Oyster farming has been part of the life of the River Teign since the seventies and records show that 350,000 oysters were harvested in 1987.
Ode to an oyster was written by Bob Freshwater to celebrate the Teignmouth Oyster and some of the characters, past and present, who earn a living on/from the river. Bob has included local characters, some who are no longer with us (Jack the Hat) but others well known on the river.
It is one of the repertoire of the Back Beach Boyz.
Ode to an Oyster
I’m Sid the Pacific Oyster and I live up on the Teign
I get a good soak twice a day which helps to keep me clean
Along comes Barry Sessions with his sea boots rolled and rank
He picks up a couple of my mates and bungs them in a tank
I’m Sid the Pacific Oyster, not common French or Pearl
Some days I’m feeling blokey, some days more like a girl
I used to live at Arch Brook, now I live on Gasworks Bank
It’s safe from Pilot Flemming when you sit out on the flank
I’m Sid the Pacific Oyster, some folk call me a spat
I’m smaller than Bill Hook’s thumb, or slightly more than that
I’m bundled in a plastic pouch and laid out on the trestle
We have to keep our shells closed to every powered vessel.
I’m Sid the Pacific Oyster, not liking months with Rs
I lounge about on a pallet, watching trains and cars
As Jack the Hat rakes cockles or picks mussels in his pot
And Pete Full lifts his boulders to see what crabs he’s got.
I’m Sid the Pacific Oyster, some folk think we taste weird
Just like Old Wes Highgate, he with the long grey beard
We watch him on the Salty, dragging up a hefty seine
And pulling on yellow oilers as it lashes down with rain
I’m Sid the Pacific Oyster, I’m pretty self-contained
My organs hold both eggs and sperm, I have to be restrained
I spew my eggs into the tide and wave and watch them go
Thousands of Pacific Oyst’lets, for River Teign Shellfish Co
Three years on the river Teign, pure quality of life
‘Til along comes Crabshack Simmonds with a Shucking knife
With ice and a slice of lemon or a squirt of Tabasco sauce
Sid the Pacific Oyster’s life was nature’s tour de force
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