I After a few weeks of going out and following the set runs and points, I started attending classes at ComCab Knowledge School in White City.
At the school, I teamed up with Andreas who became my call over partner. Day after day, week in, week out, we sat up the school calling the runs and revising points. After months and months of doing the same thing each day – going out on my bike for a few hours, then going up the school to revise – I put in for my map test. Once I passed that, I felt I was finally on my way. I was now due for my first appearance – suddenly it all became real!
The day of my first appearance finally arrived. In the waiting room, I got chatting to the person sat next to me while feeling like we were waiting to be called in by an executioner. After what felt like a lifetime, I was called in by Mr Thomas. ‘What a touch!’ I thought, as I had heard good things about him. One more mistake to tick off. When he asked me to take him from the Wellington Hospital to Clapham Junction station, I fell apart. I could barely think of my name let alone a straight line across a map of London. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I went through my time without picking up a D as that’s exactly what I got on my first day in front of the examiners. I picked up one more on 56s and 2 more on 28s.
Not passing an appearance wasn’t the only set back I had while on the Knowledge. Like a lot of Knowledge boys, I had to go through the experience of coming off the bike. Once, when I was at a zebra crossing on Willesden Lane letting a lady cross the road, the person in the car behind me failed to stop and ploughed straight into the back of me. The second, and luckily last time, was when a minicab (bet that surprised you) decided to change lanes without looking on Hyde Park Corner and took me out in the process.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. Looking back, I do have some lighter stories. Like the time I was on Stockholm Road next to Millwall’s ground. I went down there looking for something, goodness knows what, when I spotted a scruffy, old dog. A bit worried that it was by itself, I stopped to see if it was with its owner. I waited a few moments, then the dog turned round and noticed me. I’m not sure if it wasn’t keen on my hi-vis jacket or what, but this dog did not like me. All of a sudden it made chase for me barking with every step. It’s safe to say that I’ve never left Bermondsey so quickly or been back down Stockholm Road to see if that devil-dog was still there.
A couple of months later I was back up the office in front of Mr Harvey. I was 2-1 down after passing my second appearance and not my third. Mr Harvey then asked me a run that had come out quite often and I rattled it off no problem. The next question was the same, as were the next two. At the end of the appearance I sat there feeling that I had done quite well. He then handed me back my card with an A on it. Lovely! That A really boosted my points, and as I scored a C on my next appearance, I got my drop on to 28s and had overcome the 56 day hurdle.
I had Mr Gunning for my first 28 day appearance and he absolutely slaughtered me. Out of the whole 40 points he could have scored me for the appearance he gave me a grand total of 4 and they were all on the first question! At the end of the appearance he told me “28s is a new world compared to 56s” and it again felt like an overwhelming challenge to pass. However, I kept my nut down and carried on working hard, picking up Cs and the last D with a silly mistake on one appearance.
After getting my drop to 21s with Mr Whitehead and picking up 2 Cs (one which was from Mr Gunning which I was especially happy about), I found myself in front of Mr Harvey again. I was not expecting the same result as the last time I had him (although it would have been nice!), however he again asked me questions that had been coming out regularly. The first three runs he gave me I knocked them out with ease. I was starting to think that I could be on for another A. That would mean I would be getting my req! I must have got a bit carried away in my mind at this point as he asked me a question that had been coming out regularly again, one that I knew. I felt like I was back on my first appearance again as my mind went completely blank. In a panicked effort to finish the run, I made an illegal turn and I scored 0. The req would have to wait. It completely ruined my week thinking that I could have been leaving with my req but my dad cheered me up by saying that I wouldn’t have complained before the appearance if I knew that I would be leaving with a C. He was right. As gutted as I was, I knew the end was in sight . . . it was just a matter of time.
Next week... gaining the badge and what it means to be a cabbie.
In the meantime, Dean Richardson returns to the ring at York Hall, Bethnal Green for his seventh pro fight.
Having won his first five fights by way of knockout, he was taken the distance for the first time in his last outing where he won by unanimous decision against Jan Balog.
Richardson’s next fight, which is on 19th May, will be a step up as he is scheduled to fight in his first 8-round bout. Due to the early stoppages, he has only gone a maximum of four rounds, despite one bout being scheduled for six.
Winning this bout will take Dean another step closer to a fight for the Southern Area Light-Middleweight Title, which he hopes will be within his next two fights.
Tickets are priced at £40 Unreserved Seating, £65 Ringside and £100 VIP and are available on 07702 887088. Alternatively if you wish to pay by credit/debit card, please click here.