Poo Lorry

I was cutting the grass, which isn’t my favourite job, partly because the grass cutter is rubbish so I always end up having to take it apart three times and swearing at it, which doesn’t improve its functionality any more than the taking it apart does, but it makes me feel better. Anyway… I was cutting the grass, and I realised that the grass in one small area was longer and lusher and greener than in the rest of the garden, because it was standing in an inch and a half of, let’s call a spade a spade, POO, seeping out of the top of our sceptic tank. There are still areas of San Francisco that aren’t on mains sewage, and even in areas where the sewage system has been put in, it is up to the individual house-owner to organise, and pay for, the connecting up. Hence, many haven’t. Particularly owners who don’t live in the property anyway, like our landlord. He assured us that it wouldn’t be necessary to connect our house to the sewer because our sceptic tank would never fill up. Which now we have actually seen inside the thing, it is difficult to see where he thought the contents would disappear to, given that the tank is concrete. We find there are some quite big cultural differences around what constitutes “telling the truth”; it does still catch us out quite often. Or maybe he just thought that English people don’t poo. Anything is possible. So now we have had our first experience of the poo lorry. Think about the tanker that used to empty the Greenbelt “tardis” portaloos, only bigger, making satisfyingly slurpy noises up a big sucky hose powerful enough to hoover up any wayward children (that’s a cautionary tale in the making). They dug around in the garden a bit and found a small entrance to a big hole, that’s the cess pit I think. It’s called a “pozo negro” in Spanish. That means “black hole”. Fair description. The “black hole” is connected to the big concrete tank which we already knew about, that’s the one that was overflowing in the first place, and the big concrete tank is connected to a second, smaller, concrete tank whose purpose I am unsure about. Dem bones dem bones… Hear the word of the Lord. So now we have the guys’ calling card conveniently attached to our fridge in readiness for next time. And the learning outcomes of this story are: if you want to improve the quality of your lawn, we know a handy source; and “excessive toileting is a sin”.

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