The other day at work, a reader brought in a picture she had snapped of an octopus she had found washed up on Old Hunstanton beach, on the North Norfolk coast last weekend. Although dead, she was keen to know what type of octopus it was and how it had come to be there. After investigating and speaking to staff from the local Sea Life Centre, I discovered it was the lesser octopus – a type common to UK waters but rarely found washed up on our beaches. The display manager, Kieran Copeland, of Hunstanton Sea Life Centre, suspected the creature had died in the water and been washed up afterwards.
Angela Rudd, another member of staff from the centre, started to tell me all about the octopus in general and fascinated me with talk of the creature’s intelligence and ability to learn – I had to do some background reading to learn more.
I found the following information very interesting and helpful – there is plenty more on the website if you have the inclination to read on.
An octopus’s brain is proportionally as large as some birds’ and mammals’ brains. It displays a high level of organization in order to do things like coordinate all of the chromataphores’ color changes. The brain is only part of the story though. Three-fifths of the octopus’s nerves are distributed throughout its eight arms
Octopus arms are incredibly strong and flexible. Made almost entirely of muscle, the arms possess the strength to wrestle sharks and to break through Plexiglas. And without those pesky bones and joints (like ours) to limit movement, the arms have an almost infinite range of motion. And yet the octopus can even mimic a human arm by making its arms semi-rigid and bending them in precise places.
In addition, recent research suggests those arms may have minds of their own. Studies indicate that octopus arms each have their own independent nervous system. Essentially this means that the brain can give a quick assignment to the arm and then not have to think about it anymore. Scientists tested this by severing the nerves in the arms from other nerves in the body and brain and then tickling the arms. Amazingly, the arms responded to the tickling just as they would in a healthy octopus.
Source: How Stuff Works
For more information – why not check out the following links for BBC Nature and BBC Nature: The Giant Pacific Octopus
And for this final video – I recommend you put it on silent because the American commentary is more than just slightly annoying and fast forward to around two minutes in to witness the true power of the Giant Pacific Octopus.
October 12, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tagged animal, bbc, david attenborough, Enteroctopus dofleini, Hunstanton, intelligence, nature, newspaper, north norfolk, Octopus, Old Hunstanton, Puget Sound, reader, science, Sea Life Centre, suckers, West Seattle
This week has been a particularly extreme example of how very varied a career in journalism can be. Of course, for those who choose a speciality such as sport, law or feature work, the writing can seem repetitive over time, but the bonus of being thrown in the deep end without formal training and working in a short-staffed office is that you really get a chance to experience as many different writing styles as there are out there.
I am a great example of such a case and despite working on a paper that covers a relatively small part of Norfolk, there is a remarkable amount of very exciting news that needs covering! This week alone I have interviewed the star of West End musical – Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story ahead of its showing at the local theatre as part of the 25th anniversary tour and was given a backstage tour by Glen Joseph himself. I then wrote a piece about drug and alcohol abuse figures which involved me talking to action teams, the hospital, police, support groups and Norfolk County Council. I also interviewed a woman about her father’s Jobseeker’s Allowance being cut off and spoke to the Department of Work and Pensions and spoke to a woman who was celebrating her 103rd birthday.
I interviewed a published writer about his book, the tale of his father’s travels and the secret life he led during World War II followed by his work spying on the Russians during the Cold War.I also wrote about Bus Awards, flood alerts, power cuts, schools, charity work and local bands and theatre productions.
All that and more is what I have been working on in the space of one week – just think of all the amazing stories you could be working on at a national paper! If that doesn’t interest more people in journalism then perhaps the fact that in my second job, as editor of This Festival Feeling, I had the opportunity to interview Charlie Hedges, the youngest breakfast DJ in the UK, from KISS FM will interest people in the potential for a writing career and where it might take you.
October 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tagged alcohol, article, awards, bands, benefits, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, career, charity, cold war, council, Department for Work and Pensions, dj, drugs, figures, flood, hospital, jobseeker's allowance, journalist, kiss fm, live, local, music, norfolk, Norfolk County Council, north norfolk, office, police, power, radio, Russians, schools, story, Theatre, training, war, west end, West End theatre, west norfolk, World War II, writer
I went to this gorgeous crab restaurant in Salthouse, on the glorious North Norfolk Coast, last weekend.
Accompanied by my parents and my other half, we headed out to the coast specifically to try the shellfish at this restaurant after a mention in the Sunday Times magazine.
Easy to find, and cute as anything, the restaurant (which was more of a cafe than anything else) looked out over the marshes and on a beautifully sunny day, without a cloud in the sky, was the perfect setting for some fresh, Norfolk seafood.
The staff were friendly, efficient and served us the very best they had on offer while telling us all about the latest catch and what were the best combinations.
We went for prawn and garlic pate and potted shrimps to start, with Royal crab salads and a tiger prawn salad for mains.
The food was delicious and could not have been fresher unless it jumped straight out of the ocean and on to my plate.
There was such a relaxed atmosphere, and even the option of bringing along your own wine to accompany the food, as some of the diners had done.
I would heartily recommend the place to anyone with a fondness for seafood or a wish to try crab as it should be served.
The meal was followed by a drive through the stunning villages along the coast, with a quick stop in Thornham before we headed to Old Hunstanton to see my pretty little beach hut, which is having work done on it at the moment but I shall post pics when it is finished and re-painted.
September 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tagged beach hut, coast, crab, family, food, norfolk, north norfolk, restaurant, review, shellfish, tasty