Early December was a difficult time for those living on the coast – the storm surge left a path of chaos in its wake. Microbiologist Dr Simon Park and I had arranged to meet that weekend on the Norfolk coast to extract the salt marsh mud for testing in our new science and art collaboration project, Immortal Worlds? (Please refer to posts on 12 and 20 December for more information about the project). The irony of the reminder of the consequences of climate change, in unusual and extreme weather conditions, was not lost on us as we searched for a stable site from where the mud could be sampled.
The storm had strewn flotsam and jetsam, spiked with mordant seabirds, in our path, made surreal by boats tossed on to tarmac. Whilst, hidden in the marsh, buried treasures awaited us: pieces of antique bottles and the remnants of an old hobnailed shoe – the wonder of finding such interesting artefacts seemed a small reward for braving the elements in search of mud.
The images below reveal the found shoe after cleaning. The old shoe was caked with mud which required several scrubbings to remove – causing the shoe to fragment. The leather body of the shoe needed a gradual drying-out period to minimise further damage.