Tuesday, 6 January 2009

A Tale of Two Fishes


Happy New Year to everybody out there, I hope 2009 brings you more money than we're promised, less doom and gloom than we're promised and a fairly sturdy umbrella if it all happens to come true. The Millennium Housewife family had rather a chilled new year actually, for once less than a vat of wine was consumed, although this was mainly due to Husband being at death's door (read: in bed with a cold demanding lemsips and attention). The only glum moment was the goldfish dying. Yup, sorry to say but old Sally has carped it (pun utterly intended, should you have doubted it for a second), in fact less of the old actually, she's only about six months but then every goldfish month is the equivalent to twenty human years according to the man who sold it to me (door to door, he also sold lucky heather which I bought and tied to the goldfish bowl). So really Sally was about eighty and had had a good innings and was due to visit that old fish pie in the sky.
Sorry if all this has come as a shock, I know how much she meant to you all and how you enjoyed hearing about her adventures in the bowl water continuum having had ooh precisely zero posts dedicated to her. But a death in the family is a death in the family and worth noting.
It happened New Year's Day, I'd staggered down bleary eyed, with Isla already waxing lyrical about the adventures Barbie and Sally were going to embark on today (it involved Barbie's new bikini which I have to say is far too old for her, and possibly pornographic). Isla's lilting crescendo of waffle died low (but not as low as Sally's obviously) as she spied the upside down, floating, mouth-stilled Sally (you've all seen it before). Look at that mummy she yelled in her prettiest voice, Sally's sunbathing like Barbie. Grasping the oft withheld opportunity to not explain Life And It's Miseries to my child I hummed agreement and carried on a one sided conversation about how Sally might like a bikini to match Barbie's while simultaneously fetching the sieve (bless that multi tasking gene). It was at the point where Isla was musing as to whether Sally would like a two piece pink sparkly bikini or a purple all in one that she saw the sieve. What have you got mummy? Ah. Errr, I stalled, shirking yet another opportunity to enlighten my child (come on, I was in the zone), I was going to sift some flour.
Really? boomed Isla, are we going to make shortbread?
Um, OK, why not?
So the morning was spent making shortbread while Sally sunbathed it away making absolutely no effort to help. That is until Husband lumbered down and enquired loudly as to why the fish was dead. Dead? Isla squeaked (at last! a way to get her to lower the decibels), we thought she was sunbathing didn't we mummy? Husband shot me a reproachful look and knelt down as if to begin a heart to heart with his eldest child about life, love and the Universe. She probably is sunbathing yes darling, he said (coward!), I'll have a look.
As we bent, ear to ear over the goldfish bowl we whispered urgently about how to save the situation. In a moment of inspiration I ran to the cupboard and grabbed a straw. Lifting Sally I attempted the kiss of life by breathing down the straw. Husband looked at me as if I had just offered to clean the skirting boards. But I knew, I'd seen My Mother do this to a catfish we'd inadvertently caught while fishing in Florida (apparently my dad hadn't thought we'd catch anything so it wouldn't do any harm. It did do rather a lot of harm though to the catfish). Husband whispered something along the lines of My Mother's face looming over any corpse would be enough to scare it back to life, but soon got into the drama by coaching, one two three, clear! yelling in time with every breath. He even cut a sliver of carrot and waggled it above Sally, she might think it's a man goldfish and give her something to live for he explained helpfully. But to no avail, Sally's little fishy soul had well and truly left the building, no autographs please. We lifted her towards Isla, look towards the light! bellowed Husband in a moment supposedly Spiritual but I suspect lifted straight from Hollywood. We knelt down, attempting to stroke Sally kindly and without any sign of fish phobia, and explained as gently as we could about dying and how a fish's last wish was always to be flushed down the toilet. Isla took it well and even said a few farewell words above the toilet bowl before waving as we flushed. She turned to us, sadness etched on her face, are you OK darling we asked kindly, yes she said, it's just..it's just.. who's going to swim with Barbie now? Quite.
So now we have another fish, a more resilient one we imagine given the race to get her back in the bowl after Isla attempted to get her into her bikini. One that hopefully will live to at least a hundred and give Isla many months of pleasure. We've pulled out all the stops and placed another piece of lucky heather on the bowl.

26 comments:

Elsie Button said...

I could picture the scene beautifully. Sounds like you dealt with the situation admirably. Your fish's last wish line was genius, and the slither of carrot a tiny bit bonkers - but very sweet!

Devoted said...

Greetings, MH, first let me thank you for your comments and once again wish you all the best for the 'almost' new year. Your 'fish' post brought back so many memories. For many years in a row our boys would win one or two seemingly healthy goldfish at the local fair only to perish within days of hitting fresh water. They must have been really old! LOL! We finally gave up and got a dog...much easier to train and they didn't mind too much riding around in the GI Joe jeep. :-D Have a good week!

Potty Mummy said...

Well, for Pete's sake don't let her watch Farm Life on Animal Planet. In the space of 15 minutes I found myself explaining how sheep give birth, the placenta, prolapse (good grief), a dead twin lamb and ferrets hunting rabbits to two open-mouthed small boys this evening...

Bring back Power Rangers I say...

Nota Bene said...

What! No red herring puns? How come?!

Farewell Sally, you will be much missed, and fondly remembered...for about eight seconds if I remember my biology lessons correctly.
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Sally who?

Mud in the City said...

Brilliantly written!

Poor Sally.

My goldfish went mouldy. Says very little for my fish caring abilities.

Tara said...

What a picture that must have made, you with the straw pressed to Sally's scales!

And Potty Mummy's comment, hilarious!

The Coffee Lady said...

Be lucky you only had one goldfish. We weren't so fortunate.

If you have more than one, and one dies, THEY EAT EACH OTHER.

Try explaining THAT to a child.

nappy valley girl said...

I love the way your husband caved and said she was sunbathing too!

I kept terrapins as a child - they were more exciting than fish, but lived just as briefly. We lived in a flat, and one of them once committed suicide off the balcony....narrowly missing some poor woman's head.

cheshire wife said...

All the best for 2009. Sunbathing??!! you must be having better weather where you live than we are having. here.

A Confused Take That Fan said...

So, you are alive! But your goldfish is dead. Condolences. I agree with Barbie's bikini being a bit porno. Once our Barbie's came off you couldn't get those perky puppies back in the sparkly number, so she is now on a nudist beach in the South of France.
Oh, and I like how you decided to give the fish the kiss of life several shortcake making hours after noticing she's dead.
RIP Sally.
Award for you over at mine fruit.

Guineapigmum said...

Oh Sally, we'll surely miss you. Opportunity for a biography here, I think.

At least you found her dead. We have/had 3 goldfish and one mysteriously vanished completely, sans trace. We're not quite sure how long it was before we realised, sadly, so he/she didn't get much of a sendoff. We figured it had been eaten by the other two.

Susanna (A Modern Mother) said...

Too funny about your husband's comments about scaring it back to life...

Speaking of goldfish, this BIG FREEZE has frozen my pond and I am very worried...

Happy New Year!

Millennium Housewife said...

Elsie, glad to see you back, bonkers is the word girl ....

Devoted, always a pleasure

PM, lol!

NB, damn, it's rare I miss a pun opportunity

Mud, mouldy? Don't get a dog

Tara, if only the video camera had been up and running...

Coffee, lol!

NVG, no terrapins then

CW, pure optomism

Confused, thankyou!

Guineapig, without trace? No burial? Shame!

Troy said...

People who know me may suspect I got here by searching for the keywords Barbie, bikini and pornographic. However you know better - thanks for leaving a kind comment on my blog. Glad you liked the food. Hope you return for seconds.
Sorry to time my first arrival just as had a death in the family. Sounds fishy to me. I suspect it was just a very subtle escape plan on its part - which worked.

Google Mummy said...

Poor Sally! And brave Isla! What a star.

Sally is dead. Long live the new fish!

More than a Mother said...

Thanks so much for visiting me; mainly because your comment has now brought me to your own blog. What a gorgeously splendiferous site! I plan to spend a happy evening reading your posts. xx

david mcmahon said...

Life, death and goldfish are all tied in so neatly. You tell a tale with rare talent.

All the very best for 2009 ...

More than a Mother said...

MH, you have a brand new award :)

http://morethanjustamother.blogspot.com/2009/01/proximity-and-pelvic-floors.html

Robin said...

Glad she took Sally's death well.

Our blue beta fish once went on vacation, where he got sunburned (i.e. came back a red fish), then after a while the sunburn faded and he turned blue again.

God my kids were gullible.

Jo Beaufoix said...

So sorry for your loss. And now I have the image of a goldfish in a bikini in my head. Thanks. That will keep me going till bedtime. :D

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com said...

i'd like to be sorrier for your loss. but the story was too good. i had guppies once. and left them in a friends tender care whilst we went on holiday, i was about 8, with instructions to feed breakfast oats daily. i felt to mention importance of changing water. i came home to a fishbowl full of cold porridge in which was buried a dozen sunbathing fish.

A Modern Mother said...

You you please send some lucky heather down this way, I could sure use some to please god have schools open tomorrow...

nixdminx said...

I love this story. It was a long time until I stopped believing that our Goldfish had become Angelfish. I was very upset to discover they did not fly out of the fish bowl up to heaven. Our cat ate them... Our tortoise has done a runner and the stories have been coming thick and fast but no bikinis!

holly said...

i can't get the thought of you giving the kiss of life to this fish. how very odd his final moments must have seemed to him, until he remembered that he doesn't have more than 3 seconds of memory.

Coding Mamma (Tasha) said...

Lovely story, MH. I still remember when our goldfish died - the cat ate them. It's a wonder they survived so long, really.

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