“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”
Whitstable, Kent UK – Lunchtime 1st May 2020 during Coronavirus Lockdown. I had that empty feeling. I needed to sit in Wheeler Oyster Bar and down half a dozen oysters with a cold white wine to make me happy, to sit there and contemplate, make plans as to our new norm. But the door is shut, curtains drawn and the sign on the doors says closed. Standing there since1856 and I consider what this building has seen and endured over this time;
1856 – Crimean War ends
1869 – Debt imprisonment ended.
1879 – Economic depression deepens.
1880 – The First Boer War begins.
1899 – Second Boer War begins.
1901 – Death of Victoria – Edward VII becomes king.
1914 – Britain enters the First World War.
1918 – Spanish Flu Pandemic kills 50 million people worldwide.
1926 – The General Strike.
1931 – Financial Crisis Britain goes off the gold standard.
1939 – Britain enters the Second World War.
1940 – Battle of Britain and the Blitz.
1948 – National Health Service is established.
1952 – Elizabeth II succeeds her father, George VI.
1965 – Death penalty is abolished in the UK.
1973 – Britain joins the European Economic Community.
1982 – Economic recession leads to high unemployment.
1989 – Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web.
1991 – The Gulf War.
2001 – Foot-and-mouth disease wreaks havoc on rural Britain.
2003 – The Second Gulf War.
2012 – The Summer Olympics was hosted in London.
2019 – The COVID-19 pandemic begins in Wuhan, China.
2020 – Resolve.
Whitstable is a traditional seaside town on the North Kent coast in the South-East of England. It is famous for its ‘Native Oysters’ which have been collected from beds beyond the low water mark since Roman times and still farmed today. This is celebrated at the annual Oyster Festival which takes place during the summer when the town is a popular tourist destination. In 2020 I fear that this event will not be taking place and the Oyster will remain in their beds!