For TDO

Hello, everybody! I´d like to announce that this here so well documented conflict between B&H HCO and me is hopefully going now into a final phase and therefore, hopefully again, will be over soon.

Now, to begin with, unlike already said I will not go to France this autumn. Though my French is not bad, I can speak it fluently, I still don´t feel really comfortable in it and with France altogether (funny, I will stay now with someone in Hastings, of all things, for a few days, haha, speaking of). Although I had picked Colmar, (for which I had done already road-knowledge comparable to the standard of my Brighton-knowledge), a place only 50 kilometers away from my hometown Freiburg, in Germany, it is just too much for me at the moment to actually live and work in France, I will definitely need another year for that.

So, in the meantime it is back to the old bulldog´s snarl, I hope, where people are really warm-hearted and kind, (haha). Well, at least England (and Switzerland, of course) is like my second home and I have missed Brighton, and carrying out our profession in it, so much, it really made me sick sometimes. My love to Brighton & Hove and cabbying in it, as it turned out to be, to me is almost like the desire and longing for a very beautiful, but very difficult, treacherous and cruel woman, hell hath no fury like an HCO scorned… For – oh, these beautifully curved crescents, oh, those long-stretched and winding roads, those lovely lanes… but, oh, those bureaucrats at Norton Road…! Not to mention the worst road of all Brighton roads, (“Hove, actually”), the Burwash Road! (Home of the DSA, starting point for those dreadful tests, that certify your ability to drive like back in driving school, but once you have passed it and are on your job driving the first day, having a chat with a passenger about the weather, sports and the ladies (while simultaneously actually appreciating a really lovely specimen of the latter walking by), you´ll probably run over exactly that very tester that did have passed you – because you still are not fit and able to drive like a cabby can and has to.)

However, as you can see, I have become quite obsessed with all those B&H roads, yes, with the town-map in general!

So, no surprise really that I, as I had already mentioned a while ago, to settle this quarrel, want to deliver to HCO a standard of road-knowledge which is outstanding! (Because to me it is simply like studying my beloved´s skin in all it´s perfect imperfections, whilst gently caressing it (or better put, imagining caressing it, by looking at a photo of it, for the real one is still off-limits to me.))

I want to be THAT good that I actually in the end will be able to draw the complete town-map from out of my head, including all roads and streets and narrow little alley-ways and tiny closes, anything which is a road (so no buildings or parks, of course, or block of flats, which are registered under a house number) – and all of it true to scale!

I want to make a deal now with HCO now, a compromise, that in exchange for their expected generosity to make an exception from that rule in that special case and to let me do a renewal, instead of a start at zero, I want to show them a standard of road-knowledge they never had before from an applicant and very much likely can not even expect from an old stager, who has done this job for 40 years! (If there is one he or she should come forward and we´ll have a competition to crown a champion!)

So I have booked a flight now, am arriving back in England on the 8th of September, and in the days following that date I want to show up at B&H HCO in person and demonstrate to them this outstanding knowledge to the stage that is done by then, which will be me able to draw all areas, whichever they ask me, yet still with some uncertainties and only some of the smaller closes. Yet, I promise I will be perfect within another 3 months from there on!

If they agree, all is fine, if they don´t, then I will still resign from any plans of actually fighting HCO´s decision, although I have said I will do so for I know better now that this will only put me in the place of a querulous person – and with HCO denying me this compromise it would be them, the bellyacher, and I could fight an even better fight by not only following their rules, but even overdoing theim. So, instead of not having back the licence and fighting a grim fight to get it back I would already be back in possession of it and it would make them look bad, as heartless and pedantic bureaucrats, whereas I would shine bright as the guy who went the extra mile, all for the glory of well justified licence requirements.

I will keep you posted how HCO will react to that!

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About Jochen Lembke

Europe's cab-driving writer
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