That big thing in Newhaven Harbour

I made something like this when I was a kid. In fact, with my old Meccano set, most of the stuff I made looked like this. Meccano, in case you don’t know, was a wonderful children’s pocket engineering set where you could make whatever you were clever enough to  build out of a series of metal shapes and a lot of little screws and nuts and washers. My achievements were sadly limited but they all had a flat bit with long bits sticking up out of them into nowhere. Just like this big Meccano thing that has been parked recently in Newhaven Harbour here in Sussex, England just down the road from my town of Lewes.

What is it? Well, funny you should ask that. To me it is just a piece of abstract engineering, nicely rusted and just oily enough to talk of heavy industry and to contrast nicely with the blue skies that turned last Sunday into a moment of joy.

When it is not always possible to know if something is a work of art, a conceptual installation, or something “real” or even sensible,  I thought it was just fine not to find out why it is there or what it is. I know really, of course, that it is something to do with oil or gas rigs but, I love the idea that it might just be what it is – an engineering thing that talks of man and Nature and that childish thrill of making things out of metal.

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