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The Barge 'Sudden'

The Sudden barge, named after the final and most merciful act of the Insertion Ritual, was retired from regular brewery haulage service on the River Pant in 1947.


Though Ffynche brewing was never less than copious, additional guest ales were always sought from further afield.


The barge is photographed here passing through the Jacksie Canal Tunnel, dug and enclosed by Lemuel Jacksie & Sons, Cult Engineers, in the first decade of the 1800s. The Jacksies’ bold and successful intention was to speed and protect the village’s precious alcoholic cargo as it passed through territories close to the odious raider-denizens of Bardfield.

The steam engine was shut off on the approach to the Bardist stronghold, and

brave Ffynche lads were strapped to a plank on the foredeck to silently 'dance' the vessel through the tunnel.


The Insertion Ritual was typically performed immediately on successful arrival at Finchingfield Lock, when the first barrel was formally tapped.


In the days before plastic plugs and metal kegs, the excision of the softwood bung required a controlled but rapid plunging thrust, rather than the hard repetitive banging typical of the vulgar modern insertion.


It was found that the skills acquired by 'dancing the barge' were also good training in the avoidance of fluid spray or squirting by less agile or more excitable insertion practitioners. But trained bargees could easily flex sideways, or poise themselves to leap away dramatically when handling a frisky or poorly-cooped charge.


Sadly the Jacksie Canal no longer exists, its bricks stolen to build the water mill downstream from the village pond. But young novices are still encouraged to participate in strenuous tap-dancing lessons prior to their first Insertion.

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