Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sir Arnold Clark RIP

Its time to take out the lawn mower !

Looks like a prison "Pyro Villas" a terrace of houses behind other houses on Cork St.

Like a gateway to Heaven


Paul Mathew found a niche market. He moves theater acts around Ireland and England.

A few months ago the porter from the Marker hotel called me over.
A stout gent jumped in and introduced himself and we started to chat.
He had been given an award as the top car salesman in Britain and as the conversation went on he told me he had 200 garages. There was a very intense conversation about how this could be managed.

"All my staff are motivated and trained every few months, my staff talk to each other and each one knows what is expected of them"

He popped up again in the paper today, he had died last month.

Sir Arnold Clark no less.

Last year his 200 garages sold 250,000 cars he has crash repair centers and he employed 10,000 staff.

He had a great laugh when I told him how the Irish car salespeople treat prospective clients.
"Not in my world son, no way"

The were going to Brown Thomas and we talked between ourselves while his 2 sons and daughter in law chatted in the back. The meter read €10.10 when we arrived and while he was getting out I pointed his family towards Louis Copelands shop.
"Before you go into brown Thomas take a look in there. all good quality clothes at a better price, with no snobbery" I said.
They turned to go and Arnold came over with 2 €10 notes.
€10 is enough I said
"and a €10 tip"
We shook hands and said thank you and off we went.

Click here for more

I told an American about him once and he told me .
In the States we have a saying,
"First you buy the man, then you buy the car"
You have to believe in the person you are dealing with.

You would really like to deal with him for sure.

So on Friday a 16 bus swung out of Ballymun Ave past a bus stop leaving 3 people standing there.
I pulled over and asked the one who had his hand out to jump in and I would put him on that bus.
At the next stop he was slow jumping out so I raced him to the next stop pulling in in front of the bus blocking it and my passenger got out and on to the bus,as the bus moved alongside me I got dogs abuse from the driver.
"I have a camera and you will hear from the Garda bud"
"So have I bud"
There are assholes all over the world.
On my own road around 7 years ago the bus driver slammed the doors shut as an ex bus driver was getting on.
The poor mans leg was inside the bus as it drove off in spite of his other passengers shouting he didn't stop until he reached the next stop.
The guy died as a result of his injuries.

So boys and girls drive away slowly, coats and scarves get caught in doors.


Monday, April 17, 2017

A morning sprinter ...


A proper Chinese meal. Happy birthday Judy

A giraffe display in a store

A hotly disputed clamp with 3 sides arguing

Pints settle down in the local...No rush.

Easter is a time to go away so on Sunday morning the streets were very quiet.
I pulled into a well known hotel and waited for 15 minutes, no action so I started to move off.
At the last second I saw the concierge waving to me. I stopped and reversed.
A Turkish family heading to Istanbul.
Nice one.
So I drove them to the airport.

On the way back I cut through Northwood. There are plenty of airport workers looking for a run  to work. A young couple from Romania and showed me the address on their mobile phone. Bunratty drive Coolock. The were arguing among themselves a bit and then the girl exploded in Romanian at the top of her voice.
But as I didn't understand the language it didn't matter to me.
We reached the address and then I hit the meter.
"No I staying, turn around "he said as she ran off to the house.
He told me to stop at a place facing the house which would have caused a crash, so I moved around the corner.
He watched and looked out the back window.
Then I remembered that the cctv camera chip was in my pocket and I turned on the radio as I put the chip into the device and turned it on. I hit the volume as the sound of the camera starting came on and I had my hand over the mirror image while I turned the screen off.
After a while he rang her.
There was a slurping sound as she spoke, perhaps she was eating noodles or soup.
2 minutes she came out the front door her top down over her hips and she was legging it like an Olympic sprinter, bare breasts exposed in the bright morning sunlight.
She pulled up her top as she got in and we headed back to Northwood.
Her phone rang "No I am just talking with my friend in the taxi and I will be back in a minute"
Whatever she was doing she got well paid for it. She gave her pimp all the money.(I looked at image from the chip) So the fair was €28 with a €2 tip.

For me this worked out ok

For her I don't think she knows what she is messing with.

Dublin is a small town. He will see her some day and make a phone call to his mates.

"A body was found today with her throat slashed, Garda are looking for witnesses"

After that the day was boring.

For drivers, if you carry CS spray you could be sued with the angle that you carried the spray to attack people.
We all suffer from muscular stress and need to use that deep heat spray.
So you carry that just in case your shoulder starts acting up.
You get a bit of masking tape and tape a piece of thick string or wire to the back of the can over the top to where the nozzle is pointing.
So when you pick it up you know which way its pointing.
So if you shoot you wont maze yourself.

It stops you soiling your pants as well.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Blackmail or extortion




When you drive a taxi you learn a lot.
Some good things some bad things.
But you learn a lot as you go.

A rescue helicopter crashed killing all 4 crew members.
2 bodys have still not been recovered.

A customer in my taxi told me shortly after the crash that the rock that they hit that night did not show up on the satellite navigation system.
Time for a big think and fast forward to now.
All over the news today is the fact that the black rock is not on the sat nav system that was on the rescue helicopter.

Go back a bit
My man knew.
Did he tell anyone in passing?
You would think that something like this would get a red flag!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fix this quick..
But no
4 people are dead.

Common sense is not as common as you might think.

I may have told you that I went to school with a radio officer who worked on a ship in the North Sea.
A ship was approaching him one day with its bow doors open.
He radioed him on the emergency channel to tel him that if he failed to close his bow doors now that the wash from his ship would flood his car deck.
The door was closed and the same thing happened again later.
But one night no one noticed the doors open and the wash from a passing ship flooded the car decks and she went down..The herald of free enterprise sank.
Thank God the emergency channel calls were recorded and the captain got jail.

So a really strange thing happened to me a few days ago.
I bought 2 cars in Japan and had them shipped over.
The first one arrived and I got it ready to pay the taxes and get a number plate etc.
Then I got an email to say the second car would be with me in a couple of weeks.

Then I got an email from the docks in Holland that my car had been landed  but it wouldn't start to put it on the other boat to bring it to Dublin.
Would I pay €15 for a battery for the key fob?
I told them that you could buy 4 battery's for €2 and I wouldn't pay.
So then they reminded me that this was my problem not theirs and storage charges would be factored in.
Then they said that there was a bigger problem and they would put it on a car transporter to bring it to a Toyota garage to have the software in the gearbox re calibrated for around €300.
Don't forget your car is being charged for storage.

I rang the export company in Japan 2 times on Skype.
I rang the live chat line 2 times and I sent 4 or 5 emails.
Nothing! no reply at all.

I wrote back to Holland and told them that I wouldn't send them a penny.

The very next day my agent in Dublin rang me.
"John your car is here in Dublin port, come down to collect it". 

The car is absolutely perfect. 
The best example I have ever seen.

Depending on whether I get a reply or not from the company who sent me the car from Japan I will supply you with their details. 

The stress in dealing with this was terrible.
Blackmail is still a crime after all. 
At least I think so ! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Twice on the same day





A thing of beauty for sure. A British built Citroen it might go back to the 30s
It had been driven from London with no problems apart from a flat wheel.



Sunday can be a funny day at the best of times, last Sunday was no exception.
A guy carrying 2 heavy bags approached me at the Pennys taxi rank.

I knew the minute I stopped he was a bogey one.
The smell of drink of him nearly made me drunk as well.
Where to? was met with.
"Where the big church is where you buy drugs with the police there."
I tell you no lie, many places in Dublin will match that description.

"I show you, No wrong way!!
Why everybody shut"
Sunday I said.
"Fuck Sunday" he said we go back home

No money, but a bottle of Jack Daniels bridged the gap in his finances.
He had a hell of a scar from his right ear to his mouth.
I guess someone had settled a score with him once.
By the look of things he was heading for far worse.

The second guy came off the ferry later that day.

There is almost no border control at the ferry port and the gangsters and crooks know it.

I would say he came from Albania. "City center and stop at a bank link"
At the filling station leaving the port there is 2 machines. I watched him. €5.30 on the meter
He tried one card after another while talking on the phone all the time.
Finally with €8.50  on the clock I stood on the gas and drove away.
The voice in my head told me I was mad to have picked him up in the first place.
Then I met a father and son walking out of the port.
A €20 job and no hassle.

A couple of days ago they stopped a hit man coming into the country by airplane, he had a chopping list.
By ferry he would have sailed through.(No pun intended)

There are a lot of people in Ireland who are not who they say they are.
Some people are even 2 or 3 different people.
In Las Vegas they developed a system called "The Griffin Book" to spot cheats coming into the casinos. It has been fine tuned on computer and people drawing benefits in 5 or 6 different guises have been caught,
Still you can get it badly wrong sometimes.
I remember a guy with MS getting in as I tried to drive away, I thought he was mad drunk.
I really felt such a heel as he was a real nice guy.

A shooter took a taxi to their targets house, shot his granny in the leg, had a cigarette and then went back to the taxi and drove off  again.
The word is that there is video footage.

In Venezuela they have only Summer, she said that they came here in October.
It was so cold I thought I would die. The trees were bare and I thought this is an awful place.
But now Spring is here and the trees have flowers on them
It is so wonderful.
WE don't have the seasons only Summer.
I had to ask her if she was a dancer, because of the way she moved.
She laughed out loud. I was a ballet dancer, how did you know.
Just the way you moved your hands, it was like you were dancing,

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The might of right


I hold the pen in my hand and I start to dig like a spade


Mad as a march hare in the Solomon gallery beside the Westbury hotel

My granddaughter heads to the sea on full gallop


Sometimes you wish that you were not the one who confronted the bully or the abusive husband who is beating his wife.
When it happened all the hate turned on you and the friends who were with you did nothing to protect you.

Remember the Brazilian girl the other day? she worked in a bar for nearly 2 weeks and was never paid.
Wow I had 4 other girls from South America in the car who told me of the same thing.

Have we all gone mad!

Brazilian, Polish, Latvian etc are like the Irish were 20 years ago.
Hard working eager and keen to improve their position in this world.
I would love to organize a picket and a Boycott  on some of the places where this is common practice.
On a banner I would write..
"Maria worked hard here for 12 days and was paid nothing.
As a mark of respect we ask you to Boycott this bar"

Would it work?
Its worth a try. 

I would ask you boys and girls who went to England, America and Australia to treat migrants with respect. The kind of respect that you would have expected when you went abroad.

The London taxi drivers are trying to stand up to UBER and on the 6th they are having a protest 
David Cameron the ex Chancellor and and George Osborne had proven links to Uber.
When they stand up to the bully will we all look the other way?
I hope not. 

We had a big news story a while back about a girl called Grace, she was mentally handicapped and she was in the CARE of the state. But she was in the care of the state and was in a foster home where she was sexually abused and  in spite of people reporting the abuse she remained in the house for around 12 years. Even then after she had been removed other vulnerable people were placed in the care of the same abusers.

God give me strength that one day I may be one with a bloody nose standing up for for what is right
 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Bus strike !!



Spring has sprung and the trees are in bloom.

Time flies and its hard to believe that I haven't updated since St.Patricks day.
I thought it strange how many of our teenage American visitors were getting hammered at around noon. Their parents must never had told them of the dangers of over indulgence.

But enough of the past.We had a lightning bus strike yesterday.
Loads of people stuck at bus stops, lots of work to do.
If only we could pick up 4 people at a time and charge each one €5 into town things would be great.
Foreign students were the worst hit. They would not be listening to the Irish news so they couldn't understand why there was no bus. A girl from Brazil waved me down. She had an exam in her language  school. She is a teacher back home and wanted to get a cert for English to help her career.
She went through an agency as an au pair but her host family won't pay her and they will not give her definite hours.
So its a bad rap for her.
I hope she contacts her agency and perhaps they might have the moral backbone to get her the money she is due. She was a great kid, full of life and the joys of Spring.
I was up around Kilmanham when I was flagged down and the lady invited the others at the stop to join her. One lady did join her and we went over to Abbey St. The second lady apologized to the first that she had no money, only the bus card.
As the first lady payed me she leaned over.
"Going into town with NO money, not even the price of a cup of tea.
I will have to offer it up in a prayer..
Then she said something I haven't herd in a long time
Some people would live in your ear !"

Through modern science and the internet I bought 2 Toyota Prius cars in Japan around Christmas time.
One is in my drive and the other arrives today.
Getting the cars registered and all the taxes paid is tricky.
One car was nearly sold and the buyer had to think about it, as luck would have it. He walked away and then I found that the registration tax had to be paid (VRT) It was around €900!
By the time he came back I told him that his time was well up, I would have taken the hit for the VRT if it was deal done, as it was I was off the hook.

Every year since this thing happened I think of this English couple.
I had stopped at the Conrad Hilton hotel on Earlsfort terrace. A lady passing by asked me for directions to Baggott St. Then the concierge at the hotel started blowing his whistle.
I moved over and he threw the suitcase into the boot and as soon as the door slammed the lady shouted Airport ! No please or thank you.
I remarked to them that they were making a movie on Fitzwilliam Sq. 1920s buses and taxis.
As we drove into the square she leaned over again.
"Driver do you think we are stupid, stop driving us around in circles! We want to get to the fucking airport not a fecking sight seeing tour."
The proper way to deal with this is to take them as far off the main road as you can and tell Them to fuck off ! But I felt it in my bones that this might be an interesting journey, and it was.
They were arguing with each other, something had not worked out, a con of some sort.
It sounded like a cement mixer filled with gravel. They growled at each other.

As we reached the airport I picked up their change to have it ready and went to the boot.

As I lifted out the suitcase and straightened the handle. I said.
"I hope you left enough time for your flight"
"Course I have you fecking moron" he replied

"You see the change in the hour really fucked me up today"
"Wat's you talking about you stupid cunt?"  

 The clocks went forward an hour last night, Its Summer time now. 
It took a good 7 seconds for reality to sink in.
They had missed their flight. 

Later a word came into my head 
Karma  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A great day for the Irish

That thought of Mike came to me when the news broke the other day about a young pregnant mother and 3 young children died in a fire here in Dublin.
They had left a candle burning as it turned out.
It just shows how important smoke detectors are.

Things are hotting up here for St.Patricks day, Chicago has turned their river green and Niagara falls was also turned green.
Sure it will be grand on the day.

A guy crossing the road gave me a big grin and I remarked that the guy looked strange, like someone who had fallen out of a movie...It turned out to be Martin Scorsese, he had been given an award by Trinity college. A few years also I saw him in Fitzwilliam Square once before in the same place.
That time I didn't know who he was that time either.

So I was passing and she was desperate.
"My flight closes in 10 minutes, from the Omni center",
So pedal to the metal.
I broke 2 red lights and the speed limit.
Coming up the ramp at terminal 1 I told her to get the money ready so she could jump out as soon as I stopped.
She ran off and I swear she didn't even say thanks.
€9.50 on the meter
I counted the fist full of change €7.20

How could she have good luck ??







Friday, March 10, 2017

In memory of Mike

Mike wrote a blog, he was an native American Indian and an elder of his tribe.

He contacted me through the blog and we swapped wisdom. 

This story is wonderful, its about what humanity should be.

God bless you Mike RIP

 

Elise.....

.....arrived one winter day in March of my 11th year. It was a Saturday and my Uncle 'F' and his wife had gone to the small city on an 'errand'. Rather an unusual occurrence in winter, especially on the sketchy backwoods roads of Maine in the 1950s. Around two in the afternoon I heard his old Studebaker straining and spinning its way up into Uncle 'Rs' barnyard. Going out to see why he'd come here rather than his farm across the road, I saw a tall (to me) willowy slip of a young lady climb from the back seat.
   Being of the tender prepubescent age of eleven, I was immediately fascinated by this slender, but well shaped young woman. Breaking my through hypnotic reverie, F's wife was introducing this vision of wonder to me, me! I managed to awake from my stupor in time to hear that her name was Elise Cote and she was F's wife's cousin from France. The reason for her coming wasn't revealed then and I actually learned the details later from my aunt E. In those times you were thought, and rightly so, to be rude to inquire after such personal information. In many ways I miss things being that way, but in many other ways I relish the openness that has forced 'family problems' into the open. If you read the first few posts of this blog you'll find my reason for feeling so strongly about this issue.
    As the winter morphed into a gorgeous spring, I learned a deal more about our quiet guest. She spoke English with a smooth and lilting French accent, made all the more sensuous to my young self by the mellow, soft tones of her voice. She was nineteen and would be twenty in mid-summer, she read every chance she got. Aunt 'E' placed her in the room at the top of the rear stairs beside the 'dry' bathroom with the lime toilet. She decorated her room strangely in my opinion, simply a collection of mismatched dolls, stuffed animals, crinkled photos of groups of children, and other odd mementos of things from her past.
   As summer burst forth she and my, quite smitten, young self started to venture for walks in late afternoon before supper and evening chores. Our steps seemed to always draw us to a spot beside where the small brook emptied into our farm pond. There was a large flat rock and we'd just lie there in mutual silence watching clouds or sit observing the fish in the clear pond water. I didn't dare ask many questions, like why she always wore a headscarf that covered her face starting just behind her beautiful blue eyes. The scarves invariably were worn in the same manner and she never was seen (by me) without one on. Her features were near perfection and her hair was very dark brown and slightly wavy. She helped around the house and taking care of the elderly folks in residence at the time during the day and evening. Then she'd retreat to her room where I'd have been dispatched several times carrying buckets of hot water. I wondered if she bathed herself with the scarf on. One of life's mysteries.
    Another mystery was why a doctor from Canada came to visit her once a month and always entrusted my aunt E with a package when he departed. As a former nurse she kept a locked medicine cabinet where the packages invariably were deposited. Elise also seemed to shy away from fireplaces, stoves, direct sunlight, etc. At our rock she'd always remark how nice it was that somebody planted a huge oak tree so it allowed a great view of the sky while shading us from the sun's rays. Some days she'd even wade into the pond in pants and blouse, but never allowing her head to get wet. Another thing that worried me was that she'd often awaken screaming at night, but only my aunt had the key to her room. Sometimes she'd go down to her sewing room and come back with little packets, sometimes I could hear only E's voice calming her back to sleep. I knew something wasn't quite right, but also knew enough to refrain from watching and prying.
   Elise stayed through the next winter and into the summer. That summer she was noticeably paler and distracted. Toward the end of the summer she started to go to our rock earlier and I'd find here there after my chores were done. One afternoon was so different that it turned my world upside down for months and still remains in my memory as though it were yesterday.
    Elise had gone off earlier than usual according to aunt E, and she noticed she'd seemed especially troubled. That was also the only time she'd ever told me to leave my chores for others and go to check on our young guest. I hurried down to the rock and was relieved to see Elise laying in her usual manner, but when I drew closer I noticed something was amiss. It was too quiet, no happy greeting. I climbed to her side and my world shattered. She was cold to the touch and her eyes were staring into the skies unseeing. I don't recall running back to the house, but I do remember not being able to tell my aunt what was wrong, just took her hand and half-dragged her to the rock and Elise. As she got closer, she bent over and scooped up a tin that I recognized as medicine for the horses, especially the oldest workhorse who was lame.
    In the next few days my aunt paid special attention to me as I did little but grieve for my friend. Finally, she took me into the parlor where Elise lay and pulled back the colorful scarf for me to see. After I settled back down, I could understand the scarves. Her left ear was gone, as was much of the hair on that side of her head. In their place were terrible scars from deep burns. Her upper arms and back were badly scarred as well. My aunt explained that the Dr that came each month was a burn specialist and the packets were morphine vials and syringes so E could administer the drug when needed. Elise also suffered from horrible nightmares, what today would be known as PTSD. 
    On graduating from school at sixteen, Elise had gone to work at an orphanage where she mostly cared for the younger children. One night the place was hit by lightning in the barn area attached at the back. By the time the fire was discovered it'd spread throughout the rear upper level where the young children and Elise slept. Elise had carried children from the burning rooms by twos and threes and led older ones. After many trips she was overcome by smoke and exhaustion and collapsed just inside the rear area. A fireman found her there and carried her out to safety. After several operations and recovering some of her lung function, they could do no more. Today they'd be able to do far more, but things weren't advanced as much in 1954.
     The nightmares were filled with the screams of the frightened children and pain was mainly from nerve endings that had become heat sensitive or scar tissue that pulled the tissue too much. Aunt E explained what I'd already figured out, the pain and memories had become too much for Elise to bear and she'd taken the animal pain medications to end her suffering at a place she loved. Uncles R and F and the local minister buried her between the oak and the rock where the sun shone through in bright speckled dances.
     Later a man from the big city came and created a smooth spot on the rock above her head and inscribed: 
                                     Elise Cote
                                     1936-1957
                              Her pain is gone and 
                             the screams are stilled.
                              She joined those she
                                  could not save. 
   Not a sad memory for me, she gave me two magical summers of afternoons learning how to lay on a rock and quietly enjoy life's many treasures. I only wish it had been the 1990s or later so she could have found the relief she needed. At least a little of it. Until next time, take care and be well.