28 Day Appearance #5

 

My next 28 was in the 2nd week of August and here’s what I was asked:

Limehouse Station to Schonfield Square

River Café to Marriott Regents Park

Victoria Station to Arsenal FC

London Zoo to Waterloo Station

 

The great news about the first run was that I didn’t drop any points. I’d only recently got back from my hols and although I was calling my blue books and doing the daily sheets, I’d only taken my map book with me and checking your lines when you’re moving from page 78 to page 32 then page 19 etc isn’t very conducive with a good line. I’m not making excuses but I reckon I’d not done myself any favours with this and instead of seeing Stamford Hill/Manor Road, I’ve seen Green Lanes/ Lordship Park to get to Lordship Road. I’ve gone as wide as Old Street roundabout to get there, however I’ve been fluent and got no street names wrong – 3/10, I’ve lost 70% for going wide.

When travelling diagonally from SW to NE, NW to SE etc I need to stop thinking about going through the parks and actually look at the line. I’ve got to Silverton Road and headed up Lillie Road/Old Brompton Road so I could get through Hyde Park. I’ve also turned down Elsworthy Road and the only way I could see to get to get to King Henrys Road is L Primrose Hill Rd/ L Adelaide Road/L Harley Road and then into King Henrys. Again, I’ve been fluent, dropped no points and got all my street names right – 2/10.

I’m pretty sure at this stage that I’ve got some serious catching up to do. So the 3rd run, I’ve actually called that or something similar quite a few times and I know that I could pull a pretty good line here. Then like a complete plank, I managed not to call Andrew Borde Street at the top of Charing Cross Road, so I’m deemed to have done an illegal – 0/10.

The last line was no points dropped, decent line, fluent and I’ve scored a highly irrelevant 7/10. My worst score to date, 12/40, but more importantly 1 – 4 down and I’m back to the start of my 28s which is a 5 month knockback.

To be fair to the examiner, he was very sympathetic and I have no doubt that being the bearer of bad news really must be the worst part of their job.

I’ll press on regardless, because I have no Plan B for my pension. I spoke to Ian at Knowledge school and he had a lot of encouraging things to say. I don’t suppose I’d really realised that a big part of his job is to pick people up when they get knocked back.

My next Appearance is towards the end of this week and after scoring 5 on the trot, I’ve managed not to score in the last 4. Really need to turn this around.

It’s not that I’m sulking (well I am a bit) but I haven’t got anything funny to say (no change there then!). I’ve avoided being political on this blog, but I think that the biggest threat to our industry has hit us like a tornado in the last couple of years. So much so, that it has become a big issue in the London Mayoral election. A couple of months back LBC devoted a 2 hour programme to this and some very pertinent points were raised, and if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to give my take on them. I’m going from memory here so I hope I get this right!

The first guest up was Steve McNamara of the LTDA. Now apart from his recent faus pas about cyclists, I think he’s very articulate and knowledgeable. The first point he raised was about granting a Private Hire Operating licence to uber by TfL. The rules state that to get one you must have a land line in London. TfL responded by saying that you only need one on the day you apply!!!

It’s also interesting that uber call themselves a technology company, well so are Microsoft but I’ll put my life on it that they don’t hold a Private Hire Operators licence.

He also stated that uber, a firm worth $50 billion, are domiciled in Holland and pay less tax in this country than a School Teacher or a Fireman, yet their drivers are claiming tax credits as they don’t earn enough to pay their rent.

Next up was one of the top guys in Surface Transport at TfL, I’m sorry I can’t remember his name. Well, I’ve got to suppose that this chap is picking up a 6 figure salary, and I was cringing while listening to the radio. He was asked 3 questions which elicited the same reply. The questions were:

‘How many drivers do uber have in London?’

‘Of the 300 Private Hire driver applications TfL are getting every week, how many are driving for uber?’

‘How many Touting Enforcement Officers do TfL employ?’

His response to all 3 questions was ‘I don’t know.’ Good grief, who did his research – Boris?

There were then a couple of Mayoral candidates on including George Galloway, who can’t wait to run uber out of town. With 25,000 cab drivers and their families, it’s going to get votes.

Going off topic briefly, while I’m talking about Mayoral things and perhaps it’s just me, but I would have considered being the elected Mayor of the biggest city in Western Europe was pretty much a full time job. Likewise being an MP. What an incredible being Boris Johnson is to do both, and still have the energy to cycle home and tell Black Cab drivers to ‘F*@k off and die’.                                                                                 http://metro.co.uk/2015/06/18/why-dont-you-f-off-and-die-boris-johnson-in-tasty-exchange-with-cabbie-over-uber-5251241/

Anyway getting back to LBC with Ian Collins in the chair who kept stating throughout the show that uber had been invited to give their side of things and could even come back at a later date to respond to all that has been said. As far as I’m aware they haven’t taken up the offer.

The next guest was from the United Cabbies Group and, again, I’m sorry I don’t know his name. He sits on the TfL committee for Surface Transport, and stated that he had been told personally by Boris, ‘Dave (Cameron) has said that I have to leave uber alone.’ This is not beyond the realms of possibility. A very good friend of his, Rachel Whetstone has been hired as head of PR at uber to fix its ‘reputational problems’. The whole story is here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3083737/Troubled-taxi-booking-app-Uber-hires-Google-spin-doctor-close-friend-David-Cameron-bid-fix-reputational-problems.html

The last guest was from the National Private Hire Association, the minicabs equivalent of the LTDA I would suppose. Again a very affable and articulate chap. He went on to state that he was baffled that uber had been found to have a driver without the correct insurance and had only been fined £7,500 when the punishment was always to revoke the licence of the operator. (This is not including a number of journalists who have photocopied entirely bogus insurance certificates and had them ok’d by uber.) Here’s an excellent article which would check every Taxi and Minicab entering the congestion Zone for the correct insurance at virtually no cost                                                                                                           http://taxi-news.co.uk/letter-to-taxileaks-editor-uber-drivers-without-hire-and-reward-insurance/

In addition to the points mentioned on the show was one about the number of individuals illegally touting for business. This is putting the public at risk as these drivers are not insured and God only knows who you’re getting in a cab with. If every Black Cab Driver paid a levy of £10 per week to TfL this would raise over £250,000 per week. This could put well in excess of 300 Touting Enforcement Officers on the streets, and it would be made known that if you are caught, you will lose your licence for good and be prosecuted.

My last point is that blocking the streets in protest of these issues doesn’t endear us to the public. I think it would be far better to say that everyone who gets in a Black Cab on the protest day between 2 and 3pm, for instance, rides for free.

Food for thought?

Be lucky,

Dave

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28 Day Appearance #4

I was up for the 4th of my 28s early in July and was asked:

Grove Road to Cat and Mutton Bridge

Tooting Broadway Taxi Rank to Rectory Lane

Old Brewery SE10 to Brockley Police Station

Alexandra Palace to Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club

I have to suppose that E3 isn’t my strongest postcode, I dropped 7 points before I even started and managed 2/10 for this run. I’m then trying to keep it together on the off chance that I can pull this back.

The next run I’ve dropped another 4 points and because I didn’t know the spin here, I’ve pulled a crap line and scored another 2/10.

Remarkably no points dropped on the next run but I missed Florence Road and wasn’t allowed to bring it back – I knew I wouldn’t be able to but you can only ask, can’t you? Another wide line and 5/10.

No points dropped on the next one and but for my hesitation I would have got a 9, but the damage was already done on my previous runs and, sadly, 8/10 was too little too late.

So from such a promising start I just cannot score when it matters. Calling over on the week running up to this, I was on fire. If you look at athletes, all their training and competitions are all about peaking at the Olympics. Well, mercifully, I won’t have to wait 4 years to get another go, in fact, I’m back up this week – watch this blog.

 

 

After I came out I had the rest of the day off, so I decided to do some pointing around SE1. It was a stiflingly hot day and I went for a pint of cold Guinness in the Anchor. I was informed by the barman, who was Irish BTW, that if I wanted to take it outside, I had to have a plastic glass! Guinness – in a plastic glass – ‘HOW VERY DARE HE’. His own father would have disowned him for even thinking such a thing.

Anyway a bit more pointing and I had a walk around Borough Market. They do all sorts of exotic food including Venison burgers, I didn’t have one though, as they’re really dear (Really deer, geddit?).

So after a good 3 hours walking about in my suit in the blazing sunshine, I was sweating like a fat bloke on a trampoline, and decided to call it a day. I’ll be back a bit quicker with the next instalment of this fascinating and unpredictable journey.

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28 Day Appearances #2 and #3

No update for over a month and then you get 2 at the same time!

The first week in May was my 2nd 28 and I was asked

Camden Arts Centre to Coliseum Theatre

St Martin’s Hotel to Canonbury Station

French Ordinary Court to Grange Hotel Holborn

My Hotel WC2 to Chelsea Gate (Battersea Park)

To supplement my pointing, I’d been out doing the Theatre Ramble, so I was gutted that I managed to drop the Duke of York along with 2 other points that I can’t remember. It’s LOL only and I also didn’t use the Lindfield/Langland Gardens spin at the start. I went down Fitzjohn’s Ave/Avenue Rd through Regents Park down to Oxford St…Princes Circus and the took the straight line from Monmouth St. Along with the 3 points dropped I’ve got 5/10 for this.

Only 1 point dropped on this run but I’ve kept it big again and where I should have used Essex Road/Cross St/Halton Road/Braes St for the line, I’ve gone up Upper St and used Highbury Corner. Not a horrendous line and 7/10.

On this one I made my way to Bank Junction and instead of going the Poultry route, I went via Queen Victoria Street. Another 2 points dropped (sorry can’t remember them) and with the wide line it’s another 5/10.

Another 2 points dropped before I start on this one and I’ve gone to Baker Street before heading south when this should have gone through Mayfair. A very wide line and 5 points dropped for not giving the most direct route. So that’s 3/10 – 20/40 and my first D for a while.

This was the same Examiner I saw at my previous Appearance, and where I thought he was very generous to score me last time, I took this to be his way of saying that he expected a bigger improvement. I genuinely have no truck with that and will press on regardless.

I’ve noticed that the marking has become stricter. For example, on your 56s you get ‘thinking time’ – on your 28s it called ‘Hesitation’ and you do get marked down for it. Also the Examiners are far less tolerant of wide lines, and I suppose this is to be expected.

Moving on and 4 weeks to the day I’m up for my 3rd 28 Day and I saw the Examiner from only my 2nd Appearance. This was almost a year ago and I was amazed that he remembered me. I was asked

Norland Square to England’s Lane

South Quay DLR Station to Euston Station

Novotel Waterloo to Wapping Station

Islington Police Station to Surry Docks Farm

Norland Square, how could I ever forget that one! (See 56 Day Appearance #3). Anyhow, no points dropped and I thought of going up Ladbroke Grove but continued east and went up Pembridge Road and the went Westbourne Grove…Harrow Road..Lisson Grove..Avenue Road…Primrose Hill Road and right into England’s Lane. This is a bit low and with my hesitation I’ve scored 7/10.

The next line I’ve taken a bit on the low side, although I was a bit more fluent than the last one, another 7/10.

I dropped the Garden Museum on the next run and was then asked for the Novotel Waterloo.

The Examiner asked sympathetically, ‘Do you know what is over the road from that?’

‘Yes sir, the Garden Museum’, I sighed.

I took this over Tower Bridge and although it isn’t ‘on the cotton’, I think Southwark Bridge is perhaps the bridge of choice here. With the 1 point dropped this is a 6/10.

I need 4 on my last run to score. I set off on the right on Tolpuddle St and went right on Liverpool Road. The rest of the line was pretty good but also irrelevant. I had just made an illegal turn and as the rules clearly state, that’s 0/10.

Gutted, gutted, gutted. I half thought about leaving on the left and going down Penton St, and I should have followed the Golden Rule of taking it a bit wide if you’re not sure. It’s far better to drop a couple of points.

The examiner went on to say that there was a huge improvement in me since the last time, which was very kind of him. In fact when I look at where I was only 12 months ago, I was a couple of notches below dreadful.

Anyway, the 28s are currently running at 21 days, and while it gives me less time, I’m glad that I’ve got a quick opportunity to bounce back.

 

 

Since my last post there has been a General Election (just in case you didn’t notice!) and after listening to all these buffoons for so long, I thought it would be an idea to recite a rousing speech in ‘PoliticSpeak’. That is using as many clichés as possible in a long winded ramble without actually saying anything.

Yes, it is now my intention to ‘put my nose to the grindstone’ and ‘hit the ground running’. I will ‘put my foot down’ with any slackers ‘with a firm hand’. People say that ‘it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game’, well let me tell you, most of my colleagues couldn’t ‘hit a cow’s arse with a banjo’. When I recently said that the opposition had ‘opened a can of worms’ I did not expect to ‘eat my words’. Our policies will be judged as ‘all or nothing’ and we always make ‘a big deal about nothing’. I shall keep ‘boring you rigid’ with this cliché filled nonsense ‘until the cows come home’ and remember, ‘it’s not over til the fat lady sings’.

For the record, I avoid clichés ‘like the plague’.

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28 Day Appearance #1

So, with a 3 week break between my last 56 Day Appearance and my first 28, I wasn’t too hopeful of getting a top grade on this one. Here’s what I was asked:

Sloane Club to Nunhead Station

Mayflower PH to Corus Hotel

Bethnal Green Police Station to West End Police Station

La Caprice to Stoke Newington Town Hall

The first run I’ve dropped 1 point at the start and then gone up to Sloane Square, over Westminster Bridge.. Old Kent Road.. Trafalgar Avenue.. Clayton Road and then followed the Blue Book to Gibbon Road. This was 2 bridges out and I also managed to call an incorrect street name so 6/10 for this one.

I managed to drop 3 hotels in Lancaster Gate before getting the Corus. I took the pretty much straight line to Waterloo Bridge and the wound my way up to Oxford Street via Soho instead of Mayfair. Not a bad line and another 6/10.

Next up I managed to break my previous record of dropped points and lost 5, including the Mayfair Hotel and Langans which is one of the very few posh restaurants I have eaten at – what a plonker! Mercifully I managed to pull a good line and got 4/10.

Dropped 1 point at the start again here and managed not to call any wrong street names. I have genuinely no idea what I need to do to get a pass. I set off up Piccadilly.. Shaftesbury Avenue.. Clerkenwell Road.. Rosebery Avenue and up to Newington Green. I couldn’t see Albion Road so I went up Green Lanes and did a right on to Stoke Newington Church Street. This got me 8/10 – 24/40 and another ‘C’.

This is the second time I have scraped through, but if I’m going to be honest, I’ll take them all day. Absolutely elated again :o)

 

So the big news this week is that we have another royal baby, Princess Charlotte, who is really very cute. Whilst I had a happy childhood, I was an ugly baby. When I was born the Midwife took one look at me and slapped my dad.

Up for my next Appearance next week, and in the immortal words of Arnie ‘I’ll be back!’

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56 Day appearance #7

Last week I was up for my 7th Appearance and still in with a chance to make the drop to my 28s. Just a few months back I would have given you very good odds on this. Anyhow, I’ve got another Examiner who I have seen before and here’s what I was asked:

St Thomas’ Hospital to UCL Hospital

National Portrait Gallery to Essex Road Station

Merchant Tailors Hall to Naval and Military Club

Rotherhithe Station to Dog Kennel Hill

 

The first run I took along the river and then over Waterloo Bridge, then got to Drury Lane/High Holborn/Princes Circus/St Giles High Street/Earnshaw St then up Tottenham Court Rd and set down on Euston Rd. I wasn’t very fluent and this got me a 7/10, which I was very chuffed with.

Next up I took the line up Charing Cross Rd onto Bloomsbury Way…Clerkenwell Rd/Roseberry Ave then through Islington to Essex Rd. When you get in that chair, you really do start to doubt what you know and it took what felt like an eternity to call L Canonbury Rd SDOL. Anyway I guess the line must have been ok as I got a 6/10 for that one.

In the week running up to this Appearance I went through some of my old stuff including the Livery Hall Ramble, which I thought I was fairly au fait with. Wrong! When asked for the Merchant Tailors Hall I really couldn’t place it. The examiner went on to explain to me that many years ago when most people couldn’t read, they knew where to buy their goods from the name of the street eg Bread St, Poultry etc. So there’s a great piece of advice for remembering that the Merchant Tailors Hall is on Threadneedle St. I managed to redeem myself by knowing the Naval and Military Club and that it is also known as the In and Out Club. I took the line down Queen Victoria St/Victoria Embankment/Northumberland Ave and then panicked a bit as even though I have ran lots of similar lines before, I couldn’t see it. When you’re in the chair these moments seem to last forever, I’m sure in reality it is only a matter of a few seconds. Anyhow I finished the line ok after that one. Another 6/10.

So I need a 5/10 to score on the last run and I’ve got one of those horrible south London runs where you can go miles out of your way and only realise when it’s too late. I thought about it just briefly, and here’s the line I took

Brunel Rd/St Olaf’s Sq/Lower Rd/ Rotherhithe New Rd/St James Rd/Old Kent Rd/Peckham Park Rd/Commercial Way/Southampton Way/Peckham Rd/Camberwell Church St/Camberwell Green/Denmark Hill/Champion Pk/Grove Ln Forward into

Again, this wasn’t very fluent. On a daily basis for the past year I have been doing P2P on the daily sheets, and while I can see a vast improvement from when I started (Jeez, sometimes I was 3 bridges out), I have to wonder when my Eureka moment will come.

So the examiner offered me some great advice at the end. It’s not just their job to ask us for a line between 2 points, so you’d be mad not to listen to any guidance they give. He then told me that I had scored 7/10 – 26 in total and a ‘C’. He then drew a red line under my 56’s.

COME TO DADDY! I’M ON MY 28’s! I’m absolutely elated and crapping myself. The 28’s are currently running at 23 days, so now I’ve got less than half the time to catch up. I’m back up at the end of next week.

Watch this space.

Removal van

With the dark nights of winter, it is difficult to go out pointing during the week, so I’ve tried to find some points using Google StreetView. Above is a Google view of the Rockwell hotel on Cromwell Road. It seems to me that in the 6 mile radius, there must be around 10,000 Removal vans! However, on closer inspection it would appear that it is the same van parked in front of all these points!

Regular readers of this Blog will not be totally surprised to learn that I have a theory on this. Yes, out there amongst the 7 million Londoners, is a disgruntled Knowledge Boy who gave up. He really struggled and didn’t know his Arsenal Tavern from his Fiddler’s Elbow. Anyway, he now drives a Removal Van for a living, and has somehow managed to get hold of the Google StreetView car’s timetable. So to get back at us all, he follows this car around and does his upmost to get in the way of virtually anything.

If anyone knows this man, please tell his boss that he’s been fiddling his expenses, wasting the firm’s petrol and is having an affair with his wife.

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56 Day appearance #6

A couple of weeks ago I was up on a Tuesday for this Appearance and I managed to gets loads done over the weekend. I really should have taken it a bit easy on Monday but I ended up drawing lines on my map til midnight. I slept really badly and was up at 6.30. Anyway here’s what I was asked.

Finsbury Park Station to St Bart’s Hospital

Finchley Road Station to Barkston Gardens

London Palladium to St Mary’s Hospital

Bayswater Station to Southwark Station

On the train journey to the Palestra I decided to do a bit of mental limbering up and called some random BB runs. On the 25 minute journey I managed to do three.

I was called up by an examiner who I have already seen. My theory of just browsing over the runs of people I have already seen has hit a snag.

So the first run should be fairly easy – virtual straight line down to Charterhouse Street, round the market and right into Gilspur Street. I went St John’s Street/Roseberry Avenue/Farringdon Road/ Farringdon Street and had to double back on myself. I managed to hesitate (a lot) and this got me 4/10.

Again I stuttered a lot through this and while I think the examiner was looking for Finchley Rd/West End Lane/Quex Rd and then getting to Kilburn Lane and following the BB run which ends at Bolton Gardens I saw it differently. I kept going West End Ln/Abbey Road/Lisson Grove/Seymour Place and finally did a right onto George St made my way through the park and doubled back on myself at Exhibition Rd/Prince Consort Rd/Queens Gate/Kensington Rd. Yes a dreadful line delivered dreadfully – 4/10.

I somehow managed to pull it back on the next run and although I didn’t pull the best line I was fluent. No points dropped here 7/10.

For the last run I was asked to drop at the Old Vic. The only time I have ever gone pointing on a Boris bike* I stopped outside the Old Vic for a couple of minutes and checked my options for dropping and leaving. For the life of me, I couldn’t see it. I was then asked for Southwark Station.

‘Oh yes that’s on the corner of Blackfriars Rd and THE CUT. ’ The Cut – I could have slapped myself really hard.

So I’m not aware of this but I now need to score a 9 on this run to get a ‘C’. Here’s what I called

Queensway/Porchester Gdns/Porchester Ter/Leinster Place/Leinster Gdns/Craven Hill Gdns/Craven Hill/ Craven Rd/Gloucester Ter/Lancaster Ter/Westbourne St/Bayswater Rd/Marble Arch/Oxford St/New Bond St/Clifford St/Old Burlington St/Burlington Gdns/Vigo St/Regent St/Piccadilly Circus/Coventry St/Whitcomb St/Orange St/Charing Cross Rd/Irving St/Charing Cross Rd/William IV St/Chandos Place/Bedford St/Strand/Aldwych/Strand/Lancaster Place/Waterloo Bridge/Tenison Way/Waterloo Rd/ The Cut SDOL.

The examiner scribbled down some notes and then looked over her map, smiled and exhaled. I had no idea what that meant but I smiled back regardless. She went on to explain that she doesn’t add the scores up until the end. I had got a 9 for my last run 24 points in total and a ‘C’.

I was ecstatic in a jibbering wreck sort of way. I had come back from 3 – 0 down to 3 – 3. My next Appearance will either see me drop to my 28 days or go back to the start of my 56s, where I was 14 months ago. It can be very cruel, but we all know the rules before we start this journey and nobody is holding a gun to my head. I really need to knuckle down for this one.

Just a small point about these Appearances, it generally takes me a couple of hours to remember what I was asked. I do believe that if someone came up to me as soon as I had walked out and said, ‘Here’s a briefcase with £100,000 in it. If you can tell me in the next 30 seconds what you were asked, it’s yours.’ – I’d have to pass.

*If you are going to hire one of these bikes, make sure that you are wearing AT LEAST 12 pairs of underpants. Them seats are deadly.

 

 

I’ve decided that I need to adopt a healthier lifestyle as my current job involves sitting in front of a computer all day and my next one will involve sitting in front of a steering wheel. I had to run 150 yards for the bus just the other day and when I got a seat I was so out of breath, I sounded like a vacuum cleaner that had a sock stuck on the end of it.

Unfortunately I have been banned from my local sports centre for weeing in the swimming pool. Normally I might have got away with it but I was stood on the diving board at the time.

So I decided to start drinking lots of water. After a couple of days, I found this frightfully boring, so I decided to do some research. Before I go on I would like to point out over the ages many brilliant mathematicians, engineers and the like have spent their entire lives developing, testing and proving highly complex theorems, principles and laws. I, on the other hand, scraped a grade C Maths GCE and came up with something that smashes these guys out of the water – The Planet Dave Theorem.

Yes, my hugely extensive research (6 minutes 23 seconds [approx]) reads thus

IF Water = 100% water

AND Orange squash = 96% water

AND Beer = 96% water

Therefore

Beer = Flavoured water

So my new healthier lifestyle involves drinking 4 pints of ‘Flavoured water’ every day during the week and 8 pints at weekends. If I’m going to be honest, I’m not really feeling the benefits – but you know what they say – No Pain No Gain.

See you soon.

Posted in Appearances | 16 Comments

56 Day Appearance #5

I hope all you guys and girls all had a great Christmas and here’s me wishing you all the very best for the New Year.

At the end of November I was up for my next 56 Day Appearance, and feeling somewhat buoyed by the fact that I now know what it is like to score. Here’s what I was asked:

River Café to 11 Cadogan Gardens

Tuffnell Park Station to Homerton Hospital

Irish Centre to Hen and Chickens Theatre

Whittington Hospital to Kilburn Police Station

On the first run I knew the River Café and was asked another point which I can’t remember. The examiner then asked me if I knew 11 Cadogan Gardens

‘Oh yes, that’s Cadogan Gardens’, I spurted out like I’d just won the Mastermind Champion of Champions tiebreaker.

‘OK, how are you going to get there?’

‘Err, Cadogan Street, Sir’, I hoped.

So I made my way to Silverton Road and then went Lillie Road\Old Brompton Road\Pelham Street\Sloane Avenue\Whiteheads Grove\Cadogan Street. Not actually knowing where in Cadogan Gardens number 11 was, I set down on the left. I dropped a couple of points here for not then taking a right before setting down on the left. We all need a bit of luck and I’ve got 6/10 and I’m more than happy with that. (BTW you don’t actually know what you have scored for each run until the end.)

No points dropped on this run. You can only leave on the left here so I went Southcote Road\Tuffnell Park Road\Holloway Road\Highbury Corner\St Paul’s Road\Dalston Lane\Graham Road\Mare Street\Morning Lane\Ponsford Street\Homerton High Street\Fenn Street\Homerton Row. Managed to call Southgate instead of Southcote Road, so 9/10 for this baby.

I saw the line for next run straight away – it’s basically the middle part of one of the trickiest BB runs, and ironically one of my favs, Victoria Road to De Beauvoir Square. No points dropped and 9/10 for that one.

I set off on the right on Magdala Avenue for the last run and went Dartmouth Park Hill\Chetwynd Road\Gordon House Road\Mansfield Road\Fleet Road\Pond Street\Lyndhurst Road\Akinside Road\Fitzjohns Avenue\College Cresent\Avenue Road\Adelaide Road\Hillgrove Road\Belsize Circus\Belsize Road and realised that I couldn’t do a right onto Kilburn High Road. I got myself into a bit of a pickle here and went down Kilburn Priory\Kilburn High Road\Kilburn Park Road and realised I was turning a pretty average line into a really crap one. I asked to bring this back to Kilburn Priory and went Kilburn High road\Brondesbury Road\Solusbury Road and SDOL. Amazingly, this got me 6/10, but more importantly 30/40 and another C.

At the end the examiner went through each run and told me what he was looking for and why he had scored me as he had. I found this advice fabulous. We study (most) of the Knowledge on our own and can get a bit lost. I’ve gone from 3-0 down to 3-2 and I’ve got 2 more chances to hit the back of the net – I really hope I can take them. I’ll be honest with you 3 months ago I was really despondent. I genuinely don’t believe that anyone who has got deep into the Knowledge hasn’t thought, even for a moment – ‘I can’t/don’t want to do this anymore’. I know I have. If this was easy there would be 250,000 badge holders out there instead of 25,000. I try to concern myself with what I do know and not what I don’t. I think I have said before that I don’t have a Plan B for my future, so all I can do is stick with it and try to learn something new every day.

I went up to Cadogan Gardens a few days after my appearance to check out number 11. I spent a couple of hours pointing around SW3 and SW7. I finished off at the Grenadier PH on Wilton Row. Before I could get out of the car, a chap in a high vis jacket knocked on my window and advised me that I couldn’t park there as it was residents only. As I drove off I thought ‘How does he know I’m not a resident?’, and then I realised that I drive a 5 year old Aygo.

On the way home I went passed Battersea Dogs Home, and fortunately for me it was closed. I love dogs and if I’d have gone in I would have taken one home with me. I wouldn’t have got a Labrador though, well, all their owners end up going blind, don’t they?

Anyhow as its New Year and, yet gain, I have made no resolutions, I’ll sign off with a Paul Calf classic:

He walked on stage with a ciggie in one hand a can of lager in the other and said, “I’ve decided for my New Year’s resolution to give up my 2 biggest vices – smoking and masturbation. I’m a 20 a day man you see, and what’s more I smoke too much…..”

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