It all started when I was in Pets at Home Battersea. I was purchasing some luxury food items for the gentleman snake. It always involves walkie talkies and waiting. They have to dig around in the freezer. So I looked at the fish tanks while I waited.

I like fish. We kept them when I was a kid. Lots of them died – well, all of them eventually but lots of them in a short space of time. Much of it was to do with one of our friends putting dettol in the tank for jokes. Then, another time, they were basically all eaten by the catfish.

“I wonder how much it costs to get a fish tank,” I found myself thinking, remembering those happy weird days of fishiness.

A 100 litre tank in the pet shop with no accessories had a price tag of £130. Then there’s an aerator, nice things for them to swim around in, a heater, a cabinet to put the tank on top of – not to mention the fish. Too much. Nevertheless I’ve got my phone in my hand. Ebay. “Fish tank”.

And Lo! – on eBay there’s a tank and it’s two hundred litres. It’s huge, comes with all extras and what’s more there’s something like 17 fish already in it. There it is, with a big red “Buy it now” button. “Must know how to move fish safely.” Hmm.

I’m in a pet shop. I ask somebody how you move fish. Next thing I know she’s gone and got me twenty “fish moving bags”. I’m getting the blow by blow on air to water ratio in the bag. On how to acclimatise fish to a new environment. Interesting. I reckon I can do this. I click the big red button. I buy the lot. Oh well.

The tank is in Greenwich. I had this impulse last night. I’m collecting it with a van on Wednesday afternoon.

With the cabinet it’s almost as tall as am. It’s huge. It weighs a ton…

There’s nothing like having 17 incoming fish to spur a bit of motivation. I made good headway into the boxing, sorting and understanding of bulk glassware and ceramics, trying to make an alleyway where this huge unwieldy tank can be quickly carried and safely deposited. It’s a double whammy. The fish tank van will then be going to Yorkshire with the entire remaining contents of storage and as much of the stuff in my flat as I can fit in with it. It’s all booked. We are go go go. Furniture out, fish in. It’s a karmic exchange of sorts I guess. And if they become a burden, it’ll be easy to move them on again. Right now though I’m digging it. Fish! And a snake! And me! The little cold blooded family is growing. Just so long as the snake doesn’t get into the tank with the fishes. That’d be worse than dettol and a hungry catfish.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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