To say that my family has a chequered past when it comes to fish would be an understatement. Let’s just say that it is a good job that goldfish are supposed to have short memories!
The Fun of the Fair
As a child I had never actually thought about keeping fish despite the fact that I had several friends with goldfish and tropical fish. Then I visited a local fun fair and managed to win a goldfish which was presented to me in a plastic bag full of water tied in a knot at the top. I was left standing in a field somewhere in Kent wandering what the hell I was going to do with a goldfish as I could foresee my parents taking a dim view of having to buy a bowl or a tank for it. Then there was my cat who had dedicated his life to trying to get his jaws around my budgerigar and for him a fish in a bowl would present no challenge whatsoever.
When I arrived home my quandary was resolved in quick fashion by my father who took the plastic bag from me and promptly flushed the poor fish down the toilet. I thought that this would probably be my last encounter with pet fish but my cat thought otherwise.
Shortly after the goldfish episode my mother walked into the kitchen to discover a rather large Koi on the floor. The fish clearly hadn’t gained access to the house unaided and so the culprit was clearly the cat who had sensibly left the scene of the crime. Mum decided to save the fish to show me and left it in a dust pan until I got up. As she waved the bright orange specimen under my nose to demonstrate that my cat was a murderer I was forced to point out that the fish was, in fact, still alive. Yet again I was forced to wonder what I was going to do with a fish only this time a bowl wasn’t going to help.
I knew nothing about Koi and in those days there was no quick way to find out but clearly we had to do something quickly otherwise the creature would expire. It slowly dawned on me that the fish might have been plucked from the pond in the garden that backed onto to ours and my mother was forced to phone the owner to enquire as to whether one of his fish was missing. It was! I returned the Koi in a bucket and did my best to ignore the string of expletives about my cat who was apparently given to stalking the livestock in the pond.
The Pond keeper
Years later my parents bought a house with a large pond that was generously stocked with fish. None of us had the first idea how to look after them but thankfully we could now search online for the information we needed. My father got to grips with the issues of feeding the fish and maintaining the water quality and everything was going well until he fell in the pond one day and probably gave several of the fish the shock of their lives. Meanwhile my latest cat had taken to stalking a neighbour’s pond and I was persona non grata once again.
Dad’s fish have actually continued to do well and the pond is looking great. It is possible for a complete novice to do well with the help of the information and supplies that are available online. The internet has changed the world of retail forever and made many hobbies more accessible to all. Perhaps if the internet had been invented sooner I might have been able to keep that goldfish from the fair but then perhaps not. I don’t think I was meant to keep fish and I am sure that my cats think that this is rather a shame!
Article by Sally Stacey