Fairway West End Parking

Extreme laziness this weekend meant that rather than taking 2 buses to hospital for antenatal classes we opted for Percy for the 2.5 mile journey. Although the main reason we decided to take him was really lunch… we fancied going to the Japan Centre on Regent Street for some cheap sushi before out class.
Before we set off, I did have a moment where I thought I might regret the decision to take Percy, as parking in central London on Sunday is harder than winning the lottery. However, I figured everyone thinks that so maybe we’d get lucky.
So, round the outer circle of Regent’s Park we went, down Portland Place, across Oxford Street (absolutely mental, as the Christmas lights are now on and people are taking their Christmas shopping very seriously!) and down Regent Street. Any single yellow is a goer on Sunday but that doesn’t mean there’s any spaces. Having no luck down Regent Street, while on Pall Mall and turning back onto Waterloo Place to head back up, I spotted a car-width’s worth of single yellow between a BMW and double yellow lines with traffic cones, right outside the Sofitel Hotel. I saw the doorman looking at Percy while I reverse parked, so I quickly checked the signs and it said diplomatic cars only in the designated parking spaces, but Percy was on a single yellow so should be fine.
Fairway Driver London Taxi Sofitel Waterloo Place

I stepped out and the smartly dressed doorman greeted me and asked if I was picking up. I explained that Percy is a private car and we were actually out for some lunch and gently pointed out it was a single yellow and shouldn’t be a problem for the hotel. He wasn’t bothered at all. In fact, it slowly dawned on me that he was actually rather taken by our Fairway Driver. He spotted it was a 1992 model from the number plate and proceeded to ask about insurance and the general ownership questions (he wanted to buy one for his wife and he also wanted to drive one through Europe to Morocco, where he is from). He even suggested that he was going to campaign to the Moroccon government to introduce Fairway Drivers as their taxis, as their current Mercedes models are really cramped when they have the maximum 5 passengers, which is most of the time because, unlike London taxis, they take more than one fare at once making strangers share.

Then, a gentleman whom I presumed was the hotel manager stepped out and I thought I’d have to put up a fight to leave Percy parked where he was, but he was actually after a taxi for the some guests and asked if I was working, to which the doorman very kindly explained for us that we weren’t a working taxi, so we all had a giggle.

We waddled off to the Japan Centre only to find that it appeared to be shut for good and boarded up, so we headed towards Soho in search of an alternative, only to find the Japan Centre had actually moved to Shaftesbury Avenue.┬áNina had sushi and I had chicken donburi before heading back to Percy.┬áThe doorman was still working and by now seemed to have decided that he would like to purchase a late Fairway model, asking us what year the last ones were. I responded R reg or 1997/1998 but suggested that the year is less relevant than a well cared for, one-owner cab. And for once, somebody wasn’t taken aback by Percy’s mileage; in fact, he’d guessed that Percy had done around 450,000 miles.

Before we left I passed on Graham’s (the cabbie we bought Percy from) email and ‘phone number to the doorman in case he was seriously interested in buying a Fairway Driver ex- London Taxi, as Graham always seems to have one for sale. I hope he does buy one then maybe there’ll be two private Fairway Drivers parked outside the Sofitel next Sunday.
P.S Whilst perusing in Selfridges we saw this cabinet display in Ted Baker!
Fairway Driver FX4 model display Ted Baker counter
which reminded me of last year’s window display outside Selfridges again which I had forgotten to share with you.
Selfridges London FX4 London taxi window display
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Fairway Driver MOT

Percy’s new battery is going strong and it’s time for his MOT, so we took him to Danny the mechanic in Walthamstow to be checked over first. Apart from a few minor things that might be picked up on, Danny said Percy should sail through the MOT and sure enough, 2 hours later, we received the call to say that he had passed his MOT with only a replacement reverse light and 2 new tracking rod ball joints for the steering. Hurrah!

Fairway Driver London taxi MOT check

Open wide!

With his new MOT, Percy took us to Ikea where we bought a fair amount of furniture and at the checkout we saw a queue of ‘self-hire delivery drivers’ ready with their vans waiting to pounce on us, figuring that we wouldn’t have brought a van (of course we couldn’t fit all our purchases in a normal car). Sure enough, we were greeted by several men offering different rates to drive us and our newly acquired Ikea flat-packs home.

This only made me more determined to fit everything into Percy, although I had no idea at the time whether it would actually all go in or if we’d be left red-faced and have to go back to the crowd of drivers with our tail between our legs asking for a lift.

Well, here’s the result… it was very close and we had to take the arm chair out of it’s packaging, but we did it! So that’s 2 adults, a wardrobe, changing table/shelving unit, cot, baby mattress, bathroom cabinet, bedside table and an armchair in one Fairway driver. Granted, all except the armchair were flat-packed but impressive none the less?

Fairway Driver taxi Ikea wembley

Just before the storm (St. Jude) arrived, we took Mimi the rabbit for a walk in the autumn sunshine, which she seemed to enjoy. I was wondering whether it was a good idea to leave Percy parked up beneath a tree but I really didn’t think that this ‘storm’ would be too bad, especially at the time we were walking Mimi with not a wisp of wind in the air.

pet rabbit eating autumn leaves in Rembrandt Gardens London

However, as you can see below, it really was pretty brutal in London. When we were woken up by it at 6.30am on Monday morning I was praying that Percy wouldn’t be squashed under another tree.

Fallen tree st Jude's strom St John's Wood Road London

Luckily Percy survived, but I should follow my intuition next time and find another parking spot.