It's bridge 53 - its brick built and this bridge, the lock, the cottage - everything about it says rural England as we understand it - yet the technology and nuance around it summarises the change that was enveloping Britain and the World which we know as The Industrial Revolution.

The bridge has a curved rubbed and rounded circular charm to it that is designed for practicality and for rope and chains and horses.  The lock is built in a confined space but utilises all of it and feels fairly deep but fils quickly and effectively.  There is a charmingly effective and discreet and gently babbling run-off that takes water at the top and supplies the excess to the bottom.  I might check the construction date (my instinct says late 1780's) and the history but just walking around this tiny spot - a spec on the map, a feature on our waterways plan - I realise that I may not ever come back - but I will visit so many others like it in the coming days and weeks and months and years now we have joined waterways.

Returning to the bridge itself the rich deep Northampton red brick - possibly in fact manufactured locally here in Staffordshire (not uncommon then) - the bridge is constructed of thousands of its is tight bricks, smaller than now. The brick cement has a mellowed grey tone about it, lichen clings to the damp and the arched over the canal itself is sprinkled with the effect of faded white paint and rising salt emerging from the brick and stone.  Atop the brick bridge there is a charming and durable pediment of carved stone - and surmounting that an old now-antiqued iron rail to ensure that the heavy knotted ropes and chains of the boats and horses didn't carved away the stone too quickly.  The whole effect is a worn loving charm - all of which disguises the toil and labour that went into building these features.

So yes, as you can hear we are enjoying our time our on the inland canal ripples of England.  But this set of romantic words is tempered by the raw reality of the breaking of the outboard engine from the steering, that the rudder has been crunched at some point and steers naturally leftwards and you have to compensate a fair bit, that it's nice weather but being December we have the wet the leaves and the mud that clings to your boots and get everywhere - but gah we are not complaining- we are out on the waterways and byeways of Britain and we are lucky.