Not C shells, seashells. The offline version of the Guardian is giving away wallcharts of flora and fauna and yesterday's was Seashells. Whilst reading it with my son I was struck by the peculiarity, indeed the suggestiveness, of some of the names given to seashells. There are the obviously sniggersome: knobbed whelk, dog cockle, winkle (even Fred found that funny). Then there are the obscure trades from the Victorian underworld
: ocean quahog, queen scallop. We have insults from a Hardy novel: common piddock, thick tellin. Finally, the unpleasant medical conditions: warty venus, spiny helmet.
Any of you who think I'm making too much of this are invited to consider the Linnaean name for the grooved razor clam: solens vagina