Disturbance!

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Some years ago we upset Esso by suggesting that their Fawley-London pipeline had destroyed some of the beauty of the countryside beneath which it was laid, and they arranged for a charming young man to take us out to lunch and convince us that it was only a matter of time before nature covered the scars. Appreciating the very great technical achievement which this pipeline represents, I accepted this, with some reservations. But the other day, on our local common, a great gaping hole was dug, with firefighting appliances and a score of vehicles standing-by, as a valve was opened to look for a scourer stuck somewhere in the pipeline. This invasion of the open spaces must surely retard the concealment of the pipeline’s route under common, wood and field? So, to the arrogant slogans in back windows relating to the hidden power of a tiger in the tank and the 1/- tigers’ tails themselves—I have seen a restored gipsy caravan in all its glory displaying one of these slogans!—Esso adds the occasional scar and traceable trenchline across the English countryside. Shell are more concerned with local entertainments, Regent with aerial affairs, National Benzole with motoring history and getaway people, and Total with brightly uniformed service-station attendants and a gamble for free money prizes. …—W.B