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.


19 comments:

  1. Gotta larf though; ain't yer!

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  2. That tops my Lucky cat story.

    My husband left his goldfish, which occupied a little one gallon, dime store tank on the kitchen sink. Eventually feeling sorry, I bought it a five gallon tank; it grew to fill it. I gave it away to a child who promised to love it forever; end of my goldfish story.

    I did learn that carp become the size of their habitat and food source. Were any theories advanced on the ability of the no name gold fish of your acquaintance to survive the fire?

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    1. Yes, I do believe that the carp family control their size according to environment, almost at will.

      There was no evidence left for any scientific research, without contamination by cat-shit.

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  3. Oh how I laughed at this Tom. My son's goldfish jumped out of the bowl when they moved and stuck to the stone floor in the kitchen. When they found it they put it back in the water and it survived. Seems they are pretty hardy things.

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  4. Maybe show-people have bred a new, hardy breed? Everyone I know that have in the past (it's now illegal) won live goldfish at fairs (it's now illegal) have taken them back to a perfect, cat-free and oxygen-rich environment, and they have all died within a day or two.

    Sometimes it's best to let the critters know that they are on their own. Makes for a hardier breed.

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    1. Sorry, my editor left in the 'it's now illegal' bit twice. This is her last (written) warning.

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  5. Great story, And the cat was lucky.

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    1. Goldfish only have 2 lives, it seems.

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  6. Now that's MY kinda story!
    Nurses across the last will laugh at it
    Long and hard.....
    They love a good black tale

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    1. 'Long and hard'? Don't change the subject.

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  7. Most of em would laughter at the too!

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    1. My translator has stopped working. Och aye the noo?

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  8. I had a friend who, over a matter of years, trained his goldfish to live OUT of water. One day they were going for their usual walk, and the goldfish slipped between the wooden boards of a small bridge. He fell into the water and drowned.

    Boom boom.

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    1. I like that one - one of your better boom-booms.

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  9. We got married in 1976 ..... Phew, what a scorcher !!!!! ..... and then went to a villa in Majorca for our honeymoon !!!!! ... Doh !!
    ..... a great 'fish' story { not so great for the goldfish though!! } Any goldfish that our children had were always found floating on their side after a couple of weeks !! XXXX

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    1. I float on my side after a couple of weeks too. That's when I know the honeymoon is over.

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