Mussels. They look harmless enough. But plans to find a way of lowering the risk of flooding in the Lower Thames have been halted by the discovery of a community of the depressed river mussel, Pseudanodonta complanata.
The find was made during studies into the construction of flood diversion channels between Datchet and Teddington. Plans are also afoot to erect defences between Walton and Teddington in order to protect small groups of houses from flooding. However, as a nationally important species they cannot simply be removed, and more survey work is necessary to discover their importance in the Thames riverbed.
So far no attempts have been made to ascertain why or how a community of mussels became so depressed. Londonist can only presume that these creatures have attained enough self-awareness to ask why they should evolve if they are just going to end up on someone’s dinner plate. If we are to speculate further - and seeing as we’ve gone this far, why stop now - the attempt to disrupt the construction of flood defences might be their way of trying to ‘bring us down with them’.
Possible solutions to combat the problem could lie in alleviating the mussels of their melancholy. We suggest that local residents might wish to attempt one or all of the following:
play Mr Blue Sky really loudly
erect a giant screen in front of the mussels, showing comedy favourites such as Only Fools and Horses or Mr Bean
pick up the mussels and place them on their backs. Literally turning the frowns upside down.
Whether or not this is the mussel’s revenge for millennia of human predation remains unclear. However, one thing we can guarantee with absolute certainty is this: Londonist are not going to let these shellfish creatures destroy us, our families, our friends, anyone we have loved, anyone we are loving at present, or anyone we could potentially love in the future.
by Tony Li