Monday, 13 May 2019

The inteligent octopus. Foreign foods. And talking to trees.

Scientists have concluded that octopuses (octupi?) are intelligent. They have been observed to use tools and can remember things. No doubt the scientists have their ways of testing octopus memory. The outcome of this is that they now say it is quite deplorable and cruel to think of farming octopuses (octupi?) because we should not treat intelligent creatures in this way. And besides, there is evidence they get depressed.

There are problems with farming them anyway, as they only eat fresh food - another sign of intelligence? - and providing a suitable diet is very difficult. So attempts at octopus farming have failed.

I quite like octopus, provided it is properly cooked. Overcooked, it is a most unappetising thing, as is the case with squid for that matter. Cooked in just the right way, it is quite delicious. But I would not be miserable if I never ate octopus again in my life. (Scallops are a different matter.)

When I was a child nobody ever suggested eating octopus. It was an undersea creature. Jules Verne territory. But since so many of us have been spending holidays in Mediterranean countries the demand for octopus has grown.

Do the French, Spanish, Italians, Greeks who come to the UK have a great hankering to eat fish and chips after spending a holiday in this country? Do restaurants spring up in deepest France, specialising in fish and chips, sausage and chips, scraps? If my experience of Spain is anything to go by, I think not. The Galicians are pretty much averse to patronising restaurants that offer something different from Galician fare - fish, boiled potatoes and greens!

We British on the other hand love to see a new tapas restaurant or sushi bar or street food from around the world place open up. I wonder why we cannot be satisfied with waiting until we go back to foreign climes to sample their culinary delights once again. Mind you, having said that, one of the delights of eating out in the UK is that you can sample food from around the world. I have never been to Vietnam, for example, but I have eaten Vietnamese food.

This should be counted as one of our strengths. And it should be a reason for our being more tolerant of people from other places and actually wanting to stay in Europe. But that might be just me!

I also like trees and I read today that Forestry England wants us to go into the woods more. Very good. I am all in favour of that. Here is a part of what I read:-

“As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Forestry England is working with the television presenter and tree fan Kate Humble, who has described how she often finds comfort in sylvan settings. She said: “We all have moments of anxiety or stress or confusion or sadness. Sometimes it can be really hard to articulate that to another person. You can talk to a tree: they feel old and wise and at times you need an old and wise thing that isn’t going to judge you.”
Humble said she had a particular 600-year-old tree she turned to, named Old Man Oak. “He is so stately. There have been many occasions when I have gone and sought the solace of Old Man Oak. We live this very ephemeral life. There is something about the solidity of a tree that can give you a sense of security.”
Humble also said she thought it was fine to sometimes feel a little nervous in woodland. “It’s a lovely feeling to almost be lost, but not quite, and to feel you are being led down mysterious paths.”” 

Splendid! Now, how does the old song go? Ah yes:-

I talk to the trees
But they don’t listen to me.

 I suppose Kate Humble could just talk to herself. But the there is another song that goes like this: 

You’re talking to yourself again.
It’s causing great concern for your health.

Bits of oddness everywhere!

No comments:

Post a Comment