Thursday, 9 July 2020

I SMELL A RAT



For a few days now there has been am elusive unpleasant odour floating around the kitchen.  Just occasionally I'd get a whiff of something that smelt a bit like an old dirty vacuum bag with cheese in it.  Or was it some festering mouldy food behind the cooker?  Was it the condensed water that sometimes leaks from the fridge onto the carpeted kitchen floor?  I don't like carpets in kitchens - who the hell ever came up with that idea?  For about a week it seemed to be getting worse.  I wondered if it was me.  Were my feet rotting?  Was it in the clothes from the washing machine?  Did I have Coroni and he was messing with my smell?  It was faint but remarkably putrid and disturbing.  I cleaned out several cupboards and checked the vegetable rack.  The olfactory delight continued to linger longer.

I live in an old house with a sewerage system that would be illegal today.  It is simply one underground pipe that runs from the back door down the path and out to the street.  All sinks and plumbing and sewage simply fall into the same pipe.  There is a junction half way down the pathway where the neighbour's sewerage connects to ours.  The junction is known to cause a blockage sometimes and I dutifully swill the sewer out regularly to prevent severe blocking and occasional sewer odours emanating from the plug hole in the kitchen sink.  I thought it was about time to swill out the sewer today and so I set about filling sinks and jugs and buckets and getting prepared to launch a tsunami down the tube.

I went outside and lifted the sewer cover plate.  There was a blockage, which is not uncommon, but this looked weird.  A dark poop, so large it couldn't possibly have vacated anyone's bottom, was blocking the junction.  I don't spend an inordinate amount of time examining the content of the sewer and I went inside and released the tsunami to sluice the sewer and went back outside to make sure it was successful.  That large unidentified object was refusing to budge.  I peered into the sewer opening a little closer and this object seemed to be furry, but it was covered in thousands of tiny flies giving it a slightly wriggling writhing glistening sheen.

I decided to give it a poke with a stick - as one does.  It was heavy and resistant.  I eventually prodded it along the pipe a bit as the backlog of sewage oozed slowly along behind with an increasing level of damned water attempting to leave the premises.  Quite suddenly things began to move.  The large wriggling putrefying biological blob was lifted off the floor of the sewer and rapidly gained momentum as a ton of sewage and water chased it down the pipe with a great gurgling and swilling sound like some alien monster enjoying its lunch.

I replaced the cover plate, returned to the kitchen, turned off the taps, washed my hands (as you do) and enjoyed the delights of a sweet smelling kitchen.  It may sound like a dreadful task but it was a pleasant relief and procrastinant (from the inventor of new words) from having to deal with the still offensively active putrefying remains of the NHS and their genuinely harmful assaults on the health and well being of my daughter and me.  I find this whole experience of a rancid odour from a rotting corpse, polluting and poisoning the atmosphere and destroying the healthy life supporting activities of cooking and eating, a very good analogy for the toxic transformation of the welfare state and the NHS.

I gain some hope that, although the current desecration, stagnation, and evil toxic purification, of British society seems entirely unstoppable and destined to catastrophic unrecoverable disaster, it is possible that one day we might, with enough effort, shift the festering cadaver of neoliberalism and hear the welcome sound of gurgling and belching as the corpse of disaster capitalism and selfish greed is wrenched from this otherwise delightful planet. 

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