Driving down Marylebone Road with its 6 lane dual carriageway at 28mph (honest officer) having just passed Baker Street Station, some idiot runs across the road and he has to swerve to avoid me. There were at least 30 people by the pedestrian crossing waiting for the lights. He just couldn’t wait his turn, must have a death wish.
Tesco the ubiquitous retailer has its shops in almost every location. Take the one in Covent Garden it has because its loading bay in a road so small I defy most cabbies to be able to locate New Row. To stock, their store Tesco despatch an articulated lorry the size of a small house, its driver just about managing to manoeuvre his vehicle into the tight space. If that wasn’t enough the geniuses in charge of logistics send their lorry at the height of the evening’s theatre-going public arriving, so the driver has to contend with negotiating the vehicle as hundreds of people try to squeeze past and then try vainly to get into Strand past dozens of parked cars.
There are two places in the world where men can most effectively disappear — the city of London and the South Seas.
Herman Melville (1819-1891), The South Seas
The beginning of the year is known as The Kipper Season for reasons that have been lost in the mists of time. Traditionally it is one of the quietest times in London for the cab trade, so with a frustrating time trying to earn living cabbies can tend to be, shall we say, a little tetchy.
Yes, I know the inside of a cab is spacious, but seeing a passenger moving from seat to seat is extremely distracting when negotiating heavy traffic or travelling down a motorway.
McDonald’s go to extraordinary lengths to protect their corporate colours – they are red and yellow in case you haven’t noticed – a cab is black they shouldn’t be confused. Eat in McD’s not in a cab.
It is said the perfect dinner guest avoids religion and politics when engaging in conversion. This is the polar opposite to the perfect punter in a London cab. The merest hint on either of these subjects could unleash a torrent of polemic from the guy up front – discuss at your peril.
One of the greatest inventions towards the end of the last century was the mobile phone. It’s not a novelty anymore. Don’t use it while trying to instruct the cabbie as to your destination or making payment.
And speaking of tendering payment, wait until the vehicle has stopped before thrusting the readies through the partition.
It is not the walls that make the city, but the people who live within them. The walls of London may be battered, but the spirit of the Londoner stands resolute and undismayed.
King George VI (1895-1952)