Cuttlefish and Cockleshells from beach combing at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve in East Sussex on a gloriously sunny day today. This Cuttle ‘bone’ is actually a sort of internal skeleton,
made of calcium, which helps the structure and the buoyancy of the animal. Cuttlefish, relatives of squid, spent their days buried on the seabed and then jet-propel themselves, by syphoning water through their body, at night when feeding. The ‘bones’ end up washed up on the shore and have been used by humans over centuries – ground up for a polishing powder, used in toothpaste, used as an antacid, put in bird-cages to sharpen budgies beaks, and, due to their ability to be carved very finely, used as molds for delicate metal-casting, including the casting of jewellery. Cockles are gathered for food for humans, as well as providing food for some seabirds. They are small, salt-water clams. The phrase ‘warm the cockles of your heart’ may either come from a 15th century belief in their medicinal properties or from the supposed
resemblance of the hearts chambers to the shape of cockleshells. Conditions: Apparently a little less sunny in Sheffield than the continuous blue-skies in Sussex but a fine day. Temperature : Max 6- Min 1c.