St. Paul's from Fleet Street is a fine view, but with the Lord Mayor's coach traversing it is a grand sight indeed. No excess of crowds, or cops marshalling you about, or any stop/start bullshit with the procession. I have a low boredom threshold. Just lots of waving, high-fiving, smiling, drum beats and machine guns.
I had never been in The Tipperary on Fleet Street. Loud Irish music, and obviously unchanged since when this was the hard-drinking hub of the newspaper industry. God alone knows what inconsequential gossip has taken place within these narrow walls.
Later, after the procession has returned, we normally go in the Ship and Shovel, underneath Charing Cross station. But too crowded, so we walk up to the Sherlock Holmes, a pub I had been in once many years ago. Both are more than acceptable places to swill beer on a rainy, late afternoon in November.
Friday. Organic rump steak, oven chips, spinach, a bottle of Beaujolais, and a couple of pints in the pub.
The Knowledge is complicated and arcane. I had 19 exams altogether. Two thirds of those who attempt it drop out. Learning to recite instantly the shortest route between any two conceivable places of interest within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross is a total mind****. It's impossible; you have to reach a certain nebulous level, the preserve of about 15 examiners. The nature of exams interests me.
When I received the badge last year they sang Happy Birthday to me.
A lady gets in. St. Thomas's hospital. Her neighbour is terminally ill and would benefit from a touch of femininity. But she's got to get back to Covent Garden by four. Do you like being a cab driver? No, I hate it. I was a school teacher, but I met Mrs Wrong; if I'd met Mrs Right, I probably still would be. But what you rather be doing? Actually, I'm a mathematical genius. I'm going to change the world.
To become a taxi driver in Las Vegas, you have to pass three tests.
One is a medical test, which is technically supposed to be difficult but in reality involves not looking like you will die shortly and paying a doctor some money to not perform the test.
The second one would be difficult if you were entirely unfamiliar with the topic of taxicabs. Having seen one at least once, from a distance of no more than 300 yards, in the past is probably sufficient knowledge.
The third one is about safety. If you understand, at least for the purposes of the test, that running over pedestrians is frowned upon you would do fine.
I've been to Covent Garden and it doesn't take a Mathematical Genius to understand the gorgeous charlatan aspect to the place. My going there in no way changed the place.
And, as well noted by Brian, driving a cab in the US is not a large intellectual challenge. You silly Brits tie yourselves up in knots. Google maps is god and you don't have to memorize much anymore. Knowing which are the main streets, bridges, and sundry choke points, and a general perception of North, South, East, and West should be sufficient. That, and ingesting a few pints before driving to increase the flow of friendliness with the patrons.
Don't tell me about Google Maps, Zeno. There is a high probability that I have spent more hours studying that frozen world in close-up than anyone else on this site. Except a few months ago, some guy wanted to get to Park Lane from the City, and Google Maps was telling him the best way was via Northumberland Avenue. LOL. No problem, Sir, if that's the way you want to go. Miraculously, it is as clear as a bell. I'm impressed. I have the type of modern phone that the rest of the population spends its life on, skinny nerd fingers with which to operate it, a PhD from a high-class Department of Computing, but I cannot begin to get along with the thing.
Anyhow, Uber is down 40% from its IPO. What have you got to say about that?
Animals aren't allowed in hospitals. What about guide dogs? Hmmm. What about animals that people pet for therapy and stuff? Yes, but not in a hospital. Allowing animals in hospitals is a terrible idea.
yep and i got uber its one of the few stocks i am behind on.. i tend to buy stocks that have a big name and are not in favor as of yet or are down for temporary reasons of the market..
they may go broke i know that, but the upside is way more over time.
I just open up google map and figure out my route by looking and orientation. I did print out a route from Amsterdam train central to my hotel, which is near the Van Gogh museum. It will prove to be mostly useless. Especially since the Dutch have stupid street names and Amsterdam has more canals than Venice.
Sloane Square is jammed with people. There's a stage with a DJ, and some stalls selling "street food", etc. Way more people about in general than is usual. What's going on? Wait a minute, I know: it's Christmas! They're turning on the lights. Snowflakes in the trees, same every year. In the magic half-hour of dusk, the Christmas lights in London do look especially pretty.
Preparation and celebration get conflated. Experience has finally gotten me around to doing the non-perishable stuff early, which is progress, but I find as a consequence that my mind is more readily infected with it.
Once a month I return to Imperial. Their 24/7 library is open to alumni. It is a little strange these days to appear to be among people not of the servile classes.
My Prof arrives late and is stressed out. His family is blighted by psychosis. We walk in, as usual, to our former department, and although we have no official right to be there, nobody questions us. I don't have much to say, so he talks some vague, desultory nonsense about projective geometry and orthogonality. Mercifully, the third guy, another student and colleague, who has both verbal diarrhoea and an official status there, shows up. Unlike me, they are both true academics. We both respect the Prof, but I believe that I am the one with the ideas.
I have spent so much time stuck on Park Lane and its surroundings on account of Winter Wonderland that I decided it's about time I went along myself. Like Halloween, it has grown almost exponentially from nothing somewhere towards the middle of my lifetime, and despite its aspiration or condescension to be a food festival or Xmas market, it is a giant funfair in Hyde Park, and the anachronism is surprising. Rollercoasters, ferris wheels, carousels, helter skelters, dodgems, a myriad of stalls offering gimmicky prize games, and even the Waltzer. Whoever invented the Waltzer was a genius.
The entrance we go in leads to a "Bavarian market", with any number of stalls selling beer. In each case that means Becks or Lowenbrau. Everywhere. How much nicer would it be to have something resembling a proper German market? Can I not rely on the hipster generation to arrange this? Is that too much to ask?
Regardless of what Zeno says, Jean-Paul Sartre was very intelligent. One of his female characters speaks of life's perfect moments, aware that she is both the creator and destroyer of them. In reality, they happen by accident rather than design. The best meals you ever ate, for example, happened that way.
The season reminds me of first driving a taxi one year ago. On a regular Tuesday it's a deadzone, but all the regs are in the pub where I park tonight. All of them. It's Xmas, and we have good taste in bars in common.