London’s Latest Tourist Attraction

We’ve all heard of Big Ben, and Winchester Cathedral, and the Tower of London, and the many other tourist attractions in England’s capital city.  Now there’s a new attraction ready to tempt the intrepid tourist.

It’s called a “fatberg.”  That means it’s like an iceberg, except its made of congealed fat.  They just found the largest fatberg yet, a 15-ton monstrosity of congealed fat, cooking oil, and used baby wipes, tossed down into the sewers of London before forming together in one huge, rank blob as big as a city bus.  It’s in the sewers in the suburb of Kingston, lurking beneath the streets and clogging the flow of water so that people in the neighborhood can’t flush their toilets — which is, of course, how the fatberg came to be in the first place.  The video footage released in hopes of making Brits think twice about what goes down the drain gives a sense of the colossal size of the disgusting object.  Imagine the look of the 15-ton mass of fat and baby wipes.  Imagine the smell of a glob the size of a double-decker bus.

Who needs the crown jewels?  Let’s all go see the fatberg!

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The Raccoon Beneath The Grate

A raccoon, and perhaps a family of raccoons, appears to live in the storm sewers in our neighborhood.

Once, on a morning walk, I saw a hunched shape scrabbling across the street and toward the sewer grate in the pre-dawn darkness.  The raccoon plunged into the sewer.  When we passed by a few moments later, it was there, wearing its mask, perched just beneath the grate, its beady black eyes glittering with the reflected light from a nearby street lamp.  The dogs lunged toward it, and it vanished.

The encounter gave me the creeps.  I have no interest in dealing with potentially rabid creatures, and I don’t like the idea of raccoons using the storm sewer as a kind of vagabond superhighway underneath our neighborhood.  Now, whenever I pass the sewer, I can’t help but look to see whether those black eyes are there, staring back.  Usually they aren’t, and I start to think that perhaps the raccoon is gone.  But every once in a while the eyes are there again, following our movements as we quicken the pace to get past the grate, and I shudder anew.

I don’t remember my dreams when I awaken, but I’d be willing to bet that those beady black eyes through the sewer grate have appeared in a nightmare or two.