Yep, it's that time of year again folks, the day where the kids get more enjoyment from playing with the cardboard box that their hideously expensive present came in, the day where you spend 20 minutes trying to fish Aunt Mauds dentures out of the pickled onion jar, the day when grandad spikes the punch with methylated spirit, just to give it that extra kick, and the day where random family punch-ups ensue, whilst dad is identifying burial grounds for the in-laws, and mum is plotting murder with the Morphy Richards electric kitchen knife.
So, to divert your attention away from the frivolity and festive fun, heres a few taxi related facts to help you sleep.
The word "Taxi" was originally an abbreviation of ‘taximeter," which was the name of the device indicating the fare due.
The word "Taximeter" is a variant of the German word "taxameter," which was itself a derivative of the German word "Taxanom." The base word of this linguistic mess is in fact the word "Taxe," which unsurprisingly is also the German word for charge.
The word Taxameter was entered into language in 1894; taxicab and taxi followed in 1907.
Vorshpung durch blimey, trust the Germans to get in there first.
Parisian taxis were, believe it or not, equipped with the first meters beginning on 9 March 1898. They were originally called taxamètres, then renamed taximètres.
First the Germans and now the French get in there ahead of the English, no wonder a Brexit referendum was called.
Beware the plague:
Now here's one for those that think that the red blotch on young Kylies neck is just a love bite and shes ok to travel in a taxi.....BEWARE.....Under the Public Health Act 1984, people with the plague may not travel in taxis or other public conveyances. So if you think that the poor young lady may have a touch of the bubonic plague, make her spin round three times and then get her to stand on one leg whilst singing "ring-a-ring-a-roses backwards before letting her into the taxi. If she fails that test it may be wise to call for medical attention.....and a face mask.
It is believed that lest than two per-cent of the licensed London taxi industry is made up of women.....No pithy remark from me, my wife has hold of the electric carving knife, and she is highly surgical with it.
A distracting business:
Amazingly, it is in fact illegal to shout
“Taxi!” to hail a taxi. The reasoning behind this is the fact that it may distract the driver. It is however absolutely fine and dandy to have eight mobile phones and three tablets attached to the dashboard, whilst transporting a parakeet, a squirrel and an alsation in the front of the vehicle and having Elton John's "Rocket Man" blaring out at 186 decibels on the radio, because none of that is distracting in any way.
It is believed, according to a survey, that taxi-drivers have the tenth most dangerous job in the US. It is alleged that number one in the list of most dangerous professions in the U.S, is being employed as a crash test dummy for autonomous vehicle developers, (before anybody plans to sue me, that is in fact completely untrue and is in fact satire and of course, autonomous vehicles are completely safe.)
License to thrill:
The first London taxi licenses were issued in 1639 to the Corporation of Coachmen. Then followed Hackney carriages, which were the first horse-drawn carriages for hire, these were first issued with a license in 1662. Hackney carriages then became Hansom Cabs in 1834. The first motorised taxis were introduced to London .
As of 2019 the taxi industry will be reverting back to the horse and carriage, which will see speeds increase across London from 4mph at any given point during the day to around 8mph. In keeping with the governments environmentally friendly initiative, all cabbies will be required to carry a paper bag attached to the horses rear end so that manure can be caught and reused to grow tomatoes. This will be brought in on the same day as the word "gullible" is removed from the dictionary.
By law, taxis had to be tall enough for a passenger to be able to sit whilst wearing a bowler hat. Of course nowadays, the taxi only has to be tall enough to accomodate somebody wearing a hoodie, so expect the Smart car to be the next cab available on the market.
Hey, hey, hay:
Until fairly recently, taxis were required to carry a bale of hay in the boot. Nowadays with the proliferation of healthy living, cabbies are required to carry a tub of muesli and some freshly knitted yoghurt.
To pee, or not to pee:
As every cab driver knows, there is only one thing worse than a customer with a bucketful of Cinzano down their neck and an olive perched on their head......and that is the overwhelming desire to take a pee.
Here is an interesting, but somewhat confused fact. It has been interpreted that the Town Police Clauses Act of 1847 permits one to urinate on a London taxi’s left rear wheel provided that the driver’s right hand is touching the cab. Now how you even attempt to do this if you are a female is beyond me, but suffice to say if you are contortionist then it may help, it also probably explains why less than two pwr-cent of Londons taxi industry are female. The Law Commission however, does poo-poo this interpretation, but debate of the legality of this act still ensues.
So there you have it folks, if the relatives, the presents, the food, the alcohol and the constant bickering havent sent you to sleep, then these 10 facts are guaranteed to see you slip into a coma.
Anyway, i'm off for a sweet sherry with my friend Ebeneezer, we have some misery to spread this festive season and misery loves company....BAHHHH HUMBUG