it was very wrong that a child should be put through that.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Skepticab blog of randomness: Week to 28/5/16

My musings for the week as I drive around delivering people to where they want to go:

Monday the twenty-third

Turn it off?

Whilst filling up with diesel I recklessly listen to podcasts on my bluetooth earphone in contravention of the law, and have been warned in the past about using my mobile on the forecourt.  Of course there's virtually no risk from a mobile, other than people being distracted.  This article is one of many that explains this.
No mobiles!

 Tuesday the twenty-fourth

Old school flim

George (an old school Cockney) told me to take a flim for a £4.30 fare.  I had no idea what he meant- apparently this means a fiver, from the early 1900s when a fiver was made of flimsy paper.  See

Wednesday the twenty-fifth

Speaking in tongues

Had an interesting long chat with a man I brought back from Heathrow.  Prompted by the Charles Darwin finger puppet on my dashboard, he told me that he's Pentecostal, which means he believes in speaking in tongues.  He was cured of his depression at the first service he attended at his church.  I explained that although I was brought up in a religious family none of it rubbed off on me.  As ever, when at work I don't aim to challenge people when they tell me about their beliefs but just discuss them, stating my own opinion.

Thursday the twenty-sixth

Careless rip-off

A regular customer who is a carer was telling me about a care agency in the town that is paid by the council to provide four people who live in the same building each with 24 hour care.  Apparently the agency only supplies one greatly-overworked carer to cover all four and pockets the fee for providing four.


I took the escort lady to work today (see 1/5/15 blog) but found I had nothing to talk to her about.  I don't think she remembered our long talk last year.

Friday the twenty-seventh


Jack (not his real name)'s girlfriend had got into his Facebook account and had posted some pornographic images, for which she has been arrested.

Let It Go

I took some youngsters to a football match organised in memory of local deceased teenager Marcel. (link) Around the town I frequently see people wearing t-shirts in memory of the lad, and there was a recent (second) ride-out in his memory following the original one in March.  It was interesting to hear the customers wondering if people are milking it now and that they should let the family grieve properly.  There seems to be some peer pressure to attend every Marcel event in case they are thought not to be honouring him in some way.

Saturday the twenty-eighth

My religion

The closest I have to a religion is following Sheffield Wednesday.  Sometimes I feel a great deal of fervour, sometimes the spirit doesn't move me (especially when the match is poor).  Today was a big one and I felt it.  The Wednesday lost to Hull City but it was an excellent day out, only marred by the result.  Good natured fans on both sides, the way it should be.

It's now half term and I've taken the week off.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Skepticab blog of randomness: 2 weeks to 14/5/16

My musings for the fortnight as I cart people around Harlow:

Tuesday the Third

Wasted life

I discovered that another of my regular customers is a World War 2 veteran.  Mr T served in the Royal Navy and saw 8 invasions.  He was telling me about one event he witnessed off the north French coast where US and/or Canadian paratroopers were dropped into the sea and most were drowned.  He doesn't know where they were as the sailors weren't usually informed of their locations.

Wednesday the Fourth

Wasted life skill

A young lady studied Hospitality and Catering for two years at college but now she only ever cooks spaghetti bolognese from a jar.

Road rage

D... rarely drives any more because he gets angry behind the wheel.  After therapy he discovered that it's about not being able to suffer fools gladly.

5 and 20 past

Mrs H says 'five and twenty past' rather than 'twenty five past'.  I haven't heard anyone say this since my gran died in the 1990s.

Russian racism

Although M is from Latvia, he stressed that he is Russian, not Latvian.  He was telling me that Latvians, Estonians, Lithuanians, Poles and Ukrainians really don't like Russians.  M is critical of Romanians who buy cars here, drive it home, re-plate it, tax and insure it in Romania but keep it here.  This is cheaper for them apparently.

Thursday the Fifth

Pub quizzes

Dave? does pub quizzes as a sideline.  Apparently he can earn £65-£75 per night.  Most people who run them subscribe to an online service that sends you quizzes to use, but people get wise to this and follow the quizzes round, scooping the pool on a regular basis.


I take a number of carers who look after people in need.  Today I took L, who looks after an adult with Down's syndrome who was severely neglected as her mother was ashamed of her and just left her in her bedroom all day every day.  Apparently the daughter is a very different person now.

Friday the Sixth

Hates Barbeques

Chris's brother loves holding bbq parties but doesn't actually like bbq'd food himself, so his wife cooks him something else from the kitchen instead.

Monday the Ninth


Today I had a fare, picking up at the Eye Unit at the local hospital.  As usual I sent the message to alert the customers of my arrival.  There were some people waiting there but all of them looked up at me and seemingly weren't waiting for a cab.  I got Metro to ring them to let them know I was there.  A lady's mobile rang a couple of times but she didn't answer it.  Metro sent me a different job instead.  I could have faffed about trying to sort it out but took the easy option.  I hope they got their cab in the end.  

Unclear instructions

A customer got irritated with me for not understanding her instructions.  Sorry, but I can't see which way you are pointing when you are sitting behind me!

Tuesday the Tenth

Hail spring and summer!

Jo was telling that she had heard that you can only get snow and hail in spring and summer, not in autumn and winter.  It doesn't sound plausible to me.

Bus lanes

The use of bus lanes by minicabs has now been made permanent. Yay!  This was contested by some black cab drivers apparently.  Minicab drivers and customers are happy about it.

Wednesday the Eleventh


Woman in tears, with (I guess) the boyfriend.  All I can do is offer tissues.

Belief in aliens?

A man in his twenties crossed himself as we passed a hearse.  He then asked me if I believe in God- I said no, I'm a complete atheist.  He replied "So, like me, you believe in aliens?"  I had no time to formulate a response as I dropped him off.  [For reference- I don't 'believe' in aliens but I would be amazed if the only life form was on this planet]

Friday the Thirteenth

Nobody commented on whether the day is meant to be unlucky or not.

Knob training

Teresa used to do training at Tesco.  She found humour worked best, getting them to remember worked best with phrases like "Don't push it until the knob's up!"


C... used to work for BA, including on Concorde.  The night before the last BA Concorde was returning to the UK to be taken out of storage they managed to get approval to go on board to pay their respects and stripped it of all souvenir material.


Mrs Munroe was in Tottenham during the war.  Her mum chopped up the dining table and chairs for firewood.  She would take a pram to get coal- sometimes she was able to get two lots without being recognised.

Break for a footy match

I took my boys out of school at lunchtime (with permission) to take them to the play-off semi-final in Sheffield.  Having children who are interested in football has revived my enthusiasm for my team, who I seem to have successfully infected with my Wednesday virus.  We won, yay!