Tag Archives: A1 Taxis

Saturday 7th September 2019 – I HAVE THROWN AWAY …

… a whole lifetime today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I travel around the world in some kind of peripatetic idyll, all of my possessions either on my back or in one of my trucks (Caliburn in Europe, Strider in North America).

But today, up at the mill, I heaved almost all of my North American possessions into a skip (dumpster to you North Americans) and put an end to my nomadic lifestyle.

It’s simply that I can’t do it any more and it’s no point pretending that I can continue. Watching the blood count slowly decline over the last two years down to the critical level (which it must surely have reached by now seeing as I haven’t had it checked for almost 3 months) and knowing that my days are numbered, it’s just useless weight that I’m dragging around with me.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be up in Montreal and I’ll be emptying out my storage locker. The only thing that I’ll be salvaging from there will be the amplifier and speaker for the bass and the remainder will be joining the rest of the travelling gear in that great camp site in the sky.

That’ll be the first time in Montreal this year. It’s not like me, is it?

But I’ll tell you something. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my mentioning the rather lively back end of Strider, how we travelled mainly sideways down a variety of gravel roads in Labrador. “Lively” back in those days had absolutely nothing on “lively” today, with almost nothing on the pick-up bed.

If I ever make it back to Labrador, we shall certainly be living in interesting times.

Having crowed about my really good nights just recently, it’s almost inevitable that they should catch up on me sooner or later.

And so it was last night.

For a start, we were still awake, the bass guitar and me, at well past midnight as I was picking away at various bass lines, unable to sleep. One thing about life on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour is that it has pumped music back into my soul.

But when I finally did manage to drop off, the dictaphone tell its own story. There’s a record on average about every 20 minutes over a three-hour period, and what I do remember from the various nocturnal rambles is that every single one of them concerned Castor pursuing me around the ship.

Not that I’m complaining of course. Usually, anyone pursuing me anywhere would be almost certainly brandishing the kind of offensive weapon that would paralyse a polar bear, so it makes a nice change to be pursued by pleasant company. What I don’t understand is why I thought it necessary to run away. I’m definitely losing my grip.

Once all of that was over I was up and about, only to find that we had run out of bread for breakfast. With Zoe not coming back last night, we hadn’t been to the shops had we?

Instead Rachel and I went straight up to the garage and made coffee, and slowly woke up.

Then it was that I attacked the emptying of Strider and that took me almost up to lunchtime. But lunchtime was late – there was a queue of trucks needing attention in the workshop and we couldn’t move one out until almost 12:45.

Zoe, who had by now put in an appearance, and I shot back to the house, picked up all of her belongings and, now that Strider was almost empty, whipped them down to her new house. And I’m glad that we had emptied Strider because by the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong and there wasn’t much room inside the truck.

Atlantic Superstore was next for a week or two’s load of vegan food so that I can eat properly, and also due to the fact that we are having another vegan messing with us for a while.

There’s a hurricane threatening here and out in the sticks a back-up generator is necessary. But believe it or not, in a household with 6 cars, three trucks, two heavy trucks and assorted 4-wheelers, snowmobiles, golf carts and Amber’s motor scooter, there wasn’t a drop of spare fuel.

Consequently Hannah had thrown a pile of empty fuel cans into the back of Strider and I came back from Irvings at Woodstock with 157.6 litres of petrol in the back of Strider. The rear end of Strider wasn’t bouncing around at all then!

Next stop was back at the garage. Darren had a rear wheel bearing, driveshaft oil seal, brake disk and caliper to change on the rear of a Chevrolet D5500 heavy truck – the one that I drove down to New Hampshire a couple of years ago to take that racing engine for repair.

It’s not difficult task but it’s heavy, dirty and complex, and four hands are always better than two working down a cramped inspection pit.

The task involved a judicious amount of heat and with an oxy-acetylene welding torch it brought back many happy memories. The last time that I did any welding on a car was the old Passat back in 1997 but that was with the mig-welder. With oxy-acetylene, the last time that I did any welding was stitching Nerina’s Ford Fiasco back together back in something like 1991. When I had my taxi company I was probably welding up one car or other almost every day.

We’d finished by about 18:00 and staggered off back home.

And I couldn’t resist a smile. Driving 20 miles with 157 litres of petrol floating around in the back of the truck and having to invent a makeshift stopper for one of the cans – getting out the oxy-acetylene welding bottles – crawling around an inspection pit in a garage taking driveshafts out of lorries and showering myself in Hypoid 90 – I thought that I had left all of that behind me more than 30 years ago.

You can take the boy out of Crewe right enough, but you can’t ever take Crewe out of the boy.

But then that’s why I like New Brunswick. It’s about 50 years behind the times and suits me perfectly.

Rachel came to awaken me later. It seems that I had crashed out for a while (hardly a surprise) and it was now tea-time. A chick pea curry which was delicious, and then we were descended upon by hordes of people. Amber is having a party and despite the rain and the winds, there are dozens of teenagers all attired in a variety of swimwear and heading for the hot tub outside.

I’ve locked myself in my room with the bass guitar and I am refusing to come out until the coast is clear. It’s a good job that it’s Sunday tomorrow and a lie-in is on the cards. I think that I’m going to need it.

Saturday 21st September 2013 – HERE IN MILLINOCKET …

tractor pull millinocket maine september 21 2013… the weather looked distinctly less-than-promising this morning. Although we had spent the evening sitting out in a gentle warm breeze, watching the stars, something must have happened during the night and it all looked so depressing.

We were however told by the guy in charge of the airport that the day would brighten up, and as the morning wore on and the competitors began to arrive, some of them brought the nice weather with them and by the time the competition got itself under way, we had a bright scorching sunshine

There was nothing else here apart from the tractor pulling – no fairground or showground as at Clinton the other week.

tractor pull millinocket maine september 21 2013
And not that I know very much about tractor pulling, but the track looked to be in far better condition. And so it should have been, considering the effort that had gone into preparing it the morning of the event (it pays to be at places like this early so that you can see exactly what is going on).

Here’s one of our old friends, a grader similar to the thousands that we encountered in 2010 during our marathon drive along the Trans Labrador Highway
(except that this one has griffers on the back) smoothing to track out ready for the compactors to compress down.

tractor pull millinocket maine september 21 2013. There were several more classes of truck than at Clinton, although nothing like as many entries, and the event was over long before nightfall.

What didn’t help was the number of breakdowns. All kinds of things were going wrong for some of the drivers – clutches disintegrating and the like. On one old truck, the effort to pull the sledge pulled a universal joint clean out of the si=ocket in the centre of the propshaft and I can’t say that I’ve ever seen that happen before, although on one of my old taxis many years ago, an out-of-balance propshaft tore the mounting out of the floor of the car.

In the middle of the contest Darren did a demonstration run in “Perdy in the Pink”, and then Hannah had her first effort. And when I find the USB lead to charge up the camcorder (which somehow I seem to have forgotten to bring), I’ll put a video of her run on here. Dad made 341 feet and a bit, and Hannah, putting everything that she had into it, did 337 feet, which is pretty spectacular considering that she’s only just 16.

Her second run though, she was doing even better until the fuel line split and sprayed ethanol all over her and the track at about 50psi. Nevertheless, first place in her class and in the top 10 overall is something to be proud of.

Highlight of the day has to be the guy who came over to me while I was filming and said “How do you manage to stand so close to the tractors and film then with all of the noise that they are making?” to which I replied “what?”.

And we can’t be bothered to go home tonight so we’re sitting here talking, drinking and watching the storm clouds gather. It’s going to be rough tonight.

Sunday 21 July 2013 – AND AM I ALL PACKED?

Am I ‘eck as like.

No surprise there, is there?

I had a lie-in until about 09:20 and by that time it was far too hot to do anything much. Records have tumbled today and I can’t think how often it is that I have had to put cold water into the solar shower to cool it down to an acceptable temperature of about 37°C.

For yes, I did have my first (and probably only) solar shower of the year this evening, and gorgeous it was too – well-worth waiting for.

Mind you I almost didn’t manage to take it – there sunning itself on the concrete pad right almost where I was planning to stand was a whacking great snake – the first real snake that I’ve seen at my house, although I’ve seen plenty elsewhere.

He p155ed off pretty sharp-ish when he saw me and disappeared into the woodpile, right next to where the ladder is. I got to thinking of myself that it was a shame that I didn’t have a couple of friends, some counters and a pair of dice.

And if you want to know what kind of snake he was, at the speed at which he disappeared, he was definitely a calculator. That’s right – a calculator is a very fast adder.

Still, Caliburn is emptied and there’s a pile of stuff in it.

Not all I need to take all of it but there’s a slight change of plan. I’m not leaving right after the radio shows. It’s going to be even hotter tomorrow so it’ll be wicked on the road. I’m coming back here and I’ll leave at about 19:00 when it cools down.

Trying to print off the radio stuff, and nothing worked. It’s not gathering in the paper and so I’ll need to strip it down and find out why. But I never have any luck with printers. There’s dozens round here that don’t function as they are supposed to do.

Luckily Liz came to the rescue with some stuff (and a nice tea and some ginger cake for which I am always grateful) when I was down there rehearsing the radio shows and I’ll have to get Radio Tartasse to do the rest tomorrow.

Now as you know, every now and again I write down my dreams on here.

Many years ago when I was at Uni I helped out as one of a few guinea-pigs for someone who was doing research into dreams. We had to record our dreams and submit them to this guy who was using them as material for his thesis.

Even though the project ended years ago I still keep it up to a certain degree because it was so interesting and now it’s become something of a habit.

I don’t record all of my dreams because without the equipment that we had, it’s difficult to do so, and so I only record the ones that I remember really well. And last night’s was a corker, it really was.

Back in the 1980s when I had my taxi business in Crewe I had a young girl working for me on Saturdays. She stayed for a couple of years and then left to go to college.

She kept in touch with Nerina and me and there was talk at one point that she might come to lodge with us for a while as home conditions were difficult.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “Hooray” – ed … Nerina and I separated a few years later and I was preparing to emigrate, and I bumped into Nerina. She asked me how I was and we had a little chat about this and that.

One thing that she said quite surprised me. “I’m surprised that you didn’t get …. to move in with you”.
“How do you mean?”
“Well, you must have known that she had a big crush on you”.
Rather like Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams in Carry On Loving“Surely you must have felt it?”
“Felt it? I never got anywhere near it”.
I didn’t, as it happened, and it was rather late in the day to tell me, I thought.

A good few years or so years later I did encounter … again – now separated from her husband and with a young baby in tow.

I was just about to go off New York for a holiday and, on a whim, I invited her along.  But it was far too short notice and it didn’t happen, and I always regard her as “the one that got away” – the lucky girl.

Anyway, last night, here she was. We were in Sydney, Australia, together as a couple, talking to someone about their cats, and a taxi driver stuck his head around the door and said that it was time to go. So we went outside to get into his taxi, a big modern silver Opel with a huge scrape all the way down the side and with a floor made of wooden pallets. He took us back to our home and when he dropped us off, I noticed that the letter box outside had been knocked off its pedestal and bent. So there I was fixing it and putting it back into position so I could post this huge pile of brown envelopes, but … told me that the postman had passed while I was fixing the letter box and it was now too late.

I’ve never had a dream as realistic as this – so realistic that in the middle of it and I had to get up to go for a Gypsy’s downstairs in the bathroom, when I returned to bed and went back to sleep, the dream carried on from where it left off.

It was totally astonishing and I would love to know what has been going on in the back of my mind somewhere that has made it come up with all of this. It’s quite unnerving for some reason and has put me right off my stroke. I shan’t be feeling myself for a good week or so …“and quite right too” – ed

Surreal was not the word.

..

Friday 3rd June 2011 – TODAY WAS SOMETHING …

… like a bad start

A blasted tractor wanted to get into the field across the entrance to which I was parked. First time for 50 years I reckoned, judging by the looks of the gate and the track down there, and it had to be today of course

And so I removed myself to another spec and set about tidying up Caliburn.

However I was interrupted by a phone call, and what a pleasant surprise this was.

Back 100 years ago when I had my taxis there was a girl who used to work for me on Saturdays answering the phone and so on to earn some pocket money. She used to draw the images for me for the humorous remarks that I made.

After I sold up, we kept in touch for a short while but then we lost touch with each other. Anyway, to cut a long story short … "hooray" – ed … these Social Networks have a lot to answer for and she has tracked me down.

She’s now working as the Financial Controller for a Renewable Energy Company in Newcastle-under-Lyme and she reckons that it might be a profitable encounter for all of us if we (me, she and her boss) were to meet up sometime for a chat.

Apart from that, it would be so nice to meet her again after all these years, and I am really looking forward to that of course.

I could do with a few profitable encounters, the way things are right now. It’s been a long time since I had any … "last night?" – ed … and so we are all going for coffee next Thursday afternoon

I’ve also been house-hunting for Percy Penguin this afternoon and it’s just like Belgium here
“Didn’t you see anything suitable in our window?”
“Well, if I saw anything interesting in your window there wouldn’t be any point at all in you working here, would there?

And with an attitude like that you may as well p155 off home because you won’t be in business for long”.

It seems that even with a substantial amount of cash at stake, there are still far too many people who cant be asked to stop talking and stop drinking coffee to deal with any customers.

No wonder the UK is going broke.

Thursday 2nd June 2011 – I FOUND A …

caliburn overnight parking poplar motors lymm cheshire uk… lovely place to kip last night. A bit of old abandoned road near the Poplar Motors Cafe near Lymm on the edge of the M6.

Another one of those places that is totally deserted at night but when you wake up in the morning it’s swamped out with car-sharers.

And I had quite an early start this morning. Thanks for the text, Percy Penguin

With my early start it wasn’t long before I ended up on Trafford Park at Screwfix and Toolstation – my catalogues are out of date and need replacing.

And then round to Maccess – the auto-spars wholesalers – for some car bits (I still have my trade card for there from when I had my taxis).

Maccess has gone right downhill but I managed to spend £220 there all the same, including the new brake pads that I need for Caliburn (the guy at the MoT station said that they were down).

From there I sped along the M62 to St Helens to my storage unit. I’ve emptied that out and closed it down now.

A quick nip across the yard to Elite Workwear to order some more shirts with logos as the ones I have are getting a little shabby and I need some new stuff. It’s a reasonable quality, reasonable price and stops me worrying about what I’m going to be wearing.

Next stop was IKEA at Burtonwood but there was nothing really of interest there and so I went to the B&Q Superstore at Ashton-in-Makerfield for Caliburn’s suspended floor.

Here I really struck it lucky.

It seems that there was a salesman there from the B&Q Trade Counter working on a commission basis and short of his targets for trade customers. And the advantage of having corporate clothing and the like is that I actually look like a tradesman (which is, after all, the aim of it).

He asked for two proofs of identity which of course I don’t have, but one of the advantages of having a fully-signwritten van like Caliburn is that it looks kosher, no matter what the reality might or might not be, and that was the aim of that as well.

For the second piece of identity, which needed to be proof of a business address, did I not have in Caliburn the lease of my 1 cubic metre of mailbox in Stoke on Trent that I signed yesterday?

And so with a salesman desperately seeking a target figure and willing to turn something of a blind eye to the finer points of the paperwork, I now have a B&Q Trade Card, and you can’t knock that.

Especially as one of the reasons that I am here is to buy 5 glazed interior doors like the one into my little attic (that came from B&Q a few years ago).

I really can’t emphasise this enough – a van isn’t simply a means of transporting goods and possessions around – it’s 15 square metres of mobile advertising space and if you are in any kind of business you should make the most if it.

I reckon that over half of whatever it is that I have done has come due to the £250 I spent in having Caliburn signwritten.

And so to Crewe – and it seems that my house in Gainsborough Road needs a total rewire as the cabling is falling to bits. No surprise there – I bought the house in 1981 and the only attention that the wiring has had since then has been the couple of extra sockets that I added.

Actually, it’s probably them that need replacement – I didn’t have a clue what I was doing in those days … “and today?” – ed.

The estate agents also tell me that they had to replace the carpets on the ground floor as they were all threadbare. “Not to worry” I replied. “They were there when I bought the place in 1981” – which brought the house down.

“Well, you’ve had your money’s worth there then” said the agent.

After shopping at the new Morrison’s at Crewe, next stop was to rescue Percy Penguin, who couldn’t get home after work, and give her some personal attention.

And that was that. Here I am on Sandbach Services with a new mega-fast high-speed interent connection, and free too, thanks to Roadchef Services and BT Openlink.

I’m off to bed in a minute, if I can think of somewhere handy to sleep.

Tuesday 22nd June 2010 – It was 19:04 when I knocked off this evening.

barn wood beams chevrons xylophene wood treatment les guis virlet puy de dome franceBut I’ve been having a temendous amount of fun.

This afternoon I’ve been painting the woodwork for the barn roof with some xylophene – the stuff that kills all the beasties and so on that try to infest it. I’ve done about half so far – enough to do one side of the roof. That’ll do to get me started once we have the scaffolding.

It’s quite easy to spread the stuff on the wood too. It’s quite thin so it goes on really easily and quickly with a paint roller.

But this morning was even better. The starter had gone on Bill’s car and he has a similar car for spares so I went round there, took the starter off the scrap car and swapped it with the duff one. It took a while to do it as you have to move all kinds of hoses and filters and so on and I ended up covered to my armpits in old and dirty oil but it was just like old times when I had my taxis. Hardly a week went by without me having to change a starter or an alternator and strangely enough I used to enjoy it.

But the enthusiasm has started to fire up my imagination. When the roof is on the barn and I’ve disposed of the body off the caravan I’m going to set up a decent workshop in the barn. I’ll resurrect my old gas-welding gear, get some oxygen and acetylene bottles, buy an engine crane and rescue all my decent tools from Brussels.

And then I’m going to have some fun.

Monday 26th April 2010 – It was another good day today

And I didn’t miss any of it really seeing as how I had another early morning phone call. So having dealt with that and having breakfasted I then missed almost all of the decent weather by having to come up here to work. It seems that our guest for this month’s radio programmes has gone AWOL and it’s too late to arrange for anyone else.

So I had to have a rummage around in the darkened corners of my mind and I’ve come up with a lively topic – FURTHER EDUCATION. Liz and I can talk about that for hours as we both have experience of it. And with people desperate to fill in their spare time it seemed to be a good option.

There are four categories too, which will fit in nicely with the four weeks –

  1. GCSEs and A Levels
  2. Higher Education
  3. Vocational training
  4. Learning for Pleasure

and so I have been researching.

I had a break for a few hours and did some more unloading of Caliburn. You can’t move up here for stuff now. I had a rummage through the tools that were in the LDV and remade the toolbox contents in Caliburn with the best of the stuff. When I had my taxis 25 years ago I used my tools an awful lot – hardly surprising given the cars that I had, and many of those tools from those days had found their way into the mobile toolbox. And strange as it is to say it, just feeling those tools and feeling just how comfortably they fitted into my hands again  – it was just like meeting up with good old friends.

Normally I don’t go in for the pretentious prose and garbage and that kind of thing, but it really was something extraordinary.

But on the subject of vocational training I met Elodie at the football. She’s quite cute and I have a soft spot for her. I hadn’t seen her on the tills at Auchan for a while, and she told me she had left and was now back in full-time education. One of the courses she is taking is in shorthand-typing and having learnt of Terry’s injury, she suggested that it might be a career opportunity for him.

Wednesday 3rd March 2010 – I didn’t get as much done today …

old cars ford cortina mercedes 240d w123 les guis virlet puy de dome france… as I was planning to. First thing I did was to put the battery on charge for the Escort and while that was brewing away I carried on down in the field where my garden will be.

It was quite a reasonable day this morning and so I cracked on, and I managed to uncover the scrap Cortina and the W123 Merc. Of course, the Cortina will never go anywhere much under its own steam. It was built in 1980 and spent its entire working life on a salt mine and by the time it was scrapped in 1994 it was rotten in places that Cortinas don’t even have places. It was driven through the night from Middlewich to Brussels in 1995 and since then it’s been moved around Europe on a towing dolly or an A frame, finally coming to rest down my field in 2000.

old cars ford transit les guis virlet puy de dome franceIts purpose is the provide spare parts for XCL – the Cortina Mark V estate that was my pride and joy for many years and which is languishing in a lockup garage in Montaigut. XCL has many happy memories for me – that was the car in which I came over to Belgium from the UK in 1993 with all my worldy goods in the back and for a few years we drove for tens of thousands of trouble-free miles all over Europe.

The Merc on the other hand has another significant memory for me. I was stuck without a reliable car after the Senator and I parted company in 1997 and I had to go to the UK to pick up a caravan for down here (the one that I lived in and was trashed by rats). A lovely girl called Annette from Guyana or Trinidad or somewhere like that and worked in the Guyanan or Trinidad embassy in Brussels wanted to go to visit the UK for a while too on a kind-of conducted tour so a decent car was essential if I were to take her. So I mentioned to a friend that I was looking for something respectable and he produced the Merc. And I had a lovely week in the company of Annette all around the UK. She really was a lovely girl and I was quite upset when she was transferred back home to the Caribbean.

We had a torrential rainstorm this afternoon so I decided to take the towing dolly (which you can see in this photo with the Subaru that Ric and Julie gave me being towed by the old LDV back in 2001) round to Bill’s. He has an old car he needs to remove from off the public highway. I got round there and asked him when he planned to move the car, to which his response was “well we could do it now if you’re free“. No straps, no chains, no anything, but so what?

We winched the Rover on board and with nothing to hold it on I set off to turn round. First bump in the road the Rover bounced out of the wheel traps and the car’s towing eye wedged up against the dolly’s mounting bracket. So when we finally got everything into position where Bill wanted the Rover to be, I had to jack the car out of its position with a trolley jack, two axle stands and a huge pile of blocks of wood. And all the time it was teeming down with rain.

It was just like old times when I had my taxi business back in the 1980s, doing crazy things with old cars in torrential downpours. I was soaked to the skin and I took ages to dry out afterwards. I’m trying my best to get warm now before I go down with pleurisy or something.

Saturday 13th February 2010 – I must have been tired last night.

Crashing out for a couple of hours and then going to bed early and then sleeping through the cacophony that is my series of alarm clocks and not waking up until 10:24. At least I’m feeling better though today. I think it must be all of these bad nights of sleep catching up on me.

This morning that strange gold thing put in a brief appearance up in the sky so I quickly climbed up onto the roof and brushed off the solar panels. I caught a few amp-hours of sun before the heavens clouded over again. But I also dug Caliburn out of his snowdrift and went for a spin up the lane to see if I could get out. Good job I have my new snow tyres because I did manage to make the public highway with a little bit of luck and perseverence. A wise decision to get these tyres, I’ll tell you.

So with a little tidying up I came up here and carried on reading my book. It’s called The 91 before Lindberghand it details all of the successful Transatlantic air crossings before “The Flying Fool”. It’s a fascinating book, especially for me, because as you know I have quite an interest in historic aviation and on one occasion while poking around on an old industrial estate on Long Island I came across a replica of the “Spirit of St Louis” and I had the extreme pleasure of being able to sit at the controls.

Furthermore the book recounts the early airship developments for Transatlantic flight that took place at Atlantic City in New Jersey – another place that I have visited – and then goes on to talk about the legendary near-miss between an airship and a four-masted schooner at Barnegat Lighthouse, yet another one of my haunts.

After that, seeing as there was a gap in the snowfall I went into St Eloy to do some shopping and pick up some gas. I was going to say “nip” into St Eloy but in third gear at 25mph all the way then “nip” it was not. It was an awkward drive but I managed okay and I’m now stocked well up for whatever else this weather can throw at us.

In other news, it’s the 25th anniversary round about now of an event that could have got Nerina and yours truly five years inside without the option. We’d seen a house that we liked and so we put Gainsborough Road on sale and priced it for a quick conclusion. Unfortunately the owners of our dream house wouldn’t reduce the price by very much and the only offers we were getting for Gainsborough Road would have left us with a shortfall.

Now you might think that a mortgage or a bank loan would be the answer but we were both self-employed running my taxi business. And with taxi businesses being what they call “cash businesses” the cash had a tendency to … errr … evaporate long before it made its way into the accounts so the accounts only bore what might be described as “a passing resemblance” to the true state of affairs of our business. We could easily afford the kind of loan that we needed but the accounts didn’t seem to bear it out.

So what we did was that we scratched around for work – any kind of work at any price and it didn’t matter at all if we were never ever going to be paid to do it as long as it looked good on paper – and heaved it into the accounts of the taxi business. It vastly inflated our “recorded” turnover and made everything look so impressive. So much so that the Bank loved our figures and started to heave huge wads of cash at us.

Luckily – and I mean luckily – the chain collapsed. The house we were interested in was taken off the market and so we took mine off and handed the cash back. And why “luckily”? For the simple reason that going to dubious, if not spurious means to inflate your company’s turnover for the purpose of getting an additional loan from a bank or a building society almost inevitably guarantees you a one-way ticket to Shrewsbury nick (or in Nerina’s case, Styal) because sooner or later your little fraud and deception will be uncovered.

Running my taxi business for eight years taught me an awful lot and many of the things that I learnt I would have been better off not knowing. But then again what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I had a few incredibly lucky escapes. When I realised all of the risks that I had been running it completely spoiled my appetite for nefarious activities and I certainly wouldn’t do it again. It’s not something that I would advise anyone else to do. If you need to go to these lengths to support your lifestyle then you need to change your lifestyle to one that you can support and if you can’t do that on your own then you need to find professional help.