Once the Civic Centre was gone, the trench of bones crept northwards until it got to The Bridges Shopping Centre.

There might have been an outcry over that, but nobody in Sunderland had any money to go shopping with, so it wasn’t going to be missed.

But where were the bones going next? They were still pointing northwards, so it wasn’t hard to tell. They were going to go across the river, right under Wearmouth Bridge.

Now Wearmouth Bridge comes apart like a great big Meccano set. But it’s hard to undo the nuts because they’re stiff. They’ve not been unscrewed for 80 years, and they’ve been painted over. You have to give them a good hard twist.

Dyspepsia and Spookie went along with a really big spanner and soon had the bridge in bits and all stacked up along St Mary’s Way.

The ten-wheeled lorries came and took the girders to the dinosaur warehouse. They were painted red so they wouldn’t get mixed up with the bones.

Spookie got an old blueprint of the bridge and carefully wrote numbers on all the parts she could see in the drawing. The same numbers were stencilled on each of the matching girders using big cut-out numbers and a spray-can of white paint.

Dyspepsia counted the nuts to make sure none had gone missing and put them all in a sack.

They were meaning to bolt Wearmouth Bridge together again further upstream, but it would need new roads built to it, and until that happened there wasn’t a lot of point in bolting it all together because it would only get in the way.

Dyspepsia had a dreadful thought. When they did come to put the bridge back together, wouldn’t it be awful if the nuts ran out before the girders did. They didn’t look the sort of nuts you could buy in B&Q.

Even worse would be to finish the bridge and have nuts and girders left over, because that would mean something had gone wrong early on. It gave her a few sleepless nights, I can tell you. But in the end she told herself she’d worry about it when the time came.

Dyspepsia had two tall pylons built on either side of the river where the bridge had been. A rope was stretched across, with a pair of thick leather breeches tied to pulleys running on the rope. You put your legs through the holes in the breeches and pulled yourself across the river with another rope.

Although it was breezy up there, it was fun—and you got a good view up and down the river. 

Later that week Dyspepsia bought a super little airship which putter-puttered to-and-fro between the pylons, provided it wasn’t too windy. Everyone said what a wonderful idea that was.

However, anyone in a car had to go the long way round by the box-girder bridge—and they didn’t think that was such a wonderful idea. 

The airship wasn’t so breezy as the breeches and on a clear day you could see Penshaw Monument.

There was a cafe on board and you could buy easter eggs, chewing gum and fizzy pop. Some people grumbled about the choice, but as Dyspepsia said: who’d bought the airship?—She had. So who got to choose the menu in the cafe?—She did.

…to be continued.