We had a fish. Well actually, we had two fish. Goldfish. Very basic, nothing fancy, just ordinary goldfish. They didn’t do much but because we had them, we ticked the ‘pet’ box. And when you have children, it seems you’re obliged to not only provide food, clothing, discipline and pocket-money, but also a pet.
The first fish died whilst we were in the UK at Christmas. Our helper texted to say it had gone to the great goldfish bowl in the sky so we told her to get down to the nearest pet shop and replace it with an identical cousin (how hard could this be after all?).
We returned from our Christmas break to discover that Shrek was alive and well…and twice the size he’d been before we went on holiday. Amazingly, my son put this down to over indulgence during the Christmas season and naturally, we didn’t correct him.
The replacement fish only lasted until the pest control came for their annual visit and were perhaps a little over zealous with the chemicals near Shrek 2’s bowl. We had a burial in the garden. We’re hoping the neighbourhood cats didn’t notice.
We replaced Shrek 2 with two goldfish thinking that at least one of them might go the distance (a month maybe?). We called them Tom and Jerry as even my son realised that Shrek 3 and 4 was perhaps a little unimaginative… Sadly, Jerry barely made it into his new home before he snuffed it. I think he managed three hours.
My Dad is staying with us at the moment and he managed to keep my goldfish Albert alive for years. He recommended pond weed, so this afternoon off we trooped back to the pet shop. We got a good deal on a particularly pretty variety of weed on the basis that one of the fish that was supposed to swim amongst it, was no longer with us.
It was a hot afternoon and we were all glad to get home. My son, filled with excitement rushed into the kitchen and we placed the weed carefully in the goldfish bowl. Tom didn’t seem all that impressed. In fact, he didn’t even move. He didn’t move when we prodded him, when we waved the weed in his little face or when my Dad gave him a shot of brandy (kept Albert going for ages apparently). Tom was dead. Cue much sobbing.
As I put my son to bed tonight he told me not to worry as he has had enough of fish as they keep dying. How mature I thought. What a grown up attitude. I should have known there was a catch.
“Can you ask Daddy if we can get a guinea pig?”