May 5, 2002
Despite living on the edge of the fens the house of a friend of ours is slightly “downhill” of the main sewer pipe at the end of the road. Consequently, the house relies on a powerful electric pump-house to assist in the removal of soil water.
At least once a month, however, our friend has to alert the water authorities to another pump failure. They duly send a team of experts to hammer the right valves and kick the starter motor etc.
Recently, our friend cornered one of these “engineers” as he was applying steel toecap to a particularly heavy duty metal casement and asked what he thought the recurrent problem might be. “Sanitary towels”, was his succinct reply qualified with, “‘specially them with wings, they float like fish, see?” “The other thing,” he added “is bloody recycled toilet paper, it just don’t break up the way the old stuff used to.” My friend left the engineer to his unenviable task and went away a little the wiser as to the cause of the periodic effluent disturbances, as well as wondering about the environmental benefits of recycled toilet tissue.