Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 14 July 2013
Wait before you name your goldfish 'Lucky'
In 1976, I shared an attic flat in a large Georgian terrace with a musician and his wife, and the musician had two brothers who would be around the place all the time, practicing the same riff over and over again, driving me nuts.
1976 was one of the hottest summers on record, and the heat lasted for about 6 weeks. During this time, the musician wired up a large amp very badly, and left it switched on. The amp caught fire when there was a stupid hippy staying in the flat and, as I walked home, I found the hippy in a nearby phone-box, screaming at the fire brigade who he had just called, rather than simply putting out the little fire which - by the time I arrived - had turned into a full-blown inferno.
I went into my room to salvage any portable valuables, then realised I had none, so I went outside to wait for the firemen.
I took one fireman upstairs to show him the seat of the blaze, and we crawled along the corridor to avoid standing up into the scorching layer of smoke about three feet above our heads. He got hold of the metal door-handle to the room, and his hand actually let out a puff of smoke as it burned. There was nothing to be done except chuck as much water into the place as possible, so we went back down.
Three tenders spent one hour pouring water through the upper windows, but by the time the fire was out and we went back upstairs, the place was bone dry and making little tinkling noises as the charcoal shrank.
The day before, the couple had been to a fairground and had won a small goldfish which they had put into a large, glass container - right next to the centre of the fire. The sides of it were blackened and the water was too hot to put your hand in, so the wife carried the whole thing - wrapped in a blanket to avoid burning herself - and poured it into the sink, turning on the cold water at the same time.
The goldfish sprang back into life and behaved as if nothing had happened to it at all. I, and everyone else, was expecting it to be too over-cooked to eat. The local newspaper took a photo of the miraculously surviving goldfish, which featured on that night's edition on the front page.
The couple moved in with some friends temporarily - having been burnt out - and they took the goldfish with them.
That same night, the goldfish was eaten by their friend's cat.
I think that God had it in for that fish, but we all had to suffer.