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Features

Source: Adults

Author: Bob Lakin

Title: Where the bee sucks, there suck I

(General notes on the sensitive operation of sewage tankers)

One measure of culture and civilisation is the proximity of a species to its excrement. Taking this as true, a cruel irony is hidden therein in that some of the most advanced and successful of our number remain only too close to theirs.

Those of you who venture into the countryside will be aware that it is anything but agricultural. Large areas of land are no more than bucolic theme parks scattered with plasticised cottages and mansions owned by the very privileged and indeed talented. A stroll along a country lane could give you the impression that you had stumbled into a Ferrari race caught up in a Range Rover rally.

Because of the isolation of these dwellings they are not connected to main sewers and require cesspits and septic tanks to accomodate the foul water and sewage waste. This is where I come in as the driver of a sewage suction tanker.

There are two distinct elements to the operation of sewage sucking vehicles - diplomatic and technical - the former being by far the more complex. The operation of the actual tanker is something rather less cerebral than the control of an Airbus 380, yet there are some major features to absorb. I mean, if you get it badly wrong on the flight deck you might be soaked in your own shit...but at least it will be your own.

Once an urban dweller has produced his or her droppings they are swept away never to be seen again. Off they go into a sea of anonymity and you will never be asked to answer for them or give any account of their design or provenance. In the rural idyll this is not the case. The tanker operative is often confronted by a manicured maiden of such flawless fragrance that it is clear that she could never have produced any excrement. Presenting oneself at the door in brown smeared overalls is unlikely to evoke a welcoming smile. Opening gambits such as "I've come to suck your shit" are seldom well received. It is far better to open with something like "It's the tanker ma'am."

Generally one is directed to a manhole or drain cover at a distant corner of the considerable property. Very few clients attend the lifting of the cover. Occasionally some uncouth Baron of bling turned anti phone mast parish councillor will witness the event but this is rare.

If the client is present, it is not polite to point at or make remarks about any particularly large or exotic floaters. If the client is of a scientific bent a conversation may be contrived around the physics of floaters and sinkers. Fibre and fat content are pertinent to this issue and the well informed operative may offer dietry advice. Several learned studies are available to those wishing to pursue a serious career in this business.

Old brick construction cesspits often leak liquid into the soil. Whilst this means less frequent visits by the tanker, the pit contents are often the texture of a chocolate Mc Flurry. A metal bar or spike should be kept on the vehicle and used to break through the hardened upper crust Do not try entering the opening and bouncing on this seemingly concrete surface. The risks are ovious!

Once the pipes are dropped into the pit and the tanker vacuum run up to maximum, the sucking may start. Always remember that the liquid on top will hide a far more solid lower level. Do not just suck up the lquid but make sure that the pipe is down in the sediment. Manual raising and lowereing of the pipe will ensure a good mix of thickers and thinners. The more fastidious operative will wear gloves.

Once sucking is in progress, the operative may return to the tanker and enjoy a cigarette and a chicken tikka slice. However, be aware that it is at this stage that your honed diplomatic skills may well be needed. The disturbance of sewage waste and the gas venting from the tanker causes an intense stench. It is for this reason that I always advise the chicken tikka since the taste remains identiable above the background environment.

The householder will usually remain shamefacedly indoors with all windows closed. Time perhaps to recall those languid luncheons with claret and pheasant, the gay chatter about Lamborghinis and the re-birth of M&S shares, all now reduced to this - this stench, this crude operative in the garden, leering at one's knobbly doo doos and quilted tissue.

Commonly it is a neighbour who will arrive asking the operative if he can stop the smell. Crude ripostes such as "Well it ain't my shit" only serve to confirm the stereotyped image of the operative. Never forget that you are a representative of the whole sucking brotherhood. Having read Dale Carnegie's "How To win Friends and Influence People" my own tactics are more advanced. Often I tell the complainant that I recall recently sucking their own gulley and that it was almost entirely odour free and that it was a credit to them. This once brough a gasp of astonisment from a lady from town who was merely visiting a rural friend.

"No one has ever sucked my gulley" she shouted angrily in best Maggie Thatcher.

Not surprising really *****

The technical operation of sewage tankers should not present any major intellectual problems.The pump may be turned to blow or suck. Just remember that getting this wrong when you are running at high pressure and a 4 inch pipe is immersed in 3,000 gallons of sewage sludge, will give a whole new meaning to the term "golden shower". A hapless operative presenting himself at the squire's door soaked in shit, asking to borrow a towel is most unprofessional. Oh yes, it has happened. I was that soldier.

Once the hose starts to buck and wriggle like an orgasmic anaconda you are drawing in air and the ordeal is over. Withdraw and stow your pipes. Place any paperwork close to the front door, ring the bell and stand back. During summer months your face and clothing may be covered with a mat of flies and it is astonishing how socially crippling this can be. The client will be far more at ease and will often give a coy wave as you drive away. The suck of shame has retreated. Now is the time to go outside, perhaps wash the Porsche and plan that venison cassoulet, perhaps with a sharper Chardonnay. Time to live again. Big job done.

Author's note: **** Not Surpising really courtesy of Jilly.



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