A day in the life of a meter reader
Meter reader Martin Sadowski describes some of the more unusual challenges he can encounter in his working day
Reading water meters can be a mundane job sometimes but there are occasions when you realise that it is more than just reading numbers.
I remember one occasion on my monthly round in the Lizard area; it was summer time and I went to one of the many farms to read a meter in a field.
I parked up and looked into the field to check it would be safe to enter. I could see a herd of bullocks in the next field, quite a distance away, so I climbed the gate in my usual ungainly fashion and proceeded along the edge of the field towards the meter.
As I walked my mind wanders: it's a lovely summer day, ice cream - no! a beer - after work.
I arrived at the meter deep in the hedge, aha! Found it! I looked around and the coast was clear, no bullocks. I knelt down and removed the meter cover. I had to put my head right into the hedge in order to look down into the chamber and read the dials.
At this moment I heard a snort. I looked over my shoulder to see a bullock looking at me inquisitively. I got up slowly and turning around I saw that the whole herd was here now, about 10 or 12 and close up they are surprisingly large.
Three were especially brave, close and sniffing at me. As I started to walk towards the gate, they started bucking and jumping around.
I thought if I act like a farmer they should give me some room, so I started to wave my arms and say things like "Go on" and made what I thought were herdsman's noises, and it worked! They followed me right up to the gate but I managed to get them to keep their distance.
Meter reading is a bit of a gamble sometimes - what will be in the chamber when you open it? Who put a meter in a 60mph main road? Will that field stay empty? But I love it!
Whether I am walking through fields or on the street, in the sun or rain, I am glad to be doing this work. I just wish I had found my vocation 20 years ago.
I enjoy it most when I can help a customer. It gives me such a feeling of satisfaction and, yes, even importance - on a basic level, we are the front line of South West Water, the foundations of a service industry, God bless us all!