Voices

The British Oyster Opening Championships drew in the UK's fleetest shuckers

In peril: Up to 80 per cent of oysters are dying in shellfisheries on the French coast

Shell shocker: French oysters hit as mystery killer spreads

It could be the unusual weather, disease, or both, but something is laying waste to Gallic fisheries

Primary school pupil turns up to show and tell with 300m-year-old fossil

A youngster wowed his teachers when it emerged the piece of shale he brought with him to a show-and-tell was in fact a 300 million-year-old fossil.

Oysters Mary

Serves 4-6

Norovirus found in oysters

More than three-quarters of British-grown oysters contain norovirus, research has found.

Book Of A Lifetime: Le Parti Pris des Choses, By Francis Ponge

In 1991, just out of college, I bought a copy of Francis Ponge's 'Le Parti Pris des Choses'. Ponge, one of the signatories of the 'Surrealist Manifesto', is usually described as a "poet" – yet the label doesn't quite fit. For a start, he wrote in prose. Strange prose, it must be said: short paragraphs so rich with metaphor and all the tricks of rhetoric (apostrophe, the interrogative, declamatory exhortations such as "Let us consider...") that, as with the best poems, we're disoriented from the start by being immersed in language and nothing but language, with all its quicksand-like shiftiness, its sleights of hand, its endless self-adjustments and self-contradictions. Ponge even made a term up for his hybrid form, naming one of his collections 'Proêmes'.

Life was weird 500 million years ago

With its circular jaw armed with an array of fearsome teeth, it cruised the prehistoric seas as one of the top marine predators of its day.

Extinct mayfly found in amber

AN EXTINCT species of mayfly has achieved a form of immortality by becoming trapped for 25 million years in amber.

Food & Drink: Reader offer

If you want to order an oyster cracker you can get one at a special price for IoS readers of pounds 8.99 (p&p included), from Rossmore Oysters, Carrigtwohill, County Cork, tel: 00 353 2188 3248. You can order oysters by mail from Loch Fyne Smokehouse, Clachan Ardkinglas, Cairndow, Argyllshire PA26 BBH, tel: 01499 600217. Johnny Noble, who grows them, trains his oysters to survive many days out of water, thus guaranteeing freshness when they arrive in their attractive wooden punnets.
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