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Latest blog post 

octopus in residence

Hinemoana Baker


...or: memories of my time in the aquarium at Cutlers Sports Centre, Whakatane

Octopus and Mr Potato Head

Apparently it's an urban legend, but I still believe.

My father once worked at the local sports centre on the Strand in Whakatane, and he told me they had two aquaria there. Quite big ones, from memory. In one of them was an octopus. In the other, among other things, were some crayfish.

Questions began to be asked when crayfish started disappearing. Staff, possibly even customers, were probably accused. It was only when the shells were discovered - in the other aquarium - that fingers were pointed at the octopus. Which apparently had been dislodging the lid of its own premises after hours, making its eight-legged way (probably on the walls of the store) to the home of its unsuspecting neighbours, breaking in, dragging one of them back to its own tank and, well, snacking. Because crayfish - nom.

For some reason I've been thinking about this story this morning. For reasons too complicated to blog, I find myself today on the verge of a journey (a literal journey, like, in a car) for which I am needing to summon a lot of courage, self-esteem, good humour and fortitude. The octopus story is an entirely inappropriate metaphor for what myself and my travelling companion, a fellow writer, are about to do, and yet my mind keeps replaying it. If this is how other-worldly guidance arrives in times of need, I can tell you there's obviously a bit of a fault in my fibre-optics. I'm not the octopus, I'm not the crayfish, what are you saying, brain / subconscious / ancestors?!

If I ever work this out, I'll let you's know.