We are in the midst of swapping oil tanks – from an old metal one to something that is apparently ‘bunded’ which is obviously much better and is certainly an excellent new word for my vocabulary if only I know what it meant. Now to the urban mind, swapping oil tanks seems like it ought to be a simple matter: install new oil tank, take oil out of old tank and put it into new tank, plumb in new tank, take away old tank. Wrong. First of all, the plumber had a better idea: install new oil tank, link old oil tank to new oil tank, let some oil run from old tank to new tank, plumb new tank into house. (Only of course what actually happend was: install new oil tank, link old oil tank to new oil tank, let oil run from old tank to new tank, plumb new tank into house, introduce muck into Rayburn intake, spend three days eating sandwiches and salad). And that made a certain sort of sense, especially when we had had many dire warnings about what happens to people who pump oil from one tank to another and stir up the sediment and end up with the Rayburn engineer moving in permanently with them to save time. There was still a few hundred litres of oil in the old tank, but we thought we’d let it settle for a while, and let the Rayburn bed in with the new tank and avoid airlocks* and all sorts of other nasties. And besides, meanwhile more oil had arrived – unordered – 900 litres of it – aka a lot of money. But that was still okay, because oil is just going up and up in price and maybe it would be better to buy it now rather than wait until we had to sell off a spare limb in order to fill the tank later. And then men came and pumped out our old tank and took it and the oil away. And this was not okay because we had paid for that oil, and we didn’t know who these men were or where our oil was going or when we might get paid for it. And then finally, after we had talked to the letting agent about all this to-ing and fro-ing of oil, more men came and tried to pump the oil out of the new tank as well. At which point the other half put his foot down, and sent them away.
I think some sort of compromise has been reached whereby they stop pumping oil back and forth and instead calculate how much oil they’ve delivered, minus how much oil they have taken away and we pay them for the difference. Hopefully before America declares war on Iran, or Venezuela, or Texas and the price of oil shoots up again. It seems to me like the obvious answer to the situation, but I’m probably wrong. After all, what do we city folk know about oil tanks? Very little, it would seem.
* Like Warlocks, but worse