Spam Update

Beetley Pete recently posted about the spike in spam he was experiencing, so I thought I could update you on the recent missives from those algorithms who have been kind enough to post a comment on CabbieBlog.

Maggie Thomas who revels in the name ‘Homepage’ was complimentary stating:

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The curiously christened ‘Read This’ found me on Bing and took the time to thank me:

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Robbin Macker commented on London Trivia: The Sun hits the streets, and quite what the comment has to do with the launch of a red top tabloid, I’ve no idea:

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I had considered stopping CabbieBlog but Alda Frankiewicz gave me more encouragement, and so I think I’ll now change my mind:

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Ted Noordam wasn’t certain at first, but changed his mind towards the end of his comment:

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Brett Bonadona found some interesting information I had written about beaver hats on my post-Beavering Away:

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My tongue-in-cheek page The Bad encouraged Kendal Myklebust to discuss swimming pools:

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McKenzie Wilson seemed pretty forthright in his offer:

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‘Backlinks’, ‘dofollow’ and ‘seo service’ must be good friends as they all managed to send the same comment:

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‘Backlinks’ managed to find a plethora of information from a short pithy quote by Richard Gordon on my London in Quotations:

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‘Seo service’ just couldn’t get enough of my missives and found much in my monthly quiz to way lyrical about:

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Wow! The useless posts here is rampant. How can you keep up with each one of these opinions?

So there you have it for another year, my thanks to all those nearly 60,000 of you who have been blocked, but keep trying one day Akismet will not stop your compliments find their way into my comments box.


London in Quotations: William Wordsworth

Private courts, / Gloomy as coffins, and unsightly lanes / Thrilled by some female vendor’s scream, belike / The very shrillest of all London cries, / May then entangle our impatient steps; / Conducted through those labyrinths, unawares, / To privileged regions and inviolate, / Where from their airy lodges studious lawyers / Look out on waters, walks, and gardens green.

William Wordsworth (1779-1850), The Prelude

London Trivia: Burned for heresy

On 27 June 1556 over 20,000 people watched the burning at stake of eleven Protestant men and women for heresy, they had a memorial erected to them at St John’s church, Stratford, in 1879.

On 27 June 1967 actor Reg Varney ‘On the Buses’, unveiled the world’s first automated Teller Machine (ATM) at Barclay’s Bank, Enfield

The Old Bailey’s Blind Justice roof statue is unusual in not having a blindfold. Her impartiality is said to be shown by her ‘maidenly form’

In Gough Square off Fleet Street is a statue of Hodge, the pet cat of Dr Samuel Johnson, writer and lexicographer who lived nearby

A macabre statistic is that the most popular suicide time on London’s Underground is around eleven in the morning

Greek Street is named after mass of Greek Christians who arrived in London around 1670 after being persecuted under Ottoman rule

The nude cover shot for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1968 album ‘Two Virgins’ was taken at their flat at 38 Montagu Square

The Prospect of Whitby pub dates from 1520 and is named after ‘The Prospect’ a Whitby registered coal boat moored there in the 18th century

Tim Berners-Lee appeared in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony – a clueless US TV commentator suggested viewers Google him

The station with the most platforms is Baker Street with 10 (Moorgate also has 10 platforms but only six are used by Tube trains)

Harry Beck produced the well known Tube map diagram while working as an engineering draughtsman at the London Underground Signals Office. He was reportedly paid 10 guineas (£10.50) for his efforts

Colehearne Court in Brompton Road was Princess Diana’s home in the early 1980’s when she charged two flatmates £18 a week rent

CabbieBlog-cab.gifTrivial Matter: London in 140 characters is taken from the daily Twitter feed @cabbieblog.
A guide to the symbols used here and source material can be found on the Trivial Matter page.

The World’s Longest Taxi Ride

Last weekend it was the longest day, I had anticipated writing a post about London’s ‘longest’. You know the sort of thing: London’s longest one-word street name – Straightsmouth; London’s longest-serving male MP – Jeremy Corbyn (since 9 June 1983); London’s longest drought – 73 days (Mile End, spring 1893); London’s longest period of continuous rain – 59 hours (13-15 June 1903).

That was until a request from Adelaide arrived in my inbox

A competition was held in London and Sydney to select a cabbie from each country, with a new Fairway cab donated by Manganese Bronze with the aim of raising money for children’s charities by driving from London to Sydney. Guy Smith was selected in London and Kanelli Tsiros selected in Sydney.

Guy Smith

On 27th October 1988 London cabbie, Guy Smith and Kanelli Tsiros arrived outside the Sydney Opera House after completing a 14,148-mile journey which had started outside Buckingham Palace on 19th August.

Driving a black cab (with two meters running, one calibrated for London cabs, the other calibrated for Sydney’s cabs ) they travelled through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore before crossing into Australia.

The 69-day odyssey titled the Canon Great Taxi Ride propelled them into the record books, the pair had been visited by Prime Ministers, seen the Taj Mahal and had 59-year-old Guy claiming to have had half an elephant as a passenger, which sounds a fair description of some of my customers.

The whole trip was the brainchild of John Morgan, a Welshman living in Sydney. He first had the idea in 1968 while watching the London to Sydney marathon cars leaving the UK. He had to wait until 1987/8 to make it happen. The journey had been timed to coincide with Australia’s bicentenary, it was at the time, the longest and most expensive London cab ride in history, having raised AS$320,000 for children’s charities, with the sponsors having to guess the final metered fare.

The cab is still in Australia (clearly Guy had no intention of driving home after the job) and although the trek was recorded on celluloid at the time, plans are now for a new film to be made to feature at Australia’s National Motor Museum.

The purpose of the email was to try and contact Guy Smith or anyone with knowledge of his achievement, so if anyone can shine a light on this journey over 30 years ago, please contact me.

And the final fare? A$53,346, with the London final price,  double the Aussie amount!

©All images courtesy of Mike Bennett who is working on a plan to put the cab and the film of the journey on display in the Australian National Motor Museum.


Smeed’s Law is maintained

With a name like Reuben Jacob Smeed, one could be forgiven for thinking that he was a character in a Dicken’s novel. In fact, Professor Smeed devised a formula that advanced a theory, much derided at the time, of how London’s traffic would always travel at nine miles per hour.

Using the formula Smeed’s Law calculates that when traffic speed falls below this magical number of nine, drivers’ patience evaporates and alternative modes of transport are sought.

It was Smeed we can now blame for the Congestion Charge when he chaired a committee which recommended road pricing in 1964, finally introduced in London in 2003 when average speeds in the capital rose from 8.7mph to a blistering 11mph, but only for a short duration before it declined to its optimum nine miles per hour.

Now for over 50 years, his theory has stood the test of time, with pre-pandemic average speeds of 7mph with drivers wasting an average of 227 hours a year stuck in traffic, with the A406 from Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane, part of the North Circular, topping the list as the most congested road in the UK, with the average driver spending 61 hours a year stuck in traffic.

The pandemic lock-down speeds in London increased, but not for long. Ensuring Smeed’s Law could still be valid, Sadiq Khan’s cycle lanes have worked wonders at bringing down average speeds to the optimum of none mile per hour.