Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where did the big wheel go ?

On my sons fridge 2 bunny rabbits. Salt grinder and pepper mill

St Pauls cathedral at dusk.

This is the site of William Shakespears house! Ireland Yard, so he is Irish

Count down until the olympics in London

Ship in a bottle at Trafagar Square

Well here we are !
The Christmas tree in O'Connell St. is on and everywhere is Christmas.
In 4 weeks it will all be over.

But on Sunday they took away the big wheel.
It was erected in the wrong place from the beginning, very few visitors came to it.
That girl who fell from one of the pods and was killed didn't help matters either.

Those who rode on it just got a view of the docks, it is a pity it was not put up in St.Stephens Green from the start.

The taxi driver who was killed last week was buried yesterday, there will be very little of the Christmas spirit in that household for a long time to come.

In reality any driver who goes out to pick up total strangers and allows them to sit behind him in the dark has to be a bit crazy.

There but for the grace of God go any of us.

Things are warming up for an interesting Christmas for sure.
The budget will tax the poor, who can't pay.
They reckon that a hike in VAT is the answer !
All roads lead to Newry.
(which is in the UK)
If you are trying to get out of a hole you have to stop digging.

I am working on a piece about a politician,watch this spsce. Its really good.

More of that in a few days.

Now perhaps you will understand what will happen to that lady who gave out to me last week.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A piece of stone ?

What a varied and different day.
By that I mean that no one moment was the same as the next and the contrast between situations were so so strange.
I started on the Clontarf road where I picked up one of my favorite regulars.
Today as it turned out she wanted to go by bus as she had no money.
Well this may be end of our friendship as I told her she could pay me another day.
She is Polish and has the most wonderful laugh. If you make her laugh on her journey it creates ripples in your very soul, these ripples make me happy all day long.
I dropped her off and headed for Sandymount then back into town, from there to Heuston station. The station has become so bad that you cannot get on to the rank most times.
So I got on and picked up a lady in obvious pain. Walking with the help of a stick, she got in and we headed off for Vincents hospital.
She had a morphine pump to eases the pain in her back and with the drugs she is on she has put on 7 stone. Now she was not at all complaining of her condition.
Her mother and father are living with her family, her father has Alzheimer's and is difficult (to say the least)He jumps through decades all the time. Her mother had a bad fall so is in hospital for respite care and she put her father into a nursing home while she is going up and down to Dublin hospitals. Problem with her father is that the carers don't know what to do and keep asking her to come over and give them a hand. The people in the nursing home are supposed to be the professionals after all. This wonderful lady never complained about herself once during the journey, though she was in a lot of pain.
She told me that she had a thriving business selling bridal wear, but as she was ill she had to give it up. "I have a big storeroom full of the most beautiful Spanish wedding dresses, I don't know if I can ever get rid of them."
At the end of the line it was €14.20 I said €14. "Here keep the change"When I looked she had given me a €10 and two €5s. Look you have given me €20 take back the €5.

No keep it and thank you.

Bits and bobs later I had to visit Mabel my 101 3/4 year old friend, she is dying and wanted to talk to me about her affairs. Where she wants her ashes to go etc.
I told her a few tall yarns and we had a few jokes together.
"Mabel I will miss you but you have had such a full and long life that I will be happy to see yo go to meet Jack and your daughter Barbra again". She is a very romantic person and says good night to him every night, though he is gone for more than 30 years.

Later on that day I picked up a lady going to Blackrock. As we crossed the bridge going on to Northumberland Rd. A bus in front of me stopped short, which meant that my back wheels were on the pedestrian crossing. A young enough lady banged on the window and abused me. It went on for a while, my passenger was shocked by her bad behavior. I suppose you don't thing of the right thing to say at the time. But, I had just spent 2 hours with a dying friend. People do snap sometimes, she should be more careful.

What did I say to my passenger?

"Did you ever read a book called the secret?"

She had.

"Then you will know that she is attracting all kinds of negative shit upon herself?"

God I really don't know what happened after that, I started getting one fare after another for the next 2 hours.
I didn't get home until around 9pm.

but I am up at 4am for an airport run!

Now for a bit of trivia.

The first photo is of the archway at the top of the Mall in London, Buckingham palace behind you.

The second is of a piece of stone which protrudes from the right hand side of the left archway.

OK boys and girls what is its significance?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ron McMillans 40th

At this time of year we remember the magician Ron McMillan.
His son runs the magic shop on Clerkenwell Rd.
The convention is held at the Mermaid theater at Puddle dock.
Georgina and Martin and the Mother are the nicest people you could ever meet.

A great line up, a wonderful city.
Great to see my oldest son as well.

They kept that take in instead of cutting it and put it on the show, every time there is a blooper show it has been repeated. The royalty checks keep coming in.
One of the greatest highlights was to be there on the night when Murray met David again after 20 years.
Murray even brought his jumper that he wore on that day...

There is a lot more to life than driving a taxi you know.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On this day 1963

Yuri Gagarin
a statue in London

Another time.

Another place
I just had to remember that on this day the world was shocked by the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
We are as wise today as to what the exact circumstances were as we were back in 1963.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Occupy the streets London

Soon every crackpot in the England will come to St.Pauls to protest.
The problem is that there are so many oddballs there it is hard to take it seriously.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Where has all the money gone ?

Well it has come to pass that the police broke up the "Occupy Wall Street" protest.
It is also in London and In Dame street Dublin

There you have it again the might of the state oppressing legitimate concerns.
I remember the well fed white cops beating black people in America to deny them the vote and the troops shooting people in the towhships of South Africa, its time to stand up for ourselves.

So I am off to the bright lights of London until Tuesday.

Look after yourselves.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meeting new friends

The biggest chess set in Dublin is Google HQ on Barrow St.

Oh what a beautiful morning !

Superman on a wall beside Crosby's house, there is a vacant room where U2 like to practice.

In LA this means you are near a crack house.

Sam Beckett bridge a Mecca for photographers.

After "Where are you going?" the next question is often "What country do you come from?" A very exotic lady I spoke with the other day, very beautiful. She was Kurdish. A much persecuted people, a race who do not have to seek their troubles.
Still we had a great laugh and she told me that it was the best trip she ever had in a taxi in her life. The pleasure was mutual believe me.

Here is an example of what I mean when I say she had a certain Exotic look.

Today I picked up a lady from Ethiopia she was a leaving cert student in Crumlin. Soon we were like old pals chatting away. Another country where evil stalks the land. War is a constant thing, famine follows through the region all the time.
Her father was killed in the war of 99, her mother never remarried, his second wife who was younger married again. But before she remarried she gave her baby brother to her first husbands maiden sister to bring up the child.
This leaving cert student saves $25 every week to support her aunt and 1/2 brother.
Every month she sends $100 to them.
The Arabs have a great love for charity, they give away 10% of their income to help people less fortunate than themselves.
As you know Allah will reward you by giving you greater blessings.

But the world is changing and mankind has started to worship money and power instead of God.
"A cup of tea and a biscuit will taste the same in the Sheraton hotel as it will in your own house, but think of the difference in cost" she declared.

I was very glad to have bumped into both of them in my journey around our fair city.

Google is hosting a big meeting at the conference center today and yesterday.
It is mostly facebook people. The first guy I picked up wouldn't even tell me what it was all about. The next guy asked me what I thought of Facebook ?.
"It's all hype, nothing more"
Although he works for them he was inclined to agree.
Ebay for example is providing a service to buy and sell, money changes hands.
Even the advertising that is hosted on Youtube and Facebook sites, I don't think it is so very effective.

Companies need to work on their customer service and look after existing customers.
In recent times I have found that I am far from happy after calling to a bank or utility company.

Like taxi drivers, if you don't work on your ability to communicate with your passingers they won't be taking your number and calling you up sometime.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wrong way

Woolly hats for sale on O'Connell Bridge

This is the better view to the right of the other photo from the last posting

Englishmen arrive for a Stag do.

Guttering emerges from a forming machine in the back of the truck.

A poor Injuin out in the wind

One thing about driving a taxi that is very annoying is when your passenger says "Driver,why are you going this way? I have never been brought this way in my life! I know the way to go. You are going the wrong way."
The problem is that there is no right way to handle it.
And so it came to pass it happened to me yet again!
She got in near Zhivago's at the bottom of Parnell St.
She was going to a clinic on Westbrook Ranelagh.
If she had stopped me 20 yards further back I could have gone up Capel St.
After a few hundred meters it started.
"Why are you going this way?
I know the way, I have never been brought this way before.
I am late and now you are making me very late."

Today I would stop the car and ask her to direct me to go in whichever direction she wanted me to go or get out and go in another taxi,yet you try to remain calm.

She was still pretty frantic as we went up Charlemont St., so I stopped the meter at €10, in spite of this she was insisting that she had never paid more than €8 for that journey !
There must be a formula for dealing with this ?

Once late at night I had a young girl did direct me,left, right and straight ahead until we reached her house. I laughed to myself because we had followed her bus route exactly, in and out of housing estates etc.
But I do know the feeling when the taxi driver starts taking the scenic route.

My most favorite recollection of just such an incident happened at the Conrad Hilton on Earlsfort Terrace many years ago.
I had stopped at the rank on a Sunday morning.
A car pulled up beside me and asked me for directions to Baggott St. As I was showing her the way the concierge started blowing his whistle.
I drove forward and he put the bag in the boot.
The man and woman got in.
"Airport" (No please or thank you.)
I told them that they were making a movie around the corner with 1920s cars and buses, so I drove them past Fitzwilliam Sq to see the sight.
As I got closer to the square the "lady" leaned over.
"Driver were not fucking stupid, you're going the wrong way"
I told her that I would follow any route she wished but to get to this point where we were I would have to go the wrong way down 2 one way streets.

Now in fact what I might have done was to stop and tell them that they have to get another taxi.

"You are telling me I am a dishonest person so we must part company"

I drove on anyhow and turned on the radio.
They were having a row, it was like the rumbling of a cement mixer going on all the time.
When we got to the airport I knew there would be no tip in in for me.
As I handed him his change and suitcase I said.
"I hope you are in time for your flight?.
The change of hour really fucked up my day"
"Whats you fucking talking about?" says he
"The clocks, they went forward last night, its Summer time"

As reality sank in the expression on his face changed from rage to horror in slow motion.

So you see what happens if you don't moderate your behavior.

Shit happens !

I did tell an actor once that he had too high an opinion of himself if he thought I would drive him around just to get a few extra pence, what I want is to be rid of you as quickly as I can and get on to the next job.

Strange thing happened I met the girl with the flat battery again yesterday, this time she was off to see her sisters new baby.

Today we are having the most beautiful morning ever.

This is the one I was looking for

Monday, November 07, 2011

First frost

View of the city from behind the Casino in Marino

Autumn frost in Fairview park

Elephants and Buddhas adorn a Dublin taxi

I reckon the person who never made a mistake never made anything.
On Sunday I did make a mistake !
A young girl going to Cappah to a boarding school.
We arrived in Cappah and she did not know where the school was. So in cases of difficulty you phone a friend...No good either. So we went into Cappah hospital and she suggested that it was in Cabra, just after you cross the railway line on the right hand side. Sorry to say I was still wrong, so I phoned another friend who suggested it was on the Navan Rd. When we went around the corner she knew where it was and directed me directly to it.
She was deaf and was lip reading as we went, to help her I had the light on in the car.
I would say she was 16 or so, a bubbly bright girl.
She told me she had 5 sisters and 3 brothers, so he came from a big family
So look in the mirror and say Cabra then say Cappa (as it is pronounced). There is hardly any difference.
So I had turned off the meter in Cappah and drove back and charged her €15
I did ask her to write it out on a piece of paper for the next time.
"St. Marys school, Navan Rd, after the Garda station and before the church on the right hand side, through the arch"
Evelyn Glennie the Scottish percussionist is deaf also, she feels the vibrations through her body, just like my girl does.
The joys of Youtube...

Some of us never even try to reach our full potential others excel in their endevor

I have replaced the battery in my car and my wife's car this week.
I think it is the frost that makes the weak batteries give up the ghost, but they have come down a lot in price over the years.

So it was no surprise that my first fare of the day was a schoolteacher who's car would not start.
Artaine motor factors carry a good range of batteries on the North side of the city and in Bond St behind Guinness Garry in the Harbor radiators will see you right.

The first frosty morning I saw 3 cars rear end each other 2 were new cars, a Volvo and an Opel brand new and shunted.
First frost can catch you out, like rain after a dry spell makes the road slippery you must take care.
Still it is nothing like that multi vehicle pile up in England last week.
One of my passengers told me that he has to go to New York on business once a month, then he hires a car and drives down the freeway for 6 hours. Bored out of his mind just sitting there while the car goes at 80 mph in 5 or 6 lanes going each way.

Poor old St Christopher has his hands full keeping us all safe.

What about the poor old taxi drivers in Australia ?,

Paste this to your browser.

Thank you Sam for that.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Checkout operator

The wall has moved out by 4 inches, I thought that the trees might have pushed the wall out. The engineer I spoke to thought that it is roots of the trees that is holding the wall up.

Its mustache month !

You see! Jack L was on
Such is life, the ebb and flow of people coming and going in Ireland.
So many Polish and Latvian have gone home.
Today I had an Italian guy going to UPS to send his luggage home. He is heading to Italy and then to Barcelona to do his PHD, I suppose I will all have to call him doctor the next time we meet.
I have become something different after driving a taxi, I greet and talk to people without any inhibition. The staff in Aldi and Lidl for example. When you learn something about a stranger sometimes it leads you to a new startling discovery.

In Aldi on 4 occasions now something strange has happened.
I would greet my usual girls and ask them how they were going on etc.
Then as I approach the checkout one of them might say, "go to checkout number 6"
She would then open the checkout, serve me and close it when I am finished.
They tell me that I am one of the few people who talk to them !
I ask you !
What have we become when we don't talk to checkout staff ?

I have spoken to the most spectacular people working at the most menial jobs.

These people are often really well educated intelligent people. Just because the are on a checkout doesn't make them a lesser person.
Anyhow 3 of my checkout girls are moving on. I appreciate that they came to me to say goodbye. Perhaps we will stumble across each other again in a far flung land.

I was saddened when one of my serving Lady's told me she was going home and wanted me to collect her and bring her to the airport.
It is fantastic that once again she will be back with her people, though perhaps I feel sometimes like I am loosing a friend and a missed opportunity to learn more about their country.

A pal of mine once put this perception of what you are in others eyes.
"Are you mad buying a taxi? People will now look at you when they hear what you do for a living like the way they look at a piece of dogs shit that is stuck on their shoe. " Some did, some of them were bankers, now they know how I felt.

I have just noticed that I am like a boat with a broken rudder, drifting here and there. A ship with no destination, no star to follow, no destination in my sights.

Now that in itself is not a really bad thing BUT I should put a plan in place for the future.
Set my sights and get a plan in place for my life.

Perhaps I need a life coach.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Marathon over

A seasonal portrait at Nixons studio on Clontarf rd

A marathon runner looking dejected. Like a turkey looking for a warm oven

Halloween has come and gone, I am sorry but I can't stick a camera into peoples faces and take photographs. But some of the costumes were great.

The marathon on Monday kept things alive.
One comment from an English couple was that it was not well organised.
There was NO water at the 1/2 way stage and the wait to get their goody bags and clothes took forever. To cap it all they only had small size tee shirts.
The water thing is crucial and a very serious error.
I told them to fill a hot bath with Radox bath salts and get in together, it would do them good and they would enjoy it.
"Seems like a good plan"

A taxi driver frend put it well.
"They only look after the elite runners, but without the thousands who have paid €70 per head there would be no prize money at all for the big runners."

The Schools are on holiday and this morning I drove for more than 15 miles and got one fare of €7.50. It would be very tough if you had outstanding loans and kids to feed for sure.
I had to come home to meet a drain guy. A high pressure drain clearer on a truck.
With the covers lifted the jetting of high water pressure water began. A substance like oil came out at first then with the sheer pressure the liquid burst throught the concrete the surface.
"Broken pipe! Dig there, so there I will dig.
When I was hosing everything down I saw where an earlier attempt had been made to do repairs at that same spot.
If I was to get in a company to do what I will be doing tomorrow it would cost around €2,500. With the money I am making at present my Christmas money would be gone.
I guess most trades have gone underground at present, "Sorry I don't do receipts", or it will be 40% dearer if it goes through the books.

To be quite honest if I did all the work that needs doing around the house I would not drive the taxi until the new year, on the other hand I am by far the best and cheapest person to do this work.

There is a bit of scouring at the foundations of a railway bridge on the Dodder which is effecting the Dart service. But with the holidays it is making little difference for the taxi trade.

There is loads of things going on. Jack L was in concert. He has a powerful voice and a great drummer in his band. His drummer was in my car twice, the second time he remembered me, he tips well too.

Very few taxi drivers would agree with the sentiments expressed in that song.
Its great when someone new comes along and you find them before they become too famous, when tickets become expensive and hard to get.
Their act might become careless as well.

Just one other thing as Colombo might say.

Listen to the drumming on this song. Good ?