What you can find when you really look

I have long been a follower of @legolostatsea on Twitter. The tweeters publish pictures of debris which washes up on our beaches and often arrange them into patterns or pictures. Much of the debris is plastic and the Twitter account started when Lego pieces from lost shipping containers started being found regularly. Adrift by Tracey Williams is the story of the plastic that washes up on our beaches, particularly following the Lego items that were lost at sea. It is a weird subject to find interesting but I have very much enjoyed the tweets and now love this book.

This is a beautiful book. I have a hardback version and don’t suggest that you read it on Kindle. There are pictures and colour on nearly every page. The author tells the story of the lost Lego items, shows pictures of what was lost and then photos of the pieces being found. She publishes many of the pictures and patterns created out of lost plastic items and even makes many of them seem beautiful. She highlights the work of artists who use found items from beaches in their work.

There are lots of subjects covered in this easy to read and simply laid out book. What items float and which sink ? How long do items take to wash up ? Where can they be expected ? What sort of people collect them ? There are pages on other items frequently found including bottle tops, flip flops, rubber ducks and beach toys. The author also touches on natural items which are washed out to sea and then wash ashore many miles away. The book has maps, a poem and an interview with the Lego makers.

This is not an academic study. It’s almost a coffee table book except that it has an important message about the damage that these items cause to wildlife and how long it is before plastic decays. It is certainly beautiful to read and a pleasure to look at.

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