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?’



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13 Responses to 25th October 2017

  1. Nick says:

    Massive congratulations mate,

    I’ve followed your blog since I started appearances.. you really deserve it! I’ve been out in the cab about 3 weeks now and I know you will absolutely love it!

    Let us know what your first job is and be lucky!

  2. Firstly Nick, very well done mate. Thanks for the kind words. Just working on with the burbs now and looking forward to getting started in my new career, Absolutely, I’ll be back to tell about how things have started.
    Be lucky,

  3. eagle says:

    you dont need to pass any driving black cab test mate , 5 years and just 10k miles on clock ? Thats notking mate , I doing knowledge 2 years , nearly finish (21’s) and got more than 20k miles mate so cant belive you drove just 10k within 5 year , anyway congratulation , suburbs its a piece of cake mate , drive just heatrow runs and learn the rest from book

  4. AMD says:


    Its been an absolute pleasure to read your blog, it’s the only thing that has kept me going! Hope this can be published as so many people would be interested to read your journey and enjoyed it like I have. It doesn’t matter wether its 2 years or 7 years. (ignore the negativity) You have completed something that many people couldn’t do. More respect to you!

    I hope you continue this blog and let us know how your first days/week are out on the road!

    All the best. Be lucky.

    • Hi AMD
      Thanks for the kind words, it’s great to know that someone actually reads this! You know, if this has helped you, then I’m genuinely chuffed. Good luck going forward and remember ‘Tomorrow is a day nearer your badge. Keep on keeping on.’

  5. Ryan says:

    As AMD said earlier please come back and let us know how things are out there on the streets. I have really loved reading your blog mate and thank you for taking the time to write it over the years, very inspiring stuff at times. You are one of the elite who has got that handshake, what you have achieved is something special and whether it takes you 2 or 12 years to complete, you have completed something thousands have tried and failed to do. Hopefully one day i’ll be in those ranks with you
    Best wishes

    • Hi Ryan,
      Other than being a dad, this has undoubtedly been the biggest challenge of my life. Anyone who does the Knowledge will most probably say the same. There will be times when you’ll think, ‘I’ve had enough of this shit.’ and its then when you have to show your mettle. We are a special breed us Knowledge boys and girls and I have no doubt Ryan, that you’ll be in those ranks. Like I said to AMD ‘Tomorrow is a day nearer your badge. Keep on keeping on.’
      Be Lucky mate.

  6. Phil says:

    Congratulations Dave – what a journey. Your blog has always been witty and entertaining, (I’d buy the book!) the BB runs, (and the pubs) the knockback on 56’s, it’s been a really good read.
    I doth my cap sir.
    All the best.

    • Hi Phil
      Thanks for stopping by again. As I’ve always said I’m just chuffed that anyone reads it! I’m making heavy work of the burbs, so I might not be out til the new year, but hey.
      Look after yourself mate and Be Lucky

  7. eagle says:

    As I said before mate, you dont need drive all suburbs runs , drive Heatrow one and learn rest from the book as Thomas Bankers , to make them easier buy suburbs wall map , cost arround £30 , call over every day untill you go on your finalls . All the best mate , I wish I get my REQ soon as well

    • Hi Eagle
      Thanks for stopping by. When you break down the suburbs there are 128 runs. About 50 involve Heathrow. I’ve been there a couple of times more for myself really. I know people who have ran them all and others who ran none. The driving test will be reintroduced when Tfl sort it out and we’ll all need to take it if we haven’t already.
      All the best with the rest of your journey and be lucky.

      • Eagle says:

        Thanks mate . I already get my REQ last monday 🙂 so happy with that , amazing feeling , now just suburbs and all over 🙂 good luck mate and see you out on roads

      • Fabulous news mate – very well done. All I’d say now is don’t hang about in learning your burbs, there’s loads of new roads and roundabouts to get your head round.
        Be very proud of yourself, it’s an incredible achievement 👏👏

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