When you left a school fete, which I did during many a summer from my Balham and Tooting schools, the very least you’d want to leave with was a goldfish. Or a coconut – although, in most of the fetes I attended, the coconuts tended to live longer.
You’d take your prize-winning goldfish home, in its plastic bag, only to establish that your flat was a flat and not an aquarium and thus, not set up for any form of aquatic creature.
You would leg it to the local pet shop – where, when you mentioned your plight, discovered that the overnight increase in the cost of fish tanks had far out-paced the rate of inflation for the past two decades!
In addition to the tank (you had the water, which, if you hadn’t, the pet shop owner would have willingly sold you some with a price similar to that of petrol in the early ‘70s); you’d be flogged daphnia and hydra (which were neither great aunts you’d long forgotten, nor a US detective team). But, the pet shop salesman wouldn’t have done his or her job if he’d not sold you a pretend deep-sea diver.
Fish have a memory span of four-seconds, but why a deep-sea diver? Make them feel at home? No, because they are freshwater fish, and few make it to the depths of the Mariana Trench.
If I were to get a goldfish now, I’d have a replica of the Mary Rose; a book to improve memory loss and a statue of Johnny Weissmüller to stop the fish from slacking.