Morning Hasn’t Broken

Although Bridge 2 on the Middlewich has.

Rutters Bridge, Bridge 2 on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, September 2022.

I am sure certain that either end of a brick-built bridge isn’t really important, and certainly not in any way structural. Besides, the interestingly widening gap in the brickwork will close up a little again when the fields either side become soggy and expand in Winter (this bridge is only used by the local farm and by those damnable nuisances, boaters).

Bridge 2, in the guide books as ‘Rutters Bridge’ (although whether it ought to be ‘Rutter’s Bridge’ I cannot say), is not unique. It’s similar in design and structure to many others, and similar in that it has ruddy great tectonic fault lines running through it.

Investment in canal infrastructure is run along the same lines as is investment in England’s water supply infrastructure, or electricity supply infrastructure, or – tragically, in the case of a brilliant civic notion that’s been killed to death – investment in the National Elf Service. Rather like Mr Goddy McGodface, the manifold demons of the Keynesian Economic Model move in mysterious ways, their “Public-Private” partnerships to consummate. The only difference is that Goddy McGodface has a scruple or two and his company still has a ‘Personnel Department’ instead of a ‘Human Resources’ cost centre. Nuff said. Suffice it just one smidge more to say that even we defrocked disciples of Raëlianism cross ourselves when cruising under some structures.

Back to the business in hand. Living in spite of &etc.

The season hereabouts turned with pin-point accuracy on the first of the month; Autumn is upon us. The nights and mornings are Abitious Chillious (what have the Romans ever done for us, eh, except invent underfloor heating?) but the days are a damned sight more approachable than that “El Heatwave” nonsense of Summer. Time to endoinate some of those last minute or delayed jobettes.

I’ve stuffed in another oil and filter change, while getting out of the engine bay is on a par, acrobatically speaking, with getting into the engine bay (my joints protest less in the non-Winter seasons). I’ve cleaned out the roof vents and window frames, and – after a long search of Much Trying – dropped something on top of the stove flue that one is no longer allowed, upon pain of both personal cancellation and arrest, to term ‘a coolie hat’. Heinous Cultural Appropriation, Your Honour… we ask for the Deaf Penalty.

Total bloody bodge of course, with what I had to hand. I found a place – had a whiff of sulphur about it, someone by the name of ‘Cerberus’ answered the emails – that had one in stock. Due to c0nv1d or Blextit or Globalls Warming/Climate Chains or The War in WEFraine or something they as as rare as hen’s teeth. I carefully measured the chimney not twice but thrice and bought the item accordingly. Does it fit? Does it Hell (which is appropriate, since that’s where I bought it from). The present bodge will do until I can procure a very long nuttenbolt to make a better bodge. Then I need some chain (seriously) so that if (when) tis blown away in gales tis not lost but merely discomnobulated.

Speaking of gales, I also mun procure some further selection of bungee cords to perform a similar function on the tonneau cover.

Some say that all a toolkit needs is Duct Tape and WD40, but on a boat the full kit also includes a tub of Morris K99. Duct Tape might work on Bridge 2 if they’re quick about it, although I suspect that the better part of a whole roll would be needed, and that’s damned expensive. Better to wait until it falls on someone and They can blame “boater vandalism”. 😉

I’ve often wondered, as you do if you’re an idiot, what these flattened arch brick bridges do with the stresses (even their own weight). Is there a true arch “hidden” in the structure that simply isn’t evident because of the outer form, the dressing? How far “outwards” do arches, flattened, hidden or otherwise, need to “push” to spread the forces? Perhaps the 1766 Act of Parliament specified ‘an designe wott doth incorporayte several chuffinge great steel H-section crossbeamse hiddenn in the brickworke’? Answers on a postcard please.

Moored on boiling water.

The last of the night vapours is oft in evidence during walkies. Do fish see this vapour as some sort of “partial and alternative dimension”, tempting in dreams but too insubstantial to carry their form? Do they view mist and fog as Fish Heaven?

Do fish dream of electric anglers?

One of the most talkative trees hereabouts still stands proud. They all have their complete foliage, but on some hedgerows things are beginning to turn from greens to reds, golds, and yellows.

In the matter of “being at one with the Metaverse” I have given up on my attempts to open a (new) Facebook account, I am obviously not wanted. Hateful though FB is in all manner of ways it used to be convenient to a., keep track of yonder Fuel Boats, and b., chat to the half-dozen folk who speak to me instead of spitting at me. I am quite out of the loop, there being little of interactive or current, fresh interest on the others (Twitter ye not madam, and Instagrammery). FB will not let me proceed past some unholy mix of error screens, the bots tell me that they’ll be in touch after they’ve verified my identity, I receive multiple confirmation emails – and get not one step further.

In so many ways, I have no idea what’s occurring. I don’t believe that I ever truly did.

There remain armies of “contact sport” loonies abounding, and to moor up is provocation enough to invite collision. Rain generally nullifies any last lingering manifestations of canal etiquette, and a spot of cool to cold weather nails down the coffin lid. More folk than ever are in some unholy rush and damn the hindmost.

I shall resist lighting Mr Stove just yet, and instead wear fingerless gloves and make myself a nice, nuclear-accident curry. Dead Rat Karahi, anyone? Or have I misunderstood, and The Dead Rat Karahi is some sort of energetic sub-continental dance? Maybe it’s both, if I get the recipe right.

You’ll have to excuse me; I am working through a sack of “decaffeinated” coffee that I bought by mistake, and I am not my customary self.

Decaffeinated coffee is about as worthwhile as dehydrated water.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H., &etc. Oh God – here comes the Anglo-Welsh “day boat” from Bunbury AND an Anglo-Welsh holiday boat AND an ABC boat all at once and moving in three quite distinctly different trajectories… to the lifeboat stations everyone… and if you can’t find your lifejacket then at least grab something warm that floats, like Leonardo DiCaprio or Kate Winslet, seasoned according to taste…

We shall sing today the hymn by Mr William Whiting, Eternal Father, Strong to Save, and we shall be accompanied by the late Doris on the Church Organ…

Oh Elohim aliens hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea canals…


  1. When Ratty said, most endearingly to his companion, Mole, “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing–absolutely nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats,” I suspect he had no idea what would become of his beloved hobby.


  2. Have the bridges been inspected at all? What are you thinking of? That costs money which would have to be found at the cost of jollies for the Board and a possible decrease in funds available to subsidise friends of same producing blue plastic notices.
    You had best buy another coolie hat in case a bridge falls on your head.
    And WordPress’s icon doesn’t work….perhaps I have to pay it…


  3. Nothing to worry about regarding br 2 as we all know CRT will eventually do a bit of sloppy 👉 pointing and it will be wonderful again!!!
    Are you doing the shindig down at Venetian marina chandlery today?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A quick squirt of crazy-foam into the gap and it’ll be sorted. Or perhaps a “No Mooring” sign slapped across the crack and nailed in either side to pin it together? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So, the bridge. The brickwork on either side of that arch is plenty strong enough to handle the loads and stresses it was designed for. The trouble is, they’re probably driving caravans and who knows what over it now. So. They can either reroute the heavy stuff and hope for the best or rebuild the thing to handle big rigs, etc. The new one will not be the brick one with some steel hidden inside. Whatever they come up with will not be pretty. There, does that make your day a bit worse?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The bridge by Minshull Lock is also trying to go in many directions at once. I wonder if the whole Middlewich Branch is sliding, god spare us, towards CREWE? 😳

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What these bridges need is for a huge squirty bottle of Gloy Gum to be handed down from the clouds, and some sticky-backed plastic, that would fix ’em. I have also oft wondered if the bridges are or have been as well and as professionally and as regularly inspected as have been the Canal Company reservoirs! I rather suspect not…


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