Of all the inexcusable antics of human beings and there certainly is a very long list to choose from, polluting the sea with our discarded materials and waste must rank as one of the worst. Plastic for instance, is currently one of our greatest concerns, not to mention other waste such as raw sewage and chemicals.
However, I’m sure that Rusty Nail and her companions from the Cobweb Curtain stories find that the endless tons of iron that man has dumped in the oceans over the last few centuries is something to which they can easily relate.
Whether through conflict, a desire for more and faster trade and transport, or shear superfluous inventiveness, we have certainly managed to dispose of a massive volume of iron into our oceans; iron that in the first place required millions of tons of coal to produce, which in itself has contributed to the global warming the world is now so desperately trying to control.
It’s hardly surprising then, that in my final story featuring the Shed Gang, such an unlikely creature as the juggling Seaclown should be chosen as the keeper of man’s Iron Forest below the waves. Cries of despair can be heard as the human race charges on from one new idea to the next, only too happy to discard yesterday’s obsolete creations for tomorrow’s ideas of ‘perfection’. Could it be that the realisation of his own obsolescence drew the old vernier into the clutches of the juggling Seaclown?
Of course, as with all innovations on planet earth, whether through evolution or the creations of humankind itself, in the long run nature can be relied upon to create beauty from their decay, or as Rusty Nail remarked to Sprocket as she sat watching the tiny fountains of crimson iron oxide dissipating back into the dappled water of the sea, ‘How prettily it shines in the morning sun.’
In Search of Peter and the Seaclown.
(Extract from The Iron Forest of the Seaclown)
‘Why do we have to come down here!’ yelled Wingsey who was finding it almost impossible to stop himself spinning around in the fast flowing water.
‘Because this is where we’ll find Peter and what’s more…..’ gasped Rusty as the water began wrapping her hair tightly around her face making it difficult to finish what she was saying.
‘What’s more!’ yelled Sprocket, ‘that’s what Peter would have done if one of us had got lost.’
‘Gosh!’ gasped The Two Faced Nut as they finally emerged into a wide flat gorge, ‘just look at the huge ship.’
‘That’s not a ship!’ exclaimed the miserable face, ‘it’s a wreck.’
‘Well it was a ship once,’ blurted Rusty.
‘And so was that,’ interrupted Sprocket, ‘and that,’ he went on, pointing to first one and then another huge iron skeleton sticking out of the seabed. Wrecks of all shapes and sizes appeared to be growing like a forest of bamboos out of the sand as far as the eye could see in the dim, flickering light of the gorge.
‘There’s something very odd about this place,’ began Rusty, appearing to shiver as she clutched Sprocket’s arm. ‘Look at those huge fishes up there,’ she went on, ‘they seem to be watching us.’
‘I hardly think they would be bothered about us,’ he replied, gazing at the great silver and black shapes as they slid silently around the jagged iron ribs of the wrecks.
‘And another thing, have you noticed there aren’t any starfishes or crabs,’ blurted Springaling, ‘just as Clawd said.’
‘But there are clusters of mussels clinging to the iron walls of the ships,’ said Rusty pointing to a massive orange hulk lying on its side with its rows of round portholes staring down at the sand.
‘Just look at the sea bed,’ she went on ‘it’s littered with iron chains and twisted railings and not even one scarlet anemone or even an oyster to welcome us.’
As they walked further into the forest they soon found themselves standing beneath great gothic arches that stretched up towards the dappled surface where the tall masts of rusty iron draped in forests of wiry weed and mussel shells spread like a trellis over them, ……read more