Tag Archives: Goldfish

Hitler Goldfish And The Upset Tooth

25 Apr
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My Fascist Goldfish

25 Jan

Here’s the thing: the Hub loves animals.  I think you know that.  He’s always mooning over the geese in the park; yesterday he trained three scared mothers and their even more scared offspring to not only feed the geese but to let them take the bread from their hands.  A good day’s work.

That would be fine if his love of animals stayed in the park, but it spills over into our home and makes the thing I hate most in the world: clutter.  We don’t have one gerbilarium, we have three, all different sizes.  We have seven bags of food that our dead gerbil will never eat.  We have three leads per dog and one spare in case we lose five; the dogs have two and five coats (Molly is nesh); boxes of dog treats; boxes of gerbil treats; and – and I really wish I was exaggerating here but I’m not – four huge binbags full of gerbil toys, courtesy of Freegle and car boot sales.  How sad that you can’t take it with you, or Callie would be the happiest gerbil in heaven and I would be the happiest housewife on earth. 

A cage the Hub built for the gerbils to exercise in. It's stuffed behind the couch now.

As well as all that, we have the fish.  You may remember I rescued Bill last year from his little plastic tank and his lonely existence.  The Hub approved so much that he immediately bought a proper tank and five other fish for company.  Bill is thriving, as are the other four (one was a weakling who couldn’t cut it in the big world, sadly).  So much so, they outgrew their tank and the Hub insisted we get them a bigger one.  To be fair, the small big tank was horribly dark and dank compared to the big big tank. 

The Hub replaced the stones with sand, bought more fresh plants, rocks and wood.  And four shrimp; ostensibly because ‘they’ll clean the tank’ but really because ‘they’re sooooo cute.’

The tank is lovely. 

But there was one horrible, unforeseen and appalling side-effect: if the fish can see us, we can see the fish.  Here’s Jock:

Or Adolf, as he’s now known.

Four Things

8 Sep
An used toilet paper roll

Image via Wikipedia

Have you noticed the date?  8/9/10 

That’s all I have to say about that.

*

Sad news for us: we lost our littlest fish: she who must not be named because I named her after a friend and I don’t want to say ‘X is dead.’  She was just a weak fish, we think; though she had a hearty appetite.  I gave her a worthy burial with the crisp packets and apple peelings.

*

I was going to write that today marks the seventieth anniversary of the start of the Blitz but I got it confused with the fortieth anniversary of the founding of Saatchi & Saatchi; don’t ask me how.  The Blitz anniversary was actually Tuesday 7th September.  1000 German planes flew across the North Sea to see us off. And failed miserably.

*

I’m still enjoying Vivinfrance’s war memoirs; they are fascinating.  She told a story about her Dad and some black market sugar, and it reminded me of my Dad and the toilet paper.  When we emigrated to South Africa in 1982, we had no money (one of the reasons for emigrating in the first place).  Dad was working for Sasol, a huge corporation that turned coal into petrol.  To help our grocery budget, my father the usually honest would come off shift with a toilet roll taken from the men’s loos.  One day, he heard from a colleague that the company was cracking down on staff pilfering – stationery, equipment, and so on – and he went home in a panic and he and Mum spent an entire night ripping up a hundred half-used toilet rolls and flushing them down the toilet.  What really made me laugh was that it was unmarked paper and the company couldn’t have come in to the house asking to see it.  The price of a guilty conscience, I guess: a huge water bill.

 *

 

A Woman Needs A Fish Like A Man Needs A Bicycle

21 Aug

Viv is one lazy goldfish.  The Hub says she’s the kind of fish who takes a note into school each week to avoid swimming lessons.  She sits in a corner of the tank and even lies on the gravel and doesn’t move all day; unless there’s food going, in which case she’s Speedy Gongoldfish and the others better not get in her way.  She’s the smallest but the fiestiest.

I thought she was sick; I thought she was so sick she was going to die – which was the moment I realised that naming pets after living friends is not a great idea: imagine poor Vivinfrance’s shock if she reads of her demise on my blog. 

I’m thinking of changing my fish’s name, but she looks like a Viv.  And how would I go about it?  What’s the equivalent of the human deed poll?  A fish stick?  Owwww.  I’m cringing even as I write it.  Fortunately, my non-Yankophile readers won’t get it.  And maybe some of my American and Yankophile readers as well, if the reaction to the marshmallow joke is anything to go by.

I think I’ll just go lie on the floor and wait for someone to feed me.

 

 

Ricky Hatton Stole My Glove

5 Jul

He’s coming home, he’s coming home; TB’s coming home!  Okay, this is actually a picture of Ricky Hatton but it might as well be because what I have to look forward to is a summer of fighting between the Hub and Tory Boy.  Don’t get me wrong: they love each other very much.  Preferably from a distance.  You know how they say look at the mother to see what the wife will be like in twenty years?  That’s not exclusive to the female of the species.  Tory Girl, you have been warned.

This photo was taken at a book signing.  We took along a full-size and two miniature pairs of boxing gloves – if we’re going to queue for hours then we want our money’s worth.  We’re not Northern for nothing.  Mr H is a huge Manchester City fan and when he saw these gloves he asked if he could have a pair.  The gloves were individually priced and the Hub had bought us all one each but, being good parents, we gave up ours so the boys could keep theirs.You don’t say ‘no’ to a man who can beat you to a pulp and the Hub wouldn’t say ‘no’ to a fellow City fan anyway; being  Blue is like being in the Masons: a nod, a handshake, a wince at how we haven’t won any silverware for thirty years, and the deal is done.  What irked me as I smiled politely at the boxing champion with the huge fists is that The Hitman took my glove.    It never occurred to me until just now to say ‘no’ and use the children as human shields.  I never think on my feet; I’ll never make a boxer, will I?

If you are parked at Eastlands one day and you see a flash car with a pair of City boxing gloves hanging from the mirror, do us a favour and pinch them back: they’ll be worth a fortune on eBay.

Tory Boy will get to meet his new fish today.  Did I mention we had to buy another two when the boys heard that I was keeping mine?  They showed no interest at all in the fish until they were formally adopted, and now they want their own.  Spud decided yesterday on a name for his: Shingles, after the disease.  I don’t know if I’ve told you about Spud’s shingles.  I’ll save that story for another day.  Shingles is a Shubunkin (it was worth buying him for the joy of saying his species name; what a fabulous word).    They do look kind of diseased, don’t they?  If the pattern is followed, Tory Boy’s all-white goldfish could soon glory in the name of ‘leprosy’.  Tory Girl, you have been warned.

With Sincere Apologies To Viv

28 Jun

After years of tolerating the Hub and his tropical fish, I have finally succumbed: my name is Tilly and I love my goldfish. So, apologies to nephew David and his lovely wife for messing you around, but I’ll see to Bill myself, thank you very much.

And Betty, of course; she’s the companion we bought for Bill. Or HE’s the companion: turns out the Hub is not as good a sexer as he thought; on reading the book that came with the new fish tank we bought because the original was plastic, cracked and too small and the plants we bought took up all the room, he learned that his method for discerning the sex was faulty i.e. he had no idea what he was doing and might just as well have held a wedding ring on a string over the tank and decided that male was right twirl and female left.

Then came the accessories, donated by a kindly Freegler. Freegle is the English independent breakaway offshoot of Freecycle; a sort of retaliation for 1776 – no authorisation without representation (no money changes hands so it can’t be taxation).

Bill & Betty now have a castle and some slate tunnels and it’s my bet the Hub is thinking that as soon as Callie the Eternal Gerbil pops her clogs, he’ll have a use for her giant tank and the seventeen other fish castles now residing in the garden in an old carrier bag. I’m sure it has been his plan to get me to keep Bill & Betty all along; he’s always liked owning fish. He has asked me almost every day if I had decided to keep them and I finally said ‘yes’ this morning. He had me out of the house and into the pet shop before I could say ‘I’ll have some chips with that’ and we now have Bill & Betty & Jock & Viv.

Jock & Viv get their names from my good friend Vivienne, who always leaves complimentary comments on my posts, and her husband, who once gave the kiss of life to a goldfish and inspired a poem. I won’t post it again because I’ve posted it twice already, but you can read it here. It was one of my favourite poems I have written and I was really touched by Jock’s heroism, and Viv is just lovely, so I can’t think of a better tribute to them. I hope they forgive me.

We now have a dog, a gerbil, two kids and four fish. We may be getting another dog because Toby is still nervous around them and it would help socialise him. We will definitely be getting two more fish because the boys want one of their own now that we are keeping them; but I draw the line at having any more gerbils or kids in the house.

Which reminds me: I am really looking forward to having my niece and nephew staying for a couple of weeks in the summer holidays. Someone’s got to look after all the pets while I have my nervous breakdown.

Not-so Little Bill

7 Jun

Bill is not lonely anymore: the Hub bought him Betty to keep him company.  Incidentally, Betty is to Elizabeth as Bill is to Wilhelmina.  Bill is not a boy.  The Hub checked them both out and they are girls, but I’m going to keep her name because she looks like a Bill: she’s big and butch and twice the size of Betty.  I’m not concerned that Betty will be bullied by Bill, though, because she’s a feisty little thing.  She was punching at the travel bag all the way home, and Bill has perked up a treat since she arrived.

The Hub went out and bought Betty because I was fretting over Bill being lonely; he said it was worth the £1.50 to shut me up.  What he actually said was, ‘Feel better now, darling?’ but I knew what he was thinking.   I do feel better; it is not good for animals to be alone – how many animals walked into the ark as singletons?  Okay, fish didn’t walk into the ark; someone must have carried them and my fish don’t need bicycles because I’m not going to breed them, not that I could because I have two females and technically they’re not ‘my’ fish because I’m fostering one and donating the other – which, by the way, I have yet to tell dear old nephew David; I hope his tank is big enough.

Where was I?  Oh yes, buying Betty.  The Hub went for a top-of-the-line goldfish, not one of those skanky 95p ones.  Not that you can tell: she’s sort of mottled and black in parts, like she was left mouldering in a corner of the tank until some fool who can’t tell the difference between 18 carat and 22 carat goldfishes took pity on her.  It’s why I will never own white gold (and certainly not because I prefer rubbing brass farthings): wearing it looks like I could only afford silver.  Not that I have anything against silver; it’s an affordable investment and you are less likely to get mugged wearing it in Stockport…so maybe I will wear white gold (one day) – it is expensive and safer.  At least I know my fish won’t get mugged.

Talking of mugging fish – if I told you that on the day we acquired Toby we had dog for dinner, you would think I was gross, wouldn’t you?  Should I now confess that we had fish and chips for tonight’s dinner because we still have some of our Shop Local winnings to spend?  I don’t think I will; I don’t want you to judge me.

I have worried about Bill, lonely in her empty tank which I have filled with plants and companion and oxygen tablet – the Hub is a fishianado (sorry, long pause for laughter because I crack myself up sometimes) and insisted we buy some because the tank needs oxygen.  Now I have to worry about the tank itself, which has a repaired crack in it and which was weakened by the move.  I wonder if I can buy a new tank in a shop local?

 

Little Bill

6 Jun

I finally managed to secure the goldfish.  You may remember I put him on the ‘At Risk’ register because my blonde friend did not provide plants for his tank.  The Hub and I spent some of our Shop Local winnings on tank plants and then I spent the week trying to co-ordinate diaries with my BF so that I could collect him.   Once she offered me a bottle of wine (bought because it has ‘Silver’ in its name) it was amazing how quickly my engagements dried up.

He is now residing in his tank, surrounded by plants and my kettle and toaster.  There is no room for him in the lounge: the gerbil’s tank takes up half a wall and the dog’s mat, basket, toy basket and antique Woolworths chest containing his treats and accessories, takes up the rest of the room.  No matter – I spend half my life in the kitchen anyway, cooking, cleaning and avoiding the children, so Bill and I will have plenty of quality time together.

I have called him Bill after some discussion with the Hub and Spud (still in Wales but phoning home everyday to moan about his hosts because he’s not here to moan about us).  We considered Bert, Harry, Bubbles, Goldie and Fingers i.e. Goldfishfingers; if he was American it would be Goldfishsticks.  I suppose it’s daft to name him when we are only fostering him until the Hub’s nephew gives him a permanent home, but I like that it will give me the opportunity to say to my BF, when she asks how her fish is doing, ‘He’s fine.  Don’t worry, I’ll be sending the Bill to David.’

He wasn’t fine at first; he seemed to be quite upset at being taken into care and was quiet for a couple of days and off his food.  At least, I think he was off his food: we bought so many plants he couldn’t move and we couldn’t see him.  Once I had thinned them out he started swimming happily around the bowl.  At least, I think he’s happy; he doesn’t talk much.  I’m not sure if he’s shy or standoffish. 

I have come a long way as a pet owner since buying that first goldfish for Tory Boy: I left his bowl in front of the window when we went out for the day, so he would have something to look at.  We found him floating on the surface, having slowly boiled to death.  Tory Boy was upset but at least we had something ready for dinner.

 

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