Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Back to rainy Dublin

Flowers on the Promenade

Fine Victorian buildings

More of the same

Misleading sign

The great Juan Tamariz

Well It was a fantastic week for the magic convention in Eastbourne on the south coast of England "the British Riviera"

I returned well rested and prepared for the darker evenings and colder mornings.

When I looked through the papers I found the story of a female Garda who accused a taxi driver of assault and attempted rape....On further examination of her story she broke down and admitted that she had fabricated the story and had torn her own dress because she was upset with something the taxi driver said.
Well I wonder how this will work out, probably a cover up.

I must prime up my meter to accept the new taxi fare..8% which is the same amount that fuel has risen by, hardly compensates us for carrying the difference in price over the last 2 years, not to mention what other things have risen in price as well during that period.

Folks are happy at present, though I did get cold cappachino today, I was at the car when I tasted it, you know that place will close and the owner will not know why.
Sometimes I wonder why staff and management just don't care. Then when their jobs go they are whinging about how the Poles are TAKING their jobs, seems to me like they are making themselves redundant without any help.

I well remember the good old Mohamed Alli saying that I am the greatest...Even if I was a garbage collector I would be the best one in the world,"
You know we all need to have that bit of pride in our work.

Interesting observation today from a girl who works in a "Gentleman's" club.
They have loads of money, they live in the club then at Christmas when we are closed for a few days they are really shaken because they have no homes to go home to go to, with their wallets packed with cash they have no families at all only the club.

Check me out in a few more days I might have settled back into my groove.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Over the hump

If only these walls could talk 1894, what a story they would tell.

The interpretive center on the Bull island.

Well it is a sad time for lovers of sailing ships, our sail training ship Asgard 2 sank.On the plus side no one was lost.
She was built in Tyrells boatyard in Arkelow by John Tyrell and was a brigantine with fast lines just like the best pirate ships of old.
These ships are great for teaching young people the value of cooperation and getting on together.
A damn sight better than building prisons anyhow.
I would guess that perhaps a pipe which would be drawing in water to cool the engines fractured and then the water was pumped into the boat by the engine. She did not collide with anything as far as is known..
She is in deep water and they have yet to find out if she broke up on impact with the sea bed or if she is a ravine on the ocean floor.

I was in Arklow for a funeral.
Life's long journey over.
"Safe in the arms of Jesus"

Didn't work last night,we had visitors en route to Wales.
They have a great day for the journey the sun is shining.
But you know the leaves are turning every shade of red and brown as I write.
There is a sharpness in the morning,soon there will be ice on the windscreen.

I decided to change my flight to the UK, I now fly to Gatwick.
As I say people of my age watch the show "Curb your enthusiasm"
and say I am becoming him...

When I decided to change the flight I met with a fee for changing the flight and I swear that the amended flight cost more than just booking the flight directly and forgetting the other one.
Then I needed to buy replacement glasses,
"Sorry the computer is down"
No eye exam just write down my name and when the computer comes back on you can process it.
"You will have to come back"

The world is mad.

Met a girl today from Dundalk who has just come back from her grand tour.
Right around the world, Far east,Australia. New Zealand then South America visiting 5 countries there.Now she is home looking for work but wanting to travel again.
"How can we keep her down on the farm now that she's seen Parie?"

Now any taxi driver looking for rolls for your printer should head for the cash register shop on Botanic road only e1 a roll.

I may be in trouble.
A woman at Connelly station got in and asked to go to Glassnevin, as you know I had a very lucky escape last week after doing a u turn and crossing a continuous white line.
Now I am not one to push my luck, so when the "Where are you going?"started I tried to explain that I was going round to go up Gardner St. She told me to down the quays past Jurys hotel, so then I felt the tension rise when we headed for Oriel St to head back up.
You just know in your bones she will be trouble.
She asked for a printed receipt at journeys end the paper had just run out and I could show her the last receipt printed less than an hour before, but she said she wanted a printed one.
"Something with your number and time on it"
She had 10 receipts in her hand with my number on them.

Some people have such a need for power that they feel the need to complain to the highest power.
I read in a taxi driver book of how a very polite customer got his receipt and change. Then he complained to the carriage office wasting 1/2 a day of the drivers time.
The driver found out that the guy was a serial complainer.
The carriage office had never checked out the route taken by the driver.
Or had they checked which roads were closed for roadworks that day.
The fare was correct in every way.
So he told them that the next time they should check the journey out themselves and that the complainant should also have to appear because he would be bring a solicitor with him the next time.

There never was a next time in 40 years.

Compare her with all she has going for her to one I met earlier.

2 guys go in the one in the front seat sat with his bottom on the edge of the seat leaning backwards, first guy got out then the other guy started talking to me.
He had fallen from a balcony in a flats complex down 7 floors and landed on his feet.

Then all the bones in his body impacted and his back broke in 2 places vertebrae impacted as well different organs bursting open while his legs went up into his rib cage, one of them bursting out through his chest..
He must in one way be the luckiest man alive in one way but you could see the pain in his face as he was getting out.
I reckon he is on methadone because of his yellow complection and with the amount of pain he suffered he would have had to go on heroin to survive.(Yes he was a tipper.)
I met another guy a few years ago who had a hell of a motorcycle crash who had been through the mill as well.. they lived less than 20 yards form each other.

My man is going to have a new baby in a few weeks time and is waiting to have some rods taken from his back and the bones in his back fused together.

You know I would wish him the Lady's share of good luck to pass to him.
I would like for his share of bad luck to pass to her.

One other lady I met who lives here in Dublin Jean Darling As soon as she spoke I knew who she was. I was put in charge of the at a funeral a few years ago.
There is a woman with a hell of a CV.
Talked about magic all the way home.
A Very entertaining lady.

Good day to you all and as Dave Allen once said.

"Until we meet again
May your God go with you."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tough times at the ranks as well

The nags with the bags in Liffey St.

An interesting door in Glassneven

Well the weekend went like a dream.
I went out around 8 pm had one break and headed home around 4am, still a few punters around.
The Garda were looking at my taxi licence as I pulled in for punters at the concert, I did notice that there were fewer taxis around, but I did not know why.
Well I heard later that they had put up checkpoints around town and instead of just waving taxis through they decided to check further and were catching cloned cars and cars being driven by people without PSV licences.
Glad to hear they are starting to take notice of things like that, it was really getting out of hand in a big way.
One other thing I did notice was the increased number of teachers, the single ones have been off traveling the world for the summer now they are back and the good old poverty stricken students with their bags of books are starting another term.
The courts are also back in session, so it will be all be go go again until Holloween.

The other day I went up to Tesco to pick up a few things when I saw a man had bought some Christmas decorations!
In September.

I hate shopping and here is one reason why.
I had to buy 2 shirts so after dropping off a client I parked the car and went into Liffey Valley shopping center.
I saw that many of the outlets were having sales, one offer caught my eye. Buy 2 shirts for e62 and get a third free. One shirt of the three I had picked was not in a bag so he re packaged it for me.
Then I went to pass over my e62. "No its e124, they are e62 each".
Now my parents did not waste their time bringing up a fool.
I pointed out that the sign was misleading and in my opinion if verged on being dishonest and as I put the money back into my pocket I informed him that I did not care how right he was I was voting with my feet, so I walked out.

This kind of sharp practice looses customers.

I got them in M&S for e46 the pair. Not the cheapest I know, should have gone to Dunnes stores.

I have noticed the faces have changed on the ranks,many of the old hands are gone.
Guys with 20 + years knowledge.
If you do see an old face it is so rare that you shake hands with them like you would do when you neet a returned Yank.
Everyone looks tired with the long hours we have to put in to put in now to make ends meet.

If you imagine that there is a drinking fountain, the water flows at the same speed and your job is to fill your bucket up and you must use a standard cup to do it.
Well you can only get one cup full and then you have to go to the back of the line and queue up again.
Well thats OK if there are only 20 guys in line.
Then someone issues extra cups!
Now there are 60 guys lining up to fill their buckets.
There is still the same flow of water,it takes you much longer to get a bucket full, you are much longer waiting at the well, you go home some days with only 1/2 a bucket and your mate is not happy with you.
Then you start to get fined for waiting too far back from the well..OMG...
Then you notice that some guys are not using regulation type cups!!
Some even have false buckets and cups!!
The guy who is supposed to check these things only works 9to5,even at that the enforcers are seldom seen.

Then there are guys without city permits coming to your well to draw your water and their cousins are at it too.

Well thats how things are here, there was one rape and a sexual assault a few months ago. Perhaps this will start to wake up the sleeping taxi regulator.

But I fear it is far too late the game is all but over.

Joe public is happy with the increased number of taxis but he is not too happy when the driver brings them around the world.
Or as the opening conversation goes "you show me where you live I drive you there".

Where would you see it but in Ireland.

Manys the Dublin taxi drivers mate will be singing this song to put the kids asleep in the coming months.

Liverpool Lullaby (or, The Mucky Kid)

Words: Stan Kelly
Tune: Traditional ("Dollia," Tyneside); arr. Stan Kelly

©1960 Heathside Music

Affectionately -- ma non sloppo

Oh you are a mucky kid,
Dirty as a dustbin lid.
When he hears the things you did,
You'll gerra belt from your Dad.
Oh you have your father's nose,
So crimson in the dark it glows,
If you're not asleep when the boozers close,
You'll gerra belt from your Dad.

You look so scruffy lying dur
Strawberry-jam tats in yer 'air,
Though in the world you haven't a care
And I have got so many.
It's quite a struggle every day
Living on your father's pay,
The bugger drinks it all away
And leaves me without any.

Although we have no silver spoon,
Better days are coming soon
Now Nelly's working at the Lume
And she gets paid on Friday.
Perhaps one day we'll have a splash,
When Littlewoods provide the cash,
We'll get a house in Knotty Ash
And buy your Dad a brewery.

Oh you are a mucky kid,
Dirty as a dustbin lid.
When he hears the things you did
You'll gerra belt from your Dad.
Oh you have your father's face,
You're growing up a real hard case,
But there's no one can take your place,
.... Go fast asleep for yer Mammy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy weekend

New taxi driver play coming up. Click on it to enlarge

The Last supper from the Italian quarter here in Dublin.

Now that my income tax is finished for another year I can relax.
Each year at this time I promise to keep a note book of daily income and expenditure,tot it up weekly, balance it up monthly then my annual figures would hold no fears.

Still I think it is the same for most self employed people.

You know it a privilege to give the special needs kids a big day out.
Kinda levels your own troubles and to see the sheer joy those kids put into their lives. Knowing you have done well gives you the energy to face the winter.

The weather picked up today, no rain all day. When it is sunny in Dublin there is no city in the world to beat it, you should see the girls saunter down Grafton St.
Now we have the fringe festival on and a comedy festival.
Ricky Tomlinson did a show,people paid e70 to see him,when he came on he did a 15 minute spot and didn't come back on! People feel that they have been robbed. If the show had been advertised as "guest appearance by"you might say they should nderstand.

Well If that Scouse git has been, comes back to my town I will not go to see him this time either!!
(both he and his mother were born here I was told)

Leonard Cohen did several 2 hour shows and he is over 70 so did Willie Nelson put on one of the most fantastic shows that this city has ever seen...what a guy.
People who came from those shows were dancing with joy. Willie didn't want to stop and he had to pay a huge fine for going way over his time. A few years Garth Brooks did the same.

Suppose this the difference between people who appreciate that people have paid money to see them, they got in baby sitters and took the bus in and will have to wait for a taxi to bring them home again, in some cases the whole operation would cost them the guts of a days pay..then the star mimes to their songs or staggers on to the stage and gives the fingers as they are booed off the stage.

Funny old world it is when "taxi drivers" don't know their way around, or doctors who can't read medical test results. (here I refer to a woman who had been given the all clear 3 times only to have her cancer diagnosed in her breast and in 3 new places).
The list of incompetence goes longer and longer.

Getting back to driving! She got in and asked for the Meldon hotel (spelling might not be right)As I drove off towards Cardiff Lane I thought that some of our hotels have changed name in the last few weeks. Si I pulled up in front of the Quality Inn.
Here we are. No that's not it, so I went in to check and I was right.
She had been at a conference in the midlands and was meeting her husband to spend the weekend in Dublin, receipt in hand she took her exact change, I wonder does she work for XL airways which went bust the other day.
Back down to Heuston where I was hired by a dark haired girl going to Jame's St hospital. I told her that the Luas just goes up the hill and the hospital is the next stop. She had a stoppage in her speech and I suspected that there was a lot more wrong with her. I didn't have to wait long to have that confirmed.
When we reached the hospital the fare was e5.40. Just make it e5. so she put 2 e2 coins into my hand. That's e6 where is my change? No its e4, so she took it back and gave me e2 plus 50c. we had around 3 more goes and I just said near enough at e4.50.
I don't know the difference between the coins, I know we were the same too.
So I wished he well and safe back home.
It seemed like she had had a stroke of some kind, kinda makes you glad to be nearly normal.
Well would I still be driving a taxi if I was 1/2 normal.

Anyhoo we have a concert on tonight so I had better saddle up and move em out...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Death and taxes

Been there done that, heres the tee shirt

Last years photos.

The old saying is "Death and taxes are the 2 things you can't avoid".
So I have filed my tax returns, last year was a bad year with fuel costs rising and no fare increase on the horizon things are bad for taxi drivers.
But as Monty Python says "Always look on the bright side of life".
The farmers have lost out on the harvest and they have higher fuel costs too.

I try to see the better side of things,but sometimes I wonder about the press though!

Yesterday 700 taxis ferried 1,400 special needs kids through the city to Leopardstown race course for our annual party, no TV news had a feature of it.
The Herald AM did cover it.
If a taxi driver gets assaulted it is never in the papers, but if one taxi driver beats the lard out of a passenger its front page news.
Even though it was 5 guys against one, the poor old taxi guy is the villain.
Anyhow I took video on my cheapo camera and I can't download it.
I should have used the still camera in video mode.

The day started with me going to Vincents special school on the Navan Rd where I picked up 3 kids and a minder and drove directly to the venue. My kids could not sit still so going to Parnell Sq was out of the question for us.
In Parnell Sq. they make speeches and then drive down O'Connell St behind a band much to the amazement of the tourists and locals alike.
When they look into the taxis and see the kids it is quite common to see people shed a tear, we hoot our horns as we go.Last year I burned out the horn on my car,this year I had a foghorn.
Then after we cross O'Connell bridge we speed up with a Garda escort horns still blaring we make the trip to the race course.
The cars are decorated with balloons and we are sponsored by different businesses.
Ambrosia are the main sponsors but a lot of others join in too.

The taxi drivers give their time free.

One thing I find very hard is that a lot of the kids are so badly handicapped and in pain and even hooked up to oxygen. But the joy in their faces when the disco starts and the dancing....Kinda makes you feel that you never had the right to complain about your lot...Or about anything at all.

Look if you have never done it do it next year for sure.

Liverpool taxi (capital of Ireland) drivers do it too.

Then today I did my tax return.
I had a tax official in the car the other day, they pick a trade every year. Publicans, builders, grocers and this year they are on single mothers.
Next year ????
Taxis? who knows.
So straighten yourself out.

So with that all out of the way I feel I need to take a break.

Well I have the magic convention in Eastbourne at the end of the month, I hope I will be able to figure out how to get from Heathrow to Eastbourne.
Still I have the language so I will make my way.
But if anyone knows what I should do I would appreciate it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Lucky star

Today my lucky star helped me.
I pulled in to Connelly station,then when I moved up a lady came up to my window and said "Could you take me to bus arus please?"
Now that was just across the street.
"I can't walk I am not well Please bring me"
So I loaded her in and set off to drive the 50 meters drive to the bus station.
If you know my problem, you can't make a u turn and just go around to the bus depot, you have to drive around the world.
I noticed that the traffic light behind me was red, there was no traffic coming from the other side...........So..........I did a u turn....and a motorcycle cop roared into the picture."Pull in there he shouted" He was in no mood to discuss this further, out came his little computer thing. In went my reg...My sins were recorded."licence"....Then the lady spoke up."Please don't do this, I am not well and this is the only driver would bring me,I implore you to be kind"
He was a hard hearted bugger took my licence.
Then she screamed like a banshee.....
"Is this how you reward kindness?" He handed back my papers, "go ahead. This time only"
e4.20 on the clock... she gave me a e5.

I must be as lucky as a cut cat to get away with that.

My runs worked out for the rest of the morning.

I got on to the rank at Foster Place and picked up a few people from France who were doing a grand tour. They had been all around Wicklow and were en route to the Hugh Lane gallery to see the Impressionist paintings a must see.
They live on an island off La Rochelle ille de Re according to my Aldi map of Europe.
I had the guide and 1 passenger, she was British but she really knew her stuff.They had been right through Wicklow and now they were hitting Dublin.
I told her the story of the Spire...."You know back in 1998 they found out that there was 18,000 heroin addicts in the city, they decided to do something about it, so by the year 2,000 they had put up a 120 meter needle in the middle of the street."

I always ask where a group like that are gong to eat. They chose the Avoca restaurant in Suffolk St, not bad.
My lawns have become very long and as it was a dry day I had to go home and go Hi Ho I Mow...and cut the grass.

God lads things are bad...but I was told that the penalty for my sin was e82 fine plus 2 penalty points. That's the second time that a lady has cried out loud to defend me.
I would not have been a happy bunny if I had been prosecuted.

On another note try to make the special children's outing better this year.
Buy a sticker or better still take the a day off and lend a hand Tues 9 Th.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back to school.

Festival of Indian cultures last Sunday, they looked very happy.
Hari hari hari hari Krishna hari hari.

The March hare outside the new offices on Serpentine Ave.
The EU declares that if you build a development you must install a work of art to a value in relation to the cost of the development.
You might remember the hare from O'Connell st a few years ago.

A really good idea this a taxi drivers index.

The other day I saw a really good idea in Garry's shop on Bond St. A taxi drivers manual. If a punter gets in and gives you the name of some new night club or restaurant you can look it up.
As taxi numbers approached 5,000 a few years ago I was going to produce a similar index. I had a list of things to put in it, I asked another driver what he thought of it. "Well If you print that I know plenty of drivers who will look for you and kill you. If they don't know they should not be driving taxis, its as simple as that". So it went on the back boiler.I wish them the best of luck with it.
I met the guys who compiled it and they said that the printing costs were so high that they will be lucky if they break even.

Monday morning saw the mother of all car crashes on the road between Ballymun and the airport. I saw 4 cars some said 5 were involved. 2 crashed head on at a fair speed and then 2 other cars went over and under each other one landing on its roof.
Now theres a thing you don't see every day thank God.

All the schools opened on Monday too and all the little ones were heading off to school in their new over sized uniforms, by Christmas they will have grown into them.
Business picked up a bit but it is still almost impossible to get onto a rank.
I think that if we had a 50% reduction in the taxi numbers there would still be too many taxis.
Some guys are very much under pressure, the Garda giving them tickets for blocking traffic is not helping anyone.

I have always said that the law is an ass, well here is an example.
I taxi pulls over to pick up a fare late at night, as he gets in the driver sees that he has stopped for a drug addict, the guy pulls a blade and a blood filled syringe on the driver. The driver was trained in hostage negotiation in his last job.
"Relax man, you'll get your money, take it easy man, nothing to be afraid of, I have some more money in the boot as well, relax. But we won't be going much further if we don't get some petrol." So the driver pulled into Clare Hall petrol station where he gets the support of 2 other taxi drivers. One dialed for the Garda and in the male the junkie jumped over the fence and headed up towards the Hilton hotel.
The Garda car arrived a few minutes later followed by an unmarked car, the guys in the unmarked car had caught him.

Great result you might think.
But this is where the law is an ass.
In order to prosecute him the driver has to give his name and address.
The junkies solicitor will be given the drivers details and the junkies mates can terrorize the taxi drivers wife and children.

So after all that the junkie walks away to do the same to some other poor sod.

You should be able to press charges through some means without giving your personal details.

As I say the law is an ass.