For some strange and bizarre reason I decided to clean out the fishpond the Sunday before last. To be honest I'm not really much of a fish person and I'm only the 'owner' of two rather elusive goldfish due to the unfortunate circumstance of inheriting a fishpond, complete with fish, when we rented our current property a few months back.
The first thing I noticed when we moved in towards the end of a rather cold English winter was that the fish appeared to be dead and unmoving in the bottom of the conveniently placed pond, just outside the lounge window. I have to admit to being quite concerned about those dead fish until I was told by Mr Expert Who Lived Across the Road that this was normal behaviour for fish when the water temperature is below 4 degrees. Apparently Mr Expert had previously agreed with our landlord that he would take over the three Koi, leaving me with only three little goldfish to look after. Pffft! How hard could that be I thought?
Now I must tell you a little about Mr Expert - a delightful local chap who lives and breathes for his spectacular pond full of giant sized Koi fish. We got to know him quite well on his several visits to catch the Koi. He fondly became known as The Koi Man, a very friendly and effusive gentleman who seemed not to have developed much skill in netting fish. Rather strange considering his passion. After several unsuccessful but rather amusing attempts he eventually brought a friend, Mr Jolly Expert Fish Catcher from Down the Road, to help him and soon the deed was done and the Koi went gratefully off to a new and better place. This left me with three extremely paranoid goldfish who had not taken very well to be chased round the fishpond in mistaken identity!
With the warmer weather came the delightful green algae - it blossomed and grew in joyful abundance. No amount of skimming the pond and scraping its sides could keep it at bay. It bubbled and frothed and bunged up the filter, it settled in great green globs around the reeds and took on a life of its own. It was truly a fearful sight (to say nothing of the smell that began to intrude into the lounge!). Hence the decision that fateful day to clean out the fishpond.
I decided that as I hadn't actually seen the fish for at least a week or two, the easiest thing would be to start pumping out the water and only catch them when the water was low enough to make visibility a reality. Thus is was only several hours later that I realised I only had two fish in the pond! I'm still baffled - a passing seagull perhaps? Needless to say, the goldfish were even more paranoid than normal as I hurtled around the pond in my attempts to catch them. They ducked, I dived, they dashed, I slipped - on my butt! Cold water, green slime - what better way to spend a Sunday? By now the whole family had come outside to join in the fun with shouts of encouragement and proffered helpful advice. I was less than amused which probably explains why they all disappeared back inside once the fish were safely placed into a bucket where they immediately sank to the bottom in a giant sulk.
Seems it was to fall to me to finish bailing out the last of the slimy water. It seemed appropriate I suppose since I was already pretty green and smelly anyway by this stage! Much scrubbing and dubbing later and filled with beautiful crystal clear water, the pond was a delight to behold by the time I'd finished. I even rushed off to the Fish and Pond Place down the road to buy a very expensive water lily in celebration.
For three days I continued to beam with pride. On the fourth day I noticed it looked a little cloudy and zapped it with a dose of 'Kill the Algae but save the Planet' powder that I'd been sold when I bought the water lily. By the sixth day it looked like pea soup and on the seventh day? I gave up and threw more fish food in. Even the water lily looks as if it's decided to expire in disgust.
But....at least the fish are happy!
AND . . . this is the reason that I insisted on buying an apartment in my 1/9th of a converted church with only a small, paved courtyard and absolutely NO room for a pony!