Friday 27 March 2015

Five On Friday

Hello, thank you for dropping in.  I am trying something new today and joining in with Amy at Love Made My Home for Five On Friday so if you have dropped in here via there, welcome to my Shropshire patch.  Last time I told how I marked the first day of spring by doing some spring cleaning, wiping away the old season and making room for the new.  As part of this process, I put away some decidedly wintry decorations and in doing so, I came across this -

It's a battered old biscuit tin, more than 40 years old, but it holds treasure.  Would you like to have a look inside? -

Seashells!  I have been collecting seashells and storing them in this tin since I was a small child (I must add that this is not the only place I have been storing them!).  I can't help myself.  Every time we go to a beach I have to pick up at least one shell.  I think they are beautiful and fascinating, nature's treasure indeed.  I have limpets, whelks, periwinkles, cockles, oysters, scallops, razor clams, tellins, dog whelks...lots of shells and I would like to share five of them with you today.
Slipper limpets, crepidula fornicata.  These are the ones which started it all off for me.  I remember them being all over the beach when I was on holiday in Swanage in Dorset when I was 6 years old and I think that's when my mother gave me the tin to keep them in.  I didn't realise then that I would only ever come across them in the south of England.  (That holiday was notable for another reason: the first time I wore my hair in BUNCHES!)
Topshells, gibbula umbilcalis and gibbula cineraria.  When I was ten years old, my parents rented a cottage in Portloe in Cornwall for a fortnight's holiday.  The cottage was a few yards from the beach and in the evenings, my younger sister and I were allowed to go down there by ourselves for a short while. How very grown up I felt!  That was the first time I saw these shells and I thought they were quite precious with their iridescent mother-of-pearl decoration.  I think they may still be my favourites. 
Pelican's foot shell, aporrhais pespelecani.  I found a few of these on the beach at Creetown on the Solway Firth in the late 1970s and was very excited because my children's nature book said that they were rarely found on the shore!  I found a few more on the beach at Blackpool in the early 1990s.  Apparently they live in the Eastern Atlantic.

Mussels, mytilus edulis.  Forme, these are forever associated with a wonderful family holiday in Brittany for four generations: my grandparents, parents, sisters, husband, daughter and me.  It was 1991 and The Teacher was nearly 2 years old.  There were fascinating mussel farms nearby and mussels heaped on trestle tables in the local market.  Delicious. 
Cockles, cerastoderma edule.  I have found these on beaches everywhere I have been: Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Hampshire, Kent, Yorkshire, Anglesey, Pembrokeshire, Lancashire, Ayrshire, the Solway Firth...the humble cockle is always there.  And I always associate them with my grandparents' East London weekend tea table, drenched in vinegar!  "Alive, alive, oh!"

My treasure.  Why on earth have I kept it shut away in a tin?  Well, no more. I have put some of it into a glass vase and put it out on display so that I can see it every day, reminding me of summers past and hinting at those yet to come.
Do you know The Nature Carol?  I think it's a traditional song from The Philippines.  We learnt the Malcolm Sargent translation at primary school and I love the first verse -

Coral, amber, pearl and shell,
Gifts we gather from summer seas,
Find and bind make love the spell,
Take our gifts if they charm and please.

Well, they certainly charm and please me.  I hope you can see why.

Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x

 PS If you hop over to Love Made My Home by clicking on this link you will find links to today's other Five On Friday blog posts.   And THANK YOU Amy for hosting these Fridays.


  1. What wonderful memories of holidays gone by, as you say much better to have some on display than in the tin however beautiful. Your post brought back lots of lovely memories of my younger days looking for shells.

  2. Wonderful collection of shells in a tin full of memories. I’m visiting from 5 on Friday, where I’ve joined for the first time this week.

  3. I have a huge problem with both shells and beach pebbles. the inner child in me comes out to play big time and my pockets are always brimming full of finds. Have a great week end

  4. My granny used to have a biscuit tin full of shells that we were allowed to play with when we visited ;-)

  5. What wonderful treasures and memories! Thank you for sharing them with us. Thank you too for joining in. I hope that you have a great weekend! xx

  6. This is such a memorable treasure you have shared with us. I love the graphics on the box, too. An bygone era for sure. I'm sure you have many wonderful memories.

  7. It's lovely, I have a glass bowl with old collected shells from past holidays & trips. Lots of happy memories x

  8. Thank you all for your lovely comments. I really enjoyed being part of the Five on Friday community for the first time. Special thanks to Amy for organising the party. xx

  9. Well, you had me with the lovely tin, never mind the treasures inside. We have shell collections too, but not as varied as yours. We also have collections of pebbles and stones that we have collected on our travels .... each with a tale to tell. That gives me an idea for a post!

  10. Ohh, I LOVE your shells! I've got a collection of them in a glass bottle, and until now I never knew what they all were. I think I've got all of the the shells you have shown and I think most of mine have come from Wales (even the pelican's foot which I bought in a shop when I was about 7!). Thank you so much for sharing your photos, you've made my day giving my shells their proper names! xx

  11. I can never resist picking up shells either!

  12. Hi, I love your 5 on Friday sea shell collection! O love and enjoy collecting shells from the beach too! Thanks for sharing. Thanks too for your lovely visit to my blog Julie's Lifestyle and leaving me your nice comment! Have a wonderful week.

  13. That is a lovely old tin and collection. The fact that you know the names of all the shells is impressive to me and that you are able to remember your younger days with such detail. My memories of the past are quite sketchy for some reason. Don't know that I've seen slipper limpets but we definitely have cockles. I long walking along the shore and collecting bits of sea treasures, too. Sadly, today is not a good day for it as we seem to be having a bit of a dust storm. Okay, you have to tell me what BUNCHES means. Does that mean pigtails? :) Have a great new week, Tammy

  14. Looks like you have some lovely collections of shells. I'm stopping by from your comment on my thanks for your comment.

  15. I have a little collection of shells in a corner of my bathroom - to remind me of happy holiday walks when things get a little bit hassled. Thanks for checking up on me. The last few days of term were crazy...... my silly school even put a parent's evening on the last evening of term! Then Mark and I have been away for a couple of days, which was nice but has kept me from the computer. I'm very glad to have reached the holidays! All the best, Jx

  16. True treasure indeed! I love seashells too. When we have gone on vacations my kiddos and I both love to pick up shells and pretty rocks. Thanks for educating me better on the different types. ;)

    Happy week ahead to you! xo

  17. I have enjoyed reading your post and it's given me an idea of what to do with the shells my girls like to collect whenever we go to a beach. We're off to the Yorkshire Coast in two week's time and I'll make sure I'll have a tin ready for the shells and other treasures they'll collect while we're there. By the way, I'm from the Philippines but I don't know the poem. I'll have to look it up. I think it's lovely.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you're having a nice week!

    Marion x