A little bit about me

 

A very young me sitting on one of the Trafalgar Sqaure Lions in 1983.

I’ve loved London since I was a child; a passion especially boosted by day trips to museums and being allowed to watch episodes of ‘Minderbefore bedtime!

Before becoming a London cabbie, I worked in Secondary Education. I had experience at schools in Watford and the Telford; working in units with teenagers who had severe learning and behavioral problems. I then went on to train as an English teacher, working in schools in Birmingham, West Bromwich and Dudley. 

Sadly, after becoming rather jaded with the red-tape, politics and paperwork which seem to define that profession nowadays, I decided to try my luck elsewhere.

After leaving my first calling, I struggled to find employment, and spent time on the dole, followed by spells working in department stores and supermarkets.

I moved back to the south-east and discovered The Knowledge; the training course to become a qualified London Taxi Driver.

I enrolled on it and, after a gruelling 4 1/2 years, managed to pass and have never looked back (please click the menu bar; The Knowledge of London; Training to be a London Cabbiefor a detailed account of that experience).

I’m very proud of my roots… as with many Londoners, they are rather mixed:

My Great Grandmother (on my Mother’s side) was a Native American; an Arapaho Indian (a tribe referenced by the late, great Ian Dury and his band, ‘The Blockheads’ in the classic tune, ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’)…. maybe there’s something in the genes there that helped my instinct and sense of direction!

My Grandfather (on my father’s side) was Irish; a County Cork man…must be where I get my luck and that other famous cabbie trait; the ‘gift of the gab’ from!

Thank you so much for visiting, I hope you enjoy your time in my virtual Taxi!

cabbierob@gmail.com

32 responses

  1. Hi

    I don’t know why it’s taken so long to find your blog.
    I’ve been writing for three years and I am always looking for anecdotes about cabbies and interesting articles to post. If you have any you know where I am.
    4 1/2 years to do The Knowledge, I can beat that 4 years 10 months 13 days, but hey! who’s counting?

    1. Thanks, David. Nice to have you onboard!

  2. Fascinating perspective! Heard tell of that London Cabbie Pride (LCP) via Mitch Winehouse (Amy’s dad) and now to find it’s a real thing! lol Actually I was researchng the Charles Dickens’ film,’Scrooge’/ Camden Town connection.Your stories are quite fun and comprehensive.I look foreward to riding a cab next time I’m in London.You’ve created quite a bit of magic around the experience! Thanks :-))

    1. Many thanks for your kind comments, xenobia. Hope you can make it here soon!

  3. Brilliant blog. I’m hooked! Moving to London in the Spring and plan on becoming a regular customer, as long as my wallet and your patience hold out.

    1. Thanks, Megan. If you ever need any advice about life in London, just ask!

  4. Superb blog! Can’t believe I’ve only just found it – glad that I have though!
    Found it via your Flickr page (I added you as a contact).
    Marvellous – about to read more!

    Steve

    1. Many, many thanks, Steve. Really appreciate your wonderful comments. So glad you like the blog!

  5. louis davidson | Reply

    you got your badge 3 months before me
    i read your blogs with joy and fear lol
    i was redlined on 28’s and 21’s
    i know what you mean when you said how proud you were to get your badge
    trust me, you were not as proud as me!!
    felt like i won the lottery
    hope you are doing well

    be lucky !!!! Louis

    1. Thanks for the kind comment, Louis. Hope the job is treating you well!

      Be lucky :-)

  6. So happy to have found your blog. When discussing that I blog with a friend of my bf’s she said that Brits don’t blog. I assume she meant about Britain and was excluding expats. While I knew she had to be wrong it has only been recently that I’ve discovered a few blogs. it is nice to read about London (or England) from someone born and bred here.

    1. Awww, thanks! It means so much to me when my blog helps new friends discover things about London. Thank you so much for following and for your lovely comments; much appreciated.

  7. Thank you for following! You are my 100th follower! I am also a teacher of maths to kids in inclusion units etc… With EBSD autism, Aspergers dyslexia etc…. And have left for the same reasons as you!

    This is a small world

    1. You’re most welcome, Barbara and many thanks for following my site too.

      It’s both reassuring and sadly upsetting to hear that I’m not alone in terms of views on education.

      I loved the work, but the rigid curriculum and constant shadow of governmental opinion looming over the task knocked all enthusiasm out of me… I’m sure you know what I mean :-)

      I spoke to a trainee cabbie the other day who has also just left a career in education… we’re certainly not alone.

      Thanks again

  8. Hi Cabbie Rob! This is Laura Wise (part of the Laura and Kelly team)! I was looking at your site and saw the picture of the Great Exibition and we have a builing just like that in Dallas called the “Infomart”. Very cool! Hope you are doing well and getting ready for the Christmas holidays. Take Care, Laurahttp://www.flickr.com/photos/hanneorla/6159762766/

    1. Hi guys,

      Thanks for that info, I never knew about the Infomart that’s really interesting. I always wanted to know what the interior of the Crystal Palace looked like… perhaps the Infomart will help me answer that question one day!

      Hope you’re both well and speak to you soon.

  9. mbcovers@ymail.comkey | Reply

    Hiya Cabbie Rob

    How iv found you i dont even know lol,just surfing London Hackneys, Brill site by the way, its added to my favorites, so i dont loose you lol
    iv learnt something already, but also hopfully i can help you when you or your Cabbie friends need replacement covers for your TX’s Even with the new ISRI drivers seat base
    my Email address is :

    mbcovers@ymail.com
    for more info or pictures

  10. Such an interesting read , I was all set to do the knowledge in 2005 but circumstances beyond my control stopped me . But seriously contemplating going for it now before i’m to old .

    1. Thanks, Paul. Hope you get back into it.

  11. Thanks for making my trip to Orion House an interesting one. Good luck with your book.

    1. My pleasure, Todd. Many thanks for your kind words.

  12. Hello, i just caught a domestic flight between Sydney and Melbourne and saw your article in the Qantas in flight mag and thought i’d drop you a line. Keep up the great work – and you’ve got a great website / blog! I’ll be in London from Australia in Sydney so who knows – i might see you and your cab one day. Cheers, Tom.

    1. Hello Tom,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment; it means a lot to me that you’ve taken the time to look up my website and drop me a line :-) I’ve had some great support from Aussies with the Qantas article, really appreciate it.

      If you ever need any advice regarding your trip to London, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Thanks again,

      -Rob

      1. Cheers Rob. I might take you up on that! I’m actually from the UK originally (Liverpool) but haven’t been back to the UK for a few years. Anyway, well done again on a great site, and drive carefully! Tom.

      2. Hi Tom,

        I love Liverpool; a great city with terrific people- you must miss the old place very much. Many thanks again for your kind words; I really appreciate them.

        Cheers :-)

        -Rob

  13. Hi Rob

    I Just wanted to start my knowledge but don’t know which training school to entrol, could you plse advise me on this.

    Thanks

    Lambo.

    1. Hi Lambo,

      Although the schools differ in their approach, we essentially all have to learn the same thing. A lot offer free lessons and inductions; try them out and see what suits you best…. trust your instinct.

  14. Brilliant blog which I have just stumbled across. I will read it in time over the next day or so. I am in the position where I am thinking about trying for The Knowledge and becoming a black cab driver. I am happy and able to take out 3-4 years of my life to dedicate the time to this too as the end result will be fantastic.

    I’m sure reading your experience will be highly beneficial for me. If there are 5 quick tips you could give to anyone thinking about doing it, or for someone starting out on The Knowledge, what would they be? I am 23 so I will still be fairly young by the time I could potentially pass.

    1. That’s very kind, Louis thank you :-)

      With the Knowledge, you have to stick at it above all; have the patience to keep with it even when you experience knock-backs. Look for points which are a little more unusual and do your best to keep up with new ones that appear. Do as much map work as possible; immerse yourself in it. Subscribe to one of the school point sheets. And don’t worry if you can’t find a call-over partner- get a dictaphone and record your runs into it, then play them back and draw them on the map.

      Above all, enjoy it… if you love London and like exploring the place you will get there, I guarantee it.

      Stay safe.

  15. Thanks for the ride yesterday. Loved the Jimi Hendrix story and how funny is it that I saw Paul McCartney last month in San Francisco and he told the same story. Loved hearing it again yesterday. Hope to see you again during our trip here in London. Your knowledge displayed on our short trip yesterday was priceless. Thanks!!

    1. Hi, thank you so much for the kind comment. The best part of my job is sharing London’s history with my passengers, it was a pleasure to spend time with you both… and I’m so pleased you’re staying close to Jimi’s old haunts! Enjoy the rest of your trip (really hope you make it to Belfast) and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any advice or recommendations.

      Thanks again :-)

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