Well obviously I’d struck oil; it was the only rational explanation. Not only that I was quids in because it was already refined and ready to use. Never let it be said that I’m not a jammy beggar at times.
But perhaps you need an explanation; a reason for my certainty, an elucidation for my obvious good luck.
Well there I was, just about breakfast time, just about to go in for my breakfast when the Bin lorry pulls into the yard. I said ‘Hi’ to the lads and was chatting to them when I noticed oil dripping from a hydraulic pipe. Being the helpful sort of chap I am I said something along the lines of ‘Oh look, there’s oil dripping out of your hydraulic pipe.”
The driver glanced at it and said, “No, there is no oil dripping out of our hydraulic pipe.”
I pondered the small but spreading pool. Had the ‘Kindly Ones’ decided to restore equipoise and pay me back in one go for all the hassle and missed opportunities up to date. Had I got Cumbria’s first commercial oil well?
So I said “So there is no oil dripping from your hydraulic pipe?”
The driver also pondered the pool. “There cannot be, there isn’t a leak, because if there was it would be on the sheet, and it isn’t on the sheet.”
I nodded wisely and asked “There’s a story here isn’t there?”
And I was told the story.
When the bin men turn up at work at 6am, they have to fill in a sheet for each vehicle which says everything’s fit to go. However life is too short. They go and get on with the work and leave the sheets for the lad looking after the office to fill in. This he does and has them all ready by the time the various managers arrive at their desks, at 9am. Obviously everything on the vehicles is OK, it must be or they wouldn’t be out working, stands to reason doesn’t it.
Yet on this wagon they’d noticed a small hydraulic leak. An executive decision had been taken by the driver. If they reported it, the wagon would have gone in to the garage, they’d have been issued with the back up vehicle (a fate to be avoided it seems) and it would be a lot of faff and nonsense. But in five days time the wagon was going in for a service anyway and that was timed for their ‘weekend off’. If the driver mentioned it when he took it in to the garage, the lads there would fix the leak as part of the service.
Then there was another problem. They were losing oil. So they had to replace it. Not a problem you would think, there was a barrel of the damned stuff for that very purpose. So they just kept the oil topped up from the barrel.
It was at this point one of the managers noticed that there was oil gone from the barrel. Yet there was no need for it to be used because when he checked the sheets, none of the wagons had an oil leak. So someone must be stealing it!
Immediately it was announced that there were to be investigations leading to charges, prosecution, dismissal and whatever. So the driver was forced to act. And here he showed true genius. That evening he quietly punched a small hole in the back of the drum, just below the oil level, so a little ran out. He waited till next day and pointed out to the manager the oil leak and suggested that this small oil spill was actually the reason why they were short of oil. Immediately the manager sprang into action. An oil spill is a manager responsibility, there are pollution control plans, people to inform, forms to fill in, investigations to be made, and a manager might be in trouble.
So with brisk managerial efficiency he launched the cover-up, the leaking drum was never mentioned again and on the appropriate date the wagon went into the garage and got its annual service and had the pipe fixed ‘while they were on with it.”
Gives you a warm feeling to know we’re in such good hands doesn’t it.