Oyster Town

Whitstable is a coastal town in Kent. It is siuated just north of Canterbury, and not far from Margate, and the English Channel. It has a rich history, and has been known for oyster production since Roman times, as well as fishing of all kinds. The town became a popular holiday destination after the rise of the railways. By the late 1830s, the harbour had been expanded for use in the coal trade, as well as for fishing, and Victorians liked nothing better than to visit the town to indulge in their passion for eating oysters, which at the time, were a comparatively cheap food.

These days, the oyster production continues, alongside a busy fishing industry. However, the town’s proximity to the affluent London suburbs has increased the demand for second homes near the sea, and a selection of arty shops and businesses, as well as some exclusive restaurants, have taken over much of the high street. My cousin, Keith, moved there ten years ago, and he has just retired, after a long career with the British Transport Police. As we were only forty minutes away, we arranged to go to see him, and we were blessed with warm and sunny (if breezy) weather for the whole day.

After lunch, we strolled through the harbour, where large and small fishing boats were much in evidence. The dark brown wooden buildings are home to small businesses, or still used as oyster sheds and fish stalls.

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We strolled through the town, eventually arriving at the Old Neptune. This friendly pub is situated right on the beach, and was very busy. We sat outside, a few yards from the sea, and enjoyed a drink. This is Julie and Ollie, with my cousin. The shot is looking east along the beach, in the direction of Tankerton. Ollie had to have his lead on here, so doesn’t look too happy!

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After a cup of tea back at Keith’s, we said our farewells, and headed back to the house in Gravesend. It was a most enjoyable day, and a great way to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary.

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23 thoughts on “Oyster Town

  1. Lovely pics, Pete. Sounds like you had a great time and good weather. I’m going to comment on Keith’s shirt – it’s very nice – as I know he’ll be scouring these pages waiting for someone to…. 😉

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    1. It’s an Abercrombie & Fitch, Rich. (Rhyme unintentional…)
      We had good weather that day, and for the two days that followed. It was great to meet up with him after three years, even though we are in touch on a regular basis. And he got to walk Ollie on the lead, and to realise the fringe benefits of dog-ownership. (He can tell you what those are.)
      Cheers mate, Pete.

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  2. Great to see a photo of Julie!

    With respect to nearby Canterbury, I once heard the bawdy tale of a Miller who lived there some 600 years ago (Geoffrey, I’m looking at you!), and wonder if perhaps I’m not related….

    I’ve never drummed up the courage to swallow an oyster, but if I ever find myself somehow teleported to Whitstable, I promise to give it a go. It does look like an interesting place to visit!

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    1. I have eaten many oysters, David, both raw and cooked. With a dash of lemon, they taste of the sea, and are very good for you. We would liked to have followed Mr Chaucer to Canterbury, but it is hardly the place for a skittish dog. Besides, I have been there many times before, though Julie has yet to see it. Glad you enjoyed the photo of Julie. I doubt she will approve of my putting it on the blog, as like many others, she does not like herself in photos!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. Good colour and contrast in these photos Pete, given it was such a bright day. How lovely to meet you lovely wife at last – hi Julie! And your cousin looks far too young to be retired. Those huts and the pebble beach are so Kent/East Sussex.

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    1. He is young to be retired, Jude. He was 50 in April, so took his completed service pension, as Police Officers are able to retire after a set amount of years. I expect he will do something later. He is starting an Art Class soon, held inside Whitstable Castle.
      http://whitstablecastle.co.uk/the-castle
      I am pleased that you liked the photos. I stuck with the large files, though they eat up my allowance. If it gets too tight, I might just go ‘premium.’ More photos to come, including quite a selection from Sandwich, though the weather that day was dark and dull, unfortunately. x

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  4. Pete, Happy Anniversary to you both. I just loved the pictures of the harbor with all of the boats. They offer many memories of my grandfather and I out on our shrimp boat many decades ago. We shrimped, harvested oysters, searched at night for flounder, and set crab traps. I’ve so many memories of the ocean I feel as if I grew up not just near it, but in it… most of my younger days was spent in the ocean swimming and won medals for backstroke. Thanks for the walk down days of long since gone, but never forgotten.. Take care and happy blogging to ya, from Laura ~

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    1. Glad to give you some happy memories, Laura. I am not a sailor, and always get seasick. I do like to be near the sea though, must be something about us British being an island race!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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