All posts by Gibson Square

June’s monthly musings

Cab News

I have a confession, as from this month I’ve become a bit of a fraud. Ever since CabbieBlog has been uploading missives, I’ve boasted about being a London cabbie. This month I surrendered my badge and bill, so I can’t claim that again. This has occurred due to health issues, the difficulty with London’s traffic, but mainly Sadiq Khan removing thousands of cabs from the fleet, resulting in an inability to find a vehicle when you want to work part-time.

What I’m Listening

For anyone who has dreamed of becoming a writer (see the last paragraph of this post) Ed Reardon’s Week, was first broadcast on Radio 4 and available to purchase, and is essential listening. Written semi-naturalistically in the style of a radio drama, it concerns the story of a curmudgeonly middle-aged writer described in the show’s publicity material as an ‘author, pipesmoker, consummate fare-dodger and master of the abusive email’. Victor Meldrew is mild-mannered by comparison.

What I’m Reading

Dr Amir Khan: The Doctor Will See You Now is a powerful story and a rare insider account of what goes on behind those surgery doors written during the Covid-19 crisis – hope and heartbreak and everything in between. I’ll never complain about the NHS again.

What I’m watching

During this Platinum Month, I’ve been immersing myself in our Queen’s Jubilee and watching Netflix’s The Crown. My earliest memory of the Coronation was being given a pen and pencil set both with matching crowns in my first year at primary school, it’s a pity I didn’t keep them.

What else

I was expecting my memoir Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion to have been published by now. Now delayed due to my Gmail account not always allowing me to contact eBook Versions who are formatting the manuscript. It’s been a long journey from 23rd October 2018 when I agreed to write my autobiography for PenguinRandom House.

Are we now facing the beginning of the end?

Just ahead of the end-game in New York, NYC yellow taxis are to be offered for hire under the Uber platform. After this surprising move to partner with New York’s finest, the ride-hailing app has struck similar deals in Spain, Germany, Austria, Turkey, South Korea, Hong Kong and Colombia.

Does anyone know what the rate will be if you ehail a taxi under the Uber platform?

Will they undercut the usual fare just to begin and when people get used to it, gradually raise the price?

So what happens to taxi fare rates when they are offered on Uber?

If they receive the Uber rate, will they simply start to respond only to Uber e-hails and will consumers realise they are way worse off?

The way they use surge pricing in London, you can bet your bottom dollar the customer will lose out.

What’s the purpose of a regulated meter and a historic licensing regime, if a third party booking can take you outside the regulations?

Is Uber’s Project Horizon coming to fruition? Make no mistake, this is the way we are being led by corporate greed, and it’s the way the trade is blindly going.

Uber would love taxis to join their platform because the industry would cede power to them. An ad hoc meter would be the logical next step to full deregulation.

Once the meter is undermined, then it’s game over, £70,000 cabs and cabbies might go the way of Victorian lamplighters.

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Museum of London

MUSEUM OF LONDON (n.) A repository of historic memorabilia soon to be much frequented by tourists doth startled to view horseless stagecoaches driven through its basement.

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon

London’s longest day

On today, the longest day of the year, a list of London’s longest:

Longest borough – Hillingdon (12 miles)
Longest postcode – CR0 (7.5 miles)
Longest dimension – M25 J14 to North Ockendon (36.5 miles)

Longest river – Thames (44 miles)
Longest canal – Grand Union (16 miles)
Longest flight of locks – 7 (Hanwell)
Longest canal tunnel – Islington (878m)

Longest bridge – Waterloo Bridge (370m)
Longest island – Brentford Ait (620m)
Longest reservoir – King George’s Reservoir (4 miles)

Longest runway – Heathrow 09L/27R (2.4 miles)
Longest flight – Heathrow to Perth (9009 miles)

Longest footpath – London Outer Orbital Path (150 miles)
Longest park – Richmond Park (2.7 miles)

Longest street – Green Lanes (7.5 miles)
Longest straight road – the A5 (Edgware Road) (10 miles)
Longest motorway – M25 (approx 117 miles)
Longest mews – Pavilion Road, SW1 (900m)

Longest streetname – Alfred’s Way (East Ham and Barking By-pass)
Longest ‘street’ name – St Martin-in-the-Fields Church Path
Longest one word streetname – Straightsmouth

Longest Underground line – Central line (West Ruislip → Epping, 34.1 miles)
Longest Underground journey – Uxbridge → Cockfosters (32 miles)
Longest Night Tube journey – Heathrow T5 → Cockfosters (29 miles)
Longest non-stop tube journey – Finchley Road → Harrow-on-the-Hill (7.2 miles)
Longest non-stop rail journey – Paddington → Heathrow (14.5 miles)

Longest tunnel – Thames Water Ring Main (50 miles)
Longest Underground tunnel – East Finchley → Morden (via Bank) (17.3 miles)
Longest rail tunnel – Stratford → Dagenham (6.5 miles)
Longest road tunnel – Limehouse Link (1.1 miles)
Longest foot tunnel – Woolwich (504m)

Longest station name – Caledonian Road and Barnsbury
Longest tube station name – High Street Kensington
Longest non-TfL station name – West Hampstead Thameslink
Longest one-word station names – Knightsbridge/Woodmansterne

Longest tube escalator – Angel (61m)
Longest escalator – Heathrow Terminal 5

Longest bus route – X26 (Heathrow → Croydon, 24.1 miles)
Longest nightbus route – N199 (St Mary Cray → Charing Cross, 22.1 miles)
Longest bus stop name – Loxford School Of Science and Technology

Longest-running play – The Mousetrap (since 6 October 1952)
Longest-running musical – Les Misérables (since 28 September 1985)
Longest market charter – Barking (since 1175)

Longest-serving MP – Harriet Harman (since 28 October 1982)
Longest-serving male MP – Jeremy Corbyn (since 9 June 1983)

Longest drought – 73 days (Mile End, spring 1893)
Longest period of continuous rain – 59 hours (13-15 June 1903)

All data courtesy from Diamond Geezer who assumes several of these are wrong; and if they’re wrong factually than pedantically.

Previously Posted: Happy Birthday Gordon

For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.

Happy Birthday Gordon (19.06.09)

On Monday 15 March 1909 Selfridges Department Store celebrated its centenary. Here is the story of its founder taken from CabbieBlog’s Hidden London.

Gordon Selfridge the American department store magnet was an interesting fellow who provides a salutary moral lesson for us all. He devoted his productive years to building Selfridges into Europe’s finest shopping emporium. During that time he led a life of stern rectitude, early bedtimes and tireless work. But in 1918 his wife died and the sudden release from marital bounds rather went to his head. He took up with a pair of Hungarian-American cuties known in music-hall circles as the Dolly Sisters, and he fell into rakish ways. With a Dolly on each arm, he dined out every night, invested foolish sums on racehorses, cars, the casinos and even bought a castle in Dorset. In ten years he had spent $8 million, lost control of his department store, his racehorses, Rolls Royces and his castle. He ended up living in a small flat in Putney and travelling everywhere by bus. He died penniless and forgotten in 1947, with a smile on his face thinking of the time he had shagged the twin sisters.