….as in, Hunt: Cockney rhyming slang – go figure.
For there I was yesterday morning, stylishly accoutred (always) and post-admin-flurry (often), rushing to a gynae appointment at the UCLH, when I decided to take the pressure off and treat myself to a cab.
Boarded said taxi, I called my dear Papa, as I do every morning, to check he is ok, only to find mid-filial chiacchierata (‘chat’ in Italian, Papa is from Parma) that my unscrupulous cabbie had flown in the face of the clause in his professional charter which obliges him to choose the swiftest route possible from pick-up to drop-off, and that we were now even further away from my destination than when I got in.
A few spurious excuses later from him, I exited, six pounds poorer, feeling like a prize pilchard, fuming, and now under even greater pressure to get to my appointment than before I had decided to, ahem, ‘treat’ myself.
I really wish cabbies wouldn’t do this.
Like everything else in this city they are so expensive and already £3 ahead of the game by the time you get in. What exactly are these mysterious ‘extras’ incurred at the outset of the journey anyway? Can someone please enlighten me?
Suffice it to say, that as stirrups, probes and KY jelly loomed large, I decided I needed all the remaining cheer I could muster for the ordeal that lay ahead and so taking myself in hand, managed to (silently) chant my universal peace mantra sufficiently to extinguish my fury and to hot-foot it to the hospital.
But please, all you decent cabbies out there (and there are some, I know, because I have ridden with plenty(!)) please will you heed this cri de coeur –
and take your cynical, opportunist, unfeeling, scraggy runtier brothers in hand, for they tarnish all your reputations, bring into disrepute part of London’s colourful folklore and sully a service, that I for one, would like to be proud of and feel I can use with impunity.
Luckily, you will be glad to know, despite my unhandsome, hansom-cab hindrance I made it to my gynae appointment on time.
And I must take a moment here to highly commend the NHS on its nigh-on OCD thoroughness.
Dear readers, what I believed was going to be a more-or-less routine inspection which I expected to last an hour and half at most, took the better part of four and half hours.
I was probed and scanned four times in succession, by a sundry mass of doctors, assistants, junior doctors, a registrar, several chaperones, finally a consultant, and even a medical student called Tom, who I allowed to rub my tummy – solely for training purposes you understand.
By the time I left, more people had been up me than the BT Tower, which cheekily twinkled at me through the blustery squall slapping London’s cheeks and nether bits yesterday arvo.