Tuesday, April 29, 2008

of groynes and oysters

Tuesday 29th April: It’s raining in Whitstable, Kent. The Essex coast of the Thames estuary has disappeared, but these groynes on the flint shingle beach are still doing their bit to protect the up-coast Seasalter native oyster fishery from the effects of longshore drift. Groyne is one of those mysterious and slightly amusing words that doesn’t make much sense when you are standing next to an uncompromising wooden hulk. As a child I'd regarded groyne as a transitive verb meaning "to scrape children." On the other hand, longshore drift is simply sand or shingle shifting along a the coastline with prevailing wind or wave action – which can lead to more serious erosion or silting-up, or some spectacular natural creations

Wonderfully, longshore drift is sometimes also known as LSD. So, voila, we have groynes protecting native oysters from LSD! Long may that be so at Whitstable! Can you imagine?

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