Ask Giantmonk #5: Beside The Seaside

Kat Of The Canals asks:

Dear Giantmonk, When I was about 7 years old I had a conversation with my father. We were debating where the seaside was, which we were due to visit that day. Upon enquiring, my father replied with a simple ‘it’s by the beach’. Undeterred I asked where the beach was. He simply replied ‘It’s by the sea’. On the conversation went for quite some time until one of the two of us grew tired. 27 years later I can’t quite remember who! Anyway, for the last 27 years I have been pondering that very question… Is the sea near the beach, or is the beach near the sea? I do hope you can help me resolve this one Giantmonk, so that I can move on with my life and put this one to bed. Thank you in advance Kat (of the Canals) p.s. I really like your amazing website, witty personality and delectable style!

Dearest Kat, your own style and wit are also both charming and delectable, and I can hardly believe that you have had a question revisit you for 27 years: that must be a typing error as you look in no way old enough for that to be the case. However long the period of time might be, let me answer plainly: the beach is by the sea.

My reasoning is as follows:  A beach is formed by deposits of various forms of sediment material, mostly land mineral in origin, often comprising bits of hard organic matter such as shells of sea creatures. The wave movement of the sea and tides causes this material to move over time and build up areas of deposits which we call a beach, whether it be of sand, shingles or  pebbles, etc. Without the sea (or occasionally other body of water such as a river) to move the sediment into place then there would never be the creative power to form the beach. The beach is near the sea because the sea was there before the beach existed – the beach moved in to residence later.

So, ignore Dean Martin – he was wrong – the lazy ocean does not hug the shore, the shore moved in to give the ocean a big friendly cuddle.

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