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U3A Writing: Taxi Talk

So what’s the subject of the conversation when taxi drivers are shooting the breeze? Len Bourne reveals all.

Arthur – ‘allo, Bert, ’ow’s business?

Bert – Not so bad, Arfhur, could do wiv some rain though, couldn’t we?

Arthur – You’re right there, Bert. This fine wevver ain’t no good for our business.

Bert - ’ow about this toll charge then?

Arthur – Well, it could help us a bit I s’pose.

Bert – Anyone short-changed yer this week?

Arthur – Funny you should mention that, Bert. There’s some what try it on. A bloke the uvver day gave me a note and an ’andful of silver, saying, “There’s a good tip in that lot.” Course, when I’d finished counting the stuff it was £1.50 short, and by that time the bloke had disappeared in the crowd.

Bert – Well, the uvver day I ’ad a bit of luck. A bloke give me a £10 note for the £8 fare. ’E didn’t notice did ’e, but there were two notes stuck togevver!

Arthur – What abaht long trips, Bert. It’s good to get right out of London sometimes. Last month I had a fare to Brighton, and this geyser gives me a £20 tip. So I thought, let’s have a decent lunch, which I did – a really good nosh of bootiful steak and chips. Course I couldn’t ’ave a beer, but I ’ad a lovverly kip on the beach before going ’ome.

Bert – Well, Arfur, I ’ad a funny trip meself on Monday. See, this bird – good looker she was – she wanted me to go to Windsor. Well, just before we got there, she starts directing me down all sorts of roads, telling me to turn right ’ere, then left, then right again, and I’m begging to think she was lawst.

Anyway, eventually she tells me to wait close to the entrance of a driveway. We’d just passed it, but I seen the drive, which was long. And when she told me to wait, telling me she would only be abaht twenty minutes, I thought, is she going to do a bunk? But seeing as ’ow she was well dress and she talked quite posh-like, I said, “OK, madam, take yer time.”

Well, I must ‘ave nodded off, for how long gawd knows, for I woke up to a lot of shouting and screaming which seemed to come from somewhere in the grounds of the ’ouse. I couldn’t see the place, ’cos the drive curved round. See, Arfur, I didn’t know wevver to scarper, stay put, or go dahn the drive to see what was ’appening.

Anyway, before I ’ad time to make up me mind, the lady suddenly come running out of the bushes at the side of the drive. Cor, she looked a right miss I can tell yer, wiv ’er jacket torn and ’er ’air all straggly, and she was shouting at me, “Start the cab, let’s go, the dogs are coming!”

I didn’t ’ave to be told twice, so I started the engine and reversed towards ’er. Well, she scrambled into the back seat, these two Alsatians came charging out of the bushes, and the next minute they was jumping up and snarling. “Get going,” the lady shouted, so I put me foot down and off we shot.

In the mirror I could see her sort of ’ugging ’erself, smoothing ’er ’air and so on, so I called fru the winder, “Are you OK, madam?”

She was still breathing ’ard, but she said, “Yes, I’m alright. But if you see a pub, I’d like to stop.”

I thought of The Duke’s ’ead – you know that one, Arfur, down a quiet road south of Ascot. We stopped and I said, “Do you want me to come in wiv yer?”

She said, “I would appreciate it.” She chose a table, and before I could ask what I could get for ’er she shoved a note in me ’and and said to get a double brandy and something for me. Course I ’ad a tonic water, gave her the brandy and the change.

She then said, “Sit down.” And after she ’ad taken a couple of gulps of brandy she want on. “Don’t ask me what happened back there. You may be surprised, but I’m glad I went. And I got the answer I wanted.”

“Yeah, but, madam,” I said, “you were making a helluva noise.”

She said, “It was the dogs. I was petrified. The thing is,” she went on, “I found that my husband was not two-timing me after all. That place, it’s a bloody nudist convention!” And she dissolved into peals of laughter.

Arthur butts in – You’ve got a call, Bert. You better watch out. It could be that lady again.

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