Tag Archives: Old Hunstanton

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My latest fascination has lots of legs, no bones and a beak – can you guess?

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.

Continuing the makeover – Dolphins

On Sunday, I went back to my stunner of a beach hut, up at Old Hunstanton, to finish some of the painting. After working on the doors last weekend (see post), and much of the larger sections outside the hut, it was time to work on some of the smaller and more fiddly inside sections.

One of these sections was the sign for the beach hut, which we named ‘Dolphins’. Originally stencilled, we were unsure of how to repaint it without still having the original stencils – my parents suggested painting over the design and starting from scratch. However, I really liked the old sign and just felt it needed freshening up – so I decided to attempt to repaint in keeping with the original stencils, but freehand.

This was the result, and I am pretty proud of it! I unfortunately do not have a picture of the original so I cannot let you compare – but I would say that the outlines are actually more precise now that they were in the first place. The sign has now taken pride of place back up on the front of the hut. We also painted several other smaller items such as coffee, tea and sugar wooden pots, the mug tree, the mirror frame and curtain rail among other bits. And the deck had had a coat of black paint, as have the steps. I also used the black varnish to draw a letterbox on the door with the word ‘post’ written on it – just for extra cuteness factor! I don’t have any pics of this but will try to remember next time.

And a day of traditional seaside fun, with a little extra work!

Today was spent at sunny Hunstanton, where I was a determined woman. After a day off enjoying Norwich, I had plenty to be getting on with at our beach hut. My family own a beautiful beach hut at Old Hunstanton, quite close to the lifeboat station, which we bought as a ruin and have done up ourselves. Now, although I admit I am biased, I would argue that it is easily the best looking beach hut on the whole beach!

The beach hut means a lot to our family, we have always been big lovers of the seaside and as kids spent every weekend at a different beach, but always heading back to Old Hunstanton, which was a particular favourite. My parents bought the hut when I was around 14-years-old, a perfect time for  us to still spend every weekend there, for me to help painting and decorating it, and for us to full it with buckets, spades and all the rest of the traditional beach paraphernalia. It came in handy when, shortly after, my nan was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer which quickly took hold of her body and weakened her severely. No longer could she clamber across the sand dunes with ease, but she still longed to go to the seaside with her family. Having the beach hut, especially so close to the road, meant she could easily get down there and sit within the hut to keep warm and sheltered from the weather but still wouldn’t miss out on a second of family time.

Sadly, she died a year after being diagnosed, when I was 16, but I’m pleased to say we made the most of every last second and that hut carries so many wonderful memories for the whole family. We have since redecorated it and have recently had to have further work done on some rotten beams and weather-beaten parts. This meant a further repainting was required to smarten it up and a bit and I thought I would post some pictured of the progress on here for you all to see.

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Here I am painting away – actually painted from 10.30am to 4.30pm without taking a break! Special attention went to the doors and detailing, while my dad worked on the larger areas and touching up the varnish on the decking.

IMG_3350 Here he is hard at work!

After working for hours in the beautiful sunshine, we started to pack everything away before grabbing fish and chips as a treat and got comfy for the sunset.

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Despite all the hard work, I still made sure that I had time to find sandcastles on the beach, to walk down the hastily retreating tide and pick blackberries. Just some of my favourite things to do at the seaside – and of course, squeezed in an ice cream! It was a fantastic day and so nice to spend with my parents and grandfather. There is still a bit of work left to do on the beach hut, but it should be finished inside and out by next weekend – I will post better pictures then of both inside and outside. And hopefully, the weather will hold so that my photographer friend has time to organise a photo shoot there!