Springbank Bridge straddled the River Carper, and connected the twin towns of Johnford and Longminster.
But these were twins that did not get along. Twins that bickered and fought over the minutae of everyday life. And every day, they had to maintain the bridge, because it was old and decrepit.
Once, there was a plan to replace the bridge, because it was coming to the end of its useful life. But they could not agree on how much each should pay for it. Longminster insisted that they should go halves, but Johnford argued that as they had just over half the population of Longminster, they should pay less.
So the new bridge was never built and, each town blaming the other for the deal's collapse, they became increasingly petty over paying for the maintenance of the existing bridge. Longminster insisted that they would only pay for repairing damage to their end of the bridge, knowing full well that it was Johnford's end of the bridge that was most exposed to the elements, and so suffered more from rust and woodrot.
And so it was that, one night, the Mayor of Johnford snuck out onto the bridge and painted one metre wide stripes in red (Longminster's town colour) all along its length. He declared that Johnford would expect Longminster to pay for repairs to any part of the bridge that had been painted red.
The following night, angry at his counterpart from Johnford, the Mayor of Longminster also snuck out onto the bridge and painted the rest of it blue (Johnford's town colour). He insisted that his town would never be forced to pay for any damage painted in that colour.
Of course, neither town wanted to pay for any repairs at all, and instead they simply painted over any damage in their own town colours. So if you visit Johnford, or Longminster, and admire their pbeautiful, brightly coloured bridge, you might want to wear a lifejacket before choosing to cross it. It's sometimes said that the blue and red paint is the only thing holding it up and, nearly every day, another expert predicts its imminent collapse into the river.
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