Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Aquarium

The mood in Pavers Place this week has been one of disquiet, I can think of no better word for it, which is not in itself shocking, but unusually it is the women who have fallen out.
Catherine is still on the hunt for the ideal pet but has finally decided that she needs something low maintenance to care for, and is not concerned at all if it will care about her in return. As the owner of a cat who sees me as a warm cushion who provides food I recommended a kitten or an older rescue cat, but she feels this is still far too much responsibility and has settled on a water based creature.
I heard her discussing it with Jacinta and Susie in the street last week and like them I had assumed that she would be going for a large bowl with some small goldfish in it, nothing too difficult to manage, like a starter kit for pet owners. Catherine’s own views were that she was looking for something much more exotic and was researching the possibility of a seahorse. The outrage from her two friends was evident on their faces.  
‘Keeping a seahorse as a prisoner in the house, how could you even think it?’ As usual Jacinta was holding nothing back.
‘I wasn’t actually thinking about a prison, I’m going to buy a tank, a proper one with breathing apparatus and everything.’
I couldn’t help thinking that Catherine either had the wrong terminology, or she had some skewed idea about the setup of an aquarium, however Susie’s worries were much more basic.
‘A seahorse, do they actually exist? And if they do aren’t their needs more specific, can you even get water proof hay?’
I think she may have been spending far too long with Mand, the conversation ended quite abruptly soon after with Jacinta declaring that as a vegetarian, she disapproved of animals being kept in enclosures that were too small for them. Susie, a fellow vegetarian, did agree with her but I’m sure her mind was imagining a waterproof paddock and a jockey with breathing equipment and flippers.
The next day Jacinta and Susie met in the street and their conversation was still focussed on Catherine, she had been seen talking to Tom about her plans, a sure sign she was going ahead with them, he would tell everyone he knew, and quite a few he didn’t, so it would be hard to go back on the decision.
‘I think she said something about a mini octopus, a bit like one of those micro pigs, it’s all so upsetting’. Susie looked completely alarmed and once home told Roger that she was thinking of ringing the environmental health, if there were to be dangerous animals in the road, of any variety, she wanted the authorities to be informed.
The three women avoided each other for the next few days, which is quite difficult in our street, I did see Susie send Roger out to check up and down the road before she ventured out and Catherine peered out of her window almost as much as me.
On Thursday Catherine arrived home with a large tank and a number of plastic bags, I could see no sign of breathing equipment, or for that matter a carrier for water based creatures. In the afternoon she issued invitations to Jacinta, Susie and Tom to see her new installation.

As it turned out, once she was in the shop Catherine had become completely enamoured by the number of lovely plastic ornaments she could fit into a tank, it was like being a child again but with legitimacy, she was setting up a home. The creature itself was the smallest orange goldfish you have ever seen, completely dwarfed by its plastic mermaid companion and overwhelmed by its ruined castle, Catherine however, was delighted. Jacinta and Susie agreed that their friend had chosen a setting fit for any goldfish and the newfound peace was cemented with a glass of sherry as they all stared at the overcrowded tank.




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