25th October 2017

There aren’t many significant dates in my life, my boy’s birthdays spring to mind, but other than that not a lot really. The 25th October 2017 is now definitely one of them. It marked the culmination of a journey which began 5 years, 3 months and 2 weeks previously. On this journey I have travelled over 10,000 miles and, certainly over the past 3 years, spent 25 hours minimum per week in pursuit of any Knowledge boy or girl’s Holy Grail. Actually I’m still not there yet. I’ve got another Appearance where I need to learn around 128 runs of the suburbs, pass another medical and get an enhanced CRB check. I’ll also need to pass a Black Cab driving test, but the bulk of my toils are now behind me.

You know, I found the whole thing of passing my Rec a bit surreal. I remember Mr Harvey walking round the desk to shake my hand. He handed over a pile of papers and spoke for a while about what I need to do next. I can barely remember a word he said. I got some more papers from the gent behind the desk and then walked out onto Chancel Street. It was a genuinely beautiful day for this time of year but my exit was no different than my 30 odd other exits. Well, what did I expect, a marching band backed by a huge crowd all clapping and cheering! I made my way over to the points collectors and told them my runs. They asked, ‘Is this your 21s?’ and I replied ‘Yes, well sort of – it’s my Rec.’. They very kindly, congratulated me and I thanked them. I then got my phone out and went on WhatsApp to tell all the guys and girls back at KIP (my Knowledge school) that I’d done it. Straight away, my phone started pinging. Most people appreciate that passing the Knowledge is one hell of a feat, but Knowledge boys and girls know it first-hand, and the reaction of those people was truly wonderful.

I’m so sorry, I should have told you all what I was asked, here goes:

Battersea Evolution to Green Hut NW8

Vauxhall Tower to New Row

Sporting Page PH to Admiral Codrington PH

02 Forum to Paddington Fire Station

So, the night before this, I’d been calling over with Ian and Mick D and they’d very selflessly allowed me to be in the chair all night and I called all the 21s and Recs on the sheet. I know self-praise is no praise, but I was on fire. Now, I might come across on this blog as being pretty confident, I can’t promise you enough – I’m not. When I was called in, I think I was more petrified than I have ever been on an App. I managed to drop 12 points only to remember most of them as I was calling the run. Mercifully, my lines were good. You know, the morning before every Appearance, I’ve always tried to do a bit of cramming beforehand and never get asked a thing. On this morning I decided to call Mr Harvey’s banker from the Sporting Page as I was a bit rusty on it. What a time for your cramming to pay off, I scored 10/10 for that one and 25/40 in total and scored, yet again, another borderline C.

Throughout my 34 Appearances, I have never scored anything other than a C or D. It’s probably the equivalent of having a 20 year career in the Army and never rising above the rank of Private. I can’t imagine that next time they are recruiting for another examiner, anyone will be hammering on my door. I’d be too soft anyway. I don’t know if any of you remember the comedy ‘Porridge’ – I’d be the Mr Barraclough of examiners. ‘You know, when I asked for Strand to Buckingham Palace, I wasn’t really expecting you to go via Clapham High St. But I can see you’re trying, so there’s an A.’

Anyway a couple of weeks after passing my Rec, I think it’s finally sunk in, and it’s absolutely great. About 3 years ago I decided to get up an hour early to call my Blue Books, so at least the most tedious part of this was then out of the way. I hadn’t really realised just how much the K takes over your life, it does get to the stage where every spare moment is used to get more Knowledge in your head, and even though I’m now doing the suburbs, it’s not even nearly as intense.

Some people have asked me what advice I would give to anyone studying the Knowledge and for what it’s worth, here’s what I’d say:

Call your Blue Books every day, including weekends, and take them on holiday with you – honestly. I don’t know how many times I’ve been sat in the chair and I’ve had to rely on them because I couldn’t see anything.

Call Mr Thomas’s bankers. They are different for each stage, but you may well find yourself going in and out of them on runs you get asked by other examiners, and some of the other examiners quite often ask lines which are similar.

Call Mr Wilkins bankers and go and run them, most of them aren’t that long. Don’t forget to do some serious pointing at the start and finish as he changes the points sometimes.

I’m bound to say this – call Mr Harvey’s no lights runs.

Keep up to date with what is on at the West End Theatres.

Join a Knowledge School and call P2P from the daily sheets every night if you can. Try call over with different people – you should be learning something new every time.

I found the Wizann Missing Pieces for central London great.

The bottom line is that you will only ever get asked a fraction of what you know and our subject is vast, so anything is good. It can be frustrating that we have to unlearn some things (Bank Junction!) but that’s just part of the K.

Before I go I wanted to give my score card by examiner. Some of these scores may surprise you. For clarity, when I’ve scored, I’ve called that column ‘Us’ as I’m guessing you’re all on my side, and when I got a D, I’ve called it ‘Them’ (Booooo!)

Us Them
Mr Accrill 1 1
Ma’am Ayers 3 1
Ma’am Chennels 1 0
Ma’am Gerald 2 1
Mr Gunning 0 2
Mr Harvey 2 0
Mr McDowell 0 2
Mr Shaw 1 0
Mr Swire 4 2
Mr Thomas 1 2
Mr Whitehead 1 4
Mr Wilkin 1 2
       

So there you have it. As ever, a huge thanks for reading and Be Lucky.

 

Image result for library quiet please

 

Back, by popular demand (Mine LOL), is the Dave Bad Joke section. In fact, this may even help you on the road to your badge. Next time an examiner asks you to name 10 libraries and you can only think of 6, you can say ‘I’m really sorry Sir/Ma’am, but I can’t think of any more, but I do know this joke………..’

 

This bloke walks into a library and he goes up to the girl behind the counter and says,

‘Can I have a pint of Guinness and a bag of dry roasted please?’

The girl behind the counter looks at him incredulously and says,

‘But this is a library!’

He goes, ‘Oh I’m sorry.’ And then very quietly he whispers,

‘Can I have a pint of Guinness and a bag of dry roasted please?’

 

Sorry!

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I’ve Done It!

Just a quick update to let you all know I scored a C with Mr Harvey today and passed my Rec. Its now 8.30pm and I’m off to the pub. Update to follow.

 

Be Lucky people

 

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More 21s

The 2nd week in September saw me arrive at Chancel Street for my 5th Appearance at Stage 5 (21s), and I was asked:

Willesden Magistrates Court to LAMDA

Z Piccadilly Hotel to Princess Grace Hospital

Helsinki Square to Inverness Terrace

Homerton Hospital to Great Ormond Street Hospital

 

On the 1st run I’ve dropped Hammersmith Magistrates Court – this threw me a bit as I’ve always known it as West London, although on reflection I should have guessed that. Anyway I totally stuttered my way through this, missed out Brook Green when coming down Shepherds Bush Road and got a street name wrong somewhere – 4/10.

With the 2nd run, I’ve dropped the Latvia Embassy and I couldn’t place Luxborough St. I hadn’t pointed the Z Piccadilly (although I have since, LOR Orange St, 1st left Oxenden Street). The Examiner told me at the end that he wasn’t impressed with ‘Leave by’ and along with going pretty wide as I’ve left by Charing Cross Road, I got 5/10 for that one.

The 3rd run saw me score a 6/10, and I’m really struggling to score now, needing 9/10 for the last one.

I couldn’t remember Wardle Street at the start, and although the line wasn’t terrible, it could have been better. The Examiner went on to say that I had made some fundamental errors in each of my runs and that I need to get this sorted. He went on to say that he was giving me the benefit of the doubt and gave me 9/10, and a C. I was elated, and made a mental note that I need to raise my game even further.

A rather overcast day at the start of October was what greeted me on the way to my 6th Appearance at this stage, and I was asked:

London Edition Hotel to Queens Park Station

Sanderson Hotel to Waterloo East Theatre

Pembroke Square to London Bridge Hospital

Stephen Lawrence Centre to Southwark Playhouse

The first run follows a couple of BBs very much and I’ve cocked it up, although, very unusual at this stage, the examiner let me run it again. Mercifully. I’ve got it right at the 2nd attempt, and I’ve got a 5/10.

I can’t even tell you what I did on the next run, but I’ve been given a fabulously generous 5/10. There’s still a chance that I can pull this one out of the bag.

I knew on the 3rd run that you can’t get further than Great Guildford St when going west on Union St as I was there a couple of weeks previously, it’s now a Boris bike station. So I managed to call the line with only 1 incorrect street name and I’ve scored 9/10 and I’m now on 19 points and need just 5 from my last run to score.

I remember checking out the Elephant and Castle Junction after all the changes were made and made a mental note that you couldn’t get Newington Causeway when approaching from New Kent Rd. As a consequence I got to the Bricklayers Arms roundabout and went up Great Dover Street, L Borough High Street, F Newington Causeway. It wasn’t at all pretty but it got me a 8/10 and 27/40 and a C! I’m at 3 – 3 on my 21s and my next Appearance will see me sitting my Requisition (Rec).

I said I would try to update my blog before that and I have. My Rec is tomorrow afternoon.

This will be the most important exam of my life. To quantify that, I have sat many exams and I’m not a young man. Every time I enter the exam centre, I always fear that I haven’t done enough. All I can hope this time is that I’m not asked something which I haven’t revised recently.

I will update this blog regardless of the outcome. I shall also endeavour to reintroduce some crap jokes unless I get an outpouring of requests suggesting I don’t bother LOL.

Be Lucky people, and thanks for reading.

 

 

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It’s the 21s

Massive apologies for not doing an update for so long, I promise you I really have been busy

Anyhow, I started a new job in April which meant I couldn’t book another Appearance until the end of May. I was asked:

St Georges Cathedral to Moscow Road

Prince of Wales Theatre to Sisters Ave

Scotland Yard to Holborn Police Station

On the first run I managed to drop 7 churches including the German Protestant Church and the Chinese Protestant Church. I did manage to get 3/10 for the actual line.

For the 2nd run I dropped 8 theatres in places such as Peckham and Hackney and scored 2/10 for the run.

At this point, I was everywhere. There is no 3rd run as I dropped all 10 points.

For the last run, remarkably no points dropped and I’ve scored a highly insignificant 8/10, and 13/40 in total.

Welcome to your 21s Lad. I think we should move onto the next one.

 

My next Appearance was the middle of June and I met this Examiner for the first time. Here’s what I was asked:

Piano Lane to Trinity Gardens

Streatham Wine House to Marks and Spencer Pantheon

Morley College to Pineapple PH

Essex Road Station to Arsenal Station (No Highbury Corner, No Highbury Park)

 

I think there’s not much point in going into these runs as I scored 0/10, 0/10, 0/10 and 4/10. A grand total of 4/40, my worst mark by far. What this drove home to me was that going to Knowledge school once a week and half-heartedly calling over on my own the rest of the time wasn’t going to cut any ice with anyone. I have come too far and invested too much time to blow this now.

With this renewed vigour and commitment, I strode back to Chancel Street on a beautiful day in the middle of July, where I was asked:

Earlsfield Station to Gypsy Hill Station

Gypsy Hill Station to Maze Hill Station

Maze Hill Station to Lee Bridge Station

Lee Bridge Station to Golders Green Station

The Examiner explained that she was going to ask big points on long runs which basically run just inside the perimeter of the six mile radius. It was a tough ask, but on the plus side I didn’t drop any points!

After thinking about the first run, I realised that I could stitch 3 Blue Book runs together here. Firstly from Garrett Lane take the BB to Bedford Hill, then the latter part of the BB to Norwood High Street and finally the latter part of the BB to Dulwich Wood Park but going right into Gypsy Hill. That got me 7/10

The second, I used the BBs to Crofton Park and Lewisham Stations and the reverse of the BB which starts at Greenwich Market and improvised the last bit. Not pretty, but still a 7/10.

For the third, I decided that the Blackwall Tunnel looks good, the up all the way to Eastway, Orient Way and forward onto Argall way. Another 7/10.

I need 3 points to score now, and I’ve seen that if I can get to Cazenove Road, I can run the BB to Malden Road, coming off before the end and improvising the route to Golders Green. I may have gone a bit off on this but still I’ve managed a 6/10. That’s 27/40 and I’ve scored.

The Examiner was very encouraging after this and explained that it wasn’t perfect, but she felt she could justify a score. I’m off the mark and I’m elated.

 

At my job, the holidays are really quite restrictive, so my next Appearance isn’t until the middle of August. The questions were:

Kennington Station (Leave on Left) to Pineapple PH (SDOL) (No Elephant and Castle, No Lambeth Road)

Elephant and Castle Overground to Haberdasher Askes Girls School (No Walworth Road)

Honor Oak Park Station to Rectory Road Station (SDOL)

Embankment Gardens to Bulgari Hotel (No Sloane Square or Sloane Street)

The first line has really thrown me and all I can see is going down to the Oval and coming back up to Westminster Bridge Rd, R Upper Marsh, L Royal St, F Centaur St and R into Hercules Road. I’ve dropped 5 for going wide, 2 for wrong street names and 2 for hesitation. I know it was a crap line, but a piece of advice I had when I started was ‘Never tell an examiner that you can’t get them there’.

For the next line I’ve got to E & C junction and left by Newington Butts then Kennington Pk Rd and totally missed Kennington Pk Place and have taken a very wide line to get to John Ruskin St and then onto Old Kent Rd. Then Pomeroy St, Lausanne, Gellatly, Arbuthnot (which I couldn’t remember) and Jerningham. 4 points dropped for going wide, 1 for forgetting Arbuthnot and 1 for hesitation. 4/10 and I’ve improved my first score fourfold.

Even though I’m pretty sure at this stage that I’m not going to score, I’m determined to make a better fist of it than I did the last time I saw this examiner. So, the next line I’ve made my way up to the Rotherhithe Tunnel then got to Cambridge Heath Rd, Mare St, Amhurst Rd, Rectory Rd, Manse Rd and Evering Rd. This was quite a long run and I kept it big, so I’ve dropped 3 for going wide, 1 for hesitation. 6/10.

I dropped 159 Knightsbridge and another point there because although I guessed Knightsbridge, I didn’t want to get a zero for not knowing where to drop. I need to tell you all this line as I’m dead chuffed with it. So from Embankment Gardens, I’ve gone Tite St, Tedworth Square (forgot the name!), St Leonards Terrace, Wimpole St, Anderson St, Draycott Place, Cadogan Gdns, Cadogan Square, Pont Street, Beauchamp Place and then panicked, I can’t do a right. Quick as a flash (not really) I went L Brompton Rd, Brompton Square, Brompton Rd, Montpellier St, Montpellier Square, Trevor Place, Knightsbridge and set down on the right. 2 points dropped for not knowing the points, 2 for incorrect street names and 2 for hesitation, and, get this – ZERO points dropped for going wide. So I’ve got 4/10 for that and 15/40 in total.

This examiner, who is known to be tough, had some very encouraging words to say at the end, and I left the room feeling really quite good about myself.

So, that leaves me at 1-3 down in August. As I write it is now 6.40pm on a Saturday night and I was on the map at 7.30 this morning. I now intend to write out my points ramble for an early start tomorrow. I shall try to write up my latest 2 Appearances very soon. Thanks for reading and Be Lucky.

 

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Meanwhile…. back at Chancel Street

A very pleasant day at the start of February was the setting for fifth 28 day Appearance and I was asked these questions:

Capper Street to National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery

Bakers Hall to Mitre Square

Bow Registry Office to Patriot Square

Hyde Park Square to Queens Gardens

 

Before I’ve started I’ve managed to drop 4 points including the Macmillan Cancer Centre and I’ve gone Huntley Street, Torrington Place, Gower Street… L New Oxford Street…. L Old Gloucester Street, Comply Queen Square SDOL. I’ve also managed to call 2 wrong Street names and scored 4/10 – disappointing start.

Now on the next run, I knew that Lime Street, Fenchurch Avenue etc has been closed for ages, so I’ve decided to avoid that route. (BTW it’s all open again now, I checked that weekend). This time I’ve opted for LOL Harp Lane, Cross Lane, St Dunstens Hill, Eastcheap, Philpot Lane, Fenchurch St, Gracechurch St and even though I knew it was illegal, I went right on Leadenhall St.

What a plonker am I! The examiner stopped me right there and was none too pleased with that manoeuvre. I hadn’t dropped any points on this run, and this was a great chance to make up a few points – 0/10 and 16 points dropped on my first 2 runs. It’s now a very big ask indeed.

Four points dropped on the next run and even though the line was ok, I’m sure now that I’m staring a D in the face. I kept this big and went Bow Rd, Grove Rd, Roman Rd, Cambridge Heath Rd and R into Patriot Sq. 6/10

On the last run, I’ve continued the theme of haemorrhaging points and dropped another 5. Coupled with a crap line I’ve scored 3/10 13/40 and another D.

This could have been my drop to 21s and I’ve walked out feeling like a crass amateur. The guys and girls back at the school were, and always are, very supportive. We have a philosophy when we don’t score – ‘Bag it, bin it and move on!’….

 

…. Which brings me to my next Appearance in the first week of March. Here’s what I was asked:

Rainville Rd to North Dulwich Station

Petty Wales to Bayswater Station

Rainbow Sports Bar to Snowfields

Watergate to Watergate St

No points dropped here and as the first line is rather long, here’s the gist of it. I left Rainville Rd and made my wat to Battersea Bridge, then along Clapham Common North Side… Acre Lane… Effra Rd… Dulwich Rd… Half Moon Lane and L into Red Post Hill and SDOR. It’s a while since I pointed North Dulwich Station and when I did I failed to notice that you can’t drop it on the right. 0/10

I managed to drop Water Lane on the second run, for crying out loud. Anyway I’ve gone along the river and turned right at Temple Place, then made my way up to Oxford St via Soho then the straight forward line to Queensway. This is Mayfair all day so another 2 points dropped and a 7/10 – all to play for still.

Run number 3, I went straight over London Bridge then Borough High St… Long Lane… Bermondsey St and Snowfields. A point dropped for hesitation and another because I think the examiner was looking for Weston St – Happy days 8/10.

For the final run I’ve done an illegal right at the start and I’m sorry but I’m too embarrassed to tell you what it is. Anyway the rest of the run was pretty good and the examiner said to me, ‘I’m sorry but there was a bit of noise at the start of that, would you call it again please?’ – he was giving me a chance but this was far too subtle for me to comprehend and I called the illegal again, FFS. 0/10, 15/40 in total.

This was my 2nd chance to get my drop to 21s and I’m at 3-3 and looking at getting red lined, somewhere I really didn’t want to be. I have, however got one more chance.

 

An utterly beautiful day at the start of April greeted me for the 7th stab at my 28s. I was asked the following:

Pickfords Wharf to Debruin Court

Laburnham Boat Club to Curfew Rowing Club

Auriol Rowing Club to London Wetlands Centre

Cygnet Rowing Club to Corinthian Sailing Club

 

On the first run I’ve dropped 5 points including Islington Boat Club and Regents Canoe Club. The line I took was City Rd…. Commercial Rd… Limehouse Link… Westferry Rd and R into Ferry St. After dropping 5 points I’m elated to have scored 5/10 for that one.

The next run I’ve dropped no points and basically stitched 2 Blue Book runs together (Cambridge Heath Stn to Mudchute Stn and Beaumont Sq to Cannon Wharf Business Park) and gone via Rotherhithe tunnel. I have to suppose that this was what the Examiner was looking for as I scored 10/10!

On the third run I’ve dropped 4 points on Queen Elizabeth Walk. The Examiner kept saying SW13 after each point and, like a plank, I’m giving him destinations in Putney (SW15). Anyway apart from forgetting Mall Rd (when I left I said ‘Leave by forward and right Rutland Grove’, hoping he wouldn’t notice – well he did!), I seem to have pulled another good line and that’s 5/10.

So going into the last run I need 4 points. I didn’t drop any points and it’s a banker. Well peeps, apart from calling Riverside Dr Riverdale Rd, I’ve called it spot on and scored 9/10.

Now, I’ve had well over 20 Appearances and I don’t know if I’ve done enough here. The Examiner spoke for what seemed an eternity before he handed me back my card and said ‘We’ll see you again in 21 days time.’ 29/40 points and 4 – 3 on Appearances and I’m on my 21s. I couldn’t stop thanking the Examiner. I’m sure he must have been on the brink of just telling me to go! I then made my way back to London Bridge Station walking several feet above the pavement!

 

Image result for cartoon labrador

One of the guys at our Knowledge School posted this on our Whatsapp group about 3 weeks ago and I’m still laughing at it now. Enjoy!

A man sees a sign outside a house – ‘Talking Dog For Sale.’ He rings the bell, the owner appears and tells him the dog can be viewed in the back garden. The man sees a very nice looking Labrador Retriever sitting there.

“Do you really talk?” he asks the dog.

“Yes,” the Labrador replies.

After recovering from the shock of hearing the dog talk, the man asks, “So, tell me your story.”

The Labrador looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I was sold to the SAS.  In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one imagined that a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years”.

“But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at Heathrow Airport to do some undercover security work, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in.  I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded several medals”.

“Then I got married, had a few puppies, and now I’ve just retired.”

The man is amazed.  He goes back into the house and asks the owner how much he wants for the dog. “Ten quid,” the owner says. “£10!!? But your dog is absolutely amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheaply?”

“Because he’s a lying b@stard, he’s never been out of the garden.”

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Yet more 28s

A particularly clement morning at the start of November saw me up for my 2nd 28 Day Appearance, and here are the questions:

Peabody Trust to Piccadilly Theatre

Old Dutch Restaurant to Holland Street (Kensington)

All Souls Avenue to 606 Club

West Norwood Station to St James Station

I have seen this Examiner before and he always asks about places I have worked and always knows where they are. He even knew the street of Sheffield Polytechnic, where I went to college. So after dropping Peabody Square but guessing it might be on the Peabody Estate on Southwark Street, he said, ‘There’s a Piccadilly in Manchester, let’s go to Piccadilly Theatre.’ I saw this as Waterloo Bridge and then went a bit low by going down the Strand… Pall Mall… Regent Street… Glasshouse St… Sherwood St and left into Denman St. So 1 point dropped for not knowing Peabody Square and 2 for going low – 7/10 and I’m well happy with that.

Next up I’ve taken this one down Shaftesbury Ave… Haymarket… Piccadilly and south of the park when it’s north and possibly through the park. 2 points dropped for not being direct and another 1 for a wrong street name – another 7/10.

The third run I’ve got myself down to Holland Park roundabout and instead of Holland Rd/Warwick Gdns/Earls Court Rd. I’ve lost my bearings and gone Holland Pk Ave/Notting Hill Gate/Campden Hill Rd only to come back on myself to redeem the line on Earls Court Rd. Bit of a clanger, that one – 6/10.

I made quite heavy work of the last line and eventually took this over Lambeth Bridge and then a rather convoluted route to Broadway. Remarkably I got another 7/10. That’s 27/40 and a C for this Knowledge boy, and I think Christmas has come a little early for me this year.

 

At the start of December 2016, Britain had hit ‘something of a cold snap’ according the weather reports and I was looking at the prospect of having scored on every Appearance within a calendar year. Here’s what I was asked:

Meadway to Trellick Tower

Hilton Riverside to Fellows Rd

St Julians Farm Rd to Young Vic Theatre

Wormwood Scrubs Prison to Gielgud Theatre

The first run should be left via Meadway Gate/Hoop Lane/Finchley Road and for the life of me I couldn’t see it. Sometimes if I think about it, I can rationalise things. Not this time and I’ve left via Holne Chase and Winnington Rd. The line I pulled from there was actually not bad, but the damage had already been done, 5 points dropped and 5/10.

After the first run, I’m now a bit unnerved and I’ve taken this one over Waterloo Bridge… Drury Lane… Tottenham Court Road round the east side of Regents Park and onto Primrose Hill Rd to get Fellows Rd. Wide and a lot of hesitation – 6/10.

I know I’m paying catch up now and managed to score 2/10 on the 3rd run. Dreadful call from me.

On the last run despite dropping 4 points, I’ve scored 6/10 – 19/40 and my first D for over a year.

To be fair, if I would have been offered 6 Cs and 1 D for my next 7 Appearances I would have snapped your hand off, and a year after getting knocked back to the start of my 56s, I’m 2-1 up on my 28s. I have pulled my finger out and I’m genuinely happy with at where I’m at.

 

With 2017 now upon us, the first week in January saw me continue with my 28s. I was asked the following:

Royal Inn on the Park to Novotel Waterloo

Ciao Bella to Hurlingham Club

Tonga High Commission to Bloomsbury Ambulance Station

Grant Zoology Museum to Hollywood Arms PH

This is the first time I have seen this examiner who was very pleasant and made me feel at ease before we began. I really did appreciate this as I had spent the previous 3 days in bed with man flu.

The first run going from NE to SW, I’ve gone Grove Rd/Old Ford Rd… Bethnal Green Rd/Shoreditch High St… over London Bridge and down to Elephant & Castle and the on to Lambeth Rd. Probably should have been Southwark Bridge and with no points dropped I’ve scored 8/10. Happy days.

Next up I’ve left on the right Lamb Conduit St on to Russell Square… Oxford St and through Mayfair and made my way to Kings Rd and the followed the Blue Book to Hurlingham Club. This must have been ok as it’s another 8/10.

The 3rd run is very similar to one of Missing Pieces runs I’ve added to my daily callovers, and I’ve made a right Harry Halls of it. So from Goodge St, I’ve gone Tottenham Court Rd/Chenies St/Gower St then L Torrington Pl. Of course, I’m too low for that and I still can’t believe I did it, but hey. That’s 0/10 and I need an 8/10 for my last run.

Mercifully I’ve dropped no points on the last run although I’ve gone down as far as Princes Circus before opting for Oxford St the via Mayfair to Piccadilly… Knightsbridge/Brompton Rd/Fulham Rd and Hollywood Rd.

For the umpteenth time I’ve scraped through with 24/40 and I’m ecstatic. The idea of slipping back to 2-2 was frightening and 2017 has started like 2016. If I can maintain just a semblance of that scoring, I’ll be well happy.

You know, regardless of the result after an Appearance, I still have a great feeling of relief once it’s over. I’m taking a brief respite from the Knowledge to write this blog. But I know I need to keep being good enough to get through this. As ever peeps, thanks for reading.

 

I know the festive season is now over, but I need to get this one in somehow.

Walking home in SE9 at around 11.45pm on Christmas Eve, the following was heard in the very next street:

“I don’t care what your name is you fat b@stard, get them f*@king reindeer off my roof.”

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The Journey Continues..

A bright sunny day at the start of September saw me looking at getting my drop to 28s again, and here’s what I was asked:

Goldsmith College to Lavender Sweep

Dollis Hill Station to East Acton Station

Boundary Road to Saint John’s Restaurant

Devons Road DLR to Waterworks Centre

The first run is pretty much a Blue Book (New Cross Gate to Clapham Common West Side) and for the most part I ran it pretty well except at the end I went up Cedars Road along Lavender Hill and left into Lavender Sweep which immediately gives you a forced left into Eccles Road. So I’ve dropped a clanger and only dropped 2 points, so that’s a very generous 8/10.

The next one I’ve followed to Blue Book down to Harlesden High Street and then opted for Scrubs Lane and got there via Du Cane Road. Old Oak Common Lane is the best route here so 2 points deducted for that and another 2 for hesitation and a 6/10.

The 3rd run, I’ve dropped the Barsmith Bar and another point on St John’s Street before pulling a duff line to EC1, but still managed to get a very generous 5/10.

So for the last line I need 5 points to score. I’ve managed to drop Lea Bridge Station as I always thought the entrance was on Lea Bridge Road when the Examiner was looking for Argall Way. I started looking at this line by going west and then up Bow Common Lane, but I thought about my options and saw Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach and saw that as a much better line. I have to guess it was, I got 9/10 – 28/40 and I’m back on my 28s.

As before when I got my drop I’m both elated and petrified, although when I woke up the next morning, I thought to myself, ‘Life is pretty good right now’.

 

Exactly 28 days later I’m up for my 1st 28 (Mark #2) and I was given the following:

Kimber Road to My Hotel WC2

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge to Wetlands Centre

Park Plaza County Hall to Highgate Golf Course

Florence Nightingale Museum to Fernlea Road

On the first run I was asked for the Nuffield Health Centre, and I didn’t ask for a postcode as I thought that would be a bit cheeky, so I had a couple of guesses and dropped it. I knew Kimber Road, so I headed up to Clapham Common… Battersea Bridge Road… Prince of Wales Drive, then over Chelsea Bridge, up through Mayfair, then onto Goodge Street, Tottenham Court Road and Chenies Street and came back on myself to get to My Hotel. It was a bit clumsy, and I’m dead chuffed with a 6/10.

These 2 Park Plaza’s over the road from each other always confuse me, so when I left the County Hall one, the examiner advised me, very kindly, that if I carried on I would get a zero. I brought it back and opted to go over Waterloo Bridge, up to Knightsbridge, then Brompton Road etc to Hammersmith and over the bridge there. This was Westminster Bridge all day and maybe even Putney Bridge. Coupled with the clanger I had done at the start, I have no complaints with 4/10.

I left the County Hall one on the left and went over Westminster Bridge, then from Parliament Street through Camden and Highgate, then Hampstead Lane, Stormont Road and Denewood Road. 8/10 and I’m still in with a shout.

Interesting that 3 starting points within spitting distance of each other can produce different lines if the starting point is changed. Anyway, on the last run, I managed to drop Balham Boxing Club and Triangle Place before opting for Ethelbert Street as the option for Fernlea Road. (This gives the left or right option, although Cavendish Road would have been the better choice.) Well, I’ve gone down Lambeth Palace Road… South Lambeth Road… Clapham Road… Bedford Hill, Rossiter Road and Ethelbert Street. With the dropped points I’ve scored 6/10 – 24/40 and a C.

Surprisingly, this wasn’t the best news I had that day. Two hours later my mate was up for his Rec. Read on…

 

I first met Ant some 3 ½ years ago when we were both at the Double K Knowledge School. I’d just been made redundant and had lots of time to spend on the Knowledge and Ant had some spare time so we would go down to the school and call over during the day. He’s a great bloke and I would have happily carried on this arrangement but for the fact I got a contract in Swindon. We kept in touch and on another of my contracts, it turned out that he was working in the same building! I also managed to bang into him at the exam centre when we were both on our 28s.

A few months back he texted me to say that he had joined another school after the KK closed, so I decided to boogie on down with my COP, Mick. I felt this would also be better for Mick as my latest job involves working shifts and I couldn’t always call over. Anyway, on the last of my 56s he and another chap from our school, Chris, were up on the same day. Chris got his Rec that day and Ant went 3 – 2 up on his 21s. I hadn’t realised that they were so close behind me on their Apps and when he texted me to come for a beer, I was already on the train home. I was gutted to not be there.

Exactly 4 weeks later, I’m up for the 1st of my 28s and Ant is up for his Rec. So when I got out, I texted him and his App was early afternoon (mine was 11.20) and he was in Pret where we met up. We chatted about any sort of nonsense and when the time came, we walked down Blackfriars Rd, I shook his hand and told him to ‘Be Lucky’ and went into the Prince William Henry for half a Guinness. I sat outside and puffed away on my vape thingy and realised that I was more nervous for him than I was for myself. I was in constant touch with the guys back at the school via Whatsapp and I think we were all on tenterhooks! I did say that I would have taken a D that day if it meant he passed – I know that sounds like a throwaway line, but I genuinely meant it. This guy has wanted to be a cabbie since he was 19, but his parents talked him into getting a ‘proper’ job. He went into I.T., for God’s sake.

Well I finished my Guinness and made my way to the exam centre (LOL Blackfriars Rd   L Nicholson St   L Chancel St SDOL :o) ). He was in there for what seemed like an eternity. I was pacing up and down Chancel St, puffing away on my vape thingy like an expectant father in the maternity waiting room. I’m sure the Points Collectors must have thought I was a nutter.

Almost an hour after his App started we got a message on Whatsapp – he’d got a ‘C’ from Ma’am Ayers and me and everyone else at the school were elated. It still took him another 10 minutes to walk out and he couldn’t stop smiling. We’d decided before he went in that if he passed we would go to The Ring and if not The Prince William Harry – so we made our way to The Ring. Walking down Chancel St, he went to do a left down Treveris St and when we got to Blackfriars Rd, he started walking north towards the bridge! I think he may have been in shock. So we went to The Ring and were joined by Dave, another guy from the school who got his Rec a few weeks before. Well, we drank, laughed a lot and talked (mostly) bollocks. One thing I did ask Ant in all seriousness was, ‘Did you think that this day would ever come, when you passed your Rec?’, and his honest answer was ‘No’.

Well it did, and so will yours. Be Lucky people.

 

Just as a footnote, in the last couple of months, 5 people from our school have got their Recs, and we’d like others to come and join us. Here are the details:

Knowledge is Power

Upstairs Bar, Running Horses P.H, 23 High St, Erith DA8 1QY

Open from 6pm to 8:30pm Mon to Thurs £15 a month

Ring: Mick 07976 403669 or Dan 07809 669704

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