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Something Fishy
by Charlie Ross

Yesterday I felt really pleased with myself for I cleaned out the fountain in my fish pond. All winter the thing hasn’t been working. Anyone who has a fountain or pump for their pond will know that said item gets very gunged up with fish and frog poo. It is not the nicest of jobs and the hubby and I usually try to out wait each other hoping beyond hope that the other one will snap first and clean it.

We have many little games like this especially when it comes to putting petrol in the car, since we drive a 2 litre mpv this has to be done quite often. It is amazing how far you can actually drive with the needle in red and even after the little orange light has come on. We become so determined that the other is going to put the petrol in this time I have even resorted to walking everywhere so he has to fill up I can be really petty when I try.

Anyway back to the pond. The gungy mess is horrid it smells putrid and the only way to clean it is to turn a very fast hose on it. I must caution anyone who is thinking about doing this, be very careful as you point the hose at the centre and squirt it will undoubtedly spray back into your face bringing with it the black smelly gunge that is frog poo. I myself have fell foul to this many a time. I did, however, clear all that gunk away I set the little whirly thing inside the pump going again and felt very proud as a gush of water began to pour out.

I must explain that my fountain is not only that but has a little waterfall that comes down into the pond from the back. Now this is beginning to sound like something you may see at the Chelsea flower show but I must shatter these illusions. This pond is roughly five foot by two foot and three foot deep at the deepest part. We call it a wildlife pond as it is very rough looking.

We do, however, have four goldfish residing in it along with the many frogs. We can always see the frogs but seldom see the fish, the water isn’t exactly clear. We have set said pond beneath our lilac tree and nestled among the forsythia and the big pink bushy thing (I’m not a very knowledgeable gardener) This means that in the Autumn when the leaves fall they all fall into the pond so we are forever having to fish them out.

After I had cleared the pump and a couple of little squirts were coming out of the fountain head and there was a trickle coming from the waterfall as I have said I felt very proud ( and rather dirty and I probably smelt a bit too). I then went for a bath I phoned hubby at work to let him know that I was the one who had risked life and limb to clear out the pump and maybe we would get to see the little fish we put in there soon.

Four tiny goldfish that we bought from the garden centre about three years ago. My youngest son naming three of them and my eldest, whilst refusing to allow his younger brother to name his fish, he would not actually name it himself. Being the youngest of two siblings myself I know exactly how he feels this is the type of taunting I would have to endure from my older sister myself on many occasion but that is for another time.

For now we must get back to the pond. Or maybe if I had gone back to the pond sooner I would not have had the shock I did as I came downstairs on Saturday morning. I went into the kitchen ready to make my morning cup of tea and avoiding the loving gaze of the dog sitting at the front door waiting for his morning walk. I casually gazed out of the window and saw that the water in the pond was no more. It had disappeared over night. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and knew that the next step was to go out there and see the damage. I envisioned dead goldfish in the bottom or worse still flapping fish that I would have to somehow rescue from their fate.

I toyed with the idea of calling my youngest son who is twelve and deeply into anything gory or so it seems when I see snippets of games he plays with his brother on the console. Then I thought maybe, when confronted with actual goriness, he may not be so brave. I decided that I must do my duty as a mother to protect him from such a sight. Well that and he was still in bed asleep and that is a great fete in itself to try and wake him and get him out of bed.

So I went outside and cautiously looked into the pond. There was still some very black water in the deepest part. We’d sat the pump on a couple of bricks so it hadn’t quite emptied the pond and said fish were all fine and dandy and had trebled in size since I had last seen them. A quick call to my hubbys work again and he gave me instructions. I not only had to fill the pond with the hose pipe very slowly but I had to get the gunk out of the waterfall and clear the pump yet again. It was a dirty smelly job but after it was done and this time getting a real spray from the fountain and a gush from the waterfall it was well worth the effort.

After my bath I went to look at my handy work and saw the fish swimming happily and two frogs doing what frogs do at this time of the year. I felt so proud that I even dragged my kids and my hubby out there to marvel at my handy work. As hubby looked at the fish he declared that we should do away with this pond and build one at the other side of the garden. It is a good job that it is such a small pond because he cant swim.