Flushers tell stories of accidentally getting a gobful of the sewer flies that feed on the fat or of metal grating giving way so that they fall into eight-feet-deep fat-quicksands; the mouthfuls of the stuff they swallow leave their guts raw and hollering for months on end.
“You can go home and shower as much you like – even with washing-up liquid – but at the end of the day you’re still farting the smell of rancid fat. My wife’ll say: ‘Oh, I see you’ve been sorting fat problems out…'”
They’ll cackle as a hungry gang member finds an orange among the dirt and fat and promptly starts eating it. Or at the desperate worker who loosens his uniform and has a dump in a corner. Life in the sewers is hard, and humour – the coarser and blacker the better – raises flagging spirits.
Suddenly I have gone off my lunch.