My Mom was always on the lookout for a bargain, something useful for the home that perhaps no other home had and was great value for money. In honesty, a lot of the bargains she bought was nothing more than complete tat. Her heart was certainly in the right place, but good grief, her eye for something useful could be a little, let’s say, off.
One of the best purchases she ever made, from my point of view, it gave me many a chuckle, was a hang on the wall plastic fishbowl. It’s hard to describe this item, but I will give it a go. Imagine a giant Polo mint but made from plastic. The back was flat to lie against the wall. The centre of the ring was hollow, just like the mint. So you had this circular plastic tube with a hole in either side about halfway up where you would fill it with water.
Through the holes, you would place a couple of Goldfish and the idea was that they would swim around the circumference of this faux pas happily ever after. That’s what the seller told my Mother and she took it all in. He even sold her a couple of Goldfish to bring home with her to start this marvel of aquatic engineering. I could see the look on my Dad’s face as she turned up with her plastic bag of fish and a dishevelled cardboard box containing the tank. His eyes peered over his glasses while under his breath the words were muttered, ‘…what the bloody hell?!’
As I recall, the fish were put into a rather large jam boiler filled with water for safekeeping. My Dad, still muttering away to himself set about fixing this plastic ‘mint with the hole’ to the wall, bearing in mind it needs to be easily removed for cleaning and changing the water on a regular basis. Thankfully, it didn’t take him too long to get the thing level, safe and easy to remove when needed. The cussing, for now, was kept to a minimum. All that was left now was to fill the contraption with water. This is where it gets really interesting.
The instructions said you have to fill the bathtub full of water. This is because you have to submerge the bowl while keeping it upright at all times. Otherwise, a slight tilt and an air bubble will get in and the water will only remain at the bottom of the tube a few inches deep, certainly not enough for two budding Goldfish. I could tell by now that my Dad’s minimal initial enthusiasm was waning. There were more ‘……what the bloody hells’ and much worse at the thought of filling the bath every couple of days to its brim.
The First Bloop
Even when the bowl had been filled and extracted from the bath with the precision of a bomb disposal officer defusing an unexploded bomb, there was more to come. My Dad had to make the journey downstairs and get this thing back on the wall keeping everything perfectly straight to avoid the air bubble event. I was sat downstairs in the living room, avoiding this debacle, but desperately trying not to laugh. On his first attempt, he must have got down to the tenth step when there was ‘bloop bloop’ from the water followed by an unprintable expression of expletives. Back upstairs he went to repeat the filling exercise all over again.
There’ll Be A Drought
He was getting better, he made it to the twelfth step on his second attempt before ‘bloop bloop, ah #*$% hell’ happened. This went on for the best part of the day, up and down and somehow, after using what must have been half of Birmingham City Corporation’s water supply, he got the thing on the wall complete with two goldfish. To be honest, it was a minor miracle. They put a couple of plants in there with a sprinkle of fish food and sat back to enjoy it. The fish didn’t seem at all impressed and sat near the bottom staring at each other.
The following morning, my Dad was first up and making his way into the living room, drew back the curtains and was horrified to see the bowl was devoid of any fish! He was shocked, there were two Goldfish laying very still on the chair below. That was the end of that.
How to look after a Goldfish.