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