Credo: Sidney van Gelder

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The Independent Online

I believe...

'The Knowledge' is a very tough test. You need to learn 500 routes and hundreds of landmarks, and then you get assessed and suddenly your mind goes blank.

London is much less accessible these days. When I started driving you could go from Park Lane to Euston on one set of lights. Since then, so many restrictions have sprung up I can't duck and dive around the back streets like I could.

We don't see as many famous faces as you'd think. In over 30 years of driving, I've seen only a few. I picked up the actor Rex Harrison once – what a bastard he was, so stuck-up and unfriendly. I picked up the Duchess of Kent a couple of times too – she was easy to talk to.

I always wanted to be a taxi driver, but I never imagined in my wildest dreams I'd get to be one. I was in the restaurant business for 25 years, but when I realised my sons weren't interested in joining, I sold it and became a cabbie.

You can't get a route right 100 per cent of the time. A few years ago I got lost taking a fare somewhere. Luckily, my son's also a cabbie so I rang him on my mobile and he guided me.

Boris Johnson will do a better job than that idiot Livingstone did. He thought he could do what he liked. All the cab drivers hated him.

Taxi drivers can pontificate on any subject, although personally I keep out of religion and politics. I stick to asking about holidays and what you do.

A lot of cabbies are lazy. Many still won't go to certain places if it doesn't suit them. I'll go anywhere. If more cabbies had that sort of attitude, minicabs wouldn't be as strong as they are now.

I may be old, but I'm not dying... I go away on holiday for 14 weeks of the year, and I still enjoy skiing, skydiving and fishing with my son-in-law.

The best thing about being a cabbie is the freedom. You can work where you like, when you like, how you like. You're master of your own destiny.