Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pond life

"Look after your pond while you're away?

Of course! Not a problem. No problemo. Had a goldfish myself once. Died. But it's still experience, isn't it?

Anything I need to know? Any special dietary requirements? Any ill ones, rare or particularly valuable specimens that I need to keep an eye out for?



And you're absolutely sure that there's nothing to freak me out, because I don't like weird fish. Normal fish are fine, like living ornaments, prettily floating about, mindlessly trying to remember how long their memory is and if they left the gas on, but deformed ones, or dead ones, or ones that just look like they've generally had a hard time don't inspire pity, they inspire unmitigated disgust and abject horror, don't they?

Yes. Glad you understand. It's not very fair and I'm not proud of it, but it's not just me is it? I think it's quite prevalent across the human spectrum. It's just the way we are with fish.

Fish come in categories you see. Pretty (your guppies and Nemos and such like); tasty (your cod and Birdseye bite-size reclaimed fish chunks); scary (Great white sharks and things with saws where their noses should be) or madly gross (deformed or dead for more than a day).

Nothing like that then? No? good. Bye then. Have a nice holiday".

Right. Fish care time.

Ooh, lovely pond. Some blue LED lights to frighten tadpoles at night, a pot of fishy pellets for me to scatter both hither and yon, netting to keep the herons off, all tickety-boo and normal for your pond dwelling fauna:

Some lilies, little waterfall in the back there, dribbling down those fibreglass rocks all picturesque like, nice plants on the side, and obviously the fish, all golden and orange and yellows and OHMYSWEETBABYSANTA!

What the chuff is that!

Eeeeewwwwww! Deformed fish! Deformed fish!

It looks like someone's stuck a bicycle pump up whatever fish have instead of anuses and inflated it to 32 psi.

I see you there, slinking under that big leaf, trying to get out of sight, and rightly so. All nasty and not fit for plain view, rolling lethargically from side to side like a badly designed car ferry.

It's moving slowly, and every now and then gets bumped by the other beautiful fish in the pond, causing it to rotate gently like a novelty beach ball with a head and tail, but it valiantly manages to get back the right way up and swims for cover again.

Makes it hard to get a good clear pic of the piscean freak, but you can see how godawful it is. Come on, show us your abnormality. Don't be shy. I'm not going to eat you.

That would really freak me out.

It's not even as though it will be beautiful on the inside. Have you seen the inside of a fish? It's like a slug fight in there.

Even the other fish shun it, with their streamlined shapes and smooth hydrodynamic gliding, constantly looking at their reflections in the undersurface of the pond's meniscus, probably gloating in that well known fishy way about how beautiful they are, about how they don't need immune systems because they're too pretty to get ill, not like old Lumpy McSphere over there.

And Lumpy?

He doesn't retaliate. He simply wobbles back under the leaf, away from the harsh unforgiving sunlight which has no qualms about revealing his distorted features, then throws a fin across his face and cries "Don't look at me! Shlurp. Don't look at me!"

I presume.

Now I feel guilty.

Maybe I can help. Does it need a vet? Or would a vet be all "Ew! Gross! I'll put my entire arm up a cow's arse but if you think I'm touching a deformed fish you've got another think coming." And then charge me forty quid for the consultation because that's what vets do when they tell you what you already know but use bigger words like "vaccinations" and "willful neglect" and "RSPCA". Smartarses.

No. A vet isn't the way forward. Something more practical is required.

How about one of those pet warehouses. Pets Sat at Home or whatever they're called. You know, they've got puppies stacked to the rafters and budgies on quick turnaround, three to a cardboard tube, and you can get monosyllabic professional advice from a teenager on minimum wage who thinks a bat is mouse's ghost.

They sell everything for pets and pond denizens, so I expect they've got a whole shelf dedicated to the aesthetically challenged fish. That's the place to go I reckon.

I wonder if they sell tiny operatic half-masks and cloaks, maybe with a waterproof top-hat?

Not only would he be able to disguise his disfigurement, but he'd have the added advantage of being dapper. I also have it on good authority (my imagination) that top-hats are inherently good at putting off herons, so it's in a complete win/win situation!

Apart from the horrendous deformity of course.


  1. as I sit under a house with windows boarded up ,
    so that passing by my home, children dont scream,
    oh mommy , what is that?!:(

    oh fret not dear child thats johnz basement.
    Its a frieghtening site, but he's alright.
    Just a shy guy with a big buldging eye.

    That bat being a mouse ghost was a riot :)
    good morning2u

  2. If they do sell fish costumes,you've gotta take pictures!!

  3. Put it in batter, add some chips, serve in newspaper. Only way to have them.

  4. John - All the better to squint at you with.

    thinkfyou - If it'll stay still long enough to pose.

    Mdme DeF - Not that one thank you very much. You'd need more batter, and it'd look like a deep fried haggis.

  5. Jules,

    I have to agree with Madame on this one. In homage to the current playoffs here in the states, I'll use a baseball euphemism: Batter up!


  6. It seems you're busy this week looking after the blogs and ponds of others... So giving! I need a next-door neighbor like you. If it's any consolation, ALL fish nauseate me. I can't eat in the presence of an aquarium.

  7. that's not a fish, that's a pool toy, sugar! ;~D xoxox

  8. U - I think you could use that fish as a baseball. Well, once.

    Ana - You're right. I'm like the Mother Theresa of neighbours me.

    Savvy - Rubbish pool then. It had fish in it for a start.

  9. The hard part is getting a tiny waterproof piano for him to play.

    Also, effing vets. *grumble grumble*

  10. Ponds in the US in yards are kind of rare but I have a neighbor w/ a pond. The goldfish have been alive for years.

  11. My mom has a pond. A crane or a heron or something comes by and eats the fish. One morning my mom, without her glasses, walked up to the crane and asked him to find a way to discourage the crane from eating the fish. She thought he was the pond maintenance guy.

    It looks like what you've got there is a Disney movie waiting to happen. An ugly misfit fish. It's like Finding Nemo, Hunchback of Notredame, and Beauty and the Beast all in one. You can be the beauty, The Jules.

  12. Soda and Candy - Big vet bill recently eh?

    Dr Zibbs - They're quite common in the UK, but then we're not going to swim in them over here are we. Brr.

    Steamy - I actually did a laugh, out loud at the crane story (if only there were some sort of acronym to denote this). Man, that would be one ugly mother-fisher if I was the beauty.

  13. Hmm, tricky situation, Jules old son. You sure this deformed fish is a bloke, though? Could be a lass, and it could be the very epitome of beauty in the pond world, kind of like Jordan or Lolo Ferrari.

  14. It just needs to go on a diet. Put it in a bowl and don't feed it until 2011. Don't ask the cat to help.

  15. Gadjo - You could be right. It certainly has plenty of junk in the trunk.

    GB - It could be glandular as well I suppose. Or just a very weak willed fish.

  16. Bloody hell! Fish hit with major ugly stick. Theyre creepy little critters at the best of time...

    It may be its eaten the others. My Nan had pond with similar monster. Think it was an ornamental carp or something.. anyway it ate all but one of the other fish. By the time they decided to close in the pond it was a massive brute of a thing; fishy velociraptor.

  17. i guess he should have tried a bowtie at least. spruce things up a bit.

  18. okay, budgies in a cardboard tube? that is brilliant.

  19. Judearoo - Sounds like a scary sort of fishzilla.

    justsomethoughts - He probably did, but then forgot he'd had them.

    miss.chief - They sell 'em like shuttlecocks.

  20. It probably ate lunch at the same place as I did today.
    I currently have a stomach deformity the size of a small country, I'm thinking Australia.

    Damn that puff pastry.

  21. I have some pond plants in tubs but they were infested with I bought 10 fish,(expecting to lose most of them) divided them up and put them in with the weed. That was about 6 years ago and when/if I remember I throw a little food in there, no care whatsoever, no love, no kind words.. The damn things are the healthiest fish I've ever seen. They thrive on hate, so be careful !

  22. Jimmy - Sounds like an afternoon well spent. You just need to find a pleasant lily pad to hide under till you've digested.

    Pash - lol. Masochistic fish. What hurts them makes them stronger.

  23. Worst case of constipation I've ever seen!

    put him in a solution of 1 level tsp epsom salts in a gallon of pond water

    then put on a halloween mask and creep up behind him....That'll scare the sh*t out of him!

  24. So you are saying that you threw that one back?

  25. Urbane Warrior - Are you a vet?

    Eric - Ooh, you should've seen the one that got away though. Twice as fat and ugly, that tone.

  26. Never, ever go to the Parc de la Sauvagère in Brussels (ok, admittedly it was a low probability event even before I said that). Because there's a donkey with an almost identical deformity. Elephant donkey. Donkey with a tumour as big as, well, a donkey. Brrrrr.

    WV instructs you to "undisc" the fish.

  27. I'd always thought bats were the evil undead souls of voles, or possibly de-spined hedgehogs so thanks for clearing that up for me.


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