Go Boil Your Head …

Good Morning

Good news – the missing orfe appeared. It slowly floated into view yesterday afternoon as I stood by the pond attempting to unblock the stone toad which spouts, or not, water into the pond. We had  a dozen fish in the pond twenty years ago but the numbers have dwindled to three orfe and one goldfish. They used to produce fry but not any more. I think these survivors are same-sex  guys or gals. HPIM2758

I’d decided that when these remaining fish pop off I wouldn’t restock the pond, but instead turn off the pump, save on the energy bills and just leave it as a natural wildlife oasis. But now I’m not so sure. I thought, yesterday, that it might be nice to start again with another dozen babies? I have never added to the pond because new fish and fresh plants can bring disease. A decision for another day.

I was thinking this morning, in the early hours, about the kind of person I am. Wondering if I am a little too independent? Can you be?

I’ll give you an example.

In the last days of pregnancy my blood pressure shot up through the roof, mainly because we had just moved into our new cottage and I refused to let go of the paint brush or stop retrieving chucks from the farmer’s field, by way of climbing over a barbed-wire fence. I was taken into hospital for a week. It did zilch for the blood pressure because I never stopped fretting about my animals and would my husband look after them properly. They let me out at the weekend (short-staffed) and just before I was due back in on the Sunday evening I went into labour, due I am sure, to me moving a massive pot urn, which my husband had brought back from his two-year stay in Africa, all the way up the stairs and on to the landing.

My husband dropped me off at the hospital and I then spent the next sixteen hours in agony. And I mean agony.

The staff was overworked, tired and couldn’t, it appeared, come to the same conclusion to the outcome of my labour. They asked continuously if they should fetch my husband and each time I said no. I’ve always been this way. A sole battler. Matt was born at eight am on the Monday morning He looked liked a raspberry. They’d had to suck him out by vacuum extraction. He stared at me, unblinkingly, from his fish-tank cot and if the little guy could have spoken I reckon he would have said, ‘Of all the mothers in all the world … YOU’RE my mother?’

The point I am making is this, I had Matt at eight in the morning and I didn’t tell his father until four in the afternoon. There was no point at which I wanted him there. I needed to do it on my own. Give birth. Have time to see that Matt was OK. That’s strange isn’t it? I don’t really know why that is. Perhaps I’ve inherited my father’s stiff upper-lip gene. Maybe I’m just weird. Or maybe I’m scared of dropping the stiff upper-lip around the people who know me? As they say …whatever!

Then I got to thinking about my ex husband.

We first met when he came out to examine a horse of mine. He wasn’t a horse vet. Pretty scared of them, actually. We got chatting and we toddled off to the cinema on our first date . I met him at the cottage where he lived. I thought, on arrival, that we would be late for the cinema because he was dressed in a non-ironed pink shirt and purple cords and I thought he still needed to change. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? Would anyone go on a first date dressed like that? Don’t they say dress to impress?

I needed the loo before we left so I tottered off in my cool dress and posh heels. I never wear a dress now. I don’t possess one. I found the bathroom and almost had a heart attack. In the bath, soaking in something foul, was a badger pelt. He explained later that he collected ‘things’ and that he’d come across the dead badger two nights ago, on a country road, when he’d been on call.

He had a weaver bird’s nest, again from his stay in Africa and many trinkets. But his love was for skulls. He would often be found, deliriously boiling the flesh from a curlew’s head or from some other ‘precious’ find.

We were boating in Cambridge and came across a dead swan. The temptation to take its head was huge but not realistic. Anyone finding the decapitated creature would have assumed that was why it had died. Thugs. Bastards. Unholy shits. So that was a no no.

He was also an entomologist and had many collections of pinned creatures.

Funny – the things your mind digs up from the depths and brings to the surface for you to have another little think about. I think my thoughts are random. Is that a random thought?

The washing machine is bleeping at me. Back to Earth. Nothing more grounding than pegging out pants and socks. And that’s another thing. When Richard comes home today he is in for a roasting. How many times do I say (bellow) don’t leave your socks screwed-up in balls and inside out? Do all men do this? Should I really have to poke around in his smelly socks? Lord, the boxers are challenging enough.

Take care my lovelies x




6 thoughts on “Go Boil Your Head …

  1. Muds’ socks go in balled up and if they don’t clean up probably – tough! Sorry hun (he’s bound to be reading this at some point) but fishing about in your dirty socks is not in my job description!

    I do remember one guy turning up for a date (the cinema as well as it happens) with half his tea down the front of his jumper!!! I mean really! This was a first date (and a last one). I spent the whole night walking two paces in front of him 🙂 urggh!

    We considered fish in our pond once, briefly, but it really is little more than a puddle and I think the frogs would sue us for forcing them to live in overcrowded conditions if we added more creatures.

    Right, need to get out to the greenhouses – seedlings to pot on, seeds to sow, weeds to pull (in the raised beds not the greenhouses that last one :)).



  2. Land rovers wife – your prospective boyfriend probably spilt his tea because he was nervous about making a good impression on you, and didn;t notice he;d done it. Gail, your vet ex-husband sounds very inventive, a natural scientist. And sympathy to Richard and socks – socks and shoes are wretched things, curse of humanity, managing them is always difficult. Is there anyone in the world who actually tries to match socks in pairs? I always lose them, and hope that the bit anyone sees above the shoe matches, hopefully it;s black.


  3. I’m glad the orfe is still there.

    My Dad used to have a few golden orfe in his ponds. I remember ponds being a large part of my life growing up. My Mum and Dad moved house every so many years and the first job my Dad would do in any new house was dig a huge pond, in fact several huge ponds as he loved his fish. As I got older it became my job to dig them.

    I remember spending a whole summer back in the late 80’s, in baking heat, digging a small lake 🙂 He had lots of carp and one particular specimen he’d had for years. When moving house he bought a vast glass tank and installed it in his factory and temporarily relocated the carp into it while he got a new pond established in a new garden. The poor fish travelled all over the country and had at least five different ponds to experience 😉 It grew rather large too and by the time it passed away it resembled a small shark and my Dad was heartbroken. This was on top of the heavy losses of other fish he’d suffered at the hands of the Herons.

    I think all this pond ‘experience’ led me to prefer the wildlife pond we have, Plenty of activity with the frogs, newts, toads, pond skaters and snails etc. We also have lots of tall reeds in our wildlife pond, despite it being quite tiny, and this seems to be ideal for the damsel and dragon flies. At certain times of the year we have dozens of these beautiful creatures darting around the garden. Obviously the birds also love the pond for bathing and its gently sloping muddy/gravel beds provide safe access for other animals to drink. The wildlife pond and its immediate environs also requires very little maintenance as the more unkempt it becomes the more varied the wildlife that frequents it – perfect! 🙂



    • It’s amazing, how, when you leave a pond to its own devices it maintains itself and requires little attention. And often the water is crystal-clear. My father also used to have koi and when he passed away they went to the owner of the local animal rescue just a mile away from here. The activity in and around the pond is amazing, as you say, Ian xx


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