The Go-to People for ship shifting

Spoiler alert! A bilious fragment of truth follows. It is not the whole story but The Lad will defend it from those who will feel that it must be attacked.

The ‘slebs’ of high and low culture are celebrated in the media with acres of print and hours of video coverage. Those who harness the natural world so that it has some surplus, to support the rest of the  human race go relatively unsung.

Driving along the North Wales coast at Easter 2012, The Lad caught a glimpse of a ship, the MV Carrier, grounded in a storm a few days before. The TV news announced that they would seek to re-float it after they had emptied the tanks of fuel oil. It was not a large ship but it was the size of two or three cricket pitches sat against the rocks and weighed perhaps a couple of thousand tonnes. “Shift that ship!” Who do we go to? We go to the men and women who matter. They are the engineers and mariners. They, as far as is possible in this harsh world, are the ones who apply methods beyond the ken of most others to pull irons from the fire.

There are a million possible examples those who have supported the Human Race in its battles with the harshness of the World. Here’s just two at random.

Championed by my guvnor, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Sir Joseph Bazalgette designed and built the great sewers along the London Thames Embankment. This vanquished both the killer, cholera, which threatened the inhabitants of London and also the stench that violated the Houses of Parliament. It allowed that vast city to continue to thrive and move on to organise mercantile trade and the Empire that brought wealth to England. Building ships on a production line in the Venice Arsenale, a place in itself strangely unreported in English, that on the other hand was well reported, brought wealth to the Medici’s and supported the artists and musicians of the Renaissance.

Without those who make things the artists would be found only in the depths of a cave scratching and smearing colour on the walls. The writers reduced to muttering tales to the tribe by the light of a flickering fire whilst hunching a stinking skin closer round their shoulders. That is before they are dragged out to help the community hunt down or gather some food.

I am briefly embarrassed by being reminded that this piece was written one hundred years to the day that RMS Titanic set sail on its first, and tragically, last voyage. Is this fact a hostage to fortune and the literati? All I can say is that no product of the human mind can be perfect especially when under the control of another human being.

We know that this piece has just been a cameo irritant. Lighten up! It’s scratched that itch for the moment and we need to move on to something more considered.

Here you can see the Dutchmen, Smit. What a marvellous, blunt, simple name for engineers! They are the real marine engineers, naval architects and mariners who do amazing things. No connection , by the way, except of admiration. The Lad has seen, at a distance, some of the things that they can do in moving enormous structures across the sea and then, believe it or not, a mile or more across the land. They have done some work on the notorious ‘Costa Concordia.

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