I read the notice with exasperation.
Fortunately, I already have some petrol. But it will not last me forever. I point out to the petrol station man that I have read his notice and that it will cause me inconvenience. The next-nearest petrol station is one of the new ones where you have to work the pump yourself, and it is not nearly so handy. I want the petrol station back!!!
He is apologetic. There are new health and safety and environmental rules for his petrol station, and he can’t afford to make the health and safety and environmental changes required. So he has to stop selling petrol.
It is annoying. As far as I can recall, the petrol station has worked reasonably well up to now. There have been no gigantic explosions, no balls of fire, no coachloads of pensioners overcome by fumes. No rivers of petroleum have been seen running down the hill towards Spar, no cars have spontaneously combusted, there have been no instances of Al-Qaida stealing unleaded to use in home-made suicide bombs. Gaseous and noxious clouds have not escaped to cause flash fires or to send people mad and murdery like in the James Herbert book ‘The Fog’; my eyes do not stream with yellow goo when I pull in there; I have not grown an extra arm; my penis has not shrunk and my head remains a normal size. Wildlife flourishes locally; children play in a frolicksome manner in local gardens; there have been no reports of higher-than average radiation sickness amongst adults 18-35 within a five mile radius; the ozone above the forecourt seems no less layered than it is above any other area of Britain.
Still, I am sure there is a reason.
I drive home anxiously. I have been living with a time bomb on my doorstep for some years, without even knowing it. It is now a twelve-mile round trip if I need to buy petrol, but this is a small price to pay to save the environment and to be healthy and safe.