Sunday, January 30, 2011

A new day tomorrow ?

Drilling in Dublin bay, lets hope they find something.

If I saw those photos I could never believe that the colors were natural.

Mother nature took out her coloring book and painted us a beauty.

Wow. You know that last post brought back many fears and memories.
You can never imagine the tension and fear that the riots in Belfast and Derry caused over the years.
This weekend happens to coincide with the last march to commemorate Bloody Sunday
In so many cities of the world people are divided today.
A great girl who makes me the strongest hottest coffee told me one day.
That she was a Hindu and she married a Muslim.
Her own Mother asked her brothers to kill her!
Can you imagine that?
She comes from an island which is sold as being a total paradise island!
So every day the sun comes up and every evening it goes down, things carry on in much the same fashion.
Remember the assholes who were buying "Top of the range propertys" a while ago?
They did buy loads of property but didn't allow me to put in my 2 cent worth.
I did feel in my bones that this Boom could cause a Bamg, still I am only a stupid taxi driver, what could I know?
Well in The Irish times on Saturday a house was sold for €1.4 million!
But in 2007 this house went for sale for €6.2 million ..Go on do the sums a 75% drop
Fairlawn House Savil Park Rd Dalkey.
Come on it is a 5 bed house with an acre of land !
OK in may 2007 Derek Quinlan bought in 43 Aylesbury Rd for €8.5 mill.
Its back on the market for €2.9 mill.Still for sale.
(I still can't quite afford it)

I have been ill, that explains 2 impacts in such a short time, so I am just working in short bursts.
If you are that girl from Ukraine, you were in my taxi the other day?
When you first came to Dublin I recall talking to you!

Ukraine home of Wheat and Wedding Dresses!

I had just published when this came on the radio, one of the sisters has passed over
lovely harmony.

The one in the red blouse is Linda Ronstadt

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bellfast taxi drivers

A tour of the murals from the lord mayor of Belfast.

Violence is a part of life that a taxi driver has to expect.In Dublin it is more likely the passzinger who is being shot by an assasin.
Sometimes the driver is being robbed, but you still have to go.
I hope things never go back to what they were like in Belfast.

Here is a short history lesson.
I have a piece of history on my bookcase a piece of the Berlin wall.
I guess its time to take down a few more walls.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Celtic Tiger RIP

The worlds press beams the news into the sky "Tiger dead!"

The Russians are here.

Foggy day in Dublin town.

Ouch that hurts me!

Well here I am sitting at home.

I had my car touched up and sprayed to get it ready for the annual testing it has to go through to be a taxi. Then I CLIPPED a pole which I have passed by a thousand times before without hitting it !

I am listening to a guy on the radio who was talking about his restaurant closing.
He had a "Rent upwards only" clause in his rental agreement, a common enough thing.
Which means that no matter how bad business is your rent must go up.
A guy on the radio who opened a restaurant in Ranelagh called Eden, he invested and started to build up his clientele, then the recession and a rent review came along with a hefty rent increase. No matter what he did he could never match the falling sales and rising rent. So he tried to talk to his landlord, who would hang up the phone on him. Then it went to court and he handed back the keys and broke the lease.
Today 3 years later the premises is standing empty with no rent coming in at all.
The landlord has obligations to the bank as well.

Everyone has to accept that things can't get better unless we talk, Kathleen Doyle the taxi regulator please take note.

A guy from Romania who has been working at property maintenance here for 10 years told me he was paying €1200 per month for a 3 bed house, he had painted the house inside and out while he was there. His landlady was going to put up his rent and he asked her to reduce the rent instead. She balked at the suggestion, even though he provided her with print outs of rents in the area. He told me that he had never missed a days rent and payed in time every month.
So he handed in notice and moved out. His new rent is €800 per month, a better house as well. His old landlady had to buy some new furniture, get the house painted and go advertising. She started off by looking for €1400, then she dropped the price.
When I spoke to him the house had been empty for 4 months and the rent was now set at €800.
So she had lost 4 months rent which she can never recover.

A couple with 2 good jobs married in the "Good old days" Each had their own house which they rented out and bought a new house to live in together.
So they looked around and bought a 4th house to rent out. Every year they geared up the mortgages based on the rising value of property. The loans were "Interest Only".

Then one fine day when the sun came up and the Bank of Scotland Ireland asked for a full valuation of their property portfolio. Guess what?
Negative equity !
So the bank said "Reduce your debts, sell one property" The property that they decided to sell they valued at €650,000 hoping to sell at €600,000. As time moved on the debts rose and as they dropped their price they began to see the extent of their problem. When the house was sold it went for €320,000. Now their property portfolio has halved in value, most of it purchased at the height of the boom. The bank, so willing to give money have now placed a repossession order on the family home.

One lady I met had a flat wheel on her BMW and I offered a help to change the wheel.
When I was finished I went to get baby wipes from the car.She then told me that the house we were in front of was hers and brought me in to clean my hands.
The house was bigger than Ozzy Osbournes and I said that I half expected to see him stagger through the door any minute.
"Things are not quite what they seem. We paid 1 1/2 million for this house, then we spent €400,000 on materials alone doing it up, my husband was a builder. Then when it is all finished my husband walked out leaving me and the 5 kids and a colossal debt. The bank of Ireland Scotland are going to evict us as soon as they can."

Her next sentence still amazes me.

"We are going on Holiday on Sunday, Can you bring us to the airport in your taxi?"

I declined she would need a bus for 6 passengers and luggage.

If you were about to loose my house would you go on holiday?
Me? I would sit down and talk with the bank instead.

A banker is a person who gives you an umbrella when the sun is shining, than takes it back when it starts to rain, remember that.

Grafton St has plenty of empty shops, If you want to be shocked go to Drougheda, the center of the town is boarded up, the St Lawrence shopping center is a monument to the folly of the "Celtic Tiger years" One unit after another empty.
You see one problem is that our taxes on goods are higher and we share a land border with the UK, thousands of people go shopping in Newry and other border towns.
Someone should say "Lets reduce VAT to the same UK level and get less tax from a bigger turnover instead of loosing it all to the Queen of England"!

One guy who is a printer told me that tax forms used to be printed by his company, then they found out that they were going to be printed in Northern Ireland where VAT was lower.
So what did they do?
Well, they opened up an office in Northern Ireland and exported to themselves, getting the taxi back on exported goods, then they put the lower UK tax on the goods and re-exported back to the republic. This "Saves" the pen pushers in the government thousands of Euro each time. "Wait a minute,All the tax goes to the UK exchequer, so how is of any benefit?" Said I. He said that people just look at the bottom line and that's it.

So what has all this to do with driving a taxi?
Well if you are afraid of loosing your job and you are finding it hard to pay your rent the last thing that you will do is hop into a taxi to celebrate and to go home again.
A 6 pack and a bottle of wine in the supermarket or a visit to the cinema is as far as the entertainment might go.

Many people who lost their jobs bought taxi plates as well which makes things much worse.

Now the 9 year rule is coming in things will get really tough, if the courts can't stop it.

A Lexus or a good Marc is good for 20 years if looked after.
If it passes the NCT and is road worthy that should be enough.
Anyhow no one is lending money to taxi drivers to buy new cars at present.

No really, there is a new reality amongst the Irish people.

Here are 3 things that you can do free.
Go to see the Turner water colours in the National gallery Merrion Square.
There is a traditional music festival ob in Temple bar.
And then you could always stay at home and...So you're single? Ah! go out so.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Having a lucky day?

Just while we are on the subject ofhow lucky can you be?
Sam in Sydney sent me this.

What s happening in Ireland?

Never ask an Irish man "What do you think of the economic crisis.

He might just tell you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Touring the world.

Don't move or the monkey gets it !

And what do you think of this big truck parked up in Arbour hill for a good few days?.
If you want to learn more click here.Six people inside ! touring the world.

Whats going on.
Going home on Friday a guy in a van stopped me.
"How do I get from here to the Mansion House in Dawson St?"
We were at Christchurch Cathedral and he knew none of the landmarks at all.
So I said if he wanted me to I would drive in front of him and bring him there.
He agreed and we set off Right down Werberg St down to Kevin St. across Cuffe St and on to St.Stephens Green where I stopped to be paid. "What do you mean? I have no money, I thought you were doing it out of the goodness of your heart".
No matter what I said I was not going to be paid.
He never would have made it himself as he was going to try and get through the bus lanes around College Green.
Well I must be stupid not playing hard ball with him, I hope he will not make me say to the next guy who hasn't a clue where he is going.
"Here's a map figure it out for yourself"
On the other hand, that is not me.
I should have called the Garda over from the department of foreign to affairs to arbitrate on my behalf. After all €6 and the time wasted is too much to loose without a fight.

So on the other hand I did have a victory. I was clamped!
No matter what I said to the private clamper became more belligerent and refused to budge.
After paying him €90 I went to the Garda with photographs a photocopy of the receipt and notes. Which included.
Private clamping company operating in a public place.
Company not registered in the companies office.
No VAT (tax) number on receipt.

After 2 weeks of no response I wrote to Dublin Corporation who informed me that their "Loading bay" is illegal and they have put them under notice to remove the said lines.
They also informed me that if I am not repaid my money I should prosecute them through the small claims court. In that case I would recover all relevant costs as well.

A second victory came to the taxi driver group who were bringing the taxi regulator to court in regard to the manner in which she is conducting her business.
It seems the courts think she has a case to answer and has 4 weeks to prepare for her day in court.

3 things that are great sours of anxt for me are.

If there are only so many fish in the sea you cannot keep issuing fishing permits.
If the ports are jammed with trawlers and people are being fined because they cannot find a berth, you have to reduce the numbers.

No matter what requests I make to her office I never get a reply that makes sense.

One guy who used to drive past the taxi rank at Heuston station and approach people coming out of the station door. I took a passing er off him one day and explained to her that she should be careful of people like him. His attack was pretty vicious, though verbal. Around an hour later I stopped him again where he threatened to kill me and burn my taxi with me in it!.

So I reported him to the regulator, then again, then on the 4th time she told me that he "Seems to know when the inspectors are coming and he goes away. But that I should report him to the garda myself"
Seems like a to me "I will not make an effort, you do for me and put yourself in danger"

My other BIG GRIPE is with regard to illegal drivers. There are advertisements in the evening paper "Taxi to rent" So a guy rents the taxi and he drives it away then his gang takes it in turn to drive it. They have one ID for them all.
No one knows who they are or where they came from.
Imagine getting into a taxi with an uninsured driver who doesn't know where he is or where he is going? When you add to that that he has never been vetted by the garda as well. Every week I hear horror stories about "illegals"
If the regulators officers appear at the station they just drive away. Why not place a Garda checkpoint around the corner? It is the drivers who pull off the rank you need to talk to, not the ones who remain on the rank.

So perhaps the courts might say she is not doing her job properly,who knows.

Though I think that incompetence is not against the law.

Perhaps I think I am becoming more like Larry David

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Major psycotic event

2 actors in costume wait to go into shot at Dublin Castle

A fine old Fiat 600

Father Jack

The empties arrive at Dublin port to be refilled.

Our Clontarf statue from Easter Island covered in snow

Well if there is a quota for them it would be good.

I got my first nutcase last week. I was coming down East Wall road heading for home when she hailed me. She was going to Smithfield all well and good,then she kicked off.

"Are they going to kill me? am I going to die?"
She was on the floor pulling out all the things in the pockets, then finding a map she hid under it. Nothing I could say would bring her back to reality,she just went on and on. We arrived in Smithfield and was asked to drive around the corner to Queen St. No she wouldn't get out, or would she ring her boyfriend.So I suggested that the Garda would protect her. We drove to the Bridewell garda station and parked on the footpath on Church St. No she wouldn't walk the 15 yards to the front door. So I rang 112, details exchanget there was €11 on the meter. We waited and as she became more agitated I became more agitated. Then with €15 on the meter I stopped a passer by and told him of my situation. He went into the Garda station, when he came back he was telling me they were on the way out. Then he noticed a Garda car coming out and he stopped it.They knew nothing of my plight but they came over.
There was a female Garda and she got in and started the negotiatons, I got out to be quizzed by her male associate.
The car had to be backed into the station Yard before she would get out.
As I drove away there was €21 on the meter,I was paid NOTHING.

She sat in the seat directly behind me where I couldn't see her, thank God she didn't have a knife or a gun.
Things could have been bad as you never know what might have taken place.

So if it is a quota I have done my bit for a few months.
At least I hope so.

I don't know if I relayed this one to you.
A Dublin woman gets into a taxi in Parnell St and asks to be brought to Saville Place.
The driver is going the wrong way all the time and in spite of numerous corrections brings her round the grand city tour.When they arrive there is €18 on the meter.
"Get off the stage" she says,"If you had come here directly the fare would have been €7 and that is all you're getting"
The taxi driver pulls her hand bag from her hands and starts going through it for his money.
So she gets out of the taxi (You have to love this) and walks to a white Transit van parked close by and bangs on the door. 3 armed Garda get out.
"That taxi driver has taken my handbag and he won't give it back"
Well the outcome was that all his documents were found to be forged, he was not a proper taxi driver at all, never tested, never vetted by the police either.

Well that is one less bogey one on the road.
There is one thing we do not need and that is that the public do not feel safe to use taxis at night.

Mickey Heart the trainer of the Tyrone football team and all the country went into deep shock when his daughter Michaela was murdered while on honeymoon in the paradise island of Mauritius.

She was buried the other day in her wedding dress,a sad sad day.
They sang that haunting beautiful song Caladonia at her funeral.

"Let me tell you that I love you
that I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me
now I'm going home"

Just as the thoughts of the evil deed were fading the news came that twin baby boys had been admitted to Cork university hospital with brain injuries one was then sent to Temple St hospital where he is critical.

There is a lot of evil around for sure, its up to you and me to do a little good.

"Herring days" are here. It is a London expression for when business is so bad that you can't afford to buy meat and you have to eat herrings all the time.
Still I am not going to complain, things are a lot worse in Haiti one year on for sure.

January in Dublin is the month for the Turner watercolours

Then there is "The Field" a play by John B Keane. In the leading roll in Brian Denahey, a good actor and a great play.

Coming soon is Stomp a rythim show not unlike the Blue Man group.

You ain't seen nothing.

Look up Swan Lake with the Bolshoi coming soon.

But as someone said "Once you have seen one Swan die it's enough"

How do you find this for dancing

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Camera is still lost

Come on! Someone must know these people!

I now wish I had a spent one day taking photos of the snow!
It really was fantastic.

Today I slept through my alarm at I woke at 9.30. The radio volume was turned off. If I over sleep I am like a cross bear all day long, I don't know why.
I don't get much chance to see TV. I used to sleep in front of Judge Judy, but not any more. There was a show on on Monday about John Heely author "the grass arena". He has had a difficult life to put it mildly. take a look here

I must be the luckiest guy in the world in one way, I get to meet people from all over the world. Today I net a young lady from Martinique. She had a beautiful warm Caribbean voice and I did not think much of the snow when I was listening to her, only to say how strange it must seem to see a Caribbean lady shivering at a bus stop in Dublin, When there is such beautiful weather in the West Indies.
Just by way of interest the island has 9 radio stations and I am listening to one of them now on my internet radio.
Ah the joy of modern science

Monday, January 10, 2011


Well I retyred!
Yes folks I got a new set of tyres from Tyre Land 114 a Boyne Rd Dublin industrial estate Glassnevin 01 8602020.
He has a selection of part worn tyres as well.

I got Winter grade ones.
They have a different composition, they remain more flexible in cold weather.
It is reported that at 60 MPH in wet weather at 5 degrees you can stop 5 meters shorter!
That could make a hell of a difference.

Who says the Germans have a bad sense of humour ?

Anastasia from Russia says they will make little difference in packed snow, but it is better than normal tyres. "You should get studded snow tyres" But it could be 20 years before this weather comes again.
When another taxi driver bought his new car from Japan he checked the boot to find 4 new snow tyres complete with rims. In Europe as well you must have winter tyres on your car or you will be taken off the road and you will be fined.

My car is in the body shop now to have all the dents and bumps over the last 6 months hammered out. I wish I could do the same for myself. I will go and get a haircut and look after other business for the next 2 days.

Talking to one of the other taxi drivers we have noticed that some taxi drivers have become very selective in who they bring. He cited a case of a woman waiting for the taxis to move up.When they did the taxi drove past her and picked up 3 people who were the next fare along.This is illegal but it happens more and more.
This was on St.Stephens day. The lady wondered why this had happened but my mate just shrugged his shoulders and said he could not have good luck behaving like that.
You get an initial charge plus €1 for each extra passenger.
So he had skipped her for €2 extra.
She was going to Crumlin children's hospital where one of her children was very ill. She had 7 kids and 2 were Downs Syndrome. She talked about how she has come to Dublin every day to see her,but had missed Christmas day because there was no trains. When they arrived there was €12 on the meter and she wanted him to take €15.
So he said "Fuck off missus! if I take any more than a tenner from you I will get the same bad luck as the other man who drove past you."

After he told me his tale we had a few minutes to reflect on how we don't count our blessings often enough.

I have told you before about "Acres of diamonds" You will have to Google it yourself.

Count your blessings not your troubles my friend.

A guy in Sandymount going to the airport, he works for the central bank. "Airport, toll bridge and tunnel".
This is the Rolls Royce way to go from there.
The bridge is €1.80 and the tunnel is €3 and you avoid I think, 27 sets of traffic lights.
Then for him it was Dublin- Frankfurt-Miami. Miami-Frankfurt-Dublin.
he worked for the Central Bank.
A small breif case."I hope it comes back full of money", what else could you say.

It is mad how little luggage people travel with.

I had the girl in my taxi who broke Joe Duffys leg while driving her car .
I nearly gave her a kiss. I hate that misery guts and he hates all taxi drivers.
(He is a radio presenter)

Well you do know what the human cannonball said to the ringmaster don't you?

Well he said "If you sack me you find it hard to find another person of the same callaber" Boom Boom

Dublin taxi drivers take a bow.

An Irish lady got into my taxi and told me she has spent the price of a house on taxis. In Dublin she said the drivers are so well clued in and polite that they are worth far more money than they charge. She is between jobs and he social welfare has just stopped.
So she will have to go back to America where she has worked for years.
I told her about the new skills fair coming here.
A project manager was her skill.

Funny thing about business cards. I had a guy in my taxi who was a film producer, we went to the same college as it turned out.
Well music in movies is a BIG thing.
"I would pay top dollar for a guy who could do a musical score for a movie for me"
We had been talking about "Cinema Paradise". Then his phone rang and he paid me.
He forgot to give me his card..The next guy in from Connelly station was a prof of music from Belfast!
Well there was a missed opportunity.
I bet you wern't expecting this.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Lost photos

I found out how to get out the card.
Ireland is a very small country, take a look.

Do you know any of the people ?

Tell them I have their camera.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Lost property

Today I brought my car to the panel beater.
We pulled ou out the insert which hides all the flotsum and jetsum which gathers there.

Well I found a small camera, its a good one.

Today I am going to take it to a camera shop to have it charged up. Then I will take a look at the photos.

If I can find you I will.

I hope you were not on honeymoon !
The carriage office in Dublin Castle is where you go for lost property.
The number used to be on the information card displayed in the taxi, its not there now.

Perhaps you can find it here

I have handed in loads of things which I found, I never got anything back which was unclaimed though.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A new day

Just to lift your spirits.

look if you can't do a thing well. At least enjoy doing it badly.

And there is always new blood coming up with that WOW factor

Now even I bought this girls CD, a real nice modest Liberties girl.
Look her up on YouTube, she has a great voice.

OK here she is singing.

This viral is the hit of the moment !

You do know how many of the Polish people have become part of the Irish fabric, well the "Irish business woman of the year" is a Polish girl Agata Stoinska. An architect she went into photography and she is really very good, look at her wedding photos.
Her architectural photographs are amazing too.

A fantastic website as well.

I met 2 photographers last week,neither had a card,one gave me her website address and it won't connect.

If you are in business for yourself CARRY YOUR BUSINESS CARD !

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Missing person serch scaled down

The poor girl who went missing before Christmas has still not been found.
The taxi driver who picked her up on that night has come forward, he was on holiday.
The taxi dropped her off on harbour rd. in Howth.

From what I hear there was a lot of negative things going on in her life.
The coded messages are coming through on the radio.
"No fowl play is suspected in the disappearance".
"Sub aqua divers are searching the harbour area"
Other stories about loosing her job etc.

So once again we loose a good person. Perhaps if we can learn something from it all.

A kind word, some encouragement, a quick call.

I once suffered from deep depression, I thought I had a bad flu. My doctor sent me to a psychiatrist who put me on Lithium, he said I had a chemical imbalance in my system. I feel fine all the time now. But who knows what is going on in other peoples lives.

Remember one factor in mental illness is that the person in not able to reach out to others for help.

Years ago I picked up a guy who topped himself just after getting out of my car.

An American guy, he had lost his job and had wandered off and became lost, I wasn't driving a taxi at the time, but he told me how he had been sacked from his job. All the advice I could offer was to talk to a solicitor as the actions seemed a bit over the top and there was no real procedure followed. Anyhow perhaps I should have brought him home for a cup of tea. But you can't turn the clock back.

Years later I approached the Samaritans with a plan to put business cards into every taxi, the driver could pop one into a clients hand if they felt the need.
Also there was stickers for the backs of cars.
The printed them in green and white, they were hard to read too. But few of the drivers took up the offer to carry them.

The bigger banners were a great idea, but asking the drivers to pay e30 to display was a bit off the wall.
Though for myself if it saves a life it is a small cost.

There is no easy solution to approaching mental health.

Much wiser people than you and me have tried to understand.

But be careful a kind word will never go amiss.

It is strange that a few days before Blathnaid went missing I gave out the same message.

Just to finish on a more up beat note.
There is a new jobs fair coming to Dublin. The idea is on up skilling and changing direction in your career. Go and take a look.