Tuesday, 22 April 2014

S for Seaside Shock, Sea Shells, Strands, Shipworms ...


The letter ‘S’ offers many a word for a seashore post ...


The Seething Sea ceaseth and thus the Seething Sea Sufficeth us”


... a tongue twister if there ever was one ...


... the one we might know better is Terry Sullivan’s tongue twister, inspired by Mary Anning, the great fossil collector and palaeontologist, written in 1908 ... asper my N post.


 
Seashells hand picked from beach
drift on a north Welsh beach, near
Shell Island, near Harlech Castle

She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.





Shells from the Essex coast


Some shells we might find on the strands ... as a child to collect is an instructive thing: a way of understanding thingnot possessing it ...



Here are a few of the shells we find around our shores .. in Wales and on the Essex coast ...




S is for a literary Strand ...  Daphne du Maurier wrote “The House on the Strand” – based on Tywardreath village, which translates from the Cornish language into the title of the book ... the village being on a silted up estuary ...



Then S for Seaside Shock as we head for the shores after the storms of the winter 2013/2014 ...




... many of the country’s most treasured beaches have changed drastically ... sand dunes in some areas were washed away leaving sheer sand cliffs ...

Exposed timber forest at Borth, Wales


... on other beaches access points have changed and shifting sand has left deep channels that in turn create rip currents, which are very dangerous to swim in ...



Shifting sands have created towering sand dunes up to 35 feet (10 m) high over a long stretch of the beach at Cefn Sidan on the Camarthenshire coast ...


The Devon railway at Dawlish - Brunel's West Coast
Railway line - destroyed by the storms 2013/2014

Studland Bay, Dorset, lost up to 35 feet (10 m) of its beach ...


Storms caused chaos ... trees uprooted, paths destroyed, beach huts smashed, seven years' of chalk cliff erosion in Sussex ...



Shipworms' borings in a modern
wharf piling - the coin is 19mm across
... The National Trust who manages many miles of our coastline has called for a major rethink about storms and flooding – how do we adapt ... we can’t beat nature ... we need to work with it.


S is for Shipworms ... these creatures bore and over millennia have caused serious damage to timber ships, piers and wooden piles ...


... borings in fossilized wood found in London clay deposits are proof that shipworms were active in the British Isles 50 million years ago ...



... swelling timbers did not crush the shipworm ... this was inspirational for the French engineer Marc Brunel (Isambard Brunel’s father) who, based on his observations designed an ingenious modular iron tunnelling framework:


The tunnelling shield used by the
Brunels in the construction of
the Thames Tunnel 1825 - 1843

 – a tunnelling shield – which enabled workers to tunnel successfully through the highly unstable river bed beneath the Thames ... the Thames Tunnel was the first successful large tunnel ever built under a tidal and navigable river.





That is S for the seething seas, stormy surf, seaside sacrifices, silty seashells, songwriting tongue-twisters ... saltywater shipworms that are found in Aspects of British Coasts ...



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories 

52 comments:

kaushikgovind said...

Sea Shells are amazing and would always bring a load of them home whenever I visit a beach.
And one of my favourite tongue twister..'She Sells Sea Shells on the Sea Shore...' :D

Marcy said...

You always include such interesting topics in your posts! It's Fascinating that the saltywater shipworms were the inspiration for the tunneling technology, and I love Daphne Du Maurier's books. I have just placed a hold on "The House on the Strand" at our local library. I don't remember if I have read this one or not.

Bob Scotney said...

You have hit on a number of my favourites with this post Hilary. We have a tray of small ses shells on our bathroom window.
Daphne du Maurier is an author I've studied and I wrote an article about her on the centenary of her birth in 2007.

Sharon Bradshaw said...

Thank you, Hilary, for this wonderful post. I love the sea, and it's shells. I have an old one of my Grandmother's. I remember holding it to my ear as a child when she said I would be able to hear the sea! And Daphne Du Maurier was a favourite writer in my teens. Thank you for reminding me of her books. I enjoyed reading them, and would like to again :)

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

It's nice to know that even worms can be an inspiration :). The storms were terrible, weren't they; so much damage. We're not even on the coast and we lot a car port.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

Maggie Winter said...

Outstanding From that first killer tongue twister to the ship worms...Daphne Du Maurier, brilliant.
Loving the A2Z maggie@expatbrazil

Jemima Pett said...

I celebrate that seething seas have not seized upon your soul nor seasoned your spectacular story-telling :)
Jemima
#'TeamDamyanti
Blogging from Alpha to Zulu in April

mail4rosey said...

My son just lost his second front tooth and I thought he'd have trouble w/the old 'Seashells' ditty, but he's got it down pat still, even without those teeth. :)

Have a great Tuesday!

Sophie Duncan said...

The storms this winter were horrific, so much damage and livelihoods ruined by the swells. being an island nation, we owe so much to our coastguard and lifeboats and it still shocks people that the lifeboats are a voluntary and charitable association, not a national institution.
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

Manzanita said...

Can you believe we're up to S already? Now that you've jarred my memory, I recall that book by du Maurier, as I read all her books when I was young and into fiction. The only thing I recall about the book is wind blowing through the pines.

Shipworms, huh? Maybe they need some "wormwood." Ha

Rosie Amber said...

I haven't heard the sea-shell tongue twister for ages, thanks for bringing back my memories. I love shells and am always searching the beach when we go to the seaside.

Julekha Khatun said...

What a toungue twister!...She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore :)...lovely post ...

Susan Scott said...

Fantastic post Hilary thank you. Nature can be so destructive sometimes ... I wonder about this whether it's because of man's interference and 'interventions' ..
Garden of Eden Blog

Tina said...

Oh Hils, you know how much I need a beach vacation right now ;-)
That first picture is so inviting...I want to crawl into it like Eustice does in one of the Narnia books (can't remember which one.)
I'm grieving with the UK over the destruction of your coastal landscape with the storms you had. We've certainly experienced our share with the Atlantic Coast hurricanes, and Super Storm Sandy which they are still cleaning up from. Entire communities washed away...
Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

Jo said...

We used to call them something else other than shipworms but I cannot remember what. I always understood they weren't a problem in English waters obviously that isn't true.

A lot of changes can be made by water and storms. We should never take nature for granted.

Enjoyed your post once more.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Your post makes me think there can't be anything for S except the seashore. When my children were little, the best part of visiting the beach was searching for shells with them.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Your post makes me think there can't be anything for S except the seashore. When my children were little, the best part of visiting the beach was searching for shells with them.

Theresa Milstein said...

Such beauty and destruction in one post.

I just returned from New Orleans, where oyster shells were everywhere. They're thicker down there than over by us (or wherever we get them from).

I only knew the first line of "She sells...." and that was tongue twister enough!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Hilary,

There are certainly a slush pile of s' here. LOL...

As always a fun and informative post! I learn so much about your country from these!

Inger said...

You really had a terrible winter there. It's even scary the damage nature can cause and they are right in that they have to work with nature

I never heard of shipworms before. You dig up the most unusual things, which makes this journey very interesting, indeed.

Arlee Bird said...

I never realized that the silly "She sells sea shells..." tongue twister had such a credible story behind it. So interesting.. Good to see you maintaining your usual high standards of informing while entertaining during yet another A to Z Challenge.

Lee
Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Crystal Collier said...

We went to Boca Raton, FL the other day, and the parking lots were littered with shells--the ones a good couple miles from the beach. IT made my hubby and I chuckle as the kids searched for the best shell around. (And it's what your post brought back to mind.)

True Heroes from A to Z

Julie Flanders said...

Loved learning the story behind the tongue twister. How interesting!
I've never heard of The House on the Strand but now want to read it.

cleemckenzie said...

You couldn't have said anything more beautiful today than this: " to collect is an instructive thing: a way of understanding thing – not possessing it"

And you mentioned Daphne du Maurier! When I was a teen, I read all of her books. They enchanted me for hours.

Bish Denham said...

I'm with Arlee. I didn't know that particular tongue twister had a story behind it!

I'm sorry the storms have taken such a toll on the coast line, but such is the way of nature...

Robyn Campbell said...

We have sea shell collections here in this house. They're do delicately beautiful. I love your quote, Hil. You are such a gentle soul. A most interesting post. xoxoxo We're off this week from school, but I will be sure to read this next week.

Silvia Villalobos said...

That is a tongue twister, all right. I tried it several times, had fun with it, and just about got it. :) Seashell picking brings back memories from childhood, near the Black Sea, where we spent many a weeks camping and picking shells, among other things.
Oh, my, quite the storm -- indeed we can't beat nature, but need to work with it. Man and nature, together ... imagine that.
Loving the British Coast, all so very interesting, Hilary. Such a natural beauty.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Your seashells are beautiful. They are far lovelier than the ones I find along Virginia shores.

Mary Montague Sikes

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Storm tried to dump that railway into the sea. I bet that took a while to repair.

LittleCely said...

Hi Hilary! My sister and I used to always collect seashells whenever we went to the beach. And I've never known the full version of the seashell tongue twister. It was fun to say.

LittleCely's Blog

Elsie Amata said...

My favorite place is by the sea shore. You can find me and my daughter there quite often gathering shells. And, yes, that first one is quite the tongue twister!

Thanks for finding my other blog. It was so good to see you there =)

Elsie
AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

bazza said...

Hi Hillary. My word! You do put a lot of work into your posts. To post one a day and remain very interesting is a great achievement.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

loverofwords said...

I think that the idea from The National Trust to learn how to work with Nature, rather than against it is terrific. Nature always wins, it seems, but the story about the tunnel worms inspiring engineers is interesting--there are so many questions our there, but your blog makes me miss, miss, miss beaches and oceans.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I miss the ocean. Which is disgusting considering I live on a lake. But it's frozen, which is probably why I feel down in the dumps.

Thanks for another lovely post, Hilary. I loved The House of Strand.

Romance Book Haven said...

Sea shells are so lovely to look at. Loved your post today, Hilary!

River Fairchild said...

I think the letter "S" creates the most tongue-twisters. It's hard to keep your tongue in your mouth when using it!

That's amazing to think that shipworms were responsible for such engineering feats.

Weather is so destructive to shorelines. Florida loses much of its sand during hurricanes. I'm surprised we as a species are able to keep our buildings and lifestyle against such a force.

Thanks for visiting the UR blog today!

River Fairchild – A to Z April Challenge
Untethered Realms

L.G. Smith said...

Love seashells, but you can hardly find them on beaches anymore it seems. They're all in the shops!

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Yes, I'm actually here today. And after the storms battered our shores with such ferocity, lets hope that a calmness shall follow on into the summer.

You always put a lot of meticulous effort into your posts, Hilary. I do sea what you've done and that's for shore.

Gary

Lisa Moles said...

I am determined to become one of those crazy head-lamp wearing sea shell ladies in my retirement. Stilt house on Point West or other shore walking for hours in search of the perfect shell. My daughter and I can't get enough of shell hunting when we are at the beach.
Thanks for the pictures - I could get lost in that first one...heaven.

Patricia Stoltey said...

When I lived in Florida, one of my favorite restful things to do was walk the beaches where seashells were found. Now here I am in Colorado, no seaside beaches, yet I have a shoebox full that I've carried with me. And when I open the box, it still smells of sand and sea.

Paula Kaye said...

I love Seashells and have jars of them all over my house....

Donna Hole said...

This makes me want to take a vacation at the sea shore.

Juliet Batten said...

What shocking changes to your coastline. Those storms have been devastating.

Damaria Senne said...

I didn't realise there was a story behind the tongue twister :)

Mma introduced me to the sea through seashells when I was little. She'd gone to Port Elizabeth and came back with a number of sea-related memorabilia including seashells and between showing me pics of the sea and holding the shell to my ear.. I was so fascinated I wanted to see for myself. I eventually went to Durban when I was 17.

Julia Hones said...

I didn´t know anything about the Thames Tunnel.

Sara said...

I laughed when I got to "Terry Sullivan’s tongue twister." When I was younger, I had a terrible lisp for both "s" words. I can remember practicing "She sells sea shells...over and over. The funny thing I still can't get throughout a slight lisp:~)

Your mention of Daphne du Maurier also brought memories. My mother had her books and I loved them. They were Gothic mysteries at that time.

I enjoyed "S":~) You're getting close to the end.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Kaushik - I think as kids we’ll always collect things – and I still look when I visit any beaches .. the tongue twister is fun isn’t it ..

@ Marcy – many thanks .. finding out about the shipworms and the link to the Brunels – so interested me too .. That’s great that you’ll be reading du Maurier’s book – I need to too ...

@ Bob – sea shells .. mine went when I moved .. but sometimes things must – they’ll have made someone else happy ..

I must email you – and ask you to let me have sight of your article .. that’d be very interesting ..

@ Sharon – se shells are always amazing aren’t they – and I love how the Africans still use them (in Namibia) as ‘currency’ ... and you can hear the sea in them ..

Hope you’ll get the du Maurier books out of your library for a good update read ..

@Tasha – I was so inspired to write about those worms too – funny how odd subjects can open our minds ...

There was damage here from the storms, but it was much worse elsewhere ...

@ Maggie – thanks so much .. the tongue twisters were fun to put in .. and the du Maurier – I must read them ..

@ Jemima – thank you so much for lots of Ss reply – fun to read and to see ... I hope the seething sea won’t swamp my story telling ...

@ Rosie – that’s great you got your son to rattle off the tongue twister ... hope the hole fills with a new tooth soon ...

@ Sophie – your sister was saying .. and we had some damage here, but not as much as has happened in the past ... and we do owe much to our coastguards and lifeboat men – it is brilliant that there are people who will volunteer though – we’re lucky in that way ..

@ Manzanita – nope .. April rather dashes by .. we have lots of wind in Cornwall .. why the trees are somewhat bent! Wormwood seems like a good thing to try .. I read your post on that ..

@ Rosie – when I say the tongue twister for Mary Anning I had to put it in ... and I think it’s a national pastime .. searching for sea shells when at the beach.

@ Julekha – it’s a fun saying ... and I like it was composed and written for Mary Anning, our great fossil finder – amazing lady ..

@ Susan – I’m sure nature destroys not because of us, though I’m sure sometimes we don’t help .. but just because the wind blows and raises a storm of some sort ... at least I sincerely hope it stays that way ...

Thanks everyone – part 2 following ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Tina – don’t we all need that beach ... still nearly done and it’s always worth finishing and being successful with the A-Z ...

The landscape is fixing itself, or being fixed thankfully – the west coast line down to the west and Penzance is up and running again ... but we’re still getting sink holes in the chalk and limestone areas ..

All coastal countries get storms and you certainly get your hurricanes ... nature can be cruel – but that’s life too ..

@ Jo – you did, Terode worms I think you mean? Well once they worked out that covering the hulls and bottoms with metal kept the worms out – making the ships safe against the worm .. but they’re still around in timbers ...

You’re right about not taking our weather for granted anywhere ...

@ Susan – well S was fairly easy ... and I added a few extras ... but little ones love visits to the sea-side ...

@ Theresa – yes, that’s life isn’t it ... nature creates, but it destroys .. thankfully it usually leaves a lot too ...

What lovely holiday to have taken .. I so want to visit New Orleans ... amazing that there were so many oyster shells: that’s good news ...

Ah well – some more tongue twister to offer your students ...

@ Michael – yes a slush pile of Ss here ... but am glad you’re enjoying something about our country and its shore line ..

@ Inger – we’ve had worse .. but now of course with the internet we get instant updates ... good to see, but we can all get carried with mother nature doing her thing ...

Once I found out about the shipworms and Brunel I had to include them ... am delighted you found the post entertaining ...

@ Lee – again when I found the Mary Anning link I was so pleased ... I love stories like that – and the links across to find out more ...

Thanks re your thumbs up for my A-Z entries ...

@ Crystal – so you’ve been having oceans storms and winds on your shoreline too – it amazes me how far pebbles, shells, seaweed can be carried ... and so pleased my post reminded you of your kids looking around the parking lots for ‘good’ shells ... they must have loved the search ...

@ Julie – it’s an interesting tale about Mary Anning and the tongue twister isn’t it .. well delight you’ll be checking out du Maurier’s book too ...

Thanks so much .. part 3 following ...

@ Lee – thanks so much: glad you picked that phrase up ... “ to collect is an instructive thing: a way of understanding thing – not possessing it” ... I too thought it an excellent turn of phrase that I saw somewhere ...

I must read more of du Maurier ...

@ Bish – the tongue twister is fun isn’t it .. and with a real tale to match – Mary Anning has come into her own in recent years, I’m pleased to say.

Storms were pretty rough this year ... but nature is nature isn’t it ...

@ Robyn – sea shells .. I gave mine away when I moved ... but all sea shells are incredibly beautiful .. thanks so much re your comment.

Enjoy this week off – just about finished now too ..

Part 3 following ... thanks everyone ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Silvia – the tongue twisters of our youth were fun – I was never very good at them ... and your memories of the Black Sea – that’s great this post took you back to those days ...

If only man could work with nature that would help hugely ... and then if man would work with man – then we’d be very happy peoples ...

So pleased you’re enjoying the glances in at our shore line ..

@ Monty – we don’t find as many as we used to .. though I did spot a seashell beach when I was ‘researching’ .. I think it was in Wales ...

Our shores are smaller ... and we don’t have the Atlantic pounding at us all the time .. I guess that’s why – further north in New England and Nova Scotia .. if they’re not overfished I bet the shells are lovely ...

@ Alex – they managed to repair the railway line in about 7 weeks .. working day and night – must have been an achievement though ...

@ Cely – good memories for you too – the tongue twisters are fun to remember and bring out on occasions ...

@ Elsie – just being peaceful with the sound of the sea, the birds and perhaps the odd scrunch on the sand ... lovely – letting the mind wander .. I can quite understand you and your daughter would love those days ..

@ Bazza – I just enjoy writing up these posts – and thanks re the compliment – my aim is ‘entertainment’ ..

@ Natalie – yes we need to accept we’re going to lose some land and gain some land .. if we could go back to the old ways of doing things .. it might help too. Have to see where we go in this regard ..

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a major bridge builder, tunneller, ship designer .. all round major engineer of the 1800s ... opened up ideas for many other inventive entrepreneurs afterwards ... and who’d have thought it’d be down to his father checking out worms!

@ Joylene – I know you’re so lucky living on your lake – but a warm sea would be good too ...

Sorry to read your lake is still frozen ... I guess the thaw is coming very soon ... That’s good to know the House on the Strand was a good read .. I must get her books out of the library ...

@ Nas – thanks so much and glad the sea shells inspired ...

@ River – we do need to keep our tongue in situ though .. despite the tongue twister phrases ...

The shipworm correlation so interested me ...

I can imagine a great many beaches in the States lose their sand from the storms ... and you’re right to question how we’ve adapted even our buildings to survive, in the main, against nature ..

Pleasure coming over to Untethered Realms ...

@ Luanna – yes unfortunately fishing habits have changed so much of our shore life ... they are setting up marine reserves – protecting certain areas .. and that’s helping ... but we need more of them ...

@ Gary – that’s good to see you and not Penny for a change ... you will appreciate the battering your beloved Welsh coasts will have encountered this last winter – I hope we have a kinder summer too ...

Appreciate your thoughts ...

@ Lisa – sounds a fun idea ... and will keep everyone amused the dotty shell lady from Point West ...

Great that your daughter loves the sea too .. and enjoys shell hunting ...


part 4 following .. lovely to see you all ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patricia – walking quietly along the sea shore .. is just bliss isn’t it – fresh sea air, sounds of the waves and bird calls .. and very little else! Glad you’ve still got your shells ... and that the seaside wafts out ...

@ Paula – I think many of us do have seashells ... and they do look very pretty ...

@ Donna – now we’re up to X .. I reckon we’ll all be off to the seaside!

@Juliet – the storms were bad, but we’ve had worse – just I think we hear more quickly now and see much more ..

@ Damaria – glad I enlightened you re Mary Anning and the tongue twister.

A great present for a small landlocked daughter .. some shells from the beach and other memorabilia ... I’m glad you actually got to see the sea eventually ... it’s a long way from Rustenberg ...

@ Julia – it’s surprising that the tunnel was built nearly 200 years ago – seems so long ago .. pioneering technology ...

@ Sara – oh kids with lisps – thankfully not one of my troubles ... and how funny that the lisp still pops back up when you’re saying this tongue-twister ...

Gosh were the du Maurier books classified as Gothic mysteries .. I’ll have to bear that in mind when I’m reading them ...



Cheers everyone – thanks so much for commenting ... love hearing what you think and all the additions to the post ... Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

"can’t beat nature ... we need to work with it." I wonder how we're going to do this?
I don't know when last I've walked along the sea shore and trailed my feet in the sand...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michelle - thanks so much - you've been such a stalwart coming to each post ...

I too wonder how we're going to take care of the planet we've got ..

I was down at the beach today .. but wandered along the prom ... I could have trailed my feet and paddled a little the other night ..

Cheers and thanks so much for your support - Hilary