A mysterious tale as boat is discovered in canal

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Your very own website reporter was fortunate enough to be on the scene yesterday when workmen, completing the final stages of the canal embankment underpinning scheme adjacent to the Shroppie Fly, stumbled across what can only be described as a boat. But not just any old boat, oh no.

The significance of this find emerged all the more clearly as a closer examination by your reporter revealed, written on the side, in what appears to be quite old paint, the words (and letters) RMS Titanic. It wasn't long before avid research and further excavations revealed the amazing truth of this incredible discovery. It was no less than one of the great ship's long lost life boats which had, by means yet to be established, found its final resting place only yards short of the Shroppie Fly. How cruel can life be!

But perhaps even more amazing was the further discovery, helped in part by your website reporter's own dog, who's sensitive nasal passages led it to retrieve the first bone, of what turned out to be, yes a human skeleton, which would have been complete, had it not been for the dog. For which many humble apologies, the poop has been scooped. But the fact that the victim subsequently turned out to be that of a Neanderthal man, has given rise to even further wild speculation. Just how did he get his ticket so early and why was he clutching an empty can of Stella? Sadly the truth may never be known but rest assured, if an answer is to be found, your website reporter will leave no lock full until she has got to the bottom of it.

This discovery has naturally resulted in a deluge of interest from the world's press who have descended on the district in force. At midday yesterday the village was under siege to the extent that our heroic local Policeman, when interviewed, tried to defuse the situation, by saying, "For the time of year it's not so uncommon around here." Unfortunately the ploy didn't work.

Further commotion soon followed when the leaders of the three local churches nearly came to blows over the delicate issue of interment. The C of E made a strong opening bid by claiming that the Titanic, having been built in Belfast, would surely have been the work of the mainly Protestant workforce and that, by rights, the deceased should pass on their terms. This resulted in a rebuttal from the Methodists who countered with the claim that the deceased had obviously been all at sea until he had seen the light, somewhat conveniently overlooking the deceased's proximity to the pub. Onlookers felt that the Baptists had the job all sewn up when they pointed out that the corpse had been subjected to total immersion for so long that they had the strongest claim of all. Confusion reigned until your local website reporter suggested that the matter would best be settled by calling upon the wise and ancient Sage of Coxbank of whom little has been heard of late, but whose tales of sagacity and knowledge do still bear retelling within the snug of all snugs.

An excited throng, who it must be said, had gathered more in anticipation of a religious punch up than for any ethical reason, waited impatiently in the bright afternoon sunlight, but an expectant hush fell upon them as the eminent Sage drew near. The wise one, blinking slowly as though emerging from a long and enjoyable slumber, gave forth his pronouncement: "Neanderthal man is protected by European Union Human Rights legislation. As such he should be cremated on a funeral pyre, such are his rights under the law." With that the worshipful Sage withdrew from the scene, all the more to contemplate.

The brief calm that followed was soon shattered by the indignant voice of an ADAS officeholder who shouted out that funeral pyres were illegal now and contravened the Clean Air Act and Waste regulations and there was no way that the health of Buerton residents was going to be put at risk by the unauthorised disposal of Audlem's problem. The crowd, quickly sensing an opportunity for more entertainment, began to grow restless. An air of general disharmony reigned until a tall man at the rear of the throng, swizzle stick tucked tightly under his arm, obviously intent on stirring up trouble, suggested rather maliciously that it was a civil matter and the Parish Council must get it sorted.

The hastily convened meeting of the Council, held last night at 7.30 pm to resolve the impasse was attended by your website reporter to ensure the fullest coverage of events. Unfortunately, due to technical issues which took precedence on the agenda, the Neanderthal question was not addressed until 9.25pm. The Chairman looked under pressure, a bead of sweat rolled down his forehead as he brought his gavel down on the table top with a bang that brought a swift cessation to the snores from the public gallery and nearly unseated half a dozen councillors who had been in deep contemplation. "This issue is important," he intoned, "and we must therefore give it our fullest attention to ensure a worthy outcome that will reflect well upon our community." Debate commenced and as the minute hand descended towards the bottom of the clock, the motion was put and agreement unanimous. It had taken all of four and a half minutes and we were swiftly in the pub.

Thus it is that your website reporter can confirm that all (except one) of Neanderthal's bones will be disposed of by a public lottery, the funds thus raised to go towards the building of a new sports hall for the village, which as a mark of respect ,will be called the Cave Centre. Meanwhile it is rumoured that a rash of renaming has struck the village with Neanderthal Way, View, Prospect and so forth, coming to prominence. Perhaps the most startling is the proposal for a United Titanic Church as so many are in readiness for it to be raised again.

Reader please note, there are some factual malcontents who blatantly seek to apply the dead hand of aspersion on the veracity of this scoop. Be not dissuaded by them, the truth is out there.

Stop Press — Buyer Beware : Information has just come in that a Green Lane dweller is advertising an old Stella can on eBay. Please note, it may not be the original.....