🚓 What Cab News
Bilking, a funny name, for a not-so-amusing practice of running away without paying the fare. Website Taxi Point has collected bilkers who got their comeuppance. Alan Clark said: Had a lad run off, vaulted a 2ft wall and disappeared, he didn’t know it was about 20ft drop on the other side. Cabbie Jason Lake had a guy run on an £8 fare, he picked him up 16+ years later and told him. In all fairness, he paid me £20 plus the fare on the day. I asked ‘what’s the £20 for?… he said interest! Adrian Roberts had a similar scenario: I had a lad who paid me £20 upfront for an £8 fare but paid me as I started driving and said sort the change when we get there. We got to his house and he legged it shouting I’ve got no money!
🎧 What I’m Listening
For years I’ve been trying to get Suggs to submit a London Grill, but it looks like I’m going to have to satisfy myself with his Love Letters to London on BBC Sounds where he shares his fondest memories of the city with his unique wit, charm and musical highlights from his career, celebrating of what it means to be a true ‘Londoner’.
📖 What I’m Reading
Diamond Street: The Hidden World of Hatton Garden by Rachel Liechtenstein. For six years as an apprentice I worked a stone’s throw from this iconic street, home to diamond workshops, underground vaults, monastic dynasties, subterranean rivers and forgotten palaces, and before reading this book little did I realise what went on behind those unexceptional doors.
📺 What I’m watching
Passport to Freedom. Aracy de Carvalho was a young clerk at the Hamburg Brazilian Consulate. For two years during World War II she secretly issued passports to Jews without the dreaded “J” stamp, which not only wouldn’t allow them to travel but doomed them to the horrors of concentration camps. When newly appointed diplomat, João Guimarães Rosa, arrives the two fall madly in love. Loosely based on a true story, the parallel with today’s Ukraine is obvious. Why the BBC didn’t screen it not so plain, leaving its transmission to the niche Drama Channel. Aracy would later be honoured by the Yad Vashem with the Righteous Among the Nations Award. João would be known as the greatest Brazilian writer of the twentieth century.
❓ What else
One of my earliest memories is of my first year of primary school being given a ‘Coronation’ pen set. The pen’s bodies were deep red with a huge crown on their top. The trouble, in those pre-plastic times, was these heavy metal adornments ruined the balance of the writing implement. Today if I’d have found the now lost pen it could have been used to write in Her Majesty’s book of condolence, that’s if the ink hadn’t dried up and Her Majesty’s crown could be removed from the pen’s top.